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Notes from Ash Huang

Hot posts in r/meandogpack.

Me and my brain, dramatized by me! and numerous half-feral dogs.

I finally close my eyes, ecstatic I’ve gotten in bed on time. The dogs immediately nose me from every direction, climbing on my chest, nudging my arms so hard my elbows flap like a loose marionette’s. I put on Ezra Klein’s podcast, or maybe David Naimon. I toss that butter smooth interviewer voice to the pack like a bag of biscuits. Here! Chew on this! Let me sleep!

I’m a baby, then a child, and each puppy is foisted on me, piled on me, now my responsibility. Someone else might have let them go, rehomed them with someone else, taught them to survive in the wild. I keep every one. Why? I don’t know. Maybe I heard somewhere that people won’t break into your home if you have a lot of unruly dogs in your living room. If I do not raise them gently, they will turn mean and bite everyone, including me, mostly me. I am only thankful I live in a time where I can Google instructions, keep a mean dog tame, dealing with my mean dogs reddit

Absolutely nothing is happening, I am just minding my own business and walking my dogs. I’ve heard exercise is great for taming dogs—but I’m feeling on edge and looking for signs that something is wrong. A plastic bag rustles in the street, and the pack loses its mind. They lunge on the leash in all directions, barking, and nearly pull my arm out of the socket. I try to reason with them and speak gently, but by the end of it I’m screaming at them and they’re still barking. The plastic bag’s handle shifts slightly, as if cheering our argument on.

I feel terrible watching the pack sleeping at my feet because I am visualizing taking the world’s largest push broom and sweeping them into the trash. Of course there is something wrong with me, it takes a mean person to make so many mean dogs. Of course they will bite and bark and shit in the house if I am always so disappointed in them, always trying to tame them. I am supposed to lead them, be the alpha, yell sit in German have them all thump rump to the ground. Or at least let them free. They would be fine without me.

If someone catches a glimpse of bony dog feet in the corner of a photo frame, or the typos from a dog dropping dead birds on my keyboard, I’d rather they say nothing. Spare me the solutioning, the buck up encouragement. Especially if you’ve never seen a dog in your life. I have already seen a pack trainer. I have already read all of r/meandogpack. When you can make a professional pack trainer cry with stories about your dogs, you’ve won some prize, but you’re still somehow a loser.

I am not a good alpha, but I’m not the worst. I still wake up each day and go to work, listen attentively to my family over the chorus of growling. Onlookers want there to be some lesson to this, for this to be some story of grit or success. I am just impressed that I don’t spend my waking hours weeping, running room to room, crushing fingers in slammed doors to keep some distance between me and these damn dogs.

I let their cries wash over me. I recognize them as they are, a pack of dogs, innocent, animalistic things that only seek to keep me safe. It is easy to hate mean things, but harder to hate wild ones. Wild things just are, they don’t need to have a purpose or a story.