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I have often said that my front door is a revolving one — ready to welcome Boomerang kids and wayward, often crippled, always emotionally needy, pets. Regular readers will remember that, a couple of months ago, we had to put down The Pig, L’il Sis’s beagle. It was a sad, sad day. We still miss her.

But, in typical Best family style, we have her ashes in an urn on the living room mantle…right beside Poochie’s urn and Wilbur’s (the first beagle) wooden box. And, of course, I couldn’t let this list go by without mentioning Germaine’s footprint (a delightful canary that died shortly after he arrived here.) He was named after Germaine Jackson since he had a wild topknot and had all the personality of a rocker. Despite the best vet care my retirement savings could buy, he was diseased and couldn’t be cured. We call this room our ‘Room of Death’ — not in a morbid way but, you know…We all die; better have some fun with it while we can.

L’il Sis was desolate without The Pig so she found another dog: Groucho, a Dominican rescue dog with a broken ear and crooked front leg. He is delightful– good humored, very loving, young and frisky. My daughter’s theory this time was that she’d give herself (and her credit card) a break from the old, sick dogs she normally rescued.Despite his bent leg, he can run like the wind. And that’s what he was doing recently when he was hit by a car. L’il Sis was beside herself. She rushed him to the vet and was told he had smashed his hip and would need surgery.Of course he did…’cause L’il Sis wasn’t struggling enough!

As close as I can figure, we’ve funded the children of two separate vets (avian and regular) in their college careers. Since L’il Sis was starting a new job in Toronto and couldn’t keep Groucho at home until his surgery a few days hence, she decided the best thing would be to board him at the vet’s. I was incapable of tending to him…heck, I couldn’t even keep myself upright (I cite my recent walking boot cast) and I know nothing about broken hips (thankfully and I knock on wood as I say this!) Besides which, I can’t lift him and with a broken hip, he wasn’t going anywhere — specifically outside to do his business. Better he shits and pees at the vet’s — they’re used to it. (Although technically, with The Pig using my carpets for her personal toilet, this isn’t exactly MY first rodeo either.)

L’il Sis was understandably upset and asked me to visit Groucho in the hospital. Even though I didn’t know him that well since we’d only had him a month, I agreed. We had spent some bonding time together and I felt confident that, even if he didn’t remember me that well, he’d remember the food treats I gave him. So, armed with cheese and chicken bits, off I went.

He wagged his tail when he saw me. Just to cement our relationship, I led off with the cheese and chicken. He devoured it. Clearly his appetite was still good. A great sign. I sat on a tiny stool (praying I could straighten up after), patting him and speaking softly to encourage him and let him know he was loved. It became obvious that all the doctors and technicians loved him…he had woven his spell around them too. That’s positive — I always figure it’s a good idea to suck up to the doctor who will be taking his knife to you and the people tending to your wounds after. A little judicious pandering, well-placed groveling  and a few sincere compliments can go a long way.

Groucho’s surgery went well and he went home a few days after wearing a ‘cone of shame’, his butt half shaved and stitches evident. He couldn’t walk immediately so had to be carried. L’il Sis actually loved that — she talked of making him a sling in which she could carry him. That seemed a bit over the top to me, but given L’il Sis’s penchant for spoiling pets, not out of the ordinary. Heck, I didn’t even carry my kids in a sling. It’s just undignified…more so for a forty pound dog.I don’t know what the Spanish word for sling is, but I almost think Groucho knew what she was planning. Hoping to fend off such embarrassment, he was walking a couple of days after he went home.

Groucho had a few painful days despite his meds. L’il Sis couldn’t stand to see him in pain so she called the vet who upped his pain dose. I understand where she’s coming from — I never tolerated my children’s pain well either. Yesterday, L’il Sis brought the little patient over for a visit and, when he saw the neighbor’s dog I’m dog sitting, perked up immediately. They had played chase one day in the neighbor’s yard and Groucho had been thrilled. He clearly wanted to run again. Not so fast, little soldier. It was good that his spirits were high but with a broken ear, broken and crooked front leg and broken hip, perhaps he should consider more sedate activities for a while…such as binge watching Netflix and eating junk food.

I’m glad that L’il Sis has found another mutt to love and care for…I just wonder if, next time, she could go for a dog that requires a little less in the way of care — at least within the first month. Crazy, I know…