The Friday Report: Please don’t hound me
October 22, 2010
My wife would provide food and shelter for every stray dog in the world if it weren’t for a couple of Grand County dog ordinances and my fearsome scowl.
On our first vacation, she held a chilly grudge across three states because I hesitated to apprehend some unsuspecting mutt for jaywalking. This was in the middle of Arkansas, nine-hundred miles from home.
Later on in Texas, I thought the marriage was doomed when I refused to make a U-turn across eight lanes of rush-hour Dallas traffic and plow across the median strip to abduct a tough-looking pack of hounds that were scrounging Cheetos from tourists at a truck stop.
“Actually, they looked pretty well fed,” I said, inadvertently, causing a silence that drowned out the car radio for the next hour.
There should be stiff sentences for transporting homeless dogs across state lines. Maybe that would stop her.
Talk about sticking your nose up somebody’s business, I’ve asked my wife to look at it from the dog’s point of view.
There they are, free as the wind, living large and smelling the . . . well, maybe those aren’t roses, but life is . . . you know, like stable.
Then suddenly, a total stranger swoops down on them like a Portuguese slave trader, snatches the poor beast and suddenly, no more friends, no more local garbage.
I’m a little nervous to leave the house. She’s tried to smuggle dogs home thinking I wouldn’t notice. After a few days, she looks at me, wide-eyed in surprise, and says loudly, “Why no! I thought it was your Saint Bernard. Isn’t he precious?”
Well, ‘precious’ probably wouldn’t have been my first choice, but he is big enough to qualify for his own zip code. He knows who’s alpha in this picture and growls menacingly as soon as she leaves the room.
I’ve developed the art of distraction better than any Las Vegas magician. Driving with her, I don’t pay any attention to traffic; I scan the sides of the road, looking for dogs. If I see one, I point the other direction and shriek, “Look! Over there! Is that: a) a Martian spaceship, b) a runaway train, or c) a Nordies’ shoe sale?” I’ve faked heart attacks just to distract her from a distant dog on the horizon.
The standard of living is different in Mexico and that holds true for dogs, too.
Some years back, this moth-eaten, battle-scarred mutt sidled up to us at some desolate Pemex gas station south of Nogales, I looked over at my wife and in that instant, I had an astounding revelation.
It dawned on me that she would actually love me more if I tucked that mangy cur up under my poncho and smuggled it back to a better life in the Estadios Unidos. So what if I had to shoot up a few Federales to rescue a scrawny, moth-eaten Chihuahua, I’d spend Life Without Hope in a Mexican prison but I’d be a hero in her eyes!
A friend sent some pictures of a baby basset hound he was trying to foster out. There are only a few things cuter in nature than a baby basset. At the age of two or three months, they are so adorable there is absolutely no hint to the stubborn, smelly, obnoxious, cranky, carpet-wrecking, grouchy and miserable hounds they will quickly become.
My wife stared long at the photos, then at my fearsome scowl and then back to the photos with a contemplative gaze.
She thinks I’m an uncaring, insensitive cad, whereas I think I’m the last bastion between her and another news story about one of those weird ladies who wear the same dress for years and get busted for harboring a huge pack of dogs.
She should thank me.