Friday, September 25, 2009

Gimme Three Steps

Note: This is not a sad, dead-dog entry…even though it is about a dog that is no longer alive.

A couple of years ago our dog Simon developed acute Pancreatitis and over the course of five days deteriorated so rapidly that we chose to end his suffering. An interesting point of his treatment was one morning when we arrived at the animal hospital and our veterinarian (Dr. Jill) said, “So tell me about his gunshot wound.” I remember I stared at her for a moment, and then while suppressing an incredulous tone, I calmly said, “Dr. Jill, we’re here to see Simon. He wasn't shot. He's the yellow lab that cannot keep any food down.” Dr. Jill said, “No!!! Not shot right now, Jeff. In the past he was shot. Simon's x-ray shows a couple of pellets still in his body.”

(Actual X-ray of Simon Skiver, Yellow Lab)

At that moment I was again reminded that one can never know the full history of a rescue dog. We got Simon from the West Michigan Chocolate Lab Rescue when he was about 2 years old. He was a fit little guy with an incredibly sweet disposition and a camouflage collar. I later figured out that the reason a perfect purebred Yellow Lab dressed in a camo collar would be at a rescue shelter was because he likely refused to be a hunter. I imagined his early puppyhood being trained to fetch ducks and geese and living the life of a working hunter. Then, one day he gets an injection of Remington pellets and refuses to ever again be a gun dog.

I picture his having a bad-ass hunter name like Rex, and after his scabs healed the great hunter (his first human) came along to the kennel and said, “Let’s go, boy. We need to repel a Mallard invasion.”

The dog (the former Rex) looks up and says, “Screw Off!!!!”

The hunter says, “Whatsa matter, fella. You LOVE to go hunting.”

Rex (the future Simon) replies, “Past tense, dumbass. I LOVE-D to go hunting. Perhaps you don’t remember that last trip where you shot my ass?!?!?! Now why don’t you be a good boy and you and that gun of yours go get me some kibble.”

I imagine that the hunter did take Rex for a trip…down a country road and left him where he ended up in the dog pound near South Bend, Indiana and eventually onto the WMCLR where they gave him the new name of Simon.

Another possibility is that Rex (Simon) played it real cool and acted like he wanted to go hunting. Then, as soon as he and the hunter reached the wetlands area, he hightailed it for the hills all the while looking over his head and screaming, “Shoot me again, Mother F(&^)&*(er!!!!!!!!!!! Shoot my ass again!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Regardless of how the facts played out, I just know that I ended up with an incredibly loving and sweet dog that worshiped the ground I walked on. Perhaps if a dog gets shot early in his life it makes him better appreciate a sedate life of lying around in an air conditioned house watching TV.

(We let him keep the camo collar for a few months before we got him a nice leather one.)

It seems we will never know how Simon got shot.

There is one other possibility I thought of, but I highly doubt it. Part of me believes that in the future I might find that before he was adopted by us, Simon may have been a Gansta Rapper. Maybe if you pull up that last known photo of Tupac taken on the Vegas strip and analyze it closely…perhaps there could be a little yellow lab puppy tail visible in the back seat?

And with that thought, we have come full circle on how my brain works. Because the only reason I have been pondering the early life of my former dog Simon is because of a realization I made last night while explaining to some friends why I believe Neil Young is the most annoying singer ever.

My quote of the night was:
Most people fail to remember that long before there was East Coast/West Coast and long before there was Tupac vs Biggie Smalls, there was Neil Young versus Lynyrd Skynyrd. The difference is that back then, guys didn’t just go around blasting each other with guns; they just waited for God to make the choice with a nice plane crash.

God, I realize that You love to use airplanes to cull the Rock and Roll herd (Bopper, Richie, Buddy, the irrepressible Ricky Nelson, etc). But what in the world would have ever possessed You to be on Neil Young’s side against Skynyrd?