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Mike Tasos: The dog days of Thanksgiving Day
Mike Tasos
Gracie

By the time you read this, you’re well on your way to digesting the three F’s: Food, football and family.

As per custom, Thanksgiving is the granddaddy of all holidays, with a little something for everybody, especially if you happen to be a dog/guest at Casa Tasos.

Gracie, the sweetest Great Pyrenees in the world, belongs to Papa Kenny Cagle. Like others who gave thanks while gathered around the table, Gracie was adopted/rescued. She got to be a little much for her previous owners so Kenny stepped in and, well a perfect match was made.

Despite his posturing that Gracie isn’t his, sorry my Louisiana friend, your actions last Tuesday got you busted as if you were flat in Baton Rouge. Kenny called to make sure Gracie was OK and was satisfied when told Gracie was eating baked chicken. It was almost a divine signal telling Kenny to go enjoy himself.

Kenny and his brood were headed for the Florida Keys and instead of a cage at a kennel, Gracie pretty much had a free reign of all that comes with being a dog spoiled by Vicki: plenty of love and treats. Not to mention, she was set to learn all kinds of bad behavior from Sam and Chester, two of the luckiest Retrievers on earth.

Knowing that we are dog people, it might shock you when you read that I hate dogs. They have no place and should be banned — from flying on airplanes and roaming through airports, leash or no leash.

Now before I’m branded as insensitive, I’m not talking about guide dogs that are wonderful assets to the sight-impaired. I’m talking about so-called “therapy” dogs. For anyone who travels, you know I’m talking about dogs meandering through the cabin for the mere purpose of providing comfort to their owners.

Inevitably, I have observed those needing comfort are relying more on getting their comfort in a Southern manner. Or Jack Daniels if possible.

On a recent flight, an elderly seatmate was tossing back vodka tonics like Prohibition was coming back and would be in play by the time we landed. 

During the flight, after a cacophony of belches and hiccups, she asked me, with her Grey Goose-infused breath: “Would you mind watching Precious while I go tinkle?”

Huh? The potato juice must have caused hallucinations where I morphed into a canine caregiver when the seatbelt light turned off.

Talking with a flight attendant about this type of nonsense, I was told it was policy to allow pets on flights if they had a note from their doctors. Kind of like being in cahoots with a housekeeper who used to get me and friends out of school when Mom and Pop were on some junket. And who needs a note: Precious or her inebriated owner?

I was also told that these dogs provide comfort for their owners. I’m not buying it. The only comfort Precious could readily provide was by playing a game of fetch and returning with olives or lime slices.

I continued the conversation while Precious’ owner passed out and snored louder than the 757’s engine. I figured it was time to get some clarification.

“So if I wanted to bring, say, my pet 12-foot python aboard, that would be all right?”

“Oh no,” was the answer, “ the pet must have four legs.” 

Nonsense. And doesn’t that open up an avenue for lawsuits filed by owners of three-legged dogs? I guess obtaining in-flight snacks for a pet tarantula wouldn’t happen, unless I decided to amputate four of its legs before flying.

I might be reticent to fly without some animal companionship. Four legs, eh? Anyone know where I can buy a cuddly iguana or skunk?

I guess I’ll just have to accept the dog lobby is too powerful. I wonder if I could buy Precious and have her provide some comfort to me. Think she could learn to light my cigar?

•    •    •

I received lots of comments on the last column, all complimentary. I’m hoping we can put that one in the rear-view mirror. Let’s look forward.

One month from yesterday is Christmas. There’s ample chance to show how much you care. Let’s try to do something nice for someone who might be having a rough go of it.

Buy a meal for someone eating alone in a restaurant. Or maybe feed some cops and soldiers. 

Plenty of time to capture the spirit of the season. So get with it. 

Someone is getting set to check his list.


Mike Tasos’ column is published every other Sunday.  He really does love dogs but doesn’t understand Chihuahuas or their owners. Personal prejudice. Comments can be sent to miketasos@earthlink.net. He is also on Facebook.