March 5, 2013 — It was Friday night. I had just finished work and was heading over to my friend’s house on the periphery of the county with my dogs in tow. As I turned onto Richmond Road, two things happened simultaneously. A light began flashing on my dash indicating a transmission problem, and my dog, Loki, pooped.
Loki has many issues, and pooping in the car is just one of them. I don’t know why he has it in his head to do this or how to fix it. I’ve walked him for up to an hour first and have consulted just about every known source of dog advice at Margie’s and on the Internet. He still poops when he goes for a ride. So now he rides in a crate, and I keep cleaning supplies in the car.
I turned around and headed to NAPA where the two kind clerks, one of them named Rocky, sold me some transmission fluid to hold me over until I could get to a shop.
With the car squared away, I turned my attention to the crate. As I grabbed the leash and opened the back, Rocky came out to give me my keys I’d left on the counter. It was just a moment my attention was elsewhere, but it was enough. Loki pushed open the crate door and bolted.
Looking thoroughly bewildered he dashed onto Main Street, stopped in the middle of the street and stopped traffic as well. I got to the curb, and he turned back and cruised through Papa Murphy’s Pizza parking lot.
“Does he bite?” called out a young man just coming out with a pizza.
“No,” I shouted back. “If he comes close will you grab him?”
He put the pizza on the seat of the car, his two friends leaped out and were soon in hot pursuit of Loki, which, of course, made him think it was all a great game and run even more.
Eventually, they gave up and left, but Loki was still on the loose.
A young man and woman were standing on the back steps of the Vet’s Hall, waiting for some friends who were rehearsing for Best of Broadway. They had been watching the chase and decided to make Loki their personal quest, but these two had a stealthier approach.
Loki, who was now hanging on the banks of Piute Creek, decided to double back to the alley. These two went into beautiful warrior stanzas with Loki in the middle. Knowing he was caught, he sat down and wagged his tail.
I got him back to the car, but there was still the issue of the poop, so I put him in the back seat and grabbed the paper towels and Ajax.
There was just one problem. I had forgotten to roll up the front windows that were down to air out the car. Loki jumped into the front seat and through the window.
I watched him lope back down to the creek, and then sat down on the cold February ground and laughed until my sides hurt. There’s nothing as humbling as coming face-to-face with our own stupidity.
As Loki rounded the corner, I decided to take care of the immediate business of cleaning out the crate.
Once I decided to focus on the poop in the crate instead of the dog on the run, a kind of calm came over me. It felt good to, at least, have control over one thing.
I finished up, tossed the paper towels into the dumpster and there sitting next to it was Loki. I stared at him. He wagged his tail. I opened the car door and in he hopped.
My friend in the desert says Loki is my teacher, and there’s some truth to that. I’ve worked hard to get a handle on stress and frustration and every day, that’s exactly what Loki forces me to deal with.
A lot of people wonder what I see in this scrappy street dog that is unable to control his bowels and bladder and has the energy of a whirling dervish and a thousand hummingbirds mixed together. Some acquaintances have even said they’d have put him down by now.
There is a time I would have gladly given him up, but who would take him given his many problems? And I’ve since fallen in love with him and have gone to more lengths for this dog to try and civilize him than I ever imagined, even changing his name at the suggestion of a friend who claimed to be psychic. By that point, I would have circumambulated Diamond Mountain on my hands and knees if I thought it would help. When I told her I had changed his name from Yogi to Loki, she said, “Great. You’ve gone from a peaceful meditator to the god of chaos and destruction. That should do it.”
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