Those of you who have had the good fortune to meet my dog A. will undoubtedly testify that she is the friendliest creature on the planet. Anytime she comes within yards of a human being, she goes nearly mad with joy, leaping about, tail wagging, hoping against hope to be petted or talked to or played with, and, even if that hope is left unfulfilled, generally so glad to be alive she can melt even the coldest of hearts. Furthermore, she is utterly indiscriminate in the bestowal of her affection; I suspect that even a reprobate on the order of Injustice Antonin Scalia would receive the same treatment as wonderful people like you and me.
The other night, A. and I were at E.S.’s place. I was surfing the web, E.S. was studying in the next room for some sort of test the hospital was giving him the next day, and A. was lounging on the couch with him, when there came a knock on the door. Now, E.S.’s building is very small; the only other people who live there are the owners, E.S.’s sister, and his ex-boyfriend E.W., who hates my guts. Neither E.S.’s sister nor the owners ever stop by, so this had to be E.W. In the past, when E.W. has knocked on the door, I have tended to hide either behind the refrigerator or in the bathroom. But this time, E.S. was in the other room and didn’t hear the knock, and so, despite E.W.’s terrible, terrible temper, I thought, “Oh, fuck it. I’m sick of hiding from this man either behind the refrigerator or in the bathroom and I’m sick of his refusing to speak to me or even look at me when I do have the misfortune to encounter him. I’m going to answer the door and he can just fucking deal with it.”
So I did. And we had a remarkably civil and pleasant conversation in the brief time it took E.S. to make his way to the door from the other room, followed by A. E.W. looked at her, bent down and beckoned, and said in a dog-friendly voice, “This must be A.!”
And she didn’t move a muscle.
My dog, who would dance happily around Tom’s de Torquemada if he happened to walk through the door, stood stock still.
He tried again. “Come on, A.! That’s a good girl! Come on, A.!”
At which point she went and hid under the table.
“Sometimes she gets shy around strangers,” I lied gleefully.
The three of us finished our conversation and E.W. left. A. emerged from under the table to fulsome praise from Yours Truly.
It’s one thing to have a cute and cuddly and furry and friendly animal that gets so excited every time you come home, you feel for a brief moment that you’re not totally alone in the world.
But an animal that hates your enemies is a gift with a price above rubies.