Compassion

I have always been attracted to Buddhism. I think its doctrine of compassion and non-violence and the acknowledgement of suffering is beautiful and amazing and so . . . Ideal.

But it’s stories like THIS that remind me I would be a shit Buddhist.

I can look at the piece of shit that stabbed Rocco, the Pittsburgh Police K-9 officer, and, logically, rationally, I can think, “that is a person whose life has most likely not been easy, has probably lacked a substantial amount of the privilege I’ve had, and who is operating within the context of his own experiences and limitations, none of which I can grasp.” And so I understand, on a very rational level, that I should feel compassion for him, and that doing so by no means requires me to excuse his actions. After all, everyone makes mistakes–the size and scope of which are often dictated by our personal context. Thus, some mistakes are considerably larger and more life altering than others. It isn’t my business to decide who is worthy of redemption or forgiveness. It isn’t my business to decide who is worthy of compassion; I recognize that we all should be worthy.

But here’s the thing: I don’t care. Hell, I don’t even want to care. Toss him in a cage, feed him or don’t, kill him or don’t. I do not give one teeny tiny fraction of a shit about his suffering or his disposition henceforth, save that–quite contrary to my reason–I’d actually prefer that he suffer in some fashion, for a very, very long time.

I feel this way about every person who intentionally harms or abuses an animal. Where animals are concerned, I am an anti-Buddhist: kill them all. Make them all suffer. Whatever. Just bring the pain. Critter abuse speaks to the basest parts of my consciousness. Visit upon them exactly the hurt that they inflicted.

It’s all a bit cognitively dissonant for me, considering I’m against capital punishment. But I suspend that aversion where animals are concerned. How? What justifications could I possibly provide for asserting that a human who kills another human should not be killed, but a human that harms an animal should not only be killed, but they should be sent to Guantanamo, first?

I don’t have an answer to that. I have never had an answer to that, despite considerable soul searching for one. I recognize that my feelings on animal cruelty will never, ever reconcile with my rational mind and . . . I don’t care. I feel the way I feel about it, and I will admit that I probably shouldn’t feel that way, but I do and it’s so strong I recognize that, even if I wanted to, it would be very near impossible for me to change those feelings, to elevate them. And I just don’t want to. Not enough. I am, for better or worse, entirely comfortable with directing unholy hate rays at people who harm critters.

There’s a whole other discussion woven into this one, about the value of life and whether or not I value critters over humans, but that’s another philosophical waxing for another day. I think my ranking system, as it were, is a bit more nuanced. But I will not hide or apologize for the–some might say–extremity of my views. I feel this way. And I’m ok with it.

Run free, Rocco.

Now fry the asshat who killed him.

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Snow Broke My Dog, Pt. 2

I was awakened this morning at 4am–NOT by the kittens, which is novel and possibly explains my current, uncharacteristic chipperness, but by police lights alerting me to a water main break upstreet from the house. Since it’s negative 32 quadrillion degrees (F) the water instantly froze into a thick sheet of ice. I currently live in a half-assed interpretation of Fallingwater.

And since I enjoy disastrous adventures, I think this is really super neat (though I do feel bad for anyone who lost water service.) So when Schmoop, who could not get to work on time, and I took the pups out we did potty time and then sallied forth to check out our own personal frozen waterfall.

Rewind:

Calvin is awesome and adorable, but he is terrified of most everything. Nevertheless, every morning he gets out of bed, tail wagging, puppyface happy, leaping and bounding to welcome the new day in that uniquely awesome way dogs have of, like, totally forgetting whatever perceived awful experiences they may have had the previous day. Selective doggie amnesia. And every day I celebrate his enthusiasm, and tell him how much I appreciate his optimism, and I smile and give him scritches and try in myriad futile ways to carry that optimism as far as possible. And then we go outside and there is maybe 30 seconds of bouncy puppy joy before he’s all, “Oh shit. I remember life. I REMEMBER LIFE AND IT’S SO AWFUL TAKE ME INSIDE!!!”

Today was no exception to this routine.

So. Now you have context.

It has been established that Cal does not like the snow and subzero temps. And at the point we headed up the driveway he was already clearly displeased with the situation. One foot was questionably functional, he was shivering despite his coat, and he tried desperately to pull me toward the door. I told him to suck it up, and we hobbled to the front of the house whereupon we were greeted . . . by a person . . . walking . . . on the other side of the street/waterfall.

I will pause here so you can all collect yourselves from the trauma of reading about that.

