Monday, September 22, 2008

A Rare Moment Of Calm

As much as I'm enjoying being a doggie dad again, Riley is quite the handful. I'm not sure of his age but he seems to be somewhere firmly between puppy and adult, and as such, he's pretty high maintenance. I walk him four times a day right now because I have the time and he seems to have a lot of energy to expend. Trouble is, he usually gets back home more wound up than when we left. He runs in the dog run for 20 minutes until he gets so obnoxious I finally have mercy on the other dog owners and take him out. He is a serial humper. I'm not sure if it's going to go away once his doggie hormones level off, but I sure hope so. When he's not humping outside the house, he's chewing inside. He has demolished every toy Jet ever had and bites through most chew toys, even the ones made of hard plastic. I have to constantly pull the couch and bed pillows from his jaws, and he has attempted on several occasions to eat the bed and the couch. He has already left bite holes in some pillows and my bedding. They will eventually need to be replaced. I can't remember the last time I yelled "NO" to a man in my bedroom this often. It feels unnatural.

Of course I should count my blessings I have him at all. After getting up at the ass-crack of dawn last week to take him up to Manhattan Animal Care and Control, I ended up leaving him there for his surgery worrying about him all day. The man who did his intake was a total asshole. I like to think I'm normally well-spoken and polite, so I'm always shocked when someone is aggressively rude to me for no apparent reason. After getting six kinds of attitude from him after asking about his rabies shot and whether or not I could have his nails cut while he was anesthetized, I reluctantly left Riley there for the day.

I returned that evening expecting to pick up a groggy but healthy dog to take home. What I got was a completely different animal. As in not my dog. He was similar, I give you that. Same approximate size. Tan fur, white chest. But Riley is more of a cinnamon color. And this one was all Pit Bull. With a tiny droopy tail and bright red eyes. For a minute I thought it was Riley, but all beat up from the surgery. But even though I only had him for a few hours the night before, this dog didn't have Riley's cute black tail nor did he have the white birthmark on the end of his nose I had already taken to smooching. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to compare the ID number that I had on my paperwork with the one around this dog's neck. No match.

And incredibly, when I rushed back to the desk and told them they gave me the wrong dog and his ID numbers didn't match, one of the desk employees tried to shine me on and try to explain that the dog's ID numbers get consolidated or changed or some such nonsense. "THIS IS NOT MY DOG!". I said loudly enough for a supervisor to come out. After checking his tag and my paperwork he quickly made a show of trying to find out how such a thing could happen and who checked the tags at first. I suspect animals get lost or misplaced here fairly often. In any case, the dog was taken from me and several minutes later my gorgeous, birthmarked, non red-eyed, none the worse for wear Riley came bounding through the door and wiggling at my feet.

And just before we left that hell hole for good, something told me to inquire about micro-chipping the dog. This is supposed to be done by ACC before the animal is released. I was told he was 'chipped. So I asked for the ID number in case I wanted to register him. That was when they decided to scan him. No chip. The supervisor returned with another scanner to confirm he wasn't 'chipped. At which point they did it right there in front of me.

After collecting his microchip ID #, his rabies vaccination tag (which they claimed he already had) and the rest of his paperwork, I couldn't get Riley out of there fast enough. I realize Animal Care and Control in a city like New York is probably underfunded and pure chaos at times. They take care of all animals, not just cats and dogs. But here I was a present and responsible adopter trying to follow the rules and get my pet taken care of, and they barely managed to do that. Let alone keep track of him at all.

And no, they didn't clip his nails.

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