October 14, 2002

My dog Oso recovered

Some upstanding citizen exercising his (no, I'm not using my usual "her/his" here; I'm 99.9% sure it was a male) constitutionally-protected right to bear arms shot my dog Oso last Saturday morning. Oso was � thank Goddess � able to drag himself home (otherwise we might never have found him); we rushed him to the veterinarian (Dr. Jennifer Boatright) who immediately shot him with pain medication and steroids and took a number of X-rays. The bullet had entered his rear left thigh and traveled through his body in a trajectory parallel to his spine and was lodged between one of his lungs and the spine. Miraculously � thank Goddess a million times � the bullet didn�t seem to have permanently affected any vital organ. Note that the bullet's point of entry and trajectory indicate that he was shot from behind, probably while he was running away.

The doctor sent Oso home with pain medication and anti-biotics and told us to watch him, that he would probably get better on his own, in which case it was best to leave the bullet where it was ("You'd be surprised how many Missouri dogs are walking around with bullets inside them", she said). If Oso didn�t get better then it would be necessary to open him up to remove the bullet and attempt to repair whatever damage was found.

Poor Oso looked utterly and heartbreakingly in shock, with his head down, his tail between his legs, his legs trembling and whimpering in agony whenever he tried to move or sit or lie down.

Fortunately the veterinarian must have given him a massive dose of pain-killer, and when we got home Oso collapsed and slept for several hours. Thank Goddess when he woke up he seemed considerably better and he's been steadily improving since, and less than 48 hours after being shot he was from all appearances his usual self.

Oso is a sweet and loving dog who usually sleeps on our bed between Ellen and me (our other dogs Goldman and Cosita usually sleep elsewhere on the bed or on the rug nearby) and has an inexhaustible inclination to being petted, rubbed and scratched; I�ve never known a more affectionate dog.

His name is the Spanish word for "bear" and comes from a vaguely ursine look on his face and from the fact that someone said that he was an "Australian shepherd" dog ("Aussie", hence Osi, Osito). But he isn�t, he is actually a pure-bred specimen of that most distinguished, rare, refined and sought-after of dog breeds: the aristocratic MMMM (Much-Mixed 'Merican Mutt). They are known for their resilience, which may partly account for Oso's recovery.

As I'm writing this he's lying on the rug next to my chair. He always tries to place himself as close to us as he can.

Why would anyone hurl a piece of metal propelled at high-speed by an explosion against another living being? Self-defense would be the only reasonable explanation, and it does not apply in this case because (a) Oso was shot from behind, probably while trying to run away, and (b) Oso would not attack anyone unprovoked, and perhaps not even provoked.

The right to bear arms cannot be infringed without a constitutional amendment, but it can and should be regulated by law. A constitutional amendment to change the second amendment would be a hopeless undertaking, since even attempts to regulate firearms are usually unsuccessful. I do not dispute that without private ownership of firearms the American Revolution would have failed, but that was around 212 years ago, and the second amendment clearly refers to "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state", not to some bozo shooting dogs in the vicinity of residences (Ellen said that she heard the shots from the house).

I am astonished that purchasing Valium requires a doctor's prescription in triplicate written in government-supplied forms printed, like currency, with all kinds of anti-counterfeiting devices, while anyone can purchase guns, even automatic machine-guns (or surplus military tanks, for that matter). The worst thing that anyone can do with Valium is become relaxed and calm, while I don�t even want to go into what can be done with an automatic machine-gun.

The gun lobby has a saying: "If guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns" which is disingenuous: for one thing nobody is trying to "outlaw" guns, since � alas � that is clearly prohibited by the Constitution, and for another it is obvious that "outlaws" will always have and do anything they please.

I submit that buying a gun should at least be as difficult and require some proof of real "need" (HA!) as buying a Valium.

This country had at one time a Prohibition under which only outlaws had and were able to supply liquor; this Prohibition had to be revoked because it was realized that promoting crime was the only thing it did. Proving yet again that human beings do not learn from history there is currently a prohibition of a number of substances which has the same effect as the old liquor prohibition: consumption of those substances is higher than ever (probably even higher than if they were legal, I submit, because of the enticement of illegality) and supports and promotes an immense criminal establishment and concomitant "law-enforcement" (HA!) establishment.

There is no gun in our house and we intend to keep it that way because I believe there is abundant evidence that keeping a gun is counterproductive to one's safety.

But I do cast a mean protection spell. Why, then, was my sweet Oso shot? Well, for one thing spells provide much protection, like helmets, but not a 100% guarantee, and for another I never anticipated the possibility of someone being shot... We're all in the hands of the Goddess Our Mother, and I know that She lovingly prevented any permanent damage to dear Oso. May She continue to extend Her protection and love over all beings.

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