Illustration by Jose Santana Firpo

Long Story Short: Dog Gone Wild

I live in the kind of neighborhood where dogs are not free to roam. People walk them. On leashes of all things, and they follow them with bags so they can kindly scoop up their poop when the animal defecates in a neighbor’s yard. It’s that kind of scene.

But the thought of a human picking up canine feces on his or her daily morning walk does not seem to deter anyone from owning a dog. Quite the contrary. Humans walking dogs are everywhere, bags full of poop in one hand, coffee mug in the other as they stop and talk to neighbors with their dog on a leash. It is downright civilized, of course, not to allow poop to linger out in the grass for anyone to step in. And if we didn’t have pooper scoopers, then the entire neighborhood would certainly smell like you-know-what, but I can’t help but wonder what our forefathers would say if they could see us now. Can you imagine your great-grandfather striding around before breakfast in his loafers waiting for his dog to squat, then picking up the warm, stinky remains in a baggy? I think not.

Which brings me to the entirely uncivilized situation at hand: namely Jack Gordon, yellow lab. Jack Gordon is the canine-in-residence in a house full of teenagers who are also, at times, uncivilized and uncontrollable. But my focus, understandably, is on the teenagers themselves because there is more at stake than a bit of poop in the yard. So Jack is adorable, and available for petting, and unfortunately an incredible escape artist from the fenced-in back yard.

He also has a penchant for labradoodles.

I first noticed his love for this curly, frolicking breed a few years ago when driving slowly around in the morning, coffee mug in hand, looking for my vagabond pet. (I kept a keen eye on the road so I didn’t hit a walker with a leash.) Jack would typically be found a few streets over with a brown, male labradoodle—running wild, chasing tail and pooping wherever they could. This dog once came to my front door while Jack was inside to ask if he could play. Seriously. Came to my front door.

More recently, a black-and-white labradoodle (we have a few in our hood) named Rocky opened the gate to my backyard and retrieved Jack so that they could run amok. Rocky is also often out on a fun run, and I want to send an I-Love-You to Rocky’s parents because misery loves company. And I don’t want to be the only source of neighborhood gossip. Thank you, Rocky’s parents.

But even Rocky’s shenanigans aren’t going to quash the predicament that Jack Gordon has gotten himself into: namely impregnating my friend’s labradoodle Mocha. That’s right. Puppies on the way. Apparently, Jack (being the great sniffer he is) stood tall in the backyard, head held high, nose pointed toward the skies, and determined that Mocha was in heat a few streets down. He shimmied under the fence and bounded to Mocha’s backyard and—according to her mom—opened the back door of their house, ran in, retrieved Mocha and the two were gone in a flash.

Jack and Mocha were missing for two hours. Both families searched the streets for them to no avail, when suddenly they were discovered headed back toward her house, sweaty, covered in mud and smoking cigarettes. Seriously, we knew from the get-go. But we were hoping, praying, that it didn’t take. So we’ve been waiting and watching.

But Mocha’s starting to show.

It’s the kind of gossip that a neighborhood full of pooper scoopers has been waiting for. Derelict Jack Gordon impregnates a girl from a good family. And she had so much potential. She just threw her life away.

So we are reinforcing the fence in the backyard. And Jack is getting fixed. And the teenagers are fighting over names in case we get one of the pups. And, begrudgingly, I’m investing in a big load of pet waste bags.

I predict a lot of you-know-what in my future.