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Amy F. Quincy Author/Freelance Writer

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pet story

Cruel and Unusual

130323_0016Frankie had surgery last week. I realize other dog owners are used to these strange instruments of torture, but the cone is new to me.

He had a minor skin growth that the vet wanted to biopsy (it was benign), and as a result he had three itty bitty little stitches. All this resulted, of course, in his having to wear the cone contraption for ten days. Ten days. Doesn’t that seem excessive? In this day and age of dissolving stitches?

What can I say? I feel bad for the guy. On the annoying scale, the human equivalent is probably something akin to having your jaw wired shut. Except with a person, you can say, “Hey Joe, we’re fixing your jaw.” I can’t imagine what Frankie thinks is going on. Or why the hell this has been done to him.

Although maybe he’s been clued in by the neighbor’s dog, Boris, in that non-verbal way dogs have. The neighbor tells me Boris has worn the cone twice before. It just looked like a lot of sniffing to me, but I can imagine the conversation:

Boris: Oh, man! You’re in the cone!

Frankie: What is this crazy thing? I can’t scratch. I can’t lick. I get kibble all stuck to it. What did I do to deserve this?

Boris: Dude, been there, done that. I feel your pain, brother.

Mom’s been taking care of him, which involves giving him pain pills in peanut butter and making sure he doesn’t get his head stuck anywhere. At my house, halls and doorways are no longer wide enough for both of us. He stays beside me as usual, and I hear his cone scraping the drywall. He scrapes the street, too, on walks. He likes to trot alongside me sniffing the ground. Now you can hear us coming.

After battling the cone the first day, he seems resigned to it now. He’s adjusted. I, on the other hand, am still getting used to it. I can’t wait till it comes off. I think I’m depressed for him. My next book will be Doggy Dependent: You’re Not Okay, I’m Not Okay.

With limited access to his mouth, he gets in a lot less trouble. No rooting through the garbage or the kitty box. No running across the apartment with the toilet paper in his mouth. No destroying cardboard boxes. I even think he barks less. Maybe he doesn’t like the noise reverberating around in there. I never thought I’d say it, but I can’t wait to have my little misbehaver back. Until then, try not to laugh if you see us. I don’t want him getting a complex.

Everything in Moderation

If you’re anything like me, you vowed to begin your diet after Easter.  Just like there’s no logic in watching your weight before the holidays.  There’s a reason everyone starts in January.  We want to allow ourselves to indulge at certain times of the year.

In fact, this time as I start anew, I’m going to follow popular wisdom and not call it a diet.  The word has negative connotations and brings with it a notion of deprivation.  Case in point — the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, the low-carb diet.  Feeling deprived easily leads to binging, which isn’t simply falling off the wagon, but hurling yourself off at top speed.  I have a friend, grateful to remain nameless I’m sure, who gave up sugar for Lent.  When I l heard from her Monday, she was halfway through a bag of chocolate eggs, surrounded by pastel-colored foil wrappers.  I once went on a “detox diet” that limited me to fruits and vegetables.  I lasted two days and on the third, ate an entire pan of brownies.

My mother likes to say, “All things in moderation.”  Maybe she has a point.  Sunday evening, I polished off an entire 12-pack of Peeps.  You know, those cute, little marshmallow treats covered in enough sugar to jumpstart your way to Diabetes.  Needless to say, I felt a little ill, yet seemed to have boundless energy.  Then hours later, I couldn’t pick myself up off the couch to let in the cat.  Even a single Peep defies the moderation principle.  It’s simply too sweet for some.

Just ask Frankie.  While he certainly doesn’t live by my mother’s rule, he does have particular tastes.  Having stolen a Peep from my Easter basket, he discarded it, soggy and uneaten, in the middle of my mom’s bed.  My friend, Mary, says the only thing worse than finding a wet Peep in your bed, is stepping in cat puke in the middle of the night.  Though, now that I think about it, maybe Frankie took issue with the texture, not the taste.  Or maybe it was both.

So, here’s to fresh starts.  And don’t forget you can give the forbidden treats away.  Take it from me: you don’t have to eat the whole package of Peeps to get them out of the house.

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