recently returned to my digs in the Deep South after an extended visit with my
mother-in-law. Like her daughter, my wife, she’s a lifelong Chicago gal. I managed to
kidnap rescue the
daughter, but the MIL remains stubbornly in the land of her birth. While there, I spend a lot of time with her
little dog, which where I live would be known as a “foo-foo dog.” Daisy is a
Bichon Frieze, resembling a fluffy miniature poodle. She’s “sweet sixteen” in a couple of ways: a
sweet little dog weighing sixteen pounds, and sixteen years of age. Now, that’s even older than me in dog years,
but she has the energy of a sixteen-year-old in human years.
We have a history. I’ve always preferred more macho dogs. I fondly remember Katana, my Akita, and Teddy the Great Pyrenees (actually no more than a reasonably good Pyrenees on his best day, but he tried), and my all-time favorite canine, the sadly no longer with us Jeremiah Puppybeast, a 210 pound Great Dane.
As you might imagine, Daisy is a lapdog. I must confess to an identity-driven sense of embarrassment walking a foo-foo dog in public. Daisy just isn’t the kind of dog that Jack London wrote stories about. One day a few years ago I had flown in from having given a speech and was still wearing a gray suit with a pink shirt, or maybe it was a pink tie. It was a sunny day, and the only sunglasses I had with me were a pair of excellent Rudy Project shooting glasses, which also happened to be pink. (Why that color? There’s a lesson there. If you are a gun writer and a company offers you some of their product to try, and they ask what color you like…well, it turns out that the best answer isn’t “Surprise me.” Great glasses, though.)
Now, my MIL is a very ladylike lady, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that the only leash available was Hot Pink. And there I was, all accoutered in pink and walking the foo-foo dog through Chicagoland, looking for all the world like I was trolling for gay-bashers. Fortunately, I was also carrying a loaded .45 automatic, and if there had been trouble, would have been able to easily establish self-defense with the police and the State’s Attorney’s Office. I was more worried about getting a summons from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for Hunting Over Bait.
One day while walking Daisy I got to thinking. My MIL is proudly of Norwegian descent. Why, I wondered, couldn’t she have a cool dog like a Norwegian Elkhound? In stream of consciousness, I thought, “If an Elkhound was obviously bred to hunt giant horned ungulates, and a bird dog was bred to hunt birds, what could a Foo-Foo Dog credibly hunt?”
I got my answer one day when she was off leash, and a rabbit presented itself. Faster than Lon Chaney, Jr. turning into the Wolfman, Daisy launched her elderly self airborne at the hapless bunny, which barely escaped with its life.
The sub-compact canine had won new respect from me. Daisy Dog had turned into Day-Z-Dogg, Chicago street wolf.
And I had finally discovered what a Foo-Foo Dog would instinctively hunt: