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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Lost in Suburbia: When Henry met Monty

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  • When we cleared out the breakfast room for our new pup Monty, we took out the table and chairs, the potted plants, and the recycle bins.
    But we left behind the chinchilla.
    Since our pet chinchilla, Henry, lives in a cage, we thought at best Monty wouldn’t even notice him, and at worst, he’d sniff him and get a face full of angry chinchilla spit. However, Monty was so busy checking out his new digs, chasing his tail and peeing on the floor that it took the better part of a week before he spotted his roommate.
    Since we’d had another dog for 10 years, the chinchilla was already used to dogs. And even though our old dog Riley had been somewhat squirrel obsessed and thought it was his duty to bark at every squirrel in the state of New Jersey, he did not seem bothered by our chinchilla. I was pretty surprised by this since Henry had a more than passing resemblance to a squirrel. But Henry and Riley seemed to have a “live and let live” philosophy, or at least a “you don’t sniff me and I won’t fill your face with angry chinchilla spit” philosophy.
    But Monty was new to this whole chinchilla thing. So we weren’t all that surprised when he finally took notice of the squirrel lookalike in the corner and went all Puppy Incredible Hulk on us.
    First the hair on the back of his neck went up, then the hair on his back, and finally his tail, until he looked like a redneck dog with a Mohawk mullet. Then he crouched way down to the ground, stuck his tail in the air and lowered his ears. Henry froze in his cage, realizing something big was going to happen, but not sure what. Monty waited a moment, then puffed up his chest and let out an earthshattering bark, which sounded something like this:
    “Eep.”
    Sadly, at only 8 weeks old, “eep” was the most threatening sound the puppy could muster.
    If a chinchilla could laugh, Henry would have been in hysterics.
    Monty eeped again, and Henry gave him what could only be described as a chinchilla raspberry:
    “Pfft.”
    The dog jumped back, as though surprised that the thing in the cage would have the audacity to not only stand his ground, but to actually “ppft” at him.
    At this point we had something of a pet standoff. Monty “Bad Dog” Beckerman stood poised, ready to “eep” again, while Henry “The Squirrel” Chinchilla glared at him as if to say, “Go ahead, pup, make my day.”
    Even though they were separated by a steel cage, I decided that the sherriff needed to step in to break up the hostilities before things got ugly.
    Page 2 of 2 - “OK, you two. This kitchen is big enough for the both of youse,” I announced.
    A tense moment passed and then the dog gave one more soft “eep,” turned, and padded out of the room. The chinchilla “pffted” and jumped onto his wheel to get out his latent aggressions.
    The Great Pet Standoff of 2012 had been successfully thwarted.
    Until Monty meets our bearded dragon.
    Looking for a great holiday gift? Pick up Tracy’s book, “Rebel without a Minivan,” available on Amazon!

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