Friday, July 22, 2011

The story of Diesel

There's a dog I haven't talked about.

He lived across the street from us for the last three and a half years. I think I've never mentioned him because I didn't have much good to say. His future was always unpredictable and very much at risk. His predecessor didn't fare well and it was easy to see this dog was headed the same direction. Speaking honestly about him now could get me in a real bind with his extended family but I've resigned myself to thinking what I did was for the best and that in the end, even the dog's owner would understand. I know. Countries have fallen under the same rationale.

Diesel, his name is Diesel, was still technically a puppy when I got Stella. He was about nine months to her three. His owner was one of those guys who really wanted a big macho dog, a pit bull if possible, to help promote his tough guy image. Interestingly, he didn't need a dog at all to get that idea across. He's not a small guy. I'm guessing 250-265 lb. He spent enough years in jail to have procured the full catalog of tattoos. He was released as inmates are all too often, without any rehabilitation whatsoever yet he wasn't a bad guy at all when he was sober. When he wasn't sober, things became problematic. He regularly came home from working, had a few beers, and let Diesel out of his tiny pen to run the neighborhood. This dog used to (and this is funny looking back on it but at the time it wasn't funny at all) charge me and Stella and not knowing his intentions, Stella would go berserk snapping and growling at him whereupon he'd look momentarily confused and then trot UP ON MY PORCH and empty his bowels. To say that I didn't like him was an understatement but at that time it was easier to just project my anger onto the dog.

When Diesel got big enough to escape the pen, his owner put him on a tow chain. He isn't a pit bull, by the way, he's some sort of Lab mix. I think that's when many of the dog walkers and neighbors started to soften on his behalf. They'd sneak down the driveway and give him treats just to make sure he had water in his bowl. They called rescues and others who were inclined to help dogs escape such situations. They (and I) called the police and Animal Control numerous times when my neighbor was drinking and either let him run or beat the snot out of him for some unknown infraction. For the record, listening to a big dog get a beating will drive a dog-loving person clean over the edge. That's the day I vowed to take the dog if and when the opportunity arose. It took a long time but that day finally came a week ago.

In the end, I didn't have to take him. It took about two weeks. It cost me a three dollar pack of tobacco and some groceries. His owner was about to be evicted and thankfully chose rehab over homelessness or jail. He surrendered him to me, based on the fact that I told him I had a friend who was looking for a good dog. Over the last couple of years, he'd offered up the dog a few times but none of the rescues I contacted back then could take him right away. Seeing as alcoholics change their mind every few minutes, each time I tried to secure the dog's freedom, everyone was busy. This time, I sent out nine or ten e-mails. Three people responded and one of the rescues agreed to take him on. When the moment came to collect him, I couldn't help myself. I stood there with a straight face and lied my ass off. Kinda'.

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