Joe Vs. The Humaniac

Yesterday, while driving from the fine city of LaFayette, Indiana to the windy city of Chicago, Illinois, I got a bit hungry. So I stopped at a roadside diner for a bite. It wasn't a bad diner. It had a lunch buffet, and I'm a huge fan of getting all the fruit I can eat. And there was baked chicken. I get the protein, my dog Haggis gets the skin, everyone's happy.

It was a pretty day. Sunny, about 88 degrees, slight breeze... Your typical late summer day. And because it was warmer than I consider safe for my dog to stay in the car without ventilation, I wanted to bring her in. But the diner wouldn't let her come in. It was very Mos Eisley Cantina of them. They wouldn't serve her kind there.

So, I decided to leave her in the car, but enable the remote start. It runs the car for 15 minutes at at a time and allows the air conditioning to blow, keeping her cool and comfortable. The diner didn't have to suffer a dog, I got to eat, and my dog didn't have to languish in the heat. It worked fine for everyone involved.

Everyone, that is, except for the Humaniac.

In the field of animal welfare, the term Humaniac describes a person who is obsessed with the welfare of animals. Not in a healthy way, mind you -- there are people who have made it their life's mission to help animals, and they're a kind of obsessed that translates into dedication. These people, the Humaniacs... They're sick. They make the welfare of even a single animal a point of obsession, even to the detriment of other healthy animals and people and themselves. They refuse to believe that euthanasia can be a humane alternative for an animal whose quality of life is horrible. They demand that fortunes be spent for marginal increases in comfort or lifespan of an animal.

They threaten to take a hammer to your truck window and call the cops when you leave your dog inside it, even with the windows rolled down and the air conditioner running. You know, that kind of thing.

I heard an announcement over the diner speakers asking for the owner of a black Ram truck to come to the hostess stand. So I did, and there she was -- The Humaniac. There really is no other way to describe this woman besides "your typical overweight greying redneck old maid in a mumu with nothing better to do with her life than create issues to try to make her feel important."

Before I could even say a word, she laid into me. "You own that black truck?" she said, jowls shaking.

"Yah?" I responded.

She glared at me through her fat cheeks. "How DARE you leave that precious darling to suffer in the sun and the heat!"

It took me a minute to realize what she was going on about. "My dog?" I asked, knowing the answer by then but wanting to confirm.

"Yes, your dog!" she snapped. "Well... It SHOULDN'T be yours, the way you treat it..."

I sighed. "The engine's running," I answered. "The air conditioning is on, and the windows are down. Trust me, she's fine."

Her face turned red. "Like hell she's fine!" she barked. "She's locked in a hot car with the sun coming in! How... Torturous! How inhumane!"


"I'm calling the police!" she yelled.

This whole time, the poor hostess didn't say a word. I think she knew better.

"Fine, please do," I said. "When you do, tell them there's an overheated bitch at a diner, going on about a dog locked in a car."

This didn't really make things any better. I wouldn't have been at all surprised if she suddenly exploded and showered the entire place with goo. But instead, she just stood there and stammered furiously. I walked away before she could get a word in edgewise. I dropped some cash on the table, grabbed my bag and walked back to the door.

"Come here," I said.

She followed me out to the truck, which was still running. I opened the door. "Here, stick your head in there."

She refused. "I don't need to see how hot it is in there! I know how hot it is out here!"

"Lady, stick your head in there."

She did.

"You see? Nice and frosty," I replied. "I treat my dog well."

She sneered. "I'd treat her better," she said.

I laughed. "I'm sure you would, if she didn't run away from sheer terror every time you tried to feed her."

"You're an asshole!" she yelled.

"You're adorable!" I replied.

She marched away. I got into the car and handed my dog some chicken skin I brought out in a napkin. Together, we drove on up to Chicago. Another day in the life and times of one Joe Peacock and his faithful dog, Haggis.