Trout Fisting In America – #7 Pets

Because like my good friend Kathy Acker likes to say, ‘When they go low, we…(smiles)…we shove our fist up a defenseless Trout’s asshole.’

There’s a story I tell that almost always horrifies animal lovers. I was 9 years old and living in the small town of Plains, Ga (pop. 650, and yes that is Jimmy Carter’s hometown). Every day I walked home from school and when I got to my grandparents’ street this big dog would come tearing across the yard barking at me. It’d stop in front of me, snarling & growling, and block the sidewalk (this dog, it goes without saying, wasn’t on a leash). If I crossed the street, the dog crossed the street too. So I’d have to turn around and walk over and up the next street and come back down my grandparents’ street from the opposite direction.

After a week of this, I told my uncle Bobby about the dog and he promised to meet me at the corner the next afternoon, saying, ‘I’ll show you what to do.’ So he met me, and as we walked, sure enough the dog came running & barking like it always did. But instead of stopping, Bobby calmly kept walking towards the dog, and just before it reached him, he planted his left foot and kicked the dog in the face as hard as he could. The dog did a little backwards flip and, whimpering & crying,  ran just as fast in the opposite direction, back to its house.

Now there’s two living creatures in this story you can feel sorry for. One is the threatening & untethered dog, and the other is the scared, defenseless child of recently divorced parents who’s just relocated from a city in Arizona to a small Georgia town where half his classmates don’t wear shoes and is now being terrorized every day by an animal as big as he is.

You’d be surprised how many people care more about the dog. Or maybe you wouldn’t.

Now you have to understand that I’ve got nothing against pets, or animals in general. There’s a cat sleeping down the hall from me as I write this named Xochiquetzal, who for all her occasional biting & hissing (she was the runt of the litter, picked on as a kitten, and occasionally exhibits PTSD-like flashbacks), has been a beautiful, loving cat for the past 10 years. Whenever someone’s upset or crying, she’s there in an instant with a gentle nuzzle and a concerned look on her face.

So maybe it’s not pets that drive me crazy, but their owners. Just like it’s not the kids, it’s the parents. Of course, with some dog owners, the ones who think of their owner/pet relationship as identical to a parent/child relationship, you usually get the worst of both.

By the way, did you know this exists?

Fast forward to today—I’m not a dog kicker, or a monkey puncher, or a kitty slapper, or even an iguana thumper. I love animals, to a point.

But show me someone who loves animals unconditionally, I mean really loves animals, to the point where they break down and cry when they hear about a squirrel getting hit by a car, or post 12 photos a day on social media of shelter animals in need of adoption, and I’ll show you someone who probably hates people. Not ‘certain people,’ we’re talking the entire species of mankind.

Animal lovers make me nervous. The anthropomorphizing of animals, the ascribing of human emotions—empathy, joy, sadness, regret—to one’s pets while at the same time complaining how one’s fellow humans are incapable of such emotions, terrifies me. Referring to your dogs as ‘your children’ says very little about your pets, but it says a great deal about you. It says you’ve been so traumatized by previous interactions with your fellow humans that forming interpersonal relationships is really, really hard for you, and so you’ve turned to interspecies relationships because an animal ‘loves unconditionally.’ Never mind the fact that your pet would fucking eat you if you didn’t feed them for a couple of days. Say what you want to about humans, but if you didn’t feed me for a couple of days, I’d probably just go to McDonald’s. Shit, your dog might eat the diabetic toes off your body while you’re still alive.

Over 900 people go to the emergency room for dog bites every year, and more than half of those attacks happen in the home, i.e. by someone’s pet.

And yet, and yet…people act like their pet is some kind of higher being, operating on a deeper spiritual plane than the person sitting across from them on the bus bus.

Look, I get that human interaction can be traumatic, anxiety-inducing, and psychologically painful. And the attendant emotional baggage we carry around, esp. the emotional baggage animal lovers carry around is sad, and completely deserving of empathy—it’s even inspiring in the way it shows that no matter how beaten down a human being might become, they’re still driven by a desire to love and be loved, to protect and be protected. I suppose there’s something beautiful in that.

If there’s any similarity between humans & domesticated animals, it’s simply that both groups contain good & bad elements. There are good dogs and bad dogs, good people and bad people, and you should be careful which ones you get involved with.

Animals (including puppies) and people (including Zooey Deschanel–remember when she was everywhere?) are also alike in the sense that some are worthy of our love and some most emphatically are not.

Me, I’ve started referring to my two-year-old as our dog. Just to maintain some sense of balance against the oscillating winds of insanity.

And for what it’s worth, I never had to kick the dog back in Plains, Georgia—squaring up and walking towards it in a threatening manner was enough.

Trout Fisting In America appears every Tuesday right here at this site. We’re going to keep going until we reach #50, or until the Trout begs for mercy. Check out previous installments HERE.

About ScottCreney

Scott Creney lives in Athens, Georgia. He is the author of "Dear Al-Qaeda: Letters to the World’s Most Notorious Terror Organiztion".
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