In my current nomadic phase, as in my previously still life, Ace — my “Big Ass Dog” — draws a variety of responses from humans. There are those who experience love at first sight, those who cross to the other side of the street to avoid him, and, most of all, those who want to solve the ongoing mystery … What Kind of Dog is That?
It’s a question we answered years ago, and have been answering daily since.
Putting the curiosity factor aside, Ace provokes some pretty visceral reactions — my past two motel stops being a good example of that.
At the Motel 6 in Biloxi, the staff couldn’t get enough of him. Everytime we passed through the office, Ace stood and put his front paws on the counter, got petted and praised and generally adored. They bestowed him with a nickname, the notorious B.A.D. (for Big Ass Dog) and begged us to come back and visit again.
At a Motel 6 on the outskirts of New Orleans — from which we departed yesterday — the staff, while friendly and accepting, didn’t want him anywhere near them.
“That things a horse,” a desk clerk said, asking me to hang around while she called a fellow employee to come see him. “She’s a real dog lover,” she said.
When that employee came around the corner, she shrieked and then ran behind the counter. As it turned out, she was afraid of dogs, and we’d been roped into a practical joke.
Sometimes I wonder what Ace makes of it all — if he wonders why some humans have an irrepressible desire to meet and pet him while others can’t get away fast enough? He can sense, I think, which are which. Rarely will he approach a human who isn’t urging him to, unless that human has, say, an open bag of Fritos. Those he bonds with, meanwhile, will get leaned on and, likely, have their foot sat on, as if to say, “I like you. Stay a while.”
Ace seems to be getting used to motel rooms. He stayed at the Motel 6 while I went to St. Bernard Parish for interviews, then took advantage of time without dog to stop for something other than fast food — a Chinese buffet around the corner from the motel. I’d avoided it the first day because its name was R P Buffet, and I thought maybe an “I” between the “R” and “P” had fallen out during a hurricane, and who wants to eat at the RIP Buffet?
It had a dazzling array of food, though, and I loaded my plate repeatedly before leaving with my fortune cookie. I decided Ace, being room-bound, deserved both the cookie and the fortune.
As it turned out, it was a fitting one.
(To go back to Day One of “Dog’s Country” and read all the entries, click here.)