MARTY RUSSELL: If her head does a 360, I’m outta here

By Marty Russell

It was once of those I-hate-to-tell-you-this-but … moments, as in, “I hate to tell you this but that’s cubic ziconia,” or, “I hate to tell you this but voting Republican ain’t gonna make you rich.”
My wife is a sucker for anyone with a hard-luck dog story, as in, “I found this cute puppy and I can’t keep it do you know …” and before they can even finish the sentence she’s offered to take it off their hands. Bless her big ol’ heart she just can’t resist. So when a co-worker announced that she had found this puppy hanging out at her house that she couldn’t keep and she was just going to have to take it to the pound, my wife volunteered, despite the fact that we already have two dogs and two cats.
I got the usual, “Oh, we’ll just keep it until we can find it a home,” knowing full well that it had already found one.
The hand-off between the co-worker and my wife happened outside in the driveway while I was in the house and my wife deposited the pup in the fenced-in portion of the yard and came inside without it.
“Well, what kind is it?” I asked, hoping maybe it was something small enough to feed without finding another job.
“She said she thinks it’s a black-and-tan coonhound,” my wife said of her co-worker’s assessment of the breed.
OK, I thought. At least it won’t clash with the red-tick coonhound we already have, Lula Mae, or the border collie/manatee mix of our other dog Sonny (think manatee with legs instead of flippers and a border collie’s head).
Finally I got to meet the new addition to the family.
“It’s a little girl,” my wife cooed as she brought the puppy into the house.
“At least you got that part right,” I told her, and then I had to say it. “I hate to tell you this but that’s a Doberman.”
Sure enough, I was staring at a young Doberman pinscher. At first all I could think about was that movie, “They Only Kill Their Masters.” Then other portrayals of the breed started to flood back like “The Doberman Gang,” where a pack of Dobermans wearing spiked collars are trained to rob a bank or, “Dracula’s Dog,” featuring a supernatural Doberman from hell, and on and on and on.
Sensing my discomfort, probably because I was slowly backing away while looking for something to defend myself with, my wife tried to ease my fears.
“They’re only mean if they’re trained that way and we’re not going to have her ears and tail clipped,” she said.
Maybe she’s right. If we raise her right and forgo the van Gogh treatment and keep her away from the TV when “Dracula’s Dog” is on, maybe she’ll be OK. But no spiked collars either.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

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