My favorite time of year.
A time to spend with family and friends reflecting on the things that really mean something to us, complete us; things that delight the spirit and make us whole.
But let's be honest, one day is enough of all that, so come on...it’s time for a right, raving BITCHFEST!🤣
In keeping with the Thanksgiving theme, this Dick of the Week is one stupid, stupid, turkey of a man who either can't read, thinks the world revolves around him or, just maybe, he's a combination of both?
A couple of months ago, I got an email application for dog boarding from a man who had been recommended to use us by a friend. The dog, whom we shall call Brinks, though that's not his real name, was apparently a lovely 4-year old retriever, and the family were looking to have him join our program so he'd have a home-from-home experience when they went away.
As I looked through the application, my heart sank.
This dog had been through a program with a guy in Lawrenceville who uses pinch collars and electric shock collars to 'train' him, which means he had been bullied, shocked and stabbed in the neck in order to gain compliance. After 16-years, I absolutely know, as do all good force-free dog trainers, that this has the almost guaranteed effect of making a dog scared $hitless of his abuser/trainer and/or turns him into a bully with weaker beings. Weaker beings like smaller dogs, small children, spouses, elderly visitors, you know, the kind of assets you'd prefer to protect, maybe?
So I emailed 'Ronald', Brinks' owner and told him that we were very sorry but we don't accept dogs into our regular group-play boarding or day-care program that have been trained in this way, as there was too much risk to the other dogs.
(For those of you who think this is maybe unfair, I will qualify this by telling you that if dogs have been abused in this fashion, we do take them in as clients, but not as regular guests; we have to work with them separately first for an extended period of time, away from our other guests, who do not come to us to be lambs to the slaughter just because another dog was not trained properly or kindly.)
What followed was a series of pleadings and justifications from 'Ronald' telling me that Brinks is the nicest dog on the planet, that he went to the boot camp for training over 3 years before and was no threat to anyone. The dog was a 'saint, was gentle around other dogs at the dog park', ran a soup kitchen for homeless dogs....okay, okay, the last bit I made up, but Ronald was emphatic that Brinks was fabulous.
More importantly though, that they loved Brinks so much that they were 'heartbroken' to think that he wouldn't be able to stay at our delightful 'home from home' facility, that he understood we have strict rules for the good of all the dogs but " Please, Penny, would you just look at these videos of him with our grandchildren and other dogs...he's a perfect dog!"
I’m 57, and I'm the first to admit that I am very judgemental and intransigent at times, and, as Kristen and Pete always remind me, we are known as "the Second Chance Ranch.'
So, after looking at the videos and photos again with Kris, we decided to arrange a temp test for this saintly dog using obviously just our own dogs and a couple of extra hands, and give these folks the benefit of the doubt.
Kris reached out to them by phone to organize the evaluation, spoke to the wife and settled on a day a few weeks ago. They didn't confirm by email as promised and so Kris reached out to them again. As did I. Zero, zip, nada.
So early in the morning of the proposed temp test, I emailed Ronald and told him that as we hadn’t heard from him to confirm, we'd be cancelling his evaluation.
Sure as eggs is eggs, 11.30 am Ronald drove up at the appointed time with Brinks, and after Kris hastily rearranged a few things, she went ahead with the evaluation.
Brinks was indeed a nice dog who did well with our dogs and although Ronald had somewhat of an imperious nature and rudely shrugged off the fact that he hadn't confirmed the days' appointment (Kris is SO much more tolerant than I, as you all know, God bless her) Kris suggested to him that we progress to the half-day visit and that she'd organize the right pack dynamic for the morning; placing him with Big Daddy Drake, our incredible Weimaraner top dog, and Blueridge his trusty assistant, to better judge Brinks' responses and therefore, his suitability.
Ronald agreed and Kris confirmed all the details about drop off times and pick-up etc. with him.
The day dawned, and as usual, our 'carpool' line was crazy long at 9.30 am.
I am now going to hand this over to our Kris to let you know what happened next.
......"Ah yes, the setting was a rainy and chilly Thursday morning in the DD driveway.
At 9:32am after we’d already taken care of the two clients in front of him and had their dogs safely inside the gate I looked up to wish “Good morning!” to a man walking down the driveway with no dog beside him. As he approached he was yelling, “This is NOT going to work for me!”
It took me a moment to process who was yelling at us and then it clicked.
He continued, “This is NOT going to work for us. You have to wait in line to drop off your dog? I can’t just drop him off and pick him up WHENEVER I want? This whole process is convenient for YOU, it's NOT convenient for me. Oh, and also, we live too far away for this.”
They live in Flowery Branch (20 minutes away, and I must just point out that we hadn’t moved our facility's address since he came for the evaluation just days before)
Kris looked at him and said "I’m sorry this isn’t convenient for YOU but it certainly seems convenient and works quite well for the other 10+ cars behind you and 16 dogs coming through the gates at the Ranch this morning".
She told me she was glad she was wearing a mask as she could barely cover her jaw-drop and then her laughter.
Ronald drove away in disgust.
Presumably he was headed towards Macy's at the Mall of Georgia to insist that they open before ten to accommodate his needs...or perhaps he was off to Chick-fil-A to demand that they start opening on a Sunday? Or maybe off to the local cat rescue to insist that they start rescuing llamas? Dear God, what a dick.
Ronald understood that we have strict rules for the good of all the dogs, lauded the fact in his email, even, but clearly they just mustn't apply to him. Because, well...because he's Goddamn Ronald!
Rules are for 'little people' are they Ronald? How very Leona Helmsley of you, my dear.
Ronald wanted to bring his dog to a home-from-home facility where someone lived on site 24/7 and always put the good and safety of the dogs first, as long as he could show up whenever he wanted.
Sure Ronald, turn up at 8.50, 8.30 or whenever you like, why don't you?
We start at DD at the veritable a$$crack of dawn, so we run back upstairs at just before nine am every morning to get a '$hit, shower and a shave' before we face the public in the driveway. But of course, Ronald, we will forgo any personal hygiene needs and rush out to you should you decide to turn up at a time of your choosing, we'll be sure to be outside in the driveway, tugging our forelocks like a bunch of serfs as you swan in.
Our drop off and pick up times are set for the benefit of the dogs and so that a) we can walk them calmly as a pack without interruption, ensuring peace and good health; b) they've digested their meals appropriately for at least 75 minutes and c) that some fool isn't going to be asking us to open the gate when we have 25 dogs loose in the field which would be dangerous and stupid.
Ronald, you're an idiot.
We feel very sad for Brinks who probably went to one of those places where there’s a lovely reception with all day drop off and pick up, but no acres of field, woodlands, meadows and streams and home from home 24/7 care, the very thing he wanted for his dog.
Ronald, you are our Dick of the Week!