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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Bark is Worse than His/Her Bite (10/17/13)

TITLE: Snuffy Wins By a Lick
By Judith Gayle Smith


We're enslaved by a sweet-faced Parson's Russell Terrier. An acquaitance of mine suggested naming him "Snuffy, NO."

I am fond of calling him a Psychotic Parson's Russell Terrorist - because he is. Except you can negotiate with terrorists . . .

Snuffy Smith took over our family at the adorable age of three months. He warmly tinkled all over my husband's red shirt the very first day, setting the stage for mayhem and mischief.

Snuffy is an agressive little fellow, all bark, growl and argue. All dog. He weighs twenty-five pounds - about six pounds too much Pupperoni and Beggin' Strips.

As I key this, Snuffy tries to convince me that he is such a tremendously good little fellow - how can I possibly resist his charm? Doesn't my entire being positively yearn to open that wonderfully smelly red bag?

Less than a minute later, a terrifying gnashing slashing moment filled with frightened screams from my hysterical sister, excited trembling threatening Snuffy, my husband getting out the fly swatter . . .

My poor sister came to me with a simple request, and broke Snuffy's avid concentration on his treat bag. Instinct ruled over charm, and Snuffy became the violent opposite of his endearing "good boy" self. Razor-sharp scary teeth met delicate skin and skin remained intact. Whew. He distressed us all, including himself.

Snuffy has been permitted to "lead the pack" with my being too adoring and my
husband too limited physically. When boredom strikes, Snuffy will make his own mischief, and that too often includes pestering his "pack".

He will snatch a dropped plastic bag and convince you that there are wondrous treasures within, being molested by him. "Chase me. Catch me. I double-dog dare you." I have been the recipient of those formidable jaws when I try to take things from him.

His penetrating barks deafen me. He lunges to the head of our bed and hysterically contributes his sharp, extremely loud barks to the neighborhood symphony raging outside our window.

Snuffy's vocal arrangements are highly orchestrated, depending on the little guy's moods. I have often referred to him as the James Cagney of dogdum.

We were treated to his deafening barks when we first took him to the local pet shop. Three-months-old of dire threat. The intended victim? A three-year-old female Saint Bernard, who was definitely intimidated - afraid of stepping on the wee pupper.

He pointedly argues with us. He sits, rocking slightly, right in front of us, paw raised, brown white and grey-spotted cow belly gloriously, unashamedly displayed, and cajoles us so whimsically we are convulsed with laughter. I answer him grunt for grunt, whine for whine. The whines are best, ranging several octaves.

Sometimes he convinces himself that he cannot jump up on our bed and paws our
arms furiously, begging us to lift him up to us. I, being a softy for a pretty puppy face, will put my hands under his front legs around his ribs and tell him "up". And indeed he leaps up, my hands basically just resting on him while he does all the hoisting.

Remember "The Mask" starring Jim Carrey? Snuffy looks like the crazy little Jack Russell in the movie, only plumper, with long graceful limbs. He curls up like a spotted fawn hiding in the forest.

He, being a spotted pup, out cutes himself. I think his mother must have taught lessons in cute from birth. He is absolutely adorable and knows it.

But. Always a but. He appears horridly vicious. He is all teeth, growls, snarling horrible threats when confronted with something he shouldn't eat. Including my sister's prized beads that too often drop to the floor, or a pen or makeup item that falls from my shaky grasp.

The battle rages. I would much prefer to be deafened by his barks than
intimidated by his threats.

Did I mention that with all the gnashing, slashing, violent reaction to our thwarting him, he very carefully will grasp the offending soft hand or available foot, his trembling jaws still working, and not break the skin?

I am amazed at his self-control. This must also be what he learned from his mama - and therefore, his bark is worse than his bite.

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 10/26/13
Awwww...This was so sweet. Being an animals lover, I adored this story. I could see the little one in full color in my mind's eye. Nicely written.

God Bless~
Danielle King 10/26/13
Beautifully put together. Loved your detailed description of the little monster. I could picture him clearly and feel his personality. Great writing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/27/13
Snuffy sounds like a cute handful. I have a yapping Pomeranian so can relate to little dogs thinking they can take on dogs five times bigger.

I noticed some of your sentences were just a tad awkward. Try having someone read the story aloud and if they stumble, you may want to restructure it. For example: Less than a minute later, a terrifying gnashing slashing moment filled with frightened screams from my hysterical sister, excited trembling threatening Snuffy, my husband getting out the fly swatter . . .
Could be rearranged to something like this: Less than a minute later, my sister's screams echoed in my ears as Snuffy, gnashing his teeth, snapped at her ankles.
I broke it down and tightened it up a bit. It's not perfect but I hope it shows what I mean.

You did a nice job of covering the topic. I can tell how much joy your pet brings you. Like all of God's creatures, you showed how we all need a swat on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper from time to time. Nice job.
C D Swanson 10/31/13
Congratulations! God bless~