Animals Just Love Me to Death
I love animals. And as a result, I suppose, as with humans, few animals are indifferent to me. Most think I’m swell. But some, like humans, want to kill me. The latter are the source of several notable scars, including my second (#1 was the infamous exploding milk bottle).
My buddy Stevie possessed three things of which I was deeply jealous: red hair, freckles, and Rin Tin Tin. OK, so it wasn’t the actual hero dog of TV fame, just a garden variety German Shepherd. But he was a dead ringer for the real “Rinty.”
So one day we decided to act out an improvised Rin Tin Tin adventure in Stevie’s backyard. Stevie’s dad was a Scout leader, so there was a stack of unused Cub Scout caps just itching to be played with. But how? Aha! I would sit on the back porch holding them hostage while Stevie held the noble Rinty back. Then Stevie would yell, “Go get ‘em, boy!” and Rinty would run up to me, “rescuing” the caps from my grasp one at a time, and take them back to Rusty at Fort Apache. Stevie’s red hair made him Rusty, so I was the default bad guy. Which I didn’t mind because having Rinty rip cap after cap out of my hand until there were none left was a hoot!
“Until there were none left.” That was where things went awry. Rinty was apparently a fan of his namesake series, so he knew that once you’d rescued the captives, you had to deal with the villain. That would be me. So, after slobbering the last hostage into Stevie’s hands, Rinty turned and ran at me full speed, claws and teeth ablaze, in full Saturday morning adventure mode!
I woke up in an emergency room several hours later with, surprisingly, only 11 stitches in my face (now just a couple of pale lines at the end of my nose.) I had conflicted feelings about Rinty after that. On the one hand, I was convinced it wasn’t his fault, on the other, I was afraid to ever go near him again. Sadly, my friendship with Stevie began to fade around the same time.
On the plus side, I learned several things about working with canine thespians:
- Dogs are method actors
- They don’t get subtext
- Look for scripts with killer hamsters