Coffee heat rising

Roadblock Man

Dammit!  I thought he was gone! But ohhh no! This morning when the dogs and I took our usual route around the ’hood, there he was, in front of the cat brothers’ house, dumping cat food on the sidewalk.

We have this old guy who makes a hobby of driving around Richistan during the early morning hours and feeding the outdoor cats. He’ll dump a pile of cat food in the middle of the sidewalk and then stand around waiting for the neighbors’ stray cats to come over and let him pet them.

He also carries pocketsful of large-dog Milk Bones, which he likes to dispense to passing doggy-walkers.

On the surface, this is cute and sweetly eccentric. But when you give it even just a little thought: not so much.

Today’s encounter marked the second time he handed my dogs chunks of Milk Bones after I’ve asked him not to, and the second time it’s caused Ruby to choke and fly into a ten-minute fit of frantic gasping for air. She tries to swallow the whole damn thing without chewing it up, and of course she chokes on it.

Apparently he can’t or won’t remember not to fucking do that. It was the second time I’ve had to pick her up and run with a 25-pound animal in my arms and another one in tow on a leash, hoping I could get to the emergency vet before she died.

Exactly how I imagine I’m gonna get to the emergency vet through rush-hour traffic escapes me, but I’m willing to try.

Fortunately, she managed to gag the stuff up out of her throat by the time I reached Feeder Street NW, and once again she turned out to be OK.

But one of these times, she’s not gonna be OK.

And realistically, there’s no way I can get her to veterinary help at 6:30 or 7 in the morning.

What is the matter with people? Wouldn’t you think the sight of an elderly woman RUNNING down the street with a choking dog would be at least somewhat memorable?

I haven’t seen the old buzzard for a long time. So I imagined maybe he had fallen ill or died — he’s very elderly and seems somewhat frail. Lulled into a false sense of confidence, I’d taken to walking on that street again.

But no.

The real issue is that I haven’t felt very well myself for the past several months and so just haven’t been walking the dogs at all; or when I have, it’s been later in the day. Now that three-digit temps are here to stay, we need to be out of the house by 6 or 6:30, or else we ain’t a-goin’.

So I guess we’ve just been missing him: he’s been there; we haven’t.

Obviously, it’s my responsibility to tell some nutty animal-lover not to feed random stuff to my dogs. But…

In the first place, it feels rude to yelp at some poor old lonely guy, “Hey! Don’t do that!” Which is about what you’d have to do to stop him. He charges at you with both hands full of dog “treats” and shoves them into the animals’ mouths before you can say no. And in the second place, I have asked him not to feed those things to my dogs. He either doesn’t remember or just ignores me.

When you say to him “I’d rather you not feed those to the dogs” or “Please don’t give that to the dogs,” his response is “Oh, pooh pooh! It’s just a little Milk Bone.” He thinks they’re harmless.

And they probably are. Tales that Milk Bone is full of toxic carcinogenic chemicals, it develops, are folkloric: they’re just not true. On the other hand, they’re not full of anything that’s very good for your dog, either. Sort of like candy bars for humans: empty calories. They do contain some kind of beef product, though…and Ruby is allergic to beef in all its manifestations, even cow’s ears and leather chew sticks.

Ruby and Cassie get plenty of dog treats: pieces of carrot, pieces of apple, cubes of cheese, pieces of high-quality kibble. They don’t need any more empty calories than they already get.

So anyway. The guy poses a problem. What he really poses is a road block to my favorite garden spot to walk the dogs. I don’t take my dogs to the park because of the large number of dogs, some of them aggressive, running off the lead. So that leaves Richistan as the favored shady dell in which to stroll. To get in there, I’ll have to walk two blocks north and then drop south a block. In theory we could get there by taking the street one block to the north of the Cat Dudes’ house, but that street curves south and debouches back onto our usual street…about one lot east of Cat Dudes. To avoid him, we’ll have to go way out of our way, and also avoid the prettiest streets in that part of the neighborhood.

Pisseth me offeth…

Milk Bone Ingredients
Highlighted: Things you might prefer not to feed your dog

Wheat Flour, Wheat Bran, Beef Meal and Beef Bone Meal, Wheat Germ, Beef Fat (Preserved with Tocopherols), Poultry By-Product Meal, Lamb Meal, Salt, Chicken Meal, Dried Beet Pulp, Dicalcium Phosphate, Bacon Fat (preserved With BHT, Propyl-gallate, And Citric Acid), Brewers Dried Yeast, Whey, Artificial Color (Includes Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1), Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate [Vitamin E], Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, D-Activated Animal Sterol [Source of Vitamin D3]), Malted Barley Flour, Iron Oxide, Casein, Natural Flavor (Source of Peanut Butter Flavor), Sodium Metabisulfite (Dough Conditioner), Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Copper Sulfate, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide [Source of Iodine]), Soy Lecithin

15 thoughts on “Roadblock Man”

  1. Giiiirrrrllll… you got more patience and self-control than I do. I would have used some unladylike language. Sounds like he might not be fully cognizant. Try saying/yelling to him that your dogs are allergic to Milkbones next time.

