Can an 11-year-old kid handle Satan?
In my previous post I wrote about my failed attempts of owning cats when I was a kid. Poor kitties in my care kept using up their nine lives in one quick sweep. Come to think of it, I owned cats during the time that my brother owned a 7 1/2 foot boa constrictor. No wonder some of the cats ran away! Our household apparently wasn’t cat friendly, so my parents decided that maybe we’d try dog ownership for a change. So, one day Mom brings home my first dog . . . a full grown Doberman Pinscher! One of her coworkers was giving away the dog, and naturally, Mom thought it would be nice to bring me home another pet (Before you ask, this wasn’t the same coworker that gave me Bugsy the Cat). Now visualize this for a moment: I was an 11-year-old kid who had never owned a dog before and instead of bringing home a cute little puppy, Mom brings home a “junkyard” dog that probably weighed more than I did and could probably eat me! At first, I was hesitant about petting the intimidating looking canine, but the dog was actually very friendly. I asked Mom what the dog’s name was. She told me that his name was Satan! I didn’t know how to react to that. Was the name cool? Or would owning a dog named Satan just give me nightmares? My older brother thought the name was awesome, of course.
Satan was a big dog, and we didn’t have a fenced yard. I didn’t want to keep him chained in the back yard, so my parents allowed me to keep him in the house while we were home. However, he would have to stay in the garage while I was at school and my parents were at work. So, that’s what we did. It took Satan a while to get adjusted to his new home and family, but before long, Satan and I were best buds. I enjoyed rough housing with Satan every day (something I couldn’t do with a cat without getting shredded like cheese). Every day after school, I’d open up the garage door to find Satan wagging his stubby tail and ready to play. After Satan took care of his natural duties in the yard (which I hated to clean up) after being cooped up in a garage all day, he would take me for a walk around the block. These walks got interesting at times, especially when Satan sniffed out a cat. Don’t worry, though, no cats were ever harmed… only I was after scrapping up my knees when Satan dragged me around the neighborhood.
Don’t open the door! Satan is in there!
Owning a Doberman named Satan turned out to be pretty cool. So, I naturally wanted to show off my new pet. I decided to start off with one of my friends who lived in the neighborhood… the rich kid that lived down the street. Michael was one of those somewhat snobby kids who liked to advertise “his” wealth, dressed all preppy, had all the coolest things, and thought he knew everything about anything. His parents both had a Mercedes with personalized license plates (LASTNAME “1″ and LASTNAME “2″) and, of course, they had those cool new cell phones (remember “The Brick”?). Of course, for an 11-year-old kid, those were great reasons to be friends with Michael. Anyway, he and I both rode the school bus together, so after we got off the bus one day, I invited him over to play video games with my Sega Master System, which my Dad had recently bought me and was my prized possession. Michael, of course, owned the more popular Nintendo Entertainment System, which I personally thought was inferior to the Sega, except for Mario Bros., of course. This was a normal Friday afternoon of playing video games with friends, and we’d always go inside the house through the garage. Well, Michael didn’t know that I had a dog, so when he started reaching for the garage door handle, I warned, “No! Stop! Satan’s in there!” I wasn’t sure how Satan would react to seeing someone else opening the door instead of me.
Michael laughed and said something along the lines of, “Whatever! Satan’s not in your garage!” Michael then proceeded to pull the garage door up; he stopped immediately after hearing a growl from the other side. With fear in his eyes, Michael stopped laughing, pushed the garage door down, and asked me what the heck was in the garage.
Now I was laughing! Satan started barking, which didn’t help the situation. I ordered Satan to behave and told Michael that Satan was my new Doberman Pinscher. That didn’t appear to ease Michael’s fear. I suggested that I go inside the garage first, which Michael obviously agreed to. While Satan didn’t eat the rich snob from down the street, he didn’t particularly warm up to him either. If I remember correctly, Michael was a “cat person”.
Satan and I go our separate ways.
Owning Satan ended up being more of a chore that an 11-year-old kid could handle. Satan also started to show how he disapproved of living in the garage, too. Let’s just say he didn’t wait for me to get home from school to let him outside to take care of his business. While the garage accommodations worked fine for a while, poor Satan needed a yard with a fence to run, play, and poop. My parents were renting the house we lived in, and the landlord wouldn’t build a fence. Satan would have to stay in the garage during the day, and after a while, he started to dart out of the garage when I opened the door. After a couple of times chasing Satan around the neighborhood until he finally decided to come home by himself, I decided that I wasn’t cut out for dog ownership either, at least not yet. As much as I loved Satan, I had to let him go. It was just the right thing to do. So, Mom returned Satan back to his previous owner.
I had high hopes that owning a dog would end my childhood streak of bad pet ownership. But, alas, here I was again without a pet… well, sort of. My brother let me help him take care of his pet boa constrictor, Rosie. It just wasn’t the same, though. Maybe I’d take a crack at fish ownership! Oh, wait, I tried that. They all died. :-(
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