I had no idea how regulated dogs were on their walks until I met Tori, a black poodle, who works for the Woof Health Organization. She walks with her mother, Nancy, to different neighborhoods to police how dogs are social distancing.
I encountered her when my Dad was walking Pocket and me. When I saw Tori, I began barking loudly. “Stop right there!” Tori snapped at me. “Don’t you realize there is a pandemic going on? We dogs have been asked to stop the spread of the virus, so the veterinarians' do not get overrun. And when you see me, you start barking. Don’t you know when you bark droplets of your spit go into my mouth?”
I defended myself. I explained that I never leave the village and don’t approach other dogs until now, that my mommy doesn’t go out except for supplies and when she does, she wraps herself in a full-body condom so nothing can touch her. My Daddy does the same, but he has his own condom. That isn’t something you should share. Because of these facts, I explained, I could not be carrying the virus.
“Regardless,” Tori said. “We all must act like we have the virus to make sure we don’t spread the disease, because if you are sick and don’t go by the guidelines, then when our mom pets you, she gets sick, and BAM! She’s dead. If you cannot abide by the rules, you won’t be allowed to go on walks.” Obsequious Pocket stood behind Daddy and acted as is she was the perfect dog when we know she breaks the rules more than anyone. She has learned to do it when no one is paying attention. Pockets are crafty.
Tori told me to keep walking and pay her no attention. Like that was possible. I buried my nose in the grass, sniffing something deep below the soil. “Stop it!” Tori barked. I gave her my resting bitch face, but she wasn’t intimidated. “When you sniff you take in all the germs left by those who sniffed before you,” Tori barked. “Some of them are feral. They haven’t even had their shots. You sniff something here, and you go home, your mom pets you, she gets sick and BAM!, she’s dead. Is that what you want?”
I growled that it wasn’t. Tori heard a noise behind her and turned around. I took that opportunity to sniff her butt. Tori whipped back, “Did you just butt sniff me without permission?” I blamed it on instinct. “First of all, you violated my rights. You #MeToo-ed me. And butt-sniffing during a pandemic? Do you know what comes out of my butt? Poop. You know what poop has?” Germs. You sniff my butt, go home, your mom pets you, she gets sick and BAM! She’s dead. Is that what you want?” Wow, Tori knew how to spoil a pleasant walk.
I said I didn’t want my mom to get sick. What I really wanted was for Tori to go away. Then she called Pocket, a good dog for not sniffing with me. I snarled: “The only reason she didn’t sniff your ass is that she needs a step ladder to get up there.”
We began to walk again, and I stopped to pee.
“What are you doing?” Tori yelled. “Your pee is full of germs. Some other dog smells your pee, goes home, makes their mom sick, and BAM! She’s dead. Is that what you want?”
I gave her a most lethal stare but could not break Tori’s accusing look. “Fine!” I yipped, then turned for home pulling Pocket behind me. As soon as I got there, I pooped on the floor. I couldn’t do it outside. Tori would have said I was spreading germs, some dog would get them, their mom would pet them, and BAM! They would be dead.
“River, you were just outside!” Mommy scolded me. But what was I to do? When you can’t poop inside or out, it’s not the pandemic that will get you but the gas.
I know now the best way to social distance. I am never leaving the house.