Skip to content

Charles, the Element, and Thanksgiving

Over the past two months, I’ve received dozens of e-mails with suggestions of books, websites, and ways to help Charles Hobson Booger, III overcome his nervous nippy behavior with other dogs. It’s heartwarming that perfect strangers spent so much time and energy trying to help my incompetent self. Thank you all.

I’m happy to report that, for the first time since I adopted him, Charles went to a private dog park, with Violet Rays, for an hour, with 25 dogs (40 lbs. and up). The play group is run by my new trainer/behaviorist, Kim Brammer, who has a store and a training business called The Animal House of Distinction in rural Jupiter (read: she has four acres, we have none).

Charles had a great time and didn’t do anything inappropriate. Kim’s previous diagnosis was that he had difficulty assessing new situations and wasn’t confident, and because I couldn’t read his body language, I never realized when he was uncomfortable and needed to take a couple of steps back. But after watching other dogs play off leash, and then by joining them for small periods at a time, his confidence would be bolstered. And then when on the leash, he’d be less nervous.

Presto! It worked! Charles is the KING! We went for several walks since his sessions with Kim and her private park, and Charles is calm and confident. He doesn’t flinch around small dogs who are calm, so our next sessions will be determining just how much jumping and barking he can handle from a small dog who’s in his face.

And now that I have my new Element, we all can go–like we did this morning–to a local school that has a fenced in field, and the dogs can run like the wind, for hundreds of yards at a time.

All is now well in my world, except for the fact that Thanksgiving is this week and it nauseates me. In order to minimize my frustration and resentment, I ordered EVERYTHING, already cooked, from Whole Foods. I pick it up at 9:30 on Wednesday evening and all I have to do is heat it up. I was going to get all vegan stuff except for the turkey and see if anyone noticed that there was no real butter, cream, or eggs in anything, but I decided to pick my battles and forfeit the entire day. My audience isn’t one who will ever care, so attempting a stealth conversion would be futile.

Several people have written, appalled that I’m serving turkey. And to them I say: Americans, particularly those over 50, are very attached to their holidays and their traditions, and choosing Thanksgiving as the day to make a point isn’t a good idea. I know this because I boycotted Thanksgiving for five years when I was in my 20s, and all that did was create buckets of hostility. I now choose kinder, gentler ways of raising awareness about the connection between our food and our health, our food and our planet, and our food and our conscience.

But if you’d like to boycott your family’s Thanksgiving in honor of the 45 million turkeys slaughtered for that day, go for it. And let me know how it goes.




(The still-unnamed Element, Charles, Violet, and Emily’s on the chair)

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS