Sunday, November 3, 2013

Travels Without Charley


The problem with ideas produced by the government is that there are too many of them at once. Ideas are like paint. No matter how brilliant any of them are, when you mix them all together they turn to mud. That’s why entrepreneurs seem so clear minded when they approach a problem. And that’s also why my latest idea is neon green.

It came to me the other day while I was raking the yard. Strewn with yellow aspen, brown cottonwood, and red maple leaves the lawn had small random pockets of green poking out here and there. The sky was a cloudless, warm deep blue and the smell of a wood burning stove in the distance wafted through the pine trees. You would think nothing could spoil this bucolic setting wouldn’t you? Well, leave it to me to find the misery in this mosaic.

As I walked back outside after getting some more bags, I noticed the leaves were sticking to my shoes and resembled a first grader’s project of autumn gone horribly wrong. But instead of white paste to hold this assemblage this was more of a crap collage. Apparently, the tragic figure that is our pet had once again deposited her droppings in our house instead of out in the yard.

We got her as a companion and watchdog. That was fifteen years ago. Fifteen! The only reason we got her was because my wife promised me this breed of terrier only lives to 10. She’s five years past her expiration date like a can of tomato sauce you drop off for the local food drive. When I pick up the next bag of kibble I ponder over whether I should just get the small size. She can’t possibly last that long, I think.

She has lost most of her hearing, has become so far sighted that she begs from the living room, and the only sense of smell she has emanates from her fetid gums. She’s jumpier than a Vietnam vet on the Forth of July. I swear, when I look at her I can actually see her decomposing right in front of my eyes! And yet here she remains, her tiny brain barely able to coordinate the alternating of feet. It got me thinking, as I scraped the crevices of my soles with a twig, why do we still have this bitch?

Don’t our pets deserve the same care that we give our elderly love ones? When grandma or grandpa start to have accidents in the house we do the right thing by carting them off to some far away place where an underpaid and overworked stranger can deal with them. It hurts so much watching them fade away. So why do it?

I decided to start an assisted living community, a retirement home if you will, for pets that are too old to perform their functions. A safe place away from kids, windows, stairs, furniture, rugs, doors, toys, bones, snacks, and other common household objects. After all, the average person isn’t trained to be a health care worker. We can actually do harm! This way they can spend their remaining golden years with the proper care they deserve. In the comfort and security of a cement cubicle where they can’t possibly hurt themselves.

Of course it wasn’t an easy sell to my teenage daughter. I brought it up like this. “We could keep Snowball around and hope she doesn’t break a hip getting to her food, or we can find a nice safe home for her and get a brand new shiny puppy. (Then I did the old balancing pantomime) New puppy or hurting Snowball? It can be your decision now that you’re a big girl.” She cried like we all do when we commit someone, but soon those memories fade faster than a pair of jeans in the white wash. I only wish that was true for the carpet stains.  That might sound cruel, but I have too much respect for my daughter to give her that old line about a farm upstate. Besides, that’s where cats go.

Wouldn’t your old demented pet like to stay here with us at Paws Ability? We’ll give them the respect and care they come to expect when you tired of cleaning up after them, or just plain tired. Then you can go on with your life. Remember, it only feels like the end. It’s really just the beginning.

Paws Ability Doesn’t your best friend deserve it? Phone lines are open.

Here are some recent plein air pieces I did last two month.