Monday, March 5, 2012

Hunter -- The Early Years

If you've read The Art Of Racing In The Rain, you'll know where the inspiration for this effort is coming from.  If you haven't, put it on your list, you won't be disappointed.

Yo.  My name is apparently Hunter, though I don't really answer to that.  Actually I don't answer to much other than to the tortilla I got from the stoner house yesterday.  I've earned my right to ignore you as I approach my thirteenth birthday, so if you don't like it, well that's just too bad.  If you're lucky, perhaps I will acknowledge you with a series of loud and overtly obnoxious barks.  Or, if I'm feeling extra social, I might shove my furry butt in your face and request that you scratch it for me.  If you're really special like Dave's old roommate, Lachael, I might sit on your lap and decorate your face with my slobber.  Just don't try to talk to me when I'm eating or looking for food or peeing or sleeping or barking which is all I do anyway.  Maybe don't even bother talking to me at all, I sort of stopped listening after that stupid obedience class I had to take a decade ago.

Why am I writing on Irrelevance?  I guess I feel that it's time I put my memoirs out there so that other dogs may learn from them.  I've cheated death a few times in my life.  It's no big whoop really, life is meant to be lived, and sometimes I ran the risk of dying with my stunts, but I wouldn't want it any other way.  Was I sad when I slipped down the first flight of stairs last night during my attempt to ascend to my bed?  Hells no.  I wore my hips down to the bare metal out on the streets back in my day.  And we all know that my little beyotch of an owner will carry me up or down the stairs whenever I tell him to.  So, no, I'm not bummed out at all about getting older.  Shoot, you should all be as lucky as me, with a yard to catch some rays in, all the fresh water I can drink, and an endless stream of visitors who come to pay their respects throughout the day.

This week is my birthday week.  I know I'm a boy dog, but since some idiot cut off my nuts, I'm going to pull a chick move this time and celebrate for the entire week.  If you don't like it, go camp out somewhere else this week.  You see, it all started not too far from where I'm sleeping at this very moment, Rancho Coastal Humane Society.  I forget where I was born, but I wound up as a puppy, back in the day before they had all those solar panels and that cool dog park.  Was I worried about being a puppy in a shelter?  Hah, are you kidding me?  They don't call me the Brad Pitt of Labs for no reason, yo.  I knew I had my meal ticket punched the first day I looked in the mirror and checked myself out.  So, yeah, that whole shelter thing was actually kind of fun because I knew it was just a layover on my way to a real home.

So, the dumb family that picked me, they weren't too bright.  I kept trying to tell them that they should take me out for some exercise, but they kept yelling at me to stop barking.  It just wasn't working out.  I slept on concrete and my elbows got pretty calloused, these yahoos didn't even get me a bed.  So, after a little more than a year, I let them know that maybe it was time to see other people.  They were moving out of town anyway and like I said, I know my market value based on looks alone is off the charts, so I figured I'd re-enter the draft as a two year old and probably hit the jackpot this time.

The very same weekend I checked back in to Rancho Coastal, these two tri-geeks came by to say hey.  I told them, hey, I could go either way on this one.  I mean, if you want to race, I'm down with showing you who's boss, and if you ever shove a rope in my face, you're going to lose, but shoot, I could probably do better.  I mean, have you seen my adho mukha svanasana?  It's off the hook!  Anyway, those yahoos, they said they were going to some place with wild flowers to ride bikes or something dumb like that.  Sheesh.  But they came back after that and they brought my pal Moira with them.  See, Moira knows us dogs.  She gets it.  She ain't no fool.  Girls got skills.  Her pups get home cooked meals, 3 squares a day.  Daily walks, fresh meds, and rv camping trips every couple of months.  Most kids got it worse than Moira's dogs.  So, yeah, I was all like, whatup M, good to meet the woman all the other dogs have been talking about.  But, I had a trick or two up my sleeve.

As soon as they brought me out to the parking lot to show off, I figured, hey, how about a little beach time?  So, I wrestled my way out of my collar and took off over Requeza heading to Moonlight beach.  I would have made it too, but I got distracted by some cool smells and felt like marking my turf.  And then Moira coaxed me into her truck with some tasty treets.  Those darn adults outsmarted me.  Hey, I was only 2 years old at the time, can you blame me for choosing food over righteous waves?  No way, brah.

Anyway, I figured the Moira connection was as good as any with these two, Kerri and Dave.  I figured I could walk all over that Dave guy, he was about as spineless as I was fearless.  Kerri, well, she could be manipulated if I played my cards right, but I might have to toe the line with her a bit more.  I mean, she lectured us both about keeping the toilet paper roll feeding from underneath instead of over the top. I figured maybe I shouldn't mess with her too much at first.

They took me to the Asylum.  I think it was 958.  There was a neighbor chick who drove a big white truck and left her thong on my lawn every now and then.  But there was a cool path of grass nearby to chase the tennis ball so I figured, shoot, not too bad.  I could do better, I mean it was east of the 5 and over a mile to the beach, but since Shaun White's place was kind of too much of a scene, I thought I'd just roll with the new digs.  They made me sleep downstairs that first night, but it was all good, at least I wasn't stuck in the garage like before.  Eventually they realized a dog sleeps wherever the dog damn well pleases and they stopped trying to tell me where to go.  But they did line that blue couch with aluminum foil and wow was that a surprise.  After that experience I decided I'd just stick to the floor.

