When Running for Critters Runs Into Critters Running. Also, Asshats.

I hope your coffee was super delicious, jagoff.

I hope your coffee was super delicious, jagoff.

Pop quiz!

Not quite one week ago you “rescued” a “traumatized” dog who is scared of people. Today, you want gas station coffee. Do you:

A) Pat pup on the head, give him a Kong, and take your 15 minute leave to walk to the local filling station

B) Pat pup on the head, give him a Kong, crate him, and take your 15 minute leave to walk to the local filling station

C) Put pup in the car and drive the stupidly short distance to the gas station because you don’t want to leave pup, but you really need the coffee and you realize only a serious douchecanoe would tie their dog to a trash can while they ducked into a convenience mart for coffee

D) Walk pup to gas station. Secure him to trash can because I mean, that’s basically their third purpose, behind “trash can” and bike rack, amirite?

If you picked D, I may have met you Thursday. And if you did, and I did, and you thought, “Heavens, that was a polite, if hurried young lady. What a wonderful world we live in! And with such delicious coffee!” I just want you to know that it took absolutely everything good within me to keep from kicking you in the nads.

If that all sounds familiar but you’re just not sure if it was you, allow me to refresh.

Me: smallish, possibly angry-looking female on last leg of run commute hauling ass up Federal street as your dog careened down the middle of it and through busy intersections before Tokyo-drifting around a corner and into morning commute traffic.

You: Douchecanoe who strolled leisurely in general direction of said dog, stopping to chat up passersby and enquire as to the whereabouts of your hound while sipping coffee and explaining, variously, that he “doesn’t run fast” and that he’s skittish around people.

I have a love/hate relationship with ambiguity and, in this instance, I’m feeling more hate. So, since I am kind and want what is best not only for you, but OF you, I have prepared a brief DOS and DON’Ts list for dog treatment in light of the above scenario. Let’s get started with the don’ts, shall we? Get all that pesky negativity out of the way.

  • DON’T secure your recently-rescued, “traumatized” and skittish dog to a trash can and then leave him unattended. How is this even a thing you need to be told? If my dad were alive he’d be asking you if you just fell off the turnip truck while I bashed you in the face with my fully loaded water bottle for being absolutely incompatible with a reasonable and compassionate citizenry. I would completely ignore irony in favor of sweet, vengeful righteousness.
  • You know what, asshole? DON’T secure any dog to any thing and then leave them unattended. This simplifies everything, because if you never do it, you won’t ever do it in such a profoundly imbecilic context as the one above. Even if your dog is the most awesomely well-socialized, friendly, happy, obedient canine on Earth, do you know what kind of PEOPLE are out there? For starters, there’s you. And then it goes down hill. There are people who see a dog and want a dog and steal a dog; people who need bait dogs; people who are seriously fucked in the head and just want to do awful things; jackass little kids who like to pet, poke, prod, or otherwise antagonize dogs because they’re little shits and their parents are cretins. ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE. Leaving your dog unattended is setting them up to be harassed, bite someone, or possibly get freaked out and pull over a trash can before running through the city streets.
  • DON’T adopt another damn dog. Not until you can wrap your mind around the most basic responsibilities of dog stewardship, chief among which is keeping them safe–an ideal fundamentally incompatible with tethering said dog to a trash can. I mean, if you’re ever in doubt, just say that out loud: “I am going to tether my dog to a trash can.” Would you tether your baby to a trash can? What about, like, your favorite leather car coat? You tying that to a trash can anytime soon? Do you even know who voluntarily touches trash cans? NOBODY THEY ARE GROSS AND COVERED IN TRASH JUICE.
  • DON’T, for the love of all that is good in this world, be that insufferably laid back person. You know, the one who’s all, “Dogs are cool, man, you just gotta chill out. They’ll find their way home if they get loose. They aren’t, like, stupid, man. Sometimes you just gotta let ’em run.” Dogs aren’t stupid, but this kind of flippant attitude is. I’m not asking you to be some kind of neurotic, I’m simply suggesting that you check in with common sense every so often and recognize that your dog is entirely dependent on you for all his basic needs, including safety. Just keep your goddamn dog safe and save your chill for the next Burning Man Festival.