  2. Is it possible to walk on the opposite side of the street? That would put some distance between you and the man. Whenever someone tries to give my dog something, I always say the dog has severe allergies and decline the treat.

    • I was on the other side of the street! 😀 He crossed the street to come at me.

      Normally, you’d expect the person to ASK if they can give your pooch a treat. Not chase you down and stuff the thing in your dog’s (eagerly awaiting…) mouth.

      • If he’s crossing the street to give unwelcome treats, then I agree with other commenters that it’s time to more forcefully demand that he not, even if that means yelling at the man in the middle of the street.

  3. I’m glad she is alright. It sounds like he honestly can’t remember, perhaps due to dementia. Can you work with the dogs on no/leave it and teach them not to take the treats? It works on beagles, which are another super food motivated breed.

    • Cassie does know “NO!” and the command worked on her after he tossed another piece to her while I was wrestling with the gagging, choking Ruby. I mean…helloooo??? What IS the matter with people?

      Ruby understands NO and WAIT but would have to be drilled with actual, hard-copy scrumptious treats to make it stick. The only thing that’s more stubborn than a corgi is two corgis, y’know… 😀

  4. I agree with Catseye: Time to get unladylike. Perfect a full-on bellow of, “STOP! Do NOT give that to my dog!”

    Then step between the dog and him: “Last time you gave her a treat she started choking! Do NOT give her anything!”

    Also, by leaving cat food out the guy is likely feeding rats. Ick. Check to see if there’s an ordinance against doing this? Some cities prevent people from feeding birds, feral cats, et al.

    I know the police are busy chasing Bad Guys, but if there’s a community outreach department at your local cop shop maybe they’d send someone over to talk to him.

    • The coyotes eat the rats. Actually, I expect the coyotes probably eat more of his dog food than the rats. That whole area over there is over-run with loose cat. Not only do the brothers who live in that house have two or three cats, across the street from the house is a retired couple who keep a zoo in their house. They have a whole tribe of feral cats, and those people leave little bowls of food out on their driveway.

      The food and the cats draw coyotes. I don’t let Cassie off the leash over there, because I’ve seen the coyotes in the alley behind the cat-lovers house in broad daylight. Checked Neighborhood Services’s website. I don’t see any mention of any code about leaving animal food out. Hm. It might be worth calling and asking them, though. I think the city just relies on begging the locals not to do stupid stuff. Which itself is, yes: a sign of stupidity. 😀 But we don’t have grizzly bears…

  5. What the heck is it with old people and cats? It makes no sense to me…My DM has a bunch of cats and spends $$ on feral cats for their food. It must be some kind of illness or feeling of being unfulfilled…Glad the dogs are OK….It’s scary when they get something stuck in their throat…

  6. Yeah, if one of those almost choked the dog to death in the past, you need to put that over being polite to some old guy, whether his intentions are good or not.

    And it sounds like the guy has some sort of a screw loose. I mean dumping a pile of cat food on the sidewalk, presumably NOT in front of his own house, that just annoys me on many levels, and I’m thousands of miles away!

    Lucky there’s not a plethora of lakes. I can only imagine the garbage he’d dump in the lakes trying to feed the poor old fish.

    • I think he’s just old and lonely. This is a hobby that gets him outside at about the time people are walking their dogs, and the doggy treats interrupt the doggy walks so he can chat with someone. I’d be happy to chat with him…just don’t feed my dog MilkBones!

      The cat food on the sidewalk is annoying. People do that kind of thing all the time around here. There was some fruitcake who used to sprinkle dog food on the ground all over the park, presumably for the many stray dogs that get dumped there. And for the coyotes. Then some nut case chained a couple of dog dishes to the park bench over there and would pour water into them. He or she would buy bagsful of gallon water bottles, tote them to the park, and leave them tied to the park bench so s/he could refill the water bowls. This pleased not only the coyotes but the mosquitoes.

      Any way you look at it…God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.

      • Dumping pet food on the ground IMHO is wrong on a lot of levels. In this neck of the woods that behavior would draw flies, mosquitos, stray cats not to mention opossum, ground hogs, squirrels and raccoons. If the old guy is bored and lonely….maybe he should get a nice fish tank and some tropical fish….

      • Fish tank probably wouldn’t go far to make up for the loss of a lifelong companion. Poor old guy.

        LOL! Dry cat food doesn’t have enough nutritional value, apparently, to draw flies. But yeah, speaking of critters that will eat anything, we do have raccoons and roof rats (which differ from Norway rats only in their skill at climbing and the types of disease they carry).

        The city or the neighborhood association seems to have gotten rid of the mess around the park bench…though it could just be that the altruistic soul has been committed to a mental institution for a bit.

        I’ve never seen a possum here…can’t imagine they could live in this weather. Some claim a few are around (, but they surely must have been imported from some other part of the country. We have foxes, which are reclusive, which hunt and clear out vermin, and which, for reasons that escape me, get the locals all exercised…my father was proud when he trapped and killed one. Any day I’d rather have a fox than the neighbor’s g.d. cat in the yard…but maybe that’s just because I’m a dog person. 😉

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