The resident artists here in Vermont are curious about Randy and, by extension, me. Notoriety comes to us not from our own virtue, but from love in the hearts of the beholders toward all God’s simple creatures, namely Randy and, again by extension, me. We feel this love. Our colleagues are a gracious and generous lot.
I am accustomed to playing second fiddle to Randy’s Stradivarius. I am the black tie on the arm of the hot starlet on Oscar night. I accept that even in shadow there is reflected light
While my fellow artists honor the “Don’t Pet, Don’t Feed, Don’t Distract” guide dog protocol, Many find Randy in harness simply too tempting. They want to get their hands on him. Self-restraint in the canine arena offends their artistic sensibilities and inhibits their craft. In consequence, uninspired product cheats their muse, their patrons, their public and, most egregiously, their dependent children. The entire industry faces collapse. Or so they say.
Rather than contribute to stunted growth in a colony where uninhibited expression is encouraged, I propose an event I’ll call, Randy’s Petting Zoo, in which Randy, unharnessed, will rub elbows with the artistes. He is a tactile body, having submitted to being mauled by small hands over at the village schoolhouse.
Randy will begin the audience with his version of the Pope wave. Then he’ll get right into pressing some flesh. Ask him nice, he’ll sit on your foot. Say left/right, he’ll slip you five ambidextrously. But no rough stuff, please. And parents, mind your toddlers—that tail packs a wallop.
Beyond satisfying Randy’s intimacy issues, this event addresses a common human need: physical connection. Studies show that infants deprived of human touch fuss, fret and grow up weird. So, break the cycle and join us at Randy’s Petting Zoo. We’ll all be the better for the effort.
Jeff’s Note: On February 21, 2013, a gathering of the clan rivaling Woodstock took place in rural New England. Randy’s Petting Zoo, now known as RPZ13, changed the lives of many artists and one dog.