I’m participating in another project for the next two weeks and won’t be very active online, so I thought I’d pull together a couple of humorous stories about dog ownership—mine (owned briefly when I momentarily lost my mind)—and my neighbors’ dogs who crap on my lawn, that I secretly fantasize about kidnapping and selling to Mitt Romney. Enjoy and see you again on January 27th.
GET OFF MY LAWN (Story #1)
Do you know what I’ve discovered? I’m turning into one of those types of old people—I’m going to be “that woman.” I thought I would go gently into the good night, but I’ve become a haranguer. You know the kind of old person who hides behind their 6-ft tall azaleas and jumps out waving their cane at the pooping dog owner as they scream: “GET OFF MY LAWN, YOU S.O.B!” I figure by the time I’m in my eighties, the FBI will consider me to be my own terrorist cell.
Crone|image from fearnoweebes.wordpress.com
I never thought much about dogs until I moved to a suburb full of white people who treat their dogs like four-legged gods. In the inner city neighborhood of my childhood, none of my neighbors had dogs as pets. If you owned a dog, it was to guard your shit from getting ripped off. There was no such thing as a “lapdog.” The dogs were German Shepherds or Rottweilers and, as a kid, you never went near them unless you wanted to be lunch. And they didn’t live in your house, either. Even in the dead of winter in The Cleve, all dogs lived outside—period!
And nobody “walked” their dogs. (People worked three jobs a person just to survive—who in the hell had time to walk a dog?) If you saw a German Shepherd or a Rottweiler walking down the street, it meant it had escaped and was up to no good or it had rabies. You’d hear a cry go up and down the neighborhood yelling for all the kids to come inside: “CHILRIN’ MAD DOG COMIN’; RUN, CHILRIN’, RUN FOR YO’ LIVES!” But now I live in one of the richest counties in the nation and dogs are pampered children to these people. Every other house has at least two dogs, and they all walk past my corner lot pooping and peeing on every square inch of my pristine golf-course lawn as if it were their own private doggie park. My office window overlooks the area and even as I type this story, ten dogs and their owners have just strolled by, and one of them was a Great Dane (do you know how huge the poops of a Great Dane are?). I’ve tried everything to keep these four-legged demons off my property and out of my exquisite flower beds. I’ve had to replace one 5ft tall hydrangea bush that took me years to turn fuchsia, one dwarf pampus (nothing can kill pampus grass—except dog urine), I’ve reseeded a quarter of my lawn that completely died from a golden retriever’s urea (ammonia in the urine which converts to nitrates), and replaced an ornamental tree killed by an Alaskan husky. After I planted the dwarf Japanese Cherry tree in a spot that had lost three ornamental trees, I did what generations of law-abiding citizens have historically done: I declared war.
In the interest of full disclosure, my immediate neighbors are good as gold (plus they read my blog and I don’t want to piss them off) and never let their dogs desecrate my lawn. (There was that incident with the old fart from the Kamchatka Peninsula who let her nasty-ass dog come right up to my stoop and do his business, but I had my husband, WW, teach me a few choice swear words in Russian, and I dispensed with that nonsense—“toute suite.” There is nothing like a half-crazed black woman waving a watering can coming at you swearing in fluent Russian mixed with a little French to get one to see the error of one’s ways.) But my worst offenders come from blocks away and after depositing their “gifts” disappear into the mist (obviously, their dogs have told them that my property is a preferred poopy-place-of-choice.) I’ve tried the High Noon evil-eye approach as I water my plants (“Uh-uh, I know you’re the one who killed my hydrangea—I’m watching you, buddy”), the pepper flakes in my flower beds (hoping to give the dogs a sneezing attack), the anti-dog spray on my lawn (it cost me a fortune and didn’t deter one dog), and waiting in hiding and jumping out from behind the bushes while catching the culprits in mid-defecation and screaming: “A-HA! I CAUGHT YOU DEAD-TO-RIGHTS, YOU LOW-LIFES!” But nothing worked until I found my magical dog signs that WW was convinced would cause us to wake up to a revenge truck load of dog shit dumped on our lawn in the middle of the night.
