The Day of Bared Fangs and Fannies
(by Susan Reinhardt of The Asheville Citizen Times, published January 16th, 2000)

At first, it appeared to be a routine job. Go see some property, assign a value. Go back to the office. Do the paperwork.

Phil Blake has been a real estate appraiser in town for 15 years. He’s seen a few things out of the ordinary, but nothing that would remotely compare to what he got himself into not long ago.

It was a warm enough fall morning, around 10 a.m., and Blake pulled up to the ranch-style house in Kenilworth for his appointment.

First thing he noticed was the fence.

“It was a fairly large fence, non unusual, but then I saw the electric fence on top of it,” Blake said, recalling the most bizarre day in his career history. “I figured there were some dogs in there, so I started whistling, dog-type whistling, and nothing happened.”

Blake has in the past run into his share of dogs, and began rattling the fence to see what awaited him. Still, not a whimper.

“I couldn’t get anything to come up, so I went ahead and let myself in the fence and went up to the front door,” he said. “The front door was open, but the storm door was closed and I could see inside the house. I knocked and immediately two huge German police dogs came racing toward the storm door, barking and doing their job.”

The dogs bared their fangs and rose up on hind legs, warning Blake with their angry faces and gnashing sounds that he’d be better off going back home.

But Blake had a job to do and was determined not to let dogs stop him. This howling and barking went on for about 10 seconds before the animals hopped down and disappeared. Unknown to the appraiser, they had bounded through a side door and before Blake could catch his breath, were approaching from behind and preparing to attack.

Blake figured by now the good owners must have heard the noise and would let him in. He gave a quick look toward the dogs, the warnings glimmering in their yellow eyes, and decided breaking and entering beat death any day.

“In the nick of time,” he said, “I let myself in.”

Still, no one appeared to notice or hear the commotion. The house, though unlocked, seemed deserted. But not for long. Almost as soon as Blake got inside, one of the dogs had sneaked around and was trying to trap the appraiser, sending the man’s heartbeat into overdrive.

“Is anybody home?” Blake yelled, looking around for an escape. “Is anybody home?”

He bolted past the dining room and down the hallway toward a back bedroom, dog following and ready to “rip me apart.”

He saw a closed bedroom door and let himself in, pressing his weight against the wood as the dogs yelped and tried to push their way inside.

Then a wild scream pierced the air. Blake’s eyes widened in horror at the sound of it – and the sight before him.

There, lying in bed, was a 70ish-year-old woman naked as the day she was born, wearing nothing but the red glow that was beginning to color her cheeks.

“She started screaming bloody murder,” he said.

“Ma’am,” he said, heart thumping, “Ma’am, I’m the appraiser and your dogs are about to kill me.”

She bolted upright and covered herself with a sheet and realized the man in front of her wasn’t’ going to cause harm, unless a woman could possibly die of embarrassment.

Meanwhile, while making small talk, Blake continued to bear his weight against the door, bumping as if on a wild ride from the strength of guard dogs trying to do their jobs, and perhaps eat an appraiser for lunch.

Finally, the woman in bed began hollering for her husband.

“Curtis!” she yelled. “CURTIS!”

While waiting on someone to show up and rescue her, naked woman and Blake continued and awkward chat.

“Will those dogs really hurt somebody?” he asked.

She scrunched up her face and hissed: “They’ll eat your alive!”

Through the crack in the door, in between rounds of dog pounding, Blake heard a door open and saw a figure shuffling down the hall.

He looked closer.

He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The man was in his 70s and, he too, was naked as the day he was born. He called the dogs off and shuffled back to his room to put some clothes on. But before he could go, his mad wife squawked:

“&*@!! Curtis, you’re getting a hearing aid now, aren’t ya?”

Later, as the shaken appraiser evaluated the property and the embarrassed lady of the house was out of earshot, Blake turned to the man.

“Will those dogs really hurt somebody?” he asked.

The man shook his head.

“They wouldn’t hurt a flea.”

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