The doggie loves me…

… or he wouldn’t have gone.

Tucker hates riding in the car. It takes him a mile or two just to stop shaking like a meth-sizzled Chihuahua, then he settles into whistling and drooling his discontent with motorized transport.

Stands to reason, I suppose. His first experience of automobiles was getting stuffed into the back of a police cruiser, and the second was when we took him away from his mother forever.

I mean sure, she was a pure bitch, but it must feel hard to be fostered out. As his stepdog, I try not to feel slighted (the ungrateful cur!).

By 20 minutes into stop-and-crawl crush hour, he was handling the situation better than I was. How is it that Comcast vans are constantly cutting people off in traffic, but you still can’t rely on them making their appointment windows? <mutter, mutter, grumble, snort>

Sam’s Club was mildly tolerable, even after the blue-smocked door greeter practically jumped into my collar when I headed for the customer service desk without flashing a special Sam’s ID.

The lights are overwhelming in there. Imagine Costco with sound stage lighting and constant PA addresses by a police helicopter and you’ll grok the general feel of it. Good thing I wasn’t there for the ambiance.

Back at the pharmacy, they had a box of canes. Every year around Veterans Day, Hugo gives away free folding canes to military veterans at Sam’s Club warehouses across the country. Other sponsors are Zantac, Neosporin, Gas-X, Centrum, Tums, Band-Aid, Mega-Red, Move Free, Os-Cal and Aleve — pretty much the gamut of gerontological commerce, right there.

This year, they gave out 36,000 of them. Creakin’ my way in there at almost 1800, I slickied the very last one out of the box.

Felt a little guilty about it, walking out of there with that spiffy new cane when I was, well… walking. Walking pretty well indeed, today. After warming my legs up on the community center recumbent bike this morning, I didn’t have much gimp at all. Creaks, pops, crackles, grinds and rips, sure — but not much actual limping as long as I kept cruise speeds moderate.

Looked to be a right solid little unit, bright blue with an ergonomic grip and considerably slicker than my “Gray Beatin’ Stick o’ Doom” from the VA, with its industrial rubber handle. Best of all, the new one folds up small enough to fit into the tank bag on my motorcycle. Why that choleric TV doctor on House doesn’t get one of these instead of strapping a straight stick to his sportbike must have more to do with dramatic camera angles than functionality.

For his patience, I took the pupster into a nearby Petsmart, where half a dozen small dog owners panicked and piddled on the floor when a hundredweight of hound strutted through the door (their actual pets controlled themselves just fine), and picked him up a box of Milk Bones that I will proceed to distribute through various pockets until my outerwear reaches Training Aid Saturation Level as certified by the Doggie Treats Subcommittee of the Greater Seattle Smug Pet Walkers Council.

Pay attention, ya gangly furbag!

Purely looped out by the rich broth of odor suffusing the pet palazzo, Tucker lunged dogfully in every direction. Usually I walk him without any leash at all, but he was so hyper-stimulated in there that he was practically hallucinating. After he ignored a couple of sharp tugs on his training collar, I “downed” him sternly, dropped (with a little pre-planning and careful execution) onto one knee and gave him a quiet but tense talking-to.

A barrel-shaped woman belted tightly into rain-proof lavender nylon sidled over to frown sternly down at us. Without a hint of invitation, she started explaining how to relate to my dog. Tucker flopped onto his side and groaned, sending his muzzle foraging as far across the complexly perfumed floor as he could without jumping up.

Usually, I just tell busybodies that they’re “making my dog nervous,” but one look told me that my time-tested tactic wouldn’t work with this particular woman. She was holding a leashed cat.

Anyone who thinks they’ve trained their cat is not a person to be reasoned with.

I thought fast. OK, probably it just felt like I was thinking fast… Rising creakily to my feet, I unwrapped my shiny new cane and extended it. Tucker leapt up, but the second he started to lunge toward a row of jerky snacks, I shook the stick at him and he cringed right to the floor, then assumed a perfect heel stance. I looked at the woman, silently daring her to say one more word.

She stared back, thinking about it. Better part of valor quickly overcome by the overweening desire to edit other people’s lives, she opened her mouth.

Just. Couldn’t. Help it.

In a voice of iron and fire spaketh the Beast: ROWF!

Face crinkled into a deadeye geezer squint, I raised my cane in a white-knuckled fist and shook it in her face with a convincing geriatric self-righteousness learned at the knee of Old Man Samuels, back when I was 16 and worked at a retirement community.

Right on cue, Tucker did something for the first time in his life: growled at someone who wasn’t coming up the walk toward our front door. The cat puffed up and hissed, spiking its shit-fouled claws straight through her raincoat and into the loose, veiny meat.

And my good little pup let out one perfect, glass-rattling roar. Apparently, Milk Bones aren’t the only effective training aid.

Damn, I love that dog.

There’s a book out there, somewhere, about old ladies who don’t have to care about other people’s opinions, so they wear purple. Well, busybody old biddies who wear purple, here’s fair warning to you: when I’m an old man I’ll still have that bright blue cane, and I’m not afraid to use it.

Or, in the words of a hundred gangsta rappers: don’t fuck wit’ me, dawg!



  1. ROTFLMAO! Tucker’s roar must rattle the gods’ teeth. 🙂

  2. Wait…. I resemble that remark. 😛

  3. Good dog! Good on the owner, too, for training him so…

    Looks like he’s all Tuckered out in that last one, though! 🙂

  4. Oh dear heavens that’s a funny picture. Dog bliss!

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