Fu Dog Substitute

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Allerton Fu Dog

Stone Fu Dogs, displayed in pairs, guarded the entrances of Chinese imperial palaces and temples for years, and now can be found at the entrances of homes and businesses. They serve the same function as gargoyles, figuratively–or perhaps, magically–guarding the structure and those inside from harmful people and evil vibes.

When I visited Robert Allerton Park, in Monticello, Illinois, as a child, I was not only impressed by the statue of the Sun Singer, but with the numerous Fu Dogs. I imagined that one day I would own an estate with a pair of these dogs at the entrance, the female on the left and the male on the right greeting all who might visit.

My estate and my Fu Dogs haven’t materialized. Perhaps it’s fate or the humor of the universe or–more likely–simply a lack of funds.

Even so, my den is is guarded by two substitute Fu Dogs. One is a two-inch high gargoyle modeled after those at Asheville’s Biltmore house. The other is Katy, a large–and potentially overweight–calico cat who persists in monitoring everything that happens in my office. She either sits on the back of my large desk chair or positions herself next to the file cabinet so she can see all the way down the hall toward the foyer of the house.

If another cat or my wife or anyone else ventures into my domain, Katy is right there, quick to show her displeasure by either her posture or the flattened-back position of her ears. Fortunately, she doesn’t move on to hissing, growling or biting.

We are all somewhat amused, but not having real Fu Dogs at my front door or even at the door to my den, Katy provides all the protection of need from the slings and arrows of evil spirits to the (probably) malicious intentions of other cats sneaking down the hallway.

I feel so fortunate.

Malcolm

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