Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Stockholm Syndrome

After his ordeal, Griffin not only had a criminal record but he was a marked man with Smedley and his outlaw biker posse. He was dogged by worry that the owner of Sid Vicious would exact a terrible revenge. Upon his return to the dog park, he was greeted with glares and stares from the assembled dog lovers. They gestured in his direction. He could see them mouthing expressions of disdain, their faces twisted with hatred. The dogs, meanwhile, went about their sniffing and romping. A group of women prevailed upon a muscular young man to approach Griffin. Before he could enter the confines of the park, the young man cut him off. He obviously was a veteran of pumping iron. He had the menacing demeanor of a kick boxer or a mixed martial arts fighter. His cocky swagger signaled assurance that he could back up his request with a savage beating.
     "I'm going to have to have to ask you to leave," he said.
     "Leave? Are you crazy?"
     "I'm speaking for all the regulars here. We don't want your kind."
     "My kind? What kind do you think I am?"
     "A cruelty offender. Everyone knows. Get lost."
     "Cruelty? What cruelty? What the hell are you talking about?"
     "We saw what you did to Pookie-Poo. Everyone did."
     "I was trying to save Pookie-Poo from being eaten."
     At this, the young body builder let out a derisive snort. "Yeah, right. THAT'S how you're spinning it? Listen, pal..."
     Griffin's dog Charley, meanwhile, was oblivious. His attention was on the pack activities in the off-leash area and the myriad doggie scents wafting his way.
     The martial arts expert had the situation well in hand. When she saw that Griffin wasn't going to pull a gun or freak out in some distasteful fashion, one of the women joined in the discussion. "You've got some nerve showing your face around here after what happened. Pookie-Poo was traumatized."
     "He would have been a lot more than traumatized if--"
     "--We want you out of here." She threatened to call the cops.
     Griffin was alarmed. His probation required that he stay away from dog parks. For the good of Charley, he violated his probation. The judge didn't want to put Charley in the pound because he probably wouldn't be adoptable. "Charley is probably a basket case, but he appears to be devoted to his person," the judge said at Griffin's sentencing. "It's the canine version of Stockholm syndrome," the judge added. At the start of the trial, Griffin's bloated attorney moved that the judge, a Poodle owner, should recuse herself. The judge gave the attorney a derisive snort. "Denied" was all she said. Griffin suspected the judge of being a Caninist.
     Another condition of Griffin's probation was regular monitoring by the Humane Society, but Griffin wisely chose not to mention his criminal status to his accusers.
     "Look at Charley," Griffin offered. "He's happy. Not a scratch on him." To prove that he was on the best of terms with Charley, he knelt and patted him. Charley responded waggingly.
     "So what! Have you heard of Stockholm syndrome? Let him lick your face." Mention of Stockholm syndrome gave Griffin a start.
     "Charley doesn't lick faces. Not every dog is a face-licker."
     "You're full of shit." She knelt and called to Charley. The hound bounded over and joyfully licked her face. "See? You think he loves you but you're just holding him hostage. He won't even lick your face! Case closed. That's why we're working to get him away from you." Griffin guessed this was an empty threat, but he had to tread lightly. If one of the dog lovers decided to contact the authorities, there would be serious trouble.
     As the discussion continued, Griffin was surrounded by dog lovers and their dogs. The pets showed their teeth and snarled at Griffin. "Grrrrr," they said. Charley hung his head. He couldn't understand why his former pals had turned against him.
     They'd probably cut him some slack, Griffin thought, if only they knew he was the caretaker of a remarkable dog that had survived a gassing. He could match kindness credentials against any of these jokers.
     Griffin had no choice but to retreat. There was a round of applause from the dog lovers, who gave Griffin a final evil stare. The dogs had a final growl. The young martial arts expert puffed out his chest. Someone called out, "Good riddance, Chainsaw Guy."
     Griffin was used to taking insults from dog lovers, but "chainsaw guy" was a low blow. The judge had also used that against him. (Prosecutor: "Tell the court why you're known as the 'chainsaw guy.'") The chainsaw incident was a horrible accident, nothing more.


