Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Neighbourhood Dangers!

It has come to my attention that walking in my neighbourhood with puppies is actually relatively dangerous.

The most usual common danger is usually minor. It's just more inconvenient than anything else. It's usually just Larry-the-Potential-Serial-Killer laying in wait for the girls and I as we round out our walk by trying to dash past his house with some trepidation. He lives on a corner, you see. I've actually tried to avoid his corner by taking a different route home but my little puppies can be rather stubborn. They don't like to go in a different direction to what we're used to. Either that or the smell of squirrel isn't strong enough in the new way for them to feel like going that direction.

So, usually, I resort to walking by Larry-the-Potential-Serial-Killer's house at a bit more of a rapid pace than usual in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, we won't be spotted.

Nine times out of ten, we're spotted. It looks like Larry isn't home. His garage door is closed. His car is not in the drive. His back door is closed. I heave a sigh of relief and start to tell the girls that 'yay! we made it!' in a quiet whisper and..then…

Larry-the-Potential-Serial-Killer appears. Out of nowhere.

Well, actually it's from his back yard but that doesn't sound so dramatic. Either way, unless we want to look horribly rude which, as an Englishwoman, is not something I like to do, I usually have to at least say a polite hello.

Unfortunately, it's never just a polite hello. I try to keep walking and he's there in his usual up-too-close-and-personal manner, wanting to either talk about the Dog Whisperer's beasts or ask me about a plant or something. Silly me made the mistake of joining in a discussion with him about his yard which revealed I had Gardening Knowledge. I usually get my Gardening Knowledge from my mother. But I do have some.

Larry, it seems, does not have Gardening Knowledge. Or, if he does, he pretends he doesn't just so he has an excuse to talk. Last time, it was his shrub rose-bush. He didn't know it was rose. Or he pretended not to, anyway. Personally, the presence of roses and thorns should have tipped him off but what do I know? Maybe in Larry's world, roses aren't the same as the roses I know. I didn’t ask. It would have taken too long to get an answer. Larry is rather detailed, you see.

So, normally, we try to skip talking to Larry since it usually results in the puppies getting bored and restless. Actually, it results in all of us getting bored and restless but, not being a cute puppy, I can't exactly lie down on the ground and pretend to sleep like they do.

Yet, Larry isn't the only danger in the neighbourhood. Now it seems we have to look out for mad male dachshunds.

Last night, you see, we decided to leave The Odious One in peace for a while and go for a walk. Well, I should say, I decided to give him some peace. Rory and Sookie are attempting to be good but they still can't resist giving Odie an enthusiastic greeting every time he moves. Giving that Odie won't sit still and enjoys either following me everywhere or trying to find an escape route, he's making himself a moving target.

So, I decided he'd be fine if I left him home alone and took the girls for a walk.

Well, he was fine. The girls, however…well they had a scare.

It began after I decided to extend our normal walk to the longer version which is three blocks instead of one. The girls like walking now, ever in search of bunnies and squirrels, so they don’t mind the extra distance.

We met a new neighbour last night. He was sitting on his front lawn, just relaxing. He was very nice and very excited to see my pups. It turns out, he, too, has black-and-tan, sibling dachshunds, just like me. He wanted his dog to meet my girls so he brought out Odin, the male sibling. Odin has quite a story. He escaped not too long ago and went missing. The owner put up fliers all over the area and advertised in the newspaper. Odin was missing for three weeks and then, one day, his owners got a call that his dog had been picked up by a repairman in a van and rescued. Apparently, Odin had two rows of puncture wounds in his side and a deep gash on his throat. The repairman found out that Odin was missing and he was able to reunite owner and dog.

Odin's owner took him to the vet for the puncture wounds and the vet told him that he'd actually been picked up by a bird of prey. The punctures were talon marks and the gash was from the beak. Obviously, Odin had been too long and bulky to go far but the attempt had been made.

I was fascinated. Who doesn't like a good "Dog gets Lost and Makes it Back Home" story? It's even better when a ferocious and ambitious villain such as a hawk is involved.

The trouble is that Odin didn't appear to be a very nice dog. Rather than greet my girls nicely, he immediately tried to bite them. His owner scooped him up but Odin did NOT want to be held. He wanted to snarl. His owner finally put him in the house. I was glad. I was happy that Odin had found his way home but rather glad Odin was not my dog.

We went on our way. All of a sudden, after we were halfway down the street, I hear the shout of "Odin, No!"

Odin was running towards us, having escaped again. At first, he seemed to be friendly, as if curious about my pups. Then he started to growl and before I knew it, he was lunging for Rory. His owner, not far behind, was yelling. I stupidly reacted from instinct and grabbed his collar. I know that's a no-no for breaking up a dog fight but, fortunately, I didn't get bitten. I did, however, managed to hold off Odin from Rory and Sookie who were now whimpering and terrified.

His owner caught up and was clearly mortified and upset. He was extremely apologetic. He finally took Odin and left us in peace. I managed to pick up each puppy and cuddle them which seemed to settle them down. I think, in the end, I was more alarmed than they were.

We managed to finish our walk and even avoid Larry which was definitely welcome after such a traumatic interlude. Rory and Sookie seemed recovered by the time we got home. I, however, find that I'm more wary of male dachshunds than ever. It doesn't help that Possibly-Joe the plumber's girlfriend also has an older male dachshund and he sometimes brings him to our shared fence to meet the girls. This dog inevitably snarls at my pups and snaps at them. Combined with the rather scary violence of Sausage, I think I'll definitely stick with female dogs. My puppies are very sweet and have great temperaments which is why I don't understand why the two other dachshunds they've met have been so rude to them.

All in all, I think for now, we'll be a little more careful around the neighbourhood, just in case Odin the Mad Male Dachshund gets out again. Perhaps I'll take my little squirt bottle with me next time, just in case.

Hmm….I wonder if that would work on Larry.

Happy Wednesday!


Jessica L. said...

Hello there! I'm having ideas for a story and when searching about neighbourhood dangers and I found this interesting post of yours. Larry is quite a character, and I tought of asking for your permission to have him as a base for a character of my own. Is that ok?

Captain Monkeypants said...

Jessica, sorry it took me a little long- I just got back from vacation. You're certainly welcome to borrow Larry as a character- I actually used him in my own novel, "Emmy Goes to Hell" but that was just one version- he's definitely fascinating enough (and slightly creepy enough) to create multiple interpretations! You have my full permission!