The Nearly Perfect Doberman went to his first socialization class, his veterinarian having rather pointedly urging him on after seeing some signs of antisocial behavior. Even though he’d already been through canine military school, nearly every dog groomer in town had politely asked us never to darken their doors again.
Canine socialization was more than just a little intimidating for the young boy-dog. A Pug who resembled the group’s leader was in charge. The Golden Retrievers kept getting in his face like ebullient Texas cheerleaders, the older Labs were aggressive toward him, and he just couldn’t stand the Salsa the Border Collie. He took a likening to a pleasant and handsome young red male Doberman.
The first point of instruction was that we were to give our dogs commands in English. This is Mexico, and we’re supposed to speak English to our dogs? German would be all right, too, the trainer explained. And all along I’d been teaching Spanish to the pup, trying to make him fit in and understand others.
The red Doberman’s owner, a boy of about twelve years, asked if the Nearly Perfect Doberman was hembra or macho. Only months before, three veterinarians had turned down my request to neuter the Doberboy, acting if I’d suggested some kind of crime against humanity, destroying the bloodline and forever robbing the Nearly Perfect Doberman of his essential dogliness. Finally, the vet who’d studied at Cornell agreed.
My boy’s exterior plumbing clearly revealed his gender. “Well duh. He’s macho,” I responded. With no small amount of disdain.
“Was he in an accident?” the boy asked, pointing to the spot where the family jewels once hung.
“Of course, not.” I really didn’t want to pursue the topic further.
“So, what’s his name?”
“My dog’s named Hitler.”
I blanched. Hitler? For a nice mascota?
“A strong dog needs a strong name that people will fear,” he explained, adding with no small amount of disdain and some measure of authority that Hitler was actually a relatively common name for Dobermans. And that there was even a Rottweiler in town named Osama Bin Laden.
I could only imagine inviting little Hitler onto a soft dog bed, buying dog treats for sweet little Hitler, worrying about little Hitler as he aged into a feeble, old little Hitler. The beloved little Hitler, family pet. But maybe if you say Hitler enough, it loses its impact. “Sit, Hitler.” “Down, Hitler.” “Come, Hitler.” Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Hitler. Mein Schicklgruber.
Goodman met up with a new canine pal – an enormous English Bulldog named Mohammed.
At the next week’s class, the mother of the fresa came over and told me that she’d explained to her son the quaint habits of Norteamericanos who routinely neuter their canines. I’m not taking any chances. Next time, I’ll get Neuticles for my pack partner.