Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Pluto Story: the Catholic Vizsla

Capitol Hill is a big neighborhood in Seattle, but our corner of it is dominated by largish square houses set closely together and built just after the turn of the last century.  For many years, large Catholic families have lived in this area, attending both St. Joseph’s Church and K-8 school. When we first moved to Capitol Hill, Pluto was young and had no experience with paved streets or sidewalks. He was also hard to control and rather enthusiastic. One Sunday morning he bolted the front door when I was gathering the Sunday newspapers from the front porch.
I was wearing a flannel nightgown and no shoes. I gave chase for perhaps half a block before turning back. I ran back into the house for car keys, got in the car and headed out to find him.
He was only two blocks away, in the middle of the intersection of 19th Avenue East and East Aloha, an intersection controlled by a flashing red light. It was early enough that traffic was pretty light, plus it was Sunday. Pluto had his mouth agape, excitedly barking at the cars as they drove around him. I pulled over nearby, opened the passenger door.  I called his name, and he bounded over and hopped in. I pulled his door shut and drove him home.
The next day, I ran into my neighbor Pat from across the street. “You know,” he said, “Pluto came to mass yesterday.”
“Oh, really?” I asked, disbelieving.  A funny idea, but I caught him pretty quickly.
Pat continued. “He trotted down the main aisle of St. Jo’s, greeting everyone, panting with his huge tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. He had to be escorted out.”
This detail, the huge tongue, led me to think that Pat was not making up the story. Pluto panted wildly when he was excited, and he had a tongue much larger than what you’d expect to see in a vizsla’s mouth. “Well,” I told Pat, “He’s a Hungarian dog. Maybe he’s Catholic.”  

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