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Sloughing, Part 1

I AM BAGEL! Please remit a Beggin Strip. I promise I will not know it is not bacon. In fact, I can safely promise not to know anything. EVER.

Last day to enter the contest to win a copy of the anthology that contains a goodly portion of the real for true love story of me and my favorite husband, WEDDING CAKE FOR BREAKFAST. You can find out how to enter in at least 4 ways by clicking HERE.

I have lost the knack of blogging. I can’t find my FTK voice. I am having seismic heavings and all kinds of internal whatnottery. I suspect personal growth. I am, of course, foursquare against this. SO LET’S TALK ABOUT MY DOGS! The dogs are, unfortunately, trying to be metaphors. But we will leave that part for another day.

I spent Mother’s Day weekend, appropriately, at my mother’s house, which means the dogs went to the boarders. BAGEL is the rock star of the boarding place. He goes marching in like STING circa Dune and the Black Be-Wing-ed Underpants. They LOVE him there.

He comes in, and the receptionist SAYS, “Oh! It is Bagel! HURRAY!” and then she yells back that Bagel has arrived and all the technicians pour out of the back and lavish him with affection.

Ansley does not get this reception. None of my cats ever do, either. While the Vet Techs all push and jostle each other to GET at him, I say, “Please do not feed him so many treats. He always comes home rolling in brand new fat layers,” and they all say, “OKAY!” without even LOOKING at me because they are too busy scratching all over my dog and promising him endless Snausages with their eyes.

I think they react to him this way because Bagel is the only dog ever to grace earth who LIKES to go to the boarders. He arrives pre-delighted and ready to be thrilled. Even though it is also the SAME place as his vet, where once a year he gets a multitude of painful shots jammed directly into his buttock.

Ansley, who has only been twice, already eyes the building with mistrust and suspicious reserve, but Bagel? Who has been probably 25 times? HURRIES toward it. On Friday he strained so eagerly at the leash that he choked and threw up in his mouth a little bit, which was ALSO this miraculous, wonderful event, like, his internal monolog was: OH LOOK I FOUND SOME VOMIT IN MY MOUTH! YAY! AND I DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO WAIT NEAR THE CAT! MAYBE NEXT A LONG DEAD POSSUM WILL COME AND ROLL ON ME!

Hi! I am a fungus! I am smarter than Bagel!

It’s all good by Bagel. If you took him someplace and BRANDED him and BEAT him, beat him with BRICKS, and then two weeks later offered to take him back, he would go, delightedly, with a song in his heart, because he is completely innocent of brain cells.

There is NO stupider animal on the planet who isn’t a mollusk or a paramecium.

The vet techs are used to a parade of cowering animals who have the function of MEMORY and LEARNING, who come in tail-tucked and shot-dreading. Bagel comes in wagging, frisking joyously about, his whole body saying, Oh HELLO, PEOPLE! HOW GREAT IT IS HERE! YOU SEEM GREAT, TOO! YAY!

Ansley, by virtue of size and sex and age, believes that Bagel is her alpha. Really, a better choice for pack leader might be the kitchen cabinet, or this bowl of soup I am eating, but he is what she has, so she goes with it. AND to her credit, as his ENTIRE pack, all 18 pounds of her, she tries to back him up, you know?

She had a hard time Friday because ALL REASONABLE evidence pointed to this being a vet visit, which means either a bunch of shots or her PEOPLE disappearing for a week. It was confusing to her to have Bagel acting like Rihanna at Brazillian Carn-ee-val, woooooo! She stood behind him with consternated eyebrows, trying to work up a little troop-ly bolstering, but clearly thinking, “Yo, um, Alpha? Do you know where you ARE?”

Answer: No. He did not.

While they were boarded, they got their yearly exams and shots and flea treatments and a bath. Three days and FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS later (I just threw up in MY mouth a little, but I did not enjoy it…) they came home, Bagel of course fat as a flawn from the endless parade of medically necessary treats administered by the Vet Techs, and both of them smelling like hairy meadows.

It’s disconcerting. I grab Bagel and jam my face into him and I smell this pink and green Spring Fresh Floral-ness. I have to really shove my nose into his floppy neck folds to find that comforting Eu de Hound, pushed way down under rosebushes and new mown grass. The bath also loosened up the undercoat of winter. SO I took them out back to brush them.

By tomorrow I will have collected enough hair to make ANOTHER Ansley.

This is about a third of the hair we peeled off Ansley yesterday with The Magic Dog Peeler (aka The FURminator, TM which is essentially a FIFTY DOLLAR DOG BRUSH, but is worth it because it works like WHOA.) The rest of the hair got winded away in the breezes.

HEY, BIRDS, you are WELCOME. Not only is this free buttload of nest feathering material soft, but it SMELLS like Fabreeze.

And that’s all. Except, not really. I wish that was all.

This pile of hair is a metaphor. It’s about the fourth one to happen here in this one short entry about my big dog being essentially brain dead, and I have had to fight like tigress on steroids to not explain how this applies to a big spiritual lesson, which is so ANTI-FTK that if FTK touched it, that picture of a mushroom would explode and there would SPORES everywhere and we would all have to VACUUM, which, really, housework is the only think I like LESS than introspection.

Who knew dogs were walking, shedding, usually-smelly, currently-fat metaphors. Bagel may be devoid of brain cells, but it turns out he is chock full of symbolism. And sometimes hook worms

Me? THIS IS WHERE I TRY LIKE HELL TO LIVE A PURELY UNEXAMINED LIFE. The only possible conclusion is this:

I need more cats.

