Sunday, June 12, 2011

But it's a rescue dog!

Sometimes I think that socially, there couldn't be anything worse in the world than my cul de sac located in the middle of suburban taupe-land or, more specifically, a couple neighbors that ruin life for the rest of us. Between the guy who's ass seems to be stuck to his lawnmower while his hand is permanently glued to the pressure washer that always seems to be pointed at his car, and the house that over the years has morphed into a frat house disguised as a stucco two-story walkout, my little circle of asphalt is a never ending cornucopia o' fun that should win the Mine is Bigger/Cleaner/More Expensive/Louder/More Pregnant/ Dysfunctional Award. So you can imagine my surprise when another cul de sac, located a short New Balance Easytone stride to the west, become a contender for this coveted award that I thought we were so close to claiming.

Maybe you remember about a month ago, the lady with the blonde hair that's cut to resemble a rugby helmet, lecturing me about my inability to make an appearance at Honors Night. Well, not only does she live in this cul de sac up the street from me and I occasionally see her while she's walking her two useless, yippy Yorkshire terriers, but there is a family right next door to her that also owns a Yorkie. This Yorkie happens to be a rescue dog and was acquired about a year ago by this Look At Us Rescuing A Dog From The Perils of Euthanasia family. And by the way, did I mention that it's a rescue dog? Yes, they rescued it. Because it needed rescuing. And they feel strongly about adopting rescue dogs. Cuz rescue dogs need to be saved. By them. Because they're good people that like to rescue dogs.

The first time I met this rescue dog, it growled at my dog. My then less-than-eight pound wussy schnoodle, oxymoronically named "Danger," who wanted nothing from other dogs other than to not be growled at. So when I say "it growled at my dog," I don't mean that it gave a little "get your nose out of my ass" warning gurgle, I mean it growled. And pulled it's lip up a little as to try to appear like Sylvester Stallone in Rambo. So basically, when I first met this rescue dog, I was not impressed. And if I were to be honest, I thought it was a little bizarre looking, and not in an oh it's so bizarre it's actually kind of cute way. But maybe, with time, the dog would be able to change my mind, or at the very least get it's hair cut in a different way so as to not appear like a freak. Who knows, it could even acquire a few of the characteristics that I'd been told most rescue dogs possess -- submissive, playful, obedient, grateful and loving. Please note, dick-headish is not on this list.

Fast forward about a year. I have not seen this dog since they rescued the thing, and I'd heard through neighborhood chatter that it was still in existence and it was indeed being viewed as a successful rescue. Bravo, well done, and would you look at that there's another family that ensured it's members won't go to hell.

So when I sent Charlie and one of his buddy's down to the rescue dog's house to retrieve Charlie's violin (long story with numerous, very boring details that I will only repeat to someone that invites me over for a play date and insists on engaging in small talk), I didn't think they were ambling into a House of Harm where Cujo's wiry haired idiot-faced cousin happened to live after he was rescued. I definitely wasn't expecting them to return home saying "Yeah, I got my violin" followed by an "Oh and by the way, rescue dog bit Sam. Right here. On the leg."

It was Friday. I was thirsty. I had just returned from my oldest kid's all-day sectional tennis tournament. I'm pretty sure I was going to make a drink, had just pulled the tonic out of the fridge and was about to hack up a lime. But believe me when I say the words "a dog bit my friend" do not mix well with the sound of ice.

I looked at his leg, did a little bit of a gagging sound and reached for the phone. On the bright side, there wasn't any blood dripping on my floor and this made me especially happy because "Oh look there's blood all over the floor" is #2 on the list of buzz kill phrases right after "a dog bit my friend."

I found the phone number for Mrs. Dog Rescuer and waited for her to answer. And then I peed my pants a little bit because I realized I was very inexperienced in making this kind of call and what do I say anyway? Do I engage her in a little bit of small talk - hi, how are you, how's life at private school, is your teenage daughter pregnant or is that just a trend in my cul de sac - or do I just cut the crap and get right to the point, which is your rescue dog just mistook a boy's calf for a Beggin' Strip.

I chose a combination of both approaches, sort of a "hi" and then a "I have some bizarre news for you" wam bam you shouldn't have rescued this dog ma'am. And then I waited for her reaction. And it's not like I was expecting to hear her crash her car or smash her head into her computer monitor or anything, I was just anticipating a "Holy shit, that's horrible, how's the kid, give me his mom's name and phone number, I'll notify the police, has he been to the doctor, please send me any medical expenses" kind of normal human being whose rescue dog just bit a child kind of reaction. Instead, I got "Hmmm, that's odd."

Yes, she wanted to talk to the mom. But instead of asking me for their information (which obviously I could have provided since I told her where they live and that Sam plays tennis with Charlie), she instructed me to give the mom her name and phone number so that the mom could call her. And did it break the skin? Was it really a bite or just a knick? Was he taunted? Did they ring the doorbell? And on and on with the questions in an attempt to turn things around and make it seem like we should feel bad about the fact that Sam's leg was in the way of rescue dog's teeth just when he was about to let out a big bark.

Over the course of the weekend (which, conveniently for everyone, was a three-day holiday weekend), two messages were left on rescue dog family's voicemail, which of course were never received because rescue family was relaxing at their lake home for a few days. Whether they were sitting in the Adirondack chairs and thinking "wow that's so naughty that rescue dog attacked that child and boy oh boy we really should check on his well being or at the very least, provide a copy of his rabies certificate," we'll never know. All I do know is that Mrs. Rescue called me over the weekend with a "what's the big deal anyway" tone of voice and also complained about the fact that the voicemail messages left by Sam's parents sounded a little terse. At this point in the conversation, I wanted to blurt out "You're absolutely right! Why would they ever be upset? It's not like their child's leg was severed or anything! It was just a bite, right? Dog's bite children all the time!"


Fast forward about a week. The bruise created by the rescue dog had mostly healed, a sort of copy of the rabies tag had been provided, but rescue family had failed to file an official bite report with the police department. So, since my friend isn't exactly passive and is committed to doing the right thing (like protecting small children that live in my neighborhood from being bitten by a dog), she notified the police. This notification did not make rescue family happy. In their eyes, we were all supposed to chalk it up to a "rescue dogs will be rescue dogs" theory and forget it ever happened. We were supposed to feel bad for the dog because it had to endure a crappy first couple years of life so should be given a free pass or two when it accidentally bolted out the front door and attacked a kid's leg like it was a Slim Jim. We for sure weren't supposed to expect a couple of adults to act like mature dog owners and take responsibility for what happened, no matter how unpleasant the outcome might be. I mean, seriously people! You have to understand that they RESCUED A DOG! THEY ARE THE VICTIM!

So now, rescue dog has a record. What this means - besides making rescue family's kid feel like he has the right to be a complete A-hole to my kid on the bus - I'm not quite sure, but I have a feeling I'll find out after I dress Sam up in an outfit made of bacon and corned beef, let him walk back and forth in front of their house and then, just as the dog is about to attack, I'll swoop in and save him. Ah, who the hell am I kidding. I won't need to waste all that perfectly good cured meat because all he really needs to do to get bit is ring the doorbell.

And if you're wondering what the bite looked like right after it occurred: