B-Town Undercover:The Neighborhood Is Going To The Dogs

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by Shawn Underwood

I like dogs.

All kinds of dogs.

Except “biters” and those with foaming saliva on their molars.

The “biter” phenomenon is very evident in small yappers, the kind that yip and yap then bite and bite until the victim (usually me and my ankles) yaps, thus negating the “yapper phenomenon” via a double negative.

We have several “latchkey” dogs in our neighborhood as well. When I say “latchkey,” what I mean is that they don’t wear keys around their necks, then miraculously open the door to their home. No, when I say “latchkey” dog I mean the kind that just wanders around, latching onto anyone they deem latchable.

Two of my favorite latchkey dogs are called “Tuffy 1” and “Tuffy 2.”

These two Westies are the spirited neighborhood mascots. They go everywhere together, paw in paw. I have spotted them chasing their Suburban-driving owner in a frantic attempt for a car ride. Of course, most dogs love car rides – who wouldn’t want to hang their head out the window with the wind blowing your ears back?

Tuffies 1 and 2 have been know to frequent “The Bean”, our local coffee shop, perhaps partaking in a “bow wow” so to speak with the other customers.

Another four-legged visitor to The Bean is a yellow lab. He trots about a mile up Maplewild hill for his biscuit and water. He is often seen with his boyfriend (not that there’s anything wrong with that…), who he picks up on his way to the coffee stand. His boyfriend is a friendly, fetching Irish setter.

Jason, the owner of The Bean, always stocks a good supply of doggy biscuits, so perhaps this is part of the doggy allure. Either that or maybe there’s a new frequent biscuit punch card thing going on.

I have not seen any cats in the coffee area but then this story is not about the neighborhood cats is it? So why do you ask?

The wandering latchkey canines also have latchkey human company at The Bean. A group of men from Maplewild meet there everyday, exactly at 9:15am and 3:15pm on the dot.

While the gentlemen yap, yap, yap, the dogs nap, nap, nap.

Sometimes it’s vice-versa, and other times it’s hard to tell whose who, or what’s what.

The two-legged species at The Bean are of an indeterminate age, meaning they are mostly retired but still full of beans, and I am not talking about coffee beans. I am not sure what they talk about twice a day. I wonder if the same subject comes up in the afternoon as was discussed in the morning.

“Hey Elmer, did I tell you about the thirty pound fish I caught in Alaska?”

“Yes, Rufus you did, but this morning at 9:15 the fish was 40 pounds, so which is it?”

They are a cantankerous and exclusive group; several times I have tried to horn in on the conversation, to no avail. This club is obviously exclusive to men and dogs, and I’m seriously considering filing a discrimination lawsuit (although I’ve been called the word used to describe a female dog before, I still feel excluded).

The dogs are also male; there may be something to this.

Maybe if I bring my male dogs, “Mr. Big” and “Mr. Small” to The Bean, the men will let me join in the fish tales.

I am sure they could use a fresh voice in their crowd.

Or not.


Twenty-five years of living in Burien gives Humorist Shawn Underwood much fodder for her writings.

All of her stories are true, or at least have a grain of truth with no added embellishments.

Or something like that.

Read more of her humor at her website here.

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