He always seemed to set off a pair of dogs who spent most of the daylight hours on the porch of their owner's home. They would bark furiously at us as we passed, Linus either on the leash or off, gleefully running in front of me. I often stuck my tongue out at them. I may have flipped them off once or twice.
I did so on one particular day when Linus had brushed past me and set off running as fast as he could away from the house. The dogs were barking in their little dog voices that sounded like screaming children, so I stuck my tongue out at them.
Once I had gotten Linus under control and headed back home, I heard the screen door screech open and slam closed as I passed the porch. Then, I heard a voice grunt, "I saw what you did."
Bewildered, I turned around. "You stuck your tongue out at my dogs."
I had no idea how to respond. I just apologized, ironically, and headed back towards my home. She tagged it with, "if you would keep that mangey mutt on a leash..."
At that point, the fire started burning a little hotter. I got home and watched Linus, his tail forever wagging, and his eyes forever loving. I thought, "nobody talks about MY dog like that and gets away with it."
So I went back to her house, and I stood in her yard. When she came out to meet me, I implored her to keep her dogs from yelling at me. Implore might be a bit too polite. In any case, she stuck her tongue out at me, and I began screaming nonsense at her to give her a taste of her dogs' medicine.
"You're a retard!" she gasped with a look of pure astonishment.
"Oh sure. that's right. I'M a RETARD. Nice one! That's real p.c."
"I don't care nothin bout no p.c., YOU'RE A RETARD!" She repeated.
And then I realized, this is one of those times you just walk away. So...I walked away, laughing quietly under my breath, my heart racing with excitement.