Barking Up The Wrong Tree

I had a crazy weekend this past weekend. Please don’t misunderstand me. Not “crazy” as in it was so fun and wild, but “crazy” as in at one point I thought about selling my kids on a street corner.

I blame it on the potty-training.

Really, why are we in such a rush to potty-train our kids? What’s so wrong with the diaper? I think milestones are completely overrated, and I doubt I am the only mama out there who thinks along this line. Just because your children become potty-trained does not mean you get to quit wiping their bottoms. That comes years later. With three kids the ages of ten, eight and two, I have constantly been wiping somebody’s tush for the last ten years. You trade changing a diaper for running at a break-neck speed to the sound of “Moooommmmmyyyyy, I’m doooonnnnne.”

By the way, Rowan is actually doing great in the potty-training department for all who might be concerned. After Tuesday at preschool when he told his teacher, “I am a baby. Get me a diaper!” then threw a twenty-minute tantrum, he jumped right on board and was able to keep the same clothes on all day the last three days of the week.

I was also surprised by the fact that Rowan can actually change his own clothes, which explains why I picked him up from school on Tuesday and his pants were on backward. I couldn’t imagine his teachers didn’t know the difference, but Rowan did it. I don’t think Liam or Colman could dress themselves until kindergarten, so I feel a little taken in by them. They are either not as bright as I thought they were or exceptionally so and I have been played for a fool.

Make no mistake, though, watching Rowan change his own clothes is the equivalent of watching paint dry or water boil or some other painstaking, awfully boring task. And now that he can change his own clothes, I spent most of the weekend asking, “Where are your pants?”

(This is another milestone I could have done without.)

To make matters worse, our laundry situation was out of control this weekend. I thought it was due to the potty-training fiasco, but, interestingly enough, most of the clothes, once they were all laundered and folded, were size Kevin.

I decided to get out of the house to take our dog, Buster, for a walk on Sunday evening and take advantage of the new daylight savings time, and Liam tagged along with me. We had a nice, relaxing walk right up until we were about twenty feet from the entrance to our gate. Liam had run ahead of me a little bit and that’s when I noticed the Pit Bull, who lives across the street, in the front yard with his owner, and I thought to myself, “Surely, he’s tied down somehow or on a leash.”


The Pit Bull and Liam spotted each other right about the same time.  Let me preface this by saying Liam is not scared of dogs at all, but he stopped in his tracks with the way that dog was looking at him and said, “Mom.” I stopped in my tracks, too. Not because I wanted to, but because Buster, our eight-year-old Golden Retriever, saw the Pit Bull as well, and he wrapped all seventy-five pounds of himself around my leg in what I can only describe as a doggie fetal position.

I told Liam, “Do not move. Stay put,” and he did the exact opposite. Liam bolted for me and the dog charged across the street at him and did that crazy jump-stop thing nutty dogs do about eighteen inches from us as his owner screamed for him. The screaming must have been solely for our benefit because the dog didn’t listen at all. I was trying to maneuver Buster in between us and the Pit Bull, but he somehow kept managing to wrap himself around my leg and put more distance between himself and the Pit Bull. Buster’s no dummy. He knew I was trying to throw him under the bus…or into the jaws of that vicious dog and he wasn’t having any of it. I’ll tell you what he is, though, he is a scaredy cat hiding in a beautiful Golden Retriever dog suit. He would have climbed me like a tree if he could.

The owner kept calling the Pit Bull back and he’d go partway across the street and then charge us again, and, at this point, traffic was backing up. Finally, at one point, it seemed like the owner had him over in her yard again and the traffic finally started moving. Once we had a few cars in between us and the Pit Bull, I told Liam, “Get moving. Let’s see if we can make it to the gate, but walk slowly. Don’t run.”

The minute we started moving, the Pit Bull charged across the street again and we heard a huge THUMP as a truck hit him, and that’s when I realized the dog’s hind leg was pinned underneath the truck’s front tire. I told Liam, “Now, we run for it,” and we managed to make it through our gate and to the house as we listened to the yelps of Cujo that I can only describe as music to my ears. I usually can’t stand it when an animal gets hurt, but I’ve never wished so hard for something to just die in all my life. The woman who owned the dog was screaming at the truck, “Back up. You’re on my dog’s leg!”  Unfortunately, he did back up and the dog ran back into her house. I’m still hopeful there were internal injuries.

I’ve been around a lot of dogs and encountered tons of strange dogs while running or walking our dogs, but I have never had a situation like this one. It was scary. I called the non-emergency number for SAPD and also animal control when we got home to make a report of a vicious animal that was off-leash and the address, but what else can you do when you have a situation like that right across the street?

When I got to work on Monday morning, I checked my email and one of the emails sitting in my inbox was from I signed a couple of petitions to require Pulse Oximetry testing in newborns, so I get various emails from them. This particular email was from a woman, who owns a Pit Bull and is unable to get homeowner’s insurance because of her pet, so she wants to pressure the insurance companies to reconsider their position on this wholly misunderstood breed of animal.

I just thought, “Lady, you’re barking up the wrong tree,” and I promptly deleted that email. I am sure there are tons of people who have had good experiences with Pit Bulls, including my babysitter who in response to Liam’s tale of the crazy dog, told a story about one such type of dog who lived next door to her when she was a little girl and was the sweetest dog and never hurt anybody (Insert eye roll) until it bit a special needs child and the family put it down and she was so sad.

I’m sorry. What was my point? Oh, never mind. YOU JUST MADE IT FOR ME!

The only way I am taking Buster on any more walks is if I’m armed with a giant can of wasp spray. I am also taking suggestions on what to do about having a dangerous animal across the street. Something that won’t get me two to twenty, please. I don’t think I would do too well in prison.

I realize there are no bad dogs only bad owners, or so the saying goes, but I’m not feeling it right now. It feels like chicken and egg to me. She’s obviously a bad owner to have such an aggressive animal off leash in her front yard, but those dogs have a bad reputation for a reason.

It’s like when our prosecutors are explaining fairness to the venire panel and they say, “You know, you got up and got dressed to come to jury service this morning. Maybe you’re rushing around. And when you go out to get into your car, the window is shattered and your stuff is missing. You have to call the police to make a report and find a ride downtown because you have jury service on this morning of all mornings. Then you come in to court and find out the case you’re going to be hearing about is a burglary of a vehicle case. You see how you might not be the best juror for that type of case today? And that’s okay. Really. We just need to know that.”

That’s me. I can’t be fair about those dogs right now. Not next week. Not next month. Maybe not ever.


9 thoughts on “Barking Up The Wrong Tree

  1. Tell Liam I had a similar experience, only with a Rottweiler. Even though I was in college at the time I still ended up throwing away the pants I was wearing that day!

    • Hi Uncle Kyle. I told Liam your story and he said, “What does that mean that he had to get rid of his pants?” And I said, “I don’t know. I thought maybe it was because they were soiled somehow.” He laughed and laughed. 🙂

  2. Hilarious, Heather! “but I’ve never wished so hard for something to just die in all my life.” And I completely agree, never liked that breed of dog and don’t understand why people have them!!

  3. I don’t have a bit of sympathy for that dog, but I sure feel terrible for you and Liam! That is super scary. I would invest in a taser!

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