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Kokomo Tribune (Newspaper) - May 8, 1994, Kokomo, Indiana The authors distaste and contempt for dogs was exceeded only by his fear of until he met the one that insisted on becoming his friend BY LARRY L KING Larry L King is coauthor of the mu sical The Best Little Whorehouse Goes which opens in New York this week He last wrote for PARADE on how it felt to turn 60 Here he writes of another turning point in his life NO I SAID to Barbara Blaine in 1978 when we were dis cussing marriage terms Babies Doggies nyetl The young lawyer soon to be come my bride smiled and said Well I should have heard then the dis tant bark of a canine in my future I wasnt born disliking dogs indeed as a toddler I loved a shaggy old sheep dog Shep But before my third birth day Shep became rabid and had to be destroyed Out of memorys deep mists I recall two huge men coming with shotguns terrifying booms yelps and screaming The screaming was my own If that terrible day began my dog phobia it increased a hundredfold when at age suddenly was attacked by a big German shepherd and a box er on our Texas farm The dogs bound ed out of the woods and pounced like I might be fresh pork chops I was knocked down mauled scratched and bitten before the neighboring farmer who owned the dogs rescued me I had dog nightmares from that day forward Walking to town or to my rural school I detoured as many yards or miles as necessary to avoid the slightest encounter with what others might describe as harmless mutts Do not think you are reading here the sissy history of a born wimp At an ear Larry King with Buster the shin tzu he thought he got for his kids Buster made it says King that he was my dog and that my duty was to do his every ly age I rode horses killed rattlesnakes with hoes assisted in the butchering of hogs and won my share of playground disputes I loved the hardy contacts of football and Golden Gloves boxing But always the thing that instantly re duced me to fear trembling and blub ber was the mere presence of a dog Through a dozen years of marriage to Barbara and the births of two kiddies I determinedly kept our home dogless Probably my rehabilitation never would have come about except for a visit by my registered shih tzu named came from Texas with my wifes parents three years ago Shih tzus are longhaired and oriented having been bred in China to sit at the feet of emperors I soon was asked to mind Bandit Frankly I would have preferred to holt a stinging scorpion But how to say that to ones dogdoting Bandit and I had been alone for all of three minutes when he so persistent ly clawed on my door and whined that I had no choice but to admit him to my writing room Ho I said eye ing him nervously as he came in I ap proached my typewriter in slow and deliberate motions so as not to excite the 13pound killer animal As I rolled a sheet of paper into my typewriter Bandit curled up under my writing desk my feet remained there the balance of the afternoon stir ring only to give me adoring looks I began to feel like an emperor Ul timately I worked up the courage to tentatively scratch behind Bandits floppy ears He wagged his tail and made it clear I was absolutely won derful In my first real communication with the canine species since Shep I said Bandit you are the only dog Ive met in years that had good Bandit hadnt been homewardbound for 15 minutes before Barbara and our Uodsiy then 11 and son Blaine lobbying for a dog of their own Finally I surrendered with conditions It shall be your dog not mine You shall walk him house break him train him do whatever dog gy things must be They agreed The moment we walked in the shop of a Maryland shih tzu breeder a little male puppy advanced upon us wag ging his tail Thats the onel Blaine shouted Within moments the young sters named the dog Buster That night Barbara placed Buster in a cardboard box near our bed Guess who woke up astonished to find that his new little alarm clock was happily licking his ears Buster quickly made it clear he was my that my duty was to do his every bidding When he wanted to eat walk or attend natures call he came to me It was months before I could wake with equanimity to a dog trying to pull me out of bed by sink ing his teeth into my pajamas PAGE 19 MAY a 1094 PARAM MAOAHN6
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