Friday, August 17, 2012

gone to the dogs

Okay, it's been a week and I  have self medicated enough to think about those two days in an outlying camp with the family and dogs without going to pieces.  Usually my highlight of our time in the Adirondacks is when  we travel to an outlying camp and spend a few days in the deep woods with nothing but a lake, some logs for a fire, and a cabin with a wood burning stove and a couple of propane lamps.  However, I have recently discovered that two days in the deep woods with no one to help you when things go south is the opposite of paradise.  Gawd it was awful.

SB's dad prefers standard poodles.  He says that they are just fine as long as you treat them with a "heavy hand."  No one else in the family cares to use a heavy hand, not that any of us believe that it works anyway.  The fact is that this rather inactive man owns a rather active breed of animal, that he also refuses to neuter because it somehow might emasculate him or something.  Any visit to SB's father's house has resulted in the victim visitor being jumped on, slobbered on, and humped.  Meanwhile SB's father yells in his most threatening tones despite the marked lack of effect, and then eventually grabs the nearest offending dog by its neck, shakes it violently, whacks it about the head, and throws it into an undersized cage where it will stay and bark nonstop for the rest of the visit.  SB's sister won't bring her children to their father's house because they have been traumatized.

Their father went to Boston and left the youngest daughter to care for the dogs.  It took less than 24 hours for us to realize that the poor girl was in over her head.  They barked all night long so that she didn't sleep a wink.  Then she went to let them out to do their business in the morning and one of the poodles ran away.  The f*#king dog ran a good distance for such a fat slob and SB's sister and I had to help retrieve it.  We then knew that we had no choice but to take the dogs with us on our excursion into the woods.

The situation was similar to a coaching situation when I discovered that one of my boys was ostracized by the others.  I felt badly for him and tried to help him fit in and be included but then I discovered that there was a good reason why he was being excluded.  I feel that way about the dogs. It took less than an hour after arrival at the outlying camp for them to be leashed to trees for their destructive behavior.  Then the barking commenced.  Even after we exercised them to exhaustion they continued to bark at anything including the puppy that belonged to SB's sister, any human within earshot, and inanimate objects like tables and leaves.  SB finally resorted to what he referred to as his "bucket of discipline."  He filled a bucket with water and every time the dogs barked he would pour a cup of water over them.  The method worked but only barely.  We still had to refill the bucket four times.  And the dogs barked all night because we were too exhausted to refill the bucket.

And then there was the urinating and humping.  They had to exert their un-neutered masculinity over anything and everything.  They urinated on the picnic table.  They urinated on my camp cookware.  They urinated on my clothing.  One of the dogs urinated on the puppy while trying to hump her.  I escaped to the lake to lie down and they followed me and urinated on the corner of my towel before trying to hump each other.  I managed to hold my composure but just barely.

I usually am sad to leave the outlying camp and return to civilization but this time I couldn't get out fast enough.  I packed everything up in record time and was waiting by the porch for SB to take me away.


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