Too often people who love animals tend to stray away from people. They gravitate towards voiceless beasts instead of their neighbors and find solace in the responsibility of care of pets. They love the company animals may offer and shrink away from people.
Fortunately, Erin is not one of those people.
She has a perfect balance between animals and people and is equal kind to both. From our first date to moving in together, our relationship has had a four-legged friend always afoot. Even before the beavergoat, Samson, Erin would care for strange dogs or chase after strays trying to get them to safety. It is an endearing quality and never forced. She genuinely cares for dogs and is quick to drop everything to get one to safety.
We could have a highlights reel of the amount of times we’ve driven around neighborhoods trying to corral stray dogs. Once, in route to a birthday dinner, we darted around downtown looking for a loose dachshund hound until its owner scooped the animal up. We’ve hunted German shepherds, run down Labradors and cornered all forms of mutts.
Her passion for protecting loose animals has resulted in an in-house joke of her being on a first name basis with animals services and requesting certain dogcatchers to deal with particular problems. Wild beagle? Better get Craig on the case. Loose poodle? That’s one is for Cindy and so on and so forth.
I certainly don’t want to see a dog get hit by a car and I enjoy supporting her, so I’ll follow suit. Hell, chasing after a stray dog is better than going to the gym.
Through all of her adventures, never have I been as proud of her as I was on Tuesday.
I had just gotten home from a three-day elk hunt in the Uintas and I was exhausted. After doing a podcast at the Tribune and going on a wild goose chase up in Davis County, I made my way home to find Erin on her way out the door for CrossFit. We were catching up in the kitchen when we heard a car horn blast on 900 East. We went to the porch and saw a pit bull jogging northbound.
It was a girl dog with her protruding nipples and we both gave the, “Oh, here we go again” expression of irresponsible pit bull owners. A thick, squat dog with a beautiful brindle coat but the face of a serial killer, it made its way to a garbage can looking for food. I went into the house to grab a couple of biscuits and Erin grabbed one of our leashes.
While I was whistling for it to come to me, Erin moved right on the dog fearlessly. The dog was not huge but had the body type of an Nebraskan wrestler—broad shoulders, thick torso and back legs built for digging in for the fight. Pit bulls are an acquired taste and while I like them, I certainly don’t love them. Much like some folks love an El Camino and others wonder why a sedan needs a truck bed, fans of pit bulls love them unconditionally. Most folks fear them because of their bad reputation or hate them for attacking people, I just have a healthy fear like of heights or clowns.
As Erin called animal control, I was able to get the dog over to me to take a biscuit. That Milk Bone never stood a chance. Wolfed down, the dog started back towards the garbage can while I was ready to give it another.
The next three minutes happened in a blur.
An animal control officer was driving by while Erin was on the phone. Not even stopping as he headed towards us, he threw a double-ended noose-style leash at us. Not even hesitating, Erin took the leash and looped it around the dog’s neck. Just like that, Erin came to the rescue. Where I had a healthy respect for the dog, Erin calmly and confidently secured the dog and gently talked to her.
The animal control officer pulled around and got out of the truck. Rearranging a wad of tobacco in his lip, he came up to us to take the dog. But instead of heaping praise on Erin’s quick thinking and fearless action, she began to reprimand her for putting the leash on backwards.
I can’t help but think that we didn’t know this guy from work because we are not Goddamn dogcatchers. Instead of saying thanks for helping him out, he moved the tobacky around his lip and put a new leash on without any words.
I thought the purpose of the leash was to hold the dog and much like any port in the storm, a leashed dog is just that. Unfortunately, this turkey was hell-bent to make sure the dogs leash was on “correctly” from the time it took to put the mutt in the back. What a jerk!
Who isn’t a jerk, on the other hand, is Erin. After eight-plus years, she constantly amazes me. Most people run from stray pit bulls—she does the opposite.
Hopefully the dog’s owner finds her or she finds a good home. God forbid she gets out again, Erin will be on the hunt o bring her back to safety. That’s just what she does.
Ben Raskin bartends at Keys On Main Wednesday through Saturday. Follow him on Twitter @BennyRaskin. Podcast you say? Try TPR: Trib Prep Radio on for size. Erin is only allowed to catch dogs and not bring anymore home.