Sunday, May 30, 2010

Vive le French bulldog Cy

I'm falling in love and I can't stand it. My paramour has a scrunched face, eats off the floor and has big goofy ears, but I don't care. I am falling for Tim Lincecum's French bulldog, Cy, and this is a problem because I am a cat person.

I don't know what makes this breed a French bulldog. Maybe when challenged by another dog it immediately surrenders. Really, it makes no sense. Look at this guy above, who is not Lincecum's dog but an excellent copy. The French can be smug, but they generally don't have big bellies like this fellow. They eat and eat and eat, but all the wine they drink and cigarettes they smoke absorb and burn the calories. It's a medical fact. Look it up.

Tim the pitcher secrets himself in one corner of the Giants' clubhouse, dressing at the cubicle once brightened (cough, cough) by Barry Bonds. But Cy the French bulldog has free rein in the clubhouse and strays often from the little doggy bed that his owner has plopped at the foot of his locker.

A good part of my job is standing in the clubhouse like a cigar-store Native American waiting for the one or two players I need to interrogate. You get bored talking to the other stiffs carrying notepads so you look for any diversion you can. So up comes Cy, sitting on his haunches and gazing at you like the fellow above. And even if you and dogs have been as compatible as the French and victory parades, you bend over and start scratching him between the ears, which most animals seem to like. And Cy gets into it, and you get into it more, and he flops on his side and you rub his belly and you realize that maybe Cy likes you for reasons beyond your midsection looking like the biggest rib roast in doggy lore.

And I'm touched.

I did not have a dog as a child. I grew up in apartments, where most of the the biting and howling occurred in the community laundry room when a neighbor, God bless him or her, removed my mother's laundry from the dryer when it was still damp. My sister and I had birds, turtles and for two memorable weeks a homeless gentleman named Vic, but never a dog.

When I was little we would visit family friends who had a giant German shepherd. Now, the dad in this family was a concentration-camp survivor, which made his choice of dogs a little puzzling. My sister and the kids who lived there would race to the backyard to play with the dog, whose name escapes me. Let's just call him Himmler. I would stay inside insisting I was not scared of Himmler and declaring I really was more interested in the gin rummy game being played by the adults. Everyone knew better, but I didn't care, and my lifelong gambling addiction was born.

I first lived with a dog in Davis when I rented a room from two med students who had a beautiful Samoyed, a big fluffy Alaskan dog who went to doggy court and sued his owners for forcing him to live in 100-degree heat. I got to like the Samoyed, but when she died in a collision with a car I felt more for her owners. Then I felt contempt for this couple when they got two new Samoyed puppies who mistook the carpet in my bedroom for the great Alaskan pissing tundra.

I've had cats ever since, though one of my two current kitties really is a dog. He likes belly rubs, runs to the door to greet me and can actually open the kitchen cabinet that houses his food and drags out the canister. OK, no dog is smart enough to do that.

I don't know how smart Cy really is, but I can't imagine he's Harvard Obedience School material because he will play with a sportswriter. Brian Wilson's dog was more intelligent. Once when he saw me approach Wilson's locker he growled at me, to which the pitcher said, "He's well-trained."

Cy the French Bulldog is little more than a puppy. Lincecum will be a Giant at least through 2013. That's a long time for a love affair to grow.


  1. I enjoy your stuff, but the whole "French people surrender" theme in our popular culture is long past overdone. Trite, and historically completely wrong. You CAN do better!

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