The  Beat: True Stories From the Streets

Page 15 Story and Poems by Harry Martin Polis
                Artwork by Jaynee Levy-Polis
 
 
The Dog
 

 Jayne used to have a dog many years ago.  Her name was Rochael, or Rookie, depending on how we felt that day.  We had to give her away because she would jump all over everybody when they came in and tear things apart when we were away.  Although Jaynee didnít care, frankly I couldnít deal with a very frisky dog.  Lately, Jaynee has wanted to have another dog.  She swims with a woman who trains animals.  The trainer has been working with a family who decided to give away their Golden Retriever.  The husband had died and the dog is big and heavy.  The mom couldnít control the dog.  Jaynee went to see the dog and spoke with the eight-year-old son.  The little boy presented the dog as totally wild and the dog did snitch all the boyís leftover breakfast.  However, the dog also leaned against Jayneeís leg and let her brush him for as long as she felt like it.  The son gave his consent to giving the dog away with the momís promising to buy him a smaller dog.  When he was supposed to come see our house, he and our son Brian got sick.  Everything had to be postponed a week. That means I get a weekís reprieve.




 Last week, the lady brought the dog to meet me.  He was a beautiful Golden Retriever who was actually auburn.  Sammy, the dog, was really a pretty dog, and well fed.  The dog seems nice but he needs training.  The dog trainer has promised to help us train him in return for a portrait of her dog.  Sammy seemed to take to meóthe dog-lover that I am.  I need a dog that has a good disposition and who will not bother me in my daily pursuits.  Although the dog is nice, he is not like Honeyís dog Tree.  I am used to Tree.  Sammy is a quieter breed.  I guess the jury is still out on Sammy.  Can he be alone without tearing things apart?  Will he let us leave the house and let others in?  Will he be okay with the mailman?  Will he learn not to run like a maniac when he spies another dog?  We need to see and understand his nature and abilities.  Adopting a dog is too much like adopting another member of the family.  This weekend we were supposed to have him visit so we could judge his behavior in a longer space of time.  We will have to wait for another weekend, especially since the eight-year-old is now screaming and doesnít want to let go of his dog.  Jaynee had to promise that she would take the dog, but now he may not come for weeks, or months, or never.  Time will tell, and then Iíll tell you.  Wish me luck and patience. 
Copyright 2000 by Harry Martin Polis 
Harry is available for lectures and entertainment with stories and poetry.  Contact SCOOP USA, or e-mail Harry.
 
 

Sammy Zorro Speaks
Hi, Iím the original Sammy.  Do you know what Mommy did?  Six months ago, some woman walked in here with this big red monster on a leash.  A week after that, the red thing came here for good.  It turns out his name is Sammy too.  How dare he?! 
 The thing is called a dog.  I heard Mom say heís a red Golden Retriever.  She thinks heís gorgeous.  People come to the house to see me because I really am beautiful, and the monster chases me down the basement.  Doesnít he know all company comes in to pat me?  After all, Iím a seal-point Siamese cat.  I have the beautiful blue eyes and that blue-gray coloring.  It soothes people to pat me.  I give them meditative relaxation.  Itís my calling. 
 The big red thing eats anything.  He drinks my water.  He sits by Mom and Dad when they eat and they throw him Brussels Sprouts and he grabs everything they throw and doesnít let me come and smell it first.  I could at least get a little lick.  When Brian and Jeanette order pizza, no matter what time of the night it is, the red thing stations himself in front of them.  Jeanette loves me and the red one deprives her of her pleasure with me.  Heís such a pig and nobody notices. 
 Why donít they put him outside and leave him there?  He belongs with the squirrels and other wild animals.  Previously, they locked him up when they went out because he chewed up things.  Lately, they let him roam the house.  He doesnít chew up much anymore, but he hates me.  He acts as though he would bite me, or eat me when I come out to help the family.  I know Mom canít be sleeping well without me on her shoulder.  Dad must be frustrated too because he must have been used to my tail being up his nose while he slept.  I know they must be crying because they miss me.  I bet Mom and Dad have some reason for keeping the big red machine.  Iíll wait a little longer, and pray that maybe heíll vanish just like he came. 
 Signed, 
Sammy Zorro, 11-year-old Siamese owner of Jaynee and Harry

