Habeas Dente

“It was him your honor! That man reached into my mouth and plucked my tooth!” the young woman said, her slight frame shaking as she gave the target of her accusation a death glare. A loud gasp was heard among the court audience, quickly followed by tightly shut mouths, in case there were other tooth pirates in the court room scouting for potential victims.

The well-toothed audience had heard of thieves, con-men and other people who specialized in separating people from their belongings, but they had never come across a tooth pirate before. What did this mean? Should they password protect their teeth? Buy locks for their mouths? Have security cameras trained on their mouths to alert them if any moves were made toward their pearly whites? This was an alarming development, Muy Alarmante!

Eyes turned toward the alleged criminal, expecting to see a heavily tattooed, pliers wielding, tooth-jewelry wearing mercenary. Instead, what they saw was a lanky, dark haired man who appeared to be in his mid forties, no tattoos or tooth jewelry in sight.

The alleged tooth pirate calmly stared ahead at the judge, giving no indication of having heard a word the woman had yelled, or the hundreds of eyes trained on him, trying to figure out what kind of messed up childhood led one to become a tooth pirate. Said eyes included those of the wife of a colleague who witnessed this event in living color.

After order was restored, the small claims court judge asked the parties to narrate the sequence of events to his court. (yes, no matter how valuable your pearly whites are to you, in the eyes of the law, they aren’t worth much, hence the small claims court)

“Dr. Sun, kindly explain why you extracted the tooth in question?” the judge asked.

“Your Honor, the patient’s tooth was decayed beyond repair. I had no choice but to extract it. I explained the reasons why to…”

“It was my tooth! MY TOOTH” exclaimed the patient, in case anyone in court thought that she too was a client of the tooth pirate mafia.

“Ma’am, I understand that all the teeth in your mouth are yours, thank you, kindly let Dr. Sun finish his testimony.” The judge patiently explained.

The dentist continued, “I showed the patient x-rays of her teeth, and as you can clearly see from the x-rays, this was a very unhealthy tooth.”

The judge examined the xray, and slowly nodded. He addressed the patient.

“Ma’am, the dentist extracted your tooth because it was decayed. You knew this, and that is why you went to the dentist…”

“Do you have all your teeth? Huh? I bet you do. You have the smug look of a person who still has all his teeth and is judging me for having a decayed tooth or two. That was MY tooth, do you know how hard it is to eat ribs without your back teeth? Do you? DO YOU?” the woman raged at the dentist.

The dentist sighed a sigh of the long-suffering. Before the patient had dragged him before the court, she had accosted him at his clinic, demanding to have her tooth re-instated. Dr. Sun dreamed of the day when he would be retired and not have to deal with random writs of habeas dente.

Have a Happy, prosperous and toothy 2019!

Habeas Dente

Sneaky Paws

My friend Gigi has never been a fan of camping. She is firmly in the “camping ran in my family until houses were invented” camp (pun intended). But, Gigi has children, and children like camping. So, like the good parents they are, Gigi and her husband went to a sporting goods store, encountered a very enthusiastic salesman, fell for his sales pitch hook, line and sinker, and ended up purchasing expensive fishing rods and other paraphernalia (including organic bait- nothing but the best for the campsite fish’s last meal). When Gigi’s brother heard about the camping trip, he convinced his wife that it was time for a family reunion under the stars.

The highly anticipated day arrived, and the convoy arrived at the camp site, with Gigi’s brother and his wife bringing up the rear. Once the ice filled food cooler was set up, smores and other camping artifacts unpacked, children settled and organic fish bait properly stored, it was time to chop some wood for the camp fire. Before the arduous task of wood-chopping began, Gigi’s husband (hereafter known as Husband) and Gigi’s brother (hereafter known as Brother) decided that it would be a great idea to fortify themselves with a few ice-cold bottles of beer. After all, liquid courage makes any chore fun, right?

