I love small dogs. Perhaps it’s the Napoleon Complex in me, but I’m attracted to a big dog in a little dog’s body.
My Scotties are endless sources of delight as they take on the world from four-inch legs.
Burnsie, my youngest, now five years old, charges the donkeys, all bluff and bluster, especially the herd sire, Merton. It’s a Don Quixote-like charge at windmills. The fact is, Merton’s head is bigger than all of Burnsie, but no matter. To Mr. B, a principle of Scottie sovereignty is at stake, so a rush and a roar are necessary Scottie claims to what is right and holy in the universe. Thankfully, Merton and the other ‘windmills’ play the game without umbrage.
At the corral, I watch Burnsie bait the biggest of my four goats by standing nearby, feigning disinterest, turning his head away, teasing the goat into lowering his head and charging. Burns nimbly side-steps like a matador, runs a quick circle around Spanky, barking, and baits him again. So the game goes till goat tires of the circus and retires to other interests. A big dog in a little dog’s body.
Each autumn during Albuquerque’s hot-air balloon season, I remember fondly Willie’s umbrage at ‘demon’ balloons. If you’ve ever been around hot-air balloons, you know they make a startling swo-o-o-sh-h-hing sound as they expell drafts of heated air. If you don’t know balloons, it can be scary. Now a dog who lives atop four-inch legs doesn’t often look straight up, so a hot-air balloon passing overhead silently might go unseen. Not so my Willie. He early connected the ‘monster’ hissing sound with the shadow overhead and he instantly donned his Quixote-role to rid the world, or at least his territory, of the ominous ‘windmill’ monster in the sky. Size didn’t matter to Willie. Attitude did.
Recently, I found an even smaller ‘mighty dog’ to admire. He’s a tiny chocolate Chihuahua who lives at a horse farm on the road to the post office. He has about a 20-yard length of fence line running beside the road and when he spots me driving by, he spins 360-in-place, then races as fast as his tiny legs will take him, barking in holy-terror his objection to my passing intrusion. If he beats me to the far end of his fenced yard, he spins-in-place, head back, barking his little gargle-bark in furious protest.
I cannot see him without smiling. In fact, I slow down, pull onto the shoulder to get nearer his fence, roll down the passenger side window, and do my best to echo his Chihuahua bark. The owner laughs to see a grown man trading Chihuahua epithets with her little Napoleon.
At first I thought the little guy associated my truck with my Scotties, who are all over the passenger window barking back at any and every farm dog encountered along our road. But soon it became clear the wee beastie was more discerning. He twirls and chases not just the truck, but also the Mini– and my Scotties are never in the Mini Cooper. That little rascal is fussing at ME!
I love it best on sunny days when the top is down on the Mini Cooper and I can drive slowly along the shoulder near his fence and ‘dialogue’ in earnest, almost face to face. I’m getting good at my imitation … and he’s getting good at spotting my approach way in advance and getting his ‘cute’ on and ready by the time I drive close. I always laugh out loud the rest of the way home coming back from the Post Office.
We’re each little dogs in a big world, each a comedy of protest against powers beyond our control. I’m Willie and the brown Chihuahua with my own Don Quixote dreams.
I hope as angels go by my alotted stretch of life fence, my spinning and twirling in quest of my destiny leaves them smiling, as my Scotties and the wee chocolate Chihuahua make me grin. They make my day.
I hope angels say I make theirs.
Joseph Harvill, publisher Great Scots Magazine