Monday, September 20, 2010
Hellhound on My Trail
You know how every neighborhood has one of "those" families? The ones who, whether out of some misguided sense of rebellion or just out-and-out ignorance, simply refuse to adhere to even the most basic tenets of human co-habitation?
In the city or the suburbs, this usually means keeping one's lawn mowed, kids in check, and recreating noise at a reasonable level. Out here in the country, it also means not making one's property a graveyard for accumulated trash and rusted car parts and regularly mucking out stalls and barns so as not to raise a literal stink or an invasion of Humvee-sized houseflies.
It also means, if you've got a dog whose demeanor makes Mike Tyson look like Deepak Chopra, you make sure that dog remains safely behind a sturdy, secure fence.
Not that I am necessarily bothered by dogs who roam. To me, a well-behaved country dog that doesn't get to stretch his or her legs on occasion by having a bit of a walkabout through its neighborhood, well, that to me just runs counter to what a dog essentially is. There are several dogs in my neighborhood who do this, one of whom is a beautiful, amiable Alaskan Malamute by the name of Axl Rose who about once a month I encounter on one of my early morning runs up in the hills. Everyone knows and loves Axl, knows where he lives, knows his owner has tried everything except chaining and a concrete bunker to keep Axl's boundless zest and curiosity for life contained on his property. But, since Axl means no creature large or small of any species any harm, no one cares about his occasional off-the-reservation forays.
But if the dog is not well-behaved, if the dog is not friendly, if the dog, in fact, poses a threat to both animals and people, then its owner has a responsibility to keep it locked up on its property and exercised in ways that do not require off property frolics.
Like the two dumb ass coon hounds that my neighbor down the road simply refuses to either train or contain. Every time S.B. and I go running by there, one or both of these useless mutts scales their fence and come charging up to us, not to say howdy, but to broadcast nothing but bad intent: eyes pinched with menace, lips raised and spittle-coated, hackles stiff as Mohawks along their backsides.
At first, a simple shout and clap of hands would keep them at bay. But each encounter only firmed their resolve and now they'll follow us beyond the boundaries of their property, low slung and snarling at our heels. Other neighbors report similar trouble, but if anyone's attempted to contact the owners or animal control, you wouldn't know it. I've hesitated to call myself, knowing that in this, as in all cases of dogs-gone-wrong, the dog bears the brunt of the punishment, not the ignorant-ass owner. And while these dogs piss me off and scare me, I don't want to see them suffer for what their humans have allowed them to do.
I have a run planned for early tomorrow morning that will take me right by their property. I'll be bringing a note with me outlining the problem that I'll stick on their gate, provided the dogs don't make it impossible. And if that doesn't work, I'll do it when I head out again. And if that doesn't do it, well there's always S.B.'s solution, involving firepower and a Korean restaurant . . .