Jewish World Review June 29, 2001 / 8 Tamuz, 5761

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

A Dog's Best Friend -- MY brother is miffed because I didn’t rush out and send his dog a get well card.

By way of background, you should know that my brother lives on five acres outside a small town in Missouri called Peculiar. There’s a profound irony in there, but I won’t insult you by spelling it out.

My brother always has and always will love dogs. When he was 20 and moved out from home and into his own house, his three home furnishings consisted of a color television, a folding lawn chair and a dog named Smokey.

He listed his phone under the dog’s name. He was the only Smokey in the B section of the greater metropolitan Kansas City phone book. By having the phone in Smokey’s name, he (my brother -- the dog would get the doorbell, but he was too lazy to answer the phone) could tell when a telemarketer was hounding him.

Before you knew it, the dog was getting more than phone calls. He was getting mail, too. Credit card offers, clothing catalogs, dating service invitations. You name it and that dog could have had it – Mastercards, Discovery cards, low interest car loans, discount air fares and Harry and David fruit samplers.

Well, on to the present and the brouhaha over the get well card. Smokey was about five dogs ago. Currently, my brother owns two dogs, a black lab and a German shepherd. They are named Casey and Moe because they live outside of Kansas City, Missouri or KCMO. Get it?

They are good dogs. They eat, sleep, rip up shrubs, drag home an occasional dead animal, trash the kiddie pool they cool down in each summer, and once or twice a year they trade dog houses just for the fun of it.

Three years ago, my brother held out a stick for Casey and called her to come. She barreled at top speed, hit my brother’s arm at just the wrong angle, and tore his bicep in two. My brother had surgery and was off work for months, but he never held it against the dog for a second. The dog was doing what a dog should – come when she’s called.

Last week, Casey mysteriously disappeared sometime after dinner. The next afternoon, a neighbor thought she heard an animal crying and went to investigate. A ways down the road somebody was building a new house. They’d poured the foundation for the basement, which had filled up with three feet of rain. Casey had jumped in for a swim but couldn’t get back out. Who knows how long the poor dog had been treading water and trying to claw her way out.

They rescued her and brought her home. She’s doing pretty well, but she still has a hard time walking. She wore her toenails down trying to scratch her way out.

My brother was carrying on how his dog was injured, but nobody in the family had called or sent a card, or bothered to come out with a box of chocolates. When I heard Mom and Dad sped out with a box of candy, I sent a card. A Hallmark.

I wrote, "Casey: We’re dog-gone sorry about what happened Would have scared anybody’s tail straight. I’ll bring an old shoe the next time I come, but in the meantime, why don’t you hang this picture in your doghouse?" It was a picture of three little kittens peering through a fence.

My brother may not laugh, but I’m certain Casey will get a real chuckle out of it. She’ll probably nail it up in her doghouse, too. Right after she pays her VISA bill.

JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here.

06/22/01 Rethinking fatherhood
06/14/01 Don't forget to lock the door
06/07/01 How grandma punishes her kids
06/01/01 Hearing voices
05/25/01 Cyborgs for Better or Worse
05/18/01 The death of Common Sense

© 2001, Lori Borgman