Dear Dr. Babooner,
I’m not a mean person, and I love animals. I really do. The thing that got to me about our little dog Rockne is that he was, well, obnoxious. His original name was Mr. Fluffs but we re-named him after we realized he was going to be a loud, persistent, yappy pest. Calling him “Rockne” was part of our private joke. We live on a banana plantation in southern Florida and he absolutely loved the fruit. So whenever one of us went into the yard the other invariably said “Go out there and skin one for the yipper.”
I guess you had to be there.
Anyway, Rockne’s vocalizing would come in waves. Sometimes he’d be quiet for almost a day, and then the following week he’d go at it non-stop. What really grated on my nerves was when he would go off while we were in the car. Something about the enclosed space magnified his yip, yip, yip, yip, yip, and it didn’t help that he simply couldn’t abide the site of a jogger. Something in his worldview totally rejected the concept of a human being in a designer sweatsuit, running.
And we saw lots of them. Weird, I know. You’d think people wouldn’t have to lift a finger, much less a foot, to break a sweat in south Florida. But run they did, and Rockne let ‘em have it every time we spied someone chugging down the road. The sound inside the car was excruciating. Finally one day I stopped to let the jogger go by before opening the door and telling Rockne to get out and chase her. It was a foolish, spiteful move. I figured he would run for a short distance, wear himself out, think better of his compulsion, and that would be the end of that. No more barking at people along the road. I was counting on the day’s high heat and humidity to drive home the point.
I’ll never forget it – just before he sprang out of the car, Rockne gave me a long, last look. There was something potent in it. Not reproachful, just … accepting and maybe a little judgmental. But it was profound. And then he was gone.
He skittered off after the jogger just as fast as his little legs would carry him, but before he got close enough to catch her he quite suddenly veered into the underbrush and disappeared into what I then realized was The Everglades.
I was kind of heartbroken. I mean, on a certain level I was happy to be rid of him, but on the other hand I realized he probably couldn’t survive out there. I mean, the Everglades has bobcats! Not to mention crocodiles AND alligators! My wife was deeply ticked off – this was six months ago and she still won’t speak to me. And now today I see THIS!
Apparently Burmese Pythons are killing just about everything in the Everglades. My only hope is that Rockne managed, through some unexpected combination of wisdom, yappy persistence and canine guile, to convince the pythons that they were brethren, and rather than lunch he became King of the Released Pet Nation.
Otherwise, I’m feeling really, really guilty right now. But should I?
Remorseful About The Fate I’ll Never Know
I told R.A.T.F.I.N.K. he should absolutely feel remorse. Putting any creature out of the car within shouting distance of the Everglades ought to be a crime, but especially a tempting morsel like Mr. Fluffs (or Rockne, if you must). But I would not comfort myself with the thought that your dog somehow became King of the Pythons. That would not be a good development for you. Just in case, you should stay far, far away from the swamp.
But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?