It was no surprise that someone would be expected to feed the office fish over the Xmas holiday. It was also no surprise that as the last one hired, still under probation, and the only one residing in the neighborhood – I’d be the ‘logical’ choice for this task.
It’s an ugly, boring and unsociable fish – 8 months since our introduction and I’ve yet to see it swim across the tank. It merely treads water at the back, behind the fake coral. We’ve stopped throwing in non-volunteer martyrs since our office ‘pet’ has eaten every BFF we’ve sacrificed. Turn out the lights, set the alarm and lock the door on Friday only to return Monday to the same miscreant fish treading water behind the faux coral while his pal’s skeleton floats past. Creepy.
So I bundled up and walked the half mile to feed the reprobate. Two feet inside the main gate and I came to a complete halt. “Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!” A deeply masculine, angry, tormented sound bellowed across the lot. There had been rumors of impending layoffs – was this a disgruntled employee releasing 20 years of pent-up angst? No, couldn’t be.
The cerulean blue tarp caught my eye, redirecting my attention to a large wire crate resting on a flatbed trailer. The primal scream rang out again but was cut short as I approached. It’s a dog! Obviously someone on-call had brought the poor thing with them and now it was lonesome.
I cooed and it relaxed a bit; danger seemed out-of-place – unlike the fish I had come for there was no fear of being bitten, or eaten, for either of us. But what sort of dog makes such a sound? The closer I got it to it, the less sure I was of breed identification.
Ears: Large, drooping, brown, like a blood hound.
Snout: Sloped, like an exaggerated bull terrier
Body: Solid, very similar to a Labrador.
Coat: White like a Maltese but coarse like some Terriers.
What a unique mix… until it tipped its head and I realized I was standing in the middle of the complex, completely alone, in broad daylight, talking to a GOAT with separation anxiety.