About the person. Across the street. Ambulating.

Everyone ok?

Yeah. Not Cal. He broke. But I mean, in his defense, there was a person. Walking slowly. Across the street. So, you know.

He has been super good lately. We’ve gotten his reactivity down to a pretty consistent loud bark when he sees people, which has been an improvement over his previous bark-snarl-lunge-pull-shake-bay/scream routine. Sometimes he even manages to maintain his composure and look to me without barking.

But that all flew out the window because cold, snow, malfunctioning feet, cold, he was so done with this little stroll before it even started why did I bring him out here do I hate him I must hate him what kind of monster would take a dog for a walk in this environment of cold and people and awful and cold and how could anyone expect him to carry on its best to just end it now.

So he basically started thrashing in a way that would scare even the most hardcore straight edgers at a Minor Threat show. The only thing is he can’t really windmill. Natch. And he thrashed out of his coat and he yelled and then paused as he saw that Schmoop had walked Karmann down the street.

Right now you just have to imagine the Hitchcockian Psycho stabbing REE! REE! REE! noise and tunnel vision zooming in and out as he gazes at Karmann all the way down the block.

And so he thrashed anew while also trying to eat snow from the plow pile–you know the crap that’s all full of salt and de-icer and motor oil and goddess knows what else–in a pretty obvious attempt at suicide. And y’all, I could not stop him. I mean, I physically dragged him away from the plow offal, but I was then basically standing there, using my happy voice, trying to distract him as he frantically lunged for the pile all, “Just one mouthful! One mouthful and I can be free! FREE!!!!”

But because I’m a hateful monster who derives pleasure imprisoning his soul on this mortal coil, I just dragged him back down the drive and into the house, whereupon he seemed to immediately forget his recent trauma as he ran up the steps like “Close call we had there. Breakfast?”

Cone Free

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sing to tune of “Born Free”

Cooooooooone free
As free as the (arctic) wiiiinnnnnnd blows
As free as the snoooooowwww rolls
Cone free
To snoofle the snow

Ploooowwwwwwww free
Shove your face in a snooowwwwww drift
Bunny poopsicles awaaaiiiit you
It’s time
You can root for them now

Staaaaaaaaaay free
Snow up to your forehead
STOP RUBBING YOUR EYELID!!
Or I’ll puuuuut you baaaaaack in this cooooooooone . . .

Pop Quiz

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The E-collar is:

A) snowflake collection device

B) crop circle creation apparatus for snow-going canines

C) cruel and unusual punishment visited upon totally innocent puppy for absolutely no good reason (someone call the ASPCA, please!)

D) show shovel and retention bowl intended to be filled to the brim via scooting-shoveling technique until such a time as only giant beautiful nose is visible

E) All of the above!

*Sad Trombone*

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Poor Puppy Karmann was doing so well yesterday–she slept comfortably, didn’t poop herself to near death, and her eye looked comfortable and, well, good. For an eyelid held together with sutures. And then this morning she woke up giving me pirate face and the eye was all red and angry looking and, after a brief while, she started rubbing it on all the things. So, as instructed in these circumstances, I phoned the vet–which, at this point, is rather like phone-a-friend, or phone-your-ma for the frequency with which I do it. They told me to bring her in because sometimes the sutures need to be trimmed on account they are poking the dog’s eyeball repeatedly . . . And then I was too busy gagging and becoming lightheaded to listen to any more because holy hell, I am squeamish about eyeballs.

I think it’s cause they’re squishy.

*squishsquishsquish*

*retch*

Hoo boy.

By the time I got her out to the vet for an afternoon appointment, Houdini of the Eyelids had managed to almost completely remove the sutures. And the vet couldn’t re-tie it without causing her great discomfort in her waking state, nor could she trim it, because Karmann had magically worked the knot toward the end of the suture tail. So she’s been stuffed into a cone of shame until Monday, when the sutures will be removed a full week and a half ahead of schedule because my puppy don’t need no stinking sutures. Apparently.

A Quick Bitch

I have a whole host of reasons for hating Duck Dynasty, but at the top of my list, at least temporarily, is the new commercial with the fucking smoke detector noise. Every. single. time. it comes on Calvin pops up to investigate and Wobbly Karmann then feels compelled to follow suit. It’s like watching an addled baby giraffe try to do the samba every 6-8 minutes.

Can we pass a law that makes smoke detectors and doorbells illegal for television? Do TV writers just not have pets?

