Sugar Creek, the densely populated manufactured home community (read: trailer park) where I live, has rules that cover the full range of human experience, including pet ownership. I live in the abbreviated "pet section," a cloister within a conclave that permits inmates to own dogs small enough to fit comfortably in the box your toaster oven came in. One would think a canine size limitation a salutary rule. One would be grimly mistaken unless one were deaf as a post.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I don't own a dog. That's because I was born without the patience gene. The problem with other people's puppies is that, unless you whisper to the little darlings (abbreviated "LB's") like the buffoon on the National Geographic Channel (we've come a long way from the magazines of my youth with the photos of naked aboriginals), the LB's invariably go about their doggy business in the most annoying fashion. And don't get me started on cats, although I live with two. (See "My Hyphenated Cat," August 2009.)
Predictably enough, the local denizens - rule-obeyers all - have loaded up on pocket puppies: Peek-a-Poos and Chihua-Poos and every other bastardly breed of miniature mutt and teacup terrorist. Something in the evolution of the tiniest breeds favors snarling ankle-biting over civil doggery. In dogs, nasty disposition is inversely proportional to shoulder height at maturity. Ever seen a nasty retriever? Damn right. Ever seen a placid Lhasa Apso or a mellow Bichon Frise (now, there's a well-named breed)? Neither has anyone else. The LB's in Sugar Creek run on some combination of crystal meth and Mace.
Sugar Creek's pet section has only fifteen or twenty households with dogs, but there is a pooch parade every night around dusk, highlighted not only by the ferocity of the dogs' territorialism but also by their owners' sad enthusiasm for walking around carrying baggies of warm dog poo.
Some years back, the pond around which Sugar Creek is situated became infested with a middlin'-sized alligator. People of a certain bent, as you might expect, fed the gator bits of this and that, all from a safe distance, of course. I mention this because, during the alligator's short tenure, the nasty-little-dog problem abated admirably. Or so I'm told. Well, the locals complained, as locals do, and the alligator was dispatched to a purse-factory somewhere. Whereupon there followed a resurgence of nasty little dogs.
Meanwhile, back at the pet ranch, the old Arkansasians next door to us (see "Little Bastards," July 2009) have recently vacated for cooler climes, but before they left they added another Pug-eranian to their personal kennel. Every time I farted in the driveway, the LB's next door went off like Tasmanian Devils in a bee-eating contest. They're gone now, and peace has descended, at least in the near prospect. That, however, leaves the transients, the casual dog-walkers who are happy to let their LB's cross-pollinate with all the other LB's in the neighborhood. Every time one of them passes another, the resulting snarl-fest sounds like a concerto for two chain saws. Yesterday, I watched two of them chase each other in circles of ever-decreasing radius and ever-increasing speed until they flew up each other's tiny little bungholes. That quieted them down somewhat.
We need another alligator in the pond.