OK, I'm going to get straight down to business. The political class out in Lebanon, who have apparently taken to eating psilocybin plucked from the local cowpies, are seriously considering euthanizing dogs that don't live up to Lebanon dog standards. And just so these shroomed-up Lebanonians know what "euthanize" means, it means "killing dogs deader than Elvis." And I don't mean killing dogs because they chewed the tires off a school bus or busted into PetSmart and stole all the dog toys.
The Lebanon council folk — some of them, anyway — want to kill dogs for barking. As my good friend and dog rescuer Jean says, a cat must’ve thought this up. (They meet next on Sept. 7 to vote whether to override Mayor Phillip Craighead's veto.)
You dog-averse Lebanon council folk, listen to me: Dogs bark, pretty much full-time. When they do take a break from barking, they run, they slobber, they chase rabbits and try to kill the water gushing out of the garden hose. They scratch grooves in your doors, shred your slippers, steal your underwear and bury it in the backyard. Plus they eat turds straight out of the cat box. At least that’s what my dogs have always done.
Some folks are just natural-born dog haters. Some years back, a neighbor called me at 4 a.m. to complain about my dear departed dog friend Rufus’ barking, which he said woke him up. I explained to the neighbor that a sleeping person can’t hear a dog barking. A person has to be awake to hear a dog barking, and he has to be ass-aholic to call somebody at 4 a.m. Show me any living human who can prove that he heard a dog barking while he was asleep.
There is a definite upside to having barking dogs in or around your house. I offer this example: Back when wife Brenda and I lived in South Carolina, we rescued two little terrier litter mates, Scruffy and Slick. Neither weighed in at more than six pounds, and they didn’t have enough muscle or bark to bother anybody — until the night they caught an interloper trying to steal our across-the-street neighbor’s garden tractor.
Scruffy and Slick yapped like hell-dogs as the evildoer tried to push the tractor up a ramp and into the bed of his pickup truck. Our neighbor — who I’m sure was awake at the time — heard the dogs and came running out of his back door, waving a shotgun. The would-be tractor stealer aborted his evil plan, left the tractor where it sat and sped away in his raggedy-ass truck. The next day, our happy neighbor gave the dogs a five-gallon bucket full of fish heads. It was a fine day for the little dogs.
As you might imagine, the Lebanon dog-killing scheme isn’t completely evil. The ordinance the council folk hope to enforce allows a chance for errant dogs — the ones who run at large, bark too much, too loud or to long — to get right with the politicians. The dogs, apparently, will get a fair hearing so that they might be rehabilitated. For instance, there’s talk of a three-strikes-and-then-we-kill-Fluffy rule.
Friend Jean, who knows dogs better than dogs know themselves, rightly points out that bad dogs exist because … well, because knuckleheads raise them. If a knucklehead or knuckleheads have a yard full of chained-up dogs, whose fault is it if the dogs bark all day and night? Well, it’s the knuckleheads’ fault. If life were fair, the knuckleheads would get locked up in the pound, and the dogs would get the house and the big-screen TV.
As for Lebanonians who are troubled by barking dogs, keep this in mind: Y’all chose to live in a small city, not on a 1,000-acre spread. There will be noises. I know. I lived in New York City — well, Brooklyn actually — for a year. Believe me when I tell you, the smells are worse than the noises.
Maybe you can’t tune out dog noises, but you can buy yourself a white-noise machine at Target, Amazon and/or Brookstone. White noise, properly delivered, will put you right to sleep. Not in the way Lebanon council folk want to put dogs to sleep, but in a comforting sort of way that lets you wake up in the morning.
If white noise doesn’t help you tune out dogs, especially at bedtime, I recommend this CD: Gregorian Chants: The Best of the Benedictine Monks of St. Michaels. You can get it from Amazon for less than nine bucks.
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