January 17, 2007
DOG DAY AFTERNOON
We had to put my sweet little dog Mocha to sleep yesterday. He was sick and weak and suffering. We're all sad and nobody got much sleep last night. Those of you who have pets know what I'm talking about. Pets come into your life and all they ask for is a couple of bowls of food a day, a walk when they have to go and a treat every now and then.
In return they give you their love.
When I was leaving for work yesterday I knew Judy would be taking Mocha to the vet and I knew Mocha wasn't coming back. I went into the refrigerator and took out a slice of American cheese. I hadn't given him a cheese treat for almost a month because the vet felt the cheese and fat would make him even sicker.
Sick as he was, Mocha took a look at the cheese and started to do that little circling dance he did whenever I gave him a treat. "It's cheese for the kiddie," I said. "No sharing with Oreo — this time you get the whole slice." I broke up the cheese into little bite sized pieces. I couldn't watch him eat. I rushed out the door.
This is a column I wrote about the poor little guy a few years ago.
DOG DAY AFTERNOON
So let me tell you how I almost killed my little dog Mocha the other day.
Every time I think about it, I'm reminded just how dumb I am and why it's dangerous to leave me or Mocha unattended even for one minute.
I've been a weekend bachelor almost every week this year. My wife, the beautiful Judy Licht, has been on permanent Bar Mitzvah duty with my son JT, who is seriously in line for the title "King of the half-Jews." My weekends consist of tennis followed by a late lunch at Rowdy Hall, where I have consumed plenty of their grilled bacon slab and a fatty sausage dish served with hot mustard that calls for beer, beer and more beer.
Naturally, if you eat these kinds of fatty foods during the day, late at night, if you're very quiet, you can hear your blood sloshing and struggling to get through your veins. My constant companions all winter and spring have been my two faithful dogs, Oreo and Mocha. Unlike Judy, they don't complain when I have the television blasting away at 2 a.m. They don't even make a big deal if I decide at 3 a.m. to get up and make myself a martini, as I have been known to do from time to time.
On Sunday, as I prepared to go to New York, I walked Oreo to the car, attempted to lift her, and just as I was saying to myself, "This dog weighs a ton," I dropped her. She gave me this dirty look and jumped into the back of the car herself.
This left me to deal with Mocha, who waits on the lawn because he is terrified of the invisible electric dog fence we have around our property to keep him from being squished like a bug by a car. Mocha jumped and danced as I leaned over to remove the doggy collar that activates the electric charge on the fence. He knows that once the collar is off I will pick him up in my arms and gently place him in the car — the idea being that he can never cross that fence line unless he is safe in my arms.
So the collar was off and Mocha did his little dance of joy and the two of us headed for the car. "Yes, you're a good little doggy, aren't you?" I cooed. Then we reached the fence line and Mocha let out the loudest screech I have ever heard. His paws pointed out four ways and for a second he looked like one of those dogs in a cartoon who is running in four different directions at once.
The first screech was so loud I screamed along with him as though I was going to have a heart attack. The second screech stopped me in my tracks. A second later, Mocha leaped out of my arms and was running faster than any animal I have ever seen. I looked down at the collar on the lawn that I had removed and realized I had taken off the wrong collar. I had almost electrocuted the poor little thing.
It took me a half-hour to catch him, and I can't tell you how many doggy treats it took to win back his affections. When I finally got him into the car, Oreo gave him a look as if to say, "I've been telling you he's a schmuck . . . now you'll believe me."
All this reminded me of a column I wrote a few years ago, a true story about a dog named Benji, a 60-pound poodle whose master bought a new gun and was demonstrating how to use it to a friend. Benji, who was stretched out semi-snoozing on the rug, looked up, came running across the room and took a dive into his master's lap — causing the gun to go off, killing his master instantly. This, of course, for those of us who follow police work, is technically known as a doggy "dive-by" shooting.
I am writing this to say that if I am ever found dead under mysterious circumstances, I first want the East Hampton Village Police to check out Mocha's alibi.
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