Dog Tricks

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Illustration by Bob Aul I was walking my dog on a leash the other night when your Hound of the Baskervilles emerged from the darkness to latch onto my dog's neck and bite down vigorously. Your dog—some kind of nasty mix of Lab and shepherd, I'd guess—was all snarling lips, bared teeth, slobber and insanity. It was ugly, brutal and short: I maneuvered myself between the animals, lifted my dog into my arms and kicked your dog a good one in the chops. Then, just as your mongrel was coming in for more hair of the dog he bit, you showed up—no apologies, no explanations, no inquiries into the health of my dog or me. You took your dog by the collar and split. I know I'm going to sound like a geezer when I say this, but I'll say it anyway: you looked youngish—17 or so, maybe—so it's possible you don't know the cost of your failure to leash in your hound. Here's what happened afterward: I made a midnight trip to an emergency-care animal hospital that took two hours; got antibiotics and stitches for what the doctor called a "severe puncture wound" (total price: $295); two days of miserable suffering for my dog; and $15 for the pepper spray I bought to shoot your dog and—hey, why not?—you in the face if I ever run across you two again.

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