Okay, I knew we had it coming. My buddy Dylan got nabbed sniffing trash cans on Clarks Tract and had to spend the night in the slammer.
“Put me in with a bunch of low-life’s who barked all night,” he told me. “Don’t know what I did to deserve that.”
“They’ll call you for traveling at the drop of a hat, I guess.”
And then a couple weeks later, we went off the reservation again and some neighbors ratted us out. Masters came and picked us up, tut-tutting us and giving us nasty looks. When the masters got out the leashes, neither of us was surprised. All good things have to come to an end, we figured.
Hardest part was we had to watch the girls romp around free tracking all kinds of good scents and crapping wherever they wanted while we had to walk the straight and narrow, couldn’t pee on planters or dig holes in the gardens anymore.
Not that we were complaining – like someone said, “You don’t know what you’re in until you’re out of it.” In my book, a scrumptious bowl of tasty little pellets, all the water you want plus you get to sleep all day and get your ears scratched all the time – that ain’t all bad.
But little did we know what they had in store for us.
One day a bunch of guys showed up with a big red machine and set to cutting a slit in our fields. “Now what are they up to?” we wondered.
But we didn’t think anything of it; even when they put tiny white flags, marking where they’d cut into the ground.
The plot soon thickened. First it was these cheesy plastic collars with pokey little things that stuck into your neck and made you sweat to death. What was wrong with the old ones, braided jobs that let your neck breathe? They just junked them.
“Uh, oh,” we thought.” That’s when we began to get the idea it was so long to the good old days.
Next we know this guy shows up who plays up to Dylan and me so bad you’d think he was running for dogcatcher. All this “good doggie” stuff, giving us treats and acting like the two of us were Lassie come back to life.
Then he puts us on leashes and takes us out to the field. It was like in those cowboy movies where the mob’s got ropes and is all pissed off and they lead this bank robber out to the big tree? That’s kinda how we felt.
And we were right. First, just when we get close to the flags this thingy that’s got the prongs on it beeps.
“So? What’s the damn BEEP for?” A second later we find out. Get this wicked jolt that stops us dead in our tracks.
“Oucheeewawa! Talk about a pain in the neck.”
“Gol dang, that stang!,” howled Dylan.
As we’re backpedaling like mad, we trade deep doo-doo glances.
Look, I used to think the owners were nice people until they go Saddamm Hussein on us. Shocking us for crossing the flags – what the hell is this? We used to own this whole damn field. Now they got some line, one step over and you get fried. C’mon, we’re a couple of nice dogs, what did we do to deserve this? Okay, we wandered, we admit that. But does that warrant a mini-electrocution? “What if I see a herd of deer, do I have to pull up short at the flags? Jesus, what has this place turned into, North Korea?”
And like we’re stupid and love punishment what does Mr. Nice do next? Takes us away from the flags and then leads us back. I hear the beep again and then “OUCH! JESUS H. CHRIST, that hurts.”
Okay, I get the whole Pavlov thing. I’m not stupid. I’ll play good dog and won’t cross your damn line, okay?
But what really pisses us off is that the girls don’t get collars; don’t get zap class. Like they can wander the whole damn farm, chase deer wherever they want. I mean isn’t gender equality a big thing now? Where are their damn collars? And they act all huffy about it, looking down their noses at us like we’re common criminals, which pisses us off even more. To make matters worse, the owners are acting all smug and proud like they’ve taught us a thing or two.
What’s next? So if we pee on the floor are they going to put us on the chain gang and make us break rocks? I mean, jeez, what’s this world coming to? If I could vote, I’d be voting for Trump, I tell you that.
So now we’ve got our doggie playpen. No matter where you go, if you hear the beep, you’d better do a quick 180 or your nervous system will get a zap that will pretty much wreck your day.
So that’s the deal these days at Chopping Bottom. Not the way it used to be, I’ll tell you that. As Dylan and I say to each other, “It’s not a dog’s life anymore.”