Coffee heat rising

Other people’s pets

How much do you figure your neighbor’s dog (cat, parrot, boa constrictor, tame alligator) costs you? LOL! I have to say, I expect my own pets to be destructive and figure the repair bills to be part of the cost of doing business. But one thing we tend not to budget for is the depredations of other people’s critters.

While M’hijito’s roommate was in Singapore visiting his relatives and hustling for a job, he left his brand-new Infiniti parked in the driveway (Roommate is the scion of a ridiculously wealthy family).

Quick backstory: Some time back, Roommate became enamored of a cat belonging to the old guy who lives in the house behind M’hijito’s place. He took to feeding and watering the beast, much to M’hijito’s disgust (it uses the vegetable garden as its litterbox), and he has thought of it as “his” cat. In his absence, the cat has taken up residence on top of the Infiniti, where it sleeps at night, out of reach of hunting coyotes and stray pit bulls.

So the other day as M’hijito was headed out to work, he noticed a couple of brown mounds on top of the Infiniti. On closer inspection…oops! Cat mounds!

The cat had deposited two large piles of cat poop on the brand-new silver Infiniti’s roof. Unknown how long they’d been there, but in 115-degree heat, it doesn’t take long for such a substance to bake to perfection. With Roommate due to surface yesterday, M’hijito drove the car to a commercial car wash. This removed the mound, but…well, the paint beneath it was etched and permanently stained.

So, that brand-new car is going to need a paint job. Hope Roommate’s insurance will cover it. Meow!

As I write this, Inez and Carlos the Knife‘s demented dog is running loose in their front yard, once again threatening to eviscerate all comers. I see their new next-door neighbors, the present and blessed occupants of the former Dave’s Used Car Lot, Marina, and Weed Arboretum, managed to dodge inside the house before the dog could catch them between their car and their front door.

Carlos, who is coming onto 90, has a little senility problem. Whenever Inez, who still has all her marbles, turns her back, Carlos sneaks over to the front door and lets the dog out. Once free, it lurks around their front yard but refuses to be caught—reasonably so, since Carlos is given to whacking it with his belt. From the front yard, it chases young children, bicyclists, and postal carriers up and down the street. Fortunately, the mail came before this afternoon’s fugue.

This antic, too, has its expenses. In addition to the potential for medical bills and lawsuits, the last time the hound got out, the post office declared our entire block terra incognita. They refused to deliver the mail to anyone until the dog was locked up or hauled off to the pound (whence it came). And they challenged us all to call the county animal control officers. It took about a week to get our mail delivery restarted, by which time my AMEX bill was running late. I had to pay American Express for the privilege of paying my bill electronically, something that made me stabby, very stabby.

But maybe I have no sense of humor.

One of my students suffered permanent injuries when an idiot’s dog, allowed to run free by the idiot, attacked her as she was jogging down the street in front of her house. She managed to fight it off with several hard, well-aimed kicks (she was a tall, athletic young woman), but it ripped a tendon in her leg and damaged a nerve, which never healed properly.  And neighbor Al carries a shillelagh around with him when he walks his little dog, after the moron 125-pound lady who owns three pit bulls and a retrieveroid had one of her “pets” dig out from under her fence and attack him and his little pooch. She paid the vet bill occasioned by sewing the small dog’s throat back together. Generous of her, eh? Same cur gives Cassie the evil eye every time we encounter the woman and her Iditarod team dragging her down the road.

Sometimes I wonder what possesses people who think their animals are their kiddies, and who imagine the rest of us don’t mind dodging their free-roaming dogs and having their cats defecate and urinate all over our homes (and cars!).

How much has your neighbor’s pet cost you? Can you beat a new automotive paint job?

Annoyed cat, Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez, Wikipedia Commons
Trained attack dog in action, US Air Force, public domain,
Wikipedia Commons