The first time I saw Titan, I thought I was hallucinating. From my height, he looked like a giraffe. We met suddenly one day last summer when I was turning the corner onto Magnolia Boulevard. His dog walker told Mike Titan was a puppy, 8 months old. I’ll bet he gets more to eat than I do. Titan is his name, but Mike thought she said Tyson, like the weird boxer. Later on, Heather met Titan and his owner Lou, and she got it right. It seems to me that Heather is always right.
Needless to say, Titan made me nervous. For the first few months I kept a wide berth when I saw him on the street. Sometimes we passed him sitting in a pen in front of his house, and I would always walk by real fast and pretend not to notice he was there. (I really did.) If I saw him coming down one side of the street, I maneuvered Mike over to the other side. I didn’t want to get too close if I could help it.
But Titan also intrigued me. In stark contrast to the indifference I display towards most canines, I was curious about him. I started to study him from a distance, either from across a street or from the upper slope of the parade ground in the park, where Titan and his master often came for exercise an hour before sunset, the time Mike and I always walk in winter. As he grew and grew and grew toward a year old, Titan remained gentle, playful and friendly, and dogs large and small would stop to play when he was around. Too many dogs for me, but I liked to watch them from afar.
One drizzly day before Christmas, Titan and Lou were out on the parade ground alone, no other dogs in sight. I saw them and made Mike lead us closer, until he dropped my leash. I approached tentatively, in stages, and when I got within 20 feet, I dug in my paws and gave Titan my shrill, defensive bark. He cowered, yet I ran anyway, taking several steps and tucked into a roll, one of the moves I used to flash for my brothers Frank and Stanley. Prone on my back, I lifted my stubby paws to the sky and showed him my belly. Titan sniffed me a couple of times and trotted away. Not wanting to push my luck, I hid behind Mike’s legs for the rest of the time he talked to Lou.
After that, Titan and I saw each other a couple more times on the street or in the park, and I was starting to feel a little more comfortable around him, as long as there weren’t any other dogs in the mix. That is, until a couple of weeks before Christmas, when a For Rent sign went up in front of Titan’s house. Soon thereafter, Titan’s pen was gone and so was Titan.
I thought we might see Titan and his guy in the park once in a while, but so far that hasn’t happened. Maybe Titan and Lou moved far away. Here, the days are getting a little longer, spreading out dog-walking time, and the gaggle of dogs at Titan’s ersatz dog park on the parade ground has dissipated. Mike and I walked past Titan’s house this week, and we could tell different people were living there. From what we could see through the windows, the new residents looks like more of a family than Lou and Titan did. I guess they’re gone for good, just when I was starting to look forward to seeing that big lug, giving him my “best-friend ” butt wiggle as I approached. I guess I’m going to have to find another Great Dane to pal around with.