You are what you are and you make it hard

The Butcher is in his room puking. The dog is…. I don’t even know. Possibly trying to lick his face. Or at least look with interest at the garbage can he’s puking in.

A one-eyed dog, limping and deaf, has been wandering around the back yard (and other places. Say what you will about out here. There are a lot of other places.). Saying it like that makes it sound quaint. The dog is dying. I tried going up to it, to see if it had a collar, but its behavior was so unnerving that I backed away.

In a story, that dog symbolizes something or is The Old Man come to launch himself over the line one more time.

In real life, that’s just a dog someone should have taken care of, but didn’t, and now it’s not safe to approach.

Here’s the thing. I considered feeding that dog. And I know what I’m about to say is going to seem fucked up, but I decided against it. Because having that dog in my back yard more consistently isn’t safe for the people and animals who regularly are in my back yard because I want the to be.

It’s not less valuable than Sonnyboy or less worthy of a full belly than the cats.

And I know it’s hanging around back there because our neighbor tosses table scraps into his back yard and because our back yard smells like a place where a dog can find some food and water.

I’m just choosing the animals I like and know over it. Even knowing what it means for that dog.

Now we’re in a metaphor. I feel like I should announce that.

But here’s the thing. Over the past couple of months, an unnatural amount of people have told me how nice I am and I never know quite how to take it. I don’t really perceive of myself as being nice nor is nice a trait I’m particularly worried about having. I worry about being mistaken for being nice, because I feel like that leads people to inadvertent and unnecessary hurt when they discover that I’m not. But I don’t really have much interest in being nice. It seems terrifying and unsafe and to put the people you care about at risk.

A nice person would find a way to make that dog more comfortable. Feed it, at least.

I’m choosing the well-being of my household over the well-being of the strange dog lurking about. If it’s still around on Monday, I’m going to call animal control. I figure the death they give it, if they can find it, will be better than whatever’s waiting for it out here.

I don’t speak to my sister-in-law. She still managed to massively disrupt my holiday. My dad tries very hard to be nice and kind to her.

I don’t really see the payoff.

So, I hope she’s praying for his long and continued good health.


6 thoughts on “You are what you are and you make it hard

  1. It would be ‘nice ‘ if you fed the dog. It would make you feel all warm and fuzzy until something awful happened then you could feel all sad and upset. I’m not real impressed with nice.
    Or you can be responsible and call animal control and help this lost dog the best you can in a hard and not-fuzzy way. Sorry.

  2. I don’t really want to have a discussion about what to do about the dog, because all the dogs that get dumped out here get shot by my neighbors.Like I said in the post, if the dog shows back up on Monday, I’ll call. I’ll be surprised if we see it again, though, frankly.

  3. Sorry about the snark. I have too many relatives that think they’re nice but actually just make things worse. So, off I went.

  4. No, it’s cool. I find the dog situation really upsetting. We’ve found that animal control isn’t in a big hurry to come up here unless you have the animal contained–like if I had a fenced in back yard and the dog was in it where they could come by and get it.

    I don’t know if people just started shooting them because animal control takes so long to respond or if animal control takes so long to respond because they know if they give it a few days someone will just shoot the dog, so not their problem, or what.

    But, basically, it sucks, because people dump a lot of animals out here, thinking (I guess) that they’re giving them a chance at some kind of free life. When, really, they just get hit by cars or shot. How people can live with that over trying to rehome them or giving them a good death at the animal shelter is beyond me.

  5. I think this is what happened to my cat. I got a tiny cat of my very own about 3 months back. Some rescue people found a half grown kitten raising a litter of four kittens of her own. The kittens were okay, but she was starving under the burden of keeping them alive. She’s mine now.

    She clearly believes she is a housepet who was homeless, not an outdoor cat who now happens to live in a house. She’s traumatized by some of the memories and continually grateful to be cared for. I’m new to where I live, but people nod knowingly and say she was dumped by someone who didn’t want her, as though that’s a common local problem.

    If someone thought she’d be happy being abandoned, they could not have been more wrong.

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