A stray dog periodically visits our house. I suppose he may not be a true stray, since he sports a collar. But he roams freely throughout our neighborhood, and I have no idea who owns him or where he lives. Because he doesn’t wear an ID tag, I don’t know his proper name. I call him “Columbus” after another notable explorer.
Columbus is large, black and of unknown breed. Though his head resembles a Pit Bull’s, he’s not as massive in the shoulders, so I’ve taken him for some sort of mutt. His impressive jaws lend him a terrifying aspect, yet he’s never shown himself dangerous. Even so, I won’t deny nearly shitting myself the first time I spotted him on our lawn. I was searching for a ball at the side of the house when I suddenly heard Prometheus bark madly from the front yard. When I went to investigate, I found my six pound puppy chasing a creature at least ten times his weight. I cringed, awaiting the monster’s inevitable realization that he was fleeing from an appetizer. As anticipated Columbus soon reversed direction, and predator became prey. Prometheus got cornered long before I could reach them. But rather than swallow my puppy whole, the fearsome looking beast merely wagged his tail happily and sniffed our dog’s ass by way of introduction. Since then, he’s visited our house on a regular basis. He always stops to say hello to Prometheus. He also favors us by crapping on the lawn and peeing all over the bushes, before continuing his travels.
Interestingly, Columbus has always acted skittish around me. He hasn’t growled or exhibited any threatening behavior, but he never lets me pet him. Although he’s stood close enough to brush my side while licking Prometheus (as the puppy sat on my lap), he’s run away every time I showed a hint of touching him. We’ve come to an understanding though. As long I make no effort to pet him, he ignores my presence.
This morning, Columbus even followed us on our daily walk. Our subdivision has a leash regulation which I obey with Prometheus but which Columbus obviously ignores. As our large companion trotted unfettered beside my puppy, a woman standing on her front porch yelled at me. She brought up the leash law, castigated me for letting “your dangerous animal” roam free, and threatened to call the sheriff! She vanished into her house without giving me any opportunity to explain the situation.
This afternoon I finally got a chance to clarify the truth of the matter, to the deputy sheriff who knocked on my door. I tried telling him Columbus isn’t our dog. Unfortunately, the fact that the animal at that moment stood ten feet from the officer taking a dump on our lawn didn’t exactly help my position. I can only hope I’m more successful in my next attempt to explain the facts … to the Judge, at the hearing on my summons for violating the local leash law.