LBDS and Devil Dogs
I'm sure your first question is "What is an LBD?" For owners of a certain breed of Belgian dog, the answer is easy. An LBD is a "Little Black Devil," more commonly known as a Schipperke.
Now, it is not by chance that this mischievous little canine is called a 'Little Black Devil.' These impish little fellows and gals are bundles of energy, and known for pulling little pranks. Missing a slipper? Find your sweet, innocent little Schip. Chances are that the two are not far apart. If they are not together, it's only because the Schip threw the object down a flight of stairs or some other clever spot. When caught red-handed, the Schip's little black eyes will look up at you in such an endearing way that you may even begin to believe that the slipper jumped into its mouth--such an angelic face has this adorable culprit.
Want to catch your Schip when he's run away with your pen? Good luck! A Schip can go from zero to fifty miles per hour in about two seconds flat. As the Schip often runs in a circular motion (often called 'Nascar-ing'), you'll often fall down dizzy before you even get near him! Of course, before you fall down, you'll remark how cute he is when he runs around like that. In the alternative, when he does not have one of your possessions, and you offer a petting session, a Schip will be as easy to catch as a fly with honey!
It will come as no surprise that these little pranksters have merited names such as Grendl (the monster from the epic Beowulf), Beowolf, Dante (Author of the Italian literary masterpiece, Dante's Inferno, from the Divine Comedy) LeStat (Vampire made famous in Anne Rice's novels), Lazlo (a fictional vampire), Bear, Wolf, Vixen (fox-like), Cerebus (the three-headed, snake-tailed dog that guarded the gates of hell in Greek mythology), Taz (short for Tasmanian Devil, of course!) , Bela (Lugosi), Lucy-fer, Count Blackula, Glaysia (a mythological Devil Princess) and Monkey. Yet, Schipperke owner Chuck says of the playful Belgian barge dog, "The love and devotion that these dogs have to give is worth it."
"I nicknamed my Schip Diabolita," says Schip owner Sarah. "It's a nickname I picked up from my best friend, who is Latin American. It means Little Devil Girl."
After a Schip rescue she had acquired was originally named K-Bear, Pat K. re-evaluated her choice and gave the pup a nickname. "He is a definite LBD, full of the devil most of the time," she says. "I began calling him little Dickens, an old English (pre-Charles) euphemism for the Devil. To play the dickens means to cause havoc or chaos. That's my Schip!"
Colleen S, another proud Schipperke owner, named her little black devil Puck (for the mad sprite/prankster in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream). In the play, Puck is a goblin who is small and skitters around a lot, much like the Schip breed. An excerpt of dialogue spoken by Puck appropriately describes the Schip "Up and down, up and down, I will lead them up and down; I am fear'd in field and town. Goblin, lead them up and down." Says Sterne, "Puck is definitely a prankster and a sprite. He leads everyone on a merry chase, my beloved LBD!"
A great watchdog, the Schip is effective as such due to his menacing growl, large canines and fierce look when intruders come to the door. Yet, don't let your opinion of the Schip be tempered by their unfriendly greeting--the next time you look at the same Schip, he or she may be curled up like a baby in their owner's lap.
Although its 'horns' are not always visible, the most apparent features of a Schipperke are a small body, no tail*, pointed ears, a mane around the neck that resembles a lion's, dark thoughtful eyes and a pointed face that looks like a black arctic fox. Don't think for a moment, though, that the Schipperke doesn't come loaded with a little halo, too. There's no better companion than a Schipperke when you're in bed with a cold or just want someone to cuddle with.
So now, if you see someone taking a lively little black dog trick or treating, with or without a costume, you'll know its supposed to be a little devil, and boy is he!
*However, I have on one occasion, seen a Schip with a tail. His name is Bo, and he lives in North Carolina, with his mom, Michelle and the rest of his family.
BIO: Lynne Remick lives with her son Kevin, her Schipperke Dante and her feral cat Sahara, in New York, where she reads, writes stories, book reviews, writing columns and poetry. In addition, she is the moderator of an on-line writers group called Writer's Ink. You can visit Lynne at Planet L, her world, in words and pictures (http://www.planetl.com), or at her Writer's Moon, (http://writersmoon.virtualave.net).