Chip’s Not-So-Excellent Adventure

This happened about ten years ago and the people in question are long gone and out of my life forever, so I think it’s safe to tell this story.

After getting back home from a simply marvelous vacation to Mickeyland, some very smelly swamps I was looking foreword to a week of putting my feet up and relaxing. Oh, how wrong the assumption was. How very wrong.

I had neighbors when I lived in Fort Worth. Loved them all… but there’s always the house that has to make it their personal mission to crap on everyone’s good days and for us, it’s the folks in the house behind us. Just to give you an example of the depravity that this man and his psycho wife pull on this neighborhood: they complained to our Home Owners Association that I had excessive bird feeders. We had two. They called the cops on our other neighbor’s daughter’s birthday party claiming that there was drunken shenanigans going on. The girl is fifteen. They harassed a pregnant woman who had a security light in her back yard because her husband was out of the state and she was afraid. They have gotten into our back yard at least three times and, on one occasion, torn up a garden.

They’re just sick people.

I also had this dog named Chip. He was nineteen years old at the time and, in dog years, that’s deceased. He’s a small dog, about 12 pounds, and literally never moved. The poor thing couldn’t see, couldn’t hear, and could barely walk. He wore diapers because he was incontinent.

I loved this dog… I’d had him since I was a sophomore in High School and, although his quality of life was not that great, I absolutely babied him and doted on him, making him as comfortable, fat, and spoiled as I could.

I saw him one night at about 12:30 when I went downstairs for a glass of water. By 6:00 AM the next day, Chip had disappeared from our home.

I searched for a few hours (keep in mind, this dog can’t jump and can’t climb stairs) thinking that maybe he had gotten lost or stuck or had even died somewhere in the house but I came up empty. I was getting frantic because I’ve had this dog since I was 15 and all I could think about was him stuck, scared, and suffering somewhere.

I expanded the search outside even though I knew I had seen him in the house the night before. That’s when I saw one of my good neighbors who told me that my gate was open that morning and that he shut it for us.

I checked the back door. It was unlocked.

Didn’t take long for me to piece together what had happened. I was just aghast at the sickness of it all. Of the evil and petty act that had just been committed against us.

While I slept, someone got into our backyard, opened the back door, and took my 19 year-old dog from our house.

We wondered: of all dogs, why him? Why not the two younger and (sorry, Chip) cuter dogs? Why not one of my three cats?

The answer was obvious. The two dogs were upstairs with us, the cats would run. Chip would have just laid there and slept.

I called the police, filled out the report, and told them about the neighbors. They said, understandably, that without proof there was nothing they could do but did unofficially tell me that they would be watching how they parked their vehicles real close in case they violated some ordinance. The cop, for her part, was pretty stunned that someone would steal a “special needs” animal as well and called the neighbors “sociopaths.”

I saw the man in his backyard and motioned for him to come to the fence. He tried to ignore me, but I hoisted myself up and looked at him as he walked inside. “You’re sick,” I yelled at him, “and if I catch you in my house I’m feeding you to that psycho wife of yours!”

Never said a word. He was one of those “men” who would stand there and be screamed at by his wife and then do crappy things behind the scenes to others to make her happy. The little quivering shell of a man just walked inside at my words. I thought confronting him would make me feel better, but it didn’t. I started to fantasize about waiting downstairs late at night for them to try it again, only to leap out and stab them in the forehead with a kitchen knife. In all my years, it’s the first time I ever seriously considered buying a gun.

I started to picture Chip being taken out of the house. He wouldn’t have known what was going on. I knew that they probably killed him. Smacked him in the head with something or cut his throat. He has such a sad yelp when he’s hurt and just thinking of him making it as someone did harm to him made me cry.

I mourned the dog for two days, but I didn’t give up. I called animal shelters, I did some footwork. I knew the odds of finding him were low, but I also knew that if I didn’t try, the question would be on my head for years.

It was at the last shelter, one miles and miles from the house, that I found him. The attendant opened the door to the room where they were keeping the small dogs and he was in the first cage I looked at – sleeping, of course. Cynical and emotionally raw, I saw him and choked out the words, “It’s him! It’s him!” before I started bawling like a little schoolgirl. I stuck my fingers into the cage to touch him to make sure he was actually real. He turns and looked at me with cloudy sleepy eyes as if to say, “Where the hell have you been, daddy?”

We brought him home, gave him a bath, and have spent the last two days trying to stop a tidal wave of doggie diarrhea from gushing from him from whatever they fed him there. As soon as I was paid again, I sent the Fort Worth Animal Shelter a nice donation.

I got alarms on the doors now so if the neighbors were ever bold enough to try and get in again, I would know.

Of course, there are those nights when I would go downstairs, turn the backyard door alarm off, and sit in the darkness with a knife just waiting for them to be stupid enough to come into my home one more time. In my mind, they would walk in, but they would limp out – if at all.

I wish I could say that last part was a joke, but when someone – particularly someone with malevolent intent to just harm you for no other reason than existing comes into your house without invitation and literally steals a member of your family, it affects you. It affected me for years.

I wish I could finish this story with a tale of pro-revenge, but life seldom goes that way. About a month later, my Chip had a very horrible seizure and I made the hard decision that it was time to let him go. I took him to the vet and he went to sleep one last time in my arms.

The neighbors never did try anything so outlandish again, though once my adopted children moved in, they took up saying passively aggressive and racist things about my children, especially when I wasn’t in the backyard to hear it. My daughter, for example, came in to the house one time and said, “That lady behind us said something about me not being able to speak English.” Keep in mind, I’m white and my children are Hispanic. I walked outside, “They speak fluent English,” I yelled at her before insinuating strongly that she might be a female canine.

After about another year, the shell of a man and the psycho wife moved away and the neighborhood descended into an era and peace and harmony that lasted until my family and I eventually left the neighborhood ourselves.

It just goes to show you how a couple of rotten sociopathic apples can ruin an entire bunch.

1 comment

  1. It is hard to believe; yet empathy is not everyone’s strong trait. Unfortunately, some people don’t possibly know how to relate to another’s pain ‘just because’ they haven’t been there themselves. We definitely need more compassionate people, and how we treat our own pets will be a sign of whether we are truly lovable or not! Timothy.


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