Due to a series of disconcerting incidents involving dogs, the Secret Service is now keeping canines of all breeds at least 100 yards from the Candidate. Veteran agents, off the record, say they have never before seen anything like it. Instead of staying on the alert for assorted crazies or annoying pranksters who sprinkle the Candidate with glitter, agents have been forced to keep a wary eye out for mischievous dogs lurking behind the rope line.
It started in Iowa City with a harmless-looking apricot-colored miniature poodle with a pink ribbon in its hair. The Candidate reached out to scratch the poodle’s left ear, but before he could get out the words, “Good doggie,” the intelligent-looking domestic companion, in most accounts described as a 9-year-old spayed female, snapped at the Candidate, causing a superficial wound on his right ring finger.
The Iowa City incident was initially dismissed as a random act, especially since poodles with pink ribbons are notoriously unpredictable. The poodle’s owner, Mrs. Hyrum Vanderhut, assured the Secret Service that “Bernice’s little nip” at the Candidate was the first of its kind. Just the day before, Bernice had licked not just the ear, but the cheek, forehead and nose of the plump former Speaker of the House from Georgia.
In New Hampshire, the Candidate was glad-handing farmers in a quaint public square when, out of nowhere, a border collie leaped on the Candidate’s head and began chewing on his immaculately coiffed hair. Secret Service agents immediately sprang into action and successfully removed the border collie from the Candidate’s head. The black-and-white canine was interrogated by the agents for several hours, but refused to divulge what had provoked the senseless attack.
Similar assertions of canine displeasure began occurring with increasing frequency. In South Carolina, a schnauzer named Stanley eluded the sharp eyes of the Secret Service and took a bite out of the Candidate’s ankle as he drank a root-beer float in a Myrtle Beach Dairy Queen. In Florida, two Rhodesian ridgebacks knocked the Candidate to the ground as he was trying to establish a connection with a female voter by guessing how much she weighed.
The Candidate began to awake screaming in the night, and aides would rush to the bedroom to find the Candidate pleading with an unseen presence. “Don’t torment me, Seamus, you told me you liked riding on top of the car.”
As the campaign moved into Michigan, Secret Service agents were at their wits’ end at how to protect the Candidate from the growing protests from the dog community. In Ypsilanti, Mich., a perky little Shih Tzu named Frieda darted through the crowd and proceeded to lift its leg on the freshly pressed jeans of the Candidate.
Secret Service agents gave pursuit but were foiled when a pack of street mutts suddenly blocked their path.
The straw that broke the camel’s back, or more accurately, the turd that ruined the Candidate’s loafers, was the incident in Yazoo City, Miss. For days, Secret Service agents had been getting tips that a rogue band of Welch corgis was massing outside the city to invade the Candidate’s camp and chew up every last wingtip in the Candidate’s wardrobe. Despite elaborate surveillance and an impermeable perimeter, a single canine was able to invade the camp and deposit a stool sample in each of the Candidate’s favorite loafers.
No paw prints were found anywhere near the scene of the crime. Some recall an eerie bark receding into the night, and others claim to have seen the ghostly form of an Irish setter loping toward the horizon in the early dawn.
The Candidate is said to have turned pale at the description of the ghost dog in the night. “Seamus,” he was heard whispering under his breath. “He won’t let me rest!” Campaign aides are said to be working on a strategy to appease the ghost of Seamus and persuade the canine world to cease and desist their acts of revenge. They are considering a number of options, including having the Candidate wear a jangly dog collar, eat dog food for a week, chase Frisbees in the park, or be put on a leash and walked around the block by his wife or one of his many sons.
Should those fail, the Candidate has no choice but to climb on top of one of his wife’s Cadillacs and ride the roof from sea to shining sea across the fruited and windy plain of America.
D.P. Sorensen writes a satire column for City Weekly.