Main House by Suzanna Hawkins
One-of-a-Kind Original – Watercolor
A BIT OF CONFUSION
I will add that this is a true story.
There is a category of dog breeds known broadly as “working dogs.” They are those dogs that herd cattle, tend sheep flocks and patrol as guard dogs. The breeds best known to ranchers are the Shepherds and the Heelers. Keep that little tidbit of information in mind as I relate this story.
My daughter had occasion recently to visit Hollywood. She had her five-month old puppy with her. Waiting outside a Bed, Bath and Beyond at the corner of Hollywood and Vine, she decided to stroll up and down the sidewalk to read the names of the stars who have been immortalized in the cement. She had her puppy on a leash.
A woman approached with a little poodle, also on a leash. She was dressed as one would expect one to be dressed, if walking a dog in Hollywood. Big hair, an abundance of makeup, skirt up to north of Broadway and extremely, high-heeled platform shoes. She called out that her dog did not like other dogs and asked that my daughter shorten the leash on the puppy. Since the little dog was wagging his tail frantically and pulling at the leash to sniff at the puppy, it didn’t appear that the woman was entirely correct about the nature of her dog. The two dogs finally touched noses. It was most certainly a friendly encounter.
At this development, the woman inquired as to the breed of the puppy. My daughter answered, “He’s a Heeler.” The woman bent for closer inspection and then inquired, hesitantly, “Did he have to be trained?” “Well, some training is required,” my daughter answered, assuming the woman was referring to the dog’s ability to work cattle, “but it’s ninety percent instinct. They’re born with it.”
The woman studied the puppy for a moment and then asked, “Can I touch him?”
“If he’s behaving and quiet, it’s fine. We’re working on his manners.”
At this, the woman squats down and begins to run her fingers through the soft puppy hair. After a few seconds, she looks up at my daughter and exclaims in a hushed voice, “You don’t have any idea how wonderful this feels. I have been experiencing so much pain from arthritis in my fingers. This is simply heaven.” She closes her eyes and sighing, continues to run her fingers up and down the puppy’s back. The puppy, of course, loved it.
My daughter at this point realizes that the woman has misunderstood about the term “Heeler” and decides to clear the misunderstanding up by adding that the puppy is a Blue Heeler, hoping that this would better explain the breed. Before she could go on the the woman’s eyes fly open, and she staggers to her feet. In an awed voice she exclaims, “You mean he also treats depression?” My daughter at this point decides that if the ‘treatment’ is working for the woman she will leave well enough alone, but she did consider for a moment the possibility of hanging out a shingle there on the park bench at the corner of Hollywood and Vine, in front of the Bed, Bath and Beyond.