Leona and the Black Dog
Leona had a small black dog when she was a little girl. Or more to the point, her step-father had a small black dog when she was a little girl. The dog, as is a common practice in animal-human relations, had taken on many of the same traits and idiosyncrasies of her step-father. For instance, during the day he worked hard. Whatever you threw for him to fetch, he’d obligingly retrieve in short order. He knew how to shake a good firm paw–never limp and wet but never so firm that it hurt you hand. He was inspired actor: when he played dead, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. During the day he was the perfect dog.At night the little black dog created problems. After everybody went to bed, the dog became a menace. Drunk from the power of his role as protector of the house, the dog would strut around taking whatever liberties he wanted. He’d bark and snarl at anyone who crossed his path: friend or foe. Up until Leona was a teenager, he’d sit on the end of her bed and snarl whenever she moved. So she would pretend she was asleep. Of course, everybody in the family knew his weak points, but they agreed that for all his faults, he was still a good provider.