This week I got a tip from a pal, Taco El Chihuahua, who told me about a pooch he thought would make a great interview. And, Dog, was he right. Norman Gould is just like Taco described: handsome, neat as a pin, and friendly. On top of that, Taco said, he’s “one of those rescue types and just a plain ol’ hound dog.”
I couldn’t wait to meet Norman, and I’m callin’ this column “The Book of Norman.” (For all you Broadway-lovin’ poocheroos.)
Norman’s Dad is a doctor, and Norman works in his office. His job is to hang around looking adorable and greeting patients. So there he was, trotting up for the Wag-and-Sniff soon as me and my Assistant walked in. He looked very Beagle-y but taller, reddish-brown and white coat, and the coolest leather collar I ever saw.
“Good mornin,’ Bonz. I’m Norman Gould. This is my Mom, Nancy, and my Bestie, Edi Mae. I have two other pooch sisters at home, Sylvia and Elaine.”
Well, up comes this BIG bee-ootiful, curly-haired black Newfoundland, wearing a collar of daisies and a nice smile. “Absolutely delighted,” she said, as we all got settled.
“As am I,” I told her, with great sincerity. Then, to Norman, “I hear you have quite a story to tell.”
“Not to brag but, Yes. Yes I do. My journey to Vero Beach began on the campus of Duke University in Durham, N.C. Back in ’09. I found myself wandering around. Couldn’t remember who I was or how I got there. (Later I looked in Dad’s medical books and figured I had bonked my head or something and developed retrograde amnesia.)”
I tried to look like I had a clue what he was talking about.
“Anyway, two girl students spotted me. They posted my picture to see if anyone would claim me, but nobody did, so they thought maybe one of their fellow students, Jeffrey, might want me. WELL, Jeffrey was in law school and didn’t know if he could take care of me so he called his Mom in Vero Beach for advice. (She’s a Major Dog Rescue Human.) So she flew up to meet me. Me and Jeffrey and his Mom spent the day getting me Dog Supplies and talkin’ about Jeffrey’s busy schedule. We were driving his Mom back to the airport that evening when Jeffrey realized he couldn’t give me the attention and stuff I needed, with all his law school work. I got scared cuz I thought I’d be All Alone again.
“Well, Bonz, I was, like, the luckiest pooch EVER, cuz Jeffrey’s Mom scooped me right up. The airplane people wouldn’t let me fly back with her, so she rented a car! For ME! Can you beLIEVE it? We drove all the way back to Vero, 11 hours (with potty stops).
“I was nervous, so I occupied myself by shredding my leash. When we got to the Orlando airport to get her car, the leash was only, like, 4 inches long. So there we were, schlepping through the airport, her and her stuff and me on a 4-inch leash.
“Finally, around 4 in the morning, we got to my Forever Home, and Dog! Is it great! And Mom and Dad have made A Few Adjustments for me.”
“Adjustments?” I queried. “Like what?”
“I’m a runner! I ran back and forth in the yard so much it wore the grass off so Mom and Dad yanked it all up and put down papers! And I run figure 8’s through the doggie doors. There wasn’t one on the screen patio so I sorta made my own. So they put in another official one there.”
I was speechless.
“And I love to climb trees!”
“Shut the Doghouse Door!”
“I dunno where I learned it. I’m not great climbing down, tho. I get so far, then I sorta drop. The neighbors kept calling Animal Control to report A Dog in A Tree. So Mom and Dad put up barricades.
“Plus, I can open doors, even ones with doorknobs. So Mom and Dad replaced them with Keyed Entry Devices. I can also open deadbolts, which they didn’t believe ’til they took a video.”
He leaned closer and spoke softly, “I use my paws to open doorknobs, and my mouth and my tongue to open deadbolts. It’s not that hard, ackshully. So they moved the deadbolts too high for me to reach, cuz when I opened the inside garage door, us dogs’d be waiting for Mom and Dad, and we’d surge out when they opened the big garage door.”
“Obviously,” I managed, “your Mom and Dad love you VERY much!”
Just then a human walked in wearing all blue clothes. “This is my Dad, Marc,” Norman said. “Lots of patients walk right past him to say hello to me first. He clears his throat and they say, ‘Oh, Hello, Doc!’ But he doesn’t mind. He gives us special allergy treats and takes us out when we haffta go. He’s Totally Cool Kibbles!”
By the time the interview was over I had enough material for two columns. Heading home, I thought maybe I’d ask my Mom for one of those cool collars for my birthday, or Christmas, or St. Roch’s Day.
Till next time,