And for the dos:

  • DO take a long, hard look at the picture at the top of the page. Because those are YOUR DOG’S BLOODY PAW PRINTS. I first saw them on Phineas Street, almost a mile from where I initially saw your dog. And on my way home, after work, I saw your dog’s bloody paw prints fucking everywhere. All over the North Side. That picture? That was taken on Sandusky, near the Warhol Museum. Nearly another mile from the prints on Phineas. There are miles of your poor dog’s bloody paw prints crisscrossing an entire section of the city. And while I realize that my mental anguish in seeing them is nothing compared to what your dog must have felt, running scared through traffic and bleeding all over the North Side, that shit chaps my ass so bad I’ma have to buy stock in Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. I spent THE ENTIRE GODDAMNED DAY thinking about and worrying about YOUR DOG. So, not only did you fuck up your dog’s day, but you seriously side fucked mine AND I AM NOT OK WITH THAT. It is not ok that I spent the morning imagining your dog being smashed by a truck on 28 and frantically texting the administrator of the local lost dog page. It is not ok that I did all this worrying and texting while thinking of you peaceably strolling down the street, making excuses for why your dog was hurling himself through intersections.

There really are no excuses. Your dog was in the position he was in because you were an asshole. Now, I realize that you and I shared a brief interaction during which you came off as a flippant prick and that may not be the real you. Maybe you realized you put your dog in a world of hurt and you shut down out of embarrassment and sincere regret. I don’t know, and I don’t really care.

But I do care about your dog. Your dog deserves better. If you’re ever reunited, I hope you remember that, and I hope you can somehow dig deep and find the champion that he deserves.

Though, if we’re being honest, I hope even more that some other, really super great person gets your dog and stuffs him full of liver jerky and snuggles on the couch with him. And if that person ever finds, on a blustery Thursday morning, that they really want a coffee, I hope they have a goddamned coffee maker.

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Quality Time With the Beagle

Wilderness Beagle

Wilderness Beagle

I am an architectural historian. 

I can finally say that without wincing just a little, because in addition to seven years of school, more loans than I care to think about, and a dogged determination, I finally have my first freelance project documenting non-contributing structures at a National Historic Site waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out in the country. Until today, I had been there exactly one time, during which visit I made three critical observations. 1) it is remote; 2) it is very large; 3) it is practically empty. From these observations, a formula was created: 

(remote wilderness + empty estate (huge land area))^2 = (City Girl freaked the hell out)^1,000,000 

I don’t even know if that’s a real equation. I’m an architectural historian.

Suffice to say that this urban explorer does not feel particularly safe in large swaths of empty wilderness. And I mean, we’re talking hundreds of acres. To reach the furthest flung structure, my round trip is a couple miles of trail. To hit all the structures we’re approaching six-ish miles, during which time I may not see another soul. So I’ve been kind of terrified of getting started, on account I’m fairly certain I’ll either be eaten by a bear, or accidentally shot by a hillbilly. In the very least, I had already confirmed that a lot of nature–bugs most especially–was going to touch me. 

As it happens, however, I came up with solutions to these problems. For the bugs, I purchased a DEET product so strong it warns me not to apply it to skin or synthetic fabrics. For the risk of nature contact, I wear pants, my Doc Martins, as much shirt as I can handle without incurring heat stroke, and a hat. 

And for the scary carnivores and hillbillies, it turns out that anti-social, shrieky beagle-ish I have comes in handy. 

So, armed with pesticides, a lot of clothing, and Calvin, I set off to get some work done in the desolate rolling hills of southwestern PA. 

But Fate, she is a cruel mistress. 

As soon as we turned into the parking lot, I realized I was being bitch slapped by Fortuna. There were, like, ten cars in the lot. Which is a metric fuckton of cars for a place that is literally twenty miles from nowhere. And all of the cars were full of people with dogs and babies. Babies placed into absolutely enormous and very threatening (to a beagle) strollers. Strollers the size of Hummers, as far as the eye could see, being pulled by dogs. I’m sure that was Cal’s first impression of the place. 