BIG SAMMY
This week, Jaynee writes about our Golden Retriever.
 Six months ago, we adopted Big Sammy, our auburn Golden Retriever.  We are his third owners and he spent time in a veterinarianís dark basement cages.  He stuck to Harry or me like glue, was afraid of teenage boys, motorcycles, buses, trucks, and anyone leaving.  Left alone, regardless of how many toys, or bones left out for him, he freaked out.  He chewed on rugs, broke the screen door, ate the seat belt and harness in the car, and shredded clothes.  He permanently scarred his beautiful snout by scraping it on the crate trying to open the door.  His behavior is known as Separation Anxiety.  When I took him for walks, he pulled me down the steps and across the street.  If he saw another dog, he jumped around and barked trying to get to the other canine. He weighed 90 pounds with lots of muscle so Harry and I were pulling muscles at the rate of once a week. 
 Lane Finkel is a dog trainer with a big heart.  She was training Big Sammy at his previous house and the woman just couldnít keep him.  She was not able to be forceful enough, and perhaps did not have the energy.  Although Lane was afraid of Sammy because at that house, he was very angry and growled a lot, Lane believed under that aggression, there was a sweet Golden Retriever.  She asked us if we would take him, and although Harry did not want a dog, something made us adopt him.  I had an intuitive feeling he was meant for us. 
 Harry and I worked with Sammy every day, ďhealing/heelingĒ and loving him.  He acted out and destroyed our New Orleans tote bag, my shirt, and some expensive stuff.  It is now six months later, and Big Sammy is a different dog.  From the minute we got him, he was happy to be here.  Somehow he knew we would be strict, but he would always get what he needed and lots of love.  He stopped being angry immediately; never bit anyone, just giving kisses. 
 Now, Big Sammy is our baby doggie.  Heís three years old, doesnít pull on the leash, is comfortable with motorcycles and teenage boys, and can be left home alone.  We are still working on this.  He still gets nervous, wondering if we will come back.  He loves to ride, but we are still afraid to leave him in the car alone.  It turned out that Golden Retrievers are funny.  They do cute half-jumps when they get excited.  They eat everything.  Heís down to about 83 pounds, but thatís a struggle.  He begs for Brussels sprouts and eats them on the fly.   He cries for anything we eat, including salad.  Bleu Cheese dressing makes his day.  He lays on us and tries to sit on our laps.  Best of all, he smiles and grins.  When he grins, he bares his teeth with the little bottom teeth showing.  It isnít like any other expression and you know heís grinning when you see it. 
 I believe we were meant to have Sammy.  I promised our daughter Honey no matter what happened, we wouldnít give Big Sammy away.  This vow was important when times were rough.  Now, weíre glad we persevered.   He is a joy.
Copyright 2000 by Harry Martin Polis
Harry is available for lectures and entertainment with stories and poetry.  Contact SCOOP USA, or e-mail Harry.
Little Sammy Speaks Again
 Hi, Iím Little Sammy.  Iím a truly gorgeous Siamese cat.  Iíve talked with you before.  Jaynee and Harry belong to me.  Their children, and especially Brianís girlfriend, also belong to me, but theyíre young.  I try to let them feel free.  Itís healthy for them.  Iím back sleeping with Harry and Jaynee, so they are sleeping better.  Harry needed me so badly; he made the giant red thing leave me alone.  The big red machine gave me a kiss the other day, so maybe eventually; he will fall in love with me too.  I understand now also why Harry needs the thing called ďDogĒ.  Harry loves to cook.  Since he retired, his collection of cookbooks swelled, he bought new pots, and he is always looking for spots to hide cans, meat, and boxes.  He stays near the gas range for hours stirring and chopping.  I watch over him, letting him see me while heís cooking, thereby lowering his blood pressure.  Brianís girlfriend also likes to stir things over the gas range and put pans in the oven.  Itís fun to watch the dog get excited about each pot and dish.  (He always thinks theyíre cooking for him!)  Iím happy watching them sit around the dining room table, eating and drinking.  They talk and smile.  What they eat is disgusting, but I donít tell them.  And now we come to the reason for the dog.  They need him to finish all the food they canít eat.  The dog loves all that gross stuff they eat.  He eats every bit and cries for more.  If they give him all their leftovers, they can cook more the next day.  There isnít enough room to keep it.  So now I understand the reason for a big red animal.  He has to be big to eat all that meat, spaghetti, salad, and casseroles.  As wonderful as I am, I canít eat people-food for them. Consequently, I have decided to tolerate the big red thing.  He can stay as long as he performs his duties. 
 I have a message from the big red one.  He would like to recommend trees and grass to everyone.  Fire hydrants are nice too, but trees are really lovely, he says.  He canít understand why you all need walls and ceilings, but your food is so good, heís willing to compromise.  Meantime, I give you my blessing for a warm Thanksgiving.  Letís be grateful for what we have and learn the lessons God is trying to teach us.

 

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