Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

March 14, 2004


Dog Saliva Evidently No Problem to Most people

            On occasion, I can be a very logical person. A few weeks ago I wrote about the day I decided that I never wanted dog saliva dripping down my neck again. It was a confession I finally had to make. I expected to hear from dozens of people who agreed.

            To my surprise, only one person has dared admit to the same aversion. Now to my logic. I have concluded that most people do not object to an encounter with warm dog saliva. Now I know where all of my readers, save one, stand on the issue.

            This one brave soul shared her sidesplitting confession with me. I have her permission to share it with you. If this does not give you a good laugh, I will buy you a steak. Here is my friend Paula Turnham’s story (she and her husband Joe are dear friends):

            Dear Walter,
            Thank you for your "dog" confession a few weeks ago. It made me feel better about myself. As I told Joe, "If Walter feels the same way, perhaps I am not so bad either." You see, Joe IS a dog lover, preferably
            My dog aversion goes back to childhood. My family had five children, which meant on a road trip, four kids sat in back with the baby up front. By right of birth order, (I was #2), my seat was by the window behind the driver (always my father). In the summertime, our weekends were usually spent at our cabin on Yellow Creek--a 40-minute drive with the last 20 minutes over rutted out dirt roads. Since the roads were so bad we always took the "Orange Bomb"--a VERY OLD Buick that had a two toned peach/orange paint job and no air conditioning. (My mother sat down on the front stoop & cried the day my father proudly came home with this newly purchased auto but that is another story).
      Since there was no air conditioning, the car windows were down in the summer. My brother’s beagle, Duke, also went to Yellow Creek with us and his preferred seat was my unfortunate lap. He always held his head out the window with his tongue lapping at the breeze. Of course this meant dog saliva flying back into my face and hair (you can relate based on your story!). By the time we got to the creek, all I wanted to do was jump in it and get the dog smell off me.  This is why I do not like animals in my house or on me!
     Now, fast forward to when Joe and I first started dating. He owned two
Labradors who were like children to him. I had still not "owned up" to the fact that I was (and still am) a "people" person, not a "dog" person.
      I had visited Joe in
Auburn for the weekend and we were to finish the weekend by driving to his parent's Lake Martin house for me to meet the extended family. I was to follow Joe in my car then proceed home to Tuscaloosa from the lake. As we were leaving his house, he suggested that we take the dogs, with him taking one and me taking the other (to keep me company-yuck!). He put Nugget, the yellow Labrador, in my backseat before I could think of a good excuse. I figured now that I had air-conditioning maybe I could handle it.
      Since these animals usually stayed outside, we were not driving for five minutes before I realized I could not take the odor much longer. My window went down. It did not take long for Nugget to start putting his head out my window. After drenching my seat belt with slobber, I tried to shove him back. He proceeded to put his huge paws on the armrest next to me, which promptly flopped forward under his weight. With this inroad to the front seat open, he then worked his way into the front seat and starting crawling onto my lap!
      Mind you, I am trying to keep up with Joe on curving roads with no idea where I am! I was frantic that I would lose sight of his car and be stranded with this dog on my hands (literally). We finally arrived at the lake with Nugget firmly in my lap between the steering wheel and me, head hanging out the window, tongue lapping at the wind, dog saliva covering me. Not exactly the way I wanted to meet the family!
       When Joe saw Nugget in my lap he said he forgot to tell me that Nugget likes to ride in his lap in his pickup truck! I confessed my dog aversion to Joe shortly after this and he said I must really like him to tolerate that trip.
        My latest and last dog story is about the dog we have now. In making the last moving load from our home in Serenity subdivision, Joe & I passed the Lazy Bee convenience store where there was a sign, "free
Labrador puppies." In a moment of extreme insanity, I suggested we stop and get one to cheer the kids up over the move. We stopped to look--they were adorable black puppies and we took the smallest female.

            Abby and Matthew were thrilled. Joe's mother was not as we were temporarily staying at their lake house until our new home was ready in six weeks; she envisioned the mess the dog would make at the lake. Sadie, our new puppy, grew exponentially, chewed everything in sight for a year, and now has total run of our backyard. We had to gate the deck so she would quit eating it. Now for the prize episode.
            Sadie now weighs about 100 pounds. Joe wanted her groomed and made the appointment but realized he was going to be out of town that day. He told me he would pay me $25 to take her to the man who would groom the dog--I agreed. It was all I could do to get her into the grooming shop. When I went back to pick her up, I struggled in vain to get her back into my van.

            As I reached down to get her backside in, she leaped out. Somehow, the leash had wrapped around my ankles, and I was flipped off my feet by her jump. I was now flat on the ground with both hands entangled in the leash. Sadie dragged me over the asphalt, headed for the busy Dean Road Street with four lanes of traffic. I am still thanking the Lord for the bush that caused her to stop! And I still remember the flabbergasted look on the face of a passing driver who saw it all happen.
            Since I had on short sleeves, my arms were gashed from my wrists to my elbows--still have scars a year later. I sincerely thought I was going to have a heart attack before I got home. I went to bed for two days. When Joe returned home, I told him I was never taking any dog anywhere again--no amount of money was worth that!
            Paula, you must write a novel. It would be an instant best seller! +++