Saturday, February 5, 2011

In praise of Pinky.

I was going to write (yet again) about Sarah Palin. She gave the keynote speech at the tribute to Ronald Reagan yesterday, and, well… she said some Sarah-like things. But, you know, I’ve written a lot about Mrs. Palin and, she has never said a word about me, kind or otherwise. The net is filled with up-to-the-minute reports, opinions and critiques of the former governor’s speech. I wouldn’t be adding anything. You know where I stand—suffice it to say, Ron Reagan was kinder than I would be in calling Mrs. Palin a “soap-opera.”

Instead, let me turn my attention, and hopefully yours, to Pinky, aka Miss Pinky Stinksalot.

Our friend Dogfish Donna found Pinky in Los Feliz, somewhere near Hollywood Boulevard and Hillhurst. Clearly, she had been dumped. Her people may have known she was sick and in need of an operation. Maybe they just got tired of her. How anyone could get tired of Pinky is beyond me. Donna brought Pinky, who at that point was a Jane Doe, to the vet and learned she was probably about 12 years old and had bladder stones the size of a small developing nation. For a girl her size, they had to have been giving her a tough time. Donna conferred with the other animal rescuers–my wife and another woman–wondering if Pinky should have the surgery. Twelve dog years are a lot more people years, but they decided. Pink had the surgery. Being that Donna and her husband had a house full of crazy, big rescued dogs asked us if we’d take care of Pinky until she recuperated and could be adopted out. Actually, Donna asked my wife. My acquiescence is unspoken and taken for granted in most animal rescue matters, which is how we’ve no doubt ended up with four dogs and seven cats.

My wife insists that animals should have human names and, with one exception, the cats, dogs, chickens and goats do. The exception is Pinky. Not that I am disparaging the late Pinky Lee, whose real name was Pincas Leff and got his stage name while in vaudeville. Our little Pinky got her name from the color of her belly, which was shaved clean when we got her. In all probability, she wasn’t named until after a failed adoption attempt.

Christine Chavez, Pinky and me

My wife used to put on monthly pet adoption events in the Wells Fargo parking lot in Atwater Village the first Sunday of each month with Dogfish Donna and the other animal rescue-minded women. On the Sunday in question, Bea left early to set up and told me when to bring Pinky over, so that she could be put on display in the hopes of finding her a loving, permanent home. At that point, we already had three dogs, one of which was Mikey–another that Donna had rescued from living on the street. Do you see a trend here?

I brought Pinky to the adoption event. Christine Chavez was there that day. She is Cesar Chavez's daughter and at the time was running for state senate. She is most definitely a chip off the old block and a good sport. And so was Pinky. She was dressed in her signature pink sweater and took to the "adopt me" sign with good natured indifference–Pinky, that is, not Christine. She was paraded around for all of ten minutes when my wife looked at me with maternal resignation. "Take her home," she said. Pinky has been with us ever since.

That summer, Pinky sat and watched the Red Sox games beside me on the sofa. We even got her a pink Red Sox T-shirt. Her hair grew and she got comfortable and healthy. She held her own in our little pack. She may have been spoiled before we took her in. We certainly didn't correct any of her self-centered ways. She has her moments of being irate and sometimes she pulls her little psycho-dog act of running from one end of the house to the other, slip-sliding on the hardwood, with a look of grim determination. She has quite a personality. To look at her, you would never think of her as a guy dog, but I love her to pieces.

Pinky with her sister, Daphne

Pinky, with her sister, Chuckie

Pinky must be about 16 now. She lost her hearing a while ago. She's lost most of her sight. She still does her psycho-dog, but sometimes she runs into the wall. She stares into space and sometimes gets lost when she goes outside to pee. She has kind of a fermented dog smell and has had a bunch of bad teeth pulled. My heart breaks a little every time I see her not knowing quite where she is. My wife and I sometimes fight for holding rights to Pinky when we watch TV. The other morning I held her to my chest and she fell back to sleep on me. I swear my tinnitus subsided for those few minutes. A peaceful, quiet calm took over. I know she is in the post-golden years and hasn't got many more miles on the road of life. But, aside from a tumor near her heart and lumps and little growths here and there, she's healthy. She barks indignantly when its mealtime and sleeps like a log in front of the wood pellet stove. I'm not sure what I give her, but I know what she gives me.


renzmqt said...

What a wonderful tribute. I am laying in bed, reading blog posts along with two of my dogs and one of my cats. Although many would become indignant at the suggestion, I believe that when Jesus said, "Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me" includes the critters as well. I too have often experienced that peace that comes from cradling one of my furry kids - that awesome bi-species bond is IMHO another example of the presence of God. Peace.

BeatriceS said...

There are a lot of reasons why I love my husband. But this may be the best one of all.

Miss Pinky's mommy and Barry's wife, Beatrice