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Wanted: Guide dog for an elephant

Submitted by on Tuesday, 1 February 2011 No Comment

The loveys tend to reappear when the guys are in the middle of uncertainty, such as the current chaos of knowing their dad will be back sometime sooner rather than later but not knowing exactly – or even approximately – when that might be.

I’d warned them this time, though, that there was a new member of the household who, while she would love El and Bear just as much as they do, probably would love them in a different way. It’d be more of a “teeth to face” rather than “heart to heart” relationship.

I’d also warned them of the problems likely to occur if they started letting the dog annihilate stuffed animals they didn’t want anymore. “Rita has the brain of a 3-year-old,” I said. “She can’t tell the difference between stuffed animals she can have and ones she can’t.”

Of course the guys ignored me on both counts. The end result brought Boots wailing into the kitchen before school this morning. “Mommy! Mom-mmmmmmmmmmmmy! Come here! It’s a disaster,” he said, frantically flapping his arms.

You saw the “I told you so coming,” didn’t you?

Except this time I couldn’t say “I told you so” – not when the issue was El, who’s not a toy so much as he is a lifeline. One that disappears occasionally to visit his elephant mom and dad, and one who’d spent the past few weeks getting stomped in the floor of the car in one of Boots’ rare bouts of forgetting his dear friend. But a lifeline nonetheless.

And there El was splayed across the floor, a hideous gouge where one tiny brown eye used to be. “Drop it!” Boots hissed when he realized the eye still was in Rita’s mouth. Part of it, at least. The piece that held the front to the fabric had disappeared. I suspect Rita will give it up later, but I’m not about to go hunting.

“What are we going to doooooooooooooo, Mommy?” Boots wailed.

I examined the injured elephant and realized there wasn’t much I could do. There might be enough fabric left to stitch together the eye socket. Hot glue might hold the eye back in place – a friend later suggested a “X” eyepatch, and that option’s in play, too.

But no option will restore El to his former tattered glory. His bottom already as ripped and his hands already were torn, but those injuries occurred before Boots was old enough to remember El any other way. The eye incident is different. “I’ll do my best, babes,” I told Boots.

To his credit, he didn’t get mad at Rita because he realized it was partly his fault. While he hadn’t left El on the floor, he had placed him in an armchair that he thought was safe because Rita had never before tried to snatch items from it. Apparently the call of fresh elephant meat was too much for her to resist, though. I bet it tastes like chicken.

Big Guy appears to have learned from Boots’ harsh lesson as well. He grabbed Bear, took him up to his room and closed the door.

His karate belt, however, still is in the living room floor. I wonder if it tastes like chicken, too.

Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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