Cudjo and Me

By  | July 29, 2010 | 3 Comments | Filed under: Posts by M. Boilard

I walk for exercise. Every morning just as the sun comes up, I get up to walk my 5k block. I like to push my strides to the point of running, but instinct tells me to keep one foot on the ground at all times.

My husband on the other hand is not a power walker. He’s certainly tried on more than one occasion for my sake, however too often he would end up complaining that I was running him into the ground; so I would slow down and then the benefit for me was gone.

One summer, a few years back, my husband found a solution. I was not too pleased when he brought home those bikes, but the fact that he preferred my company when exercising was enough to bring out the good wife in me; I compromised, and went against my instinct.

Our bike route was always the same; a 10km loop that took us along beautifully quiet country roads. About half way around our loop was an old, red insulbrick farmhouse that was left too close to the road through widening and paving. The porch was made up of a 6 ft square slab of cement with two steps. On the one side of that square slab was a securely anchored, heavy metal ring with a thick chain attached to it. Attached to the other end of the chain was a big, old, black dog.

He was one of those Mastiff breeds; the kind that could accommodate a saddle. He had a massive head and a wonderfully baggy face with eyes that seemed to disappear in his blackness. He appeared quite lazy at first, sprawled out full length on that porch; front legs hanging over, but his demeanour changed immediately when he noticed us coming up the road. From out of a sound sleep, this dog would jerk his head up, rumble angrily and charge at us with unbelievable speed. In a few short seconds, he would come to an abrupt stop at the end of his chain; hind quarters swinging around violently with unspent momentum. There he would glare at us, filling the air with low, resonant barks. I swear to this day that every time he jerked at the end of his chain, the house jumped an inch closer towards the roadway…. indeed…perhaps the location of that house was not a case of road widening after all.

My husband has always had a tendency to be nervous around large dogs; with good reason. As a young lad growing up in the country, he had neighbours who let their dogs run loose. Although those dogs enjoyed the good chase he provided them every time he got off the school bus, he did not enjoy the run at all. This giant on the porch reminded him of those days, and each and every time we neared that house, he would ride up beside me whispering nervously,

“Shhh…he’s there…he’s sleeping…be very quiet.”

Tour after tour, our silent treatment failed, so I decided I had a better idea. I gave the dog a name: “Cudjo”, and whenever we came into his line of sight, I would warn him of our imminent arrival in a jovial and kind voice, so as not to take him by surprise. I was determined to make him my friend.

“Helloooo… Cudjo! I would cheerfully greet him every time we neared the house. “What a nice doggie! What a big…big boy! What a good boy!!” I would chime happily, and just as we pedalled out of his sight, I’d end my sing-song with; “Bye…bye Cudjo!”

My husband angrily insisted each and every time that I was teasing the dog, but I stubbornly believed in my heart that we (the dog and I) were getting to know one another. Yes…the dog’s head would still jerk up; yes…he would still growl as we approached, but he did not get off that porch; he only glared at us with doggie disgust.

On our very last trip (for reasons soon obvious), I was about to start my repertoire.

“Hell….” I was startled speechless as my husband suddenly flew by me at breakneck speed. In passing, he hissed words back at me in a hoarse whisper, with a face about as pale as Cudjo’s was dark.

“He’s loose!”

His words reached me, but they did not immediately sink in, as I was too busy trying to communicate with the beast: “Hellooo…uh… oh!”

I looked across the front yard over to an empty porch and suddenly my husband’s words became crystal clear. I felt an eerie chill creep up my spine and then strangely burn into my ears…I believe it was fear. My bike wobbled wildly as I peered stiffly over my shoulder to find Cudjo loping casually up to, and then along side me. He was ever so big up close.

It’s funny how people react differently when under stress. My husband’s feet were a blur on his pedals, and mine… well, like I said earlier about instinct, my feet hit solid ground. There I stood straddling my bike, eye to eye with my beloved friend Cudjo, hearing my husband’s distant voice repeat… “Run…run…run!” My mind would not tell me what to do, so training took over…

“Helloooo..oh …Cudjo,” I managed to say without breathing. “What a nice puppy… What a big …big boy you are. What a good boy you are….now Cudjo….” I pleaded, “You go home!”

At that point I pushed off with my bike, riding slowly in a wild zigzagging path down the middle of the road. Cudjo started to follow, so I mustered a stern order over my shoulder. “No Cudjo, go home!”

The dog stood firm and looked at me with his ears coming forward inquisitively; he then rumbled his superiority, which made me tense up for the inevitable tumble, but instead he turned tail and loped effortlessly back to his porch. My husband angrily filled my ears all the way home.

About two weeks later, a fellow from the SPCA came around knocking on doors. He was enquiring about a large, black dog somewhere in the vicinity. He said complaints had been received about this dog habitually knocking down cyclists as they went by. Apparently one avid cyclist had received considerable damage to his $5000 bike. I imagined my Cudjo standing triumphantly on his porch monitoring the retreat of a spandex-clad individual, his funny shoes clacking noisily on the pavement while running with a crumpled bike over his shoulder. Oh bad Cudjo, I thought quietly to myself.

“No, there’s no dog like that around here.” I lied, feeling the need to protect my friend. I whitened my lie with the fact that the dog had chosen to let me pass a few weeks back. Forgive me Spandex man…what’s a girl to do?

Sadly Cudjo has vanished from that porch, but I remember him fondly whenever I see spandex. Our bikes now spend their days alone with one another in the shed; I do my power walking by myself; and my husband drives me to Tim Horton’s for some nice quality time over a cup of coffee every evening…a much better compromise… I’d say.

MB

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m_boilard@sympatico.ca'

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3 Responses to Cudjo and Me

  1. Debbie Vitez July 29, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Mags. I’m still laughing.. that was priceless,
    I was there, I could hear you sweet talking that dog..( and I could also vision your husband booking it down that road when he discovered he was loose.. ) lol

  2. thekitchenman@shaw.ca'
    Wayne Conrad Serbu July 29, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    A German sheppard walked into a butcher store and began to bark at the butcher.
    The butcher said what is it boy and the sheppard barked several times.
    He asked the dog what will it be boy, a pork chop?
    The shepard barked and shook his head no!
    How about some burger?
    The sheppard again barked no!
    Well said the butcher you must want a big T Bone Steak?
    The sheppard barked and was moving his head indicating yes!
    The butcher wrapped up the steak and the sheppard placed his front paws up on the counter and lifted his neck to reveal a change purse.
    The butcher made change and gave the sheppard the steak and he wagged his tail thanks as he went out the door.
    The butcher went out to see if he could see the owner and followed him around the corner where he ran up some steps and stood on his hind legs and rang the door bell.
    His master came to the door and took the steak and then hit the dog a few times with it on the side of his head,
    The butcher seeing this yells out.
    Hey mister what the hell you doing? Thats the smartest dog I have evere seen!
    The owner yells back. He’s not that frikin smart, that’s twice today he has forgot the keys.
    .

  3. Debbie Vitez July 30, 2010 at 12:02 am

    good one agm… lol

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