The older I get, the less tolerance I have for people. Dogs, yes, people, no. I also thought dog owners were better people than non-dog owners, but this past year has taught me even assholes are allowed to adopt pets.
From the moment I adopted Miss Rose Marie, I have encountered everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. For those who don’t know, she has three legs. She’s fine. All of you only have two, which is why she feels sorry for you.
“What happened to her leg?” You ask.
“Nothing.” That has become my answer. “Nothing.” If you think that is rude, it is much better than what I want to say, “None of your fucking business.”
Then they get insistent. “Her leg, what happened?”
I look down and say, “Nothing. Her legs are fine.”
“No, I mean she’s missing one leg.”
“Yes, I know.”
Then I usually get, “Asshole.” “Jerk” and even “Faggot.” Yeah, I got that from a kid. Lovely. I can only imagine that one’s parents.
People stop their cars to ask me what happened to her. They never say hello. When I refuse to tell them, they tell me I am rude. I’m rude? Seriously?
What if I were walking with a disabled child, and someone stopped his car and asked, “What’s wrong with him?” Who would be rude?
What if I had one leg and someone stopped to ask me what happened? Who would be rude?
To those of us who have pets, they are part of our family, and your nosy questions about our pets bother us. Of course, 99 percent of you reading this wouldn’t be so rude.
One day, a bus driver slowed down, opened the door and said, “I don’t know what happened to your dog, but I just want you to know she is beautiful.”
Now, that is an appropriate thing to say.
I just don’t understand the fascination with her missing leg. I am more fascinated with the parts she has. I can’t do anything with a missing leg.
I have experienced this before. Miss Serena Rose Elizabeth Montgomery went deaf at eleven years old and blind at twelve. For the last two years of her life, I would carry her across the street when we were out for a walk. She could smell grass, so I was always sure to have her walk on my left with the grass to her left, but curbs and streets were an obstacle.
Once after carrying her across the street, some smart ass said to me, “What? Is your dog too prissy to touch pavement.”
I said, “No, asshole. She’s blind and deaf.”
I know. One of these days, somebody is going to punch me in the mouth.
When I first adopted Miss Esmeralda Rose Alice Ghostly, she was thin and her teets were sagging due to being a puppy mill bitch for eight years. As I was walking her around the armpit of Maryland, otherwise known as Rockville, somebody screamed at me, “Did you breed that dog enough? You should be ashamed of yourself.”
I was dumbfounded. I flipped him the bird.
I know. One of these days, somebody is going to reach over and break my finger.
While Rose Marie is a magnet for rude and nosy people, she is also a dog to be feared.
She isn’t aggressive or rabid. She walks on grass, and she has only three legs. Fear the tripawd on the lawn!
Take that in for a minute.
Yes, she walks on grass.
Before I go on, keep in mind, Esmeralda lived in the trailer park with me for a year. I walked her at least six times a day. This takes me back to Mount Pleasant, which is neither a mount nor pleasant, discuss. I used to walk Serena at least six times a day, and I can’t begin to tell you how many people were concerned with how often I walked my dog. Again, whose business is it anyway? I lived in an apartment, and that was how she got her exercise.
Why is everyone so fascinated with everyone else? Do I criticize how you raise those future serial killers?
Where was I? Oh yes, Esmeralda in the trailer park.
No one ever gave me grief about walking her. Esmeralda had four legs, but she was very timid and she would walk right next to me, never behind, never ahead. She didn’t sniff. She just walked. She did her business and went on.
I also am one of the few people who cleans up after his dog. In my neighborhood, there are no swales. That is the grassy area between the sidewalk and the road. Apparently, it is a Florida term like lanai. This means they do their business in a yard. I am a good citizen, so I make sure she does her business as close to the sidewalk as possible. That way I am not standing in someone’s yard while she puts herself in a north-south position to pinch a loaf.
On Rose Marie’s adoption day, I walked her every ninety minutes to get her used to the neighborhood and going outside. She was house trained in twelve hours.
Sidenote: If you adopt a dog, walk it every ninety minutes the first two or three days, and he or she will be house trained quickly. Making a dog sit in a cage for five hours or just hold it for five hours is not house training. When I was an adoption counselor at a rescue organization, I can’t begin to tell you how many people would bring a dog back because it couldn’t be house trained.
