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The Furry Kid

Ten years ago I wrote a check to some hillbilly backyard breeder at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds and came home with a 7 week old black lab. Since I was living in the south at the time, she needed a proper southern debutante title, so I named her Carson (pronounced Cahhhson, like the chick from the movie Shag, which I was randomly obsessed with at the time). She was a dreamy little snooge with perfect puppy breath and a pink belly.

Three weeks after bringing her home she ate a 3 lb. bag of chocolate, foil-wrapped Easter eggs, and had to get her stomach pumped. A month after that she jumped off a bridge in Umstead Park, nearly breaking her neck, because she wanted to go swimming in the stream flowing beneath us. Weeks later she somehow ate an entire dead squirrel, which we only discovered when she barfed it up at my feet while we were eating dinner. A few months later P and I returned home from dinner to find her excitedly wiggling her shrimp butt while standing over an open bottle of Advil with the pills fanned out in front of her.  When she was 3 she broke her tail while playing frisbee. At age 4 she ate too quickly after playing at Prospect Park and bloated: had she not had emergency surgery that evening she would have died within hours.

And the shoes…. oh, the shoes that were devoured. I used to have the kind of shoe collection Imelda Marcos would have admired: and then I got this dog. She left me with nothing but flip-flops.

Still though, tens of thousands of dollars later in vet bills, destroyed property, playgroups, training, fancy food, vitamins, anxiety medicine and toys: I wouldn’t change a thing. So when a mom wrote in to my parenting group asking if someone could help place her nearly deaf, blind and handicapped 15 year-old lab mix in a shelter, because they didn’t think they could continue to care for her and feared the medical costs: my head exploded. Who DOES that? You mean you can just dump the dog you raised to die of a broken heart in a cage because it’s pricey and challenging? Tough shit, lady. What about Patrick, the pitbull that was starved and thrown down a trash compactor in an apartment complex in Newark by some despicable wench named Kisha Curtis.  He was found on St. Patrick’s Day by building maintenance workers when one of the trash bags moved slightly, and has been struggling with life since then. I have no words for the heinous bitch that did this to him, or any other lowlife who abuses animals. None. If I were ever on the show Animal Cops they’d surely have to bleep the entire episode.

Dogs are devoted, trustworthy and ridiculously amiable snugglebutts, and we are lucky to have them in our lives. Here’s to my Carse: the best dog ever, despite the debt she has inflicted upon us.

*Also known as Tap Dance Kid, Banana Boat, Black as Night, Carsonian Democracy, Carsey Fallarcy, Alfonso Ribeiro and Lobster Butt.

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