Thursday, August 12, 2010

Andy's First Snow

When I was a kid, there was an ad campaign for mental health awareness. One commercial stated “You wouldn’t laugh at cancer or a stroke, would you? Then why would you laugh at mental illness?” The commercial went on to describe the devastating effects mental illness has in society. The point was well made, but regardless, there are some things people and dogs do that are not ‘all there’ that makes me want to laugh. I know this is puerile, insensitive and politically incorrect, but I just can’t help it.

Andy is riddled with so many quirks and hang-ups that I can’t even begin to describe them all in one blog entry. In some ways, I know Andy’s issues are mental and should be taken seriously, as seriously as his arthritis, but he does so many weird and eccentric things that I can’t help but to laugh and be amused.

For example, in Andy’s first winter, which also happened to be the first winter I was in NJ, Raleigh received one of the biggest snow storms ever on record if not the biggest. The forecast was for 2-4”, plenty big for the Triangle area and enough to shut down the place for a day or two. This snow would also be the first time Andy would ever see any form of winter precipitation. The brunt of the storm hit in the late night or early morning depending on one’s perspective so that when the Triangle residents awoke that morning, there was not a couple of inches of snow on the ground—there was 2ft of snow! This was enough to shut down the city not for just a day but for a whole week. For the gentle readers up North, we in the South have a plan for snow removal called the Solar Thermal Heating Assistance Snow Removal Plan. We don’t need to spend millions upon millions for a fleet of snow trucks and plows since the Sun can take care of the snow the next day. It’s wasteful spending; it’s about as silly as Des Moines, IA having an avalanche contingency plan (or at least to the extent some asshole from Boston expects us to have).

My mom woke up after her sister called her to break the news about the big storm. My mom may very well have seen larger storms since she used to live in Illinois and used to visit relatives in Connecticut in winters up there, but this would be the biggest she has ever seen in Raleigh. Big storm or not, nature called and the babies had to be let out to take care of business. The side door, the one leading to the back where the babies took their morning potty breaks, has glass panes. Andy walked to the door, took a look out, saw the snow, cocked his head back and started howling at the snow like a wolf baying at the moon. My god I wish I were there since it sounds so damned cute! It make me smile just thinking about it.

When Andy is scared, I know he can withdraw into himself shutting himself away from the world. He also will not go to the bathroom when he is scared because of his shy bladder. Fortunately for us, Andy found so much comfort and solace with Abby that he trusted her wholeheartedly. If something was OK for her to eat, then he would eat it. If someplace was acceptable for her to go, then it was OK for him to go there. Abby by this time was well familiar with snow and absolutely loved it. Abby trotted out into the snow and Andy soon followed. It didn’t take long for Andy to become familiar with snow himself and to come to love it. Later, but not too much later, Andy became excited by the site of snow much like Abby was. Their play was more physical than on snow-free days, and they would romp around on the snow much like children would who were given the day off from school. They knew it was special and relished every moment on the snow.

1 comment: