travels with gnarley

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Ever since he was attacked at a dog park last year, Fredo has had hysterical outbursts around dogs his size or bigger. They'll sniff him, and he'll stiffen. It's a countdown to the nervous explosion, a panic attack of high-pitched screaming and gnashing teeth that invariably leaves the other dog startled and confused.

"The fuck is wrong with you, weirdo?" their body language, and mine, says. We don't go to dog parks much anymore.

I awoke in Seattle at 4am Saturday, and I decided to take Fredo to our old dog park. It was of course empty. We walked to where I scattered the ashes of Ed, my late, great, non-moronic, non-pussy, pathology-free dog. I stood over her grave and let the memories flow. The time we came to that park so she could meet her brother as adults and she greeted him by wrapping her legs around his neck and throwing him to the ground. The time I caught her lying on my couch, feet up, with her head on my pillow. The time she ate an entire pizza for which I'd spent two hours driving. Great times.

I was wiping away a manly tear when Fredo loped into view and hiked his leg on Ed's grave.

When we were leaving the park, other people were arriving. A gigantic Great Dane—a wonderful, gentle breed—saw us and sped over, using those hilariously awkward, giant Great Dane playful strides where they lift their massive paws five feet off the ground. As this dog galloped toward Fredo, I thought "This is not going to end well." But Fredo did nothing. He stood rigid and watched the Dane thunder right up to him.

Poot! shot a little turd.