Shhhh! The Dog has finally fallen asleep and I must implement some anti-terrierism strategies while he is unconscious. These measures may seem an abuse of power and border on torture. But if it’s good enough for the US National Security Agency it’s good enough for me. And to quote Dick Cheney "If you want to be loved, go be a movie star”.
From that point on, he will have no contact with the outside world unless it’s mediated by me. I’m changing the password on the computer. I’m removing the Canine Voice Recognition software from the phone and just to be safe, I’m moving the handset to the top of the bookcase out of paw’s reach. There will be no excursions off-leash. Exercise periods will be restricted and the dog will be compelled to wear collar, leash and day-glo orange coat on all walks. He’ll be on a strict diet of water and budget dog biscuits and denied access to human bed and couch.
It was only through semi-legal covert ops that I even discovered that my homeland security had been so compromised, and that Mr Four-Legs had morphed into a terrierist.
A little background. Last month, I invited the dog to contribute a column to this paper under my by-line - The Grey Urbanist, a feat made possible through the use of newly developed inter-species computer technologies. As Pete’s fur is grey and white I thought this a rather clever conceit, as well as a ground-breaking event in print journalism. The Nelson Mail duly published the column accompanied by a very flattering photo of Pete on the couch.
Even under normal circumstances a Fox Terrier is the definition of ADHD, but after the publication of his column Pete became insufferably hyperactive. He was only still when he was checking his emails and web-surfing. Otherwise he fussed and fidgeted all day long: leaping on and off the couch; whining and making funny creaky noises in his throat; crashing through his dog-door like John Wayne bursting into a saloon full of bandits. I hoped a walk might dissipate the hectic energy but had difficulty getting him to wear his collar and he refused point-blank to go to the park. Most uncharacteristically, he insisted we head into town instead. Once we hit Trafalgar Street he began strutting as if he were Stephen King and Christopher Hitchens in one furry package. Then he wanted to sit outside Page and Blackmore’s bookshop all afternoon in the hopes that he’d be recognised. It was only after an awful lot of sycophantic stomach rubs from the shop’s patrons that I managed to drag him homeward but even then he lolly-gagged the whole way.
I dished out the usual dog biscuits at dinnertime. He refused to touch them referring me to the dietary recommendations in “Raw Meaty Bones” the book he’s just finished reading. When I read the assurances on the back of the packet that the biscuits are more than adequate nutritionally and promote healthy teeth, he just curled his lip and sat in his basket exuding resentful defiance. For about two minutes that is. Then he hopped out again complaining that the basket wasn’t big or comfortable enough. He’d read about some luxury dog beds on-line and thought that a 5 zone pin core latex mattress with a pewter grey cover would be more suitable. After that he got hot under the collar about the indignity of having to use the dog door: he wanted to use the big, human door. I tried to explain kindly that because he lacks opposable thumbs some things would always remain impossible for him. Opening the refrigerator and using scissors for example. The curled lip turned into a snarl and the whining became a growl.
That’s when I realised that expressions like “biting the hand that feeds you” and “the dogs of war” are more than literary furbelows. That’s also when I set up the web cam and began monitoring Pete’s phone calls. It was actually his on-line browsing history that was most revealing. He’d begun with some harmless noodling around on YouTube watching clips of dogs on skateboards. In spite of his neutered state he found something to interest him on a doggie porn site called hotbitches&puppylove.com before he consulted Wikipedia on speciesism, vivisection and factory farming. It was after this that his searches took a darker turn. He’d Googled Karl Marx, Stockholm Syndrome, animal rights activism, Molotov, plastic explosives and spent an unconscionably long time on the N.R.A. website.
As of this time I have no evidence that Pete has been acting in concert with other dogs, however it is possible that this rage and misanthropy is widespread amongst the dog population. There are around 500,000 dogs in New Zealand and most of them live with us. Even if only a small percentage of these dogs are as tech-savvy as my Fox Terrier, they constitute a readily-identified and very high-risk population. I hope that by now you will understand why I must move swiftly while the dog is napping, to thwart any possible spread of his dangerous ideas on canine emancipation.
Until the terrierist threat has been neutralised, I am urging the New Zealand government to apply canine-specific profiling and act on the assumption that two legs are good, four legs are bad.