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Sunday in the Park

Sunday in the Park

Sunday in the Park- Dog Story

Greg has loved the Seurat painting “Sunday in the Park” ever since seeing it at the Chicago Art Institute years ago. One Sunday, in the park at the Lake Washington end of Madison Ave in Seattle, in the area where dogs play and run free, it occurred to Greg that the scene reminded him of the Seurat painting, but with dogs. He decided he would like that scene immortalized to become a part of his home environment. And, synchronous enough, there happens to be a dog in the Seurat painting that looks very much like Greg’s own dog, Roger!
Here is Greg’s story about his beloved Roger, in his own words:


By Greg Hunicutt

My pal Roger is my reason for getting out of bed. He has always stepped forward for one of my needs since we met on a miserable Dallas day.
That same week my feet screamed at me. I had a horrific new agony called peripheral neuropathy. My PN is an HIV drug’s side effect. I immediately stopped taking the pills, but it was too late.
In my case, PN means an excruciatingly intense, deep-seated foot pain. Before seeking help, my torment felt like standing barefoot on white-hot coals while some twisted bastards squeezed my feet with all their might. And after locking my feet in place, they gave the green light for a steamroller to s-l-o-w-l-y run over my feet, driving back and forth and back and forth.
That same week a terrier mutt took me by surprise one morning. The little stray pup wouldn’t leave my sight. The dog stalked me. I expected he’d be long gone when I came home from work. Nope. During the day he throttled his furry frame under the fence and made my backyard his new home.
I rationalized keeping him but thought how cruel to be unable to walk him. “With AIDS and now neuropathy, there’s no way I can keep this little guy.” It was 1995. I had come down with an AIDS-defining pneumonia a month earlier. A decade ago that meant eventual death for too many AIDS sufferers. This was six months before protease inhibitor drugs were FDA-approved and began helping many with AIDS. My energy and weight dropped dramatically that summer. I made funeral plans.
Yet the stray dog’s wiggle-butt ways convinced me I couldn’t just leave him homeless. I didn’t want to see him end up on doggy Death Row.
The first night Roger was with me, I leashed the pup for a walk, griping all the way about my tortured feet. The three-month-old mutt used all his might to pull me like a runaway trailer that missed its Ritalin® dose.
What was I to do? Two bum feet, a NASCAR® dog and little room to let him roam. After exhausting efforts to find the owner, I adopted the smiley mongrel and named him Roger.
I discovered our daily walks helped my foot pain by often lessening the suffering. And the terrier tyke’s playfulness substituted pain being the center of my psyche.
Roger and neuropathy have become my life’s long-term tenants. After more than 10 years, Roger is still my constant companion. We enjoy more time together since I went on disability after moving to Seattle. He’s developed hip dysplasia. Now we’re both medicated. The Northwest’s embracement of complementary medicine has helped me cope with my PN, despite non-stop pain. And Roger’s hip issue has improved through natural supplements and acupuncture. He also seems to have an inner wisdom about my needs. Roger knows it’s for my own good when he gets me up and out on my feet in the morning, when my neuropathy pain is the worst.
Could his hilarious, healing nature be some divine intervention? Whatever the reason, we’re both still here for each other.