Episode 6 – “The Dachshund in the Dogwood”
“The Stories of Animal Control Officers Joe Tuesday and Bill Cannon”
(With a nod to Jack Web’s ‘Dragnet’ TV series…)
By Keith Kaniut
I’m Sergeant Joe Tuesday, senior Animal Control Officer (SACO). This is my partner Bill Cannon. It was Spring. As Bill and I read old cases the phone rang and I put it on speaker.
“Animal Control, Sergeant Tuesday speaking.”
“Hello Sergeant. My dog Douglass is up a tree.”
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“Your dog Douglass is in a dogwood?”
“Yes. He’s a Dachshund.”
(Of course he is) “Dogs don’t normally climb trees, especially the Cornus florida, or flowering dogwood tree.” I was stating the obvious.
“Well, mine does.”
“We’re on our way.” I got the address and we left.
On arrival, a man of middle years met us at the curb.
“I’m Peter Penobscott III.”
“Sergeant Joe Tuesday and my partner Bill. Anything change?”
“No.” He pointed at the 25-foot flowering tree next to the garage. As described, the Dachshund was perched comfortably about 10 feet up.
Mr. Penobscott walked with us to the tree.
“Douglass thinks he’s a cat.”
I blinked. “Why would he think that?”
“When Douglass was a puppy we already had our cat, Cleopatra. They became very close.”
“OK but…Why do you believe he thinks he’s a cat?”
“He acts disdainful of humans. And likes to perch on the back of couches and won’t fetch. It was cute at first but after an unfortunate hairball incident we realized it was more serious.”
“Yes, that would concern me too.”
We both pondered the perilously perched pooch. Doug seemed plussed (the opposite of nonplussed) and surprisingly gruntled on his perch.
To Mr. Penobscott I said, “Give us a minute.” I had an idea.
“Bill, we want Doug to believe he’s a vulture instead of a cat. Can you convince him he’s a hotdog-shaped, four-legged and flightless Lammergeier*?” (*bearded vulture) “Then the rubber road kill should be sufficient enticement to un-tree him!”
Bill agreed and commenced his canine conversation. Dogs have limited vocabularies except related to smells so Bill sniffed and woofed his way through a description of the wondrous whiff and bouquet of road kill. Unlike a cat, dogs have an instinctive need to please. I hoped we could use that.
I set up the net and the faux road-kill. Doug spotted it and suddenly changed from perching to a more buzzardish lurking. The plan was working.
Bill prompted. “Go Doug! Go!”
Doug jumped, believing himself swooping down on defenseless carrion. Gravity and the net performed predictably. Mr. Penobscott returned just as Doug was rolling in the rubber road kill. We extricated Doug and I made some recommendations.
“Sir, Cats are a known bad influence. Douglass needs to rediscover his doggy-ness, his canine-inity. He needs to roister without guilt; frolic and chase balls. Let him chew on a shoe. Cats are poor role models. Find him some new friends named Fido, Spot or Fifi.”
Bill remarked as we drove away, “Joe, … one for the books.”
I nodded. Our musings were cut short by the phone. I listened and hung up.
“Bill. We have a code 3141.”
Bill thought a second, “A wandering wombat?”
“Yes. This could be one for the books.”
We hit the lights. “I really love this job!”
Stay Tuned to Blue Water Healthy Living for more episodes of “The Stories of Animal Control Officers Joe Tuesday and Bill Cannon”.