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Commentary: Theres love, and then theres dog love

“What’s that strapped to your dog?” asks the lady walking down the road in front of our house.  With her is a five or six-year-old kid staring, with his mouth agape, at the cyborg standing next to me.  Cyborg Bear-Dog returns the stare; his tongue hanging out and his tail thumping madly against my right leg.

“It’s a wheelchair,” I tell her.
“Oh!  That’s so cuuute!!!”
I guess, on one hand, it is kind of cute because, well, it’s a dog…in a specially-made dog wheelchair.
On the other hand, though, Bear-Dog is in that wheelchair because a little more than a year and a half ago some a**hole speeding through our neighborhood and ignoring stop signs ran him over and mangled his back legs and pretty much ruined his life.  And while I can’t honestly say my and Love-Weasel’s lives were ruined, I can testify to the major changes we’ve had to make in order to rearrange our schedules around a ninety-pound Labrador Retriever that can’t walk.
Since the incident, Bear-Dog has suffered through several surgeries to repair his legs.  Twice we thought he was going to die; once it was suggested we have him euthanized to make things easier on us.  The first three months, either Love-Weasel or I slept downstairs with him every night so he wouldn’t be alone.  Seven or eight times a day I pick him up and carry him outside to do the things dogs have to do and I either hold his hindquarters up or I cradle him in a sling with handles so I can lift his rear up and carry him around like a furry suitcase and he can exercise his front legs a little bit.  
He’s fat now because I feed him more than I should – I sing him a song sometimes called “Fat Dog”…I made it up - and he still has to take a lot of pain-killers and steroid-based medications.  And, yes, we bought him that wheel-chair we couldn’t really afford because, what the hell, it’s Bear-Dog and I’m pretty sure he’d do the same for me or Love-Weasel and we strap him into it a few minutes each day just so he can feel like he’s up to something.
But two weeks ago, at supper-time, Bear-Dog dragged himself to his bowl and, very, very slowly…very, very wobbly…stood up using his rear legs and, as Love-Weasel and I watched – stunned speechless - ate his food, grinned at us, and then flopped to the floor…still grinning.  He does it every day now and stands for a few seconds more than the day before and we hope, but don’t expect, that maybe, sometime months from now, he’ll be able to answer the call of his yellow ball again.
What Love-Weasel and I do for Bear-Dog is certainly no more than what any other animal lover would do for the innocents among us; we are, after all, human…and I’ve always been led to believe that’s supposed to mean something.
So I guess that’s why I’m appalled by and absolutely cannot wrap my head around the fact there is opposition in this state to a proposal to increase inspections of the Walking Horse industry by the Department of Agriculture to at least try, once and for all, to put a stop to the practice of “soring” the creatures that very industry professes to love so much.  
If you don’t know what “soring” is, look it up; it is willful pain – willful crippling - inflicted upon walking horses and practiced only to evoke “oohs” and “aahs” from spectators and maybe win a blue ribbon.  One argument in opposition of the proposal is that more inspections would cost the industry more money.  Boo-hoo.
Any person or groups of people who would knowingly harm an animal for the amusement and entertainment of the human race – or even turn a blind eye to it - are moral cowards and should be viewed as the psychopaths they are.  
And, no, me singing “Fat Dog” to Bear is not torture for him.  He likes it…I think.
Note:  Reaction to my column last week where I implied that only blue-collar workers are cherry-picked for random drug-testing was swift.  I have been deservedly chastised and it has been proven to me that ALL City employees, regardless of pay-grade, are subject to be asked to pee on command at any time…so much so, it seems, that any citizen would be well-advised to wear hip-waders when visiting City Hall. 
I was wrong to suggest Our Leaders - as well as all the other lawmakers and executives and white-collar workers across this great land of ours - are not doing their part to further advance the agendas of the insurance and medical and privacy-invasion industries.  My apologies.  
William Carter is a longtime Franklin city employee and published author.  He may be contacted at  

Posted on: 11/24/2013


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