Monday, December 12, 2005

Puppy profiling

I've never been a victim of profiling myself -- unless you count the assumption that anyone under 5 feet tall must be a child, or any parent in a Child Study Team meeting must be in denial or clueless -- and so it's been interesting watching something like it taking place with, of all creatures, our very sweet and gentle dog. Princess has been a part of our family since July, and has put up with enormous amounts of overly enthusiastic behavior from my son without so much as nipping his nose. I've seen her bark a bit at other dogs who didn't show appropriate respect (certainly, at age 9, she's entitled to that), but her approach to humans has always been reserved but friendly. At most, she just wants to sniff you over to add you to the comprehensive Encyclopedia of Smells that appears to be her life's work. But some people look at this harmless old girl and see one thing: German Shepherd. And add to it, Vicious German Shepherd. Bloodthirsty German Shepherd. You can see them go pale, and check for escape routes. Most recently it was a telephone installer who saw her standing at the top of the steps when he came to our door and said, tensely, "Would you please put the dog away," in a tone of voice that conveyed, "Chain up that ruthless animal or you'll get no phone service from me!" She was kind of ticked off not to get a chance to smell him, but ruthless? Would a ruthless dog lick the face of a small boy who grabbed her muzzle and yelled "KISS KISS!" I think not.

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