For several years, Griffin had to stay out of his own back yard. The neighbor's angry dog went ballistic over any sign of activity from Griffin's side of the fence. Griffin had the impression his neighbor used his dog solely as a cheap home security system. As far as Griffin knew, the dog never left the yard. It may have been chained. The frenzied barking made it uncomfortable for Griffin to spend time in his nicely-appointed back yard. The only time he spent there was for routine gardening chores, and to clean up the dog droppings his neighbor threw over the fence into his yard.
     He had never seen the neighbor. He assumed it was a man. He never seriously considered confronting him. Someone who would throw his dog's droppings into a neighbor's yard could be any kind of wack job. The only outcome he could imagine was a sucker punch to the face, shattering his teeth. Griffin had to content himself with gathering the droppings with a shovel and launching them back over the fence.
     Charley used a dog run on the side of the house away from the rogue dog. The crazed beast made his living barking. He spent the day barking just to keep himself company. He didn't even take the ten minute breaks he was entitled to under his guard dog contract with Canine Local 38.
     Griffin neglected pruning his tree as long as he could. One day he dragged out the chainsaw. As soon as he stepped foot in the yard, the dog went from routine barking to bloodcurdling barks, growls and snarls. Griffin could see the fence bowing as the beast leaped against it. It gave him chills. As he went about cutting branches, Griffin did his best to ignore Sid Vicious, his nickname for the animal. He had never actually seen the dog. The fence blocked his view. He imagined it to be a fearsome Mastiff or raging Bull Terrier.
     He tried speaking softly to the animal. "Calm down, Sid Vicious." It only infuriated the dog further. He finally got his chance to see Sid Vicious, a muscular Rottweiler with a spiked collar, when the animal came roaring over the fence, sailing through the air in a perfect arc, jaws snapping, mouth foaming, his fangs on target for the veins in Griffin's neck. Holding the chainsaw, Griffin turned to protect himself. The saw ripped into the snapping jaws of poor Sid Vicious. Letting out blood-curdling yelps, the pathetic creature collapsed on Griffin's lawn.
     Griffin called 911. Animal control was dispatched. For several minutes, Sid Vicious suffered. After a bloody struggle, the animal control officer was able to sedate the dog. He tried to contact the dog's owner, but no one came to the door. With no one to authorize medical attention, the animal control officer saw no choice but to euthanize the badly maimed dog.
     Griffin was close to breaking down. He didn't mean to slice the dog's face. It just happened. The animal control officer sought to console him. "If it's any consolation, that dog was a killer. He tried to eat a poor Chorkie."
     "Wonder why he wasn't put down," Griffin said.
     "They said the Chorkie was the instigator. He was harrasin' the big dog. That Rotty mistook the poor little Chorkie for a chew toy. Took him in his mouth and shook him like a rag doll. I got the call. What a mess. You see a lot of sickening things in this business. I guess this Rotty was banned from the park after that."
     The story didn't make Griffin feel any better about killing Sid Vicious, but talking with the officer somehow helped him come to grips with the tragedy. When the animal control officer finally left with the dog's body, Griffin watered the grass, washing away signs of the demise of poor Sid Vicious. A bird picked among the grisly remnants. For the first time in years, there was peace in Griffin's back yard.
     The Chorkie killing had caused an uproar. Dog fanciers gathered for a candle-light vigil. There were calls to ban killer breeds like Rottweilers. When word got out that Sid Vicious had been killed, the dog park was abuzz. Some felt private satisfaction that the death of the adorable Chorkie had finally been avenged, but many others thought Griffin was a monster for taking a chainsaw to a defenseless Rotty. They took to calling Griffin "the chain saw guy."

