Sailing Mango

G'Damn Dogs

by Scott

Today started hard. Headache from the early morning, but too lazy to get up and take meds.

Alarm goes off, reset for another hour.

Alarm goes off, ignore.

Finally, up and slowly get ready to walk the dogs.

The dogs aren't too crazy. Yet.

Out the compainion way, and immediately Biscuit is on the dock. Shit. This isn't good, since I don't have visibility on other bogeys, i.e. other dogs. Fortunately, we are clear. All clear sir!

Secure the dogs to dock cleats (I hope), and go back and close up the boat against the rain and cold. Two steps down the dock and we have our first dog encounter. Two freakin steps. Sigh, it is going to be one of those walks.

Here's how it goes when we see a dog. Both of our dogs go into high alert - pulling the leash tight, and listening to me like a 50's husband reading the paper while the kids are wreaking havoc in the house and mom is saying, "Honey, now is the time to engage!". Seconds later, they bark and lunge wildly. Not just once, but continuously until the immenint and urgent threat to the dock and boat has passed out of view, around one minute. Of hell.

Biscuit has a tendency to backup while barking, sometimes right off of the dock, and into the water. This has happened only a few times, but it is something to consider, the consideration being given is whether to protect him from the icy cold of Puget Sound, or just let the bastard go over. At the begining of the mindless attack on phantom threats, the desire is to sooth our dogs, protect them. But when I get just a few seconds into the event, my thoughts turn. They turn dark, and sour, like gym clothes on Monday aftert forgetting to take them home last week. Maybe a wet dog would be OK, because he would not be barking. At all. And then all of my attention would be focused on getting him up, and not on Annie, who I would ignore fully while she continues to bark her fool head off. A good defense is a good offense, you know.

When safety from certain doom has been re-established on the dock, and the dogs have managed to stop barking, though still pulling very firmly against their leashes, is when I start to have fantasies of not having dogs. I think about our neighbors, who at that precise time are probably holding their warm morning coffee and tea with ears cocked thinking, "huh, some poor pair of bastards and their dogs are wet, cold, confused and probably not too happy." Sip sip, and "pass me another scone, would you darling?" Yeah, probably not too happy.

Several encounters later, although sometimes none if we are lucky, both dogs have finally performed at least some of their business, and we are on the way back home. Lots of coaxing to get them to hop back onto the boat, then drying paws in the narrow confines of the cockpit, setup the ramp, get them into the boat, then disassemble their rain coats and harnesses. Finally, we are safely ensconsed in the boat, sealed from outside dog influences for another four to six hours of peace. My hair is in disarray, my eyes hollow, heart slowly coming back to the ground. Skip the coffee, onto the scotch. Mr. Mom is my hero.

I remember that I wanted to go to church today. We haven't been in two or three months. I wanted to be comforted, to ease myself and my problems, reset my core, be in a place of calm surrounded by like minded souls who have come for solace, answers, questions, comfort, and fellowship, safe with warm winter smells of coffee and food that somehow, only a church basement can conjure. But not today. Adam is on the computer, but no one else is up. I just don't have the energy to rally the troops, and certainly not myself.

Now the kettle is on the stove, coffee is being ground manually, a cathartic process I find, and my nerves have stopped screaming, down to just a dull roar of complaint. My nerves know they will at some point be subdued and calmed, but for now they are taking time to ensure I know they are not happy, no sir, not happy at all.

Now I'm sipping coffee, writing in my journel, half an apple with me, and half with the boy. We are sitting together on opposite sides of the couch that is still in bed configuration, my favorite way to enjoy time with the family. Biscuit is next to me, being all of his warm poodely self, all soft, and oh so tenderly sweet. An occassionaly stretch, a deep throated poodle purr, contentment. Annie is curled up, sweet and self comforting in her nested blanket and pillows. How can I be upset with such sweet creatures. They are butter, all creamy goodness, releasing endorphins into my brain, saving them from the deep abyss of owner frustration another day. I'll probably kill them tomorrow.