Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another Unexpected Visitor

It has been quite a week of tangling with culprits and law enforcement, what with the impaired guy who tried to get into my house on Sunday, ineffectual cops who tried to spin me, jury duty, and Crazy Guy who was finally apprehended at Dog Park. (Charge: Public Intoxication and Unnecessary Assholery.) Needless to say, I've been a little jumpy. Any loud noise or sudden or unexpected movement near my doors or windows makes me scamper. (I nearly punched a guy who cruised a little too close to me at the bank machine at my local CVS. That would have been very bad, especially if he were my pharmacist. "Here is your nasal spray, ma'am. Oops, it's arsenic.")

So, I was actually delighted to discover this small fellow perched on the track of my patio door on Thursday.

I was, of course, confused at first. The owlet had its back to me. I saw only a small, gray, fuzzy bundle in the corner of the doorway. I thought maybe it was an incapacitated squirrel, which was not something I wanted to deal with. Then, after a moment, the owlet sloooowly swiveled its head on its neck. A moment later, its slanty, sleepy eyes widened. Whooo! Its entire face filled with enormous yellow eyes. But it did not budge even as Muzzy and I both gawked at it through the glass door. 

Owlet was only as big as my two puny fists stacked on top of one another and still had pin feathers. It looked so fluffy and soft, but those eyes told another story. I let it be (except for snapping a few pix) and went about my business, putting out the trash and listening to the news. I checked in on the owlet every little while. Still there, gazing quietly out at the yard, just as Roma used to do, just feet, in fact, from where Roma took her last breath. And as I padded around the house, I felt an unexpected sense of calm. Owls, as you know, represent wisdom, watchfulness, and restrained power. They are the symbol of Athena, the only Greek deity to be born from the body of Zeus. She sprouted from his head. (Full grown, too, I think. Ouch.) So, not to get too heavy-handed about the whole thing, but I felt a little more at ease knowing that my house was under the protection of an owlet, small but fierce. 

Have a good weekend, everybody.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chinese Dog Signs

We are not talking astrological signs today. Some of you may know that Doug (Mesi, Max, Murphy) is in China at the moment. He is bumming around Beijing while his wife Lisa wheels and deals in executive meetings. Doug sent these dog-related photos. His explanation is below the photo.

So I'm here in Beijing...checked out the hutongs today, traditional
Chinese neighborhoods, of which few remain. I took a photo of a curious
sign (attached); it apparently dictates which type of dogs may be
owned by hutong residents. The homes are very small and close to each
other (see photo). I don't have independent verification of the
interpretation of the sign. This is just my best guess.

Notice that there are not any Ridgeback photos on that poster? I wonder why?


Thursday, May 20, 2010

This Just In: Crazy Guy Busted at Dog Park

Friends, I just this morning got an e-mail from Bill (Lulu) about Crazy Guy. Read for yourselves:

Here is a little tidbit for your blog--
The 45th street dog park loonie paid Michelle [Sugar] and I a visit at the dog park (north parking lot) last night - I went over there just after running into you [in the neighborhood]. He was harassing us with his motorcycle and telling us what assholes we were for ignoring the signs about leashing. (Johnny told me that he had chased you with his motorcycle). He told me I was lucky that LuLu hadn't bitten him or he would have shot me and that he would have been well within the law to do so.
Anyway, I called the cops on him and when they came they talked to him aside from us and after 10 min they cuffed him and took him to jail. They took my number and said they were arresting him for PI and would impound his motorcycle.
I don't want this incident to show up on the dog park listserver, so please don't post anything there. I will provide more details later (when I have time), but for now I would like to ask that you get the word around to avoid 45th even more. That guy may be dangerous to not only dogs, but people. He could be an alcoholic that resorts to violence before he gets help, or he could be just plain emotionally disturbed and not taking his meds. I never imagined him going this far-----
Next thing on my agenda will be to get [Dog Park Neighbor who hijacks the listserv and lectures us about poop] hauled off.(just kidding)

Well, imagine my amazement. You know, Crazy Guy once called the cops on me. They showed up in minutes. Meanwhile, while yet another crazy guy tries to bust down my door on Sunday, the cops couldn't bothered to show up, but that's another story. CG really has a thing for wanting dog bites. He once asked me to let Roma bite him, so "we could go to court and get it over with." And what is it, exactly? Crazy Guy, you can bite me instead. 

As always, let's be careful out there and give 45th Street a miss for a while. Take care.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's a Brand New Day

Sigh. We need something a little lighter today. I thought I'd post some of Richard Whittington's (Elinor and Zoey) photos from Dog Park. Some of you may have already seen them on the listserv, but I love the way they are so saturated and deeply colored, so they are worth another look. This one is my favorite.

Muzzy and I encountered this young man and his dog on the same day as this photo was taken. The boy was so serious and silent. This photo perfectly captures his furrowed brow and slightly cocky stance. After all, he's walking a gigantic dog. He's the man.

