The Beat: True Stories From the Streets
Page 15 Story and Poems by Harry
Artwork by Jaynee Levy-Polis
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.
Sammy Zorro Speaks
This week, Jaynee writes about our Golden Retriever.
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.
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.