Being responsible for a dog had it's downs before it really had it's ups. I knew for such a long time that I wanted this. I guess it's like that when you have a baby, and it vomits all over everything you love and yourself. But with a baby there's hormones. With a dog there's only compassion to a certain degree. And then they keep pushing.
I almost lost my wonderful dog in the first twenty-four hours I had her. The previous owner was kind enough to give me a collar and a leash, but hadn't mentioned that they didn't fit. Actually, my dog was able to houdini herself out of the collar whenever she wanted. She just never thought it would come in handy. Well, she did. When we tried crossing a busy intersection for the first time.
I had always wondered whether the heavy tramway waggons could stop reasonably quickly, and now I know that they can - at least when they are just leaving the station and aren't at full speed yet. So that was lucky. Not phased in her panic, my dog continued running until a hubcap stopped her head. It was of course not a lonely hubcap floating through the vastness of space and just now hitting Earth, it was part of a car that was just so positioned in space and time that, had all of this happened a quarter second earlier, my dog would have been hit by the car instead of hitting it's hubcap. The driver slammed the brakes, realized their car wasn't damaged, and rolled off into the sunset. My dog realized that something was amiss and changed directions, back over the street and on the sidewalk. That was where someone finally grabbed her by her fur – her collar uselessly hanging from the useless leash I held in my useless hands – and I was finally able to catch up. I couldn't do more than thank the stranger that had held her, I couldn't even apologize, let alone thank the driver of the tram, and I had not had the presence of mind to take down the license plate of the person who, technically, had just committed a hit and run.
I still don't know how she didn't get killed, even less how she didn't even get a scratch from all of this. But actually, this was where this story started, not where it ends.
There I sat on the pavement, arms tightened around the dog that, against all odds, was alive and now almost calm, and so we sat for what might have been fifteen minutes. I talked to her, more to lower my own pulse than hers, I guess.
I tried to figure out if she'd been hurt. Processed what had just happened. Fiddled around with her collar and try to make it fit. With a snap, it closed. I wasn't sure if I could trust it. A woman had been watching me. I would have never noticed if she hadn't spoken up.
"Is she okay?", she asked.
"I think, I'm not sure", I replied.
"I saw what just happened", she stated. "Why do you think she did that?"
"I guess because she's stupid? I got her only yesterday from the shelter."
"Maybe you should drop the attitude of your dog being stupid. That might be a good start."
I tried to ignore her voice then. It felt far more important to pet my dog and breath deeply.
As from miles away I heard her offensively hideous voice, wah wah wobbing in the background. This was no siren's song though. The sirens lured you with their beautiful song, to have your boat crash in the rocks surrounding them.
This fucking hag would make me grab an axe and strike at my own ship just to make the pain stop.
Actually, I remained rather calm. She hadn't given any reason not to be. Yet.
"…because I know a lot about dogs. We've been breeding for years! And how she reacted to you, that's very odd."
"Yeah. I only got her from the shelter literally yesterday."
"It's almost as if that isn't actually your dog."
"As I said. Shelter. Yesterday."
"Because you know, your dog is very pretty. And she behaves as if she doesn't really know you. Dogs as pretty are often stolen. Maybe I should call the police!"
"Yeah. I guess it takes time for a proper relationship to develop. It's not as it is with children, where you have a hormonal adaption that makes you bond chemically, makes you not mind their body odor as much, et cetera, but a real relationship, a friendship even more so, needs to grow. Through common experiences, glasses and bottles of wine, emotional bonding, perhaps sexual experimentation, you slowly gain each others trust and thereby develop, over time, the beautiful bond that is a human relationship" might have been a proper thing to respond. I went another way though.
"Look, if you are trying to help me I really appreciate it, but if you're only trying to piss me off you might just as well fuck off."
It might at this point be important to mention that all of this was exchanged in German, given that it happened in Vienna. In German there is a formal and informal way of addressing someone. With strangers, traditionally you address them formally, "Sie", instead of informally, "Du". Don't say "Du" to a police officer, for example. Working as a waiter, I usually address all customers informally. Only one ever complained, asking whether we were on informal terms, to which I replied "Buddy, I'm a waiter at a vegan bistro. There's nothing to gain for me by being polite to you." Luckily he understood that this was meant as a joke, but I digress. When telling the woman off — while, as I see it, giving her a chance to uncunt her behavior ("if you are trying to help me I really appreciate it"!) – I addressed her informally. To that, and nothing else, she apparently took offense.
"We are not on informal terms!", she said angrily.
"We're not on formal terms either, so fuck off!"
"I'm going to call the police now."
"Please do so for heaven's sake but then do me a favor and fuck. OFF!"
"That is enough. I am going to call the police now."
I stood up, held my dog by the collar, hoping it would hold this time, looked her dead in the eye and told her what I thought shouldn't count as either slander nor an actual threat:
"I hope you have to watch your family die."
While I'm not too proud of having said that, it did make her go away, slowly, and crying. While I felt really angry first, for her acting the way she did, for me responding as I did, I soon realized that this woman was a saint. All my frustration, all my anger, all my pain I was able to put on her useless dog fucking shoulders, and get on with my life. Kiki's still kicking, and I'm still insulting strangers in the streets.