March 01, 2005

Getting Carded

Well this is a new one on me.

I got home this evening to find that we had been sent a sympathy card from our vet expressing condolences over our having to put Jeeves to sleep.

The front of the card has a watercolor picture of a cat's footprint surrounded by a vaguely stained-glass looking setting. Underneath, it says, "Sharing your sadness...."

Upon being opened, the card carries on its sympathetic message: "at the difficult decision you made for your gentle friend and companion."


Yes, of course I'm sad we lost the cat, but I have to say that, far from the warm, fuzzy feelings it evidently was supposed to generate, reading this caused me to start sniggering. Perhaps I have a rather jaundiced view of the world, but I've noticed over the years that the line between the meaningful and the absurd can be mighty thin and it doesn't take much to roll right across it.

Flipping over to the back to see if the Hallmark Collective was behind this little effort, I found that it was, in fact, the product of an outfit called Paws To Remember, based somewhere in the wilds of Minnesota. PTR, in turn, seems to be a subsidiary of a company called Stroke of the Heart, Inc., another name that this time caused me to howl with laughter at its hopefully unintended awfulness.

Looking more closely at the bottom of the card's back, I also noticed this smug little announcement: "Printed with vegetable-based ink on recycled paper in the USA. Contains a minimum of 20% post-consumer fiber." Well la-de-da.

It seems perfectly obvious to me that this combination of treacly sentimentality, cluelessness and ever-so-subtle sanctimony is the product of a bunch of hippies. The PTR mission statement says that its goal is to be a resource to help vets communicate and bond better with people who keep pets or other animals. Well, swell. If a simple hand-written note won't do the trick any more, allow me to help move this opus along. I have a few ideas to pitch for cards that might be appropriate to some of the other curve balls that animal-lovers must face.

For Fido's post-operative recovery period:

Understanding your frustration....Don't think of it as an inverted lampshade. Instead, think of it as a karmic centering vessel. Oommmmmmm.......

For run-ins with the local wild fauna:

Here's sniffing at you, kid.......A skunk's scent is just part of Nature's Wonderful Perfume. Besides, you'll get used to it after a while.

For run-ins of another kind and their unexpected consequences:

Who doesn't love kittens? What are you, some kind of jackbooted Republican fascist?

And finally, for that irreversable passage:

A moment of paws to reflect.....Two little snips now will be rewarded by years of comfort and security to come.....

Alternatively, I thought of a slightly edgier version that might be more appropriate for new geldings:

Dude! Sorry about that 'nads thing!

But who says such cards should be confined to only sad or stressful situations? Why not a Happy Events series as well? I'm sure that we Llamas could come up with something in the "Pimp my Orgle" line.

I'll let you know if the hippies go for it.

Posted by Robert at March 1, 2005 09:30 PM

Very clever, but that's exactly what I've come to expect.

; )

Posted by: Christina at March 1, 2005 10:39 PM

A "karmic centering vessel." Cool.

And of course we need sympathy cards for when my karma runs over your dogma.

On the possibly less silly side, I purchased a "sorry your dog died" card for some friends a couple of months ago, in anticipation of their dog dying. It's going to be at least somewhat traumatic.

Posted by: owlish at March 1, 2005 11:32 PM was the comment "my karma runs over your dogma."

Posted by: david at March 1, 2005 11:48 PM

Pregnant again? Perhaps she should've Spayed inside.

Flipper's magical journey begins!(with the image of a toilet with "RIP" on it)

(image of a penguin on the cover) Just a reminder, your parrot is still on a diet! Here's your next appointment:

(p.o.'d doberman on the cover) We're sure it's a simple oversight, but your bill is over a week late. Remember, we are also the vet for the local junkyard.

Allright, allright, I'll stop now, although this is begging for an Orgle joke.

Posted by: francisthegreat at March 2, 2005 01:32 AM

"Perhaps I have a rather jaundiced view of the world"...

You said it, not me.

Posted by: red at March 2, 2005 10:32 AM

...And there's no "perhaps" about it.

Posted by: JohnL at March 2, 2005 12:44 PM


Posted by: red at March 2, 2005 12:47 PM

Our vets have always sent a card at the death of one of our pets. When Kang died, he wrote a long note in the card since he'd been sick for awhile and I'd spent a lot of time caring for him. I appreciated the time he took to offer his sympathies.

Posted by: Ith at March 2, 2005 01:07 PM

Oh, it's not the thought that I'm mocking so much as the gooshy form it took in the card I got. As I said, a short note would have been far more meaningful.

Posted by: Robert the LB at March 2, 2005 01:26 PM

a friend mind came home with red eyes from crying after taking her dog to the vet a while ago. At first I thought the dumb* dog was put to sleep, but turned out that the Vet had to squeeze the dog's ANAL sack to release it, and she cried all the way home, thinking the poor dog must have been in pain from it.
I'm still shaking my head at her. Can you think of an appropriate card for that one? LOL
Maybe you should start a side business: "Alternative Paws to Remember".

*not to offend anyone, but he IS a dumb dog!

Posted by: Laura at March 2, 2005 02:43 PM

A friend of mine got a card from the vet after her pedigreed cat died of a reaction to anesthesia given by the vet.
The sympathy card included a bill.

Posted by: Terry Lynch at March 2, 2005 08:38 PM

Some people like me are so close to our pets and livestock that if one dies, I get very depressed and I get condolence cards; I think that is really cool. From your first post, I could tell you weren't too attached to your pet; that's a shame actually. Mine fill my life and I'm always thankful someone cares enough to send me a card. Some of us are real animal lovers; I take it you're not but I consider them part of my family.


Posted by: firstbrokenangel at March 2, 2005 11:08 PM

Puts one in mind of Evelyn Waugh's "The Loved One".

Posted by: D. Carter at March 2, 2005 11:24 PM
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