Friday, July 13, 2007

Granny meets Snoot

My mom and brother came down this morning so that I could take my brother to a VA appointment in Tuscaloosa. Mom doesn't like to drive on anything but two lane roads and would gladly stick to dirt roads if she could figure out a way to get from point A to point B in her daily traveling requirements. Since my older sister is the same way and my other older brother is in prison, it generally falls to me to do the driving in 'big cities' when someone in my family has business in one. I don't mind if I have the time to do it.

It was the first time either of them had been down since I got Saul back before Christmas last year. They have heard me talk about him a great deal though and I was anxiously anticipating the introduction.

Now, my mom is a tiny woman. I know that may be difficult for you to believe, considering my massive girth, but my mama don't weight 110 pounds soaking wet. Unfortunately, she failed to pass that gene on to any of her children. We all came out built like a dumptruck, which is the shape and mentality of my biological father. Mom is also a scaredy cat, who did pass on her fear of large unknown dogs and water to me.

When they beeped the horn this morning to let me know they were here I put Snoot in his kennel. I have only had a few other strange people in the house since he came to live with us and the last introduction did not go all that well. Snoot is incredibly protective of me and strangers drive him nuts. He is very standoffish and jumpy. I have to put a drop cloth over his kennel, like he is a bird, and even then he sits in his cage and woofs quietly and growls low. The last time it took him half an hour to quit pretending he was going to eat my guests up, and even then he would not go near her and wanted to gnosh down on her adult son who was with her. Snoot likes the ladies but says to hell with the men. He eventually came around to my friend Penny and after a couple of hours he allowed her to pet him and come in and out of the house without threatening to gobble her up.

So, this morning I was determined to introduce the dog I talk about so much to my family. Mom was sitting on the couch looking like a bunny ready to bolt. Snoot was growling and barking and snarling and just putting on a big show. He is such an attention whore. I gave him the drop cloth treatment until everyone got in and settled down.

I told my mom I wanted her and John to meet the newest member of the Nall family and she got pale and said, "Oh Lord Loretta I don't know...what if he bites me?"
I said, "Mom I would never let my dog bite you, he has never bitten anyone on purpose and he even loves to lick the little kitties out back when he is out on his walks. He only looks and sounds mean...unless you actually try to hurt me or one of the kids and then he would eat you alive." Mom said, "No, I don't want you to let him out I'm scared of big ol mean dogs like that. Law me, just look at them teeth on that dog!"

I want to say here that I love the old timey saying my mom has used all her life like , "Law me", "Heavens to Betsy", "I'll swunney" (which I take to mean I'll be damned") and "Good Gravy". Mom also say "rurnt" for ruined and many other very colorful, almost forgotten Southern expressions that, in my book, are absolutely pricless and need desperately to be preserved. They are part of our heritage.

It was the kids that convinced her to finally allow me to open the kennel door. I sat down beside her and Snoot walked out calmly, came right over to mom, sniffed her hand and gave her the most gentle lick you ever saw.

She fell in love with him instantly. In a matter of minutes she was feeding him cheese. She was scared to do that at first. She broke off a small piece and held it out, but as soon as she saw that huge mouth full of razor sharp teeth coming at her she jerked her hand back. I told her to just hold steady and she would never even feel his teeth when he took the cheese. She followed my instructions and Snoot very obligingly took the cheese from her fingers with a simple tounge swipe. My Mom said, "Why, Loretta, he's as gentle as a lamb!" She immediately said she how much she wanted one. "Oh he's so purty Loretta. Me and John need us one of these."

I promised her the pick of the litter when I breed him in a few years. I would dearly love for my mother to have such a loyal and devoted companion as a German Shepherd. I would feel safer knowing one was residing in her house. I can just see her tiny self with a huge, spoiled, dog willing to eat up anyone who threatened her, attached to a leash in her hand. I can also see how having one would benefit my ailing brother by getting him out of the house every day for brief periods, providing loyal companionship, loads of wholesome entertainment and just plain company. That, in fact, is exactly what they need. I know my mom would never be able to shoot a gun at another person should that situation ever arise...but, with a dog like mine she would never have to make that decision in that situation.

Snoot was also very gentle with my brother John, who is in extremely poor health. He even allowed John to pet him and love on him some, which is unheard of for him and strange males. He sensed that John was very sick and was completely submissive around him.

I was shocked! Really shocked.

I wanted to see how far I could take this new side of my dog so I told Snoot, "Give Granny a kiss." And he promptly proceeded to lick her glasses clean off her face, which elicited school-girl giggles from my mom. "Oh Loretta, I love him!"

That, my friends, is something I never thought I would see or hear from my mama.

German Shepherds RULE!!! And so does my mama!


Anonymous said...


We recently became MySpace friends, I requested the add because (as I recall) I read about you at Marc Emery's site. I then watched a video interview with you and I was impressed by your honesty and perseverance. Looking at this blog-post it strikes me that you are also one heck of a good writer.

German Shepards Rule!


David (Andrew)

johanna said...

great post! i love my momma too, and my granny says "i'll swanny" all the time, too.

have you read "all over but the shoutin'" by Rick Bragg? (from Anniston)

now man LOVES HIS MAMA! :)