ET’s “anti-pooping sign” for dogs that I thought could obviously read
For a while the signs worked like magic. The shitty gifts stopped arriving and I noticed that the offenders would cross the street when they got to my corner to avoid their dog’s desire to mark the same place that had become their favorite spot for years. I was pretty satisfied with myself until I went out to get the morning paper months later and saw a pile of poop perfectly placed under one of the yard-dog sign’s ass. It was obviously “placed” there by a human giving me the finger during the cover of night. My neighbor (my same age) up the street says she thinks she knows who it is because she started her own anti-defecation league after her shrubs died this summer from dog pee, and she was hiding in the bushes with infrared binoculars and a camera to catch the ne’er-do-wells when she saw the guy commit the crime. We’re talking about forming a coalition. In the meantime, I’m thinking of contacting one of those baby announcement, wooden sign makers for a 6-ft sign for my lawn that will be created from a design I found on the Internet.
I am discovering that I am getting crazier by the minute, and the dogs in my neighborhood are bringing it out in me. But I’m getting old, and I think that becoming the crazy old fart on the corner is my prerogative. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
P.S. WW says he wants nothing to do with this crazy woman who has invaded his wife’s body, and he disavows all knowledge of her or her shenanigans.
MY PRECIOUS (Story #2)
(2nd STORY EXCERPT ABOUT THE DOG “PRECIOUS” EDITED AND UPDATED FROM AN EARLIER BLOG: “Maintenance [or lack of it] Will Kill You”)
Do you know what I’ve discovered? Some people should never own pets and I am one of them. For 14 years I held off on getting a dog. I didn’t buy that bullshit from the kids when they were young that I wouldn’t have to do anything for the dog—they’d do everything. “You’ll see, Mom; you’ll never regret getting us a dog because we’ll do it all.” Yeah, right!
I knew better – I’m no fool. I knew my little barbarians could lie like a rug, and they were trying to pull the wool over my eyes. I envisioned exactly what would happen: they’d be into the dog for exactly one week, two days, and one minute, and then the only one who would walk the dog, feed the damn thing, pick up its shit, groom it, or discipline it would be me.
How I lost my resolve is not as important as the fact that I finally did break down and get a dog that at first blush looked harmless and without guile.
Bichon Frise|Google Image
The next thing I knew, I was up all night with a crying puppy while everyone else slept soundly through the night. She would only stop crying if I held her and rocked her to sleep like a human baby.
Our dog took only six months to turn into a little bitch. (I honestly think she was mentally ill from the beginning. I would discover that incestuous parenting was hidden from us by the breeder.) All we saw when we first met our darling puppy was a delightful little puff-ball that kept falling on her head as she listed sideways like a sailboat blown off course. We figured it was an adorable puppy anomaly – we had no idea it was “loose marbles.”
The dog’s name was “Precious” (her name has been changed to protect me from a lawsuit because I swear the bitch is crazy). But I privately called her “Miss Thang” once her true personality was revealed. At eight months old, Miss Thang developed something called Small Dog Syndrome in which she decided to become “Queen of the Hill” and make herself pack leader over all the humans in the house. She barked incessantly, wouldn’t come when we called her, wouldn’t eat without throwing up, had explosive diarrhea every other month, and wouldn’t go outside to do her business if it was above 75 degrees or below 50 degrees. The high-maintenance-diva-dog from Hell wouldn’t poop on grass because it was “too prickly” and wouldn’t poop on the driveway if anyone was watching.
Actual picture of “Precious” (a.k.a Miss Thang) on a “play date” at a dog friend’s house|photo by C. Tomczyk
Precious hated cars and had to be given puppy Demerol in order to go on a trip just ten minutes away from the house. She despised her groomer and rebelled against getting her hair cut. The damn dog learned how to spell and would run and hide under the bed when we tried to get her into the car by telling her she was going for a “walk in the park,” while I spelled, “we’re going to the ‘V-E-T’” to my disinterested family. Miss Thang would have fits of hysteria and run up and down the stairs at 90 miles an hour until she collapsed from exhaustion if she felt the people in the house hadn’t given her enough attention. If you scolded her, she’d get a ‘tude, become whiney, and refuse to look at you for hours at a time while placing her right paw over her nose to hide her eyes. One day she started gnawing on her left foot and scratching holes in her side, and my family decided that The Mother (moi) — (“since you’re home with her more than we are”) — should take Precious to the outrageously expensive “dog whisperer” in our town to see what was wrong with her. After many sessions and a vet bill that could have paid for a cruise to the Bahamas, the medical verdict was announced to me by the vet.
