Monday, 12 December 2011

Rose's 12 Days of Christmas: Doggy dead care



During my worst Christmas season ever, the dog drop dead at the kitchen table.

It was my first Christmas after Mr. Big decamped to take up with the White Witch of Bermuda. The kids were small and fairly oblivious, preferring to dream dreams of action figures, dolls and electronics. I mostly kept my weeping to myself, but I was in pretty serious pain.

A week before the holidays, the house was beautifully decorated by a mother with serious over-compensation issues. The presents were wrapped and hidden. The Christmas baking had begun.

Oh, I forgot. Did I tell you that this was the first Christmas after my mother died?

Yep. I had it all: abandonment issues, grieving, a tiny problem with the alcoholic grape and drowning loneliness. You try mustering the holiday spirit in that kind of perfect storm of sorrow.

But I managed.

Then the dog dropped dead.

Mandy, the beautiful black lab I had purchased to replace the two dogs I had to euthanize that same year.

I blame the nanny.

I got her from an agency. she was a rather large, toothless and nasty specimen shipped to me from Newfoundland. Mona was a untidy, over-the-top moshpit, a combination of Nanny McPhee, Susan Boyle and Rita McNeil.

She was jolly and good-humored, liked line dancing and braiding her long mane of hair. She had a fondness for boiling everything in oil and baking decadent treats for the chillin'.

In other words, she was a grieving, PTSD-afflicted single mom's dream come true.

Until she made one fatal mistake.

One day, I was off to work, and Mona decided to mix up a batch of oatmeal chocholate chip muffins. Yum! She left them to cool on the counter while she went out to have coffee with her peeps. She did not remember -- or care to -- kennel Mandy who, like most Labs, was a garbage hound.

When Mona returned, the muffins were demolished, and Mandy sat in shame in the corner. Mona forgot to mention this to me.

About the middle of the night, Mandy started panting and pacing on the bed. I let her out a couple of times. She just seemed to have a sore gut.

After the kids went off to school, I once again let Mandy downstairs while I went into the shower.

That's me, Janet Leigh, in the shower when I heard a blood curdling scream.

"What's going on?" I yelled, throwing on a towel.

"Oh, Lord de jezzus, Rose. Da dog eez deed."

Wet hair flying, I lept down the stairs, two at a time.

And there she was, my beautiful Mandy, my grief counsellor, lying in her own vomit, tongue dragging on the floor, eyes glazed over.

She was two.

Did I mention that?

All I could think about was getting the dog out of the house before wee Marissa returned from kindergarten. But how does one dispose of a hundred pound dog exactly?

Couldn't exactly bury her in the backyard in Orleans. My neighbor worked for the RCMP!

I called the vet, still wailing into the phone. He sympathetically sent over a couple of girls with a blanket. Mandy was carefully wrapped and dispatched to a nearby van.

The nanny was sent packing a couple of hours later.

I've been through a lot of bad Christmases, but the Gods were particulary cruel that holiday season.

Departed mother. Fled husband.

And a dead dog, felled by a muffin-making, line-dancing stupid nanny.

Top that one.

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