Desert Mountain Times
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Pets often victims of owner’s shortsighted lifestyles

dv385059By Dan Bodine


The number of dogs, cats or other pets I’ve had to move in my life — when changing jobs or changing relationships and such — isn’t a lot. Admittedly, poor folks travel light. But it’s enough to’ve made me wince when I heard about a U.S. singer a while back having trouble down in Australia, over a couple of Yorkshire terrier dogs.

Johnny Depp had a gig to play; brought two mutts into the country without papers! And authorities gave him a quick deadline. Or else! Fortunately, he was able to hire an air taxi to get them out of there! Less heeled mortal fools wouldn’t have been, of course. And the dogs would’ve been traumatized for it. Or worse…

Ah, the burdens we restless fools are to our pets! May God forgive us all! For our often shortsighted lifestyles! Why don’t we think more? Of the pets? About future possibilities that could happen to them?

An similar incident I confronted once was when I suddenly shut my little newspaper chain down over in Alvarado (Johnson Co.) in ‘89 — and needed to high-tail it to Presidio!

What was I to do with my dog? A Yorkshire terrier, too. (Always wanted one, you know! A Yorkie! I’d gotten it on whim!)

Later with the noose of a Chap. 11 bankruptcy tightening, and one of the figures in it having been accused of playing loosey-goosey with some of the court’s money (making same ol’/same ol’ for me all but impossible),  I knew I had to hit the road!

A gun is to your head! Survival instincts kick in, in moments like this: Scramble like a raped ape!  Get on down the road!

Pet? What pet!?

After I’d quickly located employment at a newspaper (none available in the area then, of course) and was told I needed to get on down to it, then there was one little matter I couldn’t leave behind, of course:

That precious Yorkshire terrier you adopted at the Fort Worth animal control hospital just a few weeks earlier… What do you do with it? Cute little thing. But wild, it is, ain’t it!

“Could I take some of that out of him once I get into Presidio? And have some time to cuddle him more, reckon?” was my thinking. “I feel responsible for him!”

Would I’d gotten him even if I’d known that soon I’d be facing this emergency? No! But here I was: Duh..?

Life has many ways of cutting people short. And someone else always suffers, too, of course. It’s the way we are! Can we say that, and just let it go?

Crazy, crazy selfish thinking. Crazy, crazy things we do to our pets sometimes, yes.

One of my exes, who was half-way familiar with me there in D-FW then (Bless her heart, one of the best ol’ girls you’ll ever come across) and who’d just begun to understand my dire situation — out of the goodness of her heart — agreed to keep the dog for me.

Only for a short time – couple of weeks, maybe, I said – for I had some stuff I was leaving in storage at this other friend’s place I was going to have to come back for soon.

As soon as I got a new home where I could take care of a pet.

Of course I didn’t say anything to her about it being wild! ‘Ya kidding? I desperately needed to hit the road!

Well, two weeks turned into two months. She politely called after the first one and said she’d had it! I needed to come pronto!

Or she was taking my dear, lovable Yorkshire terrier back to that Fort Worth animal shelter to tell them to kill it!

That damn dog had wrecked her house and yard! Ate up cushions on her expensive sofas, scratched through paneling on the walls, i.e.; and generally tore up her back yard as well — including some nice, young plants she’d been growing.

I can’t possibly come now! I told her. Short of cash! And it’s too far!

Then I’m getting rid of your damn dog! she screamed.

I apologized profusely, of course, for all the trouble I’d caused her. I hadn’t seen Presidio coming in my rear-view mirror! Truthfully. Duh…

Indeed, most folks – especially when younger or less mature – don’t think outside their reality box when they take ownership responsibilities of a new pet. Sad but true.

They act impulsively – i.e., Oh, it’s so cute! So adorable!

And then the other shoe hits.

One other time I’d ended up embarrassed like this with a pet – having been stupid — was maybe 25 years earlier than this.

In Fort Worth, it was, while living in an apartment off East Lancaster and attending classes at the old Arlington State College (now UTA).

Any of you older readers remember a time when newspapers and magazines were full of ads offering those darling little pet monkeys from some place in Florida? At an inexpensive price!

Well, I bought one! Hee, hee! Had to have it! Then spent about a week chasing the precious little thing around the apartment, once I opened the shipping crate a little — and the damn thing went ape.

Never caught it! Wildest thing! Bit my fingers and hands (once I remember going and getting a shot, I was scared of the swelling); left claw marks on my arms.

Finally I called the Fort Worth zoo. Please help?!

A truck arrived the next day. A man entered with a net. And the monkey was gone.

Zoos at one time were flooded with these kind of requests, I was told. Maybe still are.

The pets weren’t rare or endangered animals; zoos don’t need ‘em.

They were costly to house and feed. Unless they could find a home elsewhere, what were they to do with them? But kill them?

Gone, it was to me, then.

But it left me with a lesson. Be more responsible when choosing a pet.

Advice that kept ol’ bozo here in check…Well, for a long time anyway.

Until Presidio and the damn dog!

Pobresitos, our pets.

But we’re learning, aren’t we?

Slowly, we are. Yes.

But Johnny Depp and papers? For Australia?

How’d all those kangaroos get loose that time, Jethro!? Where’d they go?!

One of ’em hit ‘ya that night in a bar down in Lajitas, remember? What a wallop, it was!

Hee, hee.

Nope. Don’t remember that one. Never got a kangaroo! I don’t think.


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