Snarling and Growling

When we were a tad younger — oh, twenty years or so ago, Lisa Savage and I both lived on Castro Street. She was nearer to the top of that hateful hill, and I would crawl up the hill because I was dating her roommate. Well, ok, that wasn’t the only reason — I mean, Lisa was already my friend, and of course I would have gone to visit. Anyhow, one day, for no particular reason that I can recall, other than maybe we were feeling a little frisky, and after much snarling and growling, I pounced on Lisa unexpectedly as she was sitting on the couch. This startled the bejesus out of her, and a knee shot up from nowhere straight into my head. It was interesting having to explain to people how, exactly, I ended up with a black eye.

I stopped pouncing on her after that, but the snarling and growling continued, even as we became roommates later. And no, it was not because I was “grouchy” every morning. I like to think of it as an endearing form of communication.

Madeleine and Gingersnap! love to play all day, especially when they’re not otherwise napping or waiting for food to fall from the heavens. When they play, they snarl a lot, heads down, lips curled, ears pulled back, teeth and fangs exposed. The snarling and growling and barking can sound extremely fierce and fearsome, but they often precede other silly behaviors, like flopping on the ground or chasing each other around the kitchen island. My favorite is when one is on the couch and the other races back and forth on the ground, trying to get in the right angle of attack. Or when they both have their claim on a chewstick — both holding on to the ends of the rawhide and growling loudly in protest. When something in the environment suddenly interrupted their play, the girls’ faces would instantly shift into neutral, alert expressions while they try to focus on whatever had stolen their attention. Then, as if on cue, Madeleine and Gingersnap! would put their viciously scary faces back on, and turn toward one another like grizzly bears. Their expressions are so exaggerated and so obviously fake that they always make us laugh.

And that’s why I snarl and growl at Lisa Savage.

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