in rural Paris, Iowa, and Wordpress

This Goddamned Dog

If you would like to see a country that is overrun with mentally deranged dogs, come to México. Nearly every Mexican cohabits with one or two or more dogs for security reasons, and boy, are there some lulus here! That is one of the two reasons that I have been pondering the subject at hand.

I do not chose to cohabit with any animal. I really do not have anything against it. However, I have always had a vague uneasiness about people who live in cities cohabiting with animals. Many people who grew up in a rural setting do. Most of us knew one or two great animals in our youth, dogs or cats, but we did not cohabit with them. They rambled about freely, exploring, hunting, and gamboling about in the fields. Then they usually ended up lying dead in the middle of some country road or behind some piece of farm machinery with their intestines strung out behind them.

I had the honor long ago and in different eras of my life of being closely acquainted with three great animals. A German Shepherd, a Lab mix, and a Samoyed-German Shepherd mix–shepherd in body type and pure white. None of those dogs ever had a leash on. I do not talk about any of them. I cannot write about any of them. But I surely do often think about about one or the other or the other these many years later.

Putting all that aside, however, what I do not understand is why a person would choose to cohabit with a dog that is a moron, sometimes two or more dogs that compete at being moronic. There is a bell curve of normal distribution of intelligence in dogs. (Bell curves are on my mind.) That should come as no shock. On the one end are the small number of dogs that are absolutely total idiots. Then there is that big lump in the middle consisting of your typical, half-assed dogs. On the far right end is that small number that are noble animals, better and brighter beings than most humans.

If a person is intent on cohabiting with a dog—say, if that person has children who love to kick animals around–then the trick is to find one of those extraordinary dogs. Because think about it. Why would you choose to cohabit–share your living quarters—indeed share you life–with even a half-assed dog let alone some slobbering canine cretin? Unless you want to run a dog shelter in your home for worthless dogs, which is a different thing entirely. And God bless you for that.

One does not have easy choices when it comes to cohabiting with a half-assed spouse or children who are morons. But when it comes to dogs, one has choices.

It is difficult though, because puppies will fool you routinely. It is nigh on to impossible to foresee the adult animal that a puppy will grow into. But it does not take very long until the true nature of the animal becomes apparent. The only rational approach is to put the animal down humanely as soon as it becomes apparent that it is a moron or even just a half-assed dog. Do not continue to cohabit with it unless of course you yourself are half-assed and truly do enjoy the company.

Most importantly, do not spend money on one of those con artist obedience trainers. He or she is not going to transform a half-assed dog into something other than a half-assed dog. If you are real lucky, it will become an obedient half-assed dog. Have it put down instead. You will save yourself from a lot of heartache and the waste of an enormous amount of your lifetime fooling around with the damned thing.

D0g Whisperer, or whatever the name of that show, is my favorite comedy on television.

You may have to euthanize three or four adolescent dogs, maybe more, before you find that dog of a lifetime, the dog worthy of cohabiting with you, of sharing your life with you. You must be worthy of that dog, too, of course. If you are both marginal, it does not make a dime’s worth of difference. Come to think of it, I guess there is a lid for every pot.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The second reason this has come to mind is that I am currently cohabiting with a dog for the first time in my life. A weak moment of mine when I offered to do this for La Mexicana. She is spending a couple of weeks up in Mazatlán with her son and his family. An old Golden Retriever, very unusual in México. Zumm [pronounced SOOM] is about the same age in dog years as I am in the calendar ones. He is not a moron by any means. He is half-assed in some small ways only because of his age, as I am. He refuses to learn English, for example.

I walk him on a leash in the hilly streets of the low income neighborhood to get a better workout for both of us. We face down those lunatic Mexican street dogs together. I carry a plastic bag with me in order to bag up his shit, demeaning myself in public in that way for him. I cannot believe that I am doing that when I am doing that.Occasionally, we go out to the reservoir in the pickup and poke around in the chaparral there together. He sleeps only by my bed at night. When I step out, he sits at the door wiping his nose on the glass watching for my return. We take pisses together in the early morning darkness in the deserted back lot here. He is sleeping on my feet right now as I type this.The whole fucking catastrophe.And I am not sure now that I am going to give him back when the time comes.

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