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Page 21

6th Mar 2020, 5:00 PM in Dog Wood
Page 21
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Author Notes:

Scott D. 6th Mar 2020, 5:00 PM
Scott D.
Hospitals freak me out. Waking up in a hospital bed is probably one of the most anxiety-inducing things that's ever happened to me. On a psychological level, I don't deal with it very well at all. My mother has said that you get treated in hospital, but you get better when you're at home...however, many of us wouldn't be here today without the aid of these good people who drop everything to rush to our sides to do the treating.

Ambulance drivers, doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff are all hardworking and deserving of respect. In a general sense, they're all intelligent enough to be doing literally anything else, and instead they've made a conscious decision to dedicate their lives to healing others. Most do not have the sardonic bedside manner of Gregory House, realise the mental impact a hospital environment can have, and go out of their way to make a patient's stay as comfortable as possible. If the worst outcome should happen, they feel it just as much as the rest of us. They are what happens when intellect is married to compassion, and while I'm not saying everybody should spend years training to get a medical license, or that they are without those flaws intrinsic to the human condition, we can stand to learn a lot from their position.

This also goes for veterinarians and animal shelter operatives. They care so much about animals that they have made it their lifelong duty to look after them in times of need. It's all good, honourable, dignified work, and they are worth all the love and support we can give them.

To my readers in the U.K., I fervently urge you to support your National Health Service, whether it's by looking up resources online to learn more, or simply being courteous to your G.P. I beseech you to see what you can do for your local animal charities, even if it's simply spreading the word, or volunteering at the weekends. To those of you in the U.S. and elsewhere, do what you can to support affordable healthcare for humans and animals alike. Medical treatment and the chance for a decent quality of life are basic rights, not privileges, and while you may wonder how much your contribution helps in the grand scheme of things, Tolkien tried to teach us that even the little things matter.

Right, now, getting off my box to talk a bit about this update, I mentioned a few pages back how people interpret things differently, and my girlfriend certainly impressed me with her reaction to this page. According to her, the positioning of the Sheriff's hat at the foot of Adrienne's bed is an advancement of the attraction he has so clearly held since he first laid eyes on her, a sign of comfort and intimacy without overstepping any personal boundaries. A show of affection that is also respectful. I, on the other hand, just thought it'd be a convenient place to put the blasted thing so that Golden could draw a really nice angle on his head. You can tell which of us is the romance writer, can't you?

Bit of an afterthought, but the Sheriff is reading a canine version of John Steinbeck's 1937 novella and school curriculum staple Of Mice and Men, written by Steinbeck's dog. If Charley le Chien is at all comparable to Steinbeck in his writing, what sort of conclusions do you think you could draw about the Sheriff from his literary tastes?
—Scott D.

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