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Sunday, August 06, 2006


by Rochelle Ratner

A guard dog has ripped apart a collection of rare teddy bears, including one once owned by Elvis Presley, during a rampage at a children's museum. Authorities struggled to explain what triggered the attack…
– CBS News, August 3, 2006

First off, there was his name. Barney. Even though his
breeder insisted he’d been named for the expensive New
York department store, whenever he heard his name he
imagined children laughing in the background. So he hated
children. Then, there was his trainer, who happened to be
an Elvis Presley maniac. Brushing Barney after a run, he’d
be singing: you ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog… Barney was
fairly certain a Doberman wasn’t a hound, but it still upset
him. Songs such as Love Me Tender or Heartbreak Hotel
he could shake off his fur like dried gravel, but sometimes
at night when he couldn’t sleep there would be other
Pretzel lyrics going through his head: Let me be your lovin’
teddy bear, put a chain around my neck and lead me
anywhere… Well, he didn’t think much of the chain part,
but at times he was so lonely he might have agreed to that.

Rochelle Ratner's books include two novels: Bobby's Girl (Coffee House Press, 1986) and The Lion's Share (Coffee House Press, 1991) and sixteen poetry books, including House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003) and Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, October 2005). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage: