After I graduated from high school in 2007, I moved to Omaha, Nebraska, to live with my mom, sisters, and step-dad.

Soon after moving in, I got hired on at a mom and pop gym. It reminded me of the movie Dodgeball, and the gym, Average Joe’s. Most of the gym members where in fact in, well, average joe shape. But I worked at that Average Joe’s. And I welcomed and greeted everyone with enthusiasm. Because, they were trying, giving it their best, best they knew how. I respected that, a great deal, at the time.

Anyway, co-worker by the name of Ronald, or Ron, was more or less a friend. Keep in mind, I was under the age of twenty one, and the rest of my friends were over the age of twenty one. I was eighteen, nineteen, when I worked at this gym. So, we were buddies, but they had respect for my mother and step-father, and never once invited me to hang out. Because, they were drinking. And this is a midwestern thing, I think, kinda, it’s a location thing, in a way- these were down to Earth people. They weren’t shady. They had honor and respect. Humble, never too emotional about much, kinda even keel folks.

Ron, man- I think Ron was in his mid-thirties at the time. Which to me seemed old, at the age of eighteen. Of course now, I’m thirty four years old. Crazy, how time works… Anyway, the rest of the guys were mid-twenties, so poor Ron, I don’t think he got invited to much either. Because, Ron was kinda different. He was a Southern boy, not a good ole boy, but definitely from the South. The funny thing about Midwesterner’s, at least in Nebraska, was- most of those folks were loyal to other natives of Nebraska. Known each other since elementary school. And I get that. But, I always felt kinda like an outsider, when I lived there.

Anyway, sorry. Going off on tangents.

I guess what I can say today, is, Ron was probably the guy I related to the most. Even if I’d of been twenty one, I think I’d of kicked it with Ron more than Brandon, and Kyle. David, I did kick it with. David and Ron were the two coolest guys I met from Omaha, that weren’t obligated, so to speak, to approve of me, because we were in the same fraternity. Nope. They just saw me, and really did genuinely want to be friends with me. David never offered me alcohol either. Didn’t bust it out when we hung out.

Okay, so Ron had this story. He’s walking down a street, and this Doberman starts to attack him. I guess Doberman’s can develop dementia, and kind of lose themselves to madness. Anyway, this Pitbull comes out of nowhere, and fuckin’ kills the doberman. Saved Ron’s life. Ron took the Pitbull home, I guess he was a stray, and they were life long friends until that pup passed.

This guy I knew before I graduated adopted a Blue Nose Pitbull, named him Demon, which- eh, I still think is kinda stupid. But, Demon was such a sweet dog. Knew demon from the time he was a ten pound pup.

I came back to AZ on a vacation, and it’d been about a year. Demon, after one year, grew into a monster dog. What would be considered an XL, or, XXL, pitbull.

Not all Pitbull’s are mean, and it is true- some pitbulls are just violent, and mean spirited.

This pains me to say, but Drax was a violent pitbull. The saddest part is, that’s just how he was. He didn’t realize he bit me hard, but yeah- he fucking bit me, and seriously bruised my body. He continued to bite, like- I’d tell him no! And he didn’t fucking stop.

Brock, is not that way. Brock happens to be a blue nose. I think he’s part bully pit, because he is a stalky boy. But Brock is like that pitbull that saved Ron’s life. I can sense it. I think he was abused. Which really pisses me off. But I can’t change that. All I can do is shower him with love, and assertive guidance. He loves giving kisses, and is just… Such an amazing boy.

I’m going to close with this. My cousin James, really is disturbed, deep down. Not his fault, not judging James. I say that though, because, I went over to hang with James once. He opens the door, and there’s this black pitbull right next to him. As I enter his abode, the pitbull nipped me. Yep, fucking basically bit me. I told James, and here’s what was most disturbing… James had a Crate to put his dog in. Without a doubt, should’ve put the asshole in the crate. Because, I was scared of the dog. Dogs that bite, eh- all dogs go to heaven, but some dogs I don’t care for.

James DID NOT put his dog in the crate. And maybe I’m imagining this, but it was almost like my cousin was saying, “Sparta knows something about you deserve to be afraid of him, because dogs know bad folk”. Fuck that, James, you maniac.

I realize now, as soon as that dog bit me, I should’ve got right back in my truck, and drove home to be with little five pound El Santo.

Blood Relations is a book by Kristopher Triana, a collection of short stories, and I believe a novelette, or novella. But basically, some of those stories were saying, “your family is NOT always going to be your friend”. I tried to be homies with James, and now I see that I should’ve left James alone. Just interacted with him at family events, and keep it at that. James, I don’t blame you. War fucked up your brain, and that’s not really your fault, either. It’s just that, man- every time I’ve tried developing some consistent relationship with you, it folds like a cheap deck of cards. So yeah, best of luck- but my door is closed to you and your’s. Fucked up as that may be, I’ll only keep my door open for my sisters, sorry Lauren, not you though. Two of my sisters, my door will always be open to. And my mom.

The older I get, the more I respect women. The older I get, the less I respect men. Not all women, because not all women are good. And some men, are good, but most are wicked. I should know, I’m a child of a man, but, still a guy.

I love Bonez, and El Santo, and Marley, and Brock. I love them all equally, unconditionally. They love me too. I talk to them like they absolutely understand what I’m saying in English. I don’t expect them to act as humans, but I still feel like they sense my energy. That they keep me afloat when humanity is busy doing what the world demands of them.

Dogs are the best.

Humans are amazing, too.

Cats are also the best. I used to live with cats, and they are amazing. I love cats too, as much as dogs, but- these dogs aren’t cat lovers, so I won’t put a cat’s life at risk. Maybe down the road I’ll have three or four kittens. Who knows, animals rock, don’t they?

Philip Webb

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