Sink The Puppy

I was an hour-and-a-half drive south, in Mar del Plata, when the call came in. “It’s that fucking dog. I’m going to kill it,” my wife yelled down the line, from back in the pine forest.

I was at a cocktail party for work, at the top of a hotel. There to interview film directors, producers, talent. Looking for scoops. News to report on. “Hold on a sec,” I say, and move to a quiet spot.

She lets it all out. The dog – a black puppy, what appears to be a mix of Doberman, Labrador and Freddy Krueger – has done something terrible. It’s the neighbors’ dog, a nuisance of the past month. Love is in the eyes of the neighbors’ eldest boy. Hate is in ours. It has taken to crapping in our garden-cum-forest, biting ankles, fingers, toes. Stealing toys. Digging holes.

What now?

Well, she says, it has walked all over the freshly laid cement that has become our back porch. “I’m telling you the bastard waited until the workmen had gone and then it walked all over the cement,” my wife tells me. “Its footprints are everywhere. It’s ruined. You’ve got to come back.”

Keep my cool, I thought. But frustration got to my head. Death to Freddy. I left the party, the news, the scoops. Elevator down. Hopped a cab. Went to my hotel room. Grabbed the car keys. Went to the car. And I was off, the drive north done in record time. Parked in the drive. Got out. My wife is sat on the sofa watching some series on AXN.

“So where is it?”

“Oh, you mean the dog. It won’t be a problem anymore,” she says.

“What do you mean?”

She told me. A workman had come back, by chance. He fixed up the cement floor and asked my fuming wife if she wanted him to take care of it, the dog. You know, dump it far away. It won’t ever make it back, he said. No, too cruel, she said. The neighbors’ kid would be devastated and all.

“So where is it?”

“It’s in the sink.”

“What?”

“Out there on the grass. You’ll hear it.”

Sure enough, Freddy was trapped under our yet-to-be-installed laundry sink, yelping away.

We never did see the puppy grow much older. It disappeared, got lost, wandered off. The boy’s father told us weeks later. Oh the relief, we thought. Oh the poor boy.

As Fat as Mars

“So Dad, we have to be careful not to eat too, too much,” my eldest daughter tells me.

Wait a second, I think. We can’t be having weight issues at five years of age.

“Well…” I start.

She interrupts. “Because if we eat too, too much then we’ll get too, too big and our heads will go into outer space and then we won’t be able to see our feet anymore. That’s why.”

Phew!

Dog Driving

If you’ve been to Buenos Aires, you’ll have seen them: dog walkers. A man or woman walking three, six, eight, a dozen dogs. More at times, hogging a sidewalk. Even a lane of traffic. Well, here on the coast there’s a new way of taking out the dog, something I’ve come to call dog driving.

At first I thought, “No way, this can’t be.” I was out walking my dog, the traditional way, step after step. Good exercise. Well, I hear this car coming and move to the side. A white Toyota pickup comes down the sandy road in the pine forest behind the house. An American Pit Bull Terrier is running behind, its leash attached to the bumper. Past they went. Up the road and back again, whizzing by. Then they stopped, about a hundred yards away. The driver gets out. He lights up, leans against the pickup. Smokes his cigarette. The dog pants. The driver drops the butt of the cigarette on the road. Steps it out and gets back in the car and leans out. “Come on, boy.” And off they go again.

My wife doubted the veracity of my report. “No way.” Then some weeks later we’re driving on the roads behind the house. And the truck and his dog come whirring/trotting by. She turned to watch and says, “No way.”

Others must have seen because this morning I go out to walk the dog. I am step, step, stepping along and then out of the drive of a house up the road a blue Fiat backs out. Bounding behind is a Giant Schnauzer. Driver revs up. Schnauzer wags tail. Rev, wag. Rev, wag. And they’re off. They’ve done three laps of the back roads before I’ve even got there. The driver’s still in his pajamas. Looking sleepy. Sipping a coffee. Maybe next time I’ll take the dog for a spin.