An experimental Canine-Human blog inclusion interface

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Meet Jiggs

I came to know pit bulls through The Hubbs Family.

These were salt of the earth Oklahoma people -- quite lovable, but if crossed, they'd become pit bulls themselves. Originally rural, the family operated a motel in Berkeley's red light district. This was not a job for the timid, as the place was patronized almost exclusively by prostitutes, pimps, and thieves, with the rhythm of that life only being interrupted by the usual obligatory, if halfhearted, police investigations -- conducted, of course, after the real culprits were long gone. Therefore, motel security was left to the not-so-tender mercies of this family, with backup supplied by "Jiggs" and "Daisy." This happily married canine pair was descended from the famed Corvino line, and sometimes Jiggs liked to grab Daisy and throw her around a little. It looked scary but it was a game. One time he did this in front of me, and Mrs. Hubbs turned to her husband and said, mischievously, "You never treat me like that anymore!"

Jiggs was a scary animal, no doubt about it. I have seen hundreds of pit bulls of every size, shape, and disposition, and nowhere have I since seen such a uniquely majestic, classy dog. Jiggs weighed in at about a hundred pounds, which is gigantic for a pit bull, but he neither moved nor acted like a "big" or cumbersome dog. Instead, he was 100 pounds, lean and mean! He had never been attack trained, although he had been matched in the pit, and had a reputation as undefeated. No dog could have stopped Jiggs, for he was just too big, too athletic, and too mean. What made his appearance particularly scary was his countenance; Jiggs was highly intelligent, and like any good dog, was very psychic by human standards. He had helped raise the kids, and no one ever, ever, dared mess with him. Those who did were, like mysterious notches on a gun, the subject of rumor and legend but never fully explained to strangers.

It is hard to describe with accuracy how he did so, but Jiggs simply ran that motel. Most of the time he sat behind the front desk. All of the local criminals knew about him, and all knew about the large Hubbs family. An attack on one was an attack on all, and Jiggs, behind his counter, was, like a sinister Roy Bean behind the bar, the supreme arbiter of truth! You just did not mess with him. Any voice raise above the tone of the usual sycophantic criminal con-game whine (which I am sure you know well) brought a rumbling, slow growl from behind the counter.

One time, a stick-up man from outside the area was foolish enough to walk into the office, point a gun at Mrs. Hubbs, and demand the cash. Instead of barking, or even growling, they told me that Jiggs did not make a sound, and they initially feared that he might be out in the yard. No such luck for the stick-up guy; for Jiggs it was "Go-ahead-make-my-day!" time. For, without any warning at all (Mrs. Hubbs had her hands up and could not call the dog), Jiggs, as if he had been trained from birth for that very moment, sailed from behind the counter, airborne, gliding over the four foot counter effortlessly (they said his nails didn't even touch it), and, while still in the air, expertly landed his indestructible Corvino jaws directly onto the hand which held the gun!

The gun clattered to the floor but Jiggs kept moving, and the man was pushed backwards against the Coke machine by sheer force. His soon-to-be-rendered-useless hand, still in Jiggs' mouth, was shoved roughly into the crotch area, and they said that you could hear bones (carpal bones apparently make rattling noises when so bothered) crunching as Jiggs made the punishment fit the crime, Corvino-style! The funniest part of the story is that when the cops arrived, the man was still pinned against that Coke machine screaming in agony while trying not to move (which would have irritated Jiggs further). But Jiggs had still not had enough, and did not realize that the initial shock which prevents pain in any severe trauma soon wears off and real pain sets in! Might it be that Jiggs did not even care? In any event, according to everyone, the stick-up man could not have been more relieved to see the police finally arrive. The police, however, were afraid to even go near the guy for fear of Jiggs. But finally, at Mrs. Hubbs say-so, Jiggs released the man, and, tail wagging, meekly complied with her order to go to the back.

Now there was a dog!

Most pit bulls are very, very friendly. Jiggs was more of a hard ass than usual, but look at where he grew up. The reason these dogs are so problematic is their owners. The dogs are natural canine athletes, and will do whatever their masters want them to do. Raise them to be mean to others, and they will be. It is no more their fault than it is the fault of guns that bad people misuse them. Our national kindergarten wants to take away the rights of all in order to punish a few, and thus there are constant movements to ban pit bulls. I could go on and on; I guess that is why we blog.

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