The Ninth Hot Dog
To Guggenheim named Guggy (1980-96)
Guggy was waiting for me on the corner of 89th street and Fifth Avenue. It was raining, a fine Breton "crachin", what we call invisible drizzle, lightly falling but getting everyone drenched. I was driving the red van and at every corner, I would stop to empty the Times machines, old papers and money. No fun to pick up in the rain, the coins used to get wet. Old Tony was my copilot , he loved looking at the passing life of N.Y.C. He also loved Olga, but who can blame him? He was a lonely man, very quiet and I guess he relished these Sunday drives. Rain, snow, cold hot, he was smiling. He would rip off the fronts of the Times and dump the money in the bags, between our seats.

At 89th Street, there was a hot dog vendor, a lot of tourists, a Times machine, and Guggy very wet and forlorn, no leash, a collar with nothing on it and a fear of anyone that approached him. I figured he shouldn't stay out in the rain and he looked very hungry. I bought two hot dogs, no mustard, no sauerkraut, and put them down as close to Guggy as I could get. He gobbled them up keeping me away from him. I bought two more plus two more after those and by the 9th hot dog - no buns now -, he was eating out of my hands. Tony was watching me from the van not saying a word, just wondering about me. After the 9th hot dog, a freebie from the vendor - buy eight get one free - I lifted Guggy and put him into the van right on top of the bags of money and old papers. Mrs Olga is not going to like this Mr Georges! She is not going to like this! Guggy as he would be named was soaking wet and had decided he could trust me. During the hot dog experience, he checked me out, it was his decision; No applications filled out in triplicate; No sworn statements in a court of law; It was his dogged judgment that said to him - let him take you, you're safe - and so it was to be. I dried him off and we kept making our rounds with Tony not keen at all on having this rather large dog in the van.

Eventually we got back to "Chez Olga" where Olga was packing the coins into rolls. There we gave him a bowl of water and put a towel down on the floor for him to lie down on. Guggy became or already was a remarkable dog. The veterinarian Dr. Sasmor found him fit and gave him his necessary shots. A.S.P.C.A. gave us a dog tag and we were in business: two beautiful stand up ears, a beautiful coat, a very good dog, faithful, clean, obedient. He slept for a while at "Chez Olga" where we would lock him in at night. All the customers knew him. When I was cooking, he lay by the door to the backyard. When I stopped cooking, he moved to the entrance of the dining room. If customers beckoned him, he would go to their table, sit on his haunches and offer one of his front paws. All the patrons, the regulars loved him. One particularly crazy night, the host of a large table came into the kitchen and handed everyone a twenty, my mom, Olga, I and Guggy who instinctively relinquished it to my mother. I don't know why but he always showed great respect for old ladies.

Beside this, Guggy trusted no one when we were in the van. Because of my newspaper business, I often had five to seven thousand dollars on my person. Guggy let no one approach the van. Even filling up with gas was not easy. I usually had lunch with a friend that owned a garage in Brooklyn and I brought lunch, including something for Guggy and Laddie, my friend's old collie. Guggy would only eat when I told him to and above all, he would always give Laddie first choice. Figuring the old collie needed respect on a good meal, and probably thinking that at "Chez Olga" he ate very well, but in a garage there wasn't much to eat.

Back to Summary 2-1996
©1997-2000 by pisalou