Angus FitzByron Ross

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Personal / Stories / Themes / Family /
@ K. 2008 06 24

Hilary and I were addicted to each other but we never got along. Then, inexplicably, we got married. I was hoping to solve our incompatibility, I only made it permanent: and much more harmful.

Nevertheless, Hilary wanted a kitten. She got one. Then she wanted a dog: to keep the kitten company: and we got Angus. Then she wanted a baby, please: “just a little one,” she begged holding up her finger tip a centimeter from her thumb tip.

I’ve already told a couple of Angus stories. I create this file as a place to tell more.

Hilary wanted a scottie. Spur of the moment, off we went to Macy’s. What were we doing married, with a cat, with a dog? Hilary was earning minimum wage. I was a PhD candidate whose brilliance had been instantly recognized by my university, but then spurned: typical, typical. Churches, universities, governments, societies … none of them will tolerate what they say they want. One by one they replace humanity with dead wood. Pilat is always in charge, never Jesus: not that Jesus wants to be in charge (of, if Jesus does, then pk stops following him, and emphasizes: pk does not want to be in charge: pk does not want any human to be in charge (and won’t tolerate any god from some group manipulating the god as a substitute for the group: Yahweh as a puppet for the Jews.)
Macy’s had no scottie. So, sensibly we should have gone home, and forgotten about for at least that day. But no. There were several cages with pups from a German Shepherd litter. We happened to be there at feeding time. The handler opened a cage with two pups in it, a brother and sister, and the brother grabbed all the hamburger, skinny sister getting none. “Wow,” did you see that?” I exclaimed.

But then the vet said, “Why did you buy such a skinny dog?” Good question. All I’d seen was the explosion of greed, of aggression. If either Paul or Hilary harbored any greed, ferocity, aggression, we masked it well, even from ourselves. But I loved it in this dog, and so apparently did Hilary.
Ah, but we associated German Shepherds with “police dogs”; we certainly didn’t want a government thug for a pet. Too late, we’d already brought him home, embarrassed by his stink on the subway. (Once we opened the box we saw: it was just vomit: poor puppy, getting jounced on the subway.) We determined, a rare thing we both agreed on, to raise this police dog as a people dog. Hilary made a little nest for him, behind the toilet in the bathroom. She laid down some padding, and thoughtfully added a windup alarm clock: to remind the pup of his mother’s heart beat. Then we visited this pup in this nest, making a fuss over him, and introducing him to friend after friend. The dog would understand that people were welcome here, and were not to be growled at, threatened, attacked, chewed.

I’d started reading up on breed of dog when Hilary first mentioned her yen. It was turning the pages of such a book that Hilary had said, “Scottie,” pointing at the drawing of an example. Hilary’s father, John Marcus Fleming, was Scots. I had some association with the MacPherson clan in my background. Hilary’s mother was Austro-Hungarian. 3/4 of my ancestors were German. I was happy to emphasize my bit of Scots. Hilary had been bombed by Germans in London in the early 1940s … What were we doing with a “German” dog? Wasn’t carrying the name “Knatz” around bad enough? But I read that “German Shepherd” was simply a breed of “work dog”: they’d been bred for intelligence, for being trainable, for being partners in a task. “Police” was just one application for any such dog. Collies, poodles … were also work dogs: and cops, if they wanted to, could use them almost interchangeably.

The thing is, we’d gone to buy a scottie and had already named him: Angus. We got a German shepherd: so his name, poor thing, was already Angus.
Filling out the pedigree papers, perverse humorist pk decided to fill every letter in the boxes of the form, finding after experiment that AngusFitzByronRoss fit exactly. So that was Angus’s pedigree name: AngusFitzByronRoss.

OK, that’s just background. What made me itch to start this module today was my wanting to use Angus puppy nest behind the toilet as an example of problems with planning and growth:

We built a nest for Angus. He quickly came to recognize that that spot was his. Children are disciplined by being told to go to their “room,” or to “stand in the corner” … There’s no telling how much English Angus understood, but long before he understood any, he knew that behind the toilet was his refuge.
Dogs chew things. Puppies chew things. Maybe puppies especially have teething pain and need to chew things: not just as behavior associated with getting food, but as relief from growing teeth in tender gums. Angus chewed things.
Angus chewed my slipper. That got him a whack on the snout. (Actually, I think a book had advised me to smack a newspaper against my hand, making a sharp noise, close to his snout: don’t ever actually hit the dog, came the advice.) And Angus took off for his nest behind the toilet.

I’d take him for walks, Hilary having promised to take care of all of that, just as she’d promised to park the car, but please, lend her my student loan so she could get the car, and of course, I did all the driving, and all the parking, and nearly all the walking of Angus. (Hilary really should have waited till I had a job, or until it was clear that I never would have a job, before getting into all these expenses and obligations.) I would walk Angus. I put a “choke collar” on him and prepared to train him to “heel.” This “work” puppy showed No aptitude for any of the things I was trying to teach him. He’d get a sharp noise near his snout for chewing my slipper. He learned: thereafter he’d chew Hilary’s slipper! and get a sharp noise near his snout just the same.

And sometimes, Angus would get hit. Directly, on his flesh. I’d tried and tried to train him to heel. But out walking he’d strain and strain against the collar, whether the collar choked him or not. Then Hilary was pregnant, with Brian, of course. And Angust almot pulled her down onto the paved walkway in Riverside Park. That Did get the dog beaten: hard, on his flesh, with the short braided leather leash I used to try to train him to heel. (And then, years later, all my work failure, getting drunk more and more often, Angus got hit directly a couple more times.)

One day I’m in a helpless fury with Angus’ lack of training progress and someone asked me how old the dog was. “Fourteen months,” I said: or “eighteen months” … whatever was true at that time. The guy was taking pity on poor Angus, and on poor frustrated me. He said, Dogs are puppies until they’re two. Train them by all means, but don’t expect any progress to be visible until they’re two years old, and puppyhood is behind them. True or not why hadn’t anyone even given me the myth sooner? My rages of frustration were public enough: and went on for almost two years.

By golly,the guy was right. At two, Angus stopped chewing slippers. At two, Angus stopped pulling against the leash if I told him to heel.

And for the rest of his life Angus was the smartest damn dog, people couldn’t believe how smart he was.

I believe there are already a number of illustrations around I won’t make a links list, not now. Use the Search feature below to find more: once K. is back online, that is.

pk Family, Friends

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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