franklanguage: my little terrier (Corky)
It's been awhile; today, I had a slightly grueling day taking Corky up to the Animal Medical Center to be diagnosed. He's had ataxia and weakness in his hind legs for some time, so I decided that in the wake of his being cured of Cushing's syndrome a few months ago I wanted to find out what else was going on—since he was still incontinent, and I would have thought that symptom would ease up if the Cushing's weren't an issue.

Turns out they found spinal stenosis. There's no cure, no treatment to speak of, beyond palliative care. Currently, I have to give him strict crate-rest for 4 to 6 weeks—even after he seems to be getting better.

He's 11, but he's not an old dog; I mean, he seems older than he is because he has such difficulty walking. (I was plan nasty to a woman this morning who cocked her head and smiled before asking, "Is he an old dog?" "Leave me alone!" I bellowed. I was in no mood for chit-chat.)

I usually have to carry him; I have to carry him both up and down all five flights of stairs in my building—which I'm resigned to. You do what you can for the ones you love.

I'd like to get him a photonic-therapy unit—and now that there's a distributor in this country, I may do that; when I last checked, the only contact in the whole world was an address in Australia. When I mentioned it to the vet I saw last week, she thought it was a tall order for me to go learning all the acupuncture points, but I think it would be on an as-needed basis.

Unfortunately, he pooped in the front hall of the building earlier when I was carrying him out—and I didn't notice. Carmen—the woman in the front apartment, who's the de facto super and package receiver for the building—wrote a misspelled note and taped it to the glass of the front door about how tenants weren't supposed to let their dogs poop in the hallway without cleaning it up. Most tenants don't have to carry their dogs both ways.

I'm tired.
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Sixth street and Avenue B


In this country, jingoism and patriotism come to a head on the 4th of July and we shoot off these dangerous and illegal—in the wrong hands—pyrotechnics to show our love for this country. (Wrap your head around that!) We are also instructed to call 311 with reports of any illegal fireworks being shot off. (Unfortunately, there are all these independent contractors out right now, even though they're clearly not part of the show, which is long over; it's after midnight.)

This year, the fireworks were shot off from spectacular Brooklyn Heights, where I walked a dog this afternoon; they went into lockdown mode after 4 PM, at which time no cars were to be moved. So I only got the above picture when I happened to be out with my dog, a couple of hours ago, from my neighborhood.

I walked a dog in Brooklyn this afternoon, and although I'm familiar with most parts of Brooklyn now, I decided to get myself a little lost so I wouldn't get back too early. This made an hour-and-a-half walk turn into two—we ended up going to downtown Brooklyn, Flatbush Avenue and almost to Park Slope—and was fun but I got a little dizzy with hunger—having only had a donut and coffee for breakfast. Just as we were getting back to Brooklyn Heights, I managed to snag my ankle in a tree well, and went down.

This freaked Olive (the dog) out, which is why I always keep the leash wrapped around my hand, as a contingency measure. I just had to explain yesterday in a text to Michael, who is Olive's daddy, that I have ataxia as the result of a car accident over 30 years ago; he had sent me a text complaining to me that I had left smudges on the walls of his new apartment. (Well, if you're going to require that I take off my shoes before I enter your home, I have to hold onto something; I'm not a dancer. Oh, and did I mention I hate texting?)

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Olive the dog


Worse than the humiliation of the fall itself is walking around with a scab on my knee for a few weeks—especially in summer, when I usually wear shorts. No matter, I'll just rock those big band-aids until the scab chips away; this, I know, is a surface scrape, so it should heal pretty quickly—probably within a month.

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Mulberries! Now!


One nice thing about late June/early July is that mulberries are in season. There are many mulberry trees around town; I'm always delighted to discover them. There's even a fruit-bearing mulberry tree in the Hillside Dog Park, where I take Olive some days. Although the tree (and park itself, of course) is right by the BQE [Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, for you out-of-towners] I'm not afraid of exhaust fumes settling on a few berries; that sure isn't going to be what kills me. The thrill of picking wild berries and eating them eclipses any danger there might be to it.

