I live in a part of the country where folks are inordinately fond of their pets, and suffer under the delusion that everyone else should find their hairy little animals as charming as they do.
In other places I’ve lived, people feel this way about their children. Here, it’s dogs. So in our town, dogs ride in shopping carts (ewwww!), spreading parvo virus on your produce. They are illegally unleashed to play in designated swimming areas, and poop in public parks and on my front lawn (Seriously! A woman walking her dog past my house recently stopped to let the dog take a squat in my front yard. When I called her out, she said “I was going to pick it up.” Yeah, so never mind then. Because my daughter, who practices handstands on our front lawn, doesn’t mind at all putting her bare hand in your dog’s tapeworm-laced defecation.)
This morning, a man walking up the Big Hill assured me his off-leash, untrained, disobedient, wet smelly dog wouldn’t hurt me, though it would lick me to death. Oh, well that’s okay then. Because everyone knows that when you say your dog won’t bite, it’s perfectly safe to bend over and kiss the thing right on the mouth. That never ends badly. (And who wouldn’t want slobber and hair from a strange wet dog on their freshly laundered clothes?) Dude. I wouldn’t trust my own child not to bite a stranger. You can’t know what your yappy little spaniel might do. You can’t even get it to walk on leash. Train your unruly dog and keep it leashed in public. (By the way, I’m not afraid of dogs; I’m just not keen to reek like your wet English Springer.)
Yesterday, a nice man on the Big Hill was trying to train his Shiba Inu – unsuccessfully, it turns out – but he did at least have the dog on a leash. Poor beast. I couldn’t watch. The dog was wrapped around his legs, had its choke on backwards, and was gagging and confused. I suggested he at least turn the collar the right way around, and offered to help. He held the dog’s hindquarters while I wrestled the too-tight choke collar off the dog and put it on correctly. Of course, in the process I got Shiba Inu dander all over my hands, and when I rubbed my eye, it swelled up like a cantaloupe. I had to drive one-eyed to Safeway to score some Benadryl, which I swallowed right there in the aisle. Thirty hours later, I still look as though I suffered a small stroke.
That’ll teach me to help strangers. Or animals.
Now, anyone want to talk to me about my kid kicking the back of their airplane seat all the way to Singapore? Such a cute child. Don't you just want to squeeze his darling little cheeks while I ignore his screaming and take a nap? (Oh, and you don't mind if I change his dirty diaper here on the tray table, do you? I'll wipe it off with this tissue when I'm done.)
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Today’s soundtrack: Skinny Elvis, in head-to-toe black leather, singing Hound Dog. Mmmm-mmm good. Anthropomorphize that!