My dog, Karma

Volcom has got me in dog mode arguing the merits of continuing dog breeds with a bad reputations.  The dog I have now is a seven year old Lab named Karma.  She's the second dog that I've owned since moving out of my parent's house 22 years ago.  Her name is based on the Hindu principle that can be oversimplified as "what comes around, goes around."

You see my family and I had a run of bad luck with pets.  I had a 13 year old Australian Shepherd that died a horrible death in front of my three year old daughter, really freaking her out.  The horrible, bloody, hemmoraging death of our beloved pet is detailed in this blog:  It was a bad end for a really good pet.

My wife is more of a cat person, but she cried more for the dead dog than anybody.  She had a grey cat that was about as cool as cats got.  When we walked the dog, the cat would walk along with us as if on a leash too.  This is an indoor cat I'm talking about too.  The only time it ever went outside is when we walked the dog.  Pretty unusual.  It walked along fine except when we would walk by the fenced yard of our neighbor on the corner where she would start panting and doing that weird tongue thrusting thing that cats do.  I figured that it was due to the fact that she smelled all the dog shit back there that my loser neighbor never picked up.

Shortly after the dog died, the cat was nosing around in the living room and walked into a large, paper bag with handles on it from a department store.  My three year old daughter saw it happen and picked up the bag by the handles, trapping the cat inside.  My first clue was her maniacal laughter and her yelling "I've got the kitty in the bag!  I've got the kitty in the bag!"  I rescued the cat, but kitty characterized this type of treatment as abusive.  The next time the front door opened, the cat bolted.  We weren't able to immediately retrieve the cat because we couldn't find it.  When it wasn't back by morning, my wife went down the street to put up a lost cat sign by the mailboxes.  She found her cat flat as a road pizza by the mailboxes, right by the place where it always freaked out on its walks.  I had to go retrieve it and plant it in the back yard.  I had to use a fucking pickaxe to chisel through the rock (central Texas).  I felt like Cool Hand Luke.

We decided to get another dog and made a couple trips to the pound to pick one out.  We decided on a small white lab.  It was a mutt, but looked just like a lab but was a little smaller than average, almost fully grown and only 30-35 pounds.  In Austin, they won't give the dog to you until it's been spayed or neutered, so we had to wait a few days before we could pick it up.  We visited it every day.  We bought it toys.  We named it.  When the day came to pick it up we were all excited.  We showed up with a leash and a box of dog treats.  "We're here to pick up the little lab in cage #35.  We've already filled out the adoption papers."  We were told matter of factly that the dog died from the anesthetic while getting spayed.  My daughter was inconsolable.

I went in to work the next day and one of my employees said that her dog just had puppies and asked if I wanted one.  They were 1/2 brown lab and 1/2 something else, possibly the black lab across the street.  We waited a few weeks and went to check them out.  The conditions that they were in were terrible.  They were infested with fleas, the mother was obviously not getting enough nutrition to nurse, and their bellies were swollen with worms.  I said I was taking the puppy right then (at four weeks) or not at all.

We got the dog home and weened it early.  It was already experimenting with solid food and we got canine milk replacement.  We got it to the vet early the next day.  It not only had worms and fleas but sucking lice and mange too.  I had a free dog that cost me a $600 vet bill.  If you're not familiar with mange, it's a parasitic infestation of the same parasite that causes scabies in people.  The vet tells us this and I immediately start feeling itchy.  He assures us that we don't need to fear infection unless we're newborns or have a compromised immune system (like AIDS).  I ask about lupus.  He says "Oh, yeah, AIDS or lupus."  Well... my wife has lupus and has been bottle feeding the dog in her lap.

My wife has to be prophilactically treated with a cream over every inch of her body and the dog has to get a lime sulfur bath once a week.  Now I've got a cute, hyper spaz puppy trying to snuggle and get in your lap that smells like an atomic egg fart.  At least it got rid of the fleas.

We'd had so much bad luck with pets that we named the dog Karma.  We figured that we were due for some good pet luck.  It is also kind of cute to praise or scold the dog now.  "Good Karma... that's a good Karma..."  or "Bad Karma!"

Uploaded 10/05/2009
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