Expiration Dates, Fascination With the Macabre, and Sheena of the Jungle

I hesitated to say anything about Sheena for a number of reasons, one, that Jerry insisted that we were only taking Sheena home to *find a new home for her.*  Famous last words.  He said that about Isabel (our very tiny but domineering black cat) 12 1/2 years ago too, but once I had her spayed and declawed and all that, suddenly “three cats aren’t that many.”  At certain times we have had four cats at one time. Now we are at three cats and I’m cool with that.   For most of the past 5 years we have also had three dogs.  We have three dogs again now.

Sheena, like every other dog that has crossed our threshold, is a basket case.  She is a very lovely GSD/Husky mix, about 70# of unsocialized, attention-starved dog. 

Her story is yet another that inspires the misanthropist in me though.  She came from near the campground, from a nasty little trash pile that I shudder to think was a habitation for scavengers, let alone humans, but there were people living there in a derelict house trailer with various car parts, disassembled appliances, a PortoJohn, and piles of filth and trash.  This poor dog was a refugee from this disaster hole when the human denizens disappeared a few weeks ago.  She had been scavenging around the campground and accepting food from anyone who would give it to her.   Sheena was more fortunate than the min-pins they had locked in cages behind this cesspool- they were still alive but half starved. We left them food and called the Humane Society.  The Humane Society picked the min-pins up.

The main thing that breaks my heart about Sheena is that she lived most of her live in a small pen.  Because of this she became a cage biter- gnawing on the metal bars of the pen until she wore her incisors down to the gums and her canine teeth are little stubs.  She also appears to have had multiple litters of pups from the look of her belly.  I just hope she’s not preggers now, and that she doesn’t come into heat before we can get her spayed. 

Some people just plain suck.  Sheena is adapting well to life with the crazy dogs (Clara and Lilo) but nothing can fix her dental issues.  For the rest of her life she will have to either eat wet food or dry food stuck together with wet food or gravy, because the only teeth she has that are intact and functional are the molars in the back.  I have heard of military and police dogs getting dental implants and/or protective crowns, but short of us coming into some sort of fantastic and overwhelming financial windfall, I can’t see us being able to come up with thousands of dollars for poor Sheena to be fitted with crowns – an expensive endeavor which is only nominally successful in dogs anyway.  Since her gums don’t appear to be inflamed or infected I really don’t think her existing tooth roots/stubbies need to be removed or that her dental issues are going to impact her health or quality of life too adversely.  That will be another question for the Vet.

I find it amazing that everything from car wax to Cheetos has an expiration date stamped on it.  If modern packaging is supposed to halt the inevitability of decay for an inordinate amount of time, who sets the arbitrary limits?  Who is to say that an unopened bag of Cheetos is good until December 15?  Does this mean you can’t eat them on December 16 or even February 4 for that matter?  Is there research behind this and if so, why was I not stamped with an expiration date?  That would be an interesting tattoo- not that I am into tats nor do I ever anticipate getting one- but for the sake of the argument, let’s say the tat could say, “Fresh until July 14, 2041” or something like that.  It would be a conversation starter if nothing else.  Obama could get an expiration date tat too: “Discard Immediately: 1-20-13.”

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