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10:19 am | 04 November 2003 | some dogs are just ASSHOLES

I wake up a half-hour early and can't find my pilates tape, so i get dressed for work and go to take the dog out. It's about sixty degrees this morning, windy but warm, and as we step out of the house i decide that, since we had an extra half-hour, we can do a couple miles before i leave for work. Guinness is plunging on her leash, happy to be out, and the morning feels good.

We come out of the alley onto the neighboring street where we usually walk, and are dog-face to dog-face with a massive white pit bull. He's wearing a filthy nylon collar without tags, has a head as broad as my hips, is unneutered. I look around, thinking that perhaps his owner has just let him out and is watching from a porch, but the street is deserted.

He trots over and immediately gets in Guinness's face--no wagging tail, no cautious distance. She bristles but stands there for the first moment or two, enduring it, figuring that since Mommy is with her, she should behave. He grows more and more aggressive, circling her like he's going to try (I hate even saying this word) to mount her or something, until she is pressed up against the back of my knees, shaking. My dog only weighs forty pounds, but it's pure muscle and I've never seen her afraid of another dog before.

A man comes out of a house on the street. I yell "Sir, is this your dog?" and he shakes his head, then gets into his Lexus and drives away. I am aghast. I don't expect help from a man just because i am a girl, but i expect help because i am a human being, for crying out loud.

About ten minutes have elapsed at this point. We are unable to move more than a few feet because of the pit bull. I am yelling at him, using the standard family dog-training terminology ("Get!" and "Damn you!" feature prominently), but he won't leave us alone. He repeatedly darts in at Guinn, slobbering, nipping at her neck. I can see she wants to defend herself, but she's on leash and won't act out; she keeps looking up at me, and my heart is breaking. I consider letting her go to protect herself, but morning traffic is a danger, as was the fact that he weighs three times as much as she does. I think that maybe if we leave the area he won't follow, and we try running across the street, but he chases us, biting at her back legs, and she is crying, so i bend and pick her up.

My dog, very typically, usually hates being picked up and usually squirms and jerks around. This morning, as i scoop her up, she whimpers and tries to climb up my shoulders like a cat, shaking, and i start crying from sheer frustration. I am trying to stagger down the alley with Guinn in my arms; another man comes out of a building, but same question, same response, and he, too, drives away. I don't know if i am spoiled from having grown up in a very neighbourly small town or what, but i expect more help than this, and these are people who have seen me on the block for the past year.

The pit bull is leaping on me again and again, trying to bite at Guinn in my arms, and i am wearing boots with a three-inch heel and being leapt upon by a 120-pound pit bull while carrying 40 pounds of shaking dog, an the pit bull grabs my pant leg and tears it and i have had enough. In a split moment i consider the situation and figure that, what with the knee-high boots and the motorcycle jacket i was wearing, there's only about four square feet of my body not covered in leather. I figure that if the shit hits the fan, Guinn would be off-leash and would fight, and someone would have to see and call for help. I get my angry face on (if you don't know me personally, it is a dangerous expresson, sort of like Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters II trying to impersonate Thade from Planet of the Apes, like totally do not be fuckin' wit my puppy, asshole). I began aiming kicks in the direction of the pit bull, shouting as i did so, and each time i buy myself about three feet of distance and ten seconds to move forward. In this way we hobble down the alley.

Of course, it saddened me to do this. I have never kicked a dog in my life. I love animals; Guinn was a fostered stray; at 25, I have pulled more lost dogs out of intersections and from under cars than most people will in their whole lives. But we literally can't move. To his credit, the pit isn't very aggressive towards me. Had I been alone, I would have leashed him with my belt and tried to find his family. But i was not alone, and we were trapped.

Five or six minutes of this, and we're able to get inside the house. I am adrenaline-wracked; my dog is coated in patches of drool from the pit. But she still hasn't been able to pee, which was the entire point of the walk, and i know that my dog will suffer for hours before she will go in the house, so putting down some newspapers and leaving her is not an option.

I look out the window: my car is about 80 yards out, down the street past the alley, and the pit has wandered down the block a bit. We go back downstairs and blaze out of the apartment at a dead run.

The pit bounds out of the alley after us, catching us about halfway to the car. Again with the kicking, the yelling. A third man comes out of his house, watches us momentarily, and drives off. As we struggle up to my car i unlock the doors via remote and then--i will swear on this until i die--i put one hand on the door and look directly into Guinn's eyes as she is crouched on the ground under the pit bull, and she looks back at me and understands the plan. As i crack the door open she turns fast as a cobra, strikes him in the face with white teeth, and as he flinches back snarling she darts into the car while i kick out to prevent him from following. I run around and get in. He circles the car like a shark.

Dudes, i am seriously pissed, but i pull out of my parking space very slowly so as not to hit him and we drive a couple of blocks away. She is still scared, jumpy, looking around like a conspiracy theorist, but she finally pees and we drive home. At the apartment i double-parked out front and we dart into the building before he can get near.

Inside the house, Guinn went to the corner by the back door (her "stressed out" spot) and curled up into a ball. She still has globs of that filthy dog's drool all over her shiny black coat. I check her for wounds and sponge off her the drool as best i can, and put her in her crate for the day with the tshirt i had slept in (for comfort--since it smells like Mommy). I came to work, called Animal Control, and then began typing this, my tennis elbow throbbing, sad and pissed. And that, friends, is my morning. clm.


Unrelatedly, Target has the best underwear right now. True, they do bear the message "SUPERSTAR," and i'd like to think that a) i KNOW i am a superstar, and b) anyone getting close enough to read the message is also already fully aware that i am a superstar, but quibbling aside, they are super-awesome lowriders and only like $7 for two pair. Jam!


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