Thursday, April 11, 2013

So Long, and Thanks for all the Slobber

They say after a time, dogs and their owners start to resemble each other. Nine years ago they gave Satcho 2-4 months to live. Four months ago a tumor in his mouth gave him a few weeks. But Satcho did things in his own time. Just like Nick.

I knew something was wrong when  he didn't want a "Tina Treat " - his favorite snacks homemade by Tina Cavaco, a high school friend. He'd decided it was time. He stopped eating and drinking three days ago, and his canine buds Tyson (Petra & Uwe) and Buddy (Jeanette) came over last night to say goodbye. Jozi would've completed the Fearsome Foursome, but in a horrific turn of events, she died of bone cancer last Monday. It hurts so much because we love them so much.

After a wonderfully summery warm spell, winter made a surprise reappearance yesterday. Just for him. He hadn't been able to walk in a couple of days, so Nick carried him outside this afternoon to lie in the snow, his favorite place to be (preferably in the shade).

A bit later we went outside to scratch his head and neck, and he was gone. I mean, his body had disappeared, not his spirit yet. And there he was, on the other side of the house, on a dwindling patch of snow. He even picked where he would leave us.

Melting his final snow patch

The vet came at 4pm. What a long, long day. Satcho lifted his head off the snow, looked at all of us, then laid his chin on my hands and started to snore. The vet was barely done pulling out the needle when his head became heavy, his jowls wrapped around my palms and that was it. No struggle or resistance, no shudder or exhale. He just went to sleep.

What a magnificent being he was. A dozen years ago as Nick and I sat in a Mexican restaurant in Cortez, having just met the whole litter of beyond-cute furballs, we could never have known what a good match this puppy would be for our family. What an incredible mountain climber he was, three-legged or four-. How protective of his future sisters. How much his calm demeanor would mirror Nick's, and with what bravery he would accept the amputation of an important body part. Neither Nick nor Satcho let that come between them and doing great things.

Cayenne's first day.
Acacia and Satcho on his last night

Satcho was one cool ass dog.

I love you, you loyal, faithful, character-of-steel, self-cleaning Slobberpuss.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fakesgiving Fun

The heft of the 9mm pistol in my hands took me by surprise. But it was the kickback that threw me.

"Holy shit!"

Of all the glorious words in the English language, that's all that came out of my mouth after firing. I didn't hit the tin can and probably missed the whole target--I couldn't tell--and didn't hit it the second time either. But Nick did. Knocked two cans off a little ledge.

We were at the Luthy's place for Fakesgiving, a full harvest meal with all the trimmings between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Erika had gotten a free turkey for spending 100 bucks at Albertson's, so they thought, "What the hey? Let's have Fakesgiving! Everyone come over!" That's what I love about the Luthys.

The food was flowing, the kids were jumping on the tramp or zip-lining from the tree house, and the adults were shooting at tin cans. It was fun, relaxing, and very American.

But unfortunately, so was the horror at Sandy Hook Elementary a few days later. That's becoming American too. It's not just target practice and hunting and self-defense anymore.

Those parents dropped off their children at school without a whisper of fear, because for the most part, that's how it is in suburban America.We live fairly free, but that freedom is created through laws and regulation. Anyone who's spent time in a lawless part of the world, knows there's nothing free about it. The first thing that goes up is bars on the windows - the same bars that will trap you in a fire.

You know where this conversation is going, but I'm not suggesting outlawing guns. No one is - even though the NRA would have people believe otherwise. I just think you don't need a bullet-spraying machine gun to take down a deer. Actually, from what I understand, that ruins the meat anyway. You don't need an assault rifle for target practice because even I could hit the bulls-eye with one of those.

And you don't need one to protect yourself. Plenty of other guns for that.

On the same day that this mentally unstable man hosed down 26 innocents in Newton, CT, another one went on a rampage in a Chinese elementary school injuring 23 with a knife. Twenty-six deaths versus zero. They both needed mental healthcare (the other equally important side of this coin). But the difference in the outcome was the weapon.

The Second Amendment guarantees guns for a well regulated militia. Whether that means your next door neighbor or an organized and regulated military group against governmental tyranny, is a matter for debate. But the current bills being discussed in governments at both the federal and state levels (such as those passed in the Colorado legislature recently) are not asking for all guns to be destroyed. They are looking to reign in the free-for-all "You're crazy? Here's a gun!" culture we live in now.

Guns are a part of our history. As well as for untold violence, they're used for protection, food and fun - and that afternoon at the Luthy's really was fun. But I do not believe 200 years ago the Founders intended the Second Amendment to include unregulated machine guns. That just seems illogical to me. But then again, I'm talking about a country whose response to the massacring of children was to race each other to the nearest gun shop and buy as many guns as they could.