Forget that a cancerous tumor the size of a large grape was removed from her hind quarters. That it was big enough to cause her trouble going to bathroom. Forget that the vet’s incision to remove it wrapped around the base of her tail like a crescent moon or that she had a long line of blue stitches back there looking like miniature train tracks.
Forget that she was supposed to be in pretty good discomfort — miserable even — for days. That she might lose her appetite. That she might have accidents all through the house. Struggle to go to the bathroom. Wouldn’t be able to take anything but short walks and would need to spend the better part of two weeks pretty much resting and not moving around.
Forget all of that because … well … that’s just not my dog. Turns out there was only thing that bothered her after surgery to remove her tumor: the cone.
Yes, the dreaded plastic cone that dogs must wear to keep them from licking their wounds and meticulously untying their stitches, which my critter nearly managed to do on the final day when we let her get some unsupervised cone-free time. Continue Reading »
You can do a lot of things when there’s a 4-year-old in the room: You can juggle knives. You can teach the kid how to breathe fire using kerosene and a lighter. You can commit federal crimes and embezzle billions of dollars from unsuspecting companies.
But what you can’t do — what you must NEVER do! — is let a scary scene from a scary movie flash on the TV or computer while that child is watching. Eyeballs will pop out. Hair will curl. And you’ll be explaining (and lying about) that scene for the next 12 or 13 years. Or at least until her lawyers have finished working you over.
I learned this lesson the hard way the other night. We were at my brother’s house for a cookout, and my sister-in-law was explaining her Halloween costume. Only, there is no explaining her Halloween costume. It’s an obscure character from that quirky, spooky, goofy 80s flick, “Beetlejuice.” Seen it? Know who Delia Deetz is? Of course you don’t. Nobody does. My wife had never even seen “Beetlejuice,” so my sister-in-law thought she would show on the computer a scene from the flick.
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A student came racing into my opinion writing class out of breath, painfully late and apologizing profusely.
He’s always late, but never apologizes like this.
“This time I actually have a good excuse,” he told me, doubled-over and wheezing. (Most of the time it’s cigarettes or needing to feed his cat.) “My mother was yelling at me because I didn’t call home this week.”
That WAS a good one — one of the best I had heard in an awful long time. Gotta’ call your mom, I told him. I didn’t have the heart to tell this poor college kid those phone calls never stop — and that they only get weirder as he gets older. Continue Reading »
This was supposed to be a very different column. One about how dogs mean so much to us. How those four-legged critters — with their dirty feet and ability to eat three-week-old shrimp shells, only to cough them up on the rug — can woo us over and become irreplaceable parts of our lives. And I guess it’s still about that.
But it was supposed to be about my brother’s dog, Oreo — a member of his band of rabble-rousing K-9s that I call the “country cousins.” She was an old girl — 17, for goodness sake — and had been part of our family for so long that the loss was felt by all when her body gave out and she had to be put to sleep.
Oreo was a big, dopey bear — you half expected to see her lugging around a honey pot and breaking into song. She had a permanent grin stretched across her face … like the one a child gets after walking into Disney World for the first time. It screamed, “WOWWWWW!” and Oreo would have that grin staring at a moth. She enjoyed life, even just sitting on the porch doing nothing, and there’s a lot to be said for that. Continue Reading »