I used to have this old dog named Captain, a great big beast of a dog, maybe a hundred twenty pounds with long black wavy hair. I was told he was half black lab and half golden retriever when I got him and he was suckling a Lab bitch but he was a lot bigger than he should’ve gotten and didn’t have the disposition of either breed. I mean, that dog wouldn’t quit growing.
About the only people he tolerated on a full time basis was me, my buddy David and my mother. He wasn’t rude or especially ill tempered but he was one of those dogs that you walked around instead of stepping over if you valued your dignity or your nuts. I’ve seen grown-ass men that didn’t know the dog try to step over him and then scream like a little bitch when he lunged snapping and snarling for their crotch. I’d laugh my ass off every time. I mean, I’d tell people when they came over to leave the dog alone, don’t pet the dog, stay away from the dog and walk around the dog and it would be cool for the first 4 or 5 beers, then somebody would have to fuck up. I don’t think he ever connected but motherfuckers would launch themselves seven feet away, crashing down amongst the furniture and other guests, and then start bitching at me about my dog, pissed off because I was laughing.
I was laughing at first because you were stupid enough to step over the dog, but I got really wound up when your shrieking sounded like a bunch of first grade girls when little Johnny showed them his peepee during recess.
That dog would fight just about anything, hated kids, despised women and chased cattle. I never had a problem with him myself, though. He kept the other dogs and strays that ended up at my place in line, I didn’t have kids and really don’t care for them myself so that wasn’t an issue, and if I had a woman around, why, they learned not to fuck with the dog after awhile.
The chasing cattle thing, that was an problem for quite a while. I had a hard time breaking him of that – I did everything I could think of (didn’t think of a shock collar) and it still didn’t work. I swear, I was shooting so close in front of him that he was running into clods of dirt flying through the air. He didn’t give a fuck. I was wasting my time, he chased cattle until after about the 4th or 5th time a big ol’ brindle steer sent him rolling. That cooled his heels real quick. After that he was content to lay up on the porch and give that brindle the stink-eye.
Don’t get me wrong though, he wasn’t a vicious dog. I won’t tolerate a vicious dog. He was just big enough that he pretty much set his own boundaries and wasn’t afraid to defend them but it wasn’t like he’d just bite or jam somebody up just for grins. He knew how far to go most of the time.
I remember one time back in the late 80s when the Gemco shut down in Modesto. When they shut down and cleared the store they did it righteously and put everything on sale at 50-70% off and they did it with no fanfare – one day everything was regular price and the next day it was cut better than half.
I heard about from Pops I think and me and Cap jumped in the truck and took off for Gemco. Did I mention they had a better and larger selection of fishing tackle than most bait shops? You can probably figure out what I was going after.
The parking lot was full and the store was packed so I parked a ways back and walked into the store heading straight back to the sporting goods. I was on a mission. I loaded up one of those handbaskets full of crankbaits and went up front to be rang up so I could hurry home and spend the next 3-4 hours rearranging my tackleboxes. When I got there it was ‘Holy shit’ because there was one fucking cashier open and a line at least 25 people deep.
You know what? I was going to save about 75 bucks what with I had in my basket, but I was also looking at about 2 hours in line. With other people. I’m not a fucking people person, man.
So I took my basket back and laid it down in the lure section and jammed out of there. As I strolled past the security guards at the door I opened up my jacket to show I wasn’t stealing anything, smiled and headed out to the truck that Cap had been guarding.
I got out to the truck and climbed in and rolled down the window because Cap had steamed them up from barking at anybody that got within 50 feet, slipped my key in and was just starting to crank it when a security guard appeared at the window and told me to get out of the truck. “What? Fuck you.”
Dude starting accusing me of being a thief, said that I stole the shoes on my feet and to get out of the truck right fucking now. Really? I don’t even wear shoes, bro.
“Kiss my ass.” He was being a dick, but my main concern was I really didn’t need anybody searching my vehicle and I for sure didn’t want the police to show up and start poking around. Hell, there was no telling what they might find. I just started to reach for the door to show him the boots on my feet so I could avoid a situation but that’s when he fucked up – he reached across the steering wheel and grabbed for my keys. I know he didn’t see the dog (night time, black interior, black dog) and Cap hadn’t growled at all the whole time this was going on, so when he reached into the truck I just leaned back to give Cap some room to work out.
That fucking dog launched himself and got a hold of Dude’s arm on his way out the window over the top of me, taking him down to the ground. By the time I got out of the truck, Cap had let go of his arm and had him flat on his back by the throat, not biting, just holding and growling real low.
“Please Sir, call your dog off, please call him off Sir!!!” Dude was all freaked out.
Man, I was having a good time with this. “Kinda funny how I went from being a thief to a sir in about 5 flat seconds, huh?”
“Sir, please. Call your dog off.” He was sniveling, fucking eyeballs rolling around in his head and probably pissing himself by this time.
“Cap, load up.” I snapped my fingers and he jumped in the truck and disappeared into the darkness just as if I had trained him to do that. I know, surprised me too. “Hey, check this out” and I lifted up my foot so Dude could see the old beat up shitkickers I was wearing and not the shoes he was accusing me of stealing.
Man, I hustled out of that parking lot with my lights out and drove straight to a Happy Steak and ordered two steak dinners to go, one medium rare and one barely braised and when I got a wtf look from the dude that was taking my order I told him the story and he insisted on giving me Cap’s steak on the house. Me and Cap sat in the parking lot on the tailgate eating our steaks.
Me and ol’ Cap were together for a few more years after that before he finally succumbed to renal failure when he was about 11, just as ornery then as he was when he was a couple years old.
It’s funny, but he’s been dead since about 1992, that’s what? 25 years now, and I still have his leather collar laying around in my gun room.