I have a dog. Her name is Ginger, and she's really freaking cute.
Adorable, right? Yeah, she's also demon spawn, crawled right out of the 9th circle of Hell. She likes precisely 4 people... Hubby, myself, and 2 of our friends. Everyone else falls somewhere between "Avoid!" and "Attempt to Mutilate". One's position on this scale can change from day to day, more or less based on her mood. A mood that is always markedly worse after seeing another dog. She goes batshit crazy if she is anywhere near a dog, and not in a "I want to play with that other doggy really badly!" way, but in an "I want to fuck that dog up and rip out it's jugular!" kind of way. Fortunately she only weighs 7 lbs, so is therefore pretty easy to control.
Usually. But sometimes she's a sneaky little bugger. Sometimes, like today. I came upstairs and into the apartment, and she managed to sneak out as I was coming in. Normally I make sure she's inside before I close the door, but apparently I wasn't paying enough attention. I was standing near the door talking to Hubby when suddenly I heard Ginger start barking... in the hall. I flung the door open and found her at the other end of the hallway with our neighbor virtually treed. He had his own dog in his arms, and she is just as mean as Ginger, and not much bigger. So they were being as vicious as two tiny dogs can be, and the neighbor was just kind of... stuck. I went running down the hallway telling him I was sorry as I ran, and grabbed her. He reassured me multiple times that it was okay, and he knows what the little bastards can be like sometimes, for which I am thankful.
I brought her back inside and threatened to throw her in the trash, which she would fully deserve. Once my heart rate had come back down to normal, I thought how lucky we were that it was our neighbor that she cornered in hallway, and not a stranger. And also, I thought how glad I was that he didn't panic and give her a swift kick. After thinking about that, I thought, for the first time, that some people would have reacted violently to their dog behaving so badly, and would have hit her or hurt her in some way. The thought made me lose my appetite.
I didn't think much more about it, but I guess the incident was still floating around in the back of my mind. When I laid down to sleep, it popped into my consciousness again. I had another wave of gratefulness that she hadn't gotten hurt, nor hurt anyone else. Because my mind runs away from me at night, I considered how badly that could've turned out.
One thought led to another, and I found myself thinking about people who physically punish their dogs, which brought up something I wish I had the courage to have handled differently. Some time ago, maybe a year or so, I was sitting in my car in the parking lot downstairs. I was waiting for Hubby to come down and join me, and was just looking around to pass the time. I saw a large man walking with two dogs on leashes. One was a bulldog, and the the other was just some generic looking medium size dog. He was walking from the parking lot towards our building, and along the way, the bulldog stopped walking to sniff a small patch of grass. The man turned around and kicked the poor dog in the side hard enough that it yelped so loudly I heard it from a good 30 or 40 yards away.
My first reaction was sheer shock. I couldn't believe someone kicked a dog that hard for stopping to sniff some grass. My second reaction was to wonder what happens to the poor thing when it actually does something bad. I was upset and angry, but at the time I didn't see anything I could have done. In hindsight, I wish I had hopped out of my car and nonchalantly followed him until he went inside his apartment so I could get the apartment number. Then I could have reported him to apartment management or called the cops. Not that either of those things would have ended up helping the dog, most likely, but maybe the man could have been caused a little grief for what he did.
(Since then, I have fantasized a number of times about having had the balls to run up to him and kick him in the balls.)
In my personal Utopia, an animal abuser would be punished as severely for hurting an animal as a human. I think it must be a satisfying moment, to be a judge and sentence an animal abuser with the most severe punishment you can dole out. My internet sleuthing skills are failing me, quite possibly because it must have been a decade ago, but a judge ordered a man serving a short sentence for starving an animal to death to be fed only bread and water. That's a satisfying punishment for an incomprehensible crime.
I'm glad to say I never saw the man that kicked the bulldog again, since I know my blood would've boiled at the sight of him. I thought about the incident many times in the days and weeks that followed it, but it had faded into a memory I hadn't thought on in a while. Recalling it and rehashing it in my mind has brought back the helpless, frustrated feeling of not doing anything. Nothing to be done for it but hope Karma gets him. And hug Ginger and let her know I forgive her for being a little shit.