This morning while sauntering with Simone, my 11 and a half pound king charles cavalier, we are abruptly and verbally accosted by the obnoxious barking of a fierce, muscular--and what seems like--300 pound german shepherd trying to knock down a chain link fence to eat us. I've nicknamed him Rush.
This is not the first or second time we have been shouted down, but today it seems like the 1000th.
After five years of vitriolic snarling, I still get annoyed and fantasize about threatening him with a weapon or screaming at him (and his master) to " shut up before I..." and I bristle at the violence of my imagination and remember the beautiful summer day. After all he is a guard dog and that's what guard dogs do. They bark.
Over the years, I have tried different tactics to avoid the assault--like taking a different route or using psychology on him by ignoring him by not making eye contact or firmly instructing him to 'go lie down' (while doing my best James Earl Jones).
Nothing seems to deter Rush from hostile frothing and unfortunately, since he lives a few doors down from me, I have learned to live with canine rage.
It is easy to be angry at Rush for his exaggerated fury and on most days my annoyance feels justified. But over the years I optimistically imagine that if Rush's owners knew of his antics, the dog would be admonished for his aggression and trained to respond in a somewhat less threatening and more neighborly manner. Until today.
Meeting her face to face, I am aware of the collusion involved in allowing and encouraging mad dogs to howl so that others will wither in response, turn on their heels or strike back in a moment of insanity.
It brought to mind, the dog's namesake, Mr. Limbaugh and how when someone is payed 40 million dollars a year to bark inanities and insanities--and that is Limbaugh's salary by the way--it doesn't matter who is damaged by the intimidation, violence, misinformation or distortions. Even--and especially-- those who hungrily lap up rhetoric and regurgitate it back at twice the volume, let's say, at a town hall meeting or a health care rally.
As long as those who foot the bill of vitriol reap the highly profitable rewards of hatred, the yelping hounds will persist and the barker will continue to receive his 40 million dollar biscuit as compensation. After all, a job is a job and a dog is a dog.
As Simone and I broach the corner, there she is, his master (mistress). A 50 something, sweet seeming women holding a camera taking snap shots of her flower garden. She seems oblivious to Rush's viscious determination to topple the shaky fence and swallow us both. And I can't help noticing her complicity in this behavior, and thinking how reminiscent of some GOP members who turn a blind eye to the hostile, race based shenanigans that promote their agenda--through silence.
As we reach the end of the fence and I glance in her direction hoping to make eye contact, I strain to hear a soft, southern and barely audible admonition of his aggregious antics. "Oh, Rush hush".
Simone cocks her head to one side and looks at me as if to say, "oh yeah, that oughta do it".