What A Doggone Fool

, , , , , | Legal | April 11, 2021

I am walking my family’s two dogs a little later than usual, when the streets are busier and more people and animals are around. One of the dogs spots people walking their dog and starts barking her little head off, so I do my best to pull her and our other dog away without causing issues for the other dog walkers. Just as we put more distance between the other dog and us:

Man: “HEY! LADY! EXCUSE ME!”

I turn around and there is an elderly man approaching me, spitting mad.

Man: “How dare you let your dogs go crazy like this?! If you cannot keep them controlled, you should keep them muzzled since they’re clearly aggressive!”

One of the dogs has been calmly sniffing trees around us and the other one is eyeing the man distrustfully and lightly growling since she dislikes raised voices.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t see the other dog as we were turning a corner, and I did my best to control the situation—”

Man: “I don’t care! Your dogs are a danger and you’re an awful dog owner! I’ll call the police on you!”

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry—”

Passerby: “Hey, man, leave the girl alone! It’s not a big deal, and you’re causing more chaos at this point.”

Man: “NO! She needs to be punished! I’ll call the police on her! She’s disturbing the peace!”

This goes on for a few minutes before I get fed up, apologise to him again, and turn away to continue walking the dogs, with him shouting after me about how he’ll call the police on me for having aggressive dogs, But I think nothing of it, because hey, what police officer would go out because a dog barked at another dog?

Later, as I go around the block and start heading home, I see a police car pull up behind me and two officers get out. Surprised, I blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.

Me: “Oh, don’t tell me he actually called the police on me!”

Police Officer #1: “We got a report about aggressive dogs in the area. Do you know anything about that?”

I recount the story as best as I can, starting to shake a bit from anxiety over this. While I’m telling the story, one of the dogs is gladly taking the chance to lay down and the other is making friends with the officers and getting petted by one of them.

Police Officer #2: “Well, clearly, this was a pointless call, as your dogs are clearly friendly and not aggressive at all.”

They gesture to the dog who’s basking in their colleague’s attention.

Police Officer #2: “Carry on, miss, and have a good day!”

Me: “Thank you! You, too, and I’m sorry for the trouble!”

Shaken, I returned home and told my mum about what happened. She was understandably upset, and my dad helped me walk the dogs the next few days, just in case the crazy old man came back again. The kicker? I remembered seeing the man before that day when I was retelling the story to my mum; he had come up to me to ask for directions a few weeks before and had even admired how well-behaved the dogs were, petting the very same dog he deemed “aggressive and dangerous”! Thankfully, I haven’t seen him since then, but I do hope he’s nicer now.

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Hungry Like The Wolfdog

, , , , , | Working | April 5, 2021

I volunteered with a wolfdog hybrid rescue farm. We had a pack of wolfdogs that were permanent residents at the farm, as having other wolfdogs coming in and out of the pack would have been traumatic for them. About half the farm, however, was set aside for the adoptable animals. They were held in large pens by themselves. On the weekends, it was one of my jobs to clean out the individual pens. There was plenty of poop from the week. During the winter, I would jokingly refer to what I picked up as “poopsicles.”

One very cold winter day, it was not much more than 20 degrees F (about -7 degrees C). I entered one of the pens that held a wolfdog. I greeted her, gave her a scratch between the ears, and went about picking up the poopsicles with tongs and placing them in the bucket I carried. There was a decent amount of snow that had accumulated on the ground, so it was easy to find my targets.

As my last task, I had to break the ice in the large water bowl so the wolfdog would have access to her water. I stepped to the bowl and started smashing through the layer of ice with the heel of my boot. All of a sudden, I heard a frightening sound: a menacing growl. I had been a volunteer there for years and never heard any of the wolfdogs make a noise like that. I slowly turned my head and saw the wolfdog standing not ten feet from me. She had fluffed up her fur to appear bigger and was baring her teeth at me. I was terrified. I started backing slowly toward the door, keeping the wolfdog in my field of vision but not making eye contact. I reached the door, felt behind me, and unlatched the handle. I made my exit. It was only after I was safely outside that I realized I was not breathing. I sat on the ground for a moment and regained my composure.

It was only after I got the owner of the rescue to come over that we were able to piece together the reason for the unusual behavior. She had been fed raw deer meat the previous day which she had not finished. She stashed what remained in the corner of her pen, behind her water bowl, under some snow. I simply was not aware of its existence and broke a cardinal rule: never get between a wolfdog and his or her food. I was fortunate to have received a warning from her before she did something physical. All in all, it was by far the most frightening experience I had as a volunteer there, and perhaps one of the most frightening of my entire life.

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Fishing For Funding

, , , | Learning | April 2, 2021

I’m walking across campus when I pass by a group of sorority sisters who seem to have spread out some DIY carnival games for a fundraiser.

Girl #1: “Hey! Do you want to play? Or, uh, donate? Please?”

Before I can respond, another one of the girls suddenly pops up from behind their table and enthusiastically presents me with a clear plastic bag with an actual fish inside it.

Girl #2: “Do you wanna win a fish?!”

Me: “What the h*** would I do with a fish?”

Girl #2: *Pauses* “Yeah, that’s fair.”

I could see that they had several goldfish all bagged up. Poor fishies. I hope they all ended up with at least somewhat responsible owners.

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We Don’t Dabble In Monkey-Business

, , , , | Right | March 26, 2021

I work at a well-accredited zoo in guest services; my duties include taking calls, answering questions about the zoo, and selling animal sponsorships and annual passes. It’s a slow, snowy day so we haven’t gotten many calls or guests and we’re bored out of our minds, so when the phone rings, I’m on it right away.

Me: “You’ve reached [Zoo]. This is [My Name] speaking.”

Caller: “Hi, I’m looking to adopt a… um… a monkey or something.”

Me: “Great! Did you have any specific animal you were looking to sponsor? We have quite a few different ones.”

Caller: “I’m not sure; I’m just looking to adopt some kind of primate.”

Me: “Okay, well, we have quite a few species available for sponsorship, including Orangutans, Black-handed Spider Monkeys—”

Caller: “The spider monkeys sound cool. How much is it to adopt one?”

Me: “Our sponsorship packages start at $25. Higher donation amounts will grant you more benefits and have varying levels of tax-deductibility. All packages include your name on a digital sign stating that you sponsored the animal, as well as a few other goodies.”

Caller: “So how much is it to purchase one? I don’t need my name on a sign or anything, just a monkey.”

Throughout this call, I have been using the term “sponsor” specifically because some other zoological facilities will use other terms, like “adopt,” for the same purpose. At this point, I realize he may have other intentions.

Me: “Sir, were you looking to purchase an animal from the zoo?”

Caller: “Yeah… how much is it?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but we are an AZA-approved zoological facility. We don’t sell our animals.”

Caller: “Really? D***. I’ve been looking all morning for a place to buy a monkey.”

Me: “You’ll have to look a bit more, then.”

Caller: *Hangs up*

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WE WANT TO SEE THE DOG. WE WANT TO SEE THE DOG.

, , , , , , | Learning | March 26, 2021

We’re in a Zoom class. One of my classmates doesn’t mute her microphone before trying to get her dog to leave the room.

Classmate: “Out! No! No, girl! Out! Out! Bad girl, let go of that! No! No! Out! Vade retro, canus!”

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