Griffin was probably the only park patron with fond memories of the Outlaw Reign of Terror. The park had a checkered history, and not only because of the inordinate number of adorable Cocker Spaniels that frequented the facility. It had been an ordinary neighborhood park, founded in the 1940s. Dog lovers and ordinary citizens somehow coexisted in peace, mainly because dogs were not allowed off leash. Owners were expected to maintain control over their charges.
     But the verdant summer lawns were hissing. Dog lovers developed a heightened sense of entitlement. A dog park was not just a nice amenity, it was a right, and not only for dog owners. Dogs had rights too. In addition to the basic rights of food, shelter, and humane treatment, dogs also had the right to romp unfettered by leashes. They were the Caninists, radical champions for the rights of dogs. They didn't believe in leashes, collars, fences, or discipline of any kind. Training a dog, teaching it basic commands like "sit" or "stay" was abuse and exploitation. They objected to the concept of a dog "owner," with its oppressive connotations. The individual responsible for a dog was its "person." They were the first and loudest advocates for off-leash parks, free from the oppressive presence of "haters" (those who didn't have a dog).
     Caninists were fed up with the so-called etiquette that society imposed on dogs. A dog was thought to be unruly and ill-mannered if it jumped on people. That was just being a dog. If people didn't like dogs jumping on kids, knocking them to the ground, it was up to parents to keep their kids away from dogs. They were sick of haters looking down on them. They were opposed to gathering dog feces just because haters didn't like stepping in it. Let them look where they were going! The Caninists maintained that feces were a natural, biodegradable byproduct and good for the environment. Dog haters just used the feces issue as a club to hold over the Caninists.
     In an era of expanding rights for all citizens, the right to a dog park was accepted as God-given. Dog parks proliferated. Ordinary city parks were converted. The park in Griffin's neighborhood was no exception. It was an ordinary park until more and more dog lovers allowed their dogs to run loose. To accommodate them, the city fenced off a section of the park for dogs to frolic off leash. The haters felt slighted. Why had their beautiful park been unceremoniously mutilated? Why were dog owners so special? To their outrage, the newly empowered dog lovers ignored the lawful boundaries and allowed their dogs cavort in the area reserved for haters to picnic and play. From then on, the park was plagued by controversy and neighborhood tensions.
     The park's time of trial came when the city faced a budget crisis. They would no longer pay city workers to pick up feces. Resentment on both sides, hater and dog lover, came to a head the afternoon of the infamous Feces Fight. In a fit of rage, a fed-up hater grabbed a pile of excrement and hurled it at an inconsiderate dog lover. It sparked a near-riot of feces throwing from the two camps. It looked something like La Tomatina. Those who participated in or witnessed the fight were so scarred they couldn't bring themselves to revisit the horrifying scene.
     The Caninists moved in. They tore down the fences. Dogs were turned loose to romp as they pleased. Some were killed by speeding automobiles. The Caninists were not deterred. "Better to die free than live on a leash," they said.
     Fumes from uncollected feces filled the air for blocks. Complaints from neighbors poured into city offices. Through it all, Griffin continued to bring Charley to the park. For the good of Charley, he tolerated the sickening fumes. Griffin sensed that even Charley was not delighted by the oppressive odors. Just when it seemed like things couldn't get any worse, outlaw bikers took over and drove out the Caninists.
     The bikers used the park to exercise their Mastiffs, Rottweilers, Bull Terriers, and other macho breeds. The outlaws appointed themselves overseers and protectors of the park. They drank high-gravity beer from 40-ounce bottles and yelled obscenities at the Caninists. When the Caninists yelled back, the bikers grabbed them and tossed them into piles of excrement.
     Their leader was Smedley. He was a big man with droopy eyes like the actor Charles Laughton. He had an enormous belly like a steamer trunk. A scraggly Rasputin beard draped his chest. He walked with his head tilted back, as if to balance the load. A clump of keys as big a fist swung from his belt. The skin on the back of his neck was bunched in heavy folds. When things met with his displeasure, and they often did, his furrowed face twisted into a menacing sneer. His disdainful comments were delivered with a snarl.
     Griffin saw trouble coming one day when a Caninist visited the park with her two enormous German Shepherds. From the prodigious piles of steaming excrement they deposited, they apparently were very well-fed. The outlaws converged on the young woman.
