First Degree Poultry Larceny

I was recently giving a presentation to colleagues, during which I noted that one of my dogs once stole a piece of fried chicken from a sleeping homeless man.

At the time, we had a long talk with him about homelessness and poverty, and how many people are a single paycheck or medical emergency away from sleeping on a park bench and having their fried chicken stolen by a dog who eats food made of humanely-raised, Montessori-educated lambs twice a day. He spent several seconds reflecting on what he’d done before wandering off to urinate on a prize-winning rose bush.

It occurs to me now that there are no existing etiquette guidelines to shape the dog owner’s response in this situation, so I thought I would start a conversation. This is a sincere effort to assist others, and not to change my Google Search traffic from “Iceberg Hunters” to “dog steals hobo chicken.”

Here are some possible responses we did not employ:

  • Return the partially-eaten, bedrooled-upon chicken to the bag, walk away, and pretend nothing happened.
  • Leave five bucks in his jacket pocket, walk away, and pretend nothing happened.
  • Buy some new fried chicken, put it in the bag, walk away, and pretend nothing happened.

Other people might opt to:

  • Never return to that park ever again.
  • Burn the park to the ground, erasing all evidence of canine culpability.

In the end, we went with the basic “walk away, and pretend nothing happened,” which is a depressingly par for the course American reaction to strange unpleasantness. If Jesus hates me and this happens to me again one day, I’d probably leave the person some money. Perhaps I should leave a fiver in the pocket of the next sleeping homeless person I see, to erase my karmic debt.

I post this not to tell you what you should do in this situation, but simply as an illustration of a powerful lesson we should never, ever forget: dogs are assholes, and will embarrass you at every opportunity.

Thank you and good night.

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