A few bottles later, vision possibly blurry, Brother picked up an axe and started chopping wood. He was nothing if not determined. From Gigi’s perspective, Brother swung the axe really high, and it landed with a “thunk”. Gigi thought nothing of it, until Brother started to sway slightly, looking faint. Gigi dropped her own beer and ran over to where Brother was, and that was when she saw a pool of blood collecting at his feet. Now, Gigi is no shrinking violet. She jumped into action and, with the help of Husband, helped a limping Brother into Brother’s car.

They rushed Brother to the Emergency Room, where they found people with ailments ranging from broken toe nails to life threatening injuries. When the nurse asked what had happened, Brother suddenly looked at his hand as if he was just then becoming aware of his bleeding hand. The nurse shook her head, bandaged Brother’s arm and sent them on their way.

At this point, it was quite late at night, and as they approached the campsite, they noticed a locked gate. Bad things happen in threes. The butchered arm was strike one, the locked gate was strike two. At this point, Gigi was tired, cranky and wondering why she left her perfectly comfortable house to go and live in the wilderness like a bear. They finally managed to get Brother’s wife to wake up and drive all the way to the gate and let them into the campsite. Gigi was smart enough to use the bathrooms at the hospital, as she was not willing to walk outside at night to use the campsite bathroom, where she might meet a mountain lion who would thank his lucky stars that his snack walked right into his jaws. Gigi was smarter than that, thank you very much!

Early the next morning, a starving Gigi woke up to get her children some breakfast. Strike three became immediately apparent. At some point in the night, while Gigi’s Brother was fighting for his life (okay, maybe not, but still, bleeding profusely) they’d had some guests. Gigi noticed muddy paws on the white cover of the cooler, and a sense of foreboding descended over her. She opened the cooler to find that all the organic, free range chicken, organic gluten free bread, organic low-fat milk and artisanal cheese had been mauled by the sneaky pawed raccoons who lived in the campsite. The raccoons were kind enough to leave some organic crumbs behind, but not before they took the organic fish bait with them, perhaps to go fishing?

Tired, hangry and dirty, Gigi took a deep breath and calmly informed her family that the trip was over and it was time to head back home and live in a house like the civilized human beings they were. The Sneaky pawed residents of the campsite were sad to see them go, and wondered if they would visit again. It wasn’t every day that they got to eat hand crafted, ethically sourced organic food.

 

Sneaky Paws

Yoga with Goats

A few weeks ago I was on a flight, casually browsing through the in-flight magazine when I happened upon a page advertising Yoga with Goats. You read that right. That ancient ascetic discipline, touted for its amazing health benefits- only with a caprine flavor. So, there you are, completely relaxed in the downward dog position, when suddenly, little round balls of goat poop roll down your back into your freshly washed hair, goat stench firmly entrenched in your clothing and skin. Maybe the yoga goats go to a goat spa and get soaked in pot pourri. Maybe they smell like baby powder. Maybe they poop little balls of ice-cream. Maybe this will be renamed the dog and goat pose. So many unknowns.

A few years ago, my mother had some goats on her property. Now, in Kenya, goats are to Christmas what turkey is to Thanksgiving in the United States. A. Big. Deal.

My mother took great pride in her goats, ensuring they had plenty to eat and room to roam. One side of my mother’s property is bordered by a river, and she hired a local goat herder, who touted himself as a goat whisperer of sorts, to watch her prized goats. Having found this man who would keep her goats happy and fed, my mother was sure that they were in good hands. So you can imagine her shock when a few weeks later, the goat whisperer called her to inform her that some of the goats had committed suicide. Eh? Committed suicide? Correct, he confirmed. No note either. How had they chosen to do it? They had thrown themselves into the river. These goats, who had the best grass and trees a goat could ever hope for, fresh water to drink and clean air to breathe, decided to just end it? Were they too happy? Should my mother not have been as generous as she had been and let them hustle like all the other goats from the school of hard knocks? Something did not add up. That is, until my mother remembered that these suicidal goats all disappeared around holiday season, when goat meat is sold at a premium. Then it all made sense. And so went the goat whisperer’s job.

