October 31, 2011
You find yourself descending a steep unstable slope helping the owner carry his dearly departed dog to his grave. Lucas, (not his real name) the Shepard mix who, with your merciful help, had succumb to metastatic adrenal carcinoma,. The perfect Halloween scenario finds you carrying the deceased with his hearing-impared muscle man owner who is misdirected down the slope to the palm tree 20 metres below. You recommend an existing pathway below and carry the slinged dog in that direction under the unforgiving fall afternoon sun and down near the palm tree when you realize that the site was another location back up the hill that leads to scaling said dusty slope upward to the final resting place. Five pounds of dirt in your shoes later the pet is not adequately covered by earth shoveled by the man and you find yourself directing him with difficulty (since you only know pig-sign language) to rebury the dog and that erosion will soon unearth his dear Lucas and this is basically why it is not recommended to bury your pet except in a pet cemetery or have cremation and return of cremains but in the interest of cost-saving combined with the need for a traditional pet burial on one’s property the practice will continue much to the delight of roving wildlife and the chagrin of concerned citizens.
Eleven Eleven Eleven
Finds you busy all day back and forth through traffic cross town back again where you were last night up the treacherous hills of Franklin Heights to help a poor little dog with cancer and alleviate some pain. Today is the day to end the suffering and it is hard to let go of a friend who loved you unconditionally without argument or pretense with loving eyes always even when you scold her and yet you want a few more days or hours to hold your beloved in your arms never to let go but let go you must for the sake of your woeful friend and your own anguish. That is what you have come to understand all these years helping pets live as long as possible comfortably and to help them out of this world as comfortably as possible. You’ve experienced human suffering of a family member and the inhumanity of sustained “life”. People should have access to the humanity you provide for pets. But all this is in the back of your head as you drive through city traffic trying not to aggravate your neck and shoulder spasm by gripping the wheel too hard and trying to navigate the GPS as you yack with dispatch. You speak to the little dog in the back telling her she is the lucky one. She lived the life of luxury up on the hill overlooking the city with your beloved mom and human brother.
The day continues with the theme of re-visitation as you revisit the ivy-covered home of the novelist a nice lady with a propensity for daytime imbibing and multiple feline friends. She was told by her previous vet that her cool Orange cat Henry (pseudonym) is old and must be put down. You beg to differ that Henry simply has a snotty-nosed cold and is a bit under weight. The novelist is so thrilled that she found you and that you can actually provide medical care for her cats and not simply want to put them away when they are old and you explain the saying you once learned that “Age is not a disease” you can’t cure aging only disease and this reverberates with you personally since lately some of your contemporaries have fallen making you cherish each day and stay up as late as you can and live as many hours as possible. Henry is tested and treated and apparently unfazed as he looks at you sitting in his bedroom as if to say “what the hell are you doing?” You tell him telepathically that you will be back to take him to have his teeth done since two are rotten and a possible cause for his sinus infection but Henry pays this no mind and strolls away.
You head back from Toluca as the rain falls from an anemic storm whose bark seems much worse than its bite and has threatened the Southland like the ever-present threat of terror. And the GPS goes out in the Highlander with perfect timing as you kinda sorta know your way around Silverlake hills and need to take the non-freeway route back to the clinic to see the shaky Chihuahua cross but aren’t really sure if left or right on Sunset in the correct choice and traffic is crawling up your butt and you must make a decision or be scorned and ridiculed by the public and it’s not good PR to screw up in a branded vehicle; a decidedly counter-marketing move. You make the correct choice and eventually return to the clinic.
Shaky Suzie Shiver (not her real name) has been shaking with jerks and tremors for 36 hours now and it’s either the longest “seizure” on record or she got into a toxin or has a liver shunt or is hypoglycemic or…she jumps at noises like a Strychnine poisoning but has not fever and no history of exposure. You rack your brain and temporarily calm the tremors with some valium and run some tests only to find dehydration but could she have gotten into your chocolate, flea spray, household product, your marijuana, anything on the street but the owners come back uniformly: not that they know of. You place your bet on epilepsy and wait it out and look for a pattern. After the valium wears off you expect a phone call about now.
The hope for dinner with the family is quickly squashed by a call from the Service that a dog got her collar stuck on her leg (WTF?) and there’s blood everywhere and can you hurry at 6PM on a Friday night back to Fairfax and Beverly? No problem you think as you ask for an hour and you suggest the throw a heavy blanket on the dog to prevent further self-trauma. What a strange circumstance you think how does a dog get its collar stuck on her leg? You marvel on recent things that entrap a dog like the marrow bone around the lower jaw or the dog that got his leg stuck in a table. No this was a totally new entrapment. You arrive after an arduous traffic-filled drive to find a bloody scene and a dog on the ground contorted with her rear leg pulled forward and the neck downward. Somehow the choke collar was stuck but you could not tell since Betty (not her real name) the mini-Aussie was in pain when she moved cause when she was calm and still she was oK so nobody makes any quick moves. The owner and her two friends assisting stood idly by trying to help by petting Betty unsuccessful attempts to muzzle her were aborted in favor of slipping her an injectable anesthetic. The poor owner in her attempts to free her pet from bondage had sustained several nasty bites from her frightened little girl that are sure to hurt for several weeks as with you are too well acquainted and as it turns out the blood was all human blood. You could not find a cut on little Betty but what you did find was the clasp of the leash clasped over Betty’s Achilles tendon and still attached to her collar. The choke chain was so tight you could not release it off of her neck but forced to cut the chain with the handy dandy pruning shear you used to cut the marrow bone off the Shepherd’s mandible which works like a charm once again now allowing you to unclasp the dog’s Achilles
Yes you are a hero to these owners and that they had no other alternative than you to save Betty tonight Friday and you bid them adieu. You pull off with a growling stomach to cross the city this time by freeway less crowded to find your cooled tin-foiled dinner on the table and the family all done for the night. But you had to write it down before you forget and the stories blend together in a blurry continuum of never-ending rescue missions.