Posts Tagged ‘Dogs’

The Road to World Conquest: The Truth About Cats and Dogs

April 11, 2011 1 comment

I’m not a cat person.

All the cats that I’ve allowed into my life were either by accident or through association with someone else.

I don’t hate cats. I’ve been around them ever since I was a kid. For the most part, we’ve tolerated each other. But I don’t feel the same sort of attachment that I do to a big affable dog like Huck.

That’s not to say I don’t get attached. I do. It’s just different.
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The Road to World Conquest: Dog crap

February 13, 2011 1 comment

“You’re supposed to clean that up.”

Less than a year ago, I was still in Cary, living in an apartment complex with a small scattering of dog poop receptacles/bag dispensers. I would walk Huck primarily down the grassy hillside that ran between my side of the complex and the main office/clubhouse. Most of the time, the poop stations were well-stocked with bags so that I could easily clean up after the dog. Sometimes, though, they ran empty and didn’t get refilled quickly enough.

That was the case this particular morning, when a man on the porch of his apartment watched Huck conclude his business, saw that I wasn’t cleaning up the deposit. So, he reminded me of my obligation.

“I know,” I said, gesturing at the poop station. “No bags. Sorry.”

That didn’t satisfy him: “You’re supposed to clean it up.”

“Yes,” I said, “we’ve established that.” I walked away, embarrassed, but determined not to let it happen again.

So, for future walks, I made sure to bring a spare plastic grocery bag along just in case the poop stations ran empty. No one ever had reason to call me out for letting the dog’s crap stay in their de facto back yard again.

Fast forward to last week, when I returned from a trip to see Catherine in Durham. I arrived at the new apartment in Huntsville to find a folded note stuck in my door, printed on plain white paper:

Dear Resident,

You have been reported at the office for not picking up after your pet. Numerous pet stations are located around the property to make it more convenient for our pet owners to pick up after their pets. This is a warning and if you are turned in to the office again for not picking up after your pet, you will be fined $50 per occurrence. We try very hard to keep our community clean and clutter free. Thank you in advance for your prompt cooperation.

Your Springs Team

Something I’ve bragged on about The Springs at Huntsville since I arrived here last month is the abundance of dog poop stations. So far, they are always stocked properly with bags. I have brought spare bags along, just in case, but I’ve never required them. I’ve also never failed to clean up after Huck since I got here. I do see lots of little (and some not so little) piles of crap in the grass when I walk him, but I’ve never had occasion to spot someone in the act of not doing their part to keep the parking area free of poop and none of those piles left for days are my dog’s.

I immediately called the apartment office, asking to talk to the author of the “citation.” For some reason, I found it galling that they didn’t bother to put it on official apartment stationery. As it was, it seemed to be a document that any resident with Notepad and a printer could generate. More irritating, though, was the assumption of guilt and the assurance of a “fine” if someone so much as accused me one more time.

The woman who answered the phone explained that the manager who wrote the memo had left on vacation for two weeks.

“Two weeks?” I laughed. “So, between now and the time she gets back, someone might lodge another phony complaint against me and I’ll end up fined?”

No, the woman said. Nothing further would be addressed until the manager’s return.

I can’t seem to shake this urge to start saving all the bags, labeling them with the date as I collect them, so I can deliver them as proof that I’m regularly cleaning up after my dog.

Think that’d go over well?

The Road to World Conquest: Dog Days

January 2, 2011 1 comment

Last week, I took Huck for his usual morning constitutional walk down the street from the apartment in Cary. We didn’t encounter any demon bunnehs or evil yip dogs. He did his business without much fanfare. Then I led him back toward the apartment.

My place is on the first floor, first door on the left. We’ve run this route for nearly nine months. It’s never been interesting when we reach the door to the apartment. Once there, it’s usually a simple matter of opening the door, removing Huck’s leash, and filling his food dish.

This particular morning proved different.

A woman who lives in the apartment diagonally across the breezeway from me was out, collecting cigarette butts from the ground where her husband had dumped them. Why he refused to use an ash tray, I do not know. Why he wasn’t cleaning up his own mess, I couldn’t say. She wasn’t alone. Her giant schnauzer, leashed, was near the staircase about five feet from my front door.

Huck followed the usual routine, walking toward the door. The schnauzer broke that routine, though. He started barking furiously and lunged at Huck. The schnauzer’s owner, who had a loose grip on the leash while she gathered dead soldiers from the concrete, noticed too late. The leash was out of her hand.

It was bitterly cold, so I was bundled in gloves, a thick jacket, and thermals under my pants. I tell myself that’s the only reason why I did what I did next, because what I did next was terribly stupid. Huck tried to flee from the schnauzer while still on his leash. The other dog pursued him in a circle, trying to bite at his legs, flanks, and back. Huck didn’t make any effort to retaliate. So I put myself behind Huck, shoving the schnauzer back, and then circled while the schnauzer nipped at my legs and hands. Between the animals, I made myself the target. It probably spared Huck and the schnauzer any injuries, but it was incredibly risky and dumb.

Finally, the screaming woman managed to grab the other dog’s leash and pulled him clear. She apologized. Her dog wasn’t vicious, she assured me. She thought that the schnauzer just wanted to play with Huck, but then got aggressive when she realized how big the Golden Pyrenees was. I checked Huck over, told her that I didn’t think Huck had been hurt, but she told me to let her know if I found injuries later – she insisted that she would pay any bills necessary. She really was mortified that her dog had attacked mine, and that she had lost control of the schnauzer.

Huck’s fine. He seemed to have forgotten the attack within hours. I expected that was the end of it.

Then, today, I was taking Huck out for another morning walk. Something new broke the routine: A glossy silver bag stuffed with green tissue, sitting on the welcome mat, with a card inside.

The card read:

Just a note to apologize again for the other day when my dog ran out into the breezeway. He truly isn’t aggressive, which is why I was so surprised! Anyway, hope your golden likes a Kong as much as my dog does. A special thank you for being so kind to me, as you surely didn’t have to be. Again, my apologies.

Inside the bag, a fresh blue rubber Kong for Huck to play with. Yes, he does love Kong.

I’m really impressed and touched by the gesture. Now I’ll have to be something less than a savage myself and get a thank you card for her in response.

Great way to start the new year!