I remember the first time I had to get that fat and slow Dave kid out on a walk.  Once he opened the gate I busted out ready to rock.  He didn't know the route, so I had to make it up, weaving around the neighborhood.  He'd get close to me and I'd run ahead, making sure he got his workout in.  I think we went through 40 or 50 minutes of this fun game, let him get close enough while I panted, and then I'd take off again and run a block or two away.  Eventually this random neighbor kid grabbed my collar.  That was no fun, bro.  I thought I could trust the young ones, but they are devious little buggers.

Dave started taking me for runs in the lagoon.  He got smarter about the leash but as he got faster it started to be slightly fun.  I'd collapse in the garage afterwards in a pile of my own drool and he'd head off to work after our morning streaks along the lagoon trail.  We would run down anyone who got in our way, it was our trail.  Those were good times.

But then they left me all alone for like 3 or 4 days with some strange girl and her boyfriend checking up on me.  I was annoyed.  They said something about Wisconsin and some dumb man made out of metal.  I didn't get it.  The boyfriend had me in his truck on the freeway and I decided that this is boring, I'm gonna go surfing.  So, I jumped out.  I guess the truck was going faster than I realized.  Either that or the guard rail I hit wasn't as soft as it looked.  I didn't make it out to the surf that day.  I wound up with 3 legs bandaged up and a cone on my neck.  Ooops.  Kerri and Dave got home and dosed me up on pain meds and I healed up just fine.  I figured it was a good lesson for those two, a dog as awesome as I am shouldn't be left in the company of strangers for extended periods of time.

Eventually those two decided they wanted to live in separate houses.  I had just gotten used to all of the stainless steel in the Asylum, it was starting to grown on me.  And the back yard with the new grass and sprinklers and the dog house with a copper roof and the fun decks.  I remember one special afternoon, for some reason Dave took a nap.  And that guy never naps.  He just curled up with a pillow in the green room and I put my back to his and stretched out in the patch of sun coming in through the window.  That green room with the sponged paint job that Kerri spent so much time doing.  What is it with chicks and green paint?  I don't get it.  I mean, Dave and his obsession with wires is one thing, but all of this silly painting just makes no sense.  Don't these women know I'm going to smear my greasy buns all over that stuff?  Ugh, it drives me crazy.

After the Asylum, Dave went off to Brookhaven while Kerri got some lame apartment that could only have one dog at a time and already had one.  Then she moved to Leucadia, then to Cardiff and then back to that lame apartment.  Or something sort of like that.  I don't really remember too well.  I just know she moved a lot and that dumb Dave character had to take apart her bedframe every time and beat the hell out of his shins on those dumb bolts that stuck out too far when the thing was disassembled.  I would have thought maybe she should find a new guy to move her crap for her, but that Dave guy, he sure didn't have much in the brains department.  Or maybe he was trying to compensate for something with that big ass white truck of his?  I have to admit, it was cool riding back there, so much space to lay down and walk around and all those windows.  I could bark at him while he was driving and 2 seconds later be back by the rear tire checking out the blonde in the benz convertible.  Try doing that in his lame corolla, it just ain't happenin.

So, anyway, Dave moved in with a dude named Kelly.  I mean, seriously, how many dudes do you know who have chick names like Kelly?  At least Kelly was cool.  Finally a guy who deserved some respect.  And his brother Mike, he kept asking me to talk so I'd talk and he'd feed me and laugh.  It was a cool game.  Bark, eat, bark, eat.  Shoot, I could play that all day sucka.  Keep feeing me and I keep barking.  See how easy it is?

Brookhaven days were good times.  Dave didn't work for almost a year so I got my 4 mile morning walks and sometimes an afternoon jog on the trails.  The garage was a little chilly sometimes, but the back yard was nice and every Sunday we would all watch the Chargers lose together, do pushups every time they scored, and throw things at the Marty Schottenheimer bobblehead doll.  It wasn't a bad gig.  I met some cool peeps through Kelly.  Shoot, I almost asked for a permanent transfer to Brookhaven for good, but Dave had other plans.

He took me a few miles away to Redwood Crest in 2005.  There was a huge field off the back yard so it seemed like a good plan.  Heck, I busted through that fence a bunch of times before he got it secured for real.  But I'm going to have to get into that whole story tomorrow.  There is a lot to tell, Matt, Lachael, and that other girl with the snake and turtle, what was her name again?  I think Dave still has that place.  He took me over there to have me inspect Okwaro's fence and help him with the palm tree trimming a year or two ago.  So I want to make sure I give it some attention.  I figure I've covered about half of my life so far, and I didn't even get to mention the barking I did at the Carlsbad tri that one year. I think Vista was probably the prime of my life, with Kelly, Mike, Dave, and Moira all close by I got so much attention.  Kerri picking me up for day trips, and then Lachael to hang out with during the days.  I'll cover it all in more detail tomorrow.

Hunter's Adolescence

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