One nation, under Dog

Accountability. It’s a word that occasionally rears its ethical head here at the Telegraph. Or, in the case of last week, bites you in the ass like a pissed-off dog.

And by dog, I mean The Dog. With a capital “D.” As in “Bounty Hunter,” black leather, blond mane and biceps like Buicks.

Or “D - d - d - Dog,” as I so succinctly addressed him.

That’s right. It seems my poison pen has once again landed me in hot water, this time afoul of the long tattooed arm of reality TV law.

Apparently, when I inked my late-night vicious attack against Colorado Proposition 102 last week, I got a little too cheeky when dubbing it the “Dog the Bounty Hunter Proposition.” (I toyed with calling it the “Jack Walsh Proposition” in honor of DeNiro’s brilliant character in “Midnight Run,” but deemed it too obscure.) I blame my momentary lapse of sanity on the 12-hour workday and the microwave popcorn desk-dinner. Maybe it was the ghost of Orville Redenbacher, but as I neared the glazed-over end of my marathon 2,000-word story, a small voice whispered, “Go ahead. Have a little fun. No one’ll read it.”

No one except Dog’s publicist, who happens to be in Denver.

Being only an incidental viewer of his series, I was unaware that the entire Dog pack has a place in Castle Rock, and several episodes of his show have taken place in Colorado. Apparently, his wife, Beth, even grew up here. Who knew?

Aside from me, evidently everybody.

Turns out, even before all the Telegraphs had hit the streets Thursday morning, my little late-night smartassery was en cyber route to Hawaii. When The Dog awoke, he read it and started growling. Seems I had taken a disagreeable squat on a topic that is near and dear to the tough guy’s heart of gold.

Typically, I would be happy to hear that our humble little, homegrown rag (something I tried to convey to Dog repeatedly) had reached a reader in the South Pacific. Unless it happens to be Dog, chomping at the bit to talk to me.

My first response, when I got wind that he had a bounty on my head, was to bury it in the sand. But then I realized resistance is futile. I mean, this guy hunts down hardened, cracked-out criminals for a living. A weenie like me, who can’t even bring herself to steal a packet of Sweet & Low, let alone smuggle illicit drugs from Mexico, would be like a defenseless chew toy. He’d have my stuffing ripped out and lying on the ground in mere seconds.

“I gotta call him back,” I lamented in an in-case-you-don’t-hear-from-me-again call to the spouse. “I don’t want The Dog to think I’m chicken shit.”

I considered downing a shot of whiskey before I dialed, just to calm the nerves. But I decided a loose mouth was probably not what I needed in this situation.

I must admit, I had an inkling of what Dog’s prey must feel like as I shakily held the phone in my sweaty grasp. I wondered if they, too, felt the least bit starstruck by The Dog’s presence. I mean, let’s face it. Stars of any magnitude are few and far between in these parts. In fact, the closest I ever got was passing Joe Sakic at DIA (I’m pretty sure I was taller than him) and accosting Eddie Spaghetti after the last Supersuckers show.

But safe to say, when you have your own Halloween costume and Chris Elliott spoof on Letterman, you’ve reached cult legend status.

As the phone rang, I wondered how I would refer to him. “Dog” seemed too informal yet “Mr. Dog” was perhaps a bit stuffy for a guy who often sports feathered roach clips as earrings.

“Dog,” the voice on the other end barked, soon ending my internal dilemma as well as any lingering doubt this was a well-orchestrated hoax.

“Um, yes. Hello,” I started, impressed at my ability thus far to keep my voice from cracking. “This is Missy Votel, Dog. I understand you’re ‘hunting’ for me,” I said, hoping to inject some bounty hunter humor.

Needless to say, my joke went over about as well as Balloon Boy.

“Hey, I’m not hunting you, but listen sister, about what you wrote … ,”  the voice returned.

Let’s just say, he had me at “sister.” Who needs b-list rockers and retired pro hockey players when The Dog has just called you “sister” – obviously something he reserves only for his inner circle, or at least people he doesn’t want to kill.

Suffice to say, for the next hour – half of it with Mrs. Dog – I heard their take on the topic. (As it turns out, Mrs. Dog was one of 102’s co-creators, you know the people I believe I said should be “ashamed.” Again, who knew?) Anyway, I really did listen. In fact, I took seven pages of notes, in which Dog talks a lot about the good Lord, and wanting to keep the bad guys off the street and in the “hoosegow.” And how the criminal justice system has run amok and most of the people hired by the government to look after people out on bond can barely add up their lunch tab, let alone keep tabs on criminals. (The Dogs’ words, not mine) But why ruin a good story?

And even more incredible, for the first time probably in my life, I didn’t interrupt for an entire hour. That is, until it came time to gently let down Beth (aka Mrs. Dog) that even had I wanted to retract the “caca” I wrote, it was impossible.

“We’re a weekly,” I said apologetically. “By the time we come out next week, the election will be over.”

And with that, my 60-minute brush with fame rolled over and played dead. There was so much I had wanted to ask, like who’s the bigger badass, Chuck Norris or Clint Eastwood. And how does he and the missus run in those high heels and lizard skin boots. And if I could ever crash at his place next time I was in Hawaii.

Alas, Dog was hot on the trail of Randy Quaid (how could the same guy who singlehandedly brought back the Dickey® go so, so wrong?). And, as the good Lord knows, there were other Hollywood-whackers to sniff out for the upcoming season.

So while I may never know his secret to staying in shape or how much he can bench press, I did learn that despite his reality-TV bite, Dog’s real life bark isn’t that bad. Dare I say, despite the brawn and bronze, he’s not so much a rottweiler as a bulldog (although Lassie also comes to mind.)

Ok, so I can’t get fully on board with their cause, which suffered a nearly 2-to-1 defeat, which I’m sure had very little to do with my irreverent take on it. Nevertheless, I will admit the Dogs were persistent in their chase and genuinely fine folk undeserving of my shit. And if ever, god forbid, I should find myself behind bars, I won’t hesitate to use my last quarter to ring them up. And who knows, if Dog and Mrs. Dog happen to appear on the 2012 ballot, they just might get my vote.

– Missy Votel



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January 26, 2024
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January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows