Love at First Bite

By Stein, Benjamin J. | The American Spectator, February 2000 | Go to article overview

Love at First Bite


Stein, Benjamin J., The American Spectator


Wednesday

Let me tell you about a truly terrible day. It actually begins about two and la half years ago. I had just finished doing my second season of "Win Ben Stein's Money." Near the beginning of that season, my beloved angel dog, Ginger, a large German shorthaired pointer, had died of old age. We had bid her adieu at a vet in Studio City, cried a lot, and then gone on with our lives, so to speak. My wifie said she was too busy to deal with a new dog, and I was too busy doing my show, so we were a one-dog family for a few months.

The one dog was Susie, a delightful half-Dalmatian, half-whippet with a sweet disposition. We had also gotten a lovely duo of cats, Peabo, a squashed head trauma kitty saved by my wife, and Artemis, a male (even with that name) black cat saved by my pal Gartho.

Meanwhile, I had put out the alert to Martha Wyss of Friends of Animals to keep her eyes open for a German shorthair rescue. Days before the end of the season, she told me she had one. "She's a puppy," said Martha, "and she's extremely lively, but she's also very sweet."

My wife said, "No puppies. Too much trouble."

But I went over to look at the puppy anyway, my heart filled with the kind of trepidation I used to feel upon going on a blind date.

I sat in a ratty arm chair in the beatup waiting room, and out came Martha, preceded by a bounding little gray and white bundle of love. The puppy ran up to me, gave me a love bite on my big nose, and licked me, and jumped in my lap, and then attacked Martha and then came back and climbed all over me.

Love at first bite.

About three days later after my last show, I went with Alex to pick up the dog. We decided to call her Lucy, but for some reason, I began to call her Puppy-Wuppy right away, She was so active and lively that a fantasy name like Puppy-Wuppy just went with her perfectly.

She spent the night in bed with me and me alone. All night long she attacked me with kisses and love bites and every time I fell asleep I would awaken to a sharp puppy-- teeth bite on my nose or my neck or my hands. If I put her under the covers, I got puppy bites on my feet. She kept me up all night with her kisses except every few hours she would simply collapse like a human baby and fall fast asleep-on my chest.

In other words, we were in love.

She and I were inseparable almost from day one. She came with me in my car and slept in the back window ledge while I shopped or ate, In fact, many a time I would come out to the car in terror that she was gone, only to find that she was in a little puppy ball in the back window.

She slept pressed up against me in bed. She jumped up on the table, sometimes with all four feet, while I ate.

She was boundlessly loving, attacking anyone who came into the house with kisses and love bites. She also chased the kitties but never tried to eat them, got into endless growling play fights with Susie, and ran from the back of the back yard to the living room and then back again for hours.

When she went on walks, she pulled mercilessly no matter how many times I tried to make her heel. She had a lot of other sloppy, and sometimes dirty, habits that made me yell at her and even sometimes spank her.

But I never could stay mad at that little furry ball, even when she approached me with distinctly bad cat-food smell on her lips.

The dog was a born performer. When it was bedtime, she would lie on her back and wag her tail to make me pick her up, Rhett and Scarlett style, and carry her off to bed and ravish her. (By the way, what kind of Philistines made the spell check for this Corel? It's not recognizing Rhett or Scarlett as proper names.)

When guests came over, she would jump into their laps and make them play with her.

When I got back into the car after anything, she would reach out her paw and pull my face over to her so she could kiss me with her very long puppy tongue. …

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