When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I remember reading a book and seeing a line that mentioned a pet peeve. I’d never heard the term, and there weren’t any pets or animals in the story, so I asked my parents what it meant. They explained that it was something that annoys or frustrates people. I said it’d be funny to name a dog Peeve, so when someone asked what your pet peeve was, you’d answer “my dog,” and they’d be confused. Finally, when I was 48 and I had no one else to give me input into a name, I got to have it my way.
When I first moved into the Lowell neighborhood, I excitedly told our neighborhood police officer that I’d bought a house. She said, “You’d better have a dog, a gun, and an alarm.” I laughed off her suggestions. Later that week I saw Chief Jerry Dyer at a City Department director meeting, and I shared my exciting news about my new home. He said, “You’d better have a dog, a gun, and an alarm.” I don’t always (often) listen to advice, but this time I thought maybe I should.
I’d planned on getting an alarm, since I’ve always had one regardless of which neighborhood or city I’ve lived in. And I had an old hunting rifle already. I couldn’t hit my back shed from my back porch with it, but it makes a hell of a loud boom. I hadn’t planned on getting a dog, though. I knew that to have a dog was something I’d really have to commit to, and I’d hoped to have fewer obligations.
I headed out to the SPCA a couple of days later. Just to take a look. I walked through the main area and didn’t make any love connections. Then I walked through the strays section. All of the dogs were asleep or growling at me… until on the last row, where there was this youngster wagging his tail at me. I said “sit” and he sat, still wagging his tail. I put my hand on the gate and he popped up and licked my hand. I asked to take him outside for a bit to see if he got along well with other dogs and people… and he did. I then got into my car and left him behind. I made it about two miles back toward town, before I suddenly uttered some profanity and turned my car around. He had me.
That was seven years ago. Our relationship started out a little rocky. Peeve didn’t like being left alone and City Hall didn’t really have a “take your dog to work” culture (except I did sneak him in on nights and weekends). How did I know he didn’t like being left alone? He chewed up a couple of couches, multiple chairs, the backseat of my car, and every shoe and boot I owned. We almost parted ways when he chewed up the remote control and I couldn’t watch a Giants playoff game that I’d DVR’d while I’d had a Fresno Housing Authority board meeting.
Friends starting dropping off their dogs at our house during the workday so that the dogs could wear each other out. I started taking Peeve to Welcome Waggers where he learned some more manners and social skills (and they wore him out). But thankfully he outgrew his destructive phase, although longtime friend and vet to all of my dogs Dr. Gary Shahbazian told me that sometimes it gets worse, not better (I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time).
When I was contemplating opening up a restaurant on the Fulton Mall, I remembered Bosco’s Bones and Brew in Sunol. I thought, That’s what we need, a friendly place with a friendly pub dog. And what could be a better location than right next to the Health Department? Actually, those Health Department folks were really cool about Peeve being there and were great customers… unless someone would complain, which only happened twice. Then they’d give me a warning and I’d keep Peeve away until after 5 p.m. when things cooled down. I’d been following the trend of dog-friendly places for years and it was actually a big draw for our little pub.
Peeve and I go to Kearney Park in the mornings for our exercise and know the other regulars out there. Peeve is a favorite with the neighborhood kids and puts up with their attempts to ride him, take him for walks, and teach him new tricks. He hates fireworks, but he loves cats and will lick them. He chases squirrels but doesn’t hurt them. He is really disappointed in my Whole Food Plant-Based Lifestyle more than I can express… no more calzones or late night Robertito’s to split.
One of the favorite neighborhood stories is true, but has grown into a bit of a tall tale over time. There was a wanted fugitive a few buildings over from our house. The police had surrounded the area, including the alley behind us. When the suspect jumped out a window and ran across our backyard, Peeve happened to be walking around the other corner of the house. The fugitive hesitated when he saw Peeve. The police officer who had jumped the fence from the alley saw this happen and alertly yelled “Police dog! Get down on the ground!” The man complied and got down on the ground. The officer was on top of him with handcuffs in seconds. The neighborhood kids started taunting the man (as kids will) instantly, chanting “You’re afraid of Peeve, you’re afraid of Peeve…”
Now, after seven years, we’re just two gray-haired bachelors enjoying hikes and road trips, and strolling downtown Fresno. Thanks to Officer Angie and Chief Dyer, I wouldn’t have my best friend. Peeve destroyed more stuff than any burglar would’ve ever stolen, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m just grateful that Peeve chose me. I know which of us was truly the rescue.