To have a dog in Chicago is to be vigilant. Of where he poops. Of what he puts into his mouth. Of whom he meets. For 15 years, Fez consistently reminded me of this.
For example, I’d notice things on our walks by our first apartment in Lakeview. The rusty Schwinn locked on Oakdale, seemingly abandoned. A perpetually unlatched gate on George. That kite string that, years later, is still stuck on a Wellington tree. And the chicken-foot shaped stick by the postbox by my apartment on Seminary.
I noticed it a few day prior. Until finally, the chicken-foot shaped stick drew Fez’s nose. And I realized, with horror: that’s not a stick. He lunged, snorfed and bit it in one fluid motion.
As I pried his jaws open, his tongue clung to its prize. I shook his huge snout, trying to empty it like a wet trash can. He drooled. It smelled. I gagged. And shook again. He finally succumbed, dropping it on my sandaled foot. I still shudder.
While I avoided its location for days, from a distance I could see it was still by the post box. Until it wasn’t.
I still wonder. Why was there chicken foot on the sidewalk in Lakeview?
Two weeks later, a friend ordered a plate of fried chicken feet at Phoenix in Chinatown, just to see me squirm.