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Tag: biloxi

Wonderfully mysterious? That’s my dog

In my current nomadic phase, as in my previously still life, Ace — my “Big Ass Dog” — draws a variety of responses from humans. There are those who experience love at first sight, those who cross to the other side of the street to avoid him, and, most of all, those who want to solve the ongoing mystery … What Kind of Dog is That?

It’s a question we answered years ago, and have been answering daily since.

Putting the curiosity factor aside, Ace provokes some pretty visceral reactions — my past two motel stops being a good example of that.

At the Motel 6 in Biloxi, the staff couldn’t get enough of him. Everytime we passed through the office, Ace stood and put his front paws on the counter, got petted and praised and generally adored. They bestowed him with a nickname, the notorious B.A.D. (for Big Ass Dog) and begged us to come back and visit again.

At a Motel 6 on the outskirts of New Orleans — from which we departed yesterday — the staff, while friendly and accepting, didn’t want him anywhere near them.

“That things a horse,” a desk clerk said, asking me to hang around while she called a fellow employee to come see him. “She’s a real dog lover,” she said.

When that employee came around the corner, she shrieked and then ran behind the counter. As it turned out, she was afraid of dogs, and we’d been roped into a practical joke.

Sometimes I wonder what Ace makes of it all — if he wonders why some humans have an irrepressible desire to meet and pet him while others can’t get away fast enough? He can sense, I think, which are which. Rarely will he approach a human who isn’t urging him to, unless that human has, say, an open┬ábag of Fritos. Those he bonds with, meanwhile, will get leaned on and, likely, have their foot sat on, as if to say, “I like you. Stay a while.”

Ace seems to be getting used to motel rooms. He stayed at the Motel 6 while I went to St. Bernard Parish for interviews, then took advantage of time without dog to stop for something other than fast food — a Chinese buffet around the corner from the motel. I’d avoided it the first day because its name was R P Buffet, and I thought maybe an “I” between the “R” and “P” had fallen out during a hurricane, and who wants to eat at the RIP Buffet?

It had a dazzling array of food, though, and I loaded my plate repeatedly before leaving with my fortune cookie. I decided Ace, being room-bound, deserved both the cookie and the fortune.

As it turned out, it was a fitting one.

(To go back to Day One of “Dog’s Country” and read all the entries, click here.)

Biloxi’s beaches — no oil, no dogs

Mississippi’s coast has so far been spared from BP-sponsored black tides, with most of the oil that has leaked since the rig explosion appearing to be headed for the coastlines of Florida and Louisiana.

Despite that, Biloxi’s wide white sand beaches seemed relatively empty when Ace and I pulled into town yesterday.

A massive effort to fight off any slicks that might approach is being staged, but Biloxi’s beaches so far are fortunately free of oil, unfortunately short on┬átourists and, as usual, not dog friendly.

Maybe Biloxi is a reflection of how skewed our priorities can get. Drilling in the gulf? No problem. Casinos on the beach? The more the merrier. Dogs on the beach? No way.

They, or so I guess the reasoning goes, might taint the pristine shores.

Meanwhile, the welcome mat is laid out for high-rises and high-rollers and those seeking oil from beneath the gulf, even though the potential mess they might bring can mount far higher than a pile of dog poop.

I’m just sayin’.

Of course, policy and practice are two different things, and locals inform me that, except on the weekends, one can pretty much get away with their dog on the beach, as long as he or she is leashed.

We didn’t know that, so Ace and I just sat on a bench under the 96 degree sun and stared longingly at the water.

We stayed at a Motel 6, which we can now add to our truly dog friendly list.

The room was a bit spartan, but the staff went gaga over Ace, and his poundage — despite the silly obsession so many motels have about a dog’s weight — was not a factor at all. The staff even came up with a nickname for him, BAD, standing for Big Ass Dog.

Today, after a day driving south, Big Ass Dog and me head west. Possibly we’ll stop at one of Mississippi’s dog-friendlier beaches, maybe we’ll spend some time in New Orleans before taking on Texas. In any event, we plan to dip our toes in the water — avoiding, we hope, the big ass oil spill.