I was walking a dog for the first time today—a little dachshund named Watson—and was supposed to take him to the run for 20 minutes, then take him to walk around for the rest of the hour and back home.
Well, this dog doesn't like me. I mean, he doesn't know me, has only met me a couple of times and we're out together. Because we're close to Tompkins Square dog run, we go to the small dog run there. That shouldn't be a problem, right? Wrong—as soon as I take the leash off, Watson goes to whatever part of the run is farthest away from me. He doesn't want to know me—he goes behind the tree to avoid me!
After a while in the run, I'm thinking we should leave and walk, and I ask a woman named Eileen there if she can help me corral him. I give her girlfriend and her treats so we can get him…and the sonofabitch bites Eileen and draws blood. I'm really embarrassed by now; she says, "It's okay; I'll take it home and put peroxide on it." We finally get the leash on him and I thank her profusely.
We're walking and we go to Whiskers, a pet-food-and-supply store where I figure I can get him some high-value treats to feed to him as we walk. I really want him to like me; all the other dogs I walk like me! So I got him a bag of lamb lungs, the most high-value treat there is!
We're heading back towards his home, and I'm feeding him treats which he's accepting from me. But it's not quite an hour yet so we're going up 1st avenue; Watson is wriggling his shoulders and before I realize his harness is too loose, he's out of it and takes off east—toward home. Shit! I'm dying because if he crosses streets, he likely won't make it.
I'm screaming and a few other people give chase as well; Watson is like greased lightning and I'm thinking he's just going to be another "lost dog" poster. I can't imagine he'll find his house. I'm dying and thinking of what other career I can do at this late stage of the game. So I slow down, because frankly I'm out of breath.
I ask a guy in front of a restaurant if he saw a brown dog pass by. "You mean the brown streak? Yeah; people were chasing after him, but nobody could catch him." That gave me a little hope, so I started running again. I got to his block and there were a few people crowded around…and there was Watson, huddled by the front door to his home. Dogs just know. A woman pointed out where he had bitten her and she was bleeding; I picked him up gingerly, hoping he didn't bite me as well.
I had offered a woman money for helping he get him, and now two homeless guys—reeking of booze—insisted they had helped get him back as well. "Wait—I have to take him upstairs first," I said. And I did; I had to get him inside where he'd be safe. When I get Watson inside, the guys decide to punch every button to every apartment in the building to see if they can flush me out. Watson's mommy's roommate—the day-sleeper—gets up and answers. "Who is it?" "You said you'd come down!" the guy outside says. I shrug.
After I write my note and say goodbye to Watson—who gives me the fish-eye—I go back downstairs. The two guys are there waiting, and I say I have to get change—which I do; I only have twenties. One of them has crusts on his face, and they both reek of booze.
I finally just decide to give them each a twenty to get rid of them. It works; and I go over to The Bean on First Avenue for a latte. A woman, one of the women who saw me running after Watson asks me, "So did you get your dog?"
I said I did. "So where is he?"
I said he wasn't mine; it had been my first day walking him. "You gotta be careful…" she starts. But I don't go into detail about how I know, I know…
I totally can't believe I got the dog back—and unharmed; I can't ever let that happen again.
I get on the bus to go to acupuncture.
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