My wife and I have an uneasy relationship in regard to the adoption of unwanted, stray pets. I am, in my cold, dark little heart, a suburban boy who longs for a deep green plot of grass, a uniform set of kitchen cabinets that house matching everyday china, and a television that tamps down my existential longings and helps me reconcile myself with a kind of innate stupidity.
She’s as unfazed as a professional nurse by the presence of shit, blood, maggot infestations, and the kind of injuries that veterinary surgery simply doesn’t address for certain animals.

The hunting /fishing background I developed as a child proved to be utter horseshit when confronted by an animal that was busting its ass to try and be alive. These days, a chicken suffering from bumblefoot might require some nineteenth century physic. If I had access to a “Doctor’s drug” like intravenous opium, it would be a cakewalk, but I have to content myself with a couple of beers.
I’ve watched Tammie wash maggots out of a broody duck’s back, and at the time I hatched an idea of a malignant god, a god of worms and necrosis, who presides directly over every smallholder’s yard.
Silly me: everyone knows God is worried about Birth certificates and the atheist baby killing program.
Dolly is a sort of canine model for my crazy wife. I can’t remember precisely when we adopted her, but she is a fount of love for all of the babies we incur in the farmyard, and the possums that show up , and it’s not a stretch to suppose she fills in for beaver warming on the subzero nights. She forfeited a litter of puppies at the shelter. She is a deeply fucked up dog. Anything she can construe as a baby receives her utmost attention.And I’m talking chickens, ducks, guineas and even motherfucking geese.

One late spring morning I walked into the yard in my drawers and saw Dolly ministering a young opossum, saying:” Look what Jesus gave me. It’s ugly and it’s got a nasty mouth. It’s obviously mine.”
I told her: Dolly, that’s a gorgeous puppy, but it’s free range.
And she followed me up to the pond. where we released it. It was OK with Dolly, as everything always is.

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