What if our pets were charged with their crimes, just like human beings are? Surely, many of them would be behind bars.
During out-of-town trips, we leave our dog, Ollie the Pug, with a dog-sitter. The sitter is a very nice senior lady with a wee pug of her own.
Our last vacation lasted 10 days. It was the longest time our dog had ever spent with the sitter. When we returned, we learned Ollie had committed several heinous crimes.
For starters, he’d badly scratched up a wall in the sitter’s kitchen. One night, she barricaded Ollie in the kitchen because he kept leaping on her bed. So Ollie, desperate to join the slumber party, had vandalized her wall while attempting to remove a makeshift blockade (a panel of wood).
The wall looked like methamphetamine-addled beavers had gnawed it. We had to make amends.
So I spent the final days of my vacation matching up the kitchen wall colour with sample cards, buying painting materials, filling and sanding the scars in the drywall … and then painting the whole thing.
The entire process filled me with trepidation, as I’m not a handyman. On a scale of one to 10, my handyman rating would be about three. I can do wallpapering after a fashion, but chances are, the wallpaper will go all wrinkly like an elephant’s posterior.
Happily, the kitchen wall turned out fairly OK — that is, if you don’t look too carefully where the wall meets the ceiling.
While I filled and painted, the dog-sitter revealed that Ollie had committed yet another crime. He had, during his visit, repeatedly tried to mount her own pug. To protect the innocent, I will call the sitter’s pug Lindsay Lohan (although her actual name is Rosie).
Lindsay Lohan is quite petite compared to Ollie, who is a chunky, bulldog-like pug. He is what’s known as “cobby,” which is canine-speak for being fat. So Ollie had been crushing poor little Lindsay Lohan with his unsavoury antics and massive girth.
What’s worse, Lindsay Lohan suffers from some sort of debilitating, arthritis-like condition. Her back legs drag a little. Having Ollie the Pug leap on her back every few minutes had not improved this state of affairs.
The sitter told me she’d tried to curb Ollie’s scurrilous proclivities by swatting him with a fly swatter. This had helped somewhat. But Ollie still furtively licked Lindsay Lohan’s ear whenever he got the chance.
Listening to this tale, I was overtaken with a feeling of gloom. Surely, if Ollie and Lindsay Lohan were human beings, Ollie would face serious vandalism and molestation charges. Instead, he was at home, no doubt happily snoozing on the new leather couch he’s not supposed to be sleeping on.
I related my sad tale to a work colleague, whom I shall call Mr. X (although his real name is Michael D. Reid). He informed me Ollie’s misdeeds pale in comparison to those of his scofflaw lab Beau.
According to Mr. X, Beau’s life is one long crime spree. He reeled off a litany of woes: succulent steaks devoured before reaching the barbecue, buckets of ice cream and pounds of butter being gobbled off the kitchen counter.
Mr. X’s wife described Beau’s most outrageous crime. During a walk to McCauley Point Park, the dog noticed tourists gathered at the water’s edge, admiring the view. Beau sprinted over and snatched a sandwich from one, who had it in his mouth at the time.
“The man had a good sense of humour and said, ‘Serves me right for eating in a dog park,’ ” said Mrs. X. “I was mortified.”
This made me feel slightly better, for misery loves company.
However, believing Ollie should not escape scot-free, I have created a “dog shaming” placard for him to wear. It reads: “I ruined a wall and mounted my dog friend.”
He shall wear it for one week. For justice must be served.