When I read the article about the Yoga goats, I thought about my mother’s goats, and what a missed opportunity that was. Assuming the goat whisperer was telling the truth, what if we had let those goats walk on our backs? Would they have been happier? Would we be more relaxed today? Smelling like goats, but not caring? Walking in public, goat stench wafting around us, but happy as clams because our little goats were wrapped around our necks like our emotional support animals? We will never know. Because Christmas came, and with it, Nyama Choma, barbecue meat was eaten by all. Joy to the World!

Speaking of emotional support animals, airlines recently banned those. Why? A woman showed up to the airport, pig in hand and not far behind her another woman with a peacock wrapped around her neck. The peacock was such a frequent flyer that it even knew to hang onto the luggage cart handle while its parent navigated the airport terminal. Google it. It’s true. What was the women’s excuse? They could not handle the emotional landmine that is flying without their emotional support animals. The pig companion literally gave credence to the phrase “when pigs fly”.

TSA, the agency charged with the task of screening passengers before they board their flights, has had the difficult task of turning away pigs, peacocks, pythons, mice and other “emotional support” animals. The TSA agents have also confiscated an astounding number of face tenderizers. Yep. An implement made with the sole purpose of pummeling your facial muscles into submission. Why, you might ask, would anyone’s face need tenderizing? Do they smile too much? Frown too much? What could possibly cause a person to have such tense facial muscles that they need to purchase and travel with a face tenderizer? If you find out, please let me know. Maybe I will check if one is available for sale on NextDoor, a place where neighbors are supposed to share information, sell items and become more aware of neighborhood goings on. What it mostly is, is a place for wannabe Sherlock Holmes’ to report their suspicions and dubious findings, both real and imagined ( I see you reporter of all new cars driving by your home)

When I last logged into my NextDoor account, I came across an animated discussion. A woman in my neighborhood had come across a field mouse, and wanted to adopt it. A hundred plus comments later, she finally decided to return the mouse to the field. Responses ranged from ‘aw how sweet’, to ‘are you insane- they carry the plague. THE plague’. The most memorable one was that of a man informing the kind-hearted mouse mother that his cat would find a permanent home for her field mouse. Mouse mother did not take kindly to that particular suggestion and decided to return the mouse from whence it came because her vetinary doctor told her-wait for it- that a field mouse belonged in a field!

Have a tender-faced day, won’t you!

Yoga with Goats

According to Your Wisdom

A few months ago, my family and I took a weekend trip to Bodega bay, California. While there, we encountered a restaurant name Russia House #1. I imagined a group of Russians sitting at a table, sampling foods from different parts of their vast homeland, vodka glasses in hand, saying nyet to many of the samples presented before them. Towards the end of this exhausting exercise, their flavor-weary tongues perked up at the delicious flavors of a particular sample, and a chorus of Da was heard all around the table, vodka glasses raised in the air as they universally announced the winner as Russia House #1. No telling how Russia House #2 and #3 took the news.  I don’t know what the real story behind the restaurant’s name is, but I like my version better. Za Zdarovje!

Upon entering Russia House #1, I immediately noticed the very new-agey signage posted on the walls. A ‘help wanted’ sign was phrased as ‘looking for students’- who would be offered work, and a loving community. I wondered what the pay structure was, but upon reading the fine print, that really was it. Fulfillment through the work of your hands in a close-knit community. So, if you or someone you know is willing to work for a sense of community and has a hankering for the simple life, drive on up to Russia House #1. If the work does not fulfill you, the stunning view of the Russian river surely will. Tucked in one corner of the restaurant are a grand piano and a harp. A gentleman played the piano beautifully, but left soon after because he lived in the mountains and as we all know, mountain roads are treacherous in the dark.

Food is served buffet style, no menu is available. The food was amazing. As a neophyte to Slavic cuisine, I liberally sampled the Shchi, a delicious soup, and kasha, a millet cardamom-flavored meal. Now, I believe that beets are an abomination. A blight upon this earth. But the borscht, a.k.a beet soup, was divine. So, the only good beet is in borscht. Even the dishes with raisins in them were delicious. This, in my book, makes this place #1. You see, I abhor raisins. Raisins are failed grapes. In the grape world, the elite grapes are used to make the best wines, and the semi-pro grapes are served at meals. But what happens to the grapes that could never bring themselves to rise to the level of their wine and table grape caliber peers? They become raisins. The insidious fruit then sneaks into cookies, fooling innocent pastry lovers into thinking they are chocolate chips, and the cookie craving clients don’t realize their mistake until it is too late and they already purchased what appeared to be a delicious chocolate chip  cookie. (I see you oatmeal raisin cookies).

