When I picked up Pup during a run, and then later, Lucy during another run, they were both on their last legs looking like they had subsisted on a diet of dirt and whimpers for quite a while. When they first arrived—even though a month or so apart—they figured out reeeeal quick that they had it made: They lost the incessant itching, they got fed good chow morning and night, they had fresh water, they had kittens with whom to sleep and play, and they never saw a cage or a fence. Life was good.
While their staple was good dog chow, special meals included eggs, gravy with scraps, steak bones—doggie grub fit for a canine king (or queen). I came home at night and marveled at the various things they had brought home to show me or the fairly extensive mining operations they had undertaken while I was gone. And on top of all that, they got to run, ullott! And they were sooooo appreciative. That old adage, “I just wish I was half the man my puppies thought I was,” was just doubly true with two dogs who appreciated their new lot in life so much they would race down the road where I’d turn my old ranch truck, no matter what the hour, and race me all the way home so they could be there to love me when I opened the door.
They were both good-hearted dogs, and seemed bent on showing me their doggie love. That was until that gangsta-bitch, Dixie, showed up. (p.s. For you alarmed readers, that was proper; Dixie is a female dog, or bitch.)
The Bible says “Bad company ruins good morals” and God’s truth holds true with dogs, too, apparently.
When gangsta-bitch, Dixie invaded, I must admit, at first I thought it would be good for my duo to have a rambunctious bulldog to play all day with while I was away. That image started to change when their collective “urban renewal” efforts started taking on a more sinister appeal. All of a sudden, instead of finding a daily assortment of neighborly refuse (beer cans, fiberglass, etc.) in my yard, I stared finding things like neighbors’ work clothes, throw rugs, hard-hats, real [gross] garbage, various children’s toys and articles of clothing. I just knew I was fixin’ to get shot by an irate neighbor. After all, we live in the country.
Then my stuff started getting destroyed: My tomato plants, jalepeno tree (yes, I said tree), hibiscus, throw rugs, plumbing fixtures, recycle plastic, plastic things that became recycle, etc. Then there was the kitty massacre. I’ll leave it at that.
Try as I may, I couldn’t keep the gangsta influence out of my yard (unless I was home with my slingshot in tow). The effects on the family have been bad.
So, I’ve had to lay down some rules—boundaries, if you will. I call them “Doggie Do’s and Don’ts”:
1. Don’t eat dead stuff. If I don’t put it in your bowl, or you don’t chase it down alive, do not eat it. You’ll be sick and you won’t be able to run. And if you kiss me with dead, putrid breath, I will smack upside your dunderhead.
2. When we run, stay out of my path and I’ll stay out of yours, and everybody will stay upright and nobody will get stomped and everybody will get along. Got it?
Remember when we first ran together and you figured out to stay out of my legs? What happened? You kids need to back away from the gangsta pooch-bowl and get your furry little heads back in the game and quit trying to be gangsta-thugs.
3. DO NOT eat your bedding! Do not let your neighbors eat your bedding.
You will be cold, and I will be peeved. And gangsta bitch will be asleep in her own bedding that’s not all shredded.
4. DO NOT talk smack to the mean dog on the other side of the fence, just because you figured out he was on the other side of the fence. That bad boy is gonna get out one day and, as Desi was wont to say, “You got a lot of ‘splaining to do, Lucy!” In case you haven’t noticed in your newfound gangsta-personas, that beast’s eyes are about 10 inches apart, and there is a whole lotta mean disposition in between and behind. Just run, baby, run.
5. DO NOT poop on Mr. Bradley’s drive. Look, you guys have about 10 miles of mostly grass and weeds to freely dookie—just not at Bradley’s. He is gonna shoot you (or maybe me). Hold your poop for 50 feet and then you can let it rip.
6. DO get off the road when I tell ya; STOP what you’re doing when I tell ya to STOP; and come when I call ya to COME! You keep chasing dead things or not doing what I tell ya and you’re gonna get whacked by a truck. And in case you missed this, in truck –vs. – dog battles, truck wins…every time.
7. DO NOT go ballistic and try to leap 60 feet in the air to catch a buzzard.
I don’t know what it is with you and buzzards, Pup, but good grief, face the fact that you cannot fly, and buzzards can. Just run. Let the buzzards eat dead stuff, and you live run another day on four paws…no wings. (Although if I catch you on video, you’re antics are going viral!)
8. DO bite that gangsta bitch, Dixie, every time she shows up to wag her tailless bulldog buttock and lead you like sheep to slaughter down the path of miscreant tomfoolery.
To read more of Mark’s adventures about running with dogs, and other bad habits, read Running, And Other Bad Habits by Mark K. Henderson.