Monday, January 25, 2016

and they call it puppy love

Remember a couple of years ago when I went to Virginia Beach for a family wedding? Well, after countless threats invitations, I finally went back for a visit. My wife visits regularly and I stay home in Philadelphia, so I suppose it was a surprise for my wife's Virginia Beach family to hear that I would be coming for the long Martin Luther King Day weekend. I was warned, however, that Mrs. P's cousin Juniper (with whom we would be staying) owns a dog. As previously mentioned on this blog many, many, many times — I don't particularly care for dogs.

Mrs. P and I gathered up our belongings — suitcases, jackets and a bag of road-trip snacks — and carried them across the parking lot of Juniper's condominium development. The door of one of the units opened up and we were greeted by a smiling, excited Juniper. However, Doggie was less than pleased to have me as a multi-day visitor. After saying "Hello" to Juniper and dropping our luggage on the floor, I was met with a cautious, low, throaty growl from Doggie. He eyed me up and down with contempt. I had not spoken a word nor made a gesture towards him. He just knew.

Juniper lightly reprimanded him. He whimpered and retreated behind her legs. We tossed our coats over the backs of the dining room chairs and plopped ourselves down on the sofas  — me and the missus on one, Juniper and Doggie on the other one perpendicular to our's. A coffee table served as a buffer between us. As we talked, Doggie kept a dead stare in my direction. A few times, he bravely approached Mrs. P,  offering a curious snout for her to pet. But, if I opened my mouth or moved my hand, Doggie made a hasty withdrawal to the protection of Juniper. He jumped up a few times to play with a ball or a toy, only to freeze in his tracks when he realized he was dangerously close to me.

We all went out for the evening and when we returned, Doggie met us at the door. When I filed in, he exhibited a "you're still here?" look on his face and delivered another series of low grumbles. At too late an hour, we all retired to our respective bedrooms  — the Pincuses in the first-floor corner with the door shut and Doggie taking his regular spot in Juniper's second-floor boudoir.

I'm watching you, Pincus.
The next morning, my cereal and coffee were served with a side of growls. With each spoonful of Honey Nut Cheerios I shoveled into my mouth, Doggie bared his teeth and chewed on a hunk of rawhide upon which his canine imagination superimposed my face. In the afternoon, we drove over to Juniper's mother's house to drop Doggie off for a little puppy playtime with some of his own species. Unfortunately, Doggie had to ride in the back seat of Juniper's car with me. I shoved myself into one corner of the back seat and Doggie did the same in the opposite corner. We took the fifteen minute trip in silence, never letting our gaze stray from each other. When we arrived at our destination, Doggie bounded out of the car, anxious to play and equally as anxious to leave my company.

Finally, the long weekend drew to a close. I loaded up our car with our bags and stuff. We thanked Juniper for her gracious hospitality and we said our goodbyes. As we crossed the parking lot one last time, I'm pretty sure I heard Doggie utter a sigh of relief.

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