Thursday, August 13, 2009

Things I've Learned This Summer

First in a series...

Lesson 1: A dead frozen dog placed in a freshly dug grave filled with rainwater will float unless large rocks are placed on top of it.

Last month the Chirichella Pet Cemetery had a new addition; Jackson, our long-frozen dog was finally interred. He died in January 2008 and was kept in storage at the vet's until they ran out of room in the freezer (as well as running out of patience; originally we'd promised to pick him up as soon as the ground thawed in the Spring (that was Spring of 2008) well one thing led to another and before you know it, here it is 18 months later).

The day before Jackson was scheduled to be picked up, I dug a grave for him. Overnight it rained (we've had a particularly wet summer here in the Northeast). The rain combined with our naturally high water table led to a miniature swimming pool. The following occurred while I was at work. My mother-in-law picked up Jackson (now a giant dog-shaped Popsicle wrapped in a green plastic body bag) from the vet and brought him home. Neither my wife nor my mother-in-law wanted to touch him, so they turned to Art for assistance. Art is our neighbor and go-to guy for everything from plumbing and electric work to taking care of the horses and euthanizing dying rabbits (I'll spare you the details but they involve a hammer). Jackson was placed in the watery grave (in my head, I'm speaking that phrase in a pirate voice), wherein he sunk and then bobbed to the surface. Eventually, some well placed large stones secured him in place long enough for dirt to be shoveled on top of him.

I've never really thought about the buoyancy of dead, frozen dogs before but it occurs to me that it wasn't the paucity of life boats that doomed so many of the passengers aboard the Titanic; it was the lack of dead, frozen dogs. Imagine how many lives would have been saved had there been a few dead, frozen Great Danes or Saint Bernards on board when the ship hit that iceberg!


  1. This post is so chock full of disturbing imagery that I may need some form of therapeutic intervention.

    Now let me tell you about Aretha.

    At the time that Erin brought home a huge amount of cute little chicks, we were unable to properly sex them and determine how many of them would be allowed to vote and pee upright. One androgynous bit of fowl had this monster attitude and was name " Aretha " in honor of the queen of soul.
    And then he grew up.

    The roosters were loud as hell so we gave them to someone we know who wanted some to add to his flock. Aretha the Rooster hid in the woods so we took it as a sign that he/she was destined to stay with us until one day a small squirrel tried to get in at the chickens and Aretha did battle with him. The rooster died and after a few days so too did Aretha. The kids were all distraught as if this was a member of the family and faced with frozen ground and a dead huge rooster we did the only reasonable thing. We went into the closet and got the biggest Coleman cooler we had and made it into a makeshift rooster mausolem. We placed it deep in the woods and tapewd it up with plans to bury it with dignity when Spring brought a thaw. Seasons passed and finally a few weeks ago, Aretha got an unceremonius trip to the dump.

    And the kids are still none the wiser.

  2. Did you look in the cooler before you threw it out? Maybe the remains had mummified - that would be pretty cool - a rooster mummy!

    I'm glad to see that we're not the only family who procrastinates burying it's dead animals.

    Please, please, please don't let Kim know you have chickens (although I think it's too late). Every once in a while she mentions how cool it would be to add them to our menagerie (and I want to downsize not increase the size of the Chirichella petting zoo). Hey! How'd you like a couple of sheep or some rabbits or a miniature pony?

  3. This was one of the funniest things I've read in a long time! Thanks Mike!