2023 in its infancy has been eventful, to say the least, as our national political soap opera continues to be supercharged. House Republicans have been busy eating their own while the White House has been engaged in scavenger hunts involving classified documents.
Every day I'm reminded why I remain an independent.
Against the backdrop of the hullaballoo in the nation's capital I've immersed myself in the serenity of small towns. In my first community "event" of the year I attended the Brownfield, Maine, rabies vaccination clinic rolled out by the Fryeburg Veterinary Hospital.Our youngest, Jackson, was due for his booster.
The clinic happened to fall in the wake of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin's collapse on the field. Hamlin had become the latest victim to be hijacked by the opportunistic anti-vaxxers who have capitalized on tragedies and near misses to promote their nonsensical, not to mention irresponsible and downright dangerous agenda. And stupid. Don't let me forget stupid.
Fortunately, as evidenced by the line at the Brownfield town offices that Saturday, the anti-anti-vaxxers — at least when it comes to pets — are quite a force.
It was only Jackson who was due, but because we hate leaving anyone behind, that morning we set out en masse — and in two vehicles so that both humans weren't subjected to Daisy the coonhound's unrelenting excitement-induced barking. The delicate flower is subject to over-stimulation. She usually rides alone, but Scott and I determined it would be far smoother not to try to extract Jackson from a canine-infused vehicle. I won the coin toss, so Jackson rode solo with me.
We arrived at the Brownfield town offices to find the parking lot packed and dogs of every ilk lined up on the side lawn outside the door. Jackson and I took our place, turning our backs on and disavowing any connection to the raucous truck eliciting stares and collective disbelief.
Ahead of us a miniature dachshund with a Napoleon complex took a swipe at a German Shepherd and then tried to mount a golden retriever. Each time I dreaded an unfortunate ending for the diminutive fellow, but he got away with both.
More surprising, however, was the stunningly oblivious man with the Cairn terrier who possibly had not been outside this year. As we waited the little guy made two "deposits," neither of them off to the side but rather in the middle of the line, and he peed three times — once on the pants leg of the undiscerning owner. I'd never seen anything like it. Nor have I since, but the year is young.
Jackson was a model citizen, as was validated by several dog parents both ahead and behind me in line whose canines were less than decorous. He was, perhaps, best contrasted by the commotion caused by the unruly hound dogs in one particular Ford truck in the parking lot.
Those dogs were atrocious.
As you know, I am no stranger to hounds, and I understand they have different requirements and are of a different temperament than other breeds. Still, there were two trucks with 22 hounds between them and nary a peep. All that ruckus was from a single truck accommodating but three. What was I doing wrong? It did not go unnoticed by me that the aforementioned 22 were not riding in a heated upholstered cab, but in crude cramped enclosures atop truck beds. I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm speculating those hounds were not spending cushy and cuddly nights with the "owners" in their bedroom.
Finally we were at the front of the line and Dr. Johnson (who apparently had tired of the cacophony in the parking lot and had identified the culprits) emerged from the building, needle in hand. When he jabbed our heretofore impeccable canine specimen, the startled Jackson went full Cujo on him. I daresay Dr. Johnson owes his life — or at least his hand — to my husband who, never one to leave things to chance, dove upon Jackson and with his full body weight kept him immobilized until the good doctor was securely barricaded within the confines of the Brownfield town office.
Another day, another incident. We departed Brownfield, and in our two vehicles journeyed westward to Eaton so as to decompress over coffee, breakfast and good company at the Eaton Village Store.
Jonna Carter lives in Brownfield, Maine.