A Unique Perspective on His Survival by Stroke Survivor and Comedian John Kawie
Marilyn’s been spending a lot of time lately crouching, stroking and exclaiming, “That’s a good boy.” She’s also been obsessing over leashes and collars. Is my wife’s inner mistress longing to re-create the 50 Shades flogging scene? Nope, even more exciting. We have just become first time dog owners. Chewy.com, Bully Pizzle Sticks and poop bags are now part of our search history. Our ’04 Civic’s spit-covered rear windows are another dead giveaway that we’ve entered the land of dog-ownerdom.
Travis is an 8-year-old, 14-pound Norwich Terrier. In the canine world that makes him AARP eligible. Still, a dog’s a dog and he needs to be walked twice a day along with all the other responsibilities. Place a gun to the head of a stroke survivor and tell him he has to do one of two things: 1) Take care of a pet. 2) Spend an extra week in the hospital. He’s going hospital.
But we lucked out. Travis is the size of a throw pillow and the perfect stroke survivor dog … chill, doesn’t jump or bark and most importantly walks at my pace.
Then there’s Rumi, Travis’s 5th-floor buddy. He’s a mix: part terrier and part juvenile delinquent. A small caliber yet high velocity projectile of problems fired from the Saturday night special of wickedness. The target? Me. This is an animal that has three things on his mind: peeing, pooping, and knocking me down. If I wrote a Rumi biography, these would be some of the chapter titles:
1) “Attack Without Warning”
2) “I Can Jump On Anything”
3) “Stroke Survivors Taste Good”
One day we were asked to dog-sit Wackman. Marilyn and Travis were out shopping at — where else — Petco, leaving me alone to deal with the Velociraptor from “Jurassic Park.” When Rumi was handed off to me in the lobby, I was greeted with relentless barking and a Crane Kick to my personal regions. As I limped (from the kick, not the stroke) toward the elevator Rumi went into full reverse thrust, because the last thing he wanted was to be with me. Luckily our lobby floor is slippery enough to luge on, so he didn’t get very far, and we made it into the elevator.
I struggled with the leash, a wild animal and an elevator button all with one hand. Every time I reached for #12 he jerked it down to another floor. 9, 10, 11… finally we arrive. He drags me down the hall to our apartment because there’s a force in the universe that overcomes him. It pulls one dog’s nose to another dog’s butt. In this case, Travis’s. His pal isn’t in, but there’s enough essence of butt to convince Rumi he’s in there somewhere. He searches the apartment more thoroughly than a proctologist probing for polyps. Still, no Travis. Rumi goes into red-alert mode, ricocheting from table to sofa to chairs burrowing his face in every cushion and tearing up the place like Scarface minus his little friend. I figured I’d use a little reverse psychology, remain calm and pour myself some red wine. Then he put a jujitsu move on the glass which gave our ivory sofa a Grateful Dead-tie-dyed look.
My affected hand is still being surgically removed from his throat. But for that moment it actually functioned. Hey, this could be a rehab breakthrough.
Rumi’s available for any stroke survivors out there. Make me an offer.
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