Paul is currently annoyed with me because I won’t let him bark at the doleful next-door-neighbor dog, who frankly kind of deserves it. Well, no, that’s not fair: it’s the neighbor who deserves it. A nice person who loves dogs, she periodically rescues one (this is the second time) that simply cannot be left alone, and will cry all day in the yard while she’s at work. I wonder if she even knows it.

Because this has happened once before, it is giving me feelings of déjà vu, like, didn’t we already handle this, a year ago? I know we sent her a number of feisty texts. Her dogs, at that time, also kept escaping her yard, a problem which eventually resolved itself though I’m not sure how.

Also in repetitions, things that submerge and then return: this past week, strange dogs keep appearing from nowhere to jump poor Paul. He has long had this effect on dogs: maybe I’ve written about this before, but one broke a window to try and get him once; one knocked down a fence; one jumped out of a moving car. They never actually hurt him (not so far anyway, knock wood), perhaps because of all his glorious fluff, but it always seems like they might. Tangled up with the leash, I don’t know what to do—you’re not supposed to stick your hand into a dog tussle, because they can make a mistake and bite you. So what, kicking? I usually just yell loudly at them, which works, but always offends the owners.

I had thought this fuck-you pheromone, or whatever it is that causes this behavior—since it always happens when Paul is just minding his own business, not even when he, too, is barking and excited—had worn off, because it had been a while. The last time I remembered was when a russet pit bull being walked with no leash (this is not the dog’s fault!!!) ran down a whole city block to tackle him. I screamed at the dog, and the kid who came to grab and then tackle it, and he was huffy but then he cried. That was years ago.

But then, this week, it has happened twice! First with another russet pit, this one small and teenaged, very nice actually, which ran out to us from nowhere; an alley maybe? And proceeded to jump all over Paul, ignoring my upbeat requests that it “Go home! Go on! Shoo! Go home!” until they inevitably started snarl-biting. (If you don’t have dogs: this can just happen when one is on a leash and the other isn’t. The leashed dog feels offended and, especially when the puppy is persistent and oblivious, can start nipping; it escalates from there.) So I shouted at it for a few minutes, and it ran away down the street, and apparently someone else picked it up later and brought it to the pound, putting up Found Dog posters all over the neighborhood.

Then, the next day, a dog pulled its leash out of its owner’s hand to run over and jump Paul yet again. This time, because there was another human being, it was resolved more quickly and easily, but I still had to shout, and the human being was still offended, which I just don’t understand. Can’t you see your dog sprinted away from you to bite mine? Why wouldn’t I yell? It’s effective. It doesn’t hurt the dog, doesn’t presume Bad Dogness, it just startles them both apart.

Anyway. Since people keep talking about how we are in the dumbest timeline, I thought maybe this resurgence of Dog Problems (during the Westminster show, no less!) might be indicative that we’re at some sort of cosmic inflection point, and this time, things could tip a better way. After all, Parasite won Best Picture at the Oscars. Doesn’t that mean something?

Doesn’t everything mean something?

Isn’t it spring, the season of the new, or the new again, as it was before, and ever shall be?