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I’d like to preface this story by saying that I love animals. I mean, I really adore them. I’m not a vegan, and you won’t find me protesting the use of elephants in the circus, but I love my two dogs more than most people love their spouses.
As a matter of fact, after I recently sent my mom a picture of my 60-pound pup piled on top of me, contentedly snoring away with her nose inside my shirt, her reply was simply, “You two need some boundaries.”
You get the idea.
So there I was, strolling along one evening, one leash in each hand. Emmi, the cleavage cuddler mentioned above, has a certain fondness for frolicking and often rolls in the grass during our post-workday jaunts. To discourage this behavior (and the repetitive sneezing that I suspect is related to some sort of allergic reaction) I spanked her once and firmly said, “No.”
She looked chastised for all of three nanoseconds before jogging ahead with her adopted sister, both tails wagging.
A minute or so later, an SUV pulled alongside our little trio. Having forgotten the incident almost as quickly as Emmi had, my only thought as the window rolled down was, Jeeps look really cute in that color.
But before I could wonder what this lady was going to ask me, she launched into a diatribe akin to those delivered on The View.
“Did you just spank that dog?” she asked — or rather, shrieked. If the shrill tone of her voice wasn't a hint that she didn’t approve, the utterly horrified look on her face made me certain that she found my conduct reprehensible.
I stood there speechless for a moment before replying, “Umm, yes?”
Speechlessness is not a condition I suffer from frequently, so I recovered quickly. Not that she noticed. She was on a roll, and there was no stopping this Good Samaritan from teaching an abusive delinquent the errors of her ways.
“You are abusing that animal! That’s not how you treat a dog!” she continued.
I was thinking, Hey lady, mind your own business. Does this dog — who, at this point, had resumed her favorite hobby of licking my leg — look harmed to you? Being a good Southern girl who was raised to respect her elders, though, I kept my mouth shut and continued walking. If you don’t have anything nice to say, right?
But this woman was not easily discouraged. Or ignored, apparently. She rolled along next to me in her Jeep and continued to scold me at full volume.
I was tempted to point out that my part-pit-bull puppy could probably rip me limb from limb if she so desired, but I refrained. I was also pretty tempted to ask her to use her inside voice, seeing as she was technically inside a vehicle.
Eventually, she lost interest and drove off. And we continued on our merry way.
I could just picture her walking into her house, a triumphant grin plastered across her face after righting injustices all day.
I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a small (OK, medium-sized) part of me that wanted to tell her that I plan on spanking my children one day, too. And that last time I checked, we lived in America, Land of the Free and Home of the Dog Owners Who Reasonably Discipline Their Beloved Canines.
Maybe I’ll just write her a letter. Attached to a gift from Emmi, the defenseless puppy she rescued. And if that gift just happens to be in a paper bag, aflame on her front porch, then so be it.