Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Walking the Dog

We love our new dog. Okay, we're a bit ticked that she ate our couch, three pairs of shoes, Tigana's prize hat, three Barbies, the electrical cord off the vacuum cleaner, four Christmas ornaments (why couldn't she have eaten the ugly ones?) a monopoly game -- indeed, everything within her surprisingly high reach -- except of course for her chew toys -- but one has to expect a 'settling in' period. We're good!

But the other night, Mary came in a bit shaken up because, while out for their mid-evening walk, Jackie had gone completely nuts. She had slipped her collar and taken off after a woman in a yellow coat with two tiny dogs. Mary managed -if only just - to restrain Jackie by hugging her tightly until the others were gone, but was completely taken aback at this uncharacteristic behavior. Jackie mostly doesn't bark, and when she does, it is a polite greeting to other friendly dogs, or a warning growl at some wildly barking manic dog as we pass by their yard. Nothing out of the ordinary. Pooka at 18 barked more. But on this occasion, Jackie went completely ballistic, insane with the need to attack either those two little dogs, or their owner.

Mary didn't get that good a look at the owner, but complained that the woman completely ignored Mary's problems, and rather than crossing the street or turning the other direction, as any normal dog owner would have in that situation, just proceeded on her way without breaking her stride.

Tonight I was walking Jackie, admiring Jackie's progress in learning how to walk in an urban setting (sidewalks good -- middle of the road, not good) when once again, the woman in yellow materializes a block away with her dogs, and Jackie goes completely psycho. I managed to hang on to her leash, but she pulled and jumped and howled and pleaded and went hysterical like nothing I've ever seen in any dog, ever. I abandoned any attempt to walk, and just got her to sit until the woman -- taking no notice of us whatsoever -- merrily continued on her way past us. At one point, as the woman had passed us and was receding into the distance -- Jackie was so crazed she actually turned around, and bit at my arm to get me to let go of the leash! Jackie?!

Once the woman had completely disappeared and Jackie calmed down, we continued home, where I told Mary what had happened.

"That's the same woman, alright" Mary confirmed. "But why is Jackie so insistent on attacking her dogs -- or her?"

"Alien Cyborgs," I explained.


"Well, it's obvious, isn't it? Jackie is desperate to attack that woman because Jackie can tell that those aren't dogs, and she's no human."

"Alien Cyborgs?" Mary asks, starring at me with that way she has sometimes.

"Dogs can always tell," I say. "I think it's the unearthly smell that gives the cyborgs away."

"Cyborgs?" Mary asked again. (I think she has trouble with her hearing sometimes.)

"Alien Cyborgs" I confirm. "Clearly, Jackie was trying to protect us, warn us against these alien invaders. It must drive Jackie crazy to be able to see the danger so clearly, and for us to be just oblivious like that."

"Or, maybe Jackie just really doesn't like that woman for some, you know, more mundane reason."

"Didn't you see how that woman just kept going? Like she was programmed? Robotic.... Obvious Cyborgs, really, once Jackie identified the intruders!"

"You're not going to do anything,,,um...drastic, are you?"

"I don't see alternative, I'm afraid."

"Oh, Robert, no!"

"Yes, I'll have to move Jackie's walk up an hour."


"Well, if the cyborgs go for their walk at 6:00, I'll have to take Jackie at 5 or so. So we don't run into them again. Great thing about alien cyborgs: creatures of habit. Or programming, I should say. Very predictable."

"Uh, huh."

"It's their greatest weakness, really. Always leads to their downfall. That, and watchful dogs, like Jackie!"

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