You know what my dog Pinto did to me couple days ago?
He sat on my face.
I took a break from mowing the lawn in 85 degree weather and stretched my lean six foot frame in the shade of our driveway.
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and…choked to nearly puking.
Swiftly-and without any warning-Pinto sat ON my face at the very moment I sighed.
I yelled out to my wife and daughter who were in the house doing whatever but I guess they didn’t hear me.
As I rolled, gagging to catch my breath, Pinto kept pestering me. His tongue his whip-for-a-tail, his paws.
No, I did not smack him. I couldn’t decide whether to be angry at him or me. I knew he was around. He’d been bugging me all morning to drop the mower and play with him.
But the whole thing hit me and I was choking with laughter, Pinto now relentlessly all over me- “You’re mine now” — and I couldn’t muster the strength to do much.
There’s a lesson for me.
Yes, maybe tie him up the next time.
Or, take a break up on one of our many trees.
Better yet, go lie on my hammock which hangs where he can’t reach me.
At the time, I surrendered and played with him for a while. Afterwards, with him lying on the driveway, exhausted, I reflected upon the day when he first came into our lives.
I was also mowing the lawn that President’s day, 2015. Our front fence is made of cyclone fence anchored in concrete about a foot high. That varies with the terrain, in some places reaching two feet high.
I was running the mower along the inner perimeter, a few feet away from the fence.
I sensed someone watching.
I looked towards the house, as either my wife or daughter are always on the lookout to bring me someting cold to drink.
Nobody at the balcony.
I continued the routine couple more times.
Driving me crazy. We live in the country, with no neighbors nearby.
As I pushed the mower one more time, I noticed a white, fuzzy tip, edging along the fence, disappearing as I went to the tall part.
I swirled the mower around and came back.
The tip reappeared, first an inch, two…
It stopped also.
“Can’t be a raccoon, we don’t have them here in the Caribbean.”
I moved a bit.
It did, too.
Slowly I walked, quietly, towards the fence.
And there he was: the loneliest, muddiest, skinniest, hungriest, happiest stray puppy I’ve come across!
The moment he saw me was electric! Like he’d known me all his life! His joyful face and squirmy bony body beamed “Don’t you recognize me?”
You’ve seen those moments on TV:Our servicemen and women returning from service overseas, their dogs going crazy with joy, even fainting at seeing them again!
We had been looking into acquiring another dog after our previous one, Lobo, died in a heart wrenching accident, our tears mixing in with the drenching rain as we buried him.
That was two years before Pinto showed up.
I couldn’t tell what gender Pinto was, so dirty and mangy was he.
See, heartless people dump puppies on our road all the time. Yeah, cats, too.
I started grating words at Pinto in no uncertain terms: “Great, I was on a roll. Now I’m gonna haveta stop the fine work I’m doing, take a shower, and drive ya’ to the pound!”
My daughter showed up at the balcony. She saw me waving my arms and talking to myself and thought “Oh shit, it’s happening.”
Meanwhile, the words unconsciously crossed my brain and blurted out of my big mouth: “The ONLY way I would consider (keeping) you is if- IF-you’re a boy!”
Pinto, ever happy-go-lucky, stood erect, plopped his dirty and cute paws on the gate and showed me.
The rest is history.
My daughter came by. My wife came by.
They all saw each other.
My daughter urged me to open the gate.
Pinto ballyhooed “Daddy, your wayward child is home!” and ran to my own muddy and stinky feet in sweet adoration.
Yes, I stopped the fine work I was doing.
Yes, I took a shower.
No, I didn’t take him to the pound.
Like a madman whose wife is having a child, I drove down the mountain to Walmart and Petsmart, bought smelly shampoo, a red collar, a leash, puppy food, thought about pampers (no, I bought no pampers) and some cookies.
The bath revealed his true colors: short hair, black body, white tinted neck and chest and the white tip of his tail was real. After, he stood about six inches tall, twelve or so inches long, large droopy ears, his tail straight out and curved up at the end, barrel chested, large hands (ok, paws), a sure blend of Pitbull and…whatever.
Soon, we bought our new son a $150 dollar, cedar mansion, which he loved the smell of it so much he he chewed it up and wrecked it in no time chasing his tail within it during rainy days.
Oh, I tell ya’, we have had the best two-dog-owner years of our lives. The stories I could tell you about our Pinto.
Like when he cut one of his arteries and didn’t say shit. My daughter found him on time, bleeding to death, tilting eyes that said “I think I’m fucked!” When my wife saw the puddle of blood she almost had a heart attack.
Ah, the lesson, you ask?
Well, I think- though Pinto has the habit of wiping his derriere on the grass- the next stray is going to the pound.