Fourteen degrees, that doesn’t sound too cold if you’re bundled up and you know your time in the elements will be short. If however you are in the shade, standing barefoot on concrete and tied to a post it’s a whole different reality.
I witnessed a dog in such a predicament when I stopped by the grocery store on the way to work.
If you thought I was describing my situation than I think some inner reflection on your part is required.
If the breed had been bred for cold weather I wouldn’t have given it a moments thought but this was some kind of terrier and it wasn’t happy.
His barks were not ones that said, “Hey come play with me” rather they said,
“hey, a little help here. I have parts of me that are threatening to become frozen nuggets and I am a little less than happy about it.”
Now, there are two things you need to know about me at this point. The first is that I am a dog guy. I love dogs. When I come across a dog during my day the dog knows he/she has met a friend and the feeling is mutual. The second is that I can summon up righteous indignation and tilt at windmills at the drop of a hat. I’m convinced some long lost ancestor inspired Cervantes.
My first thought was that the dogs owner, sorry caretaker (it is Boulder), had just ducked into the store for a few items and hopefully treats for their dog . That thought temporarily assuaged my concerns and I popped into the store. Fifteen minutes later I exited the store and the dog was still there and it’s barking now said,
“Ok, I am now probably unable to sire pups and I can deal with that but I really would like to come in and warm the rest of my still functioning parts.”
Looking around I determined that the dogs caretaker was nowhere in sight.
From the depths of my soul I could feel the tides of righteous anger begin to rise. Since I still had one more stop before I left for work, I decided to give it a few more minutes and I walked over to Big Daddy Bagels*, my favorite bagel place, to grab a coffee and a breakfast bagel and perhaps to spy said caretaker.
Once at the bagel shoppe I looked around to see if I could spy the villain. I did not know exactly what to look for, perhaps a women with a Dalmatian coat or a man bearing a handlebar mustache and wearing a cape.
No one matching these characteristics popped out at me. I placed my order and twenty minutes later I was heading out towards my car with coffee and bagel in hand. Unhappy barks told me all I needed to know.
I sat in my car and pondered my next move. I had several options but I had left my lance at home so that ruled out one possibility .
I could let the dog warm up in my car until the villain returned whereupon I would confront the low-life or I could just call the humane society. Since I had to get to work the first option was the least likely.
Just as I was about to call the humane society, I spied the near-do-well leaving the grocery store and zipping up his coat. He looked quite toasty. My attitude was becoming the same and my course of action was clear. Confrontation was on the horizon.
I put my car in gear and slowly approached Mr. Whiplash.
As I got closer I wondered could I and should I say something.
A voice inside my head asked , if not me then who, if not now when. Apparently the little voice had worked with some presidential speech writers in the past.
Of course you should it continued. Your entire life you have had the personality of a cranky old man just dying to get out and express itself. Lets face it , you have had a cranky old man inside you since kindergarten. Who was it that proclaimed in first grade they were to old for milk and it was too late to do your bones any good. Who was it that at the age of ten took an entire carton of their parents cigarettes and using a sewing needle poked tiny holes spelling out death in each individual cigarette?
That is the act of one cranky little man my friends.
The little voice brought clarity to the situation. It was dead on. I had been preparing for this moment my entire life. Instead of being ignored or getting punished I now had the looks to go along with the attitude. The cranky old guy inside had sprouted grey hairs and had left its youthful skin behind and was ready to curse out the young punk. If only I had some front lawn to tell him to get off of.
“Excuse me. Excuse me.”
“You know its fourteen degrees out here. This is not the kind of weather to leave your dog out for ever.”
“I was only inside the store for a few minutes.”
Big mistake, I thought.
“It has been over a half hour by my calculations,” I said. “I was about to call the humane society.”
That was the coup de grace. Like all cranky old men before me I had let him know that I can tell time and count in one fell swoop. He was left with no alternative but to curse me under his breath.
Feeling satisfied that he would at least think long and hard about leaving his dog out in the cold, the cranky old man closed the window and crept back into my soul as I drove on.
I have got to get a front lawn, I thought.
*A totally unsolicited endorsement because the bagels and the staff rock.