What stood out the most was that there was no bill at this restaurant. A sign by the door read “Pay according to your wisdom”. Huh? Now that’s just brilliant. You see, if a customer pays a small amount of money, does it mean that they are unwise? Am I wise? How wise am I? How is said wisdom measured?  Will the restaurateur look at my payment and agree that I am wise? So many questions!

Having thoroughly examined ourselves and unanimously agreed that we are indeed wise, we left some money on the table and departed. I have often thought of that phrase “according to your wisdom”, it applies to every aspect of our lives.

Here’s to a great life, lived according to your wisdom!

According to Your Wisdom

Tunga Sentensi

Happy New Year! I hope you and yours had a great ending to the “interesting” year that was 2017. I use the word “interesting” in the American sense, which means not good/ weird. More on this and other translations to follow in a future article.

As a child of the 8-4-4 system, I had to write compositions in English and Kiswahili (Insha). In Kiswahili class, one was often called upon to “tunga sentensi”, or compose a sentence. Now, as you can imagine, some of the sentences were “interesting”. For example, one would be asked to compose a sentence using the phrase “as fast as my thin legs could carry me”. Those of us who have Luhya genes definitely did not inherit thin legs. Not even in a heavy fog would our legs be confused for skinny. But since we were participating in creative writing, I wrote many a sentence detailing how my thin legs ferried me from an “interesting” situation, at superhuman speed, icy sweat trickling down my back (that was another favorite).

It was while reminiscing about my composition writing days that I decided to write more short fiction stories this year . These will be under the Tunga Sentensi Category, and will be written alongside my regular blog. Here’s to a great year full of good health and creativity!

 

Tunga Sentensi

Unfriendly Skies

It’s that time of year when families get together for Thanksgiving, stuff themselves full of turkey and other Thanksgiving yummies, and then wistfully look at those jeans they fit in two years prior and promise themselves that next year they will do better. Next year, they tell themselves, they will not reach for that piece of pie calling out to them.

Last year, my family and I were traveling home and were seated at an airport lounge waiting for our flight when I noticed a woman trying, but failing, to whisper into her cell phone. She was failing because, well, I could hear her quite clearly, and I wasn’t sitting close by. From what I could gather, her grandmother had waited until the family was gathered at the dinner table, where she revealed her political leanings, and this did not sit well with a good number of the family members, who walked out in protest, turkey and stuffing orphaned at the dinner table. To add insult to injury, said grandmother texted them (technologically savvy, grandma), asking them to come for left overs, as she, being a child of the Great Depression, was not one to waste food, political dichotomy aside. I never found out if the loud whisperer went to collect left overs or not, as our flight was called and we had to get going.

Speaking of loud whisperers, I love the Godfather. The book, that is. The movies, well, 1 was good, 2 was ok. 3. Where do I begin? WHY DID THEY DO IT? Why? There is not a logical reason why that movie was made. It was horrible. It was pointless. It was the kale chips of movies. Completely unnecessary. If I want to eat Sukuma wiki (kale), I will pluck it and I will cut it and I will eat it. Ok? Don’t sell me bitter chips wrapped in trendiness. But I digress. Many years ago, while on an overnight “red-eye” flight, I was reading the Godfather under low light, as most of the other passengers were asleep. Across the aisle from me was a gentleman. Please note that I use the word “gentleman” very loosely here. This “gentleman” was sitting with his two daughters, who were maybe 8 and 10. Out of the corner of my eye, I see this “gentleman” lean over to look in my direction, and then what must be the world’s loudest whisper followed. Think a whisper via megaphone.

“GET OUT OF HERE! Is that the Godfather? Don Corleone himself?”

At this point, the man’s two daughters were imploring him to stay calm, and, in the words of the older one, “Daddy please sit down, please don’t embarrass us!”

