Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Good Owner Gets Unlucky Pets

Historically, I don’t acquire pets with good luck.

At age 6, my brother, Jeff and I each had little turtles. He named his James T. Kirk and mine was Lt. Uhura. They were doing fine until Jim Kirk climbed on Lt. Uhura’s back. When we woke up the next morning, she was dead. We renamed Jim Kirk—“Killer.” “Killer” escaped two days later—he’s still on the loose.

Our Mom bought us a “make-it-all-better” parakeet we named Gideon. Gideon died of consumption…consumption of the plastic wrap we put around the cage to prevent the bird from throwing bird seed all over the floor. She also “consumed” the plastic “twist-ums’ Mom used to tie the cage door shut.

Years later when I had kids, we adopted a hamster from friends who could no longer keep him. My son David renamed him Elmer. Hamsters are NO fun, because they sleep all day. Elmer and I spent our nights together--he in his clear plastic exercise ball, I on my exer-cycle. Evidently, Elmer was a VERY old hamster and probably had no business running inside a ball--he was probably running for his life. Day 3—dead.

My daughter wanted fish for her birthday. We got 2 moly-type goldfish from Walmart. Within a week, the fish developed giant, red spots on their heads and turned black.

“MOM! Their BRAINS are coming out!” Krista cried.

“That’s impossible “

Our Pet Cemetery is getting pretty full.

So it took many, many years to get up the nerve to get a dog. I was imagining all the work, discipline, and, with my track record, a Humane Society Investigation. But we adopted Jasmine Buttercup Ruby, a “marked down” 12-week-old puppy anyway, and prayed she had better luck.

At 6 months, we had her in obedience school and the trainer asked if anyone had a female dog.

“Why?”

“Because there’s a female dog in here that’s gone into heat,” she pointed to the floor.

Jasmine had gone into early heat, and at this point no vet would perform the “operation” until she was over “it” (16 - 21 days). Scrunch-faced, I purchased dog sanitary pads, and a special pair of doggie panties to hold the pad in place. The panties were denim with a bandana ruffle around the tail (think: Daisy Duke with hairier legs). She reacted to the indignity of it, tail firmly pushed between her legs, clawing, whining, and biting (not unlike some women I know when they’re in heat). She kept pulling at the denim contraption, and we’d find white stuffing all over the place.

And she smelled.

Since then, she’s had hot spots which require parts of her to be shorn like a sheep, a ragweed allergy, and recently, she’s been biting at all 4 of her feet. Do dogs get Athlete’s Paw?

We’re over the hump, though—she’s 2 1/2, which means she’s made it past the dead-zone. I’m keeping this one alive….if it kills me!

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