A Diesel Engine

An old beat up diesel truck roared up the dirt path to my house. The dogs signaled alarm at the uninvited visitor. i had the urge to greet the visitor who was clearly pulling over 100 feet onto my property on purpose without permission, with a weapon. I fought the urge to exit the house with my machete. I told myself, “you’re not normal. Others dont view all social contact with strangers as a potential fight to the death. He might just be a neighbor saying hi. He might be lost and need directions. Dont greet him with a weapon, crazy. If you find out he’s up to no good you’ll have time to run in and grab it.” That would mean leaving the dogs outside alone with him…what if he shot the dogs? What if he kidnapped the dogs? I chuckled at the thought. Cashew would eat him before he’d kidnap either of the dogs, she wasn’t the type to go quietly. I cleared my mind and stepped out onto the porch in my pajamas and unwashed hair to see what the man wanted. He stepped out of the truck and walked towards me. When he looked up and saw the scowl i must have been wearing (half because im nearsighted without my glasses and half because i wanted to know what the f*** he thought he was doing standing on my dirt uninvited) he stopped in his tracks. He put his hands up as if to say, “no weapons, i come in peace.” I thought, “geez i must really be wearing a face”. He said something and then i relaxed. All of a sudden i understood why he was there. Somebody had dumped puppies in the country again. There was a convenient shoulder to the road right next to my property and people saw it as a nice place to stop their car and abandon their dogs. I dont know why they never notice the motion activated hunting camera pointed right at the location. I guess they’re not looking for it so they dont see it. Anyways, they stop and let their dogs out the back seat or put a box of puppies down and then take off, leaving them to roam around the country confused about where they are and when mom’s coming back. It started happening a lot more a couple years into the pandemic. When covid began, everyone got a dog. The shelters were empty. Time stretched on and as things became more expensive and work didnt reinstate or pick up or people got their wages cut so the company could “continue to make profit and stay afloat”, they decided they could no longer afford the dogs. I returned a cat to the shelter once because it peed everywhere. I am now on a list of people that can never adopt an animal from the shelter. My animals are adopted from private people or found on the street. Once you give up and send back an animal its like returning a child to the orphanage. You cant have another one. This is why people choose to dump their dogs rather than turn them in. They dont want a record. So people drive them out to the country and dump them. Today’s dump was probably part of an unplanned pregnancy. There were german shepherd puppies roaming around outside my property and crossing the street. The man had come to see if they were mine. People do this often as when a dump happens they’re usually in front of my property and my gate is open. Im grateful that there are so many cedars in the way and i never see them. If i saw them i would be conflicted about what to do with them, whether i could abandon them again after they had been through so much, and i dont need any more dogs, financially or otherwise. We dont have the time, space, or resources. The more animals i take the less quality of life the ones i have will enjoy. I need to match what i can give with what i have. Im grateful he intended to take the puppies. I also always make sure my two are wearing collars and tags because i dont want them dropped at the shelter if they ever get out. (They kill the moment they run out of space and are notorious for spelling immediate death for dogs…basically the moment the courtesy hold is up they’re euthanized because of space issues).

The man had a felt hat, curly dark hair, and stubble. I told him i only had the two while the dogs barked incessantly in the dog run. He nodded and said okay thank you and headed back to his truck. I thanked him for checking with me and retreated from the scene into my house in my old pajamas. I hadn’t been expecting company. I wasn’t dressed for peopling. As the truck backed out of my drive and down the dirt path in reverse i wondered how old the puppies were and whether they were male or female or both. I wondered why they themselves never came down the driveway and then realized that the menacing barking and snarling would probably be the thing that deterred me were i a lost and confused dog. Once the man was all the way off my driveway and back onto the street i breathed a sigh of relief. I looked down and realized my arm was shaking. It wasn’t from fear. More from an adrenaline dump i think. I was all ready for fight or flight and since i had chosen to stay put my body was all geared up for hand to hand combat in a fight to the death. I pressed my arm to the door to stop the violent shaking. This was a product of me being dead asleep in a sunday nap and being woken by the sound of a diesel engine way too close to the wall of the house. When i see peopling coming i can usually do better…hide all my trauma with humans and collect myself. I go to work every day and conversate with and take care of humans and nobody knows how little i can identify with them or how dangerous i hold them on a scale of all breathing beings on the planet. In reality i am much less alarmed by a wild coyote standing 6 feet from me than i am a human creeping 100 feet down the driveway in a truck. A coyote exhibits predictable behavior. A human does not.

Now that the threat was gone i had to wait for the adrenaline dump to sort itself out. I pressed myself against the door, “This is why you have no friends,” i thought. Also, i wouldnt have it any other way. Humans are problematic. They have ulterior motives. They will spike your beer and rape you in college. They will throw bottles at your head as you’re walking home at night and try to knock you unconscious. They will try to traffic you at laundry mats. They will come into the gas station bathroom that doesnt lock and stand behind you as you wash your hands. They will choke you or shake you or smack your butt, squeeze your bosom uninvited. Ive had a lifetime of therapy. I know all humans are not vile and full of monstrous intentions. I also didnt make it to my mid thirties by being a trusting tracy. I am a product of the soup i was marinated in and to me an unexpected human is always going to beget the adrenaline dump while a coyote, depending on its body language and behavior, may just garner my attention. The quality of life i live, the peace i have….depends upon the fact that i live alone in the woods, away from humans.

I can do peopling daily, i can give everyone the benefit of the doubt, as long as i have one place where i dont have to sort any of the unspoken stuff out because humans simply dont exist in that space: home…wilderness.

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