Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Southern Walker and the Puppy Popper

Headed off to the store the other day I see this couple walking down the street, both carrying very long walking sticks. It reminded me of a southern man I once knew who walked every day and who carried a stick much like that which he referred to as his "Puppy Popper." It was amazing to me to learn that this is a standard walking item here in the South - complete with the moniker. Now, before you start writing letters and getting all upset, let me at least digress a few times. 

You see, here in the south, there are a lot of dog owners who feel that they should allow their dog to run free, and therefore do not put up fences, use leashes or attempt to contain them at all.  Those who know dogs know that this means that the dog WILL run free and will consider any part of the adjoining property or roads to be theirs -AND, as it's theirs (or so they perceive,) they will protect it from any sort of attacks - such as that older couple walking calmly down the street.  

The Puppy Popper (no Trademark or Copyright on that name - that I know of...) is a defensive item, carried to ward off these over zealous animals and protect oneself from their protective endeavors. Myself, I think it might be better to use it on the owners who endanger their pets by allowing them to run 'free' but that might not go over well.

Once, not too long ago, on a walk when carrying my cane (don't start) I happened upon this very situation. As I walked by a house, the dog came running out (no chain, no fence,) hackles up, barking and baring its teeth. Now, the nurturer in me wanted to calmly point out to the animal that we were merely passers by and his (her) endeavors to get us to leave were rather overzealous to say the least.  The alarmist in me took over, however and I raised up the cane to protect myself.  To which the dog stopped and walked back to its home, leaving me rather confused as to what the frak just happened.

Perhaps the dog was intrigued by my all teak cane and came running out and shouting (in dog language) "What a neat cane!  What's it made of? SHOW ME SHOW ME SHOW ME!!"  And when I raised it up, he thought "Ok, cool.  Thanks. Seeyabye." And went back to protecting his house.  In truth, it could just be that the Puppy Popper did its job.  Others who carry them tell me that just waving the thing around can usually diffuse the situation and rarely (if ever) has any of them had to actually Pop any Puppies.

So, the next time you find yourself walking in the South, be sure to carry a Puppy Popper (or a nice teak wood cane) and you'll feel more southern in the doing.

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