What Festers Beneath


The summer of Foo-Foo.  Boy, was that fun. I agreed to dog-sit so a dog owner could be off for a specialized summer program.  When Foo-Foo arrived, she seemed a bit off kilter, grey,  pudgy and lopsided in shape. Picking her up, I felt a mat of snarled hair rolled smack dab around her belly like yarn around a skein.  I didn’t hold Foo-Foo for very long.  Her stench was something putrid.

Foo-Foo ought to have looked regal.  She was a shitzu, a breed treasured for its aristocratic bearing and long, straight hair.   But she hadn’t been cared for in a manner  her status as regal dog demands.

Out came the Yellow Pages and soon Foo-Foo had an appointment at the dog groomer.  About ten seconds after Foo-Foo arrived at her doggie beautician, I was informed Foo-Foo had a massive flea infestation.  There was but one right choice in this circumstance.  Off with it, was declared, and the clippers got busy and sheared off  every last bit of Foo-Foo’s hair.  I dropped off a dirty grey, heavy puppy and what was returned to me was a skeletal thin snow-white-with-pink-skin-showing nearly bald dog looking something like a rat with her new do.

The salon folks convinced me to buy an arsenal of spray bottles, one to deflea my furniture, one a shampoo, and yet another to douse Foo-Foo with in order to prevent a relapse to flea infestation.  I’m a bit of a health nut and study all precautions seriously, leading me most often to go off any medication ever prescribed me.  I took Foo-Foo’s health just as seriously as my own, which is why I sat down on my couch and devoted time to read the fine print on the flea-ridding products.  Their dire warnings and precautions had me soon believing I’d poison the dog if ever I used them.  So, Google-me-addict that I am, off I went on a quest of Google to find how to naturally repel fleas.  Sure enough I found my answer fast enough.  Some website claimed apple cider vinegar should do the trick.

Following directions, I diluted apple cider vinegar and spritzed it on Foo-Foo.  A missile on cocaine wouldn’t have taken off like that poor dog did.  Foo-Foo bounced about three feet in the air to launch, then began zipping about my apartment like a crazed being.  You see, Foo-Foo had lingering flea bites, and I’d assume vinegar doesn’t do much in easing itches.  Rather, au contraire. I tried catching Foo-Foo so as to get her into the tub to rinse her off and ease the burning.  But, Foo-Foo was a’zooming.  I couldn’t get anywhere near the blur of white bit that was bouncing from room to room, pinballing from wall to wall and giving off a high-pitched keening sound.

It took some doing until I managed to get water on Foo-Foo (with a big bucket’s help).  And her pain was soon doused.  I was left with a water-logged apartment, a sleeping dog, the beginnings of a headache, and the philosophical question of what could I learn from the experience.

Then it hit me, not as swooshing clear as the cold water which had cleared Foo-Foo’s skin, but a glimmer of reason.   Many is the time we do something in the best of intentions and get a reaction full of pain from people.  You say something nice and get a snide comment back.  And you wonder, from whence did that spring?   You smile at someone and, bam, get an earful of curses, as if the world suddenly went tilt-a-whirl and everything was upside down.  I never understood those times.  Now, I think I do.  Reactions of folks don’t fit surface appearances at times because hidden beneath, where neither you nor I can see, there just might be festering wounds.  Itchy emotional sores we really ought not aggravate.  Just as I had no clue of bites hidden by Foo-Foo’s fur, I don’t know what pain is hidden in my fellow man’s soul.  Therefore, if inadvertently I hurt someone, I now can know a festering wound has been touched, and can find a way to understand even a volatile outburst.   As a wise woman once told me, if you step on a toe and get a bad reaction, you probably stepped on the toe with the infected ingrown toenail.  If I hurt someone, not meaning to, it probably is their emotional flea bite that I’ve just given the vinegar treatment.

Yes, I’ve learned from Foo-Foo a profound, deep, philosophical truth.  I also learned another truth, quite a practical one.  Don’t use apple cider vinegar on flea bites.


About jewishspectacles

Jewish Spectacles-the kind you look through, not the kind you create!
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