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(Fiction, repost from March 2009)

Here I am eating mouthfuls of candy 'n wondering what I would do if I was Jesus. Well, first of all I would burn down Mick Donhill's house cuz he's a prick. The whole family of Donhill's are pricks so I hope they're all home when I set match to gasoline although I suppose if I were Jesus, I wouldn't have to light a match, I could just get one of them Baptists to do it for me. I might warn lardo tardo Emily to stay away, I guess. She's their second daughter and even though she's too fat to get into the car and too stupid to ever get outta fourth grade, she ain't too bad. I mean she ain't mean like the rest of 'em.

She had that li'l dog for a while. It was a real fucked up li'l dog and it would run out their house and bark at you and if you did or if you didn't turn away it din matter, it'd take a nip out your shoes and if you weren't wearin' no shoes that'd be your ankle. I doan know how many times it came out charging at me even though I been cutting their lawn for years, since even before the dog ever got there anyway. It would come at me and yap and yap and it din matter I had the big mower going, it would just run aroun' it and bite my boot. I'd shake the sumbitch off and it'd just come back round and bite again, and harder and hold on harder and it would try to shake my boot to death even though my boot was connected to me and I ain't no lightweight neither. Damn fucking fucked up dog.

I doan know how many times I near run it over with the mower. Wanted to too sometimes and I probably would've if it weren't for Emily always rolling out off the front porch waving her hammy arms at us like the house was on fire, screaming at her dog to lay off me. I doan think she was necessarily worried about me. I jes think she din want dog choppy suey all over the front grass. The dog always gave me this look like it was saying, alright, you lucky this time but next time you better make sure you had all the kids you ever gonna want cuz there ain't gonna be no more chances after I get through with you.

One time after Emily got her dog to stop trying to slay me, she invited me inside to get outta the heat. I know what you're thinking, pervy, but it was nuthin like that. Emily's about as appealing as a truck in a dress - no offence to neither - 'n as for me, even if Emily's hooker parts had any juice flowing through 'em - which I doubt on account of her mental condition - I doubt a 63 year old man with eight fingers and most his teeth missing an no money cept for the money in my boot would be much a turn on.

That would be the first and only time I ever gone inside the Donghill's big house. Everything looked all hard and shiny. There was no carpeting or rugs or anything and all the furniture was all hard plastic or metal or wood. There was some leather coverings on the sofas and armchairs but even they looked hard, like they'd never been set in. The floors were like ice, not that I ever seen ice cept on tv but that's what it looked like, like maybe you could skate on it if you had skates and knew how to skate. It was all pearly cept where I was standing because I had brought in some dirt and grass on my boots.

Emily went and got me some lemonade while her attack dog stood and watched over me. It just stood there and didn't move and I made some funny faces at it and it did this funny thing with its head like it was studying me or something. "Cmere boy," I said to it but it still didn't move so I patted my legs and made some animal noises until it finally walked over and gave me a sniff. Then it just sat there on my boot.

Emily came back with two glasses and she was spilling lemonade all over the place like a drunkard and the dog ran over and lapped it up, following her as she kept spilling the stuff. I never knew no dogs that liked lemonade but I guess some dogs'll eat anything. Anyway, I figured that was why maybe there was no rugs.

She handed me a glass barely half full of lemonade and I drank it and said thanks and left. I din even sit down or anything. Jus stood in the hallway cuz Emily never invited me to take a seat. I doan think it was cuz she was rude or anything. I think she jus din have the common sense to ask.

The last time I was over there which was a week later, I was jus workin on the front rose beds when Mick the ball-less prick came runnin outa the front door. He waved at me and said he wanted to talk to me about something.

"Last time you were here, did the dog bite you?"

"Not sure what you're talking about there," I said.

"Emily told us that last week the dog ran out and bit you. Did it?"

"Oh yeah, that. It was no big deal. It just got its teeth 'round my boot is all. It's done that lots a times."

"It's done that before?"

"Oh yeah, but no big deal. It's just ..."

"It never broke skin, though?"

"Broke skin? What's ..."

"It never made you bleed?"

