Gut Rumbles

January 17, 2008

Tall dogs

Originally published June 8, 2003

I like dogs and I don't like cats.

Dogs are pack animals and they understand who is the "Tall Dog." That's the alpha male who rules the pack. He's the boss. He always takes the lead harness when he pulls a sled and he wins every fight when he's challenged. The other dogs know who he is, and they treat him with the respect he deserves.

I miss Bud.

Bud is the 90-pound chow/lab mutt I lived with for ten years while I was married to the BC. He's got gray silver hair around his muzzle now and he's not half the dog he once was. Hell, he's 15 years old now, and that's ancient for a dog. He's arthiritic and can barely see anymore, but he's still alpha and good for about 30 seconds worth of fight before he wears out. With him, 30 seconds is usually enough. He's still a bad-ass.

I got my bluff in on Bud shortly after I started dating Jennifer. I am good with dogs, but Bud didn't like me at first. One day, when I was in Jennifer's apartment waiting for her to come home from work, Bud growled at me. I was wearing a cap and I whipped it off my head and proceeded to beat the shit out of him with it. I quit when he rolled over on his back in a posture of submission.

I never had another problem with Bud after that, and he loves me to this day, the grizzled old fart. I showed him who was Tall Dog. He understood immediately.

I would have had one hell of a fight and a lot of stitches in my immediate future if that dog had decided to make a serious issue about who was in charge that day. But I ran a newspaper route when I was 12 years old and I dealt with really mean dogs back then. I carried a sawed-off baseball bat in a holster on my bicycle and I bashed many a biting, barking dog with it. Once was always enough. They got the message fast.

You gotta let them know who is in charge.

When we moved to Twin Oak Drive, I was warned about "Nemo," a dog as big as Bud who was the terror of the neighborhood. That ratty bastard came to shit in my yard every day, and he bit Cathy when she tried to run him out of her yard in mid-shit. I finally had enough of him.

I KNEW how aggressive MY dog was. I saw Nemo in the yard, all hunched-over, pinching another loaf on my grass, so I said, "Bud! Lookee here!" and I opened the door. Bud saw Nemo and he went nuts. "Gittem!" I said, and Bud did.

Bud had a real good technique for a dogfight. He ran full-tilt into his opponent and hit them like a linebacker in an NFL football game. That impact usually knocked them ass over teakettle, and Bud went for the throat after that. He did the same thing to Nemo, and the two dogs went tumbling into the ditch in my front yard with Bud on top and Nemo in big trouble.

I ran out, wearing nothing but gym shorts, to break up the fight. Bud wore a choke-chain around his neck that could support the anchor of a large boat, and I grabbed that to pull him off of Nemo. Blood was all over both dogs. Bud was still growling and snapping until I pulled the chain tight around his neck and got him to calm down. Nemo jumped up and ran away.

I checked Bud from head to toe, cleaned him up and discovered that he wasn't wounded. All that blood came from Nemo. I took Bud back inside and gave him a handful of doggie-treats, petted him and praised him for a job well done. He laid down on his favorite rug and munched contentedly. No big deal. All in a day's work.

Nemo never came back in my yard again. I watched that dog start down the road, come to my house and cross WAAAYYY over on the other side of the street as he went by, eyes ever watchful for the demon who got him there before.

He knew where the Tall Dog lived. And he wanted no more of it. And he shit elsewhere after that.

That's what we should do as a nation today. Be Tall Dog. Prove it. Then tell the pissants and the mean dogs of the world that they can shit all they want to.

Just don't try it in MY yard.

That same theory doesn't apply to cats, which is why I hate cats. They don't have normal brains. They are like really spiteful women. Beat THEM for fucking up and they'll go shit in your bed.

Dogs understand the rules of war. Cats are terrorists.

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