New Year… New Lessons

Luke explaining to me why this is his side of the bed.
Luke explaining to me why this is his side of the bed.

A chilly Florida day and Luke was ready to get out and go. Literally.  His morning walk was rushed due to an cold snap.  I was freezing while Luke was hunting for the perfect spot.  Once this was achieved we ran back to the house as my cat, Jack, jogged behind us.  It was kind of fun.

Once back inside we went back to bed to read for a couple hours.  Our goal was to finish the Hobbit and have a second breakfast.  Second breakfast being very important when you are reading and writing about hobbits.  Still around 11, we needed to head outside for another walk. Luke wasn’t done and to be honest, he is used to walking two miles a day now so he wanted to stretch his legs.  I noticed the other dogs as soon as I stepped out.  The sight of the two large pit bulls unleashed in the yard across the street has become a common one.  The owner is usually near by and although I am not comfortable with it, I continued on because any time either dog has tried to leave the yard the owner stopped them.

Except for Friday, the little one came across the street. And by little I mean at least forty pounds of muscle.  I thought it was going to be alright at first, the two dogs were sniffing politely then a second later he went after Luke.  One of my neighbors came to help. The two were separated and the other dog was run back across the street. I picked Luke up like a baby and carried him into the house.

Hey Mom, I am a pirate.
Hey Mom, I am a pirate, not a baby.

I checked him as best I could looking where I thought the other dog had bite him.  I missed some spots but I will get to that later.  Besides being shaken up, he appeared no worse for wear. (I did after all pick him up like a big baby and carry him into the house.)

When I stepped back outside the dog that when after Luke was running all over the place barking and growling at people. The short time I was in the house, he went after another woman walking her dog.  Twenty minutes later the police arrived after being called by a neighbor.  The dog ran up to the officer and was sprayed.  The dog backed off, but continued his aggressive behavior to the point that the officer stepped up onto my porch to avoid shooting him. We spend the next couple of minutes getting people out of harm’s way.

There are many things that I have heard people say about the police and dogs, but in this case the police did everything to protect both the people and the animals involved. When additional officers arrived they coaxed the dogs into the backseat of the cars until the Animal Control officer arrived.  It was actually a sight to see the officers working to get the dogs to hop in the back. The on-lookers including myself all cheered when the second dog got in.

OPD protecting and serving all of its residents.
OPD protecting and serving all of its residents.

The other dog who had remained in the yard the whole time and was placed back inside the home whose door had been left open.  The door was shut and a notice was posted letting him know where his other dog was. We still don’t know why it was left open.  The owner couldn’t explain it and the police didn’t believe that someone had tried to break in.  I am not sure what to believe.

I did press charges.  And then I beat myself up for it. After all, it isn’t the dog’s fault. It is his human’s fault. In the end, I had a moment to decide and after having seen everything that happened after the attack I went forward.  Still I worry about the dog whose name even after I talked with the owner, I still don’t know.

I didn’t have too much time dwell on it though Luke began throwing up an hour after the attack.  This continued through the night. Six times in less than twenty-four hours. Three of those times were on my comforter.  I decided that the best course of action was to take him to the vet as soon they opened. Thankfully, they had an opening at eight o’clock so we hopped in the car, grabbed some coffee and headed off the the Haiwassee Veterinary Clinic. Even if Luke isn’t feeling well he still loves a car ride. He threw up in the car and looked up at me as if to say he was sorry.

At the vets’ office after some tears (mine) and screaming (Luke’s), it was determined that Luke had been hurt. His rear was causing him so much pain that he won’t go the bathroom.  This was causing him to be get backed up and gas to push back causing him to throw up.  A lot. Thankfully, he wasn’t dehydrated. Sadly for him, he had to get two shots one for pain and one for the constipation. We did find some scratches on his chest, but nothing broke the skin.

