Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Christmas Gift For You Continued.....

It was about this same time that my relationship with my girlfriend, whom would later become my wife, started getting serious. I found myself spending more time at her house than I did at my own. Quite often I would go over to her house after work to see her and end up spending a good portion of the evening there. This left my parents home alone at the mercy of Samson for the evening. By this time Samson was pretty much a full grown male Chow weighing about sixty-five to seventy pounds. He had a full set of adult teeth now all of those little pin sharp puppy teeth were gone, and when he clamped down on your forearm now you were not going to get away without a serious tussle. Samson's canine teeth were at least an inch and a half long and the force that his jaws produced was immense. I would have loved to have had one of those devices that scientists use to measure the foot pounds of pressure a shark produces when it bites something and had Samson bite down on it. I don't know how much pressure his jaws produced, but once he had you you weren't going anywhere until he decided to let you. The strange part of the evening ritual with Samson was that he never ever tried to do anything to my mom. She would look at him from her rocking chair and give him a stern,"No Samson !", and that would be it. Samson would follow my mom around the house but not in a aggressive way. I think he was just doing what Chows do best, protecting his family. Many times I would come home and find him sleeping at her feet while she sat and sewed, or knitted in her rocking chair. Years later she would comment that once Samson was full grown she never felt unsafe in her house ever again. A comment like that from my mom was in my opinion about the highest praise that any dog could ever receive. My mom was not a person who handed out praise unless it was deserved. The funny part of Samson's evening routine was that he just loved to attack my dad. Samson would wait for my dad to settle in on the couch after dinner preparing for his pre bedtime nap, a nap that usually started about seven P.M. and ended right before he got up and went to bed about nine P.M. Samson would start out in the backyard running around chasing anything he thought he could catch and kill. Once he had a full head of steam up he would gallop for the living room through the sliding door. Even though he was a good sized dog he had incredible speed and acceleration, very few things rarely escaped Samson when he was on the hunt. He would come flying up the two patio steps, through the open sliding door, and run the full length of our long rectangle shaped living room / dining room area ending up in the kitchen at the far end of the house for a drink of water. Once Samson's thirst was quenched he would stand at the edge of the kitchen and stare down my dad, who by that point knew exactly what was coming but never got up to stop him. Dad would sit at the far end of our living room couch, which was about eight feet long, propped up in the corner against the arm in pre nap position trying to ignore the impending attack that was now charging at him full speed from the kitchen, nothing more than a red blur before he became airborne just past the the arm at the close end of the couch. Samson would land one cushion away from dad on the couch and let his momentum carry him right up on top of dad who was now flailing about and screaming at the top of his lungs trying to ward off the red beast. During the summer when all the windows in the house were open our next door neighbor Bob Gibbs said it sounded like World War Three was being waged between dad and Samson. My mom who would be sitting across the room in her rocking chair trying half heartily not to laugh all the while telling Samson to stop, but she would be laughing so hard she couldn't get the words out. She said it was one of the funniest things she had ever seen. Samson, for all his growling fury, was very careful never to hurt dad though, never any puncture wounds, stitches, or trips to the hospital. That is how you can tell if a Chow is playing with you or if he means business, there would be other people that Samson wasn't playing with and when he was done they knew it. Dad would eventually dig his way out of the corner of the couch that Samson had stuffed him down into and start whacking him with a rolled up newspaper or magazine, whatever was closest. That was like trying to stop a charging Rhino with a fly swatter. A note to any future Chow owners; beating on a Chow does not usually deliver the desired effect. Samson thought dad was playing with him and instead of backing down he would attack whatever dad was trying to hit him with. There was many a night I would come home from work to find a newspaper section or what was left of Time magazine on the living room floor shredded to pieces. There would stand Samson waiting outside on the patio steps, the sliding door locked, exiled to the backyard for the rest of the evening. A sort of canine time out if you will, my dads last line of defense. Dad would wait until Samson locked down on his makeshift magazine baton and drag him towards the sliding door, not an easy feat through shag carpet, when Samson's grip would lessen dad would yank the magazine from his mouth and either throw it or pretend to throw it out the sliding door with Samson in hot pursuit. The sliding door would slam behind Samson and lock before he could turn around and head back for the house. This was my parents typical evening entertainment for about six to nine months when my dad finally decreed that Samson either went to obedience school or he went to the pound. Well there was no way that Samson was ever going to leave my side, it had taken me a year of bugging my parents to let me have him and he wasn't going anywhere not as long as I had a say in the matter.

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