Of Dog and Woe
Beating Off A Pit Bull
The thirties have been a strange time for me.  Every day that passes, I get more and more domesticated.  While most of the older people I know say I’m just “growing up”, I can’t help but feel clipped.  First, I started dating a woman with a kid.  That was going so well, we decided to buy a house.  Then, because homeownership didn’t give us enough to do during the day, we decided to get a dog.  Every day I’d watch those poor bastards stumble by my house in the 25 degree below zero weather with a dog leash in one hand, and a plastic baggy in the other.  Not sure why this wasn’t enough to deter me from dog ownership, but it wasn’t.

I’ve never had a dog of my own.  Growing up, we had two dogs, but they weren’t mine, I just had to walk them on the weekends.  Feeding, bathing, and punishing their bad behavior fell on someone else’s shoulders.  I decided that I wanted something small; a dog easy to intimidate, something that I could choke slam if I needed to.  I lost this battle.  After a couple of visits to the SPCA, the lady of the house had her heart set on an 85 pound male Siberian husky named Marshall.  Since neither of us had had previous dog experience, outside of our childhood, our brains did not find a problem with getting a husky in the winter, in a freezing climate.  We quickly found out, that for a husky, colder is better. 

We almost didn’t get Marshall.  There were two people ahead of us on the list.  Fortunately for us, Marshall is not good with other animals.  We eventually got the call, went to the pet store and spent a small fortune, and then off we went to pick up Marshall.  The ladies at the SPCA all came to see him one last time before we took him home.  He was on his best behavior as they kissed him, pet him, and fed him handfuls of hotdogs. 

When we finally got him home, we were eager to introduce him to his new environment, and spoil him with treats and whatnot.  He had other ideas; lifting his leg and pissing in my living room.  The way the living room is set up, there’s two ways in or out with wooden columns on each side, our television sits in-between the two openings.  Marshall pissed on one of the wooden columns next to the television as I sat there yelling from the couch.  The girlfriend came, cleaned it up, and he did it again!  It was immediate too; right in front of her.  So she cleaned it up again, and sure enough, there was his pizzle; dangling, pissing all over that column.  Her next idea was to go to the store and pick up some urine cleaner that would remove the enzyme.  She was convinced this would solve the problem.

While she was at the store I took Marshall for a walk.  I felt proud as people looked at the husky dragging me up and down the hill we live on.  He wagged his tail, jumped around, and I quickly forgot about the urine soaked column in my living room.  After about a 30 minute walk, I brought him home and unleashed him.  Did he go to his water dish?  No.  Did he go to his bed?  No.  Did he go to chew on his bone?  No.  What he did, was go upstairs and take a shit on the floor in the office!  I just had him out for 30 minutes, and that bastard takes a shit as soon as we get home!  This wasn’t just a shit, this was the beginning of a war!  When she finally got home with the urine cleaner, and cleaned the column, he walked by again, and pissed on it!  She didn’t even have time to close the bottle of cleaner.  She too, was at war!  For the rest of the night we tried our best to keep Marshall from pissing on that column.  Even tried standing watch like sentry’s guarding a military post.  Still, Marshall found a way to piss on that post for the rest of the night.

The first few walks I took him on weren’t productive as far as bowel movements go.  He wouldn’t take a shit outside, but as soon as we got home he appeared to be looking for a spot.  So when he did finally shit outside, I applauded and cheered, loudly.  I didn’t care who was around, or how strange they thought I was; I was happy!  I didn’t even mind scooping up his big ol’ stinky pile as it melted its way into the snow.  I, of course, tried to recreate this moment over and over.  I repeatedly took him back to the spot where he first shit, and tried to talk him into doing it again.  On an average, it would take him about 45 minutes to find a place to squat.  It was ridiculous.  At a certain point I’d get frustrated and yell at him, “SHIT!  SHIT DAMMIT!”.  Marshall would look at me and SIT.  Every single time, he’d SIT.  This, of course, pissed me off.  Frustrated I’d take him home, and hope that he didn’t shit on the carpet again.  Despite how hard it was to find a place where he felt comfortable squatting, he never did shit on the carpet again.  After the urine and bowel mishaps of the first day, he’s saved it for the outdoors.

These days it’s easy to get him to squat.  He absolutely loves to take a dump on the lawn of the Catholic Church, which I don’t mind.  The Church folk often yell swear words out of the window of the rectory.  They don’t care if you clean it up or not, it pisses them off, which is a double bonus in my book.  Get the dog to take a dump, and piss off the nasty Catholic Church people two blocks from me, sign me up!  I’ve never met such an unforgiving and vicious lot.  So I continue to take the dog there, especially on Sundays, after all, he’s just one of God’s creatures doing what God intended him to do.  Well, if you believe in that stuff anyway.

Marshall and I continued to butt heads for the first couple of months.  He’d often growl and nip and nip at me, especially when I tried to dry him off after walking him in the rain or snow.  At night, he’d HOWL!  He didn’t bark, but he’d go on a minute to two minute long tangent where he’d howl.  If you didn’t keep an eye on him, he’d swipe food off of the counter, find tampons (unused, still in the wrapper), dig through the girlfriends purse.  Having Marshall around, was definitely a chore, but it all changed one day.  The day we fought in the “War” together.

We were out on our normal afternoon walk when from out of nowhere a pit bull jumped on Marshall.  This dog was growling and drooling everywhere.  I instantly went into action.  I started kicking the pit bull repeatedly, which caused her to get off of Marshall.  I then flung my 85 pound dog behind me and went toe to toe with the pit bull.  The dog growled and I urged her to come at me.  Neighbors stood there watching, the kids whose parent’s own the dog stood there, dumbfounded.  After a couple minute Mexican standoff, I yelled to one of the kids, “if your dog comes near me again, I will be forced to hurt her”.  The kid had enough sense to run in and get his mother, who was freaking out as she ran to the scene.   She got her dog and offered to pay any vet bills.  There weren’t any for her to pay, which is good thing.  We haven’t had a run in with the pit bull since the day I had to beat it off.

Although Marshall didn’t get hurt that day, he did change.  Sometimes when a neighborhood dog growls at him, he hides behind me, other times, he gets uncontrollably vicious.  For a good couple of weeks he followed me around the house.  Since that day, he has never nipped or growled at me.  I have his respect, for now.  If him and I are the only ones home, he doesn’t howl, he doesn’t try to get into stuff.  He just lays there, licking his pizzle, and dreaming about whatever it is, that huskies dream about.
© 2014zygoteinmycoffee Ink.
Michael D. Goscinski is hiding out in the sticks of New York State with a real live poet.  He has a “dueling banjos” ringtone on his phone and thanks the Lord every morning that he is not one of the livestock.  He currently co-hosts Nothing to Lose, Zygote in my Radio and his column Fish Tacos & Meat Sacks can be found at Zygote in my Coffee.  Inquiries about the MDG Toilet Paper Tube Pocket Pussy line and hate mail should be sent to mgoscinski@gmail.com.