In case you haven’t met before, this is Banjo. Don’t let the cute face fool you. He’s not a friendly dog. The thing is, he looks friendly and kids always want to pet him. Um, not a good idea.
Anyway, Banjo will be disappointed to know he is not the reason his photo is being used today. I have a confession. It’s about another dog. But first, the back story.
If you follow me on Twitter, then you are familiar with the Flannery O’Connor type assortment of regular folks in my neighborhood. The rake people (who have apparently moved), the hipsters, the dead body in the house next door, the assholes who refuse to die on the other side including an elderly mother, a decrepit gay son, and a mangey dog , all of whom appear to perpetually hover near death without actually dying, their asshole lawn man with the gas leaf blower and giant tractor lawnmower… and the Alzheimer’s lady.
This story is about Alzheimer’s lady, (AL). AL is actually married to Asshole Gas Leaf Blower Guy (AGLBG) a fact I only discovered a few months ago. AL and I are very pleasant with each other . She compliments my pitiful flower bed when walking her dogs. She is apparently unaware that I may or may not have fashioned a voodoo doll of her husband and also called him an asshole while fleeing his lawn blower in my car.
AL used to walk a little gray terrier type dog past my house at least once a day. IIRC, she would walk him on a leash. However, many times the dog, Andy, would walk by himself. He used to stay on the side-walk, apparently walking his usual route by memory. Once, while Banjo and I were out walking, we ran across Andy on one of his solo walks and he followed us. I didn’t know where Alzheimer’s lady lives, but I had a general idea of the street. Another frequent but unremarkable character that walks by the house is a lady called Betty. I don’t know anything about her except she looks EXACTLY like my SIL, Betty and she walks around my block every day around 5 p.m. Sometimes with another lady or a man or both of them. Betty always has a can of beer and a trash bag to pick up litter. I like Betty. Betty seemed to know Andy and AL so I asked her to keep Andy from following us home and try to get him back to AL. She did.
One day, AL started walking another dog, a dachshund type but brown all over. Let’s call it Dot so I don’t have to keep typing dachshund. So AL now has Dot on a leash and they walk along while AL is often screaming at the top of her lungs over her shoulder at Andy who is lagging behind and getting in the street. I always wondered why one dog is on a leash and the other is not.
Which brings us to the other day. After nearly very loudly and publicly cussing out and considering strangling my yard guy, who is annoying as all hell and has been wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day since April, I was in the back having a rage-filled outburst as I sawed the vines off of my pine trees while Banjo played. He was barking at the dead body house so I stopped to see what he had found. Andy was in that yard yelping.
Well great. Now I have to go see what is wrong with a mangy dog and try to get him home where my mortal enemy AGLBG lives. I’ve already considered murdering one yard guy today and have no desire to encounter another but, this is not Andy’s fault. So I gather up my saw, deciding not to carry it with me, wash the poison ivy off my hands, look for Banjo’s leash and notice that Andy is on the sidewalk in front of the dead body house sunning himself. It’s about a quarter til five. Betty should be around any time now. I decide to leave Andy alone.
If Betty came that day, Andy was long gone.
Later, I saw AGLBG out in his truck slowly cruising the neighborhood looking for Andy. He looked for quite awhile.
The next day, and for a few days there after, AL walked Dot on the leash with no Andy.
Clearly, Andy is dead and it is all my fault.
Which brings me to last night when HB1 who lives right across the street was climbing a tree with official type tree climbing gear. He went up about 30 feet and the trees are thick with new spring leaves. I couldn’t really see what he was doing. But he was alone. At first I thought he was just having some fun. I went about my business. Then I decided he was going to hang himself. I mean I had a dead body next door once already, I’m responsible for a dead dog now, and if he was just trying out some new equipment or something, HB2 who lives one house over, would normally be hanging out with him. Why else would a dude be climbing up a rope on a giant tree when it was getting dark?
Should I call 911? Should I mind my own business? I feel bad enough about the dead dog. I would feel really bad if I basically watch HB1 kill himself. I keep nervously peeking out the window like Gladys Kravitz hoping not to see him dangling by a broken neck. I even kind of tweeted about it. I did not save the dog. Am I going to let HB1 die just because I will be embarrassed if this is all nothing?
I peek out one last time. And there is HB1 walking across the porch to his back door. What a relief!
This morning as I was going through comments, I saw AL walking Dot. Alone. I kept hoping that Andy would be behind them each day, but he never was.
Until today. There was Andy 15 feet behind AL wandering behind in the middle of the street. Looking a complete unkempt mess. But alive.