Newbie spoiler: You'll want to dig back a few stories for context...
Truffles has been through the ringer. Many of you know her history. For those who do not, and are not inclined to click on links that might make them smarter and more popular, the short version is as follows.
She's handicapped. Her right front leg has required multiple surgeries to correct a very bad case of ALD - angular limb deformity. The surgeries have been successful when one considers that she might have lost the leg if not for our veterinary efforts. Yet she is not at 100 percent functional capacity. She will always be left with a limp, and from what the vets tell us, she'll never be able to vote.
We love her just the same. While she may not be able to run, jump and play as fast, high or hard as Nigel and Sola, she is still constantly on the move, fluttering about the house to visit each of us and distribute slobber kisses.
Our love for her (and a genuine desire to see her find happiness) led us on a journey of exploration, a journey fraught with frustration, twists, and a surplus of laughter. We hoped to help her find her way, no matter the cost - her way to gainful employment, so that she may begin to pay back the mountain of money she owes us-
Truffles: Hey stop right there. You want me to pay you?
Author: I thought you were sleeping. Ignore that part and follow along.
We set out to investigate vocational possibilities for little Ms. Fudgepants. Our venture commenced last spring as winter subsided, leaving random snowbanks deposited about the property. I wanted to break up the snow to help it melt and make way for warmer pursuits, and took Truffles and a snow shovel out for a test run.
My first mistake: not factoring firewood proximity. Sola and Truffles have developed an affection for logs that finds us constantly rebuilding the woodpile, replacing pilfered pieces with regularity.
Truffles: Foolish mortal, was there really a decision to be made here? Did you think I could reach that shovel handle?
Author: Determined as I was discouraged, I abandoned the snowbanks in pursuit of a more suitable chore. I scanned the grounds for a more appropriate career path for Truffles as a soundtrack of grunts and and splintering wood played in the background.
I may as well have tried to sell WeightWatchers memberships to Greyhounds. Not a second had passed before she took a sniff, turned up her nose and moved on.
Truffles: It smelled like Nigel peed on the leaf pile. Pass.
Author: I grabbed the rake and finished up angrily. Truffles watched, her head cocked in mockery. I was on the verge of running amok when it struck me: With her diminished capacity, maybe outdoor chores were not the right call. I tossed the rake aside and grabbed Fudgepants, headed for the house. I was inspired.
Truffles: I was not.
Author: Shoveling snow and raking leaves are fairly strenuous activities, so I sought out something a little easier for a limping lab with forty extra pounds of junk in the trunk.
Dusting was a bust, plain and simple.
Truffles: Do I look like a domestic goddess?
Author: We spent the ensuing months putting our proposals before her, but Fudgepants wasn't having it.
Slain by proximity again. The floors were trashed, the recycling spilling over out of the can, but what does Truffles see?
Truffles: Only kibbles silly human.
Author: Additional attempts were thwarted my various means.
Cooking was a loser. No interest whatsoever.
Truffles: Hey I like pancakes, but it's the cake I'm after, not the pan. Do I look like Julia Child?
Nigel: You look like you ate her. At least I considered vacuuming.
Author: I appreciate your offer to chip in, but we all know that you just want to be vacuumed you big dust collector.
We took time off to reflect, and as I sipped my coffee one morning my brain awakened and bingo! I was certain I had victory in my grasp. I had spent months trying to engage Truffles in physical activities. What was I thinking? She's got a fragile, fifteen thousand dollar leg and I am trying to impose manual labor on her.
I was sure I had the answer. It was time to measure her capacity for intellectual challenge. Beaming with glee, I shared my idea with Truffles.
Truffles: I lack thumbs brainiac. Something tells me you are not exactly qualified to determine my mental prowess.
Author: I was as disappointed as Nigel at a BBW dance. I gave up.
Months passed. I had set aside the notion of employment for Fudgepants. Truth be known, I had forgotten about it completely until Sunday morning. I stretched and yawned on my way down the stairs and was instantly jolted awake by an encouraging sight.
Truffles had found her muse.
It's so easy to get caught up in the bustle of the daily grind. With so much political coverage, bad economic news and such, the little stories get buried. Stories of environmental issues, recycling, of going green. For the past year, Truffles had quietly tolerated my dimwitted attempts to show her the way; all the while paying close attention to the happenings of the world, and choosing to make a difference.
She had embraced her new position with vigor. I rubbed my eyes and surveyed the damage. Truffles was expressionless, save for the twitching snaggletooth that stared back at me
I was brimming with parental pride, bursting to tell the world that Fudgepants had settled in to her new job quite nicely. A job in the recycling business - as a paper shredder.
Truffles. How incredibly sad. I don't have the heart to tell him, so let's keep this a little secret between the reader and I.
Author: I gathered the scattered bits of drool soaked paper, placing them in a neat pile in order to share them with Mrs. Author. I knew she would be thrilled to hear of this important development. I had just about finished when I grabbed what was left of the magazine, skimming the torn pages. My heart sank as frigid winter clouds passed over the house.
It had nothing to do with going green, earth friendliness, or recycling. Not at all. For in my hands, glaring at me from a tattered page, canine punctures and tears surrounding it, was the following picture - the true source of destructive motivation...
I guess there is always college.