Hoffman's Houston
quite the tail

Ken Hoffman on why his dog is a lock for most infuriating in Texas

Ken Hoffman on why his dog is a lock for most infuriating in Texas

Ken Hoffman new puppy Citizens for Animal Protection
It could happen to you, too.  Photo by Getty Images

I used to say that the fee to adopt my dog Sally from Citizens for Animal Protection was the best $50 I ever spent. The bill for Sally went up last week to $179.

Here’s what happened, and it’s hard to believe, but I swear it’s true. I was on vacation and spent 10 days at a condo on Lake Travis. I brought Sally with me. She behaved like a charm, no accidents, no barking complaints, no incidents with the neighborhood deer.

Until one day when I decided to check out a small boat down by the lake, the kind of boat that Michael Corleone’s chief security officer (goon hitman) Al Neri used to kill Fredo in Godfather II. He had it coming. Fredo was “weak and stupid.” There you go, a Seinfeld and Godfather reference in one shot, which is all it took Al Neri to whack Fredo. (And yet the Pulitzer eludes me.)

As I closed the door and headed to the elevator, I could hear Sally raising a ruckus inside the apartment. I went back to check, and just as I grabbed the door knob … “click.” In all her jumping and scratching at the door, Sally flipped the dead bolt.

I was locked out and there was no getting in.

I didn’t have a key to the deadbolt lock. I went around to the other side of the building, took one look, and ruled out scaling the wall like Spider-Man, jumping over the balcony gate and letting myself in through the bathroom window, like the Beatles’ song.

(If you’re counting, that’s Seinfeld, Godfather II, and Beatles so far.)

I asked one of the maintenance workers if he had a ladder that reached to the second floor. Nope. I tried to jimmy open the window by the front door.


I went to the condo manager’s office and asked if they kept a spare key that would unlock the deadbolt.


I asked, “Has anybody ever had the deadbolt lock themselves out of a condo?”

Nope. “We’ve had people lock their keys inside their car, but never this.”

The manager had a look on her face like, “how is it even possible to lock the deadbolt unless you’re inside the apartment?”

I stood outside the door, thinking if I could get Sally to keep jumping against the door, maybe she’d flip the deadbolt the other direction.  I could hear her rummaging around the apartment. What was she doing? Tying sheets together to escape out the back like in prison movies?

I called a locksmith in nearby Cedar Park. Can you help me? “Yes, but it will take a while, I’m on another job right now.”

Two hours and $129 later, I was back in the condo. Lesson learned: don’t leave Sally alone, and don’t go boating with Al Neri.

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