Younger people might not be familiar with the TV show “Lassie,” but just about everyone has at least some knowledge of the legendary canine.
The Rough Collie had countless great adventures with her human family, showing both heroism and incredible intelligence as she spent many a day saving the day. Plus, she was just a beautiful dog.
Oddly, while Lassie was a female character, she was portrayed in the series by male dog actors. I have no idea why casting directors did this because I’m sure there were (and are) plenty of outstanding female Collie thespians.
However, now I want to go back and watch old episodes to see if I can spot a wiener on Lassie.
On some dogs they’re hard to miss, and it seems like if I had noticed this as a youth I’d have asked questions … lots of questions.
Anyway, I bring up Lassie not because of the wiener issue but because our Chihuahua – Steve Rogers, Captain America – did his best imitation of the famous dog earlier this week.
And I must say I’m quite proud of the little fellow who, I hate to admit, is a butthole much of the time and rarely praiseworthy.
It all started on a sun-kissed Monday morning when I ventured out into the backyard to cut grass.
Both Steve and our Sheltie, Charlie, like to watch from the screened porch while I cut because they know when I’m done they’ll be let out to play, which I call their “ripping and snorting time.”
It’s especially important for Steve because although he’s five pounds of fury he can get lost in the weeds due to his short little legs. A freshly cut lawn gives him a much faster track, and that means he can do zoomies at full throttle.
The more he wears himself out, the calmer our lives become.
Once I was done I opened the gate, stored away the lawn mower, came up to the porch to cool off, and let the beasts loose.
Steve immediately lowered his ears and flared his nostrils as he galloped furiously around the yard.
Charlie, as usual, found that perfect spot that’s half sun, half shade, and plopped down.
They typically stay out for about 30 minutes before they decide to come back and get a treat.
I wasn’t paying close attention to them or the time during this particular session of ripping and snorting; I was busy doing Internet searches for Lassie’s wiener.
But just as I was zooming in on a still shot from a 1967 episode, Steve started barking at the door.
This wasn’t unusual, as Chihuahuas are yippy and – as previously noted – Steve’s a butthole. But when I opened the door, he wouldn’t come in. Instead, he just danced around with a look of concern in his bulbous eyes. This was out of character, and after getting lost in thought for a moment when I realized he looked like a canine version of actor Steve Buscemi, I finally got the message.
Charlie was missing, and Steve Rogers Buscemi was letting me know he was missing.
Sure enough the gate was wide open and Charlie had wandered off. I raced down the steps with Steve following closely and walked up the driveway. I worried that Charlie had gotten disoriented and might be heading aimlessly down the street.
But after calling his name a couple of times, I glanced at the front porch and there he was – staring at the door, Blair Witch style.
Though he’d only been missing for a few minutes, I was so glad to see him I raced over, picked him up, and gave him a big ol’ kiss on the head. I was relieved that he was safe and – in this instance – also relieved that he’s kinda dumb.
Shelties have a reputation for being smart, but Charlie decided to follow a different path.
The headline of this story, however, is the quick thinking by Steve.
Maybe he wasn’t quite as heroic as dogdom’s greatest star – I mean, he didn’t organize a search party and pull Charlie out of a well – but he showed when the chips are down, I can count on him to call upon his inner Lassie.
And you know what else he has in common with Lassie?