Somewhere along the way I must have offended the Dog Gods, because dogs and I have had a hate-hate relationship all my life. And when I say I hate dogs, I don’t mean just any dog. I mean your dog.
Dogs have been pissing me off since I was a little kid. When I was three I remember walking down the block from the babysitter’s to the corner candy store to pick up a pack of candy cigarettes. I hated the flavor of these cigarettes — they were a horrid spearmint monstrosity with a powdery coating of cornstarch, not exactly kid-friendly if you ask me — but I adored sucking on them, always careful to let them hang out of my mouth at the proper angle, pink tip glowing, while I rolled up my sleeves and fixed the engines of cars, beat up other kids ,and hung around on streetcorners flicking my switchblade. I was a tough little kid, as tough as I could be while wearing pants that buttoned to my shirts. But walking back from the candy store clutching my sticky loot, I’d invariably encounter my Worst Enemy. A dog. Not just any dog, but a Big Dog. A dog taller than me, with sharp teeth nine feet long that glistened in the sun. That sort of dog. Your dog. And my biggest fear was that the dog could smell my fear from across the street, and run over to me and sink its nine-foot teeth into my leg in the soft place above my knee. I knew this would happen with the certainty that a three-year-old knows that cookies will never happen again and that all of them must be eaten today.
There’s a dog next door to me that I hate. He pokes his head through the curtains during the day when his people are gone, hooking one impossibly thin leg around a chair and staring suspiciously out at the world with his squinty eyes. He alternates this misanthropy with howling and whining, often for hours at a time, a sound that curls through our adjoining wall and pierces my eardrums with the compulsive obsession of a small, mostly white dog who has nothing better to do than terrorize his next-door neighbor with his shrill cries. I have often thought about slipping a flat poisoned sausage under the door while his people are away but I am certain such an act would be traced to me somehow and that forever more I’d be known as the Dog-Killing Lady and people, even people with cats, would shun me, slam their window blinds shut when I walked by and point stiff accusing fingers. So no poison. I send him psychic darts instead, hoping to hear little yelps from the other side of the room from time to time when he gets a particularly sharp one in the backside, but so far I have only succeeded in attracting looks of pathetic disgust from him whenever I walk past his window. Other people stop and exclaim, “Oh, how cute!” and take their cameras out, smiling at his droll antics, but for me he reserves his highest disdain. I hate him.
And if you walk any of the 4000 miles of trails within walking distance of my house, I hate your dog too. Because you are the person who watches your dog crapping and picks it up in a blue plastic bag designed expressly for this purpose. (NOTE: This brings to mind the following conversation: “What do you do for a living?” “Oh, I design dog poop bags. Want to see my portfolio?”) And you carefully tie the bag shut, safely enclosing your dog’s poop inside. AND THEN YOU LEAVE THE FREAKING BAG AT THE SIDE OF THE TRAIL.
I was curious about this phenomena and asked about it in my writer’s group.
“Oh, I know!’ said one dog owning writer (I hate her, too). “It’s so they don’t have to carry the bag around the whole walk. They leave it there and come back and pick it up on the way back.”
In a perfect world, this might be the case. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world where I hate dogs. Your dog. And I see the blue poop bags lining the trails, adorning fence posts like a decoration gone horribly wrong, and I am convinced that 95% of people leaving their blue bags along the trail have no intention whatsoever to picking those blue bags back up on the way back, or ever.
Which begs the question, Why go to the trouble of feeling your dog’s poop in your hand — separated from your dog’s poop by a thin layer of plastic — to mummify it in a blue bag? You’re essentially polluting the trail; does it make you feel better to pollute using a non-biodegradable plastic bag?
Somewhere along the way, dogs figured things out. “If I act really stupid they’ll give me food and let me sleep on the bed and they’ll even pick up my poop! What a great life! I only have to give up my dignity!”
Cats on the other hand, always retain their dignity. They don’t need someone picking up their poop to assert their superiority. They can poop where they damn please, except it pleases them to also bury it. Cats are not stupid. They also have a functioning sense of smell, something that dogs apparently lack despite the pervasive misconception that dogs can smell.
I hate the way your dog smells. Even freshly washed, a dog will always smell like a … dog. They can’t help this. But I don’t want it near me, thank you. I realize that I not only have an over-developed sense of smell but also that I rely heavily on it when making decisions about people, but no. You dog smells. I hate your dog.
I particularly hate your dog when it’s off its leash. Leashes were designed to keep dogs and small children contained within a small space. Anchor the leash to the ground and dogs and children will soon tire themselves out from running endlessly in a circle. This is as it should be. Dogs off their leashes, like small children, are attracted to muddy puddles and smelling things. There is nothing I hate more than someone’s dog’s dog slobber swiped across my hand when I pass an unleashed dog on the trail. If you can’t fully contain your dog, either leave it at home or use a leash. And there’s a particular place in hell reserved for dogs who can’t be stopped from planting their noses in a person’s crotch. If you have a dog who does this, I can’t even speak to you at all. Or look at you. Please go away.
I would wax rhapsodically now about cats and their obvious superiority, but that seems like too contrived a direction for this post, don’t you think? We all pretty much know about cats — how they smell good almost all the time, a faint whiff of cat-spit and clean fur; how clearly intelligent they are; and how I can’t even think of a single cat I have disliked. Dogs I have liked? It was always grudgingly and half-heartedly, and they number less than the fingers on one hand.
But mostly I hate your dog.
There were no dogs harmed in the making of this post. Pity.