Can you kill a dog? I like to tell myself that I would never in a million years kill a dog, but if I were in a covered wagon crossing the American plains in the 18th century and my family was starving because no one told us how long these friggin’ plains were, I’m afraid I’d have to kill the dog.
I don’t want to kill this dog. I’m hoping it’s really old. I’m going to tell you why I want this dog to die and you have to promise to hear me out before you judge, okay? The dog barks every day. I can handle dog barks. That’s not it. It’s when and how this dog barks that makes me wish something terrible would happen to it. Like a vocal cord accident of some sort.
I’ve never seen this dog. The dog’s owner takes it out at 6:30 AM and then for one final excruciating time at around 10:30. There are the occasional barks in between these hours, but how tedious do you want me to be?
I’m going to refer to the owner as “she” because I’ve heard the voice and I’m pretty sure, but you can’t be too sure these days, that it’s a woman. She took the dog out at 1 AM last Thursday night. I know because I looked at the clock when I awoke thinking, “It’s 6:30 already?” I heard her laugh and fumble over the “shhh” that she tells the dog every time it barks which is every time. The dog must not speak good English.
Yes, the dog barks every time it is outside my apartment door. I live right across from the elevator. You’d think that I would hear people using the elevator and that I’d be used to it, but you would be wrong. I only hear the dog. The dog barks every time it’s outside my door and it startles me every time. Sometimes, it wakes me up twice in a day. Once at 6:30 in the morning and if I choose to go to bed early, once again at 10:30 at night. YAP! I’m awake after two barks.
I think it’s the octave of the dog’s bark that I find so displeasing. It stabs my ear. Stephen King tells a story from his childhood in his memoir On Writing where a doctor had to repeatedly relieve the pressure of an ear infection by piercing his eardrum with a needle. The dog’s bark reminds me of that story.
I have half a mind to call animal control because this dog must be being abused. No creature in their right mind barks so shrilly at the air unless they were desperately calling out for help. If you have ever stepped on a dog’s tail or crushed its paws under the foot of a rocking chair then you have heard this dog bark. If you told me that the lady picked it up and punted it into the elevator every time she took it out for a walk, I would believe you. It does seem odd that she would punt her dog and then tell it to be quiet, which she does every time.
I think the dog is named “Every Time.”
“Shhhh, be quiet,” like Every Time is going to respond, “okay, sorry, it won’t happen again.” Your dog’s bad behavior is on you. I really don’t blame the dog because it’s a dog. One day, I was waiting for the elevator and the doors opened and another dog, this one huge, leaped out of the doors as they opened and scared the shit out of me. You don’t expect a beast to lunge at you out of an elevator. This one did and I was in a bit of a shock looking at the dog’s owner like, “what was that?” I didn’t say anything to the owner but I must have stared at her too long and she said as she rounded the corner, “You know, it’s just a dog.” If she had said, “Oh, I’m so sorry,” I could have gotten over it. It was her indignant response like I was at fault for being startled by her hellhound that pissed me off. As startled as I was, I didn’t wish the dog dead. Maybe a spot of diarrhea for its owner, but that’s it.
I’ve been trying to give people the benefit of the doubt. I’ve been trying to see things from other people’s perspective before I rush to judgment. This woman has never seen me. She doesn’t know her dog has woken me up at 6:30 in the morning probably 50 times. I’m just another numbered door to her. She does tell Every Time to be quiet, even when she is drunk, so she knows her dog’s bark could be bothering people. Will you give me that she knows her dog’s bark is terrible but she doesn’t care?
Now back to my question about whether or not it is okay to want to murder this dog. Well? One day I was already up and the shrill yap ran down my spine in a particular way that it forced me into some sort of action. I needed satisfaction. So I wrote “Your Dog Stinks!” on a yellow post-it note and stuck it on the wall outside the elevator. I assumed she would be coming back this way. Maybe not though because I never hear the dog bark upon its return. Maybe Every Time is saying “I got to go” and then after it shits it doesn’t feel the need to say anything? I don’t speak dog. My note was gone when I left my apartment a few hours later. Either the woman saw it and knew it was directed at her or someone else found the note offensive and threw it away.
I’ve thought about confronting this woman. Running out in my underwear after the 6:30 wakeup call and yelling, “Every morning, this is how I wake up!” I don’t because it wouldn’t solve anything. I would look like the asshole because she has no idea her dog wakes me up. I have also thought about opening my door calmly and asking if her dog is okay. Has Every Time been tortured and is crying for help? Her dog barks like Buffalo Bill’s dog Precious does down that hole.
I could be suffering from some sort of schizophrenia. Maybe the dog doesn’t exist except in my head? I’ve never actually seen it. Every Time could be a figment of my imagination. Why can’t I hallucinate some beautiful big breasted blonde who insists on making me an omelet in the nude instead of a horrible dog bark? Insanity is a trying affliction.
I guess I’m just going to have to learn to live with this cattle prod on a leash. I pray that Every Time passes away peacefully in her sleep so I can get some peace. Is that okay? It’s not murder, it’s just cosmic justice. But sadly there is no such thing. Every Time could outlive me. She would be on a walk through the graveyard and interrupt my eulogy. And one of the bereaved would remark, “What an annoying little dog.”
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