When I lived in base housing in Georgia, my across-the-street neighbor, well, neighbor #1 — Four families came and went from that house while I stayed my sad ass in the same damn house for seven years, all fire-ant bit and red-faced and homesick…
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, across-the-street neighbor #1. Y’all, her husband was critically injured and had to be flown from his combat zone for treatment. She needed to be with her husband.
I offered to water the plants. And to take her older female dog, Angel, a harlequin Great Dane. I have always liked big dogs, and I had always liked Angel.
Because of the crisis situation, it was mentioned to me that when Angel mated with the male, I would get a free puppy. Pick o’ the litter. One should always be open to the idea of free puppies. Aw.
Or so I thought.
It’s like how you think you already know how to parent because you’re an auntie who’s babysat and taught kindergarten. False.
I knew a lot about dogs, but peopling a dog that nears you in weight and comes surprisingly close to the problem-solving ability of a kindergartner is not a job for every people.
The first morning I had Angel, she pushed her cold, wet snout against my hand and gave me the look. I took her out. The second morning, I think she made herself a bowl of cereal and watched cartoons, because she did not wake me. I woke up to …
Do y’all know how much pee comes out of a Great Dane?!?
Barbie’s wading pool, right next to my dining room table.
Do you know how much Great Danes eat?!?
You know what comes in must go out.
You cannot leave it there, in the hot Georgia sun, for more than a minute.
OH HOLY DROOL!
Two words: Hair splinters.
Those hurt like hell! I mean to tell you, the woes of hair splinters are not folklore shared by hairdressers. They are seriously owie.
Still, my neighbor needed me — military spouses are the only family you have when you move 800 miles away from home. You do things like that. You do your part. Besides, I really did like Angel.
I did not complain to my neighbor. Everything fine. I lied politely, “She likes to go out at 7. It’s fine.” Y’all know I hate any single digit in the am unless I’m about to go to bed, but my neighbor had bigger fish to fry.
Meanwhile, the male was kept by my other across-the-street neighbor and he was chewin up her pergola posts and peein on the floor quite a bit and drivin the house Schnauzer crazy, so who was I to complain about hair splinters and morning pee-pee time?
So then I found out she could jump the fence. We had a nice ritual, or so I thought. I’d drive out and do errands and she’d stay in the back yard. If she was a good girl, wasn’t she always? I’d give her a pig’s ear when I got back.
We went on this way for weeks.
“Who’s a good girl? Good Girl, Angel!” and a pig’s ear.
‘Cept, um, one day I was drivin home and I SAW THAT HARLEQUIN BITCH LEAPIN LIKE MAD, CHASIN TIME TO GET BACK IN THE FENCE BEFORE MY MINIVAN PULLED IN!
She wasn’t as good as she was smart.
Don’t let them tell you all Great Danes are big goofy dopes — they’re not.
I opened the door and I gave her the look. Her tail stopped waggin. She sat down and looked at her feet. The jig was up. No pig’s ear. Tsk.
This became a problem. Perhaps it was because I’d let her know I’d caught on, perhaps she needed to test me. Regardless, every time she went out, she leapt the fence. Aren’t dogs beautiful when they run full-out? Beautiful. As God intended, perhaps, but not as the US Army allows.
With only two legs I was unable to ‘catch’ Angel and the MPs came over for a nice chat.
I couldn’t keep her.
I don’t remember who fostered her after that. I struggled with the guilt for a time, and I never did get a free puppy. Not wanting one was an important lesson to learn. Big dog, sure. Really big dog, no. And fluffy-hair-splinter-less dogs only. And no puppies. I done potty-trained enough creatures.
Happy Friday Everyone!