January 16, 2023 Comments Off on Snykes

They say that when you go to the pound looking for a pet, you don’t pick the dog, the dog picks you.

It’s true. Before going I’d looked at available pets online and had made up my mind that I liked “Louie,” a ten-month-old, rangy looking mutt who caught my fancy.

But when I got to the pound I was overwhelmed with sadness. Clean and staffed with kind people, the concrete kennels smelled liked the most poignant disappointment, a smell overlain by some dogs barking, others staring dejectedly through the bars, others still simply curled up, given up. Louie took one look at me, barked viciously, and ran inside.

There was one dog, a solid 50-lb. mutt with a bull head, a lean muscular body, and thick jaws that looked like they could crush concrete. His name was Benito and when I put my hand up against the bars he gently licked my fingers and looked at me.

I went to the desk and asked if I could see him, and they obliged. He was about five, had been hit by a car and was recovering from shoulder surgery; before that he’d been a street dog, and before that, well, no one knew. Benito bounded so high in the “Let’s Get Acquainted” pen that his handler, embarrassed, said “He’s kind of a high energy dog.”

Translation: this dog is fucking hyper, hope you understand that.

Benito bounded and jumped and slobbered and slammed against me so hard that it almost knocked me down.

“What did you think?” the girl at the desk asked. Apparently not many people are interested in older, highly “energetic,” largish dogs with this particular look. The people who work at the SPCA were so kind and warm. They desperately wanted Benito to find a good home, but her tone wasn’t very hopeful.

“I liked him.”

“Do you want to see another dog?”

“I don’t think so. Not right now.” The sadness of it all was too much. So we left.

A bit later, well, I was back. “I want him.”

“Really? I mean, wonderful!” I bet she set a speed record getting those adoption papers ready. “We’re reducing the adoption fee. He’s one of our ‘underdogs.'” Then she caught herself, fearing that she’d said too much.


“The age and the, well, breed, you know, it’s not really popular. They’re hard to find homes for.” She waited for me to change my mind.

“Can I change his name?”

She breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh, sure. He doesn’t really answer to Benito anyway. What are you going to call him?”




“Oh. Why?”

“My grandfather’s favorite dog ever was named Snykes.”

“That’s so cute.”

Harness adjusted and tethered to a bright new red leash, out he bounded, dragging my arm sockets behind him. He’d made his getaway and he was hoping he’d picked the right guy. Me, too.


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