Poland Dispatch: Mending Fences

Twain said golf was a good walk, spoiled. But, I submit he probably never stumbled upon dead dogs during his jaunts, which he might consider a good walk even more spoiled.
For the second time while meandering around the farm I came across another victim of Rocky, the half-mad canine security detail that handles the night shift on the premises. Unlike the previous victim, which seemed almost peacefully at rest, the second victim showed signs of a violent struggle. The crime scene would be considered unpleasant. The deceased was youngish, a mutt of some sort, with what looked to be a little Labrador Retriever in him. There are lots of mutts in the village on account of the lack of a neutering program or leash law. A dog’s life here seems free and easy, with infinite places to soil and a variety of partners to sex up. Your only concern as a dog here would be not encountering a formerly abused, currently psychotic wolf/dog who is guarding a field of black currants.
There is, it seems, a hole in the neighbor’s fence that allows their dogs entry onto the premises which are defended by Rocky with such lethal force. Apparently twice they have been warned that it needed fixing. Shame on them, for they never heeded the warnings and as a result the number of dead dogs I have stumbled across during the course of my holiday is now two. I was told that there was a third victim dating back earlier in the summer – also the neighbor’s and through the same hole. Either the neighbors have an unimpressive learning curve or they simply haven’t noticed three of their dogs are missing.
This is the most dead dogs that I have ever come across, or care to. I’m not much of a dog person myself and in fact am less than fond of most of the pissing, pooping, shrieking little fiends I come across in New York daily. I think people who dress dogs in sweaters or pack their little creatures in special totes and drag them shopping at Barney’s are freaks. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean I want their precious things mauled by a crazed Caucus wolf/dog. In fact, like the ending of Les Miserables and hearing Gary Coleman talk, dead dogs make me a little sad, I have to admit.
It didn’t take much sleuthing to determine the final moments of victim number two’s short life. The tracks were fresh in the snow, and like a skilled ranger I simply followed them to the fence where the intrusion occurred. Lo and behold, there was a hole in the fence the size of which would have easily accommodated the dead dogs I came across. Several of the neighbor’s dogs barked at me as I approached. Apparently they have a lot of dogs to spare. The dogs barked and ran away and came back and barked and ran away. I imagined what they were saying. Where’s Antonek? Where’s Slavomir? What have you done to them? Murderer!
My wife’s family was not as concerned as I was about the whole affair. When I originally pointed out victim number one, my mother-in-law followed me out to the crime scene, acknowledged that I had in fact found a dead dog, and headed back to the kitchen to prepare lunch. Victim number two got even less attention. Again? Oh.
At first they tried to tell me that Rocky may have thought he was playing and accidentally killed his mates. But the Catcher In The Rye defense didn’t really work for me. They changed their case to That’s just life. When you’ve grown up on a farm and have experience raising, killing and cooking your own dinner your attitude towards animals changes, I guess. I, on the other hand, have never raised, killed and eaten my own food. I was horrified as a child when I actually caught a flounder. I cried when I saw a broken bluebird egg. I erected a memorial for my ex-girlfriend’s asthmatic, rug-pissing, pain-in-the-ass cat. Sure, I could kick P. Diddy out of a helicopter without remorse, but I’d swerve off a cliff to save a squirrel.
I decided to repair the fence. My wife’s family was not keen on this. They maintained it was the neighbor’s fence and subsequently their problem since they had twice been told to fix it. In their eyes, and probably rightly so, the canine casualties were unfortunate but an end result of the neighbor’s negligence and laziness. However, I convinced them that if I kept coming across dead dogs during my walks on the farm it would present a bigger problem than me fixing the fence. The idea of getting a good night’s sleep while Rocky was chewing intruders didn’t sit well with me. I eventually received what I think was their blessing and wandered about the farm looking for materials to repair the hole. It wasn’t long before I found a some extra wire fencing rolled up and in another locale a pair of snips and pliers. I detached several strands of the fencing and made my way back to the breach.
If the neighbor looked out their window they’d have seen a complete stranger squatting amongst the pines in a long dressy overcoat, wool slacks and leather gloves more suited for the theater than fence repair. For forty five minutes I cut wire and twisted it in an effort to render the hole impassable. Meanwhile, a brutally cold wind chilled me to the core while smacking me in the face with pine tree branches. No good deed goes unpunished. After I was thoroughly convinced the hole was closed, I cruised the perimeter one more time in an effort to secure the premises.
Mission accomplished. No dead dogs were discovered this morning. From this point on they’re on their own though. If they haven’t learned by now and dare to undo my handiwork, they kind of deserve what they get – even though it will still ruin a good walk.