The Epic Battle of Little-Bit and the Ficus Plant
A ficus plant. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
By Steven Laffoley 24 January 2022 Share this story
Steven Laffoley takes a break from the pandemic to recall a Chihuahua and its absurd battle
As I approached the end of our challenging first week back at school, I was reminded of my grandfather’s dog, a half-blind Chihuahua with a pronounced incontinence problem.
For reasons never really explained to me, the dog was given the name Little-Bit. Though, as I think about it now, I suspect the name was given because the dog had an unfortunate habit of leaving a “little bit” here and a “little bit” there as he went about his day.
Anyway, Little-Bit had something of Don Quixote’s spirit in him, though rather than tilt at windmills, Little-Bit set out each morning to confront a malformed Ficus plant that sat innocuously in the corner of the living room floor.
When Little-Bit caught sight of the plant (out of the corner of his one good eye, of course), he would launch into a frothing frenzy of yipping and yapping and baring of teeth until, well, he would leave a “little bit” on the hardwood floor. Having made his point — or in this case his puddle — he would then trundle off to his water bowl for a proper refuelling.
One day, during this daily confrontation, Little-Bit decided to take his fight with the Ficus plant to the next level.
With a bravery known only to a mighty few, Little-Bit decided he would fully enter the fray by leaping up and latching his teeth on the bared truck of the Ficus plant. Of course, being half blind, Little-Bit missed rather badly and careened off the side wall and into the clay pot in which the Ficus stood.
Startled to find himself in such an unfortunate position, he howled, as a Chihuahua can only do, and in a full-on panic launched himself from the lip of the pot to escape. Unfortunately, in doing so, he managed to tip the Ficus over such that the leaves of the plant landed on Little-Bit’s body.
What happened next was epic.
Amid the forest of leaves, Little-Bit fought for all he was worth, snapping and snipping at the branches and leaves while the Ficus plant did its best to hold the fierce little dog down. For a time, the outcome was decidedly uncertain. And yet, when finally the dog emerged from under the plant, sporting small pieces of torn green leaves on his coat and leaving behind more than just a “little bit,” he turned back toward the plant and paused for just a moment, seemingly satisfied that he had finally vanquished his longstanding foe.
He then trundled off to his water bowl, refuelled, and promptly left a sizeable puddle in the kitchen.
And so, you ask, what lessons are we to learn from the epic battle of Little-Bit and the Ficus plant? Probably nothing, really. Though, I would likely think twice before owning a half-blind Chihuahua with a pronounced incontinence problem.
Steven Laffoley is an educator and author. His most recent book is Unfiltered: an irreverent history of beer in Nova Scotia.
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