     "You gonna pick up them piles?" one of the outlaws asked.
     "Fuck off, dirt bag." Griffin winced. "Dirt bag" was one of the worst insults you could hurl at an outlaw. One of the outlaws grabbed her and prepared to toss her into a pile.
     "Tell me why I shouldn't throw you in that steaming pile. Wouldn't you feel bad if I stepped in it?"
     "Put me down, ya big lummox! If you don't want to step in it, watch where you're going. Poop is natural. It's good for the soil!"
     "It stinks."
     "So do you! I'm calling the cops!"
     With a derisive snort, the heartless outlaw tossed her into the pile.
     Griffin knew one day the outlaws would turn their attention to him. He always steered clear of the bikers, avoiding eye contact. Finally, under the influence of too many 40s, one of them turned his fearsome gaze toward him.
     "Where's your pooper scooper?"
     Before he could protest, a couple of the thugs grabbed Griffin and prepared to throw him into a pile.
     "Whoa-whoa-whoa!" Griffin yelled. "Whoa! Wait. I'm on your side. My dog doesn't poop here! He poops at home."
     They paused, holding Griffin like a battering ram, as if ready to bash something with Griffin's head.
     "Turn him loose," Smedley commanded.
     "What?" The bikers were hard of hearing from decades of riding their deafening hogs. They set Griffin upright.
     "You heard me," Smedley lied. "He says his dog don't shit here."
     "You believe that?"
     "Let's hear his story. Your dog got a problem, dawg?"
     "He only shits at home," Griffin said, straightening his clothes. "He's trained."
     "What?" Smedley mostly could only hear the echo of his hog's tailpipes roaring in his ears.
     "I TRAINED HIM. HE ONLY SHITS AT HOME," Griffin repeated. Nearby dog-lovers, cowering in fear that they would be next to be thrown into a pile, lifted their heads to catch any snippet of the conversation that might be heard.
     "You're shittin' me. You can train a dog to do that?"
     "Well, I trained Charley here. I don't know about every dog." Griffin was starting to get the hang of yelling at the outlaws.
     "Teach Bruiser," Smedley said, nodding to a fierce-looking outlaw dog as big as a billygoat. At the mention of his name, Bruiser commenced growling. "Knock it off!" Smedley snarled. Bruiser relaxed and licked his chops. "Bruiser's the smartest dog I ever saw. You won't have no problem teaching him."
     Griffin was reluctant to undertake a dog-training project. But Smedley's menacing presence was a powerful persuader. His thick sleeveless arms were festooned with tastefully raunchy tattoos depicting various sexual proclivities, criminal achievements, drug preferences, gang affiliations, medieval implements of torture, and symbols of alienation from society.
     "I'm not a dog trainer," Griffin said, "but I'll be happy to try."
     Griffin knew he'd have to do more than try, since the bikers would likely beat him to a pulp if he failed. Training Bruiser to shit at home proved fairly easy, even if it meant daily trips to Smedley's house for a while. Smedley's house was pretty much a junkyard with sleeping and bathing areas. Smedley introduced Griffin to Helen, an Amazonian biker mama who looked like should could easily pick up Griffin and throw him. Instead of a handshake, Helen playfully cupped Griffin's genitals. He would have preferred that his member remain neutral, but of course it didn't. It sprang to life, prompting Helen to let out a whoop. "Hot damn! Nothin' gay about this boy!"
     With Bruiser trained to shit only at home, Smedley beamed with pride. He started treating his intelligent dog with more kindness. Bruiser seemed happy too, having mastered a new skill. Griffin became almost an honorary member of the gang. He hung out with the bikers at the dog park guzzling 40-ouncers and jeering lame-ass dog fanciers.
     Eventually the dog park became a utopia for the old-school type of dog owner who welcomed responsibility for their animals. Without Caninists to harass, the park was a little less fun for the bikers, but they enjoyed the goodwill of their fellow dog lovers. Mastiffs and Great Danes frolicked alongside Schnauzers and Jack Russells in blissful harmony.
     The Caninists regrouped. They weren't about to be driven from the park that was rightfully theirs. Since they were respectable citizens, the police took their side. The police were fed up with calls about dog lovers being thrown into piles of poop. Noise ordinances were easier to prosecute, however, so the cops went after the hogs, with their tailpipes that sounded like the wrath of Satan. Many bikers had taught their dogs to ride bitch. Others brought their dogs to the park in sidecars or special coaches that were towed behind their hogs. The dogs were going deaf as fast as the outlaw bikers.
     The Caninists and the cops had the bikers outmaneuvered. They were forced to retreat. The dog park reverted to its former disarry, with poop piling up and pooches marauding through the neighborhood. Complaints from residents again flooded city offices.

