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The diet for last weekend was mechanically separated chicken. Robots, no doubt, play chaperones in the henhouses, keeping a proper distance between the animals, lest their flesh become less edible than the stuff inside the chicken nuggets. Nuggets weren't the only chicken on the list last week: Chicken pot pie, chicken fingers cut up in a salad, chicken and dumplings, garlic chicken pizza...pre-cooked fowl that repects a proper social distance is a major part of the food economy these days. It's also cheap -- a whole chicken, whose respect of personal space is unknown, is going to cost less than a gallon of milk soon. Chicken is everywhere, getting too close to others, touching inappropriately, making rude comments...chickens are an unsavory lot, despite how good it tastes.

On Thursday morning I was shaken to awakeness at the bathroom sink, my first destination after barely opening my eyes. Turning on the water resulted in the acrobatic drain-escape attempt by a house spider, who shocked me with his speed; the basin was too deep and he eventually succumbed to the flood, much like his relative I met a few months ago. They may be working hard to make sure I don't wander through the day in a half-daze, ensuring my wide-eyed awareness by jumping out at me when I least expect it, violating my personal space, making me think something's crawling on me for the rest of the day. On Saturday night that feeling paid off; somehow, somewhere, a wood tick ended up on my body, and managed to crawl up to the base of my neck before being caught, flicked off my finger, then stepped on twice. Being stepped on wasn't enough to even phase it, but it was done for my own sense of well-being. Take that, foul intruder! Were I to mechanically separate ticks, I wouldn't have to check every little air movement past my armhairs for the presence of an interloper. Finding a woodtick is also of the gravity that not only am I creeped out, but those around me also spend their time checking the slightest touch for the sign of a bloodsucker.

At first leaving work Thursday night, I thought the car in front of me was swerving to avoid a bag slowly blowing across the street, but once I got closer I realized what was being circumvented: a mama duck and what appeared to be two dozen ducklings crossing the street. The curvy streets and mixed-use zoning created 'dead-spots' in between lots, lower areas that end up being shallow reservoirs of rainwater, full of bugs and perfect for a duck family to move into. The family was moving to a larger, damper area cross the road to the west, presumably for swimming lessons. I did my best not to intrude upon their personal space, moving my van towards the middle of the road to discourage other drivers from driving right through the buggers -- who, for as late at night as it was, should have been wearing 3M reflective products, or at least something bright and visible -- and waiting until they had made it as far as the curb before proceeding.

Saturday, however, required my incursion into the personal space of others, man and animal alike. I recieved a call at seven am, asking for my attendance; at noon I was called again, letting me know the event was moved up, so I hurredly made my way over to my parent's house. My grandparents were already there, offering their support to my mom. When I arrived, the travelling vet had just given Max, my parent's dobie-something-cross, the last shot to stop his heart. He, as a small puppy, wasn't taken care of well, and between those problems and others he never grew out of it, remaining fearful of others and ready to use his sharp teeth to let you know his emotional state at the time. As a puppy, not so bad; as a hundred-pound beast, unacceptible. He should have been put down long ago, when he grabbed the arm of my stepson (no major damage, but I made sure Max understood it wasn't acceptible, which then put the fear of children in the dog's mind and we stopped bringing the children into their house); when he ripped up my mom's hand, requiring stitches, it definitely should have been done then. His antisocial behavior had finally made my mom worried enough for the safety of others that she saw the need to put him down. It's not that he's a bad dog -- it is that he could not follow the social boudaries set for humans and dogs. Dogs bite to tell each other 'back off'; humans frown on using teethmarks to communicate. The few times we dogsat, he was put in his place quickly; he was fine after that, however still a bit too much of a risk to be allowed around children unattended.

I went and sat with my mom and petted Max as his breathing grew shallower; he began to shiver, and his breathing stopped. His loose skin reacted when you pet him, pulling and bouncing back, but after a minute or so it felt different, like a rubber glove, lifeless and artificial. I helped load him into the vet's trunk, destation creamatorium. Instead of burying him in the back yard, as mom wanted, I suggested putting up a marker instead; the vet pointed out the legal issues of burying such a large body in the back yard. I offered my condolences to my parents, making sure to offer to dad as well, since my mom was getting the majority of emotional support. I left shortly after, leaving them to their own feelings and dealing with mine.

That's sad the poor pup started acting out, but like you said, sounds as if the euthanization should have happened earlier.

--furiousball , 06/04/2007 14:42:42

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