I want a gun to protect my dog. I know it sounds crazy, against my politics, nuts. It drives Cowboy bonkers whenever I bring it up. He even enlisted my Dad to talk some reason to me. Didn’t work. He reminds me we got Hopper (a Rottie-shepherd mix) to defend me from unseemly types who might try to follow me home, which has happened. Or, worse, break into our house. But I’m anxious.
Last winter I saw a kid break into my neighbor’s house and I called the cops. The woman later came out and stood on her porch in the snow and thanked me profusely. So after that, and coupled with the fact that I’ve heard stories, mostly from the kids I teach acting to in jail — go figure — of kids breaking into people’s homes and shooting their dogs, I’ve got a one-track mind. I mean, before I got a dog I assumed that I’d feel safer. Now I’m just worried because I want to protect him from all the dangerous crazies out there in the world. And then, to make it worse, there are the stories in the paper and on TV of dogs stolen right from your car and then thrown into dog-fighting rings and fought until they die (Hopper would be terrible at this, not having an angry bone in his body).
To make it all more complicated I’m in the middle of producing a show about guns and their dangers — an anti-gun show. And yet...
This past winter after the kid next door I got all nuts and every time I heard a sound and Hopper grumbled I’d get up with Hopper to figure it out. I imagine myself flinging my body in front of a bullet, a baseball bat, or a rock to protect him. As his mother, as his guardian to everything innocent, I want to protect him. I’d go back to bed and get in, hemming and hawing, moving around a lot and then, after trying really really hard to not bother my sleeping beauty of a fiancé, I can’t take it any more and I poke Cowboy, asleep and oblivious to everything that was going on (he’d be great if an intruder happened through our windows). I poke him again. And again.
Silence. Snores, Breathing, then a long stretch and a wide-mouth yawn like a bear.
“I need a gun.”
“I want a gun. To protect Hopper.”
“Am I dreaming?”
“No, this is real.”
“You’re not getting a gun, baby.”
“But I think we should have one just in case.”
“...In case what?”
“In case someone breaks in or tries to hurt us and he has a gun.”
“Are you for real?”
“You’re nuts. This is against everything we believe in.”
“Well maybe not...”
“You’re not getting a gun. Period.”
“No. Forget it.”
But I didn’t forget it. I kept at him. Finally we agreed to boxing. So, I started punching bags. I figured if I couldn’t have a gun to protect my baby 85-pound Rottie then at least I’d have a shot at boxing the hell out of an intruder or attacker — maybe, if I got really good at it, before they pulled out their Glock.
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Caitlin Shetterly: email@example.com