"Oh no, nothin' like that. Like I was saying ..."

"Alright, well, would you mind doing me a favor? Would you mind signing this?"

Mick took some paper outta his pocket and stuck a pen in my face and I was already annoyed he was cutting me off all the time when I was trying to speak so I really wanted to do was whack the pen out of his hand but instead I breathed like my doctor suggested and asked him what was the paper about.

"It's just to say that our dog didn't injure you."

"I already told you it din."

"I know but if you could sign this then it would really help us."

"Help you what? I already told you it din bite."

"Yes, I know. I heard you the first time. This document is just to protect us. You understand, right?"

"No, why don't you tell me?"

"It's to protect us from liability."

"What? You mean like a lawsuit? You mean you want me to sign that so that I don't sue you? That's ridiculous."

"Look, I'm willing to throw in a little signing bonus. Say, $200."

I never respected Micky much and when he offered me the money whatever tiny amount of respect I had disappeared down the shithole although looking back on it now, if I'd known what he was going to do next, I should've made him gimme a thousand and then given him some spit in his face in return.

"Alright, I doan know what you're on about but I'll sign it and you can keep your money. It's unchristian to be accepting bribes," I said, not because I'm a angel or anything but just because I wanted Dunghill to know that I knew he was being a slimy toad. It din have much effect on him, though.

I gave him the pen and paper back.

As soon as he put the paper back in his pocket he said, "Thanks for your signature but I wish you'd take the money because I'm afraid we can't keep you on anymore."

At that point, I was too awestruck with the surprise of it all to have words come outta my mouth.

"You went into our house last week. You went into our house alone with Emily when we weren't around."

"But she invited me in. I din do anything. I jus had lemonade. I din even sit."

"I'm sorry but you know what the rules are. You agreed to them when you took this job."

"She invited me in for fuck's sake!"

"Well, if you're going to talk like that then there's no point in talking about this. Get your things and leave immediately," and then the fuckin deceivious bastard turned round and walked away.

I tell you, if this was even 5 years ago, that cocksucker wouldn't have walked far.

I threw the shovel down into the roses. I wanted to tear up all the flowers I planted but they looked so pathetic anyway I just left them and went into the backyard to get my jacket and lunch which I hadn't eaten yet. The whole time I just was just thinking about coming back later, at night, and burning down the whole place. How's that for liability, you prick?

When I got to the backyard, I saw oversized Emily sitting on one of those reclining lawn chairs cept she was so heavy the whole thing sagged in the middle and almost touched the ground. She was bawling like a baby.

"What's wrong with you?" I asked.

"They took Benson away," she said. I immediately figured Benson was the dog. What a stupid name for a dog. Benson's a butler's name.

"Why'd they do that?" I asked.

"Mama said he bit the mailman and the mailman's gonna get a lot of money from us unless we got rid of Benson so they took Benson away and they took him to the pound."

Looking at the pathetic child, I actually felt kinda sorry for her. As far as I could tell, that dog was probably the girl's only friend. I mean what other kid would want to be her friend? Kids are assholes. I kinda felt sorry for the dog too. It was a vicious little fucker but I guess it was like me when I was a kid. It was just trying to protect what it thought was its own and not being appreciated for it.

"That's too bad," I said. "Okay, see you later." I mean, what did you expect me to do?

Anyway, the candy's all done now so I guess I'm going to stop writing and go to the store and get some more. Maybe pick up a can of gasoline and some matches along the way.

Ah fuck, I been thinkin about this for 2 weeks now and I guess I was never really going to burn down that prick's house. He just really pissed me off so much but writing out all this shit has kind of taken the edge off. I gotta go feed the dog anyway.

Yeah, that's right. I went round to the pound the day after I got fired and got Benson outta there. They wanted me to pay for him but screw them I just took the dog out for a test walk and never went back. As if I'm going to pay for a used dog.

I never even thought I'd like having a dog round the house but it's good cuz it gives me something to look forward to. Every night after Benson finishes taking his crap, I pick up the shit and we go for a drive to Donhill's and as we pass by the property, I throw it on their front lawn. Fuck 'em.

I should give Emily a call.

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.