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The Stray Dog Gambit

09 May
Sure, she looks harmless. And she probably is.

Vicious stray dog terrorizes neighborhood. OK, just me, but I live in this neighborhood!

If this post seems a bit disjointed, please bear with me. I’m pretty sure the copious amount of coffee I drank this morning was spiked with prescription cold or allergy medication, if the shaky hands and perceived fuzziness of the world are any indication.

And no, I’m not paranoid. There are people out there who would do this to me.

It all started yesterday morning.

OK, it’s been going on longer than that. More accurately, it came to the missus’ attention yesterday morning.

I found a stray dog.

In addition to her name, Olivia*, there was a number on the collar. I called it. Owner answered, relieved, and said he’d be right over.

I waited outside my house with said stray dog. Green SUV pulls up, passenger window comes down, and a relieved-looking man leans forward, thanking me for finding his dog.

I hand Olivia over.

As green SUV drives away, I’m struck with the thought, “What if that isn’t the dog’s owner? What if it’s some super-genius, Sherlock-type guy who:

a) deduced I was holding a stray dog and waiting for the owner based on visual cues, and

b) happened to be a sociopath who enjoyed dining on other people’s dogs?

Yes, you’re thinking about now, “Geez, this Ian guy is a paranoid nut bar.”

Hold that thought.

Because of this fear, I note and memorize the license plate of the green SUV.

Five minutes later, still outside my house working on a project, a grey mini van parks across the street. A man gets out, walks over to me, and says, “So where’s Houdini?”

I am understandably confused. “Who?” I ask, blinking.

My allergies are bothering me these days, so I do a lot of extraneous blinking.

“Olivia.”

Oh crap.

Long story short, if I hadn’t had that license plate number, I might be involved in a sticky civil suit over lost dogs and dining habits.**

So, note those license plates, people.

Then, last night, as I was scraping up all the little ‘presents’ the feral cats in my neighborhood left on my lawn, a nondescript sedan pulls up, parking in front of my driveway.

Blocking it completely, so there’s no way I could leap into a car and escape.

The driver looks at me and gives me a nod.

I have no idea who this guy is. He’s just unassuming and nondescript enough to start the ol’ internal alarm bells a’ringing.

He gets out of the car.

I’m wondering if this is related to the unpleasant Olivia situation that erupted this morning.

He opens the rear driver’s side door and reaches in.

At this point, I’m bracing for a sprint, surreptitiously seeking out good cover should automatic gunfire erupt.

The man pulls out…

Pizzas.

The missus ordered pizzas for dinner.

My appetite temporarily depressed by my fight-or-flight response (and let’s be honest, fight was never really an option), I decide to relay my reaction to the missus while I wait for my heart rate to drop below 120 beats per minute.

While clearly not where it began for me, this is where it all began for the missus. She looked at me, her head cocked in a manner suggesting both fear and horror, grip tightening on the pizza cutter, and said, “You’re a paranoid nut bar.”

To which I responded, now feeling hungry, “Is there any stray dog on that pizza?”

Olivia, wherever you are, I hope you’re OK.

* To protect the innocent, this is not the dog’s actual name. But it is so close to the actual name as to render the protection of the alias virtually meaningless.

** Not strictly true. In actuality, the first man was a friend of the dog’s owner. But the truth is far less interesting and, in point of fact, makes me look like a paranoid nut bar. This is my blog, dammit, and I’m not about to criticize myself. Just because they weren’t out there with a stray dog and prescription cold medication yesterday morning doesn’t mean they couldn’t be out there later. Or before that. Or even right now!

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