So I waltz on over there and knock on the door. A deep bark met my ears, followed by that crying whine dogs make when they really, really want to eat that yummy bone or chew on that pesky toy or chase that strange woman knocking on the door.
And that was how I met Max. He was a big 80-plus-pound German shepherd/Lab mix, about a year old, tall enough to reach my midthigh (and I’m 5-9!), restrained on a leash by a tiny woman holding his chain with both hands while bracing herself in the bathroom doorway.
She seemed nervous about something. Huh.
“You must be Kris,” she said. “I have to introduce you to Max. He bites.”
But Max wasn’t thinking of biting. He was whining, and his tail was wagging so hard that Meg’s legs would be bruised for days.
“Oh,” I cooed; “who’s the big strong puppy? Is oo full of loves for me?”
Max promptly head-butted my knees so hard that he literally knocked me on my tushie and licked the makeup off one side of my face.
“Huh,” said Meg, unbracing and removing Max’s chain. “He’s never done that before. I guess you’re OK.” And she smiled and winked at me, the first smile from two women who, as it turned out, were destined to become lifelong friends.
But Max wasn’t done with me yet. I sat down with 9-year-old Joey at the dining table, and Max channeled his inner lap-dog, promptly flinging the front half of his body right on my lap, knocking me off the chair and on my tushie—again!
“Do you think he likes me?” I asked Joey, who was grinning from ear to ear now as I tried (unsuccessfully) to save the makeup on the other side of my face.
And what does my very precocious student say?
“Naw. He’s just tasting you.”
KR Johnson is an award-winning speaker, longtime educator and advocate for kids and improvisational theater performer. She is the author of The Eleventh Sense, the hilarious journey of Simon, who must find his mother’s killer with the help of the most unusual, and annoying, bunch of friends ever, available on amazon.com.