Sunday, March 24, 2013

In Which I Almost Murder My Dog

Recently we bought a couple training collars for Chicken and Sally to try to (finally) get them to stop pulling and being generally out of control on walks.  Sally is 17 pounds and is, usually, the sweetest, most chill dog you will ever know: 
Put her around other dogs and she will lunge and bark regardless of their size or possible ferocity.

likes to bite people.  It's awesome.  It used to be only people on bicycles (which, if you're riding your bike on the sidewalk, you deserve to be bitten by a 20 pound snub-nosed dog), and then it inexplicably became pretty much anyone.  There is no rhyme or reason behind it.  He also pulls like one of those creepy iron man dudes. 
I bet this guy has a HUGE penis.

And probably, if he could talk he would sound like one of them.

Considering how much trouble I already have controlling them, we figured we should try to do something about it before I have to also add a baby into the equation.  So we bought a couple training collars.  They look like this:

Except they have leather woven through the chain so they're a little more comfortable.  Now, before you go giving me your "expert" advice (unless you actually are a dog training expert), we have tried all manner of other leads and collars, from halties to those awful pronged collars.  This option seems to be working the best so far.  You give it a gentle tug with some kind of verbal command when your dog is being a dick and he or she chills out.  Sally is lunging less and Chicken is no longer able to drag me down the street behind him like a sack of potatoes.  Or a Mack truck.

During our afternoon walk on Friday, listening to an archived episode of This American Life about taxes and small government on my phone, I turn down a street I have walked many times before and out of nowhere a Spaniel of some kind and a Golden Retriever (Or a yellow Lab.  They all look the same to me.) come tearing up to their gate barking and generally having a panic attack at my dogs.  Apparently the training collars only work sometimes.  Despite my best efforts, Chicken and Sally are straining against the collars to get to the gate.  Meanwhile they're also wrapping themselves around my legs, which, I heard a story once about a couple of dogs doing that to their person and she fell and ended up getting eaten by a pack of wolves.  Or Pitbulls.  Or Coyotes.  Whatever.  I'm trying to get myself untangled while Ira Glass is going on in my ear about a town in Colorado that turned off its street lights and stopped maintaining public parks, and yelling "Leave it, God damn it!" (That is official dog training language.) and the next thing I know Sally's leash goes slack.  I look down and she's no longer attached to it.  She's making her way to the gate which she can easily slip under and I'm imagining these two strange dogs ripping her to shreds.  In the middle of all this, a couple out for a stroll have stopped and are watching this whole thing play out, so I'm also acutely aware that my performance is being judged.  So, now I'm yelling "Sally!" at the top of my lungs and trying to grab her before she can slip away, but I've still got Chicken to deal with.  So, I grab a chunk of Sally's hair while she yelps and I manage to put Chicken's leash under my foot to prevent him from getting too far.  Now that I have Chicken secured I slip Sally's collar back over her head and everything is under control.  Except I still have to move away from these God damned hell hounds that are flipping out on the other side of the gate.  In my ear some millionaire hotel owner is talking about how to fix city government and I start to walk away.  I feel a dead weight on the end of Chicken's leash.  I look down and he's laying on his side, not moving.  His eyes were open but he clearly wasn't going anywhere.  Everything went silent.  I'm sure the shithead dogs behind the gate were still going at it and the millionaire was still droning on about health care costs, but I couldn't hear anything except my own voice moaning "Oh, God" over and over again.  I rub his sides like I've seen doctors do to newborns who aren't breathing in the countless birthing videos I've watched.  And just like that he pops up like nothing happened and I maneuver my asshole dogs away from the other asshole dogs to safety.  Finally I wrench the earbuds out of my ears in time to hear the man who had watched the whole thing ask if I was okay.  

"She slipped out of her leash," I explained.  "And then he was..."  What was I going to say?  Almost strangled to death?  BY ME.

"Yeah, I know.  We saw."


In my imagination as they walked away they whispered to each other, "She's going to be a terrible mother."

And of course, that's what I kept repeating to myself for the rest of the day.  "I'm going to be a terrible mother."  I spent the evening apologizing to Chicken and coddling him and cringing at what might have happened.  What if he had completely passed out?  What if he had stopped breathing?  I don't know dog CPR.  I don't know baby CPR.  I try not to think about the myriad ways Krumholtz might get hurt because it's completely overwhelming and terrifying.  Every piece of baby equipment that arrives comes with a booklet of warnings.  Choking hazards and suffocating hazards and broken neck hazards and SIDS hazards. Not to mention all the things you can't do anything to prevent like disease.  Thank God we don't live in Syria.  I don't know how people do it.  Just anticipating the constant worry is enough to send me to bed.

So, I signed up for a baby CPR course, had a glass of wine (which probably means my baby will be an alcoholic) and set about reading the 50 pages booklet of warnings that came with the new crib.  Maybe I will be a terrible mother.  But at least I can say I tried.