Don’t give me a dirty look b/c your dog is a jerk


We own a very sweet-tempered dog. She is a mix of Australian Shepard/ Catahoula Leopard hound, which is fancy talk for “very pretty dog with interesting markings.” When I walk her, she is non aggressive and totally ignores other dogs. She likes people better, because they pet her and make a fuss over her. Her name is Cali.

I don’t know what it is about Cali, but her mere presence is enough to drive some dogs insane with rage. The owners always assure me that their dog is gentle, but one sniff of my dog and the other dog just becomes completely deranged and screams (not an actual scream, but it is something beyond normal barking) and totally transforms into a monster. Now here is the interesting part. Instead of apologizing for their little Woofy trying to kill my dog, they give us a dirty look! It becomes MY dog’s fault that they cannot control their beast. We have watched as a team of yip-yappers totally roped their owner’s legs in a tangle of leashes; another dog pulled so violently on its leash that it knocked over their little girl who began to cry; and another dog turned Jekyll & Hyde within milliseconds, baring its fangs as it jumped poor, oblivious Cali. But do these dog owners apologize? No! They give me the stink eye and mutter something about my dog. Yes, my dog … the one that is busy sniffing at a pile of leaves and completely ignoring their dog and its tantrum.

Stop it. Stop it right now, I say. Acknowledge that your dog is being a complete jerk for no apparent reason. And then, go enroll in Dog Training School.


Criticize yourself!

I was out walking the dog, one beautiful sunny day. I began to form a great big smile as the cutest sight approached me. It was a father and son, on a bicycle ride. The dad was on his great big racing bike with all of its fancy gears; the little boy was on his tiny two wheeler that may or may not have sported training wheels. The father was criticizing his young son. “Come on, T.J. You have to stay with me or you will get lost. Let’s move it.” Continue reading

Clean Up in Kindergarten

The event that would soon make my name as a substitute teacher synonymous with “Clean Up in Mrs. G’s Room” was percolating, just waiting to happen. I was subbing for a fabulous Kindergarten teacher. I knew that I would have a great day when it began in her room. It was guaranteed success.

The children and I had been enjoying a morning of cutting, pasting, singing, and snacks. Then, Diego stood up, looking a little green around the gills, and whispered, “I feel wobbly inside.” I made a mad dash for a garbage can to catch the “wobbly”, but he couldn’t wait. He showered the floor with puke. I froze. And in that instant, the entire classroom ran to his side to see why he was crying and to inspect the mess he had made. Before I could shoo the children back to their seats, the moment of ignominy occurred. First, Darcy squealed, “Ewww!! I hate the smell of puke! It makes me –” . Yes, Darcy, we now know what it makes you do. Darcy’s puke quickly co-mingled with that of Diego. I was trying to use the intercom to call for a janitor, but two more little inspectors erphed into what was morphing from a small pool to a large pond of puke.

There was only one thing to do, and I did not care that it wasn’t our turn because I was willing to face the consequences. We needed to hit the playground asap, before anyone else had the chance to be sick. Mr. Bradford, the janitor, showed up with his mop and bucket, expecting to have a small mess to clean up. When he saw the disaster that I was leaving him to face, the look he gave me could have vaporized me, had I not rushed out the door, shouting “Thank you!!” over my shoulder. He never liked me after that day.