Once known simply at Mountain Boy, the fearful…
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By Hersch Wilson/For The New Mexican
My family suffers from “Old Yeller-itis.” As you recall, the movie Old Yeller is a coming of age film set in the 1860s in Texas. It’s warm and adventurous until it ends abruptly for many with the young boy, Travis, shooting Old Yeller because he’s come down with “hydrophobie,” aka rabies. I say for many, because my children bolted from the living room in shock and tears after Old Yeller was killed. Actually, they left as Travis shakily held that shotgun and pointed it at Old Yeller.
Truth be told, most families go through this and the malady fades as kids grow up.
Not my family.
Flash forward: My daughters are in their teens and we are in the theater watching the movie Homeward Bound. Two dogs and a cat in the wilderness are trying to find a way back to their human family. When they are almost home, Shadow, the old and wise golden retriever, falls in a pit. I’d go on, but at exactly that moment my oldest bolted from her seat and ran out. I had to follow her out and explain that Shadow got out of the pit and was reunited with his human family.
Well, after that movie, we had a family meeting and decided that we needed to get a grip and realize these were just movies. We had a good laugh at our sensitivities and moved on with our lives.
Just this last Christmas, we were in a theater for a non-dog movie. Well, as we sat down, we were confronted with a preview for the film, A Dog’s Purpose, in which, apparently, five or six dogs live full lives, pass on and yet possess a single purpose and soul that is shared through all their lives.
Tears and anxiety in our row. My youngest daughter, 22, whispered to me almost sobbing, “Five dogs die? I’m never going to see that!”
Believe me, I am not reporting this as a stoic, “Get over it girls!” guy. I was also an emotional mess.
Apparently, Old Yeller-itis worsens as you get older.
A case study: A 66-year-old volunteer firefighter, with 30 years of experience in dealing with the trauma, pain and deaths of people, can’t handle a stray dog running down the road. He pulls over, gets out of the car, coaxes the dog to come, gets the dog in the car, calls the owner, arranges a pick up spot and then gets all emotional when the dog is safely back with her human. (Yes, that case study would be me.)
Of course, the common denominator of those who suffer from this affliction is that they live with a dog. Having and loving a dog can transform your worldview. In having a dog, you are confronted with a sentient being.
That dog with his cold nose in your lap feels pain and joy and reciprocates affection even as he chews on the remote. As a partner of a dog, there comes a dawning awareness that dogs are solely dependent on us for their health, safety and survival. It is that dependency and the trust they put in us that grows into love not just for your own dog but for the species. That is the root cause of Old Yeller-itis.
Of course, other than running out of movies, there are other side effects, like the sometimes embarrassing compulsion to greet all dogs all the time.
We were visiting my daughter in Washington, D.C.
While we were going to lunch and walking down the sidewalk, we spied this enormous brown Newfoundland. We rushed over, dropping all our belongings to say hello to Moose. Canine-human commotion in staid downtown D.C. Fortunately, his owners were used to the attention and were like us, committed dog folks. I guess, in the end, Old Yeller-itis is like anytime you fall in love. We fall in love with our partner and we fall madly in love with our children. And with love comes joy, but also risk. The risk of loss and being left are always there. But that is price we pay for being human and that is also the price we pay for loving dogs.
I will probably see the movie, A Dog’s Purpose. I’ll be sitting up in the balcony wearing dark glasses and a hat. If I leave early, don’t hold it against me.
For more writings by Hersch Wilson on dogs, firefighters and life go to herschwilson.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Remember in order to become a member of Scoop, you must indicate whether you have an animal companion and what his or her name is. Those who don't have animal companions must simply say what animals mean to them. It's a simple rule, but it helps to eliminate spammers or those with certain agendas.
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Clinic offers open houses
A new Santa Fe veterinary clinic that features holistic services is hosting a series of open houses to meet its staff and learn about its care.
Integrative Veterinary Wellness, 2001 Vivigen Way, Suite B, offers acupuncture, counseling, Bach flower remedies, Reiki, preventive screenings, immunotherapy and discounted dental care. The open houses are scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 28, Feb. 11 and Feb. 25, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.…Continue
Posted by Ben Swan on January 19, 2017 at 10:58am
Brewery hosts adoption event
A special pet adoption event will be held at Santa Fe brewery that is also offering a portion of its beer sales to the Santa Fe animal Shelter.
The Pulls for Pups adoption event will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at Rowley Farmhouse Ales, 1405 Maclovia St. The brewery, which specializes in rustic farmhouse and sour ales, has a heated outdoor patio where dogs are welcome.
“The heated patio is the perfect place…Continue
Posted by Ben Swan on December 1, 2016 at 4:39pm
A small colony of sterilized feral cats are now not welcome at their current location. We are in urgent need of a new home for them either to live as backyard or barn "pest control". If you can help us place them, please contact:
Posted by Bobbi Heller on November 2, 2016 at 9:46am
Fundraiser helps wildlife legislation
The political action committee of a statewide animal-welfare advocacy group is hosting a fundraiser Wednesday in Santa Fe to help support its efforts in passing humane wildlife legislation.
Animal Protection Voters is hosting Winning for Wildlife from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday. Oct. 5, at the Animal Protection Voters’ Santa Fe office, 1111 Paseo de Peralta. The event features vegan appetizers and beverages along with discussion…Continue
Posted by Ben Swan on September 29, 2016 at 11:00am
Shelter hosts Plaza concert
A free concert on the Plaza on Friday aims to bring awareness about the Santa Fe animal shelter and the nonprofit’s work in the community.
The 6 p.m. concert features Daniele Spadavecchia, a gypsy jazz musician from New Orleans. The musician plays acoustic jazz guitar, mixing swing with Mediterranean Flamenco and European ethnic music. He also sings a selection of Italian, Latin and classic jazz repertoire.
The concert is part…Continue
Posted by Ben Swan on September 22, 2016 at 11:29am
Once known simply at Mountain Boy, the fearful…
Posted by Ben Swan on September 15, 2016 at 2:48pm