All living creatures are born with certain traits and strengths. This is why
plants grow and bees buzz. Those are their strengths. They are configured that way and there’s little anyone can do about it.
My dogs also have strengths, and I am certain that one of them is a genius computer programmer wrapped in a mongrel body. I first learned this one day last summer when I was on the computer and he did the two-step on my keyboard and somehow rotated the screen. Although I tried imitating Mookie Moo’s the steps, I couldn’t not only because I am computer impaired but because he rotated the screen sideways and it was hard typing like that. The only way I could type was if I held it like a book while hitting the keys sideways. It got old quickly, so I called Dell computers where someone in the Philippines answered. The technician couldn’t figure it out, either, so he had to take remote control of the computer. Forty-five minutes later, the screen was back to normal while the dog, utterly not sorry, was either sleeping or licking his paws by then. I don’t remember which, but all I could do was tell him I wish he wouldn’t do things like that, over and over and over like a mantra.
That’s what I said when he wolfed down a canister of raisins and I had to rush him to the after hours emergency vet, because let’s face it, if a dog is going to scarf down raisins, which I know can kill them in large quantities, he is going to do it during emergency hours when the regular vet is closed. Sometimes I think that they can tell time, too. After that, they never forgot us because on subsequent tripe, they always bring it up.
Now I know to keep raisins and other food locked away, but the other day, he reconfigured my computer again. It happened when I was typing with one hand while holding a sandwich in the other. In the middle of an important keystroke, he positioned himself on the keyboard and the Internet went down. I tried recapturing his footwork but to no avail, so I had to call for help while calmly repeating, “I wish you wouldn’t do that” over and over and over again like a crazed woman’s mantra. The message machine at AOL said that there may be a button on the outside of my computer to turn it back on, but there weren’t any buttons anywhere, so after a failed attempt with the AOL technician anyway, it was back to Dell. However, during my attempts to be neat and organized for an upcoming move, I packed the computer’s express service code away and told the technician it had a bunch of X’s and C’s in it followed by some numbers and asked him to look it up. It was nothing doing on that end, and he had me reboot the computer while hitting some keys that displayed the express service code. After a few minutes, it was up and running again.
But one thing is certain: That dog knows more than I give him credit for.
I promised myself, and maybe you, that I wouldn’t write another word about that wondrous device, pepper spray. Well, I am going to have to break that promise because something miraculous has happened.
Blessings of all blessings and hallelujah, I was ready for another near-emergency situation. Dogs can be wondrous, loving creatures, but let’s not mince any words here. They can also be trouble magnets both in and out of the house. In fact, about the only time they aren’t trouble is when they are sleeping.
Mine, who I have mentioned before in other pepper spray related articles, and whose names are Bitsy Boo and Mookie Moo, have gotten me in trouble several times since I brought them home from the shelter. My partial tally includes:
1.) Damage to my bedroom carpet when one of them used it as a cesspool. And the cost to repair the tears after I locked what I thought was the more docile one in to let her stitches heal after surgery. (I forgot that looks can be deceiving.) Cost: $240.00, including tips.
2.) Missing socks, undergarments, pencils, erasers and a squashed bluetooth. Cost: $175.89, including the vet’s visit about the bluetooth.
3.) A hole chewed into the rear end of some sweatpants. Cost: $21.65, including tax.
4.) Vet bills for all those allergies. I lost count.
5.) Hostile and unfriendly neighbors who thought I allowed said canines’ deposits to sit on their lawns. Cost: $ 22.50 for pepper spray and aspirin.
But it was # 5, one of those unseemly neighbors, who caused me to go out and buy some pepper spray. I could kiss him, if he wasn’t so tightly wound.
Weeks after he had stopped keeping sentry duty outside his house, I was taking Bitsy and Mookie out for an afternoon stroll down another street when a pit bull approached us. Now, I may be an animal lover, but I am not a naive or uninformed one. I go on the Internet. I read the news. I’ve seen Animal Planet, and I know that pit bulls are not known for being helpful or docile, which is probably why you never see them as service dogs. Besides, regardless of what people say about their bad PR being about their training, no one ever hears about a killer cocker spaniel or a killer collie. Besides, I wasn’t about to test out any bleeding-heart theories with my dogs.
Upon approach, I told that dog to bugger off, but it wouldn’t listen. So I reached for pepper and let her rip while it crossed the street and ran off.
I then called 911, but they weren’t about to send out a squad car over a roving dog no matter what. I’d asked them before, and they didn’t do it then, and they weren’t going to do it now unless it contained one of their K-9 dogs. They did, however, call animal control for me. Meanwhile, and this is the best part, a few people stopped and asked me if I needed any help, and they stayed until I assured them that everything was all right. Bless them all.
Aside from being pepper spray ready and staying away from that neighbor on sentry duty, this may be the finest lesson of all, that people in this teeming metropolis might not be as out there as I presumed.