I returned Obi to the SPCA today. The pet Nazis who received him—with extreme caution, just the same—looked liked they hated me about as much as I did. You don’t take a dog in for over a year and a half then throw in the towel. It’s shitty and it’s unsportsmanlike and oh yeah, it’s shitty too.
Especially with a head-case like Obi. There he stood, at the SPCA extravaganza outside the local big box pet store, literally quaking with fear in the presence of so many other dogs. I tried to calm his nerves the best I could, one last heartbreaking time, and filled out paperwork with all kinds of questions I couldn’t answer because we had never gotten an honest answer from the SPCA about them in the first place. Breed: Unknown. Age: Unknown.
What the hell had happened to him before he came into our home that turned an otherwise sweet, touchy-feely lap dog into an occasional raving psycho? Unknown.
After about 40 minutes of dicking around there in the chaos in front of the store, I was finally able to leave. I’ll spare you the details because the image I would paint would be much too sad for The Missus to read. I made the decision, it is altogether fitting that I should have to live with the full extent of the consequences.
The picture below was taken on the drive to Petco. I don’t think Obi really had a clue. He lived in the moment. And just then, we were taking a swell car ride with all his stuff conveniently in the back seat. Life was sweet.
I don’t regret returning him, I regret failing to rehabilitate him. I made a commitment to that dog, a commitment which I have failed to honor. He wasn’t a bad dog (just a really good dog with unfortunate moments of psychotic misbehavior); I should have been able to straighten him out.
So now I’m home and I’m missing his damned fool presence already. I’ve already walked into the front room a half a dozen times and asked myself, “Where the fuck is that dog?” I’ve had a piece of cake and left it half-eaten in one room while I grabbed something from another and realized with a start that I didn’t have to race back into the front room to make sure Obi wasn’t devouring it the moment I turned my back.
And The Missus and The Boy haven’t even returned yet from their playdate with the Esteemed Local Celebrity and his kids. So far The Boy hasn’t blanched when being told that Obi has to go away, it’ll be another thing altogether to see if his disinterest continues when he realizes that Obi is not gonna be back again, ever.
I know I did the right thing. He was a hazard to this family in a variety of No Little Thing kind of ways. Just a couple weeks before he chomped me, he tried to chomp the father of one of our son’s preschool friends for absolutely no outward reason. Like I sniveled to SPCA lady today, he was a tragedy or a lawsuit waiting to happen.
The best thing about the SPCA is that they are Pet Nazis. They’ll find a place where our former malcontent can flourish. The last thing they’ll do is put him to the needle. Not when he’s so goddamn sweet most of the time. Up until the second he loses his mind and tries to take a chunk out of you, he was just about the best dog in the world.
One of the reasons I named him “Obi” was because I looked forward to referring to him in his old age as “Obadiah.” It sounded like a name with a lot of gravitas, which I expected he would have earned by then. Flecks of grey in his muzzle, his eyes relaxed slits, carrying 5 to 10 extra pounds… I anticipated seeing in old age together with this dog and I’ve just thrown him to the wolves instead.
Bob Dylan once wrote that most people don’t do what’s right, they just do what’s most expedient, then they repent. Well, the reason people choose to not to do the right thing is because the right thing is usually so motherfucking hard. It’s how you know it’s the right thing to do.
So why I do I feel so debased and cowardly? I don’t feel like a Good Guy at all.
The next dog (oh and there will be one) is coming directly from a litter, fresh off his Mama’s teat. I don’t want to take the chance again of anyone else fucking up my dog’s head before I get him (or her). I’ve had real good luck raising a dog from scratch before and I’m going to return to my strengths next time.
I’m sorry, Obi. You were a fuckwit, but a gentle, loving, boisterous spirit most of the time. Most of the time you made this family better and this house happier and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to fix you.
I miss you something awful.