We didn't go in there today because it was a little misty and I even wore a slicker and rain hat. Overkill, but I hate getting caught in the rain and having my wallet soaked. And my phone, now that I carry one.

So it was a good walk; I didn't get to say it—Michael didn't ask "How was the walk?" when I returned—but honestly, there's no way I'd rather spend my day off. It would have come out sounding sarcastic if I had. Olive is a fun dog; she loves me and I love her.

That's the crazy thing about Aaron, to whom I said, "My dog's a better date than you!" Most dogs are better dates than most guys: they like to go places, they're excited to be with you, and they'll lick your face and gaze into your eyes. It's just the truth; there was no reason to be offended by it.
franklanguage: my little terrier (Corky)
…or wanted to.

I was walking a dog for the first time today—a little dachshund named Watson—and was supposed to take him to the run for 20 minutes, then take him to walk around for the rest of the hour and back home.

Well, this dog doesn't like me. I mean, he doesn't know me, has only met me a couple of times and we're out together. Because we're close to Tompkins Square dog run, we go to the small dog run there. That shouldn't be a problem, right? Wrong—as soon as I take the leash off, Watson goes to whatever part of the run is farthest away from me. He doesn't want to know me—he goes behind the tree to avoid me!

After a while in the run, I'm thinking we should leave and walk, and I ask a woman named Eileen there if she can help me corral him. I give her girlfriend and her treats so we can get him…and the sonofabitch bites Eileen and draws blood. I'm really embarrassed by now; she says, "It's okay; I'll take it home and put peroxide on it." We finally get the leash on him and I thank her profusely.

We're walking and we go to Whiskers, a pet-food-and-supply store where I figure I can get him some high-value treats to feed to him as we walk. I really want him to like me; all the other dogs I walk like me! So I got him a bag of lamb lungs, the most high-value treat there is!

We're heading back towards his home, and I'm feeding him treats which he's accepting from me. But it's not quite an hour yet so we're going up 1st avenue; Watson is wriggling his shoulders and before I realize his harness is too loose, he's out of it and takes off east—toward home. Shit! I'm dying because if he crosses streets, he likely won't make it.

I'm screaming and a few other people give chase as well; Watson is like greased lightning and I'm thinking he's just going to be another "lost dog" poster. I can't imagine he'll find his house. I'm dying and thinking of what other career I can do at this late stage of the game. So I slow down, because frankly I'm out of breath.

I ask a guy in front of a restaurant if he saw a brown dog pass by. "You mean the brown streak? Yeah; people were chasing after him, but nobody could catch him." That gave me a little hope, so I started running again. I got to his block and there were a few people crowded around…and there was Watson, huddled by the front door to his home. Dogs just know. A woman pointed out where he had bitten her and she was bleeding; I picked him up gingerly, hoping he didn't bite me as well.

I had offered a woman money for helping he get him, and now two homeless guys—reeking of booze—insisted they had helped get him back as well. "Wait—I have to take him upstairs first," I said. And I did; I had to get him inside where he'd be safe. When I get Watson inside, the guys decide to punch every button to every apartment in the building to see if they can flush me out. Watson's mommy's roommate—the day-sleeper—gets up and answers. "Who is it?" "You said you'd come down!" the guy outside says. I shrug.

After I write my note and say goodbye to Watson—who gives me the fish-eye—I go back downstairs. The two guys are there waiting, and I say I have to get change—which I do; I only have twenties. One of them has crusts on his face, and they both reek of booze.

I finally just decide to give them each a twenty to get rid of them. It works; and I go over to The Bean on First Avenue for a latte. A woman, one of the women who saw me running after Watson asks me, "So did you get your dog?"

I said I did. "So where is he?"

I said he wasn't mine; it had been my first day walking him. "You gotta be careful…" she starts. But I don't go into detail about how I know, I know…

I totally can't believe I got the dog back—and unharmed; I can't ever let that happen again.

I get on the bus to go to acupuncture.
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Here's Greg Pike and his dog, cat, and rat that have all learned to be friends:



"Just don't knock the flea off."
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