My dog Jezebel, is by breed a half black lab, half rotti mix. My kids and I picked her up from the Peace River SPCA March 14, 2015. She was the runt of the litter and the last of the pick, but she was perfect. In the event I’m about to tell you, she would have been 6 months old.
I named her Jezebel because those who know me, know I can have a morbid sense of humor. Few have gotten the reference and fewer still have connected with the humor behind it. So I’ll let you in on a little history lesson and if your lacking understanding of where we get the slang term in reference to a woman being a “Jezebel,” let me attempt to humor you.
Jezebel was a Queen. Her husband was Ahab, King of Israel. Her story can be found in the Book of 1 Kings in the Old Testament. Long story short, she was a seductress and wicked. By manipulation and/or seduction, she misled the saints of God into sins of idolatry and sexual immorality. She threatened the life of the Prophet Elijah and had another man stoned to death. In the end, justice was had. Jezebel met a gruesome death – thrown out of a window by members of her own court, and the flesh of her corpse were eaten by stray dogs.
Get it………. I named my dog after a woman who was eaten by dogs.
And now you understand why I get a groans from everyone who actually understand the nature of the story and looks at me as if I had just told a terrible joke.
Anyways, back to the more recent series of most unfortunate events of Jezebel that is my dog.
Jezebel, the dog, was anything but wicked. She was the light of my kids life. She brought joy during a time that we were struggling together as a family. She is not just a dog, but a member of our little family and a blessing in our lives. To this day she is as cute as the day we got her. In a way, this is Jezebel’s story as much as it is mine or my sister-in-law’s. It’s tragic, horrific and yet mind blowingly weird.
I’ve started to tell this story so many times only to find myself completely erasing the post, walking away with a half-hearted motivation and giving up. I’m filled with an overwhelming need to further digest the obscure nature of it all but moreover the need to still believe my own eyes has yet set to sink in.
So I’ve waited.
Waited out of respect for my family involved. Waited for understanding and clarity to set in. But mostly I waited so that I might tell the story and know the bigger picture. But here’s the thing, I still don’t have the bigger picture and yet, here I am writing. If you should find yourself reading this, then one of three things happened. One, I wrote it to be done with it or two, I wrote it to process it, or three, I wrote it because it was an insane event during a time when religious and cultural stereotypes were just beginning to be a reality in my world. To this day, I couldn’t tell you why events like this happen, but I can tell you how it shaped my thoughts and my prejudices and my fears for when the day came for me to break the chain of stereotypes. Maybe there is no bigger picture. Maybe its just an unique terrifying experience.
Maybe. But probably not.
It is however, A series of the most unfortunate of events.
June 13th 2015 Edmonton, Alberta
I know this date to be true because Facebook told me so. Due to the somewhat creepy value of synced photo’s, Facebook shamefully acts on my behalf as my personal assistant and memory keeper as it is an excellent source of documentation, especially when one such as myself in my boredom of singleness, seems to document my daily happenings on an ever faithful basis.
The day started off just like any other typical outdoor summer soccer tournament in the Alberta frontier – cold, wet and high chances of torrential wind. We were on the north end of Edmonton, huddled together in the typical freezing cold summer, watching my daughter and her team play. Ethan my son was with me, armed with his lacrosse stick and hanging with his lacrosse buddies off on the side of the field. Along side him, having the time of his life with the big boys was my nephew Isaac, middle son of my brother Tyler and his wife Penny.
It was getting late, around 6 pm sometime when we started to make our way south on Victoria Trail, turning east on the Yellowhead and then south on the Anthony Henday as we winded through the construction dodging barricades like it was a Friday night main event at the hit to pass races.
Eventually we make our way to my brother and his wife’s house tired from the long day of events. We all jump out of the car and almost immediately I knew something was off as soon as I went to open the front door, which a was always open. I could hear my sister-in-law on the phone and her voice getting louder as she approached the door and unlocked the deadbolt.
Strange. I took visual notice of the deadbolt but it was when I could make out her conversation and seen her demeanor, I knew something was instantly wrong. She was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher and frantically gathering the kids and telling everyone to get into the basement. Immediately I thought of a possible tornado….but wait, no. That can’t be, she’s on the phone reporting something.
Now I’m confused.
“Jennel!!!” She panicked, “find Jezebel! You HAVE to find Jezebel!!!” She was shaking.
I’m even more confused and I do as requested and open the sliding glass doors to the back yard. I check the sky. No eminent tornado to be seen.
“JEZ-A-BEL!!!! I yelled. “Here girl….” I attempt to whistle. She was no where to be found.
