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January 8, 2006

Buzzards and Little Dogs

Tom McLaughlin

Humor by Tom McLaughlin

She is a real babe magnet. The puppy I purchased a few months ago attracts women of all ages. They come out of the houses just to look, hold and cuddle her. She obliges by fiercely wagging her tail and joyfully licking faces.

She is all but five pounds and now six months old but definitely a woman's dog. I feel self conscious as most of the "guys" walk labs, retrievers and various combinations of the two, Akitas, Shepherds and other Alpha hounds. These large tongue lolling and smelly dogs are cute as puppies but then as they mature are avoided by everyone except the owners.

There is nothing worse than 60 pounds of wet, odiferous, hind-waving animal running towards you in unmitigated joy as the owner yells for the dog to come. But it takes about five minutes for the command to enter the ear, penetrate the six-inch skull, worm its way through the dense brain and then with "Who me?" realization stop and turn around.

Meanwhile, you are on the ground getting licked in the face by a huge tongue backed by dead-fish breath. I, on the other hand, have a dog that will attract the ladies for life. When I figure out how to use the new digital camera my girlfriend got for Christmas, I will post a picture.

I walk My Ya every morning to the bay in the Ocean Pines community here on the Eastern Shore. I am staying here, temporarily I think, to care for my aged father. Some of you may have read my columns entitled "Mom's Gone."

Escorting the dog to perform her morning toilet usually takes us to "The Pines" swim club that provides a panoramic view of the Bay and the island in the distance. In local jargon - and if you are an "in" person - Ocean Pines is known as "the pines" and Ocean City is called "the island" in that "I am going to the island for a swim."

Each morning atop the Bathhouse are usually 12-13 turkey vultures - possibly the winner of every bird-ugly contest in America. They catch the rising sun and spread their wings to get warm enhancing their eerie presence. It's like walking into a "B" grade horror flick. I keep looking for a body.

Being inquisitive, nosey some would call it, I walked My Ya to a house where the vultures gather, about five or six at a time, on the roof and turrets.

Holding the dog, I rang the doorbell. Someone answered the door and looked at me cautiously, but when they saw My Ya they flung it open and immediately invited me in. I let her loose in the living room where the girls, including the wife, took turns holding and cuddling her. The husband eyed me and wondered why some guy came to his house and let a dog loose in his house. I mentioned the word vultures and the tirade began:

"I spent a million dollars for this house and all I see are those damn vultures. Look at that view! (A vista of the back bay, wetlands and wildfowl off in the distance that any hotel would double the room price but vultures roosting everywhere in the foreground.)

"Then they walk around the roof and it sounds like people walking up there. Then they poop (he used a different word) and it streaks. Then they vomit up what's left of the road kill they ate and it smells especially in the summer sun.

"I have tried everything. The Animal Control Officer has shot off noisemakers but they come back. I have used the hose on them but they enjoy it. My neighbor gave me some firecrackers and I threw them at them but they took no notice. The problem is they are protected by every law on the books."

"Didn't you see them when you bought the house," I inquired.

"Yes, but the real estate agent said." his voice trailed off, as both of us knew. Oh, we both knew. I pried My Ya out of the arms of the wife where she had fallen asleep, bid him luck and escorted my babe magnet home.

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