Friday, November 30, 2012

The Dog Whisperer

He literally can not hear my question over the roar of his very large, very ferocious German Shepard. "Whaa?"  he  dribbles, as the distinctive aroma of marijuana drifts carelessly out of his house.  "I said my name is Chris Jones, I'm from 2News!"  His dog, I'll assume his name is Fritz, Rutger or Cujo, continues his wild barking, snarling and snapping.  I remember wondering if he is cursing me in some  obscene Germano-Dog combo language.
Not Actual Dog, added for emotional effect

It's 3:30 Pm, I am in South Salt lake with photographer Dan Kovach, following up on a story from the day before.  A nice woman in a terry cloth robe, with purple hair, tugging mindlessly at her mulberry bangs, points across the street, "He knows the guy you're looking for, he even knows his address!"

The "Beware Of Dog," sign raises my awareness.  I like dogs, but when you spend as much time knocking on doors as I do, evidence of a K9 is always concerning   I was once chased by a Chow in Leaksville, Mississippi, had to hurdle a fence bolting from a Pit bull in Columbia, Missouri, and was bitten on the ankle by a tiny little rat dog of some kind in Nephi.  That little mutt was even on a chain.

 I hear the rattle of the chain lock, then the ca-chunk as the chamber of the dead bolt spins, then silence for easily 8 seconds.  In a blink, the door springs open like the hammer on a mouse trap, and Fritzy, lunges from behind the wooden door, blasting me with a raspy jagged bay.  "Wow," I say but I don't actually say "Wow" I can't say, what I really said, because this is a family blog, well assuming, of course, you haven't read any of my previous posts about prostitution, murder and assault.

Fritz's owner has a lazy grasp (I'm hoping) of the dogs leather collar, the man's face is cold, and straight, punctuated by two moist, squinty red eyes.  His pupils are the size of nickles.  The Shepard, is just yearning to be unleashed, I can see the carnal desire, dating back generations to his wolf pack DNA.  He just wants blood, I was thinking, Hey Fluff, You don't even know me." He doesn't care that I am generally a pretty awesome guy who has a wife, and a mortgage.  (Perhaps he knows I once had a cat)  he just wants to eat my face off.  His powerful hindquarters flexed, his sinuous muscles strained, his front legs elevated off the stained and matted beige carpet, his wolf eyes zeroed in on my jugular.

"That lady says you know the man I'm looking for." I utter, eyes darting between the man's deliberate, prison yard stare, and his dogs chaotic, maniacal struggle to chomp my leg.  The man says nothing, his head wobbles slightly as the dog jerks towards me. "Do you have ID?"  He asks after a ridiculous pause.

This scene is already beginning to wear my patience.  I'm beginning to realize, the dog master, relishes the threat his beast is inflicting on myself and Dan.  He savors, the perceived power he has over another human being.  My guess is, when he has a concern with a neighbor  he raps on their door with his dog on a leash, "Hey Bob," he might say calmly as the wolf snarls, "just wanted to say, your daughter can't park in front of my house anymore."   frankly this power play is beginning to bore me.

I snap a business card out of my pocket, and flash it in front of his glazed orbs.  He studies it, taking it in like he's viewing the Mona Lisa, at the Louvre.  I roll my eyes, wondering if he's going to pull up a chair, snatch a pair of opera glasses from his breast pocket and ponder the art, "What do you think Fritzy? I believe the blending of colors is derivative." His lazy eyes drift slowly back to my face.  He glances at the only strength he apparently has, his rigid, frenzied dog to his left, then smiles, "nice card."

"Alright," I put an end to his dominance and leave.  He stands on his threshold for a few more seconds as we board our news truck and roll away.  About 5 minutes later we find the man's house, and gathered the information we need, as we drive our way back past the wolf tamers house, he is still in his front yard with Fritz, likely waiting for some school children to terrorize.

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