“What did you do?”
“I made him hold it for four hours in his cage, but he went anyway.”
“Can you hold it for four hours?”
“You just answered your own question.”
Also, a crate is a cage. Call it what you want, but it’s a cage. I refuse to say crate.
This world is full of idiots, and I have to live in it.
Anyway. Back to Rose Marie’s first day.
I walked by a dog-owning neighbor’s yard, and she came running out. She saw my little three-legged dog, and she said, “You need to keep that dog off my grass.”
Rose Marie was just sniffing around and had already gone near the mailboxes.
“Oh, she’s just sniffing around.”
Then she hesitated and said, “Well, the vet said my grass has fleas, so you don’t want her on my grass.”
“What do you do with your dog?”
She didn’t have an answer.
A few days later, I found out she thought my dog had leprosy and her dog would catch it and lose a limb. I wish I could make this shit up.
I decided to keep Rose Marie off her grass in case her dog had moron-cooties.
Then, we had another winter from hell. This was Rose Marie’s first winter. She loved it. We couldn’t spend enough time outside. The only problem was finding a place to poop. Peeing was easy as that is a squat, but with only one front leg, she needs to find a place where she can keep her balance while in pooping position.
The easiest thing about having all that snow is cleaning up the poop. You can scoop all the snow around it or, better yet, it just sits on top of the ice. It is much easier than trying to clean it up on a wet un-mowed lawn. You dog owners know what I mean.
One neighbor actually had some exposed grass in her yard. Again, Rose Marie had already done her business, but she wanted to feel grass under her feet, so she walked on the grass. No sooner had she taken a step when this ancient battle axe came running out her door.
“Keep that dog off my grass.”
“She is just walking on it. She isn’t going to do anything.”
“I don’t care. Keep that three-legged dog off my grass.”
My jaw dropped. I froze, which was easy since it was six degrees with a wind chill of minus twelve.
We moved along.
Do you know that bitch had the nerve to wave at me every time she drove by after that?
One day, she was having trouble unfolding her husband’s wheelchair after she retrieved it from the back of their Ford Escape. I walked over and asked if she needed help. While I unfolded the chair, Rose Marie stepped on her grass, and she said, “Keep your dog off my grass.”
I locked the chair for her, looked her in the eye and said, “Go fuck yourself.”
Her husband thanked me. Poor guy. He had to screw that at some point.
Then the piece de resistance happened. I got a call from my dog walker telling me someone called the police on him because Rose Marie walked on his grass.
Before I go on. We rent our lots. This grass, crabby, weedy, dandylionee as it is, belongs to the park, not us. We mow it. There is only one descent lawn in the entire park, and the lady who lives there has a dog and doesn’t care if I take a dump on it.
Again, I was dumbfounded. The police thought the neighbor was ridiculous, but they had to answer the call.
We never found out which neighbor called, and no one has stepped forward.
But wait, there’s more. Just last week, I was walking Rose Marie, and she peed on the common area of grass near the mailboxes, and a neighbor, another dog owner, who never walks her dog, just lets him pee and poop in her driveway, yelled at me about letting my dog pee on the grass.
“Where is she supposed to pee?”
“In your yard. Pee kills grass.”
That did it. I was done.
In front of a couple of neighbors, who were retrieving their latest issue of Redneck Monthly from their mailboxes, one of which was the flea lady herself, I calmly told this wrinkled, chain smoking dog owner (who is probably younger than I am) – yes, she also owns a dog, “Dog pee killing grass is the oldest wife’s tale in the book. Dog pee kills ants. It is a natural fertilizer. In order for it to kill grass, the dog would have to pee in the same exact spot for two months straight at least three times a day. And another thing. She was born this way. She has no disease that your mangy, flea bitten, non-exercised, neurotic yappy dogs can catch. Leave me and my dog alone. I clean up after her, which is more than I can say for most of you. I will walk her where I want, when I want. And the next one of you who calls the police on my dog walker better grow a pair and step forward.”
Then I snapped my fingers, turned on my heels, and Rose Marie and I sashayed up the walk.
The following Sunday, as we walked by the wrinkle’s house, she yelled over to me, “Good morning.”
I pretended I didn’t hear her, so did Rose Marie.
If you want to pee on my grass, visit my site first, and by one of my books: www.miltonstern.com.