VET: Mrs. Tomczyk, I don’t know how to break this to you, but Precious has issues that have caused serious psychological problems.
ME: She told you that?
VET: Precious is suffering from separation anxiety since leaving her brothers and sisters at the kennel. Surely you can understand how traumatizing that could be for a sibling.
ME: Noooooo, not really – she’s a damn dog. Where I come from dogs weren’t even allowed in the house —they certainly didn’t have opinions, and I definitely didn’t arrange play dates for them because they were lonely. They just guarded your shit from being stolen by the heroin addicts or numbers runners and were grateful for a pat on the head once a day and the leftover scraps from the table at the end of the day. They stayed outside 24/7, and this was in Cleveland which isn’t exactly temperate weather.
VET: Well, Mrs. Tomczyk, need I remind you that this is not a Cleveland ghetto? This is a Washington suburb—the richest in the nation—and you have an expensive purebred that must be treated with the utmost respect. I would like to prescribe a maintenance program of special diet food for sensitive stomachs that we sell for $40 a cup, and I would like to start Precious on a Prozac regimen for her stress. I highly recommend massages on a weekly basis to help settle her nerves, and I propose monthly conditioning treatments at the Fabulous Puppies-R-Us to help lubricate her dry skin which is the reason she’s scratching a hole in her side. I’ll also need to see Precious on a weekly basis to gauge her psychological improvement.
ME: Now you listen to me, crazy-ass doctor who must have lost your mind: you haven’t seen stress until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes. I’d sure like that exact same prescription for myself ‘cause I’m the one who is actually going crazy caring for this little monster. But here’s a news flash, Dr. Dog Whisperer: PRECIOUS DOESN’T HAVE A JOB! Nor does Precious have any health insurance, and until she can produce both — you can kiss this little diva’s ass good-bye.
As I gathered up my dog, I whispered into her ear a guttural threat that made her hair stand up on her head and her eyes become the size of saucers: “Miss Thang, don’t you go getting any fancy ideas from this man. That crazy-ass doctor must think I’m a fool! I already spend half the day picking up your shit, looking after your shit, or paying for your shit. Now let’s get your little ‘vanilla behind’ into the car. You may be white living
in an all-white neighborhood, but you belong to a black mother, who grew up in the ghetto. And before I pay $500 a month for a psychiatrist, a spa, and Prozac for a dog, I’ll make sure your stress is permanently cured ghetto-style–you hear me? You’ll be singing with Jesus before you can utter another bow-wow, you little terrorist!
VET: I HEARD THAT. We don’t condone violence against animals here. This is a safe place. . . I’ll have to call Doggie Protective Services if you don’t change your attitude, Mrs. Tomczyk.
ME: But of course, Doc – what on earth was I thinking speaking to Precious in that manner? (I said, ever so sweetly.) Tell me: How do you feel about violence against dog whisperers?
UPDATE ON PRECIOUS AND DOGS IN GENERAL:
“Precious” went on to become “Sheba-Di” when I sold her to a rich white family a few blocks away who really catered to all that dog whisperer shit. I recently got a postcard with her photograph sporting a diamond choker and a note that said: “IN YOUR FACE MUTHA-FUCKAS—I’M LIVIN’ LARGE, SUCKAS”! I did finally fall in love with a “perfect dog” (Wednesday Addams) that is just my speed but doesn’t have anything to do with causing any stress in my life because she doesn’t live with me (she’s also not insane). I get to spend time with her once a year and give her back to her mommy when she needs to be taken for a walk or gets out of hand — kind of like being a grandmother. That’s my kind of dog ownership!
“Wednesday Addams” (Best dog ever)||image by C. Tomczyk
“If I loved a guy as much as I love my dog, the guy would be in serious trouble. Because I’m all over that dog, all the time.”—Maria Sharapova
“Some dog I got too. We call him Egypt. Because in every room he leaves a pyramid.”—Rodney Dangerfield
“The rich man’s dog gets more in the way of vaccination, medicine and medical care than do the workers upon whom the rich man’s wealth is built.—Samora Machel
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.