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Cujo the Fluffinator

April 23, 2012

When I was very young my parents would sometimes take us across the river to visit friends who lived on a hill overlooking the same river our house overlooked.  I liked to go because they had children with whom my brother and I could play, but there was one aspect of the trip that I dreaded: their family dog.

It was a Pekingese dog, a walking fuzzball not much bigger than a loaf of bread.  It is the only dog in my life that I recall being afraid of, but that pipsqueak (or maybe pup-squeak?) of a dog terrified me.

I don’t think I ever heard it bark.  It never rushed at me, jumped on me, or growled at me.  No, it had something that was far scarier to my preschooler mind. It had a severe underbite.

I always thought that because I could see the dog’s teeth, it was snarling at me and just waiting for an opportunity to bite me.  I knew that bite would really hurt.  There might even be blood.  This was obviously a vicious animal.

The vicious animal probably always wondered why I wouldn’t pet it.  After all, everyone else thought it was adorable.

The reality was that I was too immature to rightly judge the dog’s actions toward me.  I assumed that its appearance indicated its intent towards me (eating my face).  All the dog had to to was look at me and I felt threatened.

But that dog couldn’t help how it looked.  It was born with a protruding lower jaw.   It wasn’t trying to threaten me.  Like most dogs, it probably just wanted to be scratched behind the ears and hoped I had a treat in my pocket.


I have to wonder how many of life’s threatening situations are the result of an area of immaturity meeting the equivalent of a toy breed lapdog with a severe underbite.



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