She’s A Happy Drunk

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Karmann’s eyelid resection went about as well as the removal of a chunk of eyelid can ever go for a critter with a very vague notion of “but this will make you feel better in [abstract futuretime]” She’s an ounce or two lighter, but no worse for the wear and so far? NO AWFUL POOPING COMPLICATIONS.

When we picked her up she was expectedly dopey–weaving and tripping her way over to us with no real evidence of recollection. But when I took her leash to drunkenly waddle her out of the office she turned back toward the tech (her most favorite tech) and refused to come with us until she’d given the woman a sufficiently affectionate tongue bath.

Since she had zero concept of who she was, what words meant, or how to comport herself, she refused to lie down and instead spent the entire 40 minute drive home standing with her chin on my shoulder, lavishing me with strands of post-dental cleaning semi-hard waxy drool.

She got many nose kisses, because loooooooooove.

I am happy to have her back; she is happy to not require an e-collar, and is apparently indifferent to her bilateral Ugg boots.

Yay for puppies.

Calvin the Autotaster

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Cal has had a wicky little habit as long as I’ve known him. When seemingly calm, comfortable, and sleepy he will curl up–usually facing away from any action surrounding him–and in a trancelike state he will lovingly lick his elbow. His eyes sort of half close, but he keeps them aimed at the elbow in question and just gently licks. He doesn’t chew or gnaw or lick aggressively; he does not appear to have a goal in mind, like cleaning. It’s almost like it’s his Cal-specific interpretation of thumb sucking, “Ah. I don’t have thumbs. But I do have this elbow.” After a few minutes he will usually settle his chin on something for a nap or a good staring session (another favorite pastime.)

Comfortably Numb

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Karmann, summing up all our feels about this eye situation

Anesthesia stories.

1) When I was 14 I went in for my one billionth set of (ear) drainage tubes. Being that I was 14 I was, of course, *super* cool and, after receiving whatever magical feel good elixir they put in the IV pre-op, I led the surgical team in a truly awful rendition of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb (because HAR!) as they wheeled me to the OR.

That is my primary association with general anesthesia. Well, that and being about 5-ish and headed in for maybe my second set of tubes and being asked what flavor anesthesia I wanted and choosing bubblegum and then experiencing the end of my childhood as I inhaled the rubber-scented gas, thinking “those fuckers lied to me.” In more 5-ish year old vocabulary, albeit. Not that I’m still bitter or anything.

THERE ARE NO GODDAMN FLAVORS YOU INCREDIBLE ASSHATS!!! WHY ARE YOU EVEN IN PEDIATRICS IF YOU THINK KIDS ARE SO STUPID??!? UGH YOU’RE PROBABLY ALL RETIRED BY NOW BECAUSE IT WAS FOREVER AGO!

Ahem.

2) Getting the phone call that Karmann, who I’d dropped off in the morning for dental scaling with general, was ready for pick-up. This was basically my first solo experience with critter anesthesia–indeed my only anesthesia experience since being an ultra-cool 14 year old Floyd fan–so I insist I should be forgiven for enquiring as to whether she’d be up for the one mile walk back to my apartment. I was told to drive.

The critter that I picked up resembled my Karmann only tangentially. She was dopey, uncoordinated, sluggish, and clearly unhappy. And about an hour after we got home, the awful pooping started. Every half hour I had to run her outside for an emergency. Even though she quickly exhausted all intestinal contents, she continued to have cramps and dry heaves and every single half hour, all night, into the next morning, and well into the afternoon, we frantically ran outside so that she could do a futile poop dance and cry. And then I would bring her in and she would flop onto the floor and proceed to lie perfectly still for the next 29 minutes. I sincerely wondered if she was going to make it.

She apparently gets stress colitis, and we’ve gone through a variation on this routine each time she’s had to be sedated for a dental. Which is why, after the last one, I resolved to NEVER EVER DO ANESTHESIA AGAIN (save for emergencies–basically, no dental. Superficial cleaning only. And good maintenance.)

So when I took her to the vet this afternoon, I went from:

Oh my god my freaking puppy has freaking pink eye! WORST DAY EVER!!!

To:

*blink, blink, blink* *human stomach cramps*

When the vet said that no, not pink eye. Benign, pre-existing eyelid cyst is growing in toward her eyeball and irritating the crap out of it and it has to be surgically removed and hey, since she’ll be under, why don’t we also do a dental and make sure you’re totally broke and also covered in liquipoo–is Wednesday good for you?

So much pro-biotic and eye ointment and wine in my immediate future.

*hugs puppy*