–Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
I’m stupid about my pets. I own it. And I won’t let anyone make me feel bad about it.
Perdita has been, as of late, chewing her tail. Chewing is actually a very kind way of putting it–she has gnawed it to the bone. We have been through two Cones of Shame, half a bottle of Bitter Apple, and three vet administered bandages (not counting the ones I did at home) trying to get her to stop. She is now sporting a green 5-gallon pickle bucket and a bandaging system normally used for horses.
On our last trip to the vet, we were told that this was the last attempt that could be made to save her tail. The next step is docking. Apparently it is pretty common, but I can’t help but feel sick when I think about it. Luckily, I am married to a wonderful man who doesn’t roll his eyes or even lecture me that we have spent over $200 trying to stop the dog from performing self-amputation.
I recently finished reading Oogy by Larry Levin. A lawyer by trade, Levin is not perhaps the most stunning wordsmith of our time, but it doesn’t really matter because his story is what is so compelling. Oogy was a bait dog left for dead when he was just a puppy. A series of amazing vets worked to save him, even though he was missing half of his face and an entire ear. What is beautiful about the story is that it demonstrates the kindness of human spirit and the willingness to recognize beauty in unlikely places.
Perdi’s issues are by no means as dramatic as Oogy’s, but it seems that we are constantly dealt new challenges for her: the deafness, the seizures, her precarious weight (she loses weight too quickly), and now this tail issue. On our last visit the vet made a point of saying that we have done more for her than most people would have. It makes me proud of our family and sad for how easily people give up.
Perdita literally found us. My grandfather was going to the bathroom one afternoon when she burst in out of nowhere. His eyesight was failing and so he at first thought she was his dog, Mia (which is funny when you consider that Mia is an Eskimo and Perdi is Pit Bull-Dalmatian). We didn’t know where she came from and no one claimed her. Still a puppy, we were unsure of large she would grow, but we did recognize that she was too much for my then 89 year-old grandfather. My husband and I had lost our Pit Bull the previous year and although we had another puppy, we had a soft spot for Pits and decided to take Perdita.
We later found out that my grandfather’s neighbor had abandoned her in his yard. He pretended she wasn’t his dog so he wouldn’t have to take her back. She managed to dig her way under the fence and go through my grandfather’s doggie door. Had she dug the other way, she would have run right into a busy intersection (and given that she is deaf, I don’t know how long she would have survived). Had she picked another family, she might have just been taken to the pound, where she would have been put down because she is clearly Pit Bull. Had my grandfather not been home, she might have kept going or found her way back into the yard.
But she didn’t. She found us.
Perdita is by no means an easy dog, but I believe she found us for a reason. And even though I get annoyed these days that she currently bashes me in the back of the legs with her bucket every time I stop walking (how do you explain tailgating to a Pit Bull?), I hope that I am a good Mommy to her.
People sometimes look at me with disapproval when I mention that we have a Pit. Those people can suck it. Any dog can be mean, but most of the time, that meanness comes from people, not the dog itself. I was miffed with President Obama for praising the second chance Michael Vick got following his dog fighting conviction. What about all those Pit Bulls? Where is the praise for all the amazing people who wanted to show them that people are not all cruel and that life does not have to be filled with pain?
So here’s to my Perdita and Oogy and the Vicktory dogs. Cruelty maybe the norm in our society, but that doesn’t make it right.