Maybe the dingo ate your baby

Our next-door neighbor is a bit rough around the edges. He’s tall, beefy, dons a thick mustache and shaves his head. About the size of a retired professional wrestler, he looks like he could snap me in half with little effort. I can’t think of a single person who reminds me more of Jesse Ventura. To complete the rough exterior, he has a large canine companion who barks and snarls every time something moves in the general direction of his front door. Since we live in an apartment complex, making our doors about seven feet away from one another, we are regularly and frighteningly alerted of this animal’s presence. The neighbor himself seems like a relatively nice guy. I can’t picture inviting him over to dinner, but it is comforting to know that a man who does not tolerate any breach of security lives next door.

As I arrived home a few days ago, the neighbor was walking the living security alarm in the front yard. We said our hellos and I headed towards my apartment. Strangely, and unsettlingly, the dog did not bark or snarl, but merely looked at me quizzically. The neighbor noticed this, and brought the dog a little closer.

“I’ll bet he’ll let you pet him.”

I’m sure my nervous laugh didn’t quell the animal’s reservations about me, but after sniffing my hand, he allowed me three gentle pats on the top of his head before a low growl started to rumble in his throat. The leash was pulled a little tighter and the dog retreated to his master’s side.

“I think he realizes that you’re okay to be here.”

Expressing my relief at that revelation, I asked the dog’s name.

“His name is Boo. He’s a wild dog, you know.”

Somehow, I wasn’t surprised at that. Boo could easily rip me to shreds with that set of snappers. I was reminded of the pack of wild dogs that took up residence at my uncle’s house in Alabama. I asked how he managed to “tame” a wild dog.

“Well, you have to get them as pups. He’s a dingo, you know.”

A what?

“A dingo. I got him in Australia as a pup about four years ago.”

I almost didn’t believe him, but, having never actually seen a dingo before, I had to take his word for it. Once I pulled myself away from the neighbor’s conversation (he has a tendency to talk and talk and talk…), I ran upstairs to my computer to find a photo of the dog.

Sure enough, Boo is a dingo, an exotic, very wild dingo. And he lives next door.

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