The city closed the park. It sat deserted for several months while its fate was debated. A new hero emerged to restore the park to its former glory. She was Maggie Frison-Biché, canine advocate and civic-minded crusader. It was Maggie who organized the dog-loving community to revive the park. She collected private donations for park upkeep. She recruited 200 volunteers to pick up poop, not just for their own dogs but even for the Caninists. Everyone saw the value of pitching in to help if it would save the park. The Caninists agreed to leave the fences intact. Most importantly, the city agreed to convert the park to a dog-only facility. The haters would have to go elsewhere. It was a huge victory for the Caninists.
     The park reopened with its catchy new name, Six Wags. In a flashy ceremony, city officials and dog lovers celebrated.


Griffin made his living as a day-trader, so he had plenty of time on his hands. He came to possess Charley when his forlorn neighbor, Nelson, lost his job and his house to foreclosure practically in one swoop. Before long, his wife packed up and left, taking their young daughter with her. Nelson decided to divest all his possessions and move to Texas where, a relative assured him, jobs were still plentiful and living costs low. By the time his house was picked clean in a liquidation sale, Nelson's dog Charley was about all that remained.
     "Why don't you take him? He likes you."
     "I'm not a dog guy," Griffin said.
     "He's a special dog. He survived a gassing, you know. Yeah, I got him from the pound. I took my daughter Carly there to find her a pet. She couldn't make up her mind. She wanted them all. 'Let's go home and think it over,' I said. The kid who worked at the pound said, 'Well, there is one more. We're really not sure what to do with him.' He took us 'round back. There was Charley giving me this look that reminded me of my dad--very wise but kind of pissed. The story was, he attacked a seeing-eye dog. That's an automatic death sentence. The kid was like 'It wasn't his fault. That freakin' seeing-eye dog was the instigator. They're not all the saints they're made out to be.'
     "So they locked him up in the gas chamber with a bunch of other misfits and gassed 'em. They had a hose hooked up to an old pickup truck. Well, when they opened the chamber there was Charley standing on top of a pile of dead dogs giving a kind of defiant look. The guy in charge of gassing the dogs quit then and there.
     "I wanted to deck the guy for telling such a gruesome story right in front of Carly. She didn't flinch. She just had this look of concern. It made me proud that she stepped up. 'I want him,' was all she said. He's not cute or cuddly, but Carly had to have him.
     "Griffin, lemme ask you. What do you think the chances are of a dog surviving a trip to the gas chamber?"
     "As close to none as you can get, I imagine."
     "That's right. The folks who run the pound called all over. No one had ever heard of such a thing. They all said, 'That's some special dog.'
     "He earned his reprieve. They weren't sure what to do with him though. Your typical adopter doesn't want problems. As far as they're concerned, he's a canine criminal. There's somethin' about him. I think you see it too. I can't leave him with just anyone. I know you'd appreciate him even if you aren't a dog person. He'll grow on ya. My ex wouldn't take him. 'I won't have that freak in my house,' she told me. "He's as good a little buddy as a guy could every want."
     "Since you put it that way, Nelson. It'd be an honor to take him. I promise I won't let him down. I'll give him the best care I know how."
     "I know you will," Nelson said.
     Truth was, Griffin barely knew Nelson. They became friendly when jobless foreclosure victims began clearing out of the neighborhood. Formerly respectable family men, the Great Recession had made them job beggars struggling to keep their visitation rights. First the job, then the house, then the wife.
