Nearly everyone on my street has a story about this dog and his mean face and loud teeth, teeth he shows as he is hollering: I am going to kill, kill, kill, kill, you. This is his message at the start and at the end of the day.
Tethered to a tree on a line so that he can stand on the fence as well as run the torn up lawn, he spends an eight-hour (or more) shift each day, threatening each step passersby take. I am grateful for the strap that keeps him mostly grounded in his own yard, for before the tether, he once rigged one of the fence slats to work like a doggie door, and could butt it open, rushing onto the sidewalk, teeth glinting with each kill he spilled into the air.
Our Sacramento street is inhabited by nearly as many animals as people. There’s Simon, Friskie, our own Glenn and Vera, and more than a dozen other cats. Dogs range from cat-sized Bonito to Mary Kate and Ashley, the twin Golden Retrievers. But this grouchy mean face is the only one that seems to dream of doing harm. One neighbor told me how he’d cornered her on a cold Wednesday. Another explained she carries her small dog when she sees he’s on patrol. Some days I want to taunt him (but I’m too afraid he has found another loose plank or has a plan). Other days, I wonder if he might be nicer if I knew his name.