Last night as Tip and I were enjoying our evening stroll, he suddenly abandoned his cheery, tongue-flopping-out-the-side-of-his-mouth grin and I could literally see all two of his brain cells banding together to fixate his attention on something up ahead. I looked. An older woman was on the path going in the same direction as us, ambling along at a leisurely pace to accommodate the stride of the small woolly dustbunny at the end of the leash in her hand.
One thing that must be understood about Tip is that he likes to make friends. He loves to make friends. People, dogs, the birds in the yard, whatever. Never mind that the sight of a hard-eyed Border collie lunging at you can kind of cause people to mistake the intention and run away like little girls, or that Tip is actually incapable of reading warning signs from other dogs and still thinks the snarling Dachshund that is intent on digging its way out of its yard every time we pass it is just being neighbourly. In his head, Tip lives on Sesame Street where everyone is great and nice and there purely to entertain him.
Still, I thought the almighty leap as he took off in pursuit of the tiny Shih Tzu was a bit too enthusiastic. Even for Tip.
I've never been a large person, and when he puts his mind to it, my dog can haul me off in the blink of an eye and cover ten yards before I think to put the brakes on. Then it's a game of tug-of-war. Last night's was an epic battle of claws scrabbling at the sidewalk and Tip's breath wheezing in his throat as he crawled his way determinedly up the path. And you know, for once, his intended victim actually looked sort of delighted to see him, when she heard his rasping, choking, slobbering approach (gasping out, I imagine, "Hey baby, what's your sign?"). And no mortified cries of "Tip!" or "Molly!" from us tagalongs could separate the two once they met. Tails were wagging, leashes were entwining, saliva was being flung, it was chaos.
Now, in his younger, wilder days, of what I suppose can only be described as the doggy equivalent of the college experience, Tip was only ever interested in other boy dogs. That was A-OK by me. I dreamed of the day I could take him to the store and buy him sweaters for winter and then we'd giggle and do each other's hair. I'm pretty sure he was even having a gay love affair with a Golden retriever named Murphy - until she moved in.
'She' is a poodle/Bichon named Chloe, and she belongs to my neighbours. It was love at first sight. Years later, whenever we see her on our walks, Tip flies through the ritual of puffing at the end of his leash like a freight train and just about strangling himself with delight, while Chloe gets so jazzed, she stands on her hind legs and jumps up and down and peddles her front paws and rolls on the ground and breakdances all over the sidewalk, while my neighbour and I try to avoid eye contact and mumble our hellos. So, up until now, I thought Chloe was the only girl dog in Tip's heart. Yet here he was making an ass out of himself and me over some unfamiliar puppy.
Understanding gradually dawned. I squinted at the tiny shag bathroom rug Tip was eagerly trying to inhale, and said, "What breed of dog is that?"
"A Shih Tzu and Maltese mix," the proud mother replied.
And I got it.
Oh my God, my dog is such a Benedict Arnold.
Well, shit, is what I was thinking, but what came out was "How cute."
Then I grabbed the leash in both hands and hauled Tip away from his newfound lover with a too-chirpy, "Say goodbye to Molly, Tip!"
My dog lusts for designer dogs. It makes sense now. My stupid Border collie has some carnal instinct to father terrible, terrible muttpuppies. I shrieked things like "How could you do this to me?" and "How long have you known?" at him, while he stared over his shoulder with a misty-eyed, vacant expression. Visions of maltipoos and chorkies danced in his head.
I fully expect his anti-MoT blog to go online in a few days.
(Coming up: A rant on apartment dogs.)