While our country was reverting back to the 1950s before women were considered equal to their male counterparts…I was on a road trip with 8 dogs and a very patient husband. In an effort to give you a smile, I bring you the shitshow that is my life (and 100% my fault).
This is the rest of the story, but first the beginning. To be clear, this is a multi-part story, so you’ll need to tune in each week or whenever I get around to writing the next part.
First, how’d we end up with an 8th dog? For those following along, we had 2, then 4, then 6, then 7 and now 8. Yes, that is how counting works.
We have had a cabin up north for 5 or so years, in all those years the house on the end of our road has had a large black dog tied up outside in rain, shine, snow, storms…sweltering heat – you name it. I’ve contemplated stopping a lot, almost did multiple times but resisted. Something snapped on Memorial Day weekend, and I pulled into the driveway with Parker in the back. I stepped out in front of the doublewide trailer, looked to my left, and saw the old black, greying dog straight up chilling with a raccoon. They both stared at me curiously as I scurried to the front door and tentatively knocked. I waited, my heart pounding, as I looked back at the unlikely pair and thought “what the fuck are you getting yourself into now Bode?”
The door swung open and an older, taller gentleman stood there with a clear strip on his nose. He looked at me bewildered and I looked at the strip on his nose thinking…is that one of those snore things? Josh could really use one of those, do they really work? I decided to ask before I stated my intentions to take his dog and possibly the raccoon.
“Does that help with snoring?” He looked at me, touched his nose subconsciously, and raised an eyebrow as if to say, “did you stop here to monitor my sleep patterns or are you gonna sell me cookies or religion?”
Before he could firmly shut the door in my face, I blurted out, “I used to have a dog just like yours, his name was Jimmy and he was a black lab. He was a good dog, I miss him a lot (cue the tears – there were tears. I have feelings you assholes) and I was curious if you would be willing to part with your dog. To be clear, I would like to take him.”
He stared at me some more, and looked out into the yard at his dog. “I don’t know why you’d want him, he’s in real rough shape.”
My turn to stare. Realizing I wasn’t leaving, he invited me into his home. As I entered a woman in a bathrobe came around the corner and stopped short. “Hello?”
“Hi, um I’m here for your dog. Does the snore strip work on your husband?” I was really caught up in the snore strip.
“Oh yes, I wouldn’t be able to sleep if he didn’t wear it. He snores something awful.” I nodded, seemingly sold on the benefits of strapping one of those on Josh’s nose.
We chatted some more, they told me their dog’s name was Duke. I, in turn, told them my life story – work history, previous addresses, favorite food, hobbies – you know the norm.
John asked if I’d like to meet Duke. I asked if I could say hello to the raccoon as well. “Oh, he isn’t ours, he’s just been coming around and hanging out. I haven’t shot him yet cause he seems pretty harmless.”
I was about to ask another question about the snore strip when we arrived at Duke’s very tiny dog house and chain. He looked up at me with those large, soulful eyes, all 80 or so pounds of him as he struggled to stand. Mr. Raccoon slinked off, taking one more backward look at us before slipping into the woods. Duke’s back legs crumpled beneath him and he fell down heavily. Fuck, I thought. He is in rough shape.
As we stood there chatting, Duke struggled to crawl towards me. I crouched down and started rubbing his head, he was greasy, smelled like shit, and was crawling with flies. Swallowing down my anger, I stood back up and asked them both, again, if they’d be willing to part with Duke.
“Well…he’d have a better life. You know, he’s been out here for 10 years, he wandered into our yard when he was younger and we’ve had him out here ever since.”
“Well, there was that one-time dear, where he got loose and went over to Jim’s house down the road and slipped through the dog door and Jim woke up with him snoozing on the couch across from his chair.”
Way to go Jim, you should’ve just kept him, you brought him back here and sentenced him to a life of absolute shit.
After part 2 of my work history, we realized I used to work with Mary’s sister and cousin at Grand Valley, and I actually knew them quite well. I was hoping this would work in my favor. John asked if I’d like to bring my dog out to meet Duke. Dog, ha – if you only you knew John.
I brought Parker over to Duke, he smelled him, stepped back and cocked his head looking at him and then proceeded to piss right on my leg. “Your dog is peeing on you.”
I jumped back. Fucking Parker.
John took my number down, and promised to let me know either way what they had decided. I thanked them both, they invited me over for dinner, told me the best place to buy flowers in the area, the names of all our neighbors (Josh already knew this), why ‘ol Karen is a gossip and the one time John got bit by a Brown Recluse and almost died, in fact a nurse they knew down yonder did die.
My body now crawling with imaginary spiders, I inched back towards my vehicle, shoved Parker into the backseat, and thanked them again for their time. Backing out of the driveway, I bit my lip to keep from bursting into tears, not daring to take another look at Duke, and hauled ass down the road knowing I had without a doubt just acquired an 8th dog, regardless if the neighbors agreed to hand him over or not. I inventoried the black clothing I had brought with me, reflected on the best ways to crawl through the yard to get to Duke, and added a wire cutter to my Lowe’s shopping list.
To be continued…