I’ve figured it out for myself (as opposed to accepting conventional wisdom and adages) that if someone compares you to a dog, then things – or you – are really bad.
I say this because, lately, my ’hood has been full of puppy and dog madness.
First of all, Charlie, a toy-dog mix, became the proud papa, in a matter of weeks, to two litters.
The first set he had with a smelly neighbourhood tramp aptly nicknamed Big Stinky. (Big Stinky’s owners skipped town, leaving her behind.) The last set, which arrived just over a week ago, were born to his yard-mate, Ruby.
Now, imagine Charlie having a chick like Ruby, knowing her pedigree and everything else about her, going outside to take on an older, bigger mongrel, who, clearly, has been around the way.
Ruby, meanwhile, pushed out five little ones from her petite frame, though one died.
I don’t even know if Charlie deserves credit for curtailing his walk-about ways since Ruby dropped. But I’d have to put on the record the fact he hasn’t been roaming the neighbourhood, with his Napoleon complex, looking for trouble and bitches, and not necessarily in that order.
Meanwhile, another dog Rose, took to leaving all the comforts of home to spend her days hanging on the streets. Now, this puppy didn’t listen to my admonishments that she would rise up with fleas.
Talk about one determined dog. One day, I cornered her a block away from home, placed her in the back of the pick-up and returned her to comfort. Before I could put up the hatch in the back of the vehicle that dog was trotting down the road.
I warned her she’d get what she was looking for. And she sure did. A few weeks ago, she came up itchy. I’m talking about perennial scratching and rubbing up against the gate in a way that I was certain would cause injury.
Then I noticed her eyes looking droopier than usual, and off to the vet we went.
Wouldn’t you know the darn dog had come down with scabies? And, of course, in sickness, she kept close to home.
So here I am, giving her oral medication daily and a topical treatment weekly. She’s scratching less these days, almost back to normal. And wouldn’t you know she’s taken to her old ways, parading her tail up and down the streets.
I keep telling these dogs what they buy they wear, but as far as I see, we’re the ones doing all the buying. We’re putting out dry and canned food blends for them to invite their ungrateful friends over, without any reciprocal arrangements as far as I see.
I tell you, if anyone tells you you’re acting like a dog or have dog mind, check yourself. You’re likely to be a real piece of work.
And speaking of welcoming new pups, my eldest, a serious animal advocate, has been performing sentry duty for Ruby and her pups.
Since their arrival, he’s been waking up at around 5 am, to begin morning inspections.
That first day took the cake, though. When he came home from school to discover them, he would not be moved. It was pitch dark, with mosquitoes feeding, and he refused to budge.
He even petitioned to have mother and litter moved inside because he was afraid some predator would eat the tiny puppies.
My refusal was met with him telling me how unkind I was, and how would I like it if when I had my babies I had to sleep outside with them and had to be concerned that someone or something would eat them.
During his discourse, he threatened to take all his dogs and move to the US, “where people love and care for their dogs.”
And what evidence do you have of this abundant love, I asked.
“Because they keep their dogs in the house with them, and they take them for walks every day.”
I noted that those folks have no choice, given the seasons and living conditions. I mean, there are few backyards to keep a dog, even in the summer, when you’re eight stories up.
If you think that quelled the “argument,” then you don’t know my child.
I’d love to say that it was my reasoning that prevailed. But it was he who unravelled his own plan when he suddenly recalled that he couldn’t move the puppies. Not that night, anyway, because they were too young to be handled without the possibility that their mother would reject them.
How do you know this, I asked.
“Why do you think I watch so much Animal Planet,” he responded.
In any event, a week later, he’s still keeping watch under the garage. And there those dogs shall remain.
The arguments are not compelling enough to chance my conviction that I ought to maintain a certain distance from dogs … of all type.