If you knew your best friend had killed somebody in cold blood, would you still hang around with him or her? To what extent? Would you maybe call them once in a while? Would you have them over occasionally? Would you drive around with them all the time? Or at all? Would he or she still be your “best” friend?
Now what if that friend had not only killed one somebody, but maybe 20 or 30 somebodies? He or she has now gone from being a cold-blooded killer to a cold-blooded serial killer or mass murderer.
Finally, what if that friend only had his or her vendetta against one or two certain types of somebodies? What if he or she profiled a specific appearance and felt that any individual that looked a certain way should be wiped off the face of the earth? Now your cold-blooded, serial-killing friend is also a bigot.
David and Jake (the names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent … or have they?) have known each other for more than eight years. If one is in the vehicle, 90 to 95 percent of the time the other one is also in the same vehicle. They go everywhere together and are nearly inseparable.
When Jake was sick, Dave was always at his side. When Jake was throwing up, Dave nursed him back to health. When a sporting injury caused Jake to blow out his ACL, Dave was there to see him through surgery and rehabilitation. When Jake had a pesky rash in his nether regions, Dave made certain the cream got applied and the pills were taken appropriately.
The camaraderie has not been exclusively one-sided. Jake has been there for David as well. Through thick and thin and through highs and lows, Jake has always been there to encourage Dave to persevere. He gets Dave going on days when he would rather not get up. He talks Dave into going out, getting in the car, and going places.
David has never killed anybody or anything. Jake is an assassin. He has probably put 30 varmints in the ground. Groundhogs are his victim of choice; but raccoons will do.
Although association with Jake makes Dave an accomplice, Dave could not be more proud of his best friend. And with good reason. All of God’s creatures are beautiful and wonderful in their own ways. But groundhogs are destructive and raccoons are a nuisance. And both can be dangerous. Jake is doing a public service.
Jake’s profession is not without hazards. Punctures and lacerations that began as bite wounds can become infected. Eyes can be scratched or lost. Large blood vessels can be severed. Limbs can become broken. Diseases and parasites can be transferred. Rabies could be spread.
And Dave’s role as “getaway driver” is not without frustration. Like the time that Jake’s mission took him deep in the woods. Dave waited and searched for hours before finally leaving the designated rendezvous point. Only to find Jake waiting for him in the driveway at home.
Bonnie and Clyde. Frank and Jesse James. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Dave and Jake will not go down in history as being as notorious as these other famously infamous duos.
But these partners in crime will also never be nationally-wanted felons. They will ride happily off into the sunset; a known killer and his best friend. At the end of the day, Jake will lick Dave and take his place at the foot of his bed. And come sun-up the next morning, Jake will gently nudge Dave to get up and do it all over again.
Dr. Adam Ferguson is co-owner of Baker Animal Hospital. If your dog has a “license to kill” like Jake does, check with your veterinarian about safety precautions. He or she will have vaccination recommendations and suggestions for appropriate parasite prevention.