This week I yapped with Chadleigh Plott Bullock, one of the shiest pooches I’ve ever met but, at the same time, a great raconteur. As you mighta surmised, Chadleigh, or “Chet” (he said to call him Chet), is a Plott Hound, which I thought was a real coincidence, since I’d met my very first Plott Hound only a coupla weeks ago. Did you catch the Maggie Hamilton column?
So, anyway, Chet sent me an introductory Woof-mail with a buncha Cool Kibbles phodos of him an his cat, BK. Yep, he has a pet cat. I KNOW, Right?
Chet and BK live in a pretty neighborhood, around a liddle lake. When me an my assistant drove up, Chet was in the front yard with his human. The usual Wag-an-Sniff was more of a Gingerly-Approach-and-Size-Up. So I said, in my calm an polite voice, “Good afternoon. You’re Chadleigh, I presume. I’m Bonzo the Columnist and I’m delighted to meet you.”
“Oh, yes, Mr. Bonzo. Do call me Chet. I am a great admirer. I have no wish to be rude. It’s just that I have some lingering ang-ZY-utty issues, stemming from when me an my litter spent our first 4-5 years indoors, mostly in the dark and totally isolated. So I have very few inter-canine skills. But I digress. This is my human, James Bullock. I call him Chuck. My cat BK’s around here somewhere. So, come’on in.”
“Thanks, Chet. An please call me Bonz.”
Chet hopped onto the sofa, an settled in. He was a good-lookin’ pooch. A Buckskin Plott, I learned: short, golden coat; silky hound ears, dark eyes an sniffer, chiseled muzzle.
“I though you Plotts only came in Brindle,” I said. “How’dja find out you’re a Plott anyway?”
“Chuck had my DNA tested. I have absolutely no clue what that means, but it’s nice to know who I am, you know? We come in so many paint jobs they hafta give us numbers. I’m 007-111, Buckskin With White Markings. Sounds like a secret agent, but I’m just a plain ol’ Plott with what looks like a sprinkling of plaster dust an bad, rock band eye make-up.”
I laughed. “I’m ready to hear your story.”
“Like I mentioned, me an my sibs had an extended, over-sheltered puppyhood, until we found the Humane Society. But I was SO timid and shy I got adopted out an returned two times before me an Chuck met. An even THEN, he was re-LUCK-tent. He’d had ONLY German Short-haired Pointer rescues for, like, 300 Dog Years, for Lassie’s Sake, an he’d just lost his most recent Pointer, Daisy, in a tragic accident. PLUS, he’d just had double knee surgery an couldn’t walk me, even if I sat still to get my leash on, which I didn’t. I’d freak out at basically everything. I pretty much had the personality of a turnip. I was a total headcase. I didn’t mean to cause trouble, but everywhere I looked, there was something that scared the Dog Biscuits out of me. ‘A big lump of a dog,’ Chuck called me. But this nice lady at the Humane Society, Heather, who Really Unnerstands Dogs, kept tellin’ Chuck he should adopt me. He didn’t wanna, but Heather knew stuff we didn’t. So finally Chuck said, ‘FINE then.’
“Well, that first month together was pretty doggone weird. If I peeked around the corner and spotted Chuck, I’d flee. He’d set food out for me but I mostly didn’t eat it cuz of bein’ so NERV-us. If I was outside and he came out, I hid in the bushes. Finally, he removed ALL the vegetation, including two 12’ birds of paradise and a 6’ fern, so he could find me.
“One time I ran away for almost four days. Something startled me on a leash-walk with Chuck an I went barkin’ nuts. Chuck had my mugshot on posters all over the place, an on lost dog websites. He even had a search posse an a BOLO put out. But I wouldn’t let anybody near me til I stopped to say hello to a coupla liddle kids. (I love liddle kids.) Then Chuck’s faithful friend Greg swooped in an grabbed me.”
“Woof!” I managed. “How did BK get in the picksure?”
“Oh, Dog, that about did both me an Chuck IN! BK’s original name was Sweetie cuz she’s this petite liddle Ragdoll. Chuck got special permission for Sweetie to live with her nice human lady in a special MEM-ree care facility. But then, the lady couldn’t take care of her any more an, TWO DAYS after I started livin’ with Chuck, we hadda take in Sweetie. WELL, Sweetie took one look at me an The Kibbles Hit the Fan! Bein’ a mysterious feline, she sensed my paranoia an transformed from a docile kitty to a four-pawed attack vehicle. She’d ambush me every chance she got. If it wasn’t for Prozac, I’d never have made it. That’s when we changed her name from Sweetie to BK. The K’s short for ‘Kitty.’”
“Ah, so,” I commented discreetly.
“Anyway, finally I’d had enough, and I said so in my Very Big, Very Loud and (apparently) Very Scary, 3-county Baritone Voice. Didn’t know I had it in me. Well, BK Got With The Program, hasn’t laid a paw on me since. We don’t snuggle or anything, but we hang out, walk around the pond together, then wait patiently for The Doorman to let us in. (That’s what we call Chuck.)
Chet’d been sitting docilely on the sofa. Suddenly there was this knock on the door an BOOM, he sprung off that sofa like it was on fire and let out one of those Baritone Barks. He was All Business, protecting his domain. I was impressed. And a liddle startled. Only when Chuck assured him it was a Good Guy (the electrician) did he stop that very effective rumbly grrrr-ing.
“Woof! THAT was SOMEthing, Chet!” I told him.
“I KNOW!” he grinned. “Ya know, Bonz, even though I still have a ways to go, I wouldn’t trade my life here for anything. Chuck takes The Best care of us, and patiently puts up with my issues. He’s ackshully proud of how far I’ve come. So I’m tryin’ real hard to overcome my fears.”
“I’m sure you’re gonna be successful real soon,” I assured him.
Till next time,