Kelly Butte, Springfield

In the Little House books, Jack always knew to chill out whenever the wagon stopped. The poor guy had to walk the whole way from Wisconsin to Kansas, and then to the banks of Plum Creek up in Minnesota. Ramona acts as if she’d be willing to put in some pioneer miles today after two days without a walk. She keeps swerving out into the street as if she’s trying to follow Pa across a swollen river.

Cat poop consumed: no

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Meadow Park plus, Springfield

Consider if the samurai and his wife had dogs with them while they were walking through the forest. The horse may have provided transportation but it just took off when things got messy. Jones, for example, wouldn’t have let the bandit-rapist do his dirty work and live to laugh maniacally about it.  And Ramona would be comfort and succor if anyone did get injured. Maybe the wife wouldn’t have thrown herself to the ground in uncontrollable sobs quite so many times with the love of a good dog to sustain her. And I would love to see what Kurosawa would do to re-enact the dogs’ version of events. Hello, remake?

Cat poop consumed: yes

Island Park, Springfield

Poor L. is sick again and sighing every few moments with the gloom of it all. Packed full of the Indian buffet–goat again!–a little fresh air couldn’t hurt.

Me: The path has been eaten away!

L: sigh

Me: The river is so high!

L: sigh

Me: Disney dogs!

L: Romance novels. sigh

Me: Vulnerable children!

L: sigh

Me: Old Yeller! The Shaggy Dog!

L: Benji?

Cat poop consumed: no

Pre’s Trail, Eugene

So here’s the thing:   in my recent research travels I came across a scholarly criticism of the Disney Studios which argues that the idealized Disney dogs set up a false–nay, dangerous!–expectation for children, who, when they grow up and consider dog ownership, go in search of this unattainable dog. Conclusion: the real dogs suffer as a result of this disillusionment. Lady and the Tramp? 101 Dalmatians? I argue that they only promise wacky hijinks unless one implements an appropriate spay-neuter program. The benighted Old Yeller? Vaccinate or expect heartbreak. I don’t count Goofy.

Cat poop consumed: yes