The Dogcatcher Cometh

My favorite dog and favorite bus.
Here’s Shakra in the window of my first and favorite VW bus – The bus’s name was Belle. Picture taken near Juneau, Alaska

Another true life excerpt from the current version of Slackville Road that isn’t making it into the rewrite…great story…and totally true.

The Dogcatcher Cometh

by Vago Damitio

I never bothered paying the $50 to license my dog with the city of Seattle. I wasn’t the best dog owner. I would make sure she had food and take her for walks but she got left alone a lot. She had all of her shots. She was spayed. She minded well and didn’t run away. Besides, she had a tag with her name and my phone number on it in case. So why should I pay $50 to register her? I only had $30 anyway.

Shakra was a little blue heeler and I was in the habit of taking her to a little park near my house in Green Lake, a district of Seattle, in the mornings and evenings and playing Frisbee. She was a great Frisbee dog and it was fun for me to have people stand around and oooh and ahhh when she’d leap in the air. One morning, I woke up a little later than usual and we started down the street. I rarely used a leash as she was highly trained and would heel on command.

Something felt funny as we approached the park. It was too late by the time I noticed the dogcatcher. He called me over and I nonchalantly told Shakra to heel so that he would see it was no big deal I was breaking Seattle’s leash law.

“Where’s your leash?” he asked me in a belligerent tone.

I held up the Frisbee smiling. “She’s never more than a foot away from this,” I told him. I tossed it so he could see how good a dog she was.

“Is that dog licensed?” he asked, again belligerent.

“Of course she is,” I lied. “See, I have doggie bags too!” I’d brought a pocket full of plastic grocery bags to pick up her shit.

“I’m going to have to write you a ticket for not having her on the leash,” he told me with a smile on his face. “And if she’s not wearing a license, I’ll need to take her in until you can come with the proof of it.”

“Oh, give me a break…are you serious? You’re going to expose my dog to all those diseases and write me a ticket? Come on, have a heart.”

“Are you trying to interfere with a Seattle Law Enforcement Officer’s duties? Should I call the police?” He loved the fact that he was an officer of the Law.

“Yeah, you better call em you fat old fuck ‘cause there’s no way YOU are gonna catch either me or my dog. Get over yourself TJ Hooker.” I couldn’t believe it as the words came out of my mouth. This guy would probably kill my dog now. We had to run.

I bolted into the woods and through the park. I saw him driving his truck around and intentionally ran the opposite direction from the safety of my house. Shakra was beside me, loving this new game. We jumped over hedges, cut through alleyways, and still the dogcatcher’s truck was behind us. He knew these streets all right.

I saw two garbage trucks blocking both lanes of the road ahead. Here was my chance. The drivers were having a little joke. I ran between them and cut left once I was out of sight of the dogcatcher. A short run up a hill and through a rhododendron put me back in my yard in Greenlake. It was a fun morning and a fun run.