Sunday, July 03, 2005

Goodbye, Buttons

My cocker spaniel Buttons has a whiny sort of bark, which I admit is annoying. I spent three hours building her a kennel yesterday, because my wife is at Bible school with our five-year-old for the week. Since I catch the bus to work at 7:30 in the morning, and get home about 6:30 in the evening, the dog was going to have to stay outside. Eleven hours inside was a recipe for damaged carpets.

Buttons's first introduction to the kennel came last night. I put her inside and, to see what she would do. The officer was very nice, and said that they had received four phone calls complaining that the dog had barked continuously. I explained the situation, and asked if I'd get in trouble if I tried her again in the kennel to see if she settled down a bit. He replied that the worst that could happen was that the neighbors would complain again, and we'd have another conversation. Nice man.

So Sunday morning about 9:00, before church, I put Buttons back into her kennel. She didn't make a peep at that time, nor for the next fifteen minutes or so that I observed her from behind the kitchen curtain. I left for church. Afterward, my dad and I drove a block away in his car, and watched her for a bit. She was laying quietly in her kennel, not making a sound. We drove on to lunch.

Perhaps a half hour after returning home, the police car arrived. I went out on the front step and hollered, "Howdy!" He said "Hello," in that authoritative voice that cops like to use. I said, "Come on inside!" He replied, "I'm actually busy, and have no time for you. But," he added in an angry yet commanding tone, "your noisy dog problems are over! We have a statute in this town! Here's your copy of the statute and your citation!" He handed me a copy of the statute, and drove off.

Inside, I told my dad that there was no answer but to return her to the pound. In a touching show of heart, he offered to do the evil deed for me. I agreed to stay home and tear down the kennel, in hopes of returning it to Home Depot. He put a leash on her and led her off.

It's nighttime now, and the house is very quiet. Buttons's crate is still in my son's room, pillow inside and door ajar. Her leash is still hanging on the coat hook by the door. I dread my son's return from Bible school, to hear what happened to her. The house is very quiet, and I'm very alone.

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