Frank Sanders is a nationwide syndicated columnist who dispenses his "hillbilly wisdom" to any who will listen. Frank works as a painter and sometimes graveyard landscaper in Beckley WV.
My son Tim recently lost his pet dog "Smokie" to death. Tim is terribly upset refuses to eat and is even starting to perform poorly at school. How can I help him?—Linda McCollum, Chicago, Illinois
I understand what your boy is goin’ through. My heart was brokin when my dog "Patches" died when I was only ten years old.
I remember cryin over my loss for hours on end in the family outhouse. That tiny building was like a safe haven from my five brudders and eight sisters.
That was before my oldest brudder Delray had a terrible case of the brown butt. He wasn't very understanding of my situation, probably cause he was mad that he had to wait a few seconds longer to relieve himself and so afterwards beat me savagely.
While this may seem cruel to city folks, that beatin helped me forget about ole Patches for a while. I also hear people say that you shouldn’t do that. I say, "Look at me! I turned out just fine."
But I’m not recommendin that course of action. It’s what my diddy did later that helped me more than anything else. What he did is what I recommend to you.
Let me just say that he had a way of helpin people understand things. Even though I knew that Patches was gone and wasn’t comin back, he felt that I needed to better internalize it.
I learned that term "internalize" from a headshrinker buddy of mine. It means to "make it your own through learning or experience." Unlike other advice columnists, I like to edicate folks as well as help them with their problems.
Apparently, he had heard from mama about my behavior of late and decided to take action.
With beer can in hand, he took me to the backyard of the family farm and dug Patches out of the ground. Sure, I cried bitterly and was traumatized. But it showed me that Patches wudn’t never comin back.
And though I didn’t comprehend it at the time, he helped me to have closure (another psychological term). He did this by bustin me in the mouth when I was lookin at Patches’ carcass with tears in my eyes. I realized that cryin wouldn’t do me no good anyway.
But Linda, you got to give a replacement for Smokie, such as another dog, a cat, or a gerbil. Tim will then see that he didn’t love that dog after all.
Diddy gave me a replacement animal too. He presented me with a wolf rat that he had trapped in the basement. When I first saw "wolfy" I forgot all about Patches.
Of course, wolfy attacked me one night and bit me several hundred times while I slept. So if you get Tim a new pet, please don’t let him sleep with it at night.