     They held rowdy liquidation sales, sipping booze from oversized convenience store cups and practically giving away their possessions. Guys gave away or sold golf clubs or table saws for practically nothing. There was a lot of gallows humor, with profanity-laced diatribes against the American Dream. Shattered lives were fodder for acerbic profane banter. When all the homes were foreclosed and the households liquidated, the neighborhood grew silent.
     In his way, Charley was a good-looking dog. He was a wire haired mutt with a stocky build, long sticklike legs, big floppy ears and Andy Rooney eyebrows. He had a very kind face and a scruffy, rust-colored coat. Now that he had a new project, Griffin followed his typical pattern. He learned everything he could about dogs. He bought books and DVDs on dog care and training.
     Charley was a source of endless fascination for Griffin. On trips to the dog park, he spent his time observing Charley and the other dogs the way Jane Goodall watched primates. He watched their rituals and routines. He preferred to keep aloof from the park's social scene.
     Much as Griffin enjoyed Charley's company, he didn't consider himself a true dog lover. He wouldn't allow any dog to lick his face. It was a disgusting ritual. Whenever he saw a dog lick someone's face, he could only think of dogs licking their private parts and even eating their own excrement. He was against the whole notion of "fur children." He couldn't abide baby talk for pets or for people. He didn't want Charley to sleep with him. He didn't allow Charley to beg for treats from the dinner table. Above all, he insisted that Charley refrain from jumping on people. Charley was permitted the occasional woof for home-security reasons, but other than that Griffin discouraged Charley from barking just to be barking.
     Behind his back, dog park denizens expressed the suspicion that something was "not right" about Griffin. Charley was too well behaved. They wondered if Griffin abused the poor animal. When they saw Griffin turn away whenever a dog tried to lick his face, they exchanged knowing glances.
     For his part, Griffin hated Six Wags. He only spent time there for Charley's benefit. He enjoyed the dogs (love was too strong a word), but couldn't stand the people. He would far rather deal with outlaw bikers than typical dog lovers. They tended to be so arrogant and self-centered it was a wonder Maggie Frison-Biché got them to agree on anything.
     Most park goers used dog park time to take a break from dog involvement. The park served as a substitute for the disciplined walk. They dropped their dogs off while they went shopping. They gabbed on their cell phones or engaged with their laptops. The perfumed women who owned trendy breeds (Cock-A-Poo, Labradoodle, Weimerotty, Shar-Pug, Cockerhuahua, Vizslhasa, Shihdoxie, Butterscotch Doberdoodle, Schnippet) were snooty and wouldn't give Griffin the time of day. They didn't love dogs so much as the idea of a dog. An adorable dog was just another fashion accessory. They preferred to flirt with hunky men who used dogs as "wingmutts" or "cleavage hounds."
     Griffin didn't approve of the craze in tattoos and body piercings for dogs. He'd seen some extravagant tattoos on hairless dogs and those with bare bellies. He didn't understand it. How did they get the dogs to hold still for it? Nor could he understand how the dogs tolerated piercings in their ears and tails.
     While Griffin was a grouch when it came to the park's singles scene, Charley loved to flirt with comely Cocker Spaniels. Unlike Griffin, Charley didn't pass judgement on a dog's owner. Charley didn't care if a Cocker Spaniel's owner ignored her dog and spent her time texting. Charley was very tolerant of dog misbehavior caused by their owners. What really bugged Charley was annoying little yap dogs who nipped at his legs. Usually all it took was a ferocious bark and a good chomp to the neck to send the dog squealing. Of course, that could mean trouble for Griffin, his faithful leader. The yap dog's owner could be counted on to cop an attitude when Charley defended himself.

