By Tony Fitzpatrick
The first thing one must know about the Chooch is that he loves me. He gives not a fuck about what a miserable, surly, rotten prick I can be. I’m just jake with him. I’m his guy.
When people yell across the street to greet me, Chooch growls at them. He won’t have anyone yelling shit at me. In his golf-ball-size brain he knows I am the gravy train. All good things come from the big guy. And like any true Chicago creature, he allows nobody to fuck with the source of his goodies. Threaten the big guy and I will sink my teeth into your sack, Fucko.
I adopted Chooch from PAWS three years ago. He was a sad little dog trapped in a pod with a half-a-retard rottweiler who ate all of Chooch’s food and took shits bigger than your head in their tiny space. This dog was five times the size of Chooch, so fighting the crazy bitch was not an option. He had to just take it. It sucked to be him.
When I saw him, I thought he looked like I felt. It was a sad juncture in my life, and as I looked at Chooch, I thought, “My life might suck right now, but buddy, I can give you a nice life.” And I did. I’d never seen a dog that looked like him before. He was small, but sturdy-looking, if skinny. He is about the size of a sheltie, but jet-black with silver tips and highlights. He has a gorgeous head (like a black fox) and girl dogs love him. If he weren’t fixed, he’d get more pussy than Sinatra.
When I brought him home, he padded tentatively around my apartment, which is a big four-bedroom. A few hours into living there, he realized that nobody was going to take him back to the gulag, where the other asshole would continue to eat his food. He was one happy pooch. He had some bad habits; food aggression and eating out of the garbage. His backstory was sad. He was a stray and then the cops rescued him from some subhuman assholes who were going to throw him to a pitbull. Choo-Choo is deathly afraid of pits. When we’re walking and he spots one, he hides behind my legs. He loves being walked and everyone in the neighborhood knows him by name. Even the old Ukrainian lady has warmed up to him. She used to call him, “Leettle devil dog; like dog who try to eat Gregory Peck in ‘The Omen.’” I try to explain to her that this is bullshit. The dogs who try to eat Gregory Peck in “The Omen” are all rottweilers. She is convinced they all look like Chooch. Over the last couple of years though, she’s begun to like him, in spite of herself. He grows on you. He is very sweet and eventually you cannot elude his charm. I like to think he charms the old lady. Two weeks ago she threw him a piece of Polish sausage. It gave him an explosive case of the Hershey-squirts… but it’s the thought that counts. Chooch seems to know when I am sad. He sits next to me with his head on my leg and wags his ass; he has one of those tails that curves over his back, so he wags his whole ass. It’s hysterically funny.
He also tries to chase his tail and, because it curls, he can’t catch it, and he turns furious circles until he runs into shit. He also fancies himself a badass and wants to wrestle all of the time.
He is a good judge of character. He treats shitheads like shitheads and when drunken assholes walk down my street being loud, he barks at them. He has the bark of a big dog and the louts usually shut up.
There is one of those useless yip dogs next door; the kind that looks like he should be tethered to a stick and used to wash windows with. He is forever sticking his head through the fence and barking at Chooch. The other day Chooch wasn’t having any. The minute his yippy head came through the fence, Chooch bit it.
The lesson being, “Anything on Chooch’s side of the fence… belongeth to Chooch, mother-fucker.” Here endeth the lesson.
That’s my dog.