Yesterday, somebody dribbled liquishit around the bedroom while the humans were gone. We didn’t know which puppy. Today, I discovered it was Calvin. Not thirty seconds after popping out of the car and into a post-apocalyptic world where dogs and babies conspire to end us all by mowing us down with their twelve ton prams, Cal had several bouts of explosive diarrhea. 

Where I had expected peaceful desolation and an exhausting pupwalk, I was now faced with congestion and a digestively unsound, and increasingly anxious, wee hound. 

For the record, given all the ridiculous disasters around which I routinely tap dance in a performance I call “My Life,” I would eventually like for something to go as planned. I don’t want to be a hose beast but I really, really feel like I have it coming to me. 

Cal’s intestinal disturbance immediately removed the most distant structures from the realm of possibility, as I had no intention of marching him around in the heat with belly troubles. So that meant we had to stick close to the main structure which, of course, is where all the people and their giant, ravenous babies and hellhound-drawn carriages were. We knocked out an entry gate just before a stroller threatened, and then made our way to an old road trace before being chased into the woods, twice, by hikers with dogs. We set out to pick up a grave site, but were cut off by a meandering couple and a hoard of shrieking children who, I’m made fairly certain by their behavior, are parent-less and living, Lord of the Flies-style, on the property. 

All things being equal, Calvin really did pretty well. There was some barking, but no real screaming. And toward the end of our mostly futile afternoon, he seemed pretty well desensitized to ordinary, ambulating people and ceased expressing opinions about them altogether. 

I called it a day and we drove off the get fuel. Inocuous, no?

No. Because WHY ARE ALL THE GAS STATIONS IN RURAL ALMOST WEST VIRGINIA FULL SERVICE?????

I pulled up to a pump, was shutting down and locating my wallet when Cal suddenly lost his shit. I didn’t attempt to calm him down because, frankly, a stranger walking up to my car and fiddling with my gas cap is not something I really want him to be retiring about. I stared in horror, for a moment, before I thought to ask if all the pumps were full service. Gas guy confirmed and I said, over beagle-ish shrieks, that I’d just hit the next station. He laughed and carried on and said it didn’t matter because it was all the same price. 

Friend. Dear friend. Stretch the limits of your imagination and try to consider that cost is not my greatest immediate concern, here. I’m losing six decibels of hearing per second and I don’t have that much to spare NOW STOP TOUCHING MY GAS CAP AND LET ME LEAVE. 

I had to pass three more service stations before I found one that would let me pump my own fuel. And in that time, my GPS lady, apparently uncharitably disposed toward my frequent redirects to check gas stations, decided that I had some geographical comeuppance due in the form of patently refusing to take me to an interstate. So despite 1.5 uneventful rounds trips to the site, I was paraded all through the countryside to the tune of an additional forty-five minutes on the road, and threatened with a toll road (what even is cash?) before I finally overrode her with Google Maps on my phone. 

From beginning to end, Cal pup and I had five gloriously dysfunctional hours of adventure today, and the little guy is now sacked out at my feet. So hard to be Calvin, even on Small Hound Road Trip days. 

 

 

Two minutes have elapsed

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In the very scant time between publishing that last post and publishing this one, Calvin has both peed and pooped on the landing.

BECAUSE ALL THE COOL DOGS ARE DOING IT.

So, just to recap (because pity, party of one, is unsatisfying):

9am – scraped and scrubbed crusted regurgitate
5pm – pickup/steam clean Karmann stoop poop (large field)
6:11pm – steam clean Calvin stoop-stair pee waterfall
6:15pm – pickup/steam clean Calvin stoop poop (small field)

Oh hey! Must be Saturday!

*weeps softly*

BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE.

9:35pm – Karmann inexplicably ninja attacked Mortimer, flipping him onto his back and pinning him against the wall, procuring four feline fingerprints in her lovely, oversized snout. So add “daubing blood” to my list of critter clean ups for the day.

And now I drink until the solstice leaves.