OK, here begins my education in euphemisms and things politically correct. The "dog pound" is no longer called the "dog pound." It now has the title "Animal Shelter." I also discovered that one no longer "picks up a dog at the pound," one "adopts a family companion." Here in the snooty very tony piece of Southern California where I temporarily reside, the Animal Shelter, impeccably clean, boasting some beautiful grounds, and staffed by very nice and very earnest volunteers, must conduct a background check to see if you are going to provide a good home. It certainly seems more intense and thorough than the ones that let Kim Philby and Felix Block through. The Rosenbergs, certainly, would never have gotten close to any atomic secrets. The Soviets would not have gotten the bomb quite so easily had these folks been on duty in the Manhattan Project.
Another thing I learned while at the
Anyhow, we walked around the facility, which oddly enough had Wagner booming from speakers throughout the grounds. Kind of eerie, no? The Diplowife noted that if they started playing "Götterdämmerung," we were to run for the car.
We surveyed the inmates, of which there were precious few given that there had been a Christmas adoption rush. I was struck, once again, by the difference between cats and dogs. The cats had a hard non-pleading stare; they seemed to defy you to open the cage. If it were a prison, they would be the lifers, remorseless serial killers with bloodcurdling tats under their fur. One cat, in particular, had the hardest, meanest stare I have seen on any living being. It was the yellow-eyed stuff of childhood nightmares; I think it would have frightened even Jacques Tourneur.
The dogs, mostly, had pathetic stares of the "why-are-you-doing-this-to-me?" variety. In prison they would have, appropriately enough, played the "bitch." I, however, was struck by one dog: a one-year old, 50 lb. red-brown pitbull mix, who had honey colored eyes, and an arrogant stare that saw right through you. This was her third shelter in her brief life. She must have been around cats a lot as she had adopted their tactic of ignoring your presence. Her eyes were firmly glued on the vast outdoors behind us, not on the stupid antics we were using to get her attention.
I don't know. I might have to go back for that one. Don't know if the Diplowife will approve. She probably doesn't want any competition in the ignoring me contest.