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The Franco-Polish Neurologist

Zack and Babinski, on the lookout for fiends in squirrel form.

Married people have unspoken agreements. One of ours was that whenever one of us proposed expanding our land-bound ark, the other would veto it. 
Full of confidence in our bond, we ended up looking at puppies. 
A small white ball of fluff, with prick ears, black eyes, and white eyelashes, looked up at us.  
Then she smiled that devastating "Samoyed smile."
No one else had her attention. She and those eyelashes looked back and forth between us. 
“Should we bring her home?” I asked. Alex was doing his first year of residency; he couldn’t want another animal about the house. What I failed to consider was that he had picked her up, and she had snuggled up under his chin.
“Yeah, let’s get her.”
Well! What a how-de-do. Someone forgot to say “no.”

First task (after getting the landlord’s permission) was to find a name.
“What about Aurora? Or Luna? Athena?” I had, after all, studied literature.
“Naw. Those are dopey.”
I appealed to my work colleagues. Their best? “Spot” (she was a spotlessly white dog). Alex shook his head. 
“What do you want to name her?” I asked after each “No.”

One rationale for getting the dog was that she was a demo baby. 
Caring for a child is harder than a dog, but if you can’t hack dog parenting…

I feared ending up with a child named “Person” or “Kid.” A sympathetic soul suggested naming the dog after someone notable in Alex’s profession. 

The only dead-famous neurologists I knew of were Charcot and Babinski. 
“Babinski?” It had “babi” in it – overtones of cute without the cloy.  Despite the stereotypical smile, she wasn't actually a Samoyed; she was American Eskimo, popularly known as an "Eskie," so the "sk" fit, too.
Babinski, she became.

We loved her for all the reasons people love their dog – she was funny, sweet, and protected us from the insensate evil of squirrels, of which we had previously known nothing.  
She also helped us develop a dog-specific vocabulary.
Over 30 years later, when we talk to any of our dogs, we say “insk,” (as in, "Insk Babinsk?") “nosk,” "treatsk," "bonesk,"and “outsk.” 

Even better: No progeny named Human.

For April 17, write a poem about a dog or dogs.


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