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JACK SMITH

Puppy Love Is Not to Be Denied

June 12, 1995|JACK SMITH

Once again it has happened. Some anonymous do-gooder has dropped a puppy in our yard. There is no way the dog could have gotten in by himself. Pardon me. Herself . The fence is too high.

My heart sank as soon as I saw her. She is a Doberman pup, about half grown. But her ears and tail had not been cropped Doberman fashion. My wife was taken by her at once. I knew she would never give her up.

Evidently, whoever had dropped her on us remembered we had acquired our present dog, Susie, in that way, about 10 years ago. We have had Susie ever since, paying her vet's bills and dealing with her numerous escapes. Our pool man recently enlarged a gate over which, he discovered, she was getting out.

I was introduced to the new dog in the worst way. She started barking one morning after my wife had gone to work. It was a constant, paranoid bark, the kind I can't stand. I wondered what neighbor had visited this curse on us.

That evening, when my wife came home from traffic school, a friend, Bill Mann, was visiting. They went out to check the barking dog. When they came back in, the new dog sprinted past them into the house. "She's darling!" my wife exclaimed.

"God," I sighed, knowing it was trouble. "Someone put her in the yard," I said, hoping to discourage my wife at once.

"We'll never find out who," she said. "Remember Susie."

I knew it wouldn't do any good to put an ad in the paper. Whoever had abandoned her did not want to be found out.

My wife led the dog in through the living room and entered the hallway that leads to my bedroom. The dog immediately broke into a full run, heading for my bed. She ran like a broad jumper, leaving the floor and flying directly onto my stomach, feet first. All I had time to do was fling out an arm and scream.

She immediately began to lick my hand. "You're not thinking of keeping him?" I said.

"Her," she said. "It's a her."

I began my argument. The dog would be a liability. An expense. Her barking would keep us awake.

"She won't bark if she's in the house," she said.

"You're going to keep her in the house?" I said, trying to sound incredulous.

That night the dog didn't bark. She was in the house.

The next morning, after my wife opened the door to my bedroom, the dog made another broad jump to my bed, landing, as before, on my stomach.

"You see," my wife said, "She loves you."

"They always love me," I said. "They know where the bread is buttered."

"Can you think of a name for her?" my wife asked, making it clear that the dog was already a member of the family.

"Mata Hari," I suggested, meaning that the dog would betray us.

After breakfast (the dogs had leftover spare ribs), she put them both in my car (her car is grounded) and drove them down to the vet's for baths. Also, she wondered whether the new dog should be spayed.

Our vet, Dr. Leon Sandin, verified that the new dog was a female, but said it was hard to tell whether she had been spayed. He recommended waiting a while. I doubted that our benefactor would have gone to the expense of having her spayed.

When my wife got home with the dogs she looked as if she had been mauled by muggers. "It was awful getting them both in the car," she conceded.

But she was more determined than ever to bring the new dog into our household. "I've thought of a name for her," she said. "Lili."

I wondered if she had chosen Lili because she knew that I loved the song "Lili Marlene" as sung by Marlene Dietrich in that movie about postwar Germany. Also, the name was German. The Doberman pinscher is a German dog. Her thinking wasn't that logical, though.

She said that Lili stood for "Late in Life Indiscretion."

That was rather touching, but I suspected the letters more probably stood for "Late in Life Inspiration," meaning that I no longer provided that stimulus.

The dog is truly adorable. She has not given up the practice of leaping onto my bed, but I have accepted it as an act of affection. Also, she doesn't bark as long as she is allowed to sleep in the house, on my wife's bed.

All the same, I am thinking of running an ad saying, "Found. Doberman pinscher pup, female. Affectionate, boisterous. Answers to the name of Lili. Reward to anyone willing to support her. Proof of ownership not required."

My wife won't let me run it.

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