Posted on November 1, 2018
by Steve Janowick

The memory is still scorched into my brain.  It was the summer of my tenth year on earth.  Me and about eight other kids were in the middle of the Box Game (a roughhouse version of hide and seek/tag). I was curled in a fetal ball inside an oversized, empty metal trash can, waiting to pass out from heat stroke or for the other team to admit defeat.

Then I heard it.  A blood-curdling scream.  “Pippen!”

Every single kid in the neighborhood knew what that meant.  They knew the drill. And when I popped my head out from my hiding spot I saw all of them flailing around in all directions-the sheer panic evident on their faces.  Kids were leaping fences, jumping on the tops of cars and scooping up their little sisters while running into their houses.

I, too, went to make a run for it.  My house was a straight shot about a block’s distance down the alley.  I could see my little dog, Woody, playing in my yard as I took my first couple of steps.  Then … I froze!

Running past, like I was standing still, and like Satan’s personal, rabid, salivating, devil dog, was Pippin-he had gotten loose again.  Pippen was a giant, black, Chesapeake Retriever that lived up the road. The consensus was that he just had some sort of genetic mutation that made him so pissed off and mean all the time.  Whatever the case, he blew by me and was making a direct bee-line for my house and my dog!

By the time I got down there my little dog was already in the jaws of Pippen.  He was thrashing and slashing him around like a Great White does to a helpless seal.  I went into shock mode and dropped to my knees hysterically crying.

Thankfully, a neighbor built like a mini- Sherman Tank saw the attack and took action.  He threw a combination of punches into Pippen’s gut that would rival Tyson’s best shots.  Pippen yelped and released Woody. And I had to sit there and see my best little buddy whimpering in agony, basically torn to shreds.  I have to admit I’m still haunted to this day by those images that were burnt into my 10-year old brain.

Thankfully, my boy was saved by some great veterinarian surgeons.  He was scarred for the rest of his life (both physically and probably emotionally) but at least he lived out a full, love-filled life.  And to this day, as a full-grown man, probably because of that incident, I have an aversion for bigger dogs and a special place in my heart for all the little guys.

I see so many dudes walking around with barrel-necked Pit Bulls and Rottweilers.  Nothing for or against those breeds, I know there’s some awesome Pit Bull and Rottie pets out there.  But we all know the reason why a lot of dudes own these types of dogs. Because they’ve sadly become synonymous with the thug, gangster or pseudo-tough guy image.  Well I say, you can have your big dogs, Big Dog!

I’ll keep loving my little pint-sized Molly and Bruno and feel secure in my manhood all the while doing it.

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