Since then the neighbor has come over to apologize which was more about how this is going to hurt him than actually seeing how my dog or I was doing.  He left saying he would see me in court.  Ok?? I think it was a poor attempt to get me to drop the charges or to make me feel guilty. Maybe both?  Everything was thrown on him at once and now he doesn’t know what to do. Wasn’t he grateful for the police having the decency to go out of their way to protect his animals from harm?  Did he care that Luke was throwing up all night? Did he care that his dog hurt my dog? Or what this unexpected bill was going to do to my finances?  All I heard was how both dogs were so good. This wasn’t about the dog that stayed in the yard as trained, it was about the dog that attacked Luke.  And then he admitted that the small one has attacked his larger dog and was new to the household.  This explained the dogs reaction more, but not why the door was open.  I am told him I was sorry as well, but made no offer to drop the charges.  I was exhausted from having been up all night with Luke, running to the vet and dealing with keeping an active dog calm so he could heal.

jan 096
Being patience with the humans

Luke has thrown up twice since we got back from the vet, but he seems to be keeping food down which is good and he was able to go the bathroom.  Still, we are taking it easy and not starting out on any epic walks.  The pain medication is making him crawl up into a little ball and sleep, which is adorable.

Tomorrow, I am going to call and speak with a lawyer to find out exactly what is going to happen next. I hate the idea that the other dog is going to suffer because of his owner’s negligent. The owner of the other dog has been cited for several things beyond the attack on Luke. So even if I dropped the charges, this won’t be over for him. I also want to know if it is worth it to go after the money for Luke’s vet bill.

Even with a three hundred dollar vet bill, I know that Luke and I got lucky. If my neighbor hadn’t been there to get the dog off and away from Luke he would have been seriously hurt.  After talking to the Animal Control officer, he should be able to get his dog back after paying the fine and I will only have to go to court if he fights it.  But, the lawyer will hopefully let me know for sure.

Is there a lesson out of this mess?  I am not sure. I want to believe that pressing charges is the right thing to do, but a good friend of mine has been making me question that. I don’t want the other dog hurt just in a better and safer place.  It is a human’s fault he was out and that he was so scared. But the aggression is another issue.  I live in a neighborhood with a lot of animals and kids.  What if the dog gets out again and bites a child could I live with myself then? No, I could not.

Maybe the lesson is that in life sometimes you make a choice  isn’t perfect, but it is the best one given the circumstances. And that no matter how much you love and respect someone you aren’t always going to agree with them on what the right thing to do is.

All By Myself

Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home

Sitting alone in my house for the first time in months with no roommate expected back and I don’t know what do with myself.

My roomie is moving out by the first of the month.   It seems strange being alone in the house knowing that in a few short days my home will be all mine  again. I am happy and a little melancholy since I had just gotten used to sharing my space.  So, I am on my own again. It isn’t a bad thing, it is just a thing to adjust to and move with; not against.

Life is full changes. Some are handled better than others.

The time between Halloween (Samhain or the Celtic New Year) and New Year’s Day has become the time when I test drive my resolutions.  One of the resolutions is become a more discipline writer.  Another one is to become a better money manager.  The latter takes on a greater importance now that I will once again be the person solely responsible for the paying household bills. ( The kitty boys refuse to get jobs and Luke is still just a puppy, albeit a fifty pound one; still he isn’t capable of really holding down steady employment.)

Unemployed Puppy
Unemployed Puppy

Resolutions are goals that need to be planned for in order to achieve success.  Today’s events present an opportunity for such planning.

Blessings come in all forms.

Luke the Puppy Dog

My Happy Puppy Tail Ending

This post was going to wait a month so that I could be sure that Luke was going to be staying with me.  A week into our relationship I can’t imagine life without him.  He is my puppy-dog  and I am his person.

How Luke Came To Live in My Little Yellow House

The day after I posted the update about Tank my friend ,Mike, sent a plea into cyber space via Facebook asking if anyone could offer Luke a home.  He had been getting into trouble on the farm and after one of the sheep suffered an attack from all four of the dogs, a new home needed to be found. Luke wasn’t the instigator just young and enthusiastic.  Still they couldn’t keep him around the farm animals.

