Monday, December 27, 2010

Broken Windows and Dognappers

I am having one of those never-should-have-gotten-out-of-bed days.  This morning my neighbor knocked on my door to inform me that the window of my car had been smashed.  I put on some jeans and shoes and ran down to my parking spot underneath the apartment building and see that my neighbor was correct.  Not only was my right passenger side window smashed to bits all over the front seat, but my stereo had been ripped out and my glove compartment emptied.  I’m not worried about the stereo.  This has happened to me before--four times to be exact.  What I am really upset about is the fact that the petty thieves took the part of my dash that holds the stereo in as well as controls the air, heat, hazard lights, etc…  I seriously doubt they still make this part for a 96 Corolla anymore.  That’s a pretty crappy way to start off the day but it’s really not that big of a deal compared to what happened later.

My dogs have been really antsy lately because it’s been raining like crazy here in Los Angeles these last two weeks.  My original plan was to take my dogs hiking at the famous Runyon Canyon where you can let your dogs off the leash and watch celebrities while you hike up a steep road for what seems like six miles, but I’m not sure if it’s even one.  After frantic calls to my girlfriend to ask her to tell me what I already knew I needed to do and then calling the police and my insurance, I didn’t feel like hauling my fat butt up that hill and took my dogs to the dog park instead.  I should have gone hiking because I just ate enough goat cheese to feed an army of…. Well, I can’t really think of what kind of army eats goat cheese.  I ate way too much goat cheese and now I feel like a 50 pound cat with a belly that drags on the ground when she walks.  I could use the exercise. 

It was a normal day at an LA dog park.  There were about a thousand dogs there and maybe ten people.  The dog “walkers” in LA fill the dog parks up every day, unless the weather is anything but perfect.  No one in LA leaves their homes unless it is 75 and Sunny outside.  My dogs and I were enjoying the fresh air (if you can call LA air fresh) and my dogs were having a great time socializing and chasing balls I threw with this tool called a “chuck it.” 


My dog, Scout, is retarded.  I don’t mean that as a politically incorrect insult, I mean she really is retarded.  I gave her a doggy IQ test once and she failed.  She got a 3 out of 20 and one of those points was a sympathy point.  It’s nearly impossible to teach her anything.  You ask her to shake and she will lie down.  You ask her to sit and she will give you her paw for “shake.”  She jumps off the side of mountains chasing lizards when we go hiking.  I have to scream her name like a lunatic every few seconds to keep her from plummeting down the cliff filled with cacti and other hazardous desert plants.  Scout is also amazingly sweet.  What she loses in intelligence she makes up for being so unbelievably hilarious and sweet.  You cannot look at this dog and not smile.  It’s impossible.  She is just so sweet and so dumb and so goofy, that she brings so much joy into my life.  I could not imagine my life without her. 

I was sitting on the table top of a red cement picnic table at the dog park when a woman sat next to me.  I really can’t describe her well.  She looks like everyone else I know. Not too fat or thin.  Not too tall or short.  Not beautiful or ugly.  Just average.  She is one of those people that look like the people from anatomy books.  If you looked up the definition of human, you’d find her photo there.  She was wearing jeans and a cute brown sweater and I’m guessing she was in her 30, but it’s really hard to guess how old people are in LA.  Everyone looks like they are in their 20 or 30’s to me.  As usual Scout went up to this woman, turned around so that the woman had easy access to scratch her butt, and leaned against her.  The woman thought this was the cutest thing in the world.  She laughed and scratched my dogs butt for about half an hour, the whole time talking to her in the most ridiculously high pitched baby talk voice I have ever heard.  My other dog Cooper, was frantically running around trying to find his ball I just threw, so I went to go help him find this extremely special ball—his favorite ball.  He will not use any other ball unless he’s desperate.  He will just search the park for this ball and mope around with the saddest face a dog can possibly make.   It was very important I find this ball.  My dog’s happiness depended on it.

It took a few minutes to figure out another dog actually had his ball.  I walked over to the dog and asked her to please drop the ball.  Actually I said, “Drop it!” and she did nothing.  “Off!”  Still nothing.  “Down,” She laid down but still held the ball in her mouth.”    “Not yours,” she just stared at me like I was an idiot.  Finally I said as firmly as I possibly can “GIVE ME THE FREAKING BALL!” while reaching into her mouth and pulling it out.  She ran off as soon as I got the ball and I started walking back to my picnic table.  I scanned the park looking for Scout.  I couldn’t find her.  “Scout come!”  I called out.  She is usually pretty good at coming when called.  I ran around the park looking for my dog but she didn’t come.  “Have you seen a dog that looks like a small Rottweiler with a pink harness on?”  Everyone said no.  Now I was freaking out.  I ran around calling Scouts name and then thought maybe she had gotten out and into the parking lot.  I ran to the parking lot and check to see if maybe she’s waiting by the car.  She wasn’t.  By this time I am close to tears. 

I kept thinking, my dog is lost and she’s retarded.  She’ll never survive in the wild with the coyotes or on the street.  I begin to walk back to the park to get my other dog who was waiting for me at the fence.  He seemed just as worried as I was.  Sitting next to the entrance of the dog park was a brand new maroon Honda Element.  I always look at the elements because I secretly want one.  As I walk by I hear a scratch at the door and see Scout in the backseat of the Element.  The woman, who had been sitting next to me earlier, starts to open the driver side door of the car.  I ran up to her and slammed my body against the door so she couldn’t get into her car.  “Why is my dog in your car?” I growled.  She looked at me but didn’t respond.  “That is my dog in your car.  You have five seconds to get her out or someone is going to get hurt.”  This time she says, “That’s not your dog.  That’s my dog.”  At this point my whole body is shaking with adrenaline and I’m ready to fight this woman.  “No, you know that is my dog. Give her back to me now!”  This time I am screaming and people are starting to notice.  I take a fist full of this woman’s shirt, twist it and shove the woman forward.  “Trust me, I’m much tougher than I look and right now I’m ready to kick your ass.  Get my dog out of your car now!”  I pick up my phone and start to call the police to report this woman and the fact that I am about to kick her ass if someone doesn’t come right away when the woman opens her car door and Scout jumps out.  I grab my dog and quickly put her in my car.  Before I could go back and deal with the woman she takes off.  Her car was brand new so it didn’t have license plates.  The police told me without a license number all they can do is take down a report on the phone and it would probably be a couple of hours before they could send a police officer out to meet me.  Did you know that stealing a dog is only considered “petty theft?”  Dogs are considered property not family.  That is really depressing.  I didn’t want to wait that long for a police officer so I locked Scout in my car and went to get Cooper out of the dog park.  My sweet boy was waiting for me with his ball in his mouth right by the front entrance.  He looked really worried so I reached down to pat him and tell him everything is okay.  I clipped his leash to his harness and we joined Scout in the car. 

This has been one crazy day.  It’s been the kind of day that puts other bad days into perspective.  At least I have my dogs—my family, and at least it was just my car stereo.  It could have been a whole lot worse today.  I could have lost a lot more than what was in my car.  I could have lost a part of my family.  I could have lost a little piece of my heart.  She may be a pain and she may be a lot of work but I love my little retarded Scout.  I would die if I lost her.  I’m so glad she’s still in my life.  Today I feel lucky that I still have her.  Today I kicked ass.  Today I feel powerful.  Today I won.
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