Atticus is a dog worth knowing. I met him in the now usual way, on Facebook, five years ago. The circumstances were slightly serendipitous, however, since the woman I met shared the same name as myself, and had a Facebook group for all us Lisa Pickerings. When I got the invitation, I thought, “Why not?” Thus began a friendship, not only with a wonderful person, but the most amazing pet, Atticus Skywalker Pickering.
Where do I begin to tell the tale of Atti, Atti Bear, Atticus? He is surely the most photogenic dog in the world. He hails from Melbourne, Australia and is the mascot for a pet business in which dogs are walked by the glorious beach, have overnights and are given extremely good care. Atti has his own Facebook page. On most days he greets his audience with a little story of his favorite food, “wasagne,” or about his friend, Wilson, the deflated soccer ball.
His “parents” love him more than all the bits of sand on Melbourne’s beaches. Atti, the black labrador retriever dog, is the center of their business, which could include five other doggies, depending on the day. He leads all the dogs on their walks, their ball fetching, and the occasional big-stick dragging.
Atti is a natural ham when he poses for photographs, with a smile that is bigger than Texas – or, more appropriately, the state of Victoria. I have never seen so many toothy grins from a dog who has the daily task of keeping his local business going smooth and worry-free.
Atti is surely a dog worth knowing. Behind all the smiles and good humor, however, lurks a danger that could spring up at any moment for Atticus. For this talented fellow suffers from seizures. The episodes can occur at any time, and leave a frightened pet owner in a panic that is difficult to allay.
The exact reason for epilepsy in dogs is not known. Basically, nerve cells, or neurons in the brain maintain a balance between activity, (excitation), and inactivity, or what is called inhibition. Convulsive seizures occur when neurons are overly excited.
Atti’s mom has support from her Facebook followers, who are behind her all the way. One of Atti’s fans explained it like this, “When some of us are struggling to get through the day the messages and photos you put on Atti’s page put a smile on our face and cheer us up Lisa – we try to show our gratitude here for you.” They express love unconditionally, whether to give the thumbs up for the experimental “shock” treatment that Atti is going through, or empathizing with her worries that the treatments are making him worse than he was before he started the trial. It is a difficult time for Atti’s parents right now, and those who know Atti for the fun-loving dog he is are just as alarmed.
A world without Atti would be like a world without dogs lying in plastic pools to cool off from the summer heat, without dogs that smile and say, “I wuv wasagne,” and without a special dog that greets us most days with a funny and touching story.
I have become a better human in some ways for knowing Atticus, and I would like to make a doggie toast to his health and well-being. May he always be there to greet me from my Facebook page. Yes, Atticus you are a dog worth knowing.
Blog by Lisa M Pickering
Interview with Lisa N Pickering, Melbourne, Australia