Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

If she keeps this up, I might become a dog person.


I have what can only be described as a HATE-love relationship with our largest pet, a Brittany-Beagle mutt we call Lucy. 

Though she does inspire me to other four letter words as name substitutes.

We've owned her for three years, and Lucy's vices are many:  digging craters in the yard, wearing ruts along our fence line, and barking at the slightest--or even no--provocation. 

Really:  She barks.  A lot. 

At hard to discern objects.

Or Eeeeeevil.

Four blocks away.

Either of which usually requires an electron microscope to see.

It's so bad that one of the earliest phrases picked up by both Maddie and Dale3 is "Shut up!"  Learned from dear ol' Dad, of course.  The boy is especially vehement in belting it out.  But at least they only use it when the dog is barking.

That, and the canine invariably becomes a flea-ridden mongrel at least once a year, requiring a mass evacuation of the house before the deployment of deadly sarin-based bug bombs.  I'll toss in the fact she escapes from the yard at least once per month, and refuses to heel, sprinting for a good quarter mile before being distracted and eventually overtaken.

However, she has two shining virtues.  The first is essential, or I would have been rid of her long ago:  she's fantastic with our children.  She's never so much as growled at either one, even though she's had ears pulled, eyes poked, lips jabbed and has been turned into a step stool of late.  Heather's standard line upon me dealing with Lucy's latest idiocy is:  "Well, at least she's good with the children."

You can only milk that one for so long, though (fine, OK--it can be milked forever--but it still wears thin).  Fortunately, she has developed another virtue I can appreciate--a hatred of pit bulls.

That's "hatred," not "fear." 

We have pit bulls in the East Side's Loudest Neighborhood™--one whose owner keeps it well chained, but insists on taking it for walks.  He doesn't take it for walks around our fence line anymore, though.

The last time two times he did it, Lucy responded with the most ferocious, hackles-raised, snarl-punctuated challenge I've ever seen.  She literally followed the bull down the entire length of the fence, raging the whole way, forty five pounds of mutt doing an impressive impersonation of a wolfhound in hot pursuit of a rogue wolf.

She got a dog treat after that display.  I hate pit bulls too.

Did I mention my kids play in our backyard?

Oh, all dogs are brave on their side of the fence, you say.  When the rubber hits the road, smaller dogs wilt.

Nope.  Last Saturday, I got proof.  I let Lucy out early, and of course she commenced to barking.  Probably at some inoffensive cat at first.  After the obligatory "shut up," I tried my best to ignore it.  It continued.

At 9am, the doorbell rang.  A construction worker informed me that she had seen a pit bull jump our chain link fence, getting into the back yard.  Was it friends with our dog?


I sprinted to the back door, only to see Lucy returning from our unusually-wobbling seven foot privacy fence (one of the many idiocies of the renovation of our home prior to our purchase of it--the privacy fence runs along only one side of the lot).

Our idiot mutt had chased the bull over the fence.  I then heard it climbing our neighbor's much shorter chain link fence.

I went back out the front door, getting a quick apology from the folks two houses down.  One of the boys living there said that it was his friend's dog (his friend looking sheepish as he held the recaptured dog on a leash), and his friend didn't live there, and it wouldn't happen again.

"Good," I said.  "I have kids that play in our backyard."  As you frigging well know, I didn't add.  And a couple of firearms, which means that if it happens again your friend's fighting dog is getting the silver medal in a competition with my .30-30 or 12 gauge, I also didn't add.

That bull was big--easily a hundred pounder.  What even a "tame" bull can do to adults, let along children, doesn't bear thinking about.  But our hapless barking fleabag of a mutt challenged it and drove it from our yard without a second's hesitation.

She's been getting beef cuts from the table of late.


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