So, I called Mr. Mike and drove out to Geneva late in the afternoon.  The road was bumpy and had to stop twice for some Gopher Turtles that were sunning themselves in the middle of the dusty tracks .

Luke and his buddies were hanging out in the dog yard.  He was wiggly and just pleased as punch to be meeting a new person.  We took him into the house so adults could talk.   Mike explained that his home was the second for Luke. His first parents discovered they were expecting a child soon after they took him in; they already had two other dogs.  Three dogs and an expectant lady don’t mix, especially one with Like’s energy. It wasn’t an easy decision for the family; to give you an idea his tag read – Luke call Mommy with their number.

Are you my Mommy?

In the end, as you might have guessed, Luke came home with me.  He was so excited to be going on a car ride that he hopped in before we had finished loading his crate.  When we were finally ready to go, he sat himself in the driver’s seat with a happy puppy grin and that wiggly tail moving a million miles an hour.

True to what Mikey’s word, he was awesome in the car and in perfect little gentleman in the pet store. Meeting my friend, Stew, he was relaxed and soon settled down in between the two of us for nap.

Momma, we have to talk…

The kitty boys and him  are getting along, not exactly living in harmony, but no fights or fur flying through the house. He sleeps on my bed at night and since his entrance I have been sleeping through the night.

We have our issues.  Luke won’t go potty while on his leash so everyday we walk to a neighbor’s house so he can run around in the yard and do his business.  Strange, but completely true.  He still prefers my seat to his own in car. In the mornings, he goes with me to get my coffee loving each moment of the ride around the block.  Sometimes, he even lets me back in the car before sniffing the elixir of life.

Is this your seat?

An Update On Tank

Sweet little Tank is resting with his Momma.  Or at least I hope he is.. He was taken back a week ago.

Apparently, the daughter that was in Chicago returned home with a fashionable anklet to reclaim her puppy.  The family couldn’t afford to keep Tank because another member was about to be heading off to the same resort. They didn’t know she was coming home so soon.

My heart feels a little lighter knowing that Tank is with his Momma.  A touch of sadness remains, but I trust there is a puppy out there for me.  Little Tank came into my life to help me realize how much I wanted and possibly need a canine companion again.

If you feel like you are missing part of the story, here is the link to A Home For Tank.

Things My Papa Says

This week at my Mom’s suggestion here are a couple of things that my Papa has said or done.

The weekend we celebrated my grandfather’s 90th birthday, I ate too many clams and was in terrible pain. It was so bad that my boyfriend at the time went next door to my parents room. Papi went to the only convenience store open in the town to find something to help with the indigestion. The clerk didn’t have anything and suggested he purchase a bottle of vinegar. At three in the morning, he was making me take sips of vinegar and walking me up and down the street. Finally after about an hour, I belched. It turned out I had really bad gas.  I hated vinegar then and still do. Papi loves it and always offers it to me, grinning as he does.

Last Friday Night when I took the kids at my school to grad night, my Papi couldn’t understand why I was taking seniors to the park. He thought I was taking senior citizens to Universal.

A couple of months ago, we brought him a stuff animal that looked Booger, my step-puppy, the disabled veteran and biggest little tough guy around was cuddling it night after night.  One day, we looked in his room and little Booger was turned facing the wall. We asked why and Papa said he had been barking and had to be disciplined.

Recently, Booger has been hanging out in the living room with Snowball, the robotic kitty, we brought him.  Papa said he was lonely in the bedroom.

My Papa isn’t my birth father, but he is the man who I call Daddy and I am his daughter.

Dusk and Summer – A Review

It has been a long time since a book has held me captive, curled and cuddled beneath my covers until its pages were through with my mind.  Dusk and Summer by Joesph A. Pinto kept me prisoner this afternoon while I hungrily devoured every last sentence down to the final period.

The novella published by Pinto in 2008 is a deeply personal metaphysical journey that we are guests on. The beginning of the novella brought out the English teacher in me;  I wanted to make some corrections.  It seemed to me like he was using to many words when fewer would have allowed the tale to flow more evenly.

