Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Buck Stops Here

When I was in Tanzania last year, one of our translators had just visited America for the first time a few weeks earlier. The thing that amazed him most here was the way people treated their dogs.

"In America, people keep the dog in the house. And they name the dog! And they love the dog! They buy it special food, and they stop what they're doing to go home and take care of it." This was stunning to him, and also quite ridiculous.

His voice was ringing in my head on Friday when we adopted a nine-week-old golden retriever puppy after a year of me saying "no way" in the face of the constant begging of my children. For the last three days, the dog has only been slightly more in need of attention than your average newborn infant, while inflicting substantially more damage.

Over the objections of my family, I've named him Buck (after the late Cardinal broadcaster Jack Buck). I figure I'm at least entitled to naming rights since I'll still be feeding this beast and paying vet bills on him long after my children have moved out, gone off to college, and gotten married. It's a darned fine name for a (soon-to-be) 90 lb. male dog, and I don't care who disagrees (which, as it happens, is everyone so far).

On the other hand, we may not have him as long as we think we will, since the local alligators, in addition to eating a sizable portion of the general human populace, are now trying to eat golden retrievers too.

According to the story:
Rubin ran to help his dog and saw her head in the mouth of the alligator. He jumped in the muddy water, which reached his neck, he said, and began beating the beast with his fist.
Somehow he pried the dog out of the jaws of the seven foot alligator, and the dog is fine except for a few scrapes.

There are brave people in this world who will jump on an attacking alligotor to save their beloved dog. And let me say with all the courage I can muster, if the same thing happens to Buck, we ain't gonna be going that route. So I'd stay away from the canals if I were him.

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