Sights and Insights - The Missourian: Features People

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Sights and Insights

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Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 12:00 am

This should be a fun week. Our daughter Rebecca and her family are getting their first dog. Miles and Reed are over the moon excited, but 5-year-old Phoebe has no idea what’s up. “It would have been too hard for her to wait,” Reed explained to me in his best big brother voice.

The boys have done a great job of keeping the news a secret. We can only imagine P’s delight when the teacup-sized Maltese/Shih Tzu named Coco, is delivered. Rebecca has already read a dog-training book, and has the boys reading one too.

It’s a certainty the family will be better dog owners than we ever were when the girls were small. Some people have fish stories, but we have dog stories.

My buddy Dawn knows a bit about my canine history, and pours oil on the troubled waters of my guilt concerning the Stuckys’ past pets.

A couple of years ago, Dawn’s husband surprised her with a golden doodle, drove all the way to western Missouri to pick him up. It was love at first sight.

We see a lot of Ollie because he frequently rides around with Dawn, his mug is on Facebook 24-7 and on Instagram, where Ollie currently has 383 followers, @olliebygollydoodle.

The family adores their doodle. They buy him toys and special treats and speak in “Ollie” tongue. Sister, it’s dog heaven at the Kitchells.

Though I don’t relish having dogs in the house, Ollie has an open invitation to come over. I’ve made that clear to him on numerous occasions, displayed my affection by trying to pat his head and talk in soft tones. But no matter what I do, as soon as Dawn pulls onto our street, Ollie starts shaking like a wash machine that’s off balance.

It cuts me to the quick to see him so terrified, and it’s only me he’s afraid of.

Ollie reacts the same way when I go to Dawn’s house. I knock and he appears at the door, but when he sees it’s me Ollie hightails it in the opposite direction. Once inside, he cowers across the room, watching my every move. Last winter when we had all the ice, I drove up to their garage door, and Ollie came running out, realized who it was, put on his brakes and slid like he was on skates before regaining control.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago, when Dawn got a call from a friend of a friend looking for a home for their doodle, a 5-month-old male, as adorable as Ollie. The Kitchells opened their hearts again, and are lavishing love on the newest member of the family. Benji is blond, like Ollie, and the dogs are bonding beautifully.

I couldn’t wait to meet Benji, and got the opportunity when Dawn invited Spark and me over to celebrate her husband Eric’s birthday. Ollie met us at the door. He turned on heel once he saw me, no shocker there.

What happened next, though, did surprise us. When I sidled over on the couch next to Dawn to meet Benji, the pup uttered a long, low growl accompanied by a fixed stare that turned my blood cold. The growl continued until I got off the couch. It returned throughout the evening if I got within a tail’s length of Benji.

Though the affront initially had all of us wondering, I think I’ve figured it out. In some realm of Ollie’s curly-headed-consciousness he has vibes about my checkered pet past and has clued in the newbie. If that’s the case there is no hope of winning over either dog.

I’ll just have to get my pet-time in with our daughter Jen’s two doodles, who are A-OK when I visit. And hope that Coco won’t go loco, when Mee Mee comes to call.

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