Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bad Dog, A True Story.

"Bad Dog, Badder Mailman"
James Robert Smith

This is, I am willing to admit, a mainly true story.

Some people think that dogs are just like people. Others think that dogs are idiot automatons that are driven purely by genetically programed instinct.

I am in the middle. I think that dogs have personalities and are individuals if not actually persons.

Dog apologists, when discussing bad dog behavior, like to say that such behavior is the fault of the dog’s owner and not the dog. Well, as I said, I think that dogs are individuals and I will hold them responsible for some of their actions. And I will react accordingly. As an individual.

This story is about a letter carrier named Alec. That is not his real name, but it will serve.

Alec had a route in what Rodney Dangerfield liked to call “a tough neighborhood, tough neighborhood”. It was a rough spot to work and deserved to be called tough twice in quick succession. Gunfire was just a background noise there.

Along one street Alec would routinely encounter a very bad German shepherd that the owner would sometimes keep chained up and sometimes allow to roam free to menace any and all who passed. The dog was a biter. A big, vicious, slobbering, toothy biter who weighed about ninety pounds or so. It was not a dog you would want to encounter. It was, to put it mildly, an asshole.

Alec had discussed the issue with the dog’s owner who seemed only mildly interested and promised vaguely to “do something” about the situation.

Of course, nothing was done.

Alec was quite tired of it all. He was at the end of his rope when it came to patience for this particular dog and this particular customer. (Postal management makes all letter carriers call recipients of mail “customers”.) He was sick of rounding the corner only to be confronted with the mass of roaring, snarling, slobbering teeth and muscle tissue that was this vicious German shepherd. Thus far, Alec had been able to keep from being bitten by using his mailbag as a shield and by applying pepper spray vigorously about the dog’s angry face.

But the thing about dogs and pepper spray is that, after a few applications, the dog becomes immune to the stuff. Initially it does what it’s supposed to do and drives the dog into spasms of pain. But nine or ten sprays later…it might as well be spring water.

One day, Alec rounded the bend. And there came the German shepherd. By this time, Alec was sick unto death of dealing with the issue. Something had to be done. He looked to his immediate right and there sticking out of a mound of red clay where Habitat for Humanity was constructing a home for someone was a five-foot section of two by four lumber. Just waiting for Alec to use.

Alec is a big guy. Something over six feet tall. He’s in good shape for his age. On that day, instead of using his mail bag as a shield against the dog that wanted to tear his flesh, he dropped it to the ground, along with the mail he’d been carrying in his left arm.

And he grabbed up that section of two by four and pulled it free of that cool, wet, red muck.

The dog came on.

The board went “WOOSH”!

The German shepherd’s skull went “CRACK”!

The dog went down in a heap of meat and fur.

But Alec was not done. He was very, very angry. He was sick of dealing with the dog and the worthless dog owner. But you cannot kill the dog owner. However, you can kill the dog.

Again the board went “WOOSH”!

The dog’s skull went “SMUSH”!

Alec’s big shoulders flexed and his arm went like a piston again and again and again.
The dog was quite dead, but still he went at its cranium with the pine two by four.


Alec got dog brains on his boots.

At last, exhausted, he threw the section of good board to the ground, gathered up his mail, and continued on. 

He was not finished.

He knocked on the door of the house where the dog’s owner lived. The door opened and the owner appeared.

“I killed your dog,” Alec told him, using that voice that’s not a whole lot different from Barry White’s. He can make women swoon with that voice, Alec can. He nodded. “Yes, I killed your dog and if you get another one and let it roam loose like that I’ll probably kill it, too. Now you can call my station manager or my supervisor. I don’t care. You go ahead. All I wanted you to know is that I killed that damn dog.”

And he delivered the guy’s mail and walked on, leaving the guy sputtering on the porch.

The guy did call the station to complain. A supervisor listened to him for a moment and her response was this:

“Sir? Have you ever heard of leash laws? If not, I suggest you read up on it.”

And that was the end of Alec’s dog problem.

And no one had to worry about being bitten again.

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