I’d like to remind my husband that you can’t spell “security” without “cur.”
That’s right. As my grandmother used to say, no home is safe without two dogs: a little one to bark and a big one to bite.
And we don’t even have one.
Our first dog was ostensibly adopted in order to keep me safe. When we first got married, I worked days and Jeff worked nights, so I spent many long and dark hours by myself. I asked him to get me a dog for company, thinking he’d pick up a nice little Pomeranian or Pug, like the pups I’d had while growing up. He thought I needed a great big dog to protect me, even though I was a bit apprehensive about living with a large canine with large canines.
One day, he got a phone call from his Aunt Lenore, who had a voice just like Harvey Fierstein.
“Jeff!” she growled. “Are you kids still looking for a dog?”
“Sure,” he replied. “Why?”
“Our guard dog at work broke through the fence, and the stupid Korveleh (which is Yiddish for “whore”) got herself knocked up. You want a puppy?”
Jeff went to her workplace that afternoon, and was greeted with a furry passel of minuscule mutts. When he got close to them, most of the puppies continued to scamper about, but one walked over and sat on his shoes. She looked at him and that was it. He was in love.
He brought her home in a shoe box, and asked me to take a look.
“Isn’t she beautiful?”
Yes, she was. She may have been the prettiest puppy I’d ever seen.
“Isn’t she tiny?”
I wasn’t stupid.
“Jeffrey, look at her paws. They’re enormous. That’s not a dog. That’s a horse.”
“Aww, come on. Don’t you want to hold her?”
I fell in love too.
We named her Kori, after her mother.
For the longest time, I couldn’t put her down, and the happiest hours of my days were those I spent curled up on the living room couch, with Kori nestled in my lap.
Every day she grew bigger and bigger, as her Husky/German Shepherd genes merged to produce a wolf.
Every day I grew bigger too, because shortly after Kori joined us, I became pregnant with our first child.
By the time our daughter was born, Kori may have considered herself a lapdog, but she had grown into quite an imposing beast. A number of people asked whether I thought it was safe to keep her so close to a baby.
Hell, Kori was a better mother than I was.
She spent most of her time lying under the baby’s crib, paying attention to her cries, and vetting every one of her visitors. No one could enter her room unless accompanied by Jeffrey or me. One of our great uncles tried to go inside by himself; he was immediately pinned to a wall by a fanged, powerful creature forged in his nightmares.
This was the same animal who would chase me down to the basement when I was washing clothes, and run in circles in a spot under the baby’s room, to let me know The Princess was crying. This was the sweet cur who would watch the baby crawl around her blanket until she got too close to the edge, when she had to be gently nudged by a soft muzzle back to the center of her territory. This was the gentle soul who let my daughter grab her tail so she had something to hold while she was learning how to walk.
And many years later, this was the dog who let my son grab her tail while he sat in a wheelchair, and pulled him around the house like Ben Hur at the Coliseum.
We were blessed with our Kori for ten love-filled years, and I hope at the end of our lives, she will be there to protect the home where we live in heaven.
I can’t say that Kori’s successor — Dylan, our Jack Russell terrier — appeared to be much of a watchdog. He was a silly-looking Frankenweenie who resembled the RCA Victor mascot. I’ll tell you something about that rat-bastard, though: he had an attitude. We once caught him chasing a Doberman down the street, because, after all, it was invading HIS BLOCK. He kept that street safe.
Dylan was followed by my beloved Roscoe. If you’d broken into our home he would have taken you upstairs and shown you where we kept the jewelry.
You weren’t very likely to try, though. The very sight of Roscoe caused a number of people we know to empty their bladders on our porch.
One night after we’d brought him home, Jeffrey got a phone call.
“Good evening, sir! I’d like to speak to you about our state of the art security system.”
“It’s not as good as mine,” Jeff replied.
“Please, sir, listen to what I have to say. Our system is configured to be the fastest on the market, and the most efficient at dissuading possible intruders.”
“Will it put someone at my door thirty seconds after a thief enters my property?,” Jeff asked.
“Why, no sir. Nothing works that fast.”
“Mine does,” Jeff replied. “Will it make a noise that gets the intruder to shit in his pants?”
“Uh, no sir, it won’t.”
“Mine does,” Jeff told him. “And if some bastard actually gets into my house, will your security system rip his arm off and chew on it until the police arrives?”
“What kind of system do you have, sir?”
“I have a sixty-pound pit bull,” Jeff answered.
“You don’t need anything I have, sir,” said the salesman as he hung up.
I’d like our home to feel that safe again.
I know we have cats, and I know we have locks, and I know we live in a community where practically nothing ever happens, but I still think I’d feel safer if we had a dog.