Take my dog, please. No, but really, you gotta hear about this little guy. Terrier, need I say more? But he’s got it in spades, the nasty little thing, that’s what the UPS guy calls him. He likes to bite the UPS guy.

His name is Jack Shut-up Bower Goodale. Shut-up, shut-up — because he owns the world and we are all invaders, even me, and he’s got to protect his turf. He growls and barks and lunges and tears at things, just about rips the house down when the oil man comes up the drive.

He likes to ride in the car so he can patrol his territory, which is the whole world. No way a dog on a leash on the sidewalk gets off without a lunging attack held back by auto glass. You can barely see out any of my windows because of the slobber and nose prints smudged like paste on the glass. Hey, why would I want to clean them? He’s only going to do the lunging thing again.

Here’s a good example. The little terror chased a squirrel up under my car. The rodent tried to hide up in the hollows and Jack goes after him, gets to ripping everything in sight, pulls out all the wires and I gotta get triple A to put the car on a flat bed, take it to the shop so it will run again. What a dog!

Just think about it: a wicked smart juvenile delinquent teenager in a dog’s body. And the body. He’s solid like a bristly white mailbox filled with concrete. The vet went to give him a shot and Jack was so tight with muscle, the vet could barely pull any skin up to slide the needle under. All that and I got Jack in a head lock so he wouldn’t tear the vet to pieces.

Besides patrolling in the car, he likes his toys. The wife comes home from shopping with a new toy; what the heck is she thinking? It’s a hard round ball that’s got this recording that goes off whenever the ball moves. Like giving your kids a drum set for Christmas, for heaven’s sake! So all day long he’s back and forth across the house with this ball just a screaming, like to drive you crazy. So, I go to hide it (after I deal with the lock jaw; I have to flip him on his back and grab his throat so he’ll let go). I hide it behind my back and drop it in the garbage can. I’ve owned the dog, what? For three years? And I haven’t fooled him yet. He flips the can over and he’s got the ball. So, we do it all over again.

Finally I take him and the ball to Wal-Mart, a walking dog diverts his attention and I get the ball in my pocket and take it into the store and throw it in their can. I go back to the car. He’s chewed halfway through the way back shoulder belts, third seat in the Excursion. Later, thinking what’s the big deal? Get new straps. Costs me $100 a side, they have to tear the back panels out and replace the whole system, the fancy retracting spool things.

So, you want to know why I don’t just shoot him? I love the little guy. Talk about pizazz! When he was a pup we let him out one night and he went around back and cornered this skunk under the stairs; ended up dragging the poor little thing out by the tail, getting sprayed something fierce. Jack thinks, so what? That was two years ago and even today, when he gets wet, he smells like skunk; no wonder the perfume people study the lasting effect of skunk juice.

He is always on the alert. He sits on a kitchen chair in the sun room that looks down on Route 1 and barks at anybody walking by. Half the time he’s got his nose in the air, sniffing, turns his head left, then right, head still up, sniffing. There isn’t anything that gets by him.

The wife gets up at 4:30 in the morning to meditate, do yoga and let all four of our dogs out. They get back in, and Jack comes back to our bed. He loves to sleep, but don’t disturb him. He’ll growl and go for you, all teeth, if you wake him up. Even once the day’s started, he loves to go upstairs and nap. It’d be my guess he is so strung out about his daily mission, he needs to get all charged up.

Say, you want to meet him? I have him right out in the car. I’ll go get him.

Just kidding.