When I was almost thirteen, I hung out at my neighbor Bonnie’s house, just one block away from mine, but it was different world. Both her parents worked full time, so we teens could hang there with no parental supervision.
We were supervised, though, by the family’s Great Danes. I remember three dogs, but there may have been more. The dogs were for breeding so Bonnie’s parents could sell the pups and make side-hustle money. The Great Danes were enormous.
They were untrained.
They were scary.
Whenever I would come to the house and ring the doorbell, one of Bonnie’s sisters would let me in and then disappear. At least one of the dogs would greet me by putting its paws on my shoulders, and I was on my way to being 5 feet, 10 inches tall. Here I was, eye to eye with a dog that could rip my head off with no one else around. None of them ever did. Just sayin’. They could have.
After I got inside the house and escaped to the basement where, for some reason, the dogs never went, I was free to sit around with the other girls and gossip about boys, talk about teachers, and watch Bonnie demonstrate, with a Barbie and a Ken doll, how babies were made.
Even though neither Ken nor Barbie was not anatomically correct, I knew enough as Bonnie smacked their naked plastic bodies together. It was the best birds and bees demo of my childhood.
But I digress.
When it was time to leave, I would have to run the gauntlet again and walk past the dogs. It was easier to leave than it was to arrive, since the dogs didn’t care much when someone went out the door, unlike someone coming inside.
I was reminded of the Great Danes the other day when my youngest came home for a visit and my lab mix dog named Pepper proceeded to put her paws on my daughter. Yes, the dog was just happy to see her (it had been months), but still, no one wants a dog jumping up on them.
Unless you’re a guy.
Guys don’t seem to mind. But a daughter in short shorts minds.
Older ladies who walk with canes mind.
Older ladies who only have cats mind.
My mother minds.
So guys, even though you like that big dog jumping up on you, it’s not a good idea to teach a puppy that it’s okay, like what happened to my dog, Pepper. She had two men in her puppy life. Both of them allowed her to do that — Adam and Sean, two big guys built like Mack trucks. One was a handyman of sorts. The other was a dog sitter of sorts.
Pepper reverts to her bad behavior from time to time. She doesn’t jump on me, because she knows I don’t like it. Now if I could just get her to stop doing it to females with bare skin showing . . .
At least she’s not tall enough to put her paws on anyone’s shoulders.