Just as things at Six Wags settled into a comfortable routine, Griffin heard a familiar voice.
     "Hey, Dog Whisperer." It was Smedley.
     "Hey now, Smed. What up!"
     A stir instantly went up around the dog park. Outlaw biker! Griffin saw people tweeting the news. Smedley wanted Griffin to watch his mama's dog while he made the annual run to Sturgis, South Dakota.
     "I didn't know you had a mama," Griffin said.
     "You SONofaBITCH!" Smedley reared back to cold-cock Griffin.
     "Hold on, Smed! Wha'd I say?"
     Smedley grinned. "I forgot you're a citizen. I don't have a mama. My mom--my mother. She needs someone to watch her dog while we make the run."
     Since one of the tattoos on Smedley's arm read "Mom," Griffin wasn't surprised that he was taking his mom on the run to Sturgis. Inwardly, Griffin questioned the wisdom of the venture, but there was no profit in trying to figure out outlaw bikers.
     With a warning about his dreadful anti-social behavior, Smedley introduced Griffin to Pookie-Poo. He was a small fluffy dog with a jaunty, upcurled tail, erect ears, and an inquisitive little face. He greeted Griffin with a snarling outburst.
     Pookie-Poo should have been adorable, but he was just a quarrelsome brat, constantly on the lookout for a chance to unleash his piercing bark. His cocky bearing would understandably antagonize other dogs, but in fact, all dogs antagonized Pookie-Poo. If he sensed another dog, or only just imagined one, anywhere in the Pookie-Poo Universe, he went all Cujo. His people skills were no better. He was a miserable little dog who didn't know how to enjoy life. Griffin hoped he and Charley could fix that. It wasn't to curry favor with Smedley or his mom. He wanted Pookie-Poo to enjoy doggie fulfillment.
     Griffin was beginning to think he had a talent with dogs. He was flattered when Smedley called him Dog Whisperer. Griffin decided to see if he could rehabilitate Pookie-Poo while Smedley was away in South Dakota. Charley was happy to lend a paw in the effort.
     Griffin and Charley put Pookie-Poo through a rigorous program of doggie discipline. They worked the dog on the treadmill. They took him for runs with the bicycle. They took him for long walks past homes where both the resident dog and Pookie-Poo went ballistic. Gradually, Pookie-Poo learned to relax around dog strangers. Griffin went so far as to take Pookie-Poo to the fence to sniff his rival. Pookie-Poo could almost stand it. Sometimes it took him a second or two to pitch his fit.
     The day before Smedley was expected back, Griffin took Pookie-Poo to Six Wags. The only concern was Pookie-Poo's habit of thrashing if his leash got tangled in his legs. Whenever the leash became tangled in his little legs, Pookie-Poo was prone to panic attacks. Griffin decided to watch the situation while teaching Pookie-Poo to tolerate other dogs with no fence separating them.
     Griffin was familiar with a Spanish-speaking nanny who came to the park with two white boys and their big dog, Rowdy. Griffin was proud of Pookie-Poo for tolerating the attention of the boys. He didn't seem to particularly mind Rowdy either.
     Finally Griffin decided it was time for Pookie-Poo to let Rowdy sniff him. As Charley watched, the boys brought Rowdy over. Everything was fine until the leash got caught in Pookie-Poo's legs.
     As soon as Rowdy saw Pookie-Poo start to thrash, he stopped seeing his new pal Pookie-Poo. All he saw was FLUFFY CHEW TOY. He lunged for Pookie-Poo and came away with a hank of fluffy fur between his teeth. Horrified, Griffin yanked Pookie-Poo away from Rowdy by the leash. In hindsight, this was not the most efficient move. He should have bodily grabbed Pookie-Poo. But there wasn't time to think. Griffin was having a panic attack of his own. He was desperate to keep Pookie-Poo out of the snapping jaws of Rowdy. Griffin took the only action that seemed natural. Swinging Pookie-Poo by the leash, he lifted the frantic animal as high as he could. He was mortified to hear the rasping sound of Pookie-Poo trying to breath through his tortured throat.
     Eventually, Rowdy's kids regained control of the beast and took off with their Spanish-speaking nanny. They sensed the potential for trouble, and they wanted no part of it.
     Pookie-Poo obviously was a bit discomfited by the ordeal, but it only took a few seconds for him to calm down and return to normal. It was just another day in the life of an annoying little dog.
     Meanwhile, trouble was brewing. Dog lovers who saw the incident were horrified. A few of them hurried over to Griffin.
     "He's torturing that dog!"
     "Slam dunk the sick fuck!"
     "You're dead meat, dickwad!"
     It turned out that several dog lovers had texted 911. Others furiously tweeted the incident. Soon a contingent of cops arrived with flashing lights and blaring sirens. One of the principal accusers was Maggie Frison-Biché herself. "Arrest that man! He was swinging that dog over his head like a rodeo!"
     It was the kind of horror show only a hardened criminal could appreciate. Griffin was ordered to get on his knees and put his hands behind his head. He wondered why they were overreacting. Then it dawned on him. K-9 officers would make any cop a hard-core dog lover. "Fingers laced together!" The arresting officer screamed, his gun at the ready.
     Frisky off-leash dogs bounded toward Griffin. In this helpless position, with no way to fend them off, Griffin endured the indignity of a joyful face-licking.

Music for Indignity


Anonymous said...


Dsoderblog.com said...

No good deed goes unpunished!

Anonymous said...

Wow, you are one of the whiniest douches I have ever come across. Check your bad attitude before leaving the house next time and get the fuck over yourself already.

Rufus Quail said...

Hmmm. Something tells me Anonymous isn't a fan. But hey, I'll take every reader I can get.

Rufus Quail said...

Dog poop digest: "...That's mild compared to the 68-year-old man in Silkeborg, Denmark, who allegedly rubbed dog droppings into the hair of a woman who failed to pick up behind her pet." The REST of the story.