At first, I found it odd that such a young child would speak to her parent that way, but it would become apparent that the child in this relationship was not the 8 or 10 year old. My perception would soon prove prophetic.

At this point, the man had stood up from his seat and was very loudly whispering across the aisle to me, asking about different characters in the book. Had so and so been murdered yet? What about this other character? Had Fredo betrayed Michael yet? It was the Corleone Inquisition, albeit whispered. Yes, the whispered inquisition. His daughters tried, unsuccessfully, to get their father to go back to his seat, with the  ‘gentleman” yelling about Sicily and Don Corleone. Meanwhile, the sleeping passengers around us were being unceremoniously woken by the commotion. The man, who was well over 6 ft tall, and now past whispering, was loudly asking about Don Corleone’s father. I don’t think Don Corleone’s own children were as dedicated to him as this man was.

At this point, I could smell the vodka-scented liquid courage that had propelled him to Corleone Inquisitor-In-Chief. A woman who had been sleeping in the seat ahead of me and had been  awoken by Corleone-gate, was now an enraged red-eyed tigress, and her diminutive under 5ft frame was not going to stop her from confronting the over 6 ft tall Corleone Inquisitor. She asked him to sit down immediately, and the Corleone Inquisitor took it as well as we all expected him to. He lunged at her, his daughters attempting to stop him, and failing. The newly awakened tigress did not passively look on. She screamed at him, daring him to “fight if he was a man!” It took multiple air stewards to stop him and contain him to his seat. At this point, I closed my book and hid it away. Don Corleone needed a break.

*             *             *             *             *             *             *               *             *

Traveling with a baby takes a village. And not just the baby’s parents and immediate family, you see. It’s the other passengers I am talking about. If you want extra seats, travel with a baby. If your airline doesn’t offer family pre-boarding (which, is amazing), then you’re stuck heading towards your seat alongside everyone else. It is interesting to see the unblinking stares of passengers as you approach their seats, as if blinking magically assigns you to the seat next to theirs; and then the sighs of relief as you walk past them. One would be forgiven for thinking that the baby would firmly attach himself to the passenger’s back, who will be forced to carry this baby for the rest of his natural life, no vacations or retirement allowed, ever. However, you have to sit somewhere, and the look of dread, and finally resignation, which registers on the face of your seatmate when they realize that they are doomed to share close quarters with your offspring is actually quite amusing.

Many years ago, before I became a mother, I was traveling back to Kenya for Christmas, and I had the fortune (I will let you decide what kind), of being on a plane with a cranky baby. I don’t know if it was the air pressure, gas, the way the stars were aligned, the moon or simply the side of the bed on which the baby woke up, that caused her to cry as much as she did. She literally started to cry as we took off from San Francisco, continued as we stopped over in Seattle, and reached a crescendo as we flew over the icy isles of Iceland. This child, whose name I do not know, has a future as a singer. No, that doesn’t quite describe her vocal range. Mariah Carey has nothing on this child.

At some point, I could hear her mother comfort her, “hush baby, hush baby”. It did not work. I sympathized with the woman. What was she to do? They were trapped in this metallic object flying hundreds of miles an hour, several thousand feet above the Atlantic Ocean. She was doing her best to calm her child down, unsuccessfully so, but trying nonetheless. When we got to Amsterdam, I immediately went to my connecting gate, heading to Nairobi.

I like Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport. Do you know who does not have passengers showing up late to flights? Schipol Airport. Why, you ask? Well, a very very stern Dutch-accented voice announces “Passenger X, you are delaying your flight! Your luggage will be off-boarded!” That voice sounds like it belongs to someone with a very large, strong hand, which can slap you hard, leaving your face forever imprinted with a Dutch palm-print. Years later, when travellers at Schipol see you, they will slowly shake their heads, point at you and tell their children, “he delayed his flight at Schipol.” The children will pitifully sneak glances at your Dutch-palm-print-tattoed face and hurry along with their parents lest they suffer the same fate.

