Monday, May 14, 2007

The Dog Whisperer

Being a bit of a dog person, I sort of love the Dog Whisperer show with Cesar Milan.

At the beginning of the show I think there's some sort of little disclaimer encouraging viewers to refrain from trying to whisper dogs themselves. However, I, living on the wild side as I sometimes do, and, being a bit of a dog-professional, really feel that this doesn't quite apply to me.

So sometimes I fancy myself as sort of an amateur dog whisperer. Now with all of her licking and sweetness, I find that Bella really has no call for whispering. A little hardcore training, sure, but whispering, no. Thus I have to save my whispering for chance encounters with aggressive canines. Always a good idea.

And it just so happens that along my little running route, I have quite a few opportunities for whispering. Seeing as though I'm running, I forgo most whispering opportunities on this route because I figure stopping to perform virtual magic on dogs might interrupt my rhythm. But there is this one house that sort of draws me in. Chain link fences all around. Tall, decrepit chain link fences.

On any given day, there may be anywhere from two to five dogs lurking behind these fences. These dogs call for some whispering, let me tell you. Not only do they bark, growl, jump on the fence in a desperate attempt to escape and eat not just my flesh but Bella's too, but they follow me along for about 100 yards...very persistent little buggers. Oh, and they terrify me.

So every day, I run by feeling scared and looking for a large stick to use as a weapon should they escape. And then one day it hit me. No need to be scared...I'm like Cesar. I'm a dog whisperer too. Time to put the magic to work.

I make my ascent on the glittering metal yard. As summoned, the dogs approach, barking and growling. This time, I do not just run by. I will be a victim to barking no longer. I stop. I square my shoulders and push out my chest. I stretch my spine to try and gain a little height. I find the meanest looking dog and I show no fear-I look him square in the eye and focus all of my dog-whispering powers in his direction. He seems dissatisfied with this, which he communicates to me by raising his hackles and stirring up a deep low grow but I don't let that scare me. Nope. Instead, I take a menacing stomp! towards him and push out my chest again. Bella's wondering what the hell I'm doing and why I've chosen to do so with her at my side. She paces around me as if to say, "hey, they're not so bad. Let's just head on out of here...right?" By now I'm pretty sure I look like a deranged arthritic ostrich, but I'm Cesar and Cesar's really not concerned with appearances. So I stomp! again all the while never breaking my power stare with tough guy.

And then it might be working, because he gets really, really, still. So still, actually, that his muscles tense up like he's just a stone statue of a vicious beast, except not quite a statue because he's actually vibrating out of rage. And then he pounces. His body flies through the air, teeth glinting in the sun, ready to crack my bones.

So it takes me about a tenth of a second to decide that I'm not a dog whisperer after all. Bella and I don't stick around to see where he lands. We run. We run like we've never run before. I can hear him behind me hissing and barking and doing all those things dogs do when the devil has possessed their soul. And we run. And run. I break through "the wall" with my pace and suddenly I no longer resemble a turtle when I, I'm a beautiful gazelle gracefully bounding over the landscape and away from the hyenas who want to eat my gazelle flesh.

I've allowed my dreams of becoming a dog whisperer, with all of its fame and glory and Cesar-ish-ness to flutter away in the wind. I'm basically a professional runner anyway, so no matter.


Firecracker said...

It is hard for me to type since my eyes are teary from laughing. Yes, I agree, this is your funniest blog yet- I can visualize the whole encounter. I know exactly what house you are describing - and yes, they are mean looking dogs. I am glad that Bella and you survived. You might want to run a different route.

Moondog said...

Wow! you are truly flexible! Quick to adapt to any crisis!

heide said...

April I just read your posts top to bottom, and I could hardly read for the tears running down my face! You are just as funny in print as in person! Congrats on the 5k, mom sain you ran it in 29 min. way to go! I think you have definitely gotten faster! Looking forward to running again-we'll bring Bella and Annie this time-now that would be a dynamic running duo! -Heide