Here's a windswept Wolfie. When Wolfie was a pup, everyone assumed he was an Irish Wolfhound. They predicted great things and proportions. Wolfie's as tough as his name, even though the rest of him didn't grow very much.

Playful Cholito! He's small but proud. Oh, how the Muzzy likes to chase him. But she cheats. He runs and runs. She waits and triangulates, then POW! Cho can take it, though.

Senior Andy-pants, a new Dog Park regular, puts out the vibe "Chase me." Andy is usually the center of a scrum of dogs at least three times his size. Muzzy loves him, but in the wrong way. (Love = I want to devour him whole.) Muzzy's joy at seeing Andy is usually tinged with disappointment at being yelled at. "Let Andy be" is a particularly hated command that is obeyed with regret and sad face.

This photo of our "boyfriend" Frankie is such a nice one. It's as though he's on the set of Friday Night Lights, show that is shot in Austin and makes the most of our golden twilights and plentiful fields of St. Augustine grass. Here, a shadow-streaked Frankie might be thinking wistfully of the championship game that could have been. He coulda been a contender.

Finally, here is Elinor herself, looking so sage. Those of you who are fans of the recent Doctor Who series may see a resemblance between our Elinor and the aliens called Oods, with their wrinkled faces and solemn, but gentle blinking eyes. Oods don't move like linebackers, though, which is Elinor's specialty. She and Muzzy love to spar. We can't wait to meet Elinor's baby "sister" Zoey.

Thank you for the lovely photos, Richard.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Muzzy: An Unguarded Moment

My Muzzy learned a lot of things from old Roma, like begging for treats and chasing cats, but she never really picked up on Roma's superior guard-dog skills. Even deaf and half blind, Roma knew whenever someone walked by the house day or night and made sure I heard about it. Muzzy, on the other hand, tends to only bark when a small, unarmed creature is skittering around the yard at night. I always said, "Great, you saved me from the possum, but what about the man with the knife?" Well, this morning Muzzy proved herself an able alarmist when a man, without a knife but still quite big and scary, did try to get into our house at 5:30 in the morning. 

Muzzy had charged down the hall and barked in her deepest voice. I tried to ignore her, assuming the problem was a cat or a possum, until I heard the distinctive scraping-squeaking noise of my screen doors--both of them. I flipped on all the lights and when I pulled back the curtain on my carport door, there was a strange man in a dark t-shirt leaning into my door, telling me to let him in. The carport light was behind him, I only saw that he was enormous—he filled the entire doorframe—and muscular. The only thing between us, really, was a thin pane of window glass. I was so frightened that I could not actually make my lips form words--only choke out sounds--like in my worst nightmares. I sounded deranged, and by this time, the Muzz was hovering in the living room, utterly silent. No help at all! Finally, adrenalin helped me find my angry Dog Park voice, the one I use to scream at Crazy Guy. "Go away!" "I don't know you!" "I am calling the police." The guy's response? "Why?" 

I did call 911, and the dispatcher was unimpressed by my plea for help. She asked me a series of questions that helped me realize that the guy was drunk. She promised to send someone and, before hanging up, told me to call back if the guy actually got into the house or, if he went away, to watch and see what direction he went. Are you kidding me? The guy started moving back and forth between my front and my carport doors, banging on each and rattling the knobs. "Why are you such a tree hugger? You shouldn't be a tree hugger. I need to talk to you!" he said, unfazed by my yelling. (I'm still hoarse.) Finally, after ten long minutes, the guy went away. 

A cop showed up an hour later, after daylight. He did most of the talking. He told me that the law was a gray area here. At most, had the guy been apprehended, he might have been charged with public intoxication or a trespassing--both usually dismissed. What's more, he said, the guy probably had no bad intentions. He was just drunk and confused. It happens in a town with college students. Apparently, it is not against the law for great big dudes to scare the shit out of tiny, single, middle-aged women asleep in their beds. The cop also suggested a more reliable alarm system than my dog. The conversation was deeply unsatisfying. The officer did tell me, however, to call the police if the guy were still hanging around the neighborhood. Cut to 20 minutes later . . . 

Muzzy and I were taking our morning walk, and lo', there was the Dude, the guy who terrorized me in my own home, snoring on his back in a neighbor's driveway. My impulse was to kick him or to leave a steaming bag of dog poo on his chest, but I took the high road. I decided to bust him properly. I called 311 this time, and I talked to two concerned dispatchers. Ultimately four cops arrived in two cars. Muzzy, again, stood mutely by my side as we watched the men in blue deal with the still-drunk Dude. "You have a good day, ma'am," said one of the cops to me as they scraped Dude up off the curb. I would try, and knowing that the Dude would have a pretty shitty day might help make that happen. 

Lock your doors! Be careful out there! -z