Adversity peaks in the water trough
Published: Saturday, February 4th, 2006
My dog has a new chew toy. Unfortunately it’s my goat. Lulu, an approximately 500-pound puppy who likes to snore and jump on strangers, surely has the upper paw against her nemesis, an approximately 2-ounce pygmy goat named Doug. Lulu didn’t pick on the other three goats, of course. The two non-pygmies know how to jump on the concrete block that Lulu cannot yet master. The other pygmy has been pregnant for roughly six years and, quite rightfully, crotchety. No one wants to pick on her. That leaves the sad little billy goat at the mercy of the quarter-ton dog. Actually, Doug was not sad at all until this began to happen. Before that he was just mean. Perhaps his getting picked on is retribution for his former meanness. Maybe Lulu got into my morning meditation books and read some of that “goes around comes around” karma stuff they always discuss. Lulu decided to play God. Maybe their past friendship was breached in some unspeakable way, like a theft of dog food or a pilfering of hay. Or perhaps Doug wronged Lulu in some horrible, unforgivable manner. Like my childhood friend, Shannon Brannigan, who gifted me with a crayon drawing only to show up the next morning with another little girl in tow asking for it back to gift to her. Those kinds of gifts can harbor lifelong resentment. Darn Shannon. Two things make the goat chew toy situation even more distressing. Doug and Lulu used to be the best of friends. You could find them together beneath the bark-stripped tree, plotting hay-filled conspiracies and long grass-lounging days. The other sadness factor is the violence has reached an extreme. No, there is no blood, but once in awhile a tuft of sodden goat hair. And Lulu actually chased Doug into the water trough, where he fell with a splash, unable to get out. I don’t know if it was sadder that Doug sloshed into an unintentional swim or that he refused to let me dry him. After all, the only other time he was touched by human hands was to take away his goat manhood. Actually, another sad factor of that situation was it took two days in the sun for my fully lined NYC commuter gloves to dry. No, I just don’t sit around and let this happen. I sit around and let this happen and then write about it. Seriously, though, I’ve tried quarantine. I put Lulu in the four-inch dog pen specifically built like a jail cell so she can sit there and “think about what she’s done.” She leapt from the cell in about 32 seconds. I heard her collar bell jingling on the front porch, coupled with clanging glass. Alas, not only had she escaped the penitentiary, but she hauled a six pack of empty beer bottles from the lot next door and crashed them on the concrete. Escape. Vandalism. Minor in possession of alcohol. That’s three counts on the police blotter. The other option is to quarantine Doug, which seems somewhat cruel. Why should he be isolated just because one person doesn’t like him? If that happened in the real world, we’d all be sitting in separated shoeboxes. “Maybe they’re just having fun!” someone chimed. I wanted to believe that until a friend of mine said a goat braying madly on its side with its leg in a giant dog’s mouth was most likely not having fun. The only thing to do is wait it out, keeping an eye on Lulu and removing her from the pen when she takes Doug swimming. That and to pray for Doug — that he’ll wisen up enough to give her back that crayon drawing.
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