Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Preacher Went a Huntin'

I have a neighbor who was bitten on the leg somewhat recently by a pesky neighborhood dog. His daughter was in a stroller and he was shielding her from the barking animal. Can you imagine if the ill-behaved, leashless varmint would have bitten her? I’m not a father yet, but I would think that this would bring out my inner savage, would make me want to snap its neck, tear out its liver, and bite it raw like John Dunbar did with the tatanka.

Please don’t take me for a pet hater. I actually love pets. I grew up with dogs and cats (though I firmly believe they belong outdoors). The thing that irks me is that this dog has bitten other people as well and the owners know about it. My neighbor called animal control and they instantly recognized the dog in question, but NOTHING has been done.

When I was about 10 years old I was bitten by a dog named Blackie right on the back. This same dog had bitten my grandmother as well, causing a large unsightly bruise on her thigh, but the neighbors refused to put it down. This went contrary to our social code of pets, so my family, and friends of my family, made it their personal mission to end this Blackie’s life.

It turned out to be a semi intelligent mutt, however, because when anyone approached it with ill intent, he scampered up and parked it on the front porch wagging his tail and panting with smiling eyes. The owners had a dozen kids in their family, so there was always someone home, and not much could be done with it sitting on the front porch. This went on for months. One day my father hatched a brilliant plan. Blackie’s owners were a very religious family. Each Sunday they would take up an entire row near the front of the chapel, and my father was the Bishop of the congregation at the time. He knew that the one time he could approach the house without the interference of a single soul, was during the church services.

So on a bright and cloudless Sunday, as the birds chirped and butterflies danced, my father, the Bishop, slipped unnoticed out of the chapel, drove home, and retrieved a pistol from his gun safe. As he approached our neighbor’s home Blackie jumped, like clockwork, onto the porch wagging his tail and panting with smiling eyes. My father raised his gun, and in my own imagination I like to think he drew his eyes into slits, twisted his mouth into a grin and said something like “You’ve got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well? Do ya, punk?” But I know my father, and he said no such thing. He just put the gun to the dogs head and did the necessary thing—pulled the trigger. The dog’s blood and brains splattered onto the porch, and for a moment my father’s heart sunk as he doubted the likelihood of covering up his deed. There was no “Wolf” to call upon. He had to pull the mafia grunt-man-labor himself and hose the porch clean as best he could. He then took the carcass out into the sandy desert fields near our house and dumped it in an unmarked grave. He was back in church an hour later with clean hands and a happy heart. That family doesn’t know to this day what became of Blackie. My father didn’t tell us about it until years later, and after he was no longer Bishop of the congregation. Now that, my friends, is the epitome of discretion.

I suppose that if you are going to own a pet you need to go into it knowing that if it does something to violate established social norms (like biting people 'till they bleed) you must be prepared to reconcile it by any means necessary. By that I mean eating its liver raw. Or at least getting it put down. Your choice.

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