My father came over to drink a few beers and hang out while our wives went to a wine-tasting. The evening had started to wind down. I had put both kids to bed, and we'd polished off a couple beers, and a bowl of popcorn between us. As I surfed the channels looking for something A) mutually interesting, or at least B) harmless, I happened across "The Dog Whisperer". Oh Caesar, your latin dog handlery captures me so! I told my father that I'd once put The Dog Whisperer on for two hours and found myself unable to stop watching. I hadn't watched it since, so I put it on in the background while we talked and got us each another beer.
The show was entitled "Chihuahuas from Hell" and covered several difficult chihuahuas that Caesar fixed up. During the course of the program, it became apparent to me that my father had ZERO tolerance for yip dogs. We talked a little about our personal experiences with dogs in general. . . bites received. . . and so forth. My father was a phone man before he retired, and was often called into the houses of customers experiencing phone trouble, or to wire a phone jack. Often, apparently, these people let their dogs roam free and, in some cases, terrorize "the help".
My father relayed to me the story of a coworker of his who entered a house to repair a woman's phone. She allowed her Chihuahua to roam free while he did this. Over the course of the 20-minute repair the dog sat at his elbow and barked without ceasing. It barked. And barked. It was unrelenting. The man in question, in frustration, finally snapped, turned to the dog and whacked it on the head with the handle of his screwdriver to shut it up.
There is that moment when you've passed the point of no return; when you've made a bad decision and it is just a split second beyond your grasp. You can, for example, feel the screwdriver in your grip, the head of it rebounding in your hand at the jarring thump and you think, "Nonono. . . stop it just short. . ." but it already happened; it's already too late. And you know the decision you made/reaction you had was a stupid one. And your fortune rests entirely upon luck. I've been in that position a few times in my life. The words left my mouth, the foot hit the accelerator, the bullet left the rifle, whatever the decision, you are committed.
The dog did shut up. It fell to the floor, stone dead. And the man, not knowing what to do with the dog, and perhaps sensing his own imminent termination, at least from Mountain Bell (at the time), slid the dog's corpse under the woman's couch with the toe of his work boot and finished his repair.
First of all, putting myself in his place, I'm sure I would never have smacked the dog on the skull with my screwdriver. . . sure of it. . . despite the fact that you never really know what you'd do if you had a chihuahua at your elbow barking uninterrupted for 20 minutes. . . I have a sense of myself and my disposition, and I'm sure I would not have whacked some lady's dog in the zipper, killing it. No, knowing what I know of myself, I'd have approached the woman and politely told her the dog's barking was making it impossible for me to focus on the task at hand, and could she please remove it, or I would come back another day to fix her phone.
Despite knowing this, I put myself in the man's place and wondered. . . once the blow was struck, the die cast. . . what would I do? And, despite the fact that what he did was repugnant, once the blow was struck, I think probably I'd have slid the dog under the couch too. I mean, he was at the very least going to be fired. At the least. Approaching the woman and telling her what I'd done to her beloved pet I don't believe would have made her think. . . "Awww, what an honest man! Well, mistakes happen. Thanks for being upfront with me."
So I think I'd have slid the dog under the couch and gotten the hell out of there as quickly as possible doing my best to arouse the least suspicion.
Two weeks later the woman called back and asked the man if her dog had been acting strangely. He told her no, that he was a little lethargic, but that's all. He asked her why. She told him that she had just found him under the couch dead.
What must that discovery have been like? It took two weeks to find a dead Chihuahua in her house? "Honey, what's that smell?" and "Where do you suppose Fifi ran off to?" must have been popular questions in those weeks. The man in question was not fired (as he was never found out), but for the dog/pet lovers in the audience, let's say, to satisfy your sense of justice, or to at least placate it a little, that the man dedicated his life to helping abused animals, donating to NSPCA, becoming an active member of PETA, and adopting homeless animals wherever he found them.
He did not, but maybe that makes the story seem less awful.