Friday, January 07, 2005

James and Barkley's Excellent Adventure

Ok, first off, let's get a few things straight... (1) it was not excellent, (2) there were actually two separate adventures that finally crossed paths and (3) the whole ordeal further cemented my dislike for dogs and preferences for cats. I've told Lori I will not have another dog as long as I live. I will not walk, feed, pet or care for another dog.

Two nights ago we returned home, unlocked the gate and backed into the carport area in front of the garage. Usually, our dog, Barkley, half great dane, half golden retreiver and half idiot, is standing at the gate to welcome us home. But that night, she was not. We called and called, but no response. So, unlocked the gate and went into the backyard. She wasn't in the laundry room, and that's when I noticed the gaping hole in the back fence, covered from the other side by lattice and boards. Fine, so where was the dog? Then I saw the second hole. So we got back in the car and spent 30 minutes driving around before deciding it a waste of time and heading back home.

Upon returning home, I went into the backyard where I heard the neighbor from behind hailing me. She explained that the dog had broken through the fence, they chased her, pushed her back in and then nailed over the hole and went to work. The dog broke free again. Another neighbor caught her, tied her up and she was there almost all day. When she chewed through the tether, they called the humane society. Lori was listening to a similar voicemail from another neighbor. Shortly thereafter, the woman's husband knocks on our front door. He cleans pools, so he said he drove by our house several times during the day to see if the dog was still in the backyard.

So the next day Lori and I take separate cars to work. I am able to find out that a shelter in San Gabriel has a black dog with a frayed red collar and no tags and that the kennel opens at 10. I'm having stomach discomfort from stress over this whole situation so I go to the bathroom before I leave work and a bug falls from somewhere onto my leg and the falls into the toilet. A decent sized one. Made me jump straight up I was so startled.

I go home to get the leash and paperwork on the dog and cannot find most of the paperwork. I try to get to the shelter, but I have a hard time finding it. Here's a thought... I know that the shelters are county run, so the cheapest thing to do is to stick them into the little slices of craphole that none of surrounding towns want to incorporate, but why not either (a) make them look nicer or (b) operate pet adoption centers in nice parts of incorporated towns where upper-middle class people live so that the issue is right in front of their face so that maybe they'll come and adopt some pets? They had some really nice looking pets there, it was kind of sad.

They took me back and sure enough, it was Barkley. I went up front and the first thing they ask of you is picture ID. They start filling out forms without telling you anything. She eventually presented me with a boarding bill for $54. $20 for the night and $30 because Barkley is still able to produce children. Gotta fix that, do not need any more Barkleys. Also, a notice to appear in L.A. County Superior Court. Yes, that's right, I got a ticket from the City of Monrovia to appear in county court in Pasadena. The first two offenses deal with city tags and this is a county dog who is licensed (though not wearing tags because she ate them), so they should be thrown out. As to the third -- unrestrained dog -- who knows? One would have thought a fence would have been sufficient. So I have to go to court. I paid the fine (cash or check only), took the dog, put her in the car and drove to Petco.

As soon as we got out of the car at Petco, she wiggled out of her collar and went running off through the parking lot. She made a big old mess right in the middle of the driveway, harassed some people, jumped up on an old lady and made her spill coffee on herself and just made me completely hate that dog before I was able to catch her and drag her by her collar and ear into the store, while she talked on her back legs, her front legs wrapped around my arm trying to bite me.

I bought a training harness that was to wrap around the front of her and go between her legs, hoping that it would allow me to better control her, long enough to figure out exactly what I wanted to buy as the final solution. $12. cha-ching. Another customer held her while I tried to get it on, but could not do it. Another employee with gloves on came up and tried to help and we had limited success. I spent a lot of time in that store being embarassed as I repeatedly shoved that dog to the ground and sat on her, or held her face to the ground. Then back over to the collars where she terrorized another employer who was fooled by her excited nature. She helped me find a "pinch collar" that I could use with the long tether I was buying. We put the pinch collar on and immediately noticed a difference in the dog's behavior. Part of the collar has a spike-like apparatus that lays flat against the collar. As the dog pulls, the collar tightens and the spikes turn inwards towards the dog's neck. Spike might not be the best description as they are pretty thick rods and not pointy. But they provide discomfort and pretty much stops the dog in her tracks. (Found out later from my boss who has one of Barkley's siblings that they've had a pinch collar all along. sigh.)

I get up to the register and cannot for the life of me find my credit card, the one I used to buy the first harness. So I had to use my ATM card and I know it had to cut into the safety cushion (money in the account I pretend isn't there) because I don't think the money was there. $50. cha-ching.

Got her home, got her tied to the tree. Approaching 2-1/2 hours away from work, all sweaty. Leticia is there cleaning the house, so I cannot take a shower. In the process, I've stepped in dog doo in the backyard, so I've abandoned those shoes for another pair and end up tracking dirt into the house. I didn't notice until I saw that Leticia who had been sweeping is following me around with the broom. I apologized and she said it was ok. She speaks very little English, but I think she could just tell that it wasn't a great day for me. Those shoes, however, weren't appropriate for work, so I had to grab my dress shoes and some dress clothes. Throw them into a bag and now I cannot find my keys and spend 10 minutes looking for them. Then I'm off, and the shower at work has only cold water. I get all dressed up and realize I've grabbed a pair of pants that don't fit and have to spend the rest of the day with them zipped up as high as possible and a belt really tight and the pants unbuttoned. Fortunately, I had grabbed a sweater so I was able to just keep it low enough to hide the fact.

So I'm now firmly a cat person. There's no dog in the world that will make me change my mind, unless someone gives me one that can clean cat boxes. (And not the way Barkley does by eating the offending material.)
Post a Comment