Word Count 494
A Prickly Lesson
by G. Ackman
I have had lots of adventures in my life, and although it didn’t start out so great, after I went to live with mom-mom and dad, things were mostly awesome. If I were to be honest, and what else should I be at this time, the times that weren’t so awesome were mostly my fault. I say mostly because while it’s true I went pretty much ballistic a few times, it was only because they left me. I would tell myself it’s okay, they’ll be back, just take a nap. Then the click of the door shutting opened a corresponding door in my head and allowed Panic, that imp that drove me to open the steel door like it was a tuna can and to rip and tear until the room resembled a particularly gruesome crime scene, to run amok. Nothing could keep me secured. I was the Houdini of the canine world. I use the past tense because I don’t do that anymore. I barely notice when they’ve left and the warmth that envelopes me when they return is worth the pain I feel in my hips and back legs when I get up to greet them.
So we’ll skip over my eccentricities and the outlay of funds to repair, replace and secure my surroundings and go right to my more memorable adventures. The two that stand out both involve a contest between me and prickly things, and both times I lost. The first was right after mom-mom and dad adopted me from the pound. In my defense, I didn’t know the house and yard very well yet. It was January, monsoon season, and the afternoon storm was rolling in. I feared storms up until I lost my hearing but that afternoon I could hear every rumble, including the one in my belly that said I must go out. Neither ignoring it nor pacing helped, so finally I decided to go despite the impending thunder. I figured I would just run out, do my business quickly and be safely back inside. Lesson learned: never poop on a prickly pear cactus. The indignity of having mom-mom pull needles out of my butt was traumatic, and my hind end hurt for days.
Fast forward a few years and we were all on a camping trip across the northern tier to escape the 120º summer heat. A night at a state park in Michigan with intriguing smells turned unpleasant because no one warned me that eating pine needles was not a good idea. They tasted great, but the prickly things did a number on me as they came out the other end. Oooh, the memory of the pain still lingers. That next morning we took a ferry ride to Mackinac Island and the motion of the waves coupled with my very upset belly and hind end did me in. I vowed to learn my lesson.
Apparently, the hiney and prickly things do not go well together.