Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Dark Side of Craig's List

I am in the market for a dog. We need a household pet. B is starting to show some unsavory symptoms of “the only child syndrome” and I would like to have another body in the house when B is with his dad. It would also be very re-assuring to have a bark on those nights when things are starting to rustle around outside my bedroom window. This is, after all, Sacramento.

I often tell people, “If you want to see how the rest of the world lives, go to Wal-Mart.” I speak from experience…our local Wal-Mart is less than a mile from my house. Before you go and judge my neighborhood, keep in mind that we are also roughly a mile from Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Macys. It’s a rather strange tangle of good and bad.

I am at the local Wal-Mart way more than I should be. It’s far closer than Target. But I still hate it. I really do. I’m reminded every time I enter the sliding glass doors and am assaulted by someone asking for money, followed by a wretched stench that resembles baby vomit, how lucky I am to not have to shop at Wal-Mart. At least I have choices.

Now, I have yet another glimpse as to how the rest of the world lives. Two words: Craig’s List.

As I’ve done with every other used household purchase, I immediately went to Craig’s List this week, in search of the perfect household dog. What I found in the listings was eye-opening. Consider these posts:

“I don’t like my dog no mo.”

“My husband hates our dog. I have to get rid of her. It’s me or her.”

My personal favorite was the header of a post for two dogs:

“Birthday presents gone bad.”

With every Pit Bull listing, there was this warning:

“This dog is not for fighting! Do not adopt this dog with the intent of making it a fighting dog.”

Huh? People adopt dogs to make them fight? Still?

Geez, all I wanted was an adult, mixed breed dog. One with a good bark and a nice attitude toward small children. Is that too much to ask for? Must I muddle through all this garbage just to find a decent family pet?

Next step. Find decent sounding (and looking) dog on Craig’s List and secure time and place to view and meet said dog.

And so begins our foray into the deep, deep South reaches of Sacramento to meet “Goldie,“ the Labrador mix.

B and I journeyed South. And further South. The neighborhoods were beginning to look way beyond my politically correct description of “sketchy.” Let’s be straight here: we were in the ghetto.

Unfortunately, there’s absolutely no turning back when you’ve talked (mostly in a very excited tone of voice) for an hour to a five-year-old about a fun dog named, “Goldie” who we might take home. Let’s face it. The prospect of turning around would be right up there with child abuse.

B kept peppering me with questions, “When are we gonna see Goldie?” Can she ride home in the back seat with me? Will she play with me? Are we there yet?”

Oh yes, this adventure we were going to see through.

I pulled up to the house. It had a chain-linked fence around the perimeter. A heavily tattoed (and rather big man) leaned against the fence, smoked a cigarette, and glared at me. I wondered, “Is this the poster man for Craig’s List?” Beside him, was the biggest, so called “Labrador Mix” I have ever seen in my life. This was no ordinary Labrador. Oh no, this was the by-product of some sort of Great Dane breeding experiment. The dog just happened to be yellow.

We had already pulled up to the man and his beast and B was squealing with excitement from the backseat. “Is that Goldie? Is that her? She’s SO BIG, Mommy! How will she fit into the back seat?“ It was definitely too late to flip a U-turn and haul ass out of there.

I cautiously approached the situation. “Uh, is this Goldie?” I stammered, while thinking, “Duh!”
Tattoos looked me up and down (creepily, I might add). “Yeah, this is her.” Then he opened the gate.

Goldie, meanwhile, was literally springing up and down. Once the gate was opened, she headed right to your’s truly and jumped up, placing her paws on my shoulders. Then she leaned all of her weight into me. This was no dog. This was a horse.

After I recovered from Goldie's welcome, I graciously told Tattoos how beautiful she was, what a great disposition she seemed to have (he looked at me in confusion over this statement - too many syllables in ‘disposition’ perhaps?), while blocking B from being mauled by the giant canine.

We finally made our exit, with me promising to call by the end of the weekend with my decision. I am such a coward in these situations. What, is he going to shoot me if I don’t agree to take his dog on the spot?

I told B that Goldie was just too much dog for us. He found this to be quite funny. I promised to take him to the pound the following day to look at more dogs. B seemed very satisfied with this decision.

I, however, was less than satisfied. My beloved Craig’s List, the source I turn to for everything from vacation rentals to used furniture, has shown me its dark side. And I really don’t like it one bit.

Someone once told me never, never, never to look at the personals on Craig’s List. Something about dirt bags, psychos, convicts, felons. Now I know.

Stay tuned for another update in our quest for the perfect family dog whom will most definitely NOT be found on Craig’s List.