Sunday, June 15, 2008

Walking Cosmos

Lest you think that all I ever have from Cosmos is trouble, you should know that he is actually a very sweet dog. A Dalmaian of questionable origin, he was found in the gutter before his eyes were even open and delivered to my doggie rescue friends. There, due to unfortunate timing and a terrific campaign by Dalmatian breeders to keep people from unthinkingly adopting these eccentric dogs around the time of the release of 101 Dalmatians, only to turn them into the pound later, he remained unwanted. For years.

The result was that when he came to me, he was still emotionally a puppy. Over the years, he's grown up and old, but his deep seated desire to please and be accepted has become, if anything, more intense than it was when he first came to me. And that takes us to our daily walks.

We go on short walks. The boys are old and I am not well. (Hence the sporatic blogging as of late.) I usually take them out of the back of my complex, walk up the alley to Reseda, make a left passing by two apartment buildings, and then make another left into the alley down there, and go around until we get back to our own complex. Because there are a lot of apartmetns and condos in my neighborhood, there are a lot of people on the street. Mostly coming and going from cars, but passing by.

Cosmos looks at these people as an opportunity. He lowers his head down between his shoulder blades in a subservient manner. He gives them his best smile and tail wag. And he looks at them beseechingly. "Will you please pet me?" he begs.

Last night as we went by the first apartment building, a very old lady of obviously European origin emerged onto the street. Aha! A target for Cosmos. Even though we were already by the front door of that particular building, he turned around and assumed the pose. She walked right by without noticing us and moved on to the street. Stood on the curb for a few seconds, and then turned around.

Cosmos saw this as his chance. He took a couple of steps forward, still begging to be noticed. She turned towards us. I thought he might have a chance. But then she saw my boy, started and backed off quickly. Cosmos did not approve.

When people refuse to pet him, he gets quite angry. Goes into a peal of barks and growls. Raises his hackes. His tail goes straight up into the air. And in the case of the old lady last night, he lunged forward to bite her. Of course, he's totally inept and fell down before taking more than two steps, but the thought process was there.

I comforted my boy. Told him that she was wearing black and probably did not want his white dog hair all over her clean outfit. Told him that we would find somebody to pet him on one or another of our walks, and that I loved him still. And then we moved on.

It didn't take us long to find our next opportunity. As we were walking up the alley, a woman was going into an apartment building, but within seconds, re-emerged carrying some kind of stroller. She saw us and Cosmos didn't even have time to assume the position. She walked right up and pet him! And Sunny too! It turns out, I learned in conversation, that she was having knee surgery on Monday and had taken her own pair of dogs to her own mother's home earlier that day. She was in doggie withdrawl and happy to see us. Cosmos ate the attention up.

While she was still fussing over my boys, another younger woman walked up to her. Clearly friends, the second woman had forgotten her key and asked the first to let her into their building. My boy's friend was just about done petting the dogs, but Cosmos saw a new victim. Assumed the position. Gave her such a nice tail wag. And I helped him along by saying to him "Cosmos, I don't know if this new lady wants to pet you or not!"

The new lady took the hint and gave him a couple of pats. Good enough to satisfy Cosmos.

We continued down and around the alley and back into our complex. We came across a homeless man scrounging through the trash looking for bottles and cans. I don't mind him; I see him all the time and he works so hard. And he helps recycle materials that would have ended up in the dump because our complexes are too lazy to have their residents sort. He pets my dogs all the time and this was not an exception. Cosmos was in heaven.

We finally came back into our own building and were heading down the courtyard, and from the other direction was a man walking quickly. Cosmos couldn't resist. He lowered his head, got a beautiful toothy smile on his face, and wagged his tail. But alas, this last attempt was for naught. When the man got closer, he was carrying a large water bottle - as in 5 gallon size - in each hand. Nothing left to pet my boy.

Well, even Cozie could see the futility in pursuing this avenue of petting. Did not get mad but instead asked to go on home.

We came inside and I gave the boys biscuits. And told Cosmos what a lucky boy he was. Three out of five attempts to be pet were successful. That's better than half!


Anonymous said...

Awwww Cozie, I'll pet ya and Sunny too!

hot tamale said...

ohhhhhhhhh Cosmos
wish I were closer to give you a pet and a kiss and a hug and perhaps a good brushing (if you like those) too
Dont worry Laura, I'll have plenty left over for you too!! ;)


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