There are no bad owners, only bad dogs


Theater of the absurd.

Upstairs neighbour is played by a tall, creepy, Ichabod Crane-looking axe murderer.
Me is played by Elizabeth Shue wearing a fright wig.

Setting: Hallway which is currently crowded with two baby strollers and one stolen shopping cart. Me has just opened her front door to take out the trash but is having difficulty due to the excessive number of wheeled contraptions in the hallway and her lack of physical grace and coordination.

Upstairs neighbour (standing in hallway adding to clutter): Hi, I donít think weíve met. My name is Edward.
Me: Hi, my name is BadDogs. (Shake hands)
Upstairs neighbour: Sorry about the mess in the hallwayÖ
Me: Itís OK. I hate to bring this up on our first meeting, but I wanted to let you know that on Thursday night, the noise from your flat was really loud and kept me up really late. It wouldnít ordinarily be a problem, but I have to be up early to go to work.
Upstairs neighbour: Oh. Well, we did have a party Thursday.
Me: I know.
Upstairs neighbour: So youíre saying that you donít want us to have parties?
Me: No, Iím just asking you to consider how the noise might affect other people and be moderate.
Upstairs neighbour: Well, I donít think I can say ďYesĒ to thatÖ
Me: OK.
Upstairs neighbour: I mean, I canít promise that we wonít have any more parties. Thatís unreasonable, isnít it? I mean, people are going to have parties sometimes.
Me: Let me rephrase. I am not asking you not to have parties. I am telling you that your party on Thursday had a negative effect on me as it sounded like you were jumping up and down. I am requesting that you consider this, and perhaps turn the music down after midnight on a week night and restrict the jumping.
Upstairs neighbour: So, the problem was that it was a week night?
Me: Certainly. I donít have to get up early on Saturday or Sunday, but I do on week days.
Upstairs neighbour: So, if we have a party on Friday or Saturday, it wonít be a problem? Iím not sure I can agree to thatÖ
Me: OK. Let me try again. I am not asking you to refrain from having parties. I am not telling you that you canít have parties on a week night. What I am saying is that I would appreciate it if you would be more considerate and perhaps think about consequences your behaviour might have. Have a party whenever you want. I just donít think itís particularly right for you to keep me up late with lots of jumping.
Upstairs neighbour: We were dancing.
Me: I know.
Upstairs neighbour: Well, Iím not going to commit to thatÖ
Me: OK. Nice meeting you.


A Brief History of My Pets

Infancy: We had a Dalmatian who apparently started biting people and was "sent to a farm." I only know this from old photos.

Childhood: Two calico cats, Patches and Petunia. Petunia was an "I'm Sorry I'm Fucking Other Women" gift from my bio-father to my mother. The story I was told is that they started peeing in the bathtub and were therefore "sent to a farm." I think the truth is that my mother wanted to marry my stepfather and he didn't want them (plus two children).

Stepdog: When the aforementioned marriage occurred, I gained not just a family (read this with sarcasm dripping), but a very sweet toy Fox Terrier named Sailor. Through the painful convolutions and chafing compromises that come with being forced to live with virtual strangers, Sailor was my refuge. My sister and I would play Circus Barbies and Sailor would be the circus elephant. He slept curled up next to me for eight years with a two-year hiatus during which time we lived in Turkey and couldn't take our pets. We also couldn't have a phone or a television, leaving me culturally deprived. He eventually developed some serious health problems due to the fact that he was never neutered. One day when I was at school, my mother took him to the vet to take him "to the farm." She hadn't warned me or talked to me about it -- she just decided it was time. I came home from school to find his collar on the kitchen table. When I got a bit upset that my dog had gone to the farm without anyone even talking to me about it, my mother got mad at me for being whiney.

Scotty: We were too stupid to name our Scottish Terrier anything else. She was a very sweet dog, but we got her just before I went to college, so she was never really MY dog. She died of kidney failure. My parents wanted to take her to a vet school in (?) Nebraska to have a kidney transplant, but they eventually came to their senses.

My Own Pets:

In college, I had pet mice and a guinea pig.

When I went to work at an animal shelter, things got a little out of hand.

Bob: Tiger cat with a half tail. A birthday present to me from me.

Trixie, Howie, Emily: Three kittens from a litter someone found under their porch. I bottle-raised them from a couple of days old. Emily was killed by my ex-husband when he sat on the La-Z-Boy chair that she was playing under. Trixie and Howie lived long lives. My monkey's first word was "Howie."

Buddy: Found outside a bar on a freezing Buffalo night. Big boy who loved to get in boxes. Frequently was almost sent to a family member for Christmas due to love for boxes. Died of cancer at about age 10.

Wheezer: Ancient chihuahua with only 4 teeth. The best dog I've ever had. The heart of a lion lived in that 5-pound body. Rob Lowe petted him once. He died after I'd had him only two years, but I was glad I had him for that time. He was too old to be put up for adoption at the shelter, and too good to send to the farm.

Lucy: Chihuahua from a puppy mill bust. The officers took 57 chihuahuas out of a house. Lucy was only about a month old and it was impossible to tell which mother she went with. I took her home "for the weekend" so she wouldn't have to stay in a cage. She never went back. She loved Wheezer and chewed on his ears when she was a puppy. She lived to the age of 19.

Rickie: She came after Wheezer left. She was a beautiful dog, also a chihuahua. Really, I went down that path accidentally. I wouldn't recommend the breed mostly because people are stupid and keep breeding them to be smaller and smaller, with no regard to the genetic problems that causes. Anyhoo, she was a lot like Wheezer in that she had no clue that she wasn't a big dog. She died at 7, quite young. She had a genetic kidney disorder.

Current batch: Katy, Buster, Comet, Rocket, Marzipan, Pumpernickel, and Adventure Baby.

No wonder I never have any money.

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birth & death