I had just bought a case of Spriggy’s expensive special-diet food shortly before he died last summer, and, going stir-crazy from three days confined largely indoors, it provided a perfect time to do what I’ve been meaning to do forever, i.e., bundle it up and drop it off at the shelter.
Yes, I could have taken it to the Grosse Pointe animal-adoption center, but I was in a more adventurous frame of mind. We headed out for the Michigan Humane Society, the original Animal Cop station house, which sits on the freeway service drive with the usual Detroit architectural details — the parking lot enclosed by chain link topped by razor wire and with a full-time security guard; the multiple signs pointing the way to the correct door, NOT THIS DOOR NO DELIVERIES THIS DOOR ENTER ON FISHER ONLY. There was a particularly strange one telling people to surrender animals only to clearly identified MHS employees; others might want their animals for profit, criminal or “religious purposes,” and might do them harm.
And people wonder why I find this place so interesting.
As we followed the signs to the ONLY AUTHORIZED ENTRY DOOR, two people passed us going the other direction, each holding a young pit bull puppy at arms’ length, the pups stretched out to their full length with puzzled looks on their faces. The cacophony of the doomed (or at least profoundly unlucky) beasts inside started to swell. The lobby wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, although there was a young girl holding a big mutt on a leash, and I couldn’t see anything good coming of it. The dog looked old and very very tired and was in the midst of what looked to be an epic shedding episode. Two worried cats sat in cages on the counter, one nude to the skin at the collar line. A man was negotiating some paperwork with another; I suspect it had to do with the big shedding mutt.
“Can I help you?” someone said. I turned over my 11 cans of Science Diet k/d and three cans of gastrointestinal formula to the clerk, whose expression said this was an unusual occurrence on a 97-degree day. I considered asking for a tour, but it’s clear the place was operating at something shy of battle stations, so we took a long look around and left. “Come on, you guys,” the clerk said, lifting the cats off the counter. I asked about the naked-neck cat. “Flea allergy,” she shrugged; no biggie.
Outside adjacent to the parking lot, a young woman played fetch in a fenced area for a gallumping, black Lab-y looking dog — exercise for one of the lucky ones considered adoptable. Inside the pen was a small shelter/shading structure for longer turnouts. It was decorated: BAD DOG painted graffiti-style on the back wall. It’s always good to keep a sense of humor about your job.
Michiganders, they can always use help.
Just got an e-mail from one of our regulars here. Her sister’s been very sick with some serious intestinal complaints and recently spent some time in the hospital. They come from rural poverty; our friend escaped, sis didn’t. She suffers from subclinical psychological issues and is morbidly obese, but has been able to eke out a hardscrabble living at Wal-Mart. Friend writes:
The next time I hear somebody bitch about why we don’t need health-care reform, they had better fucking look out. I just talked to my sister. She just got her hospital bill: $23,000 and change. The portion for which she is responsible: over $7,000. That is approximately what she has earned thus far this year from Wal-Mart. And she does not qualify for having her bill waived by the hospital because she probably will exceed their poverty threshold, with an annual income that exceeds $11,000. Think about that. Could either of us even live on $11,000 a year, even absent health-care bills in the four digits? And that’s just the hospital bill.
She is having problems again — she’s jaundiced and has been throwing up bile for a couple of days. She sees her doc tomorrow but absolutely refuses to go to the hospital again because she “can’t afford to miss any more work.” (And she can’t afford another hospital bill, either.) She has nothing left in savings and is living paycheck to paycheck. Barely. I’m sending her money as we’re able, but Jesus, what the hell can we really do short of hoping to hit the lottery? We’re not awash in cash either.
I don’t expect her to live a long and healthy life–not with her habits, weight, health history and all the rest of it–but I strongly suspect her death will be hastened by the lack of affordable health care.
Yes, it probably will. It does every day. Just remember: This is the greatest health-care system in the world.
OID: How to steal an ATM in Detroit. And not succeed.
We had an old man die in Grosse Pointe yesterday, apparently because of the heat. (Still checking.) What’s the toll where you are? Storms expected later, followed by a 10-degree drop. Hurry, storms.
And have a great day.