I love a good dogfight. Nothing perks up my day like fighting my dog, and I’m damn good at it. I go in low, snout to snout with the beast and grab her by the ears, rubbing them mercilessly while she does her damnedest to lap the countenance right off my face, and just when she thinks she’s got me good and… well… licked, I pull the old switcheroo, grab her front paws and flip her over on her back. Then I go right for the exposed underbelly. I scratch that bastard until that hind leg gets pedaling furiously, and since Shuggi hates having her toenails clipped, my forearm can get pretty savaged in the clinch. But I persist, and in no time at all I’ve got her whupped good and melted down into a puddle of doggie bliss. Hah! I win again.
And that’s the only kind of dog fighting any human worthy of the name has any business being involved in.
I’m an animal lover, and a dog lover in particular, and so are all of my friends, but when you’re a biker, that just goes with the territory. Bike people tend to be dog people, for reasons that are not entirely clear, but may have to do with shared traits like loyalty, pack behavior, and a love of wind in the face. (And by that I don’t mean butt-sniffing, though there might be something to that as well.) Regardless of the reasons, though, the concern for animal welfare has long been a pet cause—literally—of bikers, as evidenced most immediately by the innumerable fundraising runs conducted each year to benefit animal shelters, animal rescue operations and wildlife rehabilitation centers. For further proof you need only observe all of the dogs who show up at biker functions—often in outlandish costumes replete with goggles (or “doggles” as they’re called)—some of whom even fly the dread patch of the Biker Dogs MC (www.bikerdogsmc.org).
So when the news broke of a pampered sports celebrity playing a central role in a dog fighting ring and taking part in the drowning, hanging and electrocuting of underperforming pit bulls, it repulsed me to my core, and put me into a rage—a rage that demanded payback. The impulse response to that rage was to go give the sadist a taste of his own toxic medicine—a little waterboarding and shock therapy, say—but that struck me as impractical for a few reasons, not the least of which were that he lives a continent away, is half my age and twice my musculature. Grrr.
Still, some action was called for here, and it then occurred to me that the most meaningful response would be to do something good and noble to counteract the evil and horror of the reported deeds, and so it was that My Personal Nurse and I went down to the dog pound.
See, we had become a one-dog family when my beloved Blu died in his sleep a couple of years ago (though he lives on in the photo atop this column, and, knowing his personality, is probably now happily palling around down on the river with Cerberus) and we’ve found it hard to consider replacing him in the home. Even as we drove down to the pound it felt like a tough thing to do, but that changed utterly once we were actually there on death row with the rescue dogs. Simply put, we wanted to adopt them all. But that was every bit as practical as personally waterboarding a professional football player.
We settled on Becky. She got the nod because she’d been in the shelter the longest of all and stood next in line to be destroyed. She’d been picked up as a stray and had a checkered past including abandonment and a failed adoption. The people at the shelter said she was 8 years old, which is pretty advanced for a dog, but not as advanced as our own vet determined. “Probably closer to 10,” we were told. Not that it mattered, frankly, and I give props to the shelter for presenting Becky as more adoptable by shaving some years off her age. What gal wouldn’t want that?
It took all of about a day for Becky to become a part of the family. She and Shuggi had their obligatory turf tiff, with Shuggi snarling at Becky and Becky snarling right back—proving thereby that her time in stir had not broken her spirit—and then they became BFFs just like that. Somehow Becky knew that this was not a temporary situation, that she was home now, and somehow Shuggi knew it too; knew this wasn’t just another of the frequent dog visitors who come by. I don’t know how dogs figure that stuff out.
Becky’s a tire biter, we’ve discovered—just like Blu was. And she has some other small behavioral issues owing to her street and shelter existence, but I’m methodically beating those out of her. I’m doing that with frequent dogfighting sessions.
It’s all right here in the diaries.