Bad dog, no biscuit.

My dog is under house arrest, per order of Animal Control.

It all started when I came back from Boston a little over a week ago. My niece gave me the kiss of death at Logan that turned into The Plague. Upon arrival home, my neighbor stopped by to tell me she was interviewing at work and to ask some questions. While in my condo, she mentioned that they would be happy to watch Perl the next time I was out of town.

Oh really? Because I’m actually going to Detroit next weekend.

Despite having The Plague, I had them over for dinner on Thursday night before I left. We had homemade pizza and salad and wine. We talked about where they are from and how they met and how I’ve been a bad neighbor for not really talking to them before this. Then we discussed my pets’ needs. Walks early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Feeding hippie food that has to be mixed with hot water. I skipped the drugs. They would survive the weekend, and I was too sick to write instructions down. I was just grateful that they wanted to do this.

Friday morning, I moved one of Perl’s beds into their place and headed off to Detroit.

Detroit was cold and snowy. Literally freezing. I was sick and tired. I gave a talk at 10 pm after getting there. I didn’t get much sleep. But it was fun. I answered lots of questions. I saw lots of great apps.

I learned that taxi drivers in Detroit don’t like to turn on their meters. They prefer to just rip you off. When the taxi driver did it to me, he said it was such a short drive I could give him whatever. I had $6, so that is what he got. Some other people got charged more than $20 for the same ride. I got lucky.

On my trip to the airport, my driver was overly chatty, but talked quietly, so I couldn’t hear him well. He didn’t immediately turn on the meter, so I reminded him to. Told him I’d had a problem with taxi drivers not turning on their meter. He turned it on and proceeded to drive 55 mph to the airport, talking constantly all the way. I tried to explain that my hearing aid batteries were dying. It didn’t seem to stop him. And he kept giving me high fives, even though he heard me blow my nose for five minutes.

When we did finally get to the airport and he had sufficiently ripped me off, he couldn’t get his Square reader to work. I had to show him how to enter the credit card manually. I think he just memorized what buttons to press because the rest of his phone wasn’t in English, as was apparent when I hung up on his wife when she called.

I had no free time at the airport since the taxi driver had taken his sweet time. So when the TSA agent looking at my driver’s license looked at it and me three times, I got worried that she was going to hold me up for some invented reason. Finally, she asked me with a smile, “Have you lost weight?”

“Yeah, about 25 lbs since that photo.”

“You should get a new photo.” As if the DMV will just let me walk in and retake my photo. Easy peasy.

I was rushing to my gate. Boots click-clacking loudly to scare people out of my way. It was working. The guy on the moving sidewalk moved over to let me pass. As I was walking by him, he spoke my name into my deaf ear. My hearing aid batteries had finally died.

I must be hearing things. I looked at him.

He said it again.

“Hi. Did we meet at the conference?”

“No, we met years ago.”

I was confused. He said his name. Between the taxi driver and the TSA agent, I was off my game. It took me a few seconds. Then I realized it was @PowerUser. Relief! He really was someone I’d met before and wasn’t someone I had just forgotten from the conference. Of course, over the years I’d forgotten what he looked like. I felt bad about not recognizing him. He was seated in front of me on the plane. I’d just scored the window seat—ten rows back—earlier in the day. Fate is weird sometimes.

Back home after a sick, sleepless weekend, I stopped next door to get my key and my dog. I hoped my instincts were right and that my neighbors hadn’t robbed me blind. They hadn’t. They’d enjoyed having Perl visiting over the weekend. She’d whined when they made her sleep in the living room, so they let her in the bedroom and she was happy. They’d taken her on long walks and loved having a reason to get out. They’d driven her to a local park. While there, Perl had found a chicken bone. My neighbor had tried to take it out of Perl’s mouth knowing how dangerous they are. Perl, feeling like she won the jackpot, wasn’t going to give it up. She pierced my neighbor’s finger while trying to hold onto the bone.

“Did Perl at least look like she felt bad?” I asked?

“She didn’t notice she had done it. But I know she didn’t do it on purpose.”

They wanted to make sure that she was vaccinated. She is. I provided them with documentation.

Yesterday, they went to see the doctor because her finger was swelling. We were all afraid it might be infected. I wasn’t worried about Perl transmitting a disease, but I was worried about what might have been on the chicken bone, or anything else she might have been eating off the ground that day. She is a scavenger.

They told the doctor what had happened. Of course, the doctor then had to call Animal Control. So, Animal Control called my neighbors this morning. My neighbor explained what had happened, and that she didn’t blame my dog, but we all know how well that worked. There was a notice on my door when I got home that my dog is under House Arrest, otherwise known as Home Quarantine. And that is going to cost me $50 and a week of no walks with my dog. I love my walks.

Now, not only do I feel bad that my neighbor got bit trying to keep my dog from hurting herself while they were taking her out for an awesome walk, but they feel bad for telling the doctor they knew the dog. They tried to explain, but we all know how these things go. They aren’t from around here, so they couldn’t have known. They were just doing what they thought was right.

Sigh. It is going to be a long week.


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