If you are ever late for your flight at Schipol, you will be wise to do one of two things:

1. Sprint to the your gate at speeds that would put Usain Bolt to shame. Or,

2. Hide deep, deep in the recesses of the terminal, so the stern voice (and face-scarring strong hand) do not locate you and your offloaded luggage.

There are also moments of excitement at Schipol, such as the time I was sitting at my gate, listening to music and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman leap onto her chair, at which point I instinctively put my feet on my chair. I removed my headphones and saw her point at something on the floor and scream in what I imagine sounded like Russian. Now, you don’t need to speak Russian to understand a terrified voice screaming in a foreign language. Sure enough, the squeaking culprits sprinted across the floor, leaving a Kenyan, a Russian, and a few Americans standing on chairs. See, mice can unite people.

At Schipol, connection time is brief, customer service is direct (see above), and, most importantly, they don’t separate you from your lotion like they do over at Charles De Gaulle in Paris, claiming it exceeds carry-on limits. If you ask what the liquid weight limits are, they respond in French, and as you can imagine, that is the end of that conversation. Oui Oui. But, I still remember my lotion. My dry hands remembered that lotion all the way to Nairobi.

When I arrived at the Kenya Airways gate, I saw my fellow Kenyan summer bunnies. I saw the school kids, massive headphones around their necks, wearing heavily logoed clothing, effectively walking billboards for what I assume were the latest fashion trends.

I turned around and I didn’t want to believe my eyes, but there she was. Baby I-can-out-scream Mariah Carey, with her exasperated mother. She was playing happily now, and it seemed her father had joined them at Amsterdam. I hoped that the nine hour flight to Nairobi would be more comfortable for that poor child (and by extension, me). As soon as we boarded the flight to Nairobi, the baby resumed her screaming. Her mother, having reached the end of her rope, yelled in DhoLuo “Ling’! Ibaro wiya! Choke!” (shut up! You are giving me a headache! Eh!). Gone was the soothing “hush baby” whisperer of San Francisco. She was left behind with the off-boarded luggage at the airport. In her place, a lioness known as NyarGem had emerged. And NyarGem didn’t play. Baby Mariah Carey was immediately quiet. I had to ask myself why NyarGem did not simply employ this tactic in San Francisco, and then I remembered that here on the plane to Nairobi, no one would call Child Protective Services if you scolded your child.

We arrived in Nairobi safe and sound, happy to be home. Happy Holidays!

Unfriendly Skies

ANGRY DOGS

Dogs are man’s best friend. In this age of equality, they are woman’s best friend too. That’s how egalitarian our canine friends are. The English phrase “A dog’s life” depicts misery and undue hardship. Whoever coined this phrase has clearly never met the Fur Babies (it is offensive to call them dogs) of California and New York. I do not believe in re-incarnation, but if it is a thing, I would not mind, in fact, I would love to come back as one of these Fur Babies. To call them pampered is an understatement. They have manicures, pedicures, dental visits (to make sure their pearly whites are sparkling), massages (’tis a stressful life) and dog whisperers to guide them through Fur Baby problems. The struggle is real y’all.

The petite Fur Babies of San Francisco, for example, wear jackets and shoes to match their parents’ purses (owner sounds too much like a forced relationship). I have stood in line next to a woman carrying a rather nice purse only to be startled when a furry head popped out of said fancy purse, pink bow in hair and frilly jacket covering it’s torso, big round eyes judging me. No self-respecting petite fur baby walks au naturel in San Francisco.

My friend, who will remain anonymous for this story, and who I will refer to as DS (Dog Searcher), has wanted a dog for a while. She is not looking for a petite fur baby who comes with a list of demands that would put divas to shame. No, she wants a dog. A barking, bone-hiding, tail chasing dog with some street credibility. Where, you ask would she find this street-wise dog? The pound of course.

Now, her search for a dog did not start at the pound. She knew that she did not want to spend the rest of her dog’s natural life sneezing due to fur shedding (some dogs shed enough to make a decent rug and a winter coat). She did her research and found a mid-sized labradoodle breeder, and seeing as labradoodles have hair and not fur, their shedding is negligible. Also, this breeder promised mid-sized labradoodles, and not the horse-sized version that is quite adorable as well- it was a match made in doggy heaven. She went home, excited at the upcoming puppy birth, and patiently waited for a few months. The breeder would call her once the puppies were born and she would pick one, and thus her dog search would come to a happy conclusion.

