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January 2014

Dogs and Families

I wasn’t really sure how to write about this so I figured embedding the facebook update would be the easiest way to begin.

We returned from Costa Rica New Year’s Day (a trip I plan to write about in detail because it was spectacular) and in the Costa Rican Rainforest a particular sort of tree grows and it’s bark makes the sweetest cinnamon. Naturally the kids and I smelled it through the sealed plastic and decided that if we bought some for Granny she’d make us Snickerdoodles. It is the one and only souvenir we bought in Costa Rica. We are a pragmatic bunch.

In keeping with my general pragmatism and excitement for what comes out of my mother’s kitchen as soon as we landed I texted her to ask if they’d come to my house for dinner. My plan was to bring in Versailles and ask Mom to bring a salad. Her salads are my favorite.

This happened.

text from mom

So as I’m waiting for my Uber car I walk away from my family who are curbside at LAX and I’m trying to avoid the noise and the smokers and the oversized baggage carts because I don’t know what’s wrong at my Mom’s house but I know that something is wrong or she wouldn’t care about speaker phone.

And then she’s crying and I hear, “Lulu was killed.” And I can’t quote much else because I was fighting waves of lightheadedness and nausea and trying to imagine how the world’s most docile dog would meet a gruesome end. And my mom told me. The details are horrible so I won’t share them but my Stepfather was bitten and injured by a 145 pound mastiff and a husky who… well I’m skipping the details because they aren’t mine to share. But he was bitten and significantly injured while Lulu, a 22 pound terrier, was killed.

They came for dinner and I didn’t bring in Versailles. I made chicken and asparagus with potatoes and I made a salad too. My salads aren’t as good as my mother’s. It seemed fitting to have a mediocre salad but it felt really good to have my family under one roof. I needed to see them and they needed to snuggle our cat and dog. We all just sort of met each other’s needs.

I’ve spent most of the last two days answering phone calls and emails from friends who love both people and dogs. I have learned a lot of things:

Mace is a name brand and not an actual product. It’s tear gas and not what you’ll ¬†want to have on hand. Pepper spray is the best thing to have on hand when you’re walking a dog because it temporarily blinds people and animals and causes swelling around the mouth, nose and throat. As a general defense product it’s effective when used on drugged people too.

Dog rescues routinely take dogs that have bitten, rehabilitate and rehome them. I have given my last dollar to rescues that rehome aggressive dogs in Los Angeles (or anywhere really).

It can take months to years to find a healthy Wire Hair Terrier in Southern California. This adds to the tragedy because a new dog would be a nice step for my family. It’s hard to wait that long for a happy step.

There’s more here but Lulu wasn’t my dog so she’s only partly my loss. Naturally we’re all concerned for my stepfather who was physically hurt and now emotionally tormented by two animals who were improperly cared for. We’re all sad and stunned and acting like freaks when we walk Junior.

I didn’t know how to start this post and I certainly don’t know how to end it. This is from my Mom’s instagram.