15 comments to Sloughing, Part 1

  • I need to go read this again and see if I can uncover the million metaphors. It is the end of the school year you know. I teach 8th graders. Bagel has more brain cells than I at this moment. . .and I have more brain cells than 8th graders. I also have an interview at a school about 20 miles closer to my house this afternoon, so I must save my non-existent braincells for their questions. “Why did you BECOME a teacher?” “What is your teaching philosophy?” Both loaded questions at this point in May. Maybe I should send Bagel to do my interview. . .

  • Jean

    Cats come packaged with their own spiritual/personal-growth metaphors. Worse, these metaphors complement the doggie metaphors, thus bringing more balance into one’s life. And I’m deeply suspicious that birds and rabbits would add still more. Not that I’ll ever find out–strictly a carnivore household here.

  • JEAN! We have VERY different cats.

    Boggart is utterly devoid of meaning. He is a life-sucking black hole of purposeless-ness.

    Schubert, may he rest in peace, was a practicing Nihilist who resisted all structure, even SYMBOLIC structure.

    I miss Schubert.

  • I have a cat who SHOULD be named Bagel, apparently, due to his lack of braincells. His name is Biggus Sithicus, or Sith for short and he is not bright. I think he was neutered before he went through kitty puberty and this is hilarious because… He is HUGE. His is 15 lbs of not-overweight cat. And he sounds like a kitten. He is the Mike Tyson of cats. THEN, he’s never been outside, but the two cats he grew up with were mostly outside cats when I lived at home with my parents (my cats are OLD). So Sith has no clue what to do once he gets outside. Sebastian is all eating the juicy, sweet grasses, and prior to arthritic ridden joints, jumped the 6 foot tall privacy fence (climbed, really). Sith munches the grasses with a look on his face like he’s left his meds in his mouth until they dissolve instead of swallowing them like normal adults. He then spits out the offending grasses and proceeds to walk the perimeter of the fenced yard. On. his. hind. legs. With his front paws searching in vain for something, I’m never quite sure what.

    Then, this stupid, lovely, yummy kitty gets my grandfather, but good. You know how cats will choose the one person in the room who wants nothing to do with them and crawl all superior and entitled into their laps? Well, Sith did this to the most non-animal person I know, my grandfather. Grandad proceeded to pet Sith in the wrong direction, tail to head. I admonished him to just push Sith down. Grandad said that Sith would get down if he didn’t like it. HA! Sith stood up, turned in a tight little circle and perched on my grandfathers knees so that the petting was going in the right direction. Much laughter ensued. 🙂

  • ebethnyc

    It’s hard to imagine you not being in an FTK way when you wrote such a fabulous entry that once again had me w/the face hurts from smiling so hard and laughing (and wheezing) heartily.
    Can’t speak to the symbolism b/c you either didn’t explain or I completely missed it. A little growth shouldn’t hurt too much, but you just go on telling yourself you have a heart of coal if you need to. We all know different.(ly).

  • “fat as a flawn” — Ha! a little Georgette Heyer to start the morning.

    I have a 15 lb Mike Tyson of cats! Actually, he proves it by bringing home the daily bacon rodent.

    We also had a female who twice caught a mouse and then didn’t know what to do with it. She kept trying to get the fur taste out of her mouth as the mouse escaped into the bushes.

  • Okay that didn’t go as I expected, but I know for next time. Only ‘bacon’ was supposed to be strike and I forgot the /strike.

  • Brigitte

    Symbolism? Self-examination!? La la la, I can’t HEAR you! I prefer to adopt a catly attitude towards such things, aka I am the one thing which is right in this horrid world.

  • Okay. . .dressed, makeuped, class coverage arriving in twenty minutes, and lunch time (no food), so I re-read. My brain is still not hitting the metaphors on point, BUT this is SO your FTK voice. Or, it’s Mosey.

  • Jessica (the celt)

    I am pretty sure now that you have succumbed to the metaphoricability of animals that teh next cat you welcome into your home will be much like my last cat — she having been the meowing, blue-eyed embodiment of resilience, healing, and the redemptive powers of trust.

    In fact, my friend who was literally wide-eyed afraid of cats ended up loving her. When I was home at Christmas this past December, she mentioned to her fiance that they should get a cat after the wedding. A cat!? I fell out of my chair (well, I would have, but I was held up by the table). When I mentioned her fear of cats, she reminded me of my former wonderkitty. To this day, that cat amazes me. ;~) (I still miss her, too.)

  • Linda J

    Is it just me or is Miss Ansley SMILING in that picture?!?

  • Valerie

    I just buried my Daisy Fuentes (my ScoobyDoo dog) yesterday. Hearing about Bagel’s joy for the vet got me misty ALL OVER AGAIN because my “DayDay” was always OVERJOYED to go to the vet. AND SHE WAS A RIVER DOG! Talk about your dogs and metaphors… My DayDay was killed, leaving us with Boosie the deck’s poop-bandit who can’t be happy about ANYTHING, and eats nasty dead animal carcasses. It’s really sad, though, for my little Boosie … He and Daisy had quite the love affair – completely platonic of course, because they are both fixed. Now he just poops up the deck and lays beside it.

  • Reine

    The groomer paid a house, so Kendall and Buffalo (our 22lb Maine Coon cat would be gorgeous for Mothers Day. Kendall jumped up and down when the van pulled into the driveway and flew in as soon as the van door slid open.

    Buffalo waited in the bedroom. He had never met the groomers or their van. The groomers walked in. I pointed the way. I heard a noise. Ungodly. The groomers ran out. “That cats evil! That cats evil!” Buffalo says I shouldn’t trust groomers with a Mercedes van cuz he knows a dog treat when he sees one, and they better not try that again on his Master of the Universeness.

  • Stephanie

    HA! “…really, housework is the only think I like LESS than introspection.”
    This may be my new mantra, though housework could be replaced with having blood drawn or shopping for used cars. Introspection = YUCK.