The promised due date came and went, with no word from the breeder. DS waited…and waited…and waited…for a few days. She figured it might take the breeder a few more days to get the paperwork and other minutiae out of the way. When she couldn’t wait any longer, she called the breeder. The breeder non-chalantly informed DS, after months of waiting for the puppy arrival, that the bitch (female dog), was not even pregnant in the first place. Where I’m from, we would say come srowry??? Meaning, WHAT???!!! Long story short, DS’ theory is that the breeder found a better deal and sold her puppy to someone else. And that is how DS came to find herself online, searching, not for the right man to spend her life with, but for a dog with street credibility. There’s an opportunity out there for a dog tinder. Swipe. Woof. Swipe.

Applying to adopt a dog in California is no joke. Your name, address, occupation. Why do you want a dog? What happens if you can’t care for the dog. Who is the next of kin. Do they know they are the next of kin? And if something happens to the next of kin, who comes next? (It is at this point that she should have started to question if this dog had madimoni. (Demons) that would cause so many owner deaths hence necessitating the string of next of kin). The chosen next of kin would have to fill a form longer than a mortgage application. But DS was determined to get a dog, and so she filled the form and submitted it. The waiting process to find out if she had been accepted by the pound was as nerve-wracking as waiting for a college acceptance letter.

The pound finally deemed her worthy to visit their dogs, and she went in, eager to meet this labradoodle she had seen online. Luckily for her, this puppy did not post a fake photo taken ten years and fifty pounds prior. He looked exactly like he did on his online profile and lived where he said he did. As DS approached the pen holding her puppy (she was that optimistic), she noticed that he was one of several puppies. She walked into the pen to hold him and was almost tackled by two women who apparently had their eyes set on some of the puppies. These women would put some linebackers to shame. They grabbed their desired puppies and clutched them close to their chest lest DS snatch them out of their grasp. DS picked her puppy and instantly felt a connection. The puppy hadn’t been fazed by the linebackers grabbing the other puppies- if that’s not street cred, I don’t know what is.

DS was very excited. This was finally happening! The dog search had come to a beautiful end. Next up, paperwork and then home with the puppy. Squiggly puppy in her arms, she headed towards the office, where she found the linebackers signing their paperwork and being waved out of the office, their new puppies in strong arms. DS approached the desk and found a very formidable woman (FW) staring at her. The following is the conversation that occurred. Names have been concealed to protect identities.

FW: What is your occupation?

DS: Answers.

FW: How many hours a day will this puppy be in the house by himself?

DS: Seven hours.

FW: (frowns and twirls pen) hmmmm…

DS: I will hire a dog-sitter to come and walk him at lunch time and take him out.

FW: Hmmmm…

DS: Is there a recommended occupation for dog owners?

FW: Most of our clients work from home, work part-time, are unemployed or retired.

DS: I work full-time but the puppy will have his meals and everything he needs.

FW: Here’s the thing. You will go to work and leave this dog in the house by himself. He will pee on your carpet. He will poop on your carpet. He will chew your furniture and you shoes. He will bark loudly all day and your neighbors will hate him and they will hate you. You and your dog will both be hated by your neighbors (she repeated for good measure, in case DS missed it the first time). And then you will come home after a long day at work and you will find a mess, your carpet will smell like pee (she didn’t specify whose), your walls will be smeared with poop (again, with the ambiguity about the origin of the poop, plus this puppy must be a poop picasso) and you too will be angry at this dog. Do you know what happens when a dog is left alone all day, he becomes an Angry Dog!

FW asked DS to hand the puppy back, as she was too gainfully employed for their taste. If she was willing to resign from her job, or change occupations, or find a way to stay home with this puppy, then they would reconsider her application. Anything to prevent the existence of another Angry Dog.

PS: DS’ search for a puppy with street credibility continues…

ANGRY DOGS