A Gay Man, Chasing a Dog, Sipping the First Iced Coffee of Spring

Written by | Gay Voices

A Smiling Black dog

Photo by Ken Reid

Sebastian’s first sunny spring Sunday – enjoying coffee with his new boyfriend and his dog, Taffy Davenport – goes way off the leash.

The First Iced Coffee of Spring

It was the kind of spring day written about in novels or captured in movies. The morning was filled with gentle breezes beneath a yellow sun. My new boyfriend (who had recently moved in) and I had the house to ourselves. I was doing Sunday things. After a trip to the market, I fried the eggs, and toasted the toast. I made the coffee, and cut up an avocado to add color to the plate.

After the dishes were cleared and washed, we lounged and cuddled next to boughs of fresh cherry blossoms cut the day before. We made tentative plans for summer, which seemed to be waiting at our doorstep, creeping over our window panes. I beckoned to us with in the sound of lawnmowers and smell of fresh spring grass.

We took the dog out into the back garden, where we sipped more coffee, and considered what vegetables we’d plant in the next week. His dog is named Taffy. I have given her the surname of Davenport, to celebrate the Mink Stole character from in John Waters’ Female Trouble. That morning we had a tag engraved with “Taffy D.” to put on her collar – with his phone number on it just in case she ever got out.

Suddenly Sunday took a dramatic turn. I had decided to ice down my coffee, and I opened the door to the back deck. We were about to hook Taffy Davenport up to the long chain that allows her to stroll the garden freely when – boom! – she ran past the both of us.

Runaway Taffy

We called out to her. She stopped and briefly turned around as if to taunt us. Then she disappeared out of the garden.

We both gave chase. At the end of the driveway, Taffy teased us by turning around again. And so, with my first iced coffee of spring still in hand, I bolted after her.

“Where are you going?!” boyfriend screamed.

“The dog!!!” I screamed indignantly. Where else would I be going?”

My coffee was splashing all over – a sacrifice to the patron saints of animals, lost things and dog-catchers. I kept calling her name, certain she’d stop when she heard it. And she did, several times. She’d then turn around, pause, gauge how long she could mock me with her stare before I caught up. Taffy Davenport even held my gaze from a corner then turned left.

Still running, I tried to drink some of the iced coffee. I realized how ridiculous I must look: a gay man chasing after an escaped dog while also attempting leisurely sip a beverage. So I tossed the coffee – glass and all – onto a strip of lawn separating the pavement from the street. (It was in a mason jar, and – this being Portland – I felt fairly sure someone would soon pick it up and give it new life as a bud vase.)

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Finally, Taffy was intercepted by a tall guy at another corner. I slowed my pace to fast jog. The stranger distracted her with play, while he waited for me to catch up. I expected to reach them in less than a minute. But as he went to slip his hand into her collar, she turned around and flashed me a wild look and took off, crossing to the other side of the avenue.

“Damn,” I remember thinking. “I could really use some iced coffee.”

The dog was still in my sight. I stopped shouting her name. My new tactic was to run behind her as quietly as possible. I’d wait for her to stop and smell something and sneak up on her. She wasn’t having any of that.

I noticed we were only two blocks away from the major avenue which cuts through the section of Portland where I live, Lombard Street. (In fact, it’s where you’ll find the Portland Eagle.) It’s a busier street, which would be filled with drivers returning from Sunday brunch. I saw two distinct possibilities. One, she’d run off, we’d post flyers and hope a kind neighbor would find her. Two, my new boyfriend’s dog would meet an untimely end courtesy of a driver who’d had too many Sunday cocktails. And then there came a third.

The Tattooed Man

The awnings of Lombard Street’s businesses were only a block away. Time was running out. And then, I saw him: a typical Portland guy, his arms covered in sleeves of tattoos, wearing a Timbers hat. In his right hand he held a soft, white, big, fluffy dog on a leash.

Taffy’s downfall is other dogs. She considers every fellow canine a new friend. She danced around man and beast, attempting to throw her front paws onto the other pet. He didn’t seem to take notice of the diminutive homosexual covered in coffee stains staggering behind her.

Taffy was playing with the tattooed man’s dog. I knew if she sensed me approaching, she’d begin running again. I waved my arm so that he would see that I, too, was tattooed – as though that brotherhood would earn me special treatment. “She’s friendly,” I shout-whispered. “Can you grab her collar?”

The Long Way Home

The tattooed man did manage to hold Taffy for me. After some small talk about how it is when dogs run off, I was on my way to my boyfriend. I was hunched over, my fingers looped tightly around her collar, as we walked nearly a mile back to the house. People gave me looks, questioning why I was walking her without a leash or perhaps why my Kelly green tee was covered with coffee.

Once on our block, Taffy began trotting back faster. “Oh,” I said, “so now that you’ve had your adventure, you can’t wait to get home!”

Inside the house, the dog jumped all over the boyfriend as if he was the one who had gone missing. He thanked me profusely. It turned out that he had gone back into the house for the car keys – thinking four wheels would be a better match for four legs and lost sight of us. We sat on the sofa with her, threatening empty punishments like no treats for a month. But most of all we felt thankful. Our recently-formed trio were all together again.

As it was still early in the afternoon, we made more coffee. He and returned to the back garden and resumed plotting where we’d plant veggies and place outdoor furniture. But this time – as we sipped the second iced coffee of 2019 – we left the dog inside the house.

Explore another season with Sebastian. Watch him say goodbye to summer at a gay nude beach.

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Last modified: April 4, 2019

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