"Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent."
— Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday
"The names are not changed in this story. The parties are guilty."
— David M. Lane, DVM
Having finished my Saturday morning patients, I was anxious to do something away from the practice. The winter had been a
long one and a lot of Saturday afternoons had been wasted because of weather. Walking out of the door and into the sunshine
I spied my long dormant boat on the back of the practice property. The fishin' light bulb went off.
Weezered: This guard dog helps ensure a proper work/life balance.
The boat had yet to be used this spring, and I was anxious to see how it would run. My boat is not exactly a state-of-the-art
bass boat, but it serves the purpose. Time was short because I had to come back later in the afternoon and treat some sick
patients in the hospital. Nonetheless I thought that there would be plenty of time to take a quick run in the local lake.
A drive home would be necessary to pick up some fishing gear and the keys to the boat. As I pulled in I could see my little
Dachshund barking in the front window at my approaching truck. Weezer is a hand-me-down just like the rest of my pets. He
had been in an abusive household, and my staff had been able to rescue him at an early age. This little double-dapple castaway
had come to my family with various neurotic tendencies. His cute little foibles both exasperated and amused my family. He
seemed to hate strangers from the get go and would bark incessantly when a stranger showed up.
After about five minutes, however, Weezer accepts everyone and turns into an attention-seeking pest—wanting both affection
and notice from his new friend. We have continued to love Weezer in spite of it all.
The fateful dog decision
Weezer had been on previous sojourns in the fishing boat and would trundle up to the front and station himself like a figurehead
on the end of the bow. When we were off over the water, his ears would flap in the wind like two fleshy flags in a hurricane.
If anyone would come too close, he would bark with impassioned bravura. On occasion Weezer had been known to jump out of the
boat at full throttle. But on this particular Saturday he would trump that minor infraction. Good judgment would fail me this
day; I decided to take him with me.
Once we had driven back to the boat an omen appeared — the boat lights wouldn't work. I grumbled. I then reasoned that since
the lake was only a short distance from the practice I could sneak in to the boat launch without the constabulary catching
me. Off we went with Weezer circling anxiously in the front seat of my new truck.
The two of us drove to the launch pad. This was a literal event since Weezer would insist on padding over my lap and involving
himself in the steering mechanism. After a few minutes of helping, he would calm down and just slobber on the driver side
The next two minutes are indelibly printed into my mind like a hot iron. I backed the boat and the back wheels of the truck
into the water and jumped out with the engine still running to see if the boat-trailer was the proper distance into the water.
When I returned to the cab, Weezer had jumped onto the lock button situated on the armrest and had thus locked himself inside
with the windows up and the keys still in the ignition. All hopes of a pleasant afternoon died. The truck was so new, I had
not hidden yet a spare key somewhere on the frame. I looked inside. He was innocently sitting in the passenger side by now
waiting for my next move. The temperature that afternoon was closing in on 90 F. The air-conditioner in the truck was not