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Exorcisms aren’t like they used to be

Greta

Greta

By Joey Kennedy | jkennedy@al.com
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on September 22, 2014 at 7:30 AM, updated September 22, 2014 at 7:34 AM

We have personified our pets. Our dogs, cats, other companion animals have been made almost human. By us. We treat them like family members — because they are family members. They cheer us, they warm us, they are our children. Not humans, but not simply animals, either.

Animals

  • About the writer
    Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, focuses on animal issues for the Alabama Media Group. He is also a community engagement specialist for AL.com. He can be reached at jkennedy@al.com.
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I came down our stairs Sunday, and found Greta, our first pug, dead. She was halfway down the stairway, lying peacefully where she died. I wailed. She was my dog. I picked her out the day she was born, from a fuzzy photo from her breeder. Veronica and I visited her when she was four weeks old. We claimed her at eight weeks, and brought her back to Birmingham from her Louisiana kennel.

Greta. A sweeter soul could not be found. When we got her home, she was so puppy. Chewing our chairs, the corners of our walls, tearing our wallpaper. Greta. Scampering across the floor, smushed face and all, making sure we knew she existed.

Oh, she existed, all right. She thrived. She knew when I was sad, and would plop down on my belly, bright-eyed and profound. “Don’t you be sad, Daddy. I’m here for you.”

Greta. She aged gracefully, if not elegantly. She grayed, her face pinched, her teeth so pug. She lost her sight. Then her hearing. But she still enjoyed giving me sloppy face baths. She loved for me to give her belly blows. Yes, I gave her belly blows. Oh, if I could give her one now.

Greta traveled with us across the country. She enjoyed the beach. She would splash into the surf at Ocrakoke or Gulf Shores. We had to keep her on a long leash or she would have gladly gone to play with the fishes.

Greta. When in 2002 I decided I wanted a dog, I researched so many breeds. Labs and German Shepherds. Labrodoodles and Rottweilers.

At first, I wanted a dog that would stand guard. A dog that, as I told Veronica, would rip your throat out if you deserved it. I kept searching. And I kept searching. And when all was said and done, after all the searching and research was done, I decided on a breed that does nothing but sit in your lap. Smiles up at you. Eats. Always eats. Sleeps. Sleeps a lot. Snores. Snores a lot. It’s a good snore. It was a pug.

Greta was my daughter. She was there for me when I came home after a hard day at work. She greeted me at the door. She told me how she conquered a Kong that day. She told on Maxine, our cat, who had done something or another.

Greta. She gave us her best. She graciously accepted all the other pups we brought into our home. The fosters to adopt, and the foster-fails. She would share her spirit, but never her treats or her food. Our other dogs kept their distance from Greta when she was eating. They knew Greta was not going to share her kibble. And they knew the penalty if they tried. But she was never jealous of those pups. She accepted them, and they accepted her.

On this past Saturday night, Greta, 12 years and two months old, played as usual. She enthusiastically ate her meal, and rolled over on the bed, wanting a belly-blow and to lick a face. She was so pug. She was so Greta.

My lap is empty now. Greta is gone.

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More about Scott Stevens

I have known Scott for many years, even though we’ve never met in person. I consider him one of the special people in my life.

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Scott’s video

Scott giving a tour

Alice Cooper Eye Sculpture by Scott Stevens

perils:

Write-up about my wonderfully creative friend, Scott.

 

Originally posted on The Worleygig:

Alice Cooper Eye Sculpture
Artwork and Photo By Scott Stevens

In a backyard garden in Austin, Texas, lush with native succulents and clusters of Baby Doll Heads on Sticks, artist Scott Stevens has built a unique totem to his favorite musical performer, Alice Cooper. Scott has given Worleygig.com an exclusive on this larger than life representation of Cooper’s iconic eye makeup and how the sculpture came to be.

“I started with a discarded metal fence pole set in a concrete plug,” Scott explains. “Once that was in the ground, I cast a concrete footer around the plug for stability. I used found metal pieces, lathing, tar paper, and lots of bell wire to tie it all together. To create the form I used Portland cement mixed with sand on top of the armature (metal framework). I learned a lot about methods and materials while putting the sculpture together.”

“The totem changes color —…

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Get OUT of your chair!