The voice startled me and I looked up. There was a man on his deck, looking down at me. His English was broken and his accent heavy. He reminded me of character back in my home town named Tony Wong, only he was Chinese. This guy I found out later was Afghani. He was pointing to my dog in his yard as she was making her way over to the gate.
Not realizing the significance of this I opened the gate and as always I rub her ears and with my raised baby voice I say to her “silly girl, what are you doing over there? come Aunty Penny needs us.”
So together we walk onto the deck, open the back sliding door and go inside. Penny is now off the phone and shutting all the curtains and locking all the doors. She looks as me. Puts the phone down. Takes a deep breath as if to calm her nerves and tells me what happened.
She changes her mind and picks the phone up and as she is holding her phone, she is visably shaking. She searching something she needs to show me. She begins to explain. It went something like this…….
“Today while I was upstairs cleaning my house, Levi was using my phone to video Jezebel as she played outside with her toys. He was sitting there on the couch filming through the window using different settings and playing as kids do with the features of the phone.
When he was done, he brought the phone upstairs to me and was showing me all the videos he created. When I was watching one I suddenly realized there was a man in the video sitting on our deck petting Jezebel.
At first I thought ‘awwwwww how cute, our old man neighbour is petting the dog.’ But then I quickly realized he wasn’t petting her, he was molesting her.
Time stopped literally for what seemed like minutes as I stopped my heartbeat and stilled my being in order to hear her correctly. “I’m sorry,………..what?!?!?
My reaction was mortified disbelief mixed with confusion as if I didn’t hear her right.
She repeats herself. I most definitely heard her right. This time she hands me the phone to watch the evidence. I pressed play and started to watch the events unfold and instantly pressed stop when I got the picture of what was happening. I didn’t want to have that memory in my brain.
“Tyler was out on a call but he’s on his way until the police arrive.”
My brother is a firefighter for the city of Edmonton. She had called him, naturally as he is her husband and apparently was on his way over with his whole crew, comeplete with the fire truck.
It wasn’t five minutes after this he knocked on the door to be let in and we heard the story once again for his disbelieving ears. Anyone who knows my brother knows he’s by nature a patient man. Calm, cool and collected…….the exact opposite of me. His parenting skills as a father has been noticed by many and is often referenced when subjects such as patience and devotion is a topic. He is also well skilled in many handy man trades and an avid gym enthusiest. His strength and power has also been well documented as a teenager while playing hockey. Just last week my dads cousins were talking about his abilities and their respect for him as someone blessed with ass-kicking skills.
Tyler listened patiently. His disbelief was evident by the wrinkles in his forehead. He took the phone and watched the video only to follow the same suit as I had done. He responded “well, there’s no need to finish watching that, I think we all get the point. Let’s wait here together and stay inside untill the police arrive. Don’t give the neighbours any reason to think any things wrong.”
I interject “…….ummmm ok, but – do you normally have a fire truck parked in front of your house full of firemen?”
Totally forgetting they were outside and half laughing half surprsied at his forgetfulness he asked them to pull around the corner and wait until the police had arrived. Then few minutes after that after yet another phone call it was agreed that it was best that they return to the hall. He was to stay home to be with his family.
Soon enough the police arrived, and it was their turn to listen in, again in disbelief. They watched the film in its entirety and left us with some paperwork for us to fill out our statements. They asked all the usual pertenant information including the details of what we knew of the family next door. They were a family of six. A mom. A dad. Three brothers and a sister. They were Afghani and had only been in the country a couple of years. The dad (the man in question) was the neighbourhood drunk. He would often be seen in his garage passed out resulting in being a conversational piece amount the neighbours. Their English was very limited as I had experienced, but the youngest son who was about 20 was able to speak fluent English. As neighbours they were polite and kept to themselves. Outside of that, they were unremarkable. My brother and his wife lived in a heavily populated Muslim community and held a good relationship with many of their neighbours. One even was their childcare takers while my sister-in-law worked as a lab technician at the Grey Nuns Hospital.
I remember asking the officers “So, out of curiosity how many calls do you get like this?”
None. They both looked at us with wide eyes and said, “Honestly, this is a first. We’re going to have to take this back to the station and talk with the chief as to how to proceed.” And off they went, promising to return later that evening with more information. We were advised to stay home keep low key until they returned.
The next day was my nephew Levi’s birthday so we spent the evening decorating the house in preparation for his party. Streamers were strung, cake baked, and the house cleaned. It was about 9 pm when the police returned to update us on how they were proceeding.
It was then we were told that the man in question, was indeed being charged with “performing a lewd act in front of a minor” and through the humane society for animal abuse. He was being taken to the station and upon release they will be sure to contact us to keep us informed as to the progress of the case.
It was a weird and terrible day to say the least.
But nothing like what was to come the following morning.