The rocky beginning may turn off some readers with grammar Nazi tendencies, but true lovers of written word need to continue on.  After all, didn’t E.E. Cummings used grammar flexibly to make a point, to draw us in and search for his meanings. Perfect grammar does not make a good story, it can help, but there still needs to be the essential magic that a true storyteller brings.

Slowly, as I continued on through the pages the story took hold of me and I forgot all about my desire to edit and became the reader captivated.

If you are tempted in novels to skip the foreward and go straight to the meat of the book; don’t.  You will miss some much needed information about the author and how this book was birthed as well as the love behind it.  All books in one form or another are born of an author’s heart.  This one came from a love grown and nurtured over decades between a father and a son. It is also about letting go and following the wishes of a love one.

There is a villain, one that I have had personal experience with, cancer.  It claws and rakes families with misery.  Some survive, and others goes through what the Pinto family did.  They sit day after day with their love ones doing everything they can to make it though the next day, hour or minute with their sanity in tacked.   Hoping and praying for miracles that never come.  Searching for meaning.

This is a book about one man’s search for meaning; about a son looking for a way to fulfill his father’s last wish and finding strength in his father’s life and death. It also continues the fight against the villain by contributing a portion of the proceeds to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

For more information on the author please visit: www.josephpinto.wordpress.com

Exams, Cars and Delays

This week my students take their mid-semester exams. It also marks the beginning the semi-annual whine festival; especially among the seniors.  Their continued enrollment and graduation is on the line.  Participation in the program is voluntary.  If students aren’t benefiting from the program then they can go back to their home school.  If they aren’t attending or they are failing they aren’t benefiting from it. It sounds rough, but it is the reality. There is a waiting list with anxious parents calling daily.

We celebrate their success, but it has to be genuine success.  If they don’t their assignments or attend class, there is nothing for to cheer them for.  Somewhere along the line they learned to expect to things to be given to them, even grades.  They think if they do the work, no matter when or how, that they should get credit. They talk back and do all manner of disrespectful things.  Yet, We love them.

Each and everyone of them.

Not all of them are whiners. But they are all teenagers and mothers. They all deserve a quality education, even if they don’t understand why they need it.

So we give them chance after chance, but then there comes the day when their nine lives have run out and there is nothing more we can do or should do. That’s when we have to stand back and let them have their dose of reality. We let them fail, fall on their bums and dust themselves off.

Please don’t respond telling me that I am a saint.  I am not.  Plus, it makes me uncomfortable when people call me or my fellow teachers one. We are all human beings.

Beings that love what we do and don’t give up on the girls, but that doesn’t make us saints.  We are beings with mortgages, heart aches and issues.

I am real person with faults and problems. Right now my car is in the shop and I don’t have the money to free it. The pantry and frig are nearly as empty as my checking account. I am stressing over that and the fight my furry kids had. One has a gash in his leg, wounded tail and damaged ego.  Jack spent the entire day on top of the cabinets watching his canine brother.  My dearest Boogie is scratched up and feeling guilty.

For a couple of hours last night, I was angry and then fell into a pit of self pity. I crawled out with some furry love and the wise words of an old friend.  I don’t have the confidence of a saint nor do I want to placed on a pillar; it is too hard to balance and they are awful high.

Also, saints don’t procrastinate. Their bad habits are wash away by time and admiration. Mine haven’t been cleansed. No amount of praise is going to transform me into a saint.  I delay at times doing I know should and needs to be done; mostly because getting started on something is often the hardest thing to do. I have issues and anxieties which still cause me to put off things and pull the covers over my head.  Just try getting me into the doctor’s office.

I even delay writing, something I love. Maybe it is stress… and being a real live human being complete with issues sans the halo.

And the Universe says …

Laugh…

This morning the blues had me in its gasp.  Truth be told, I still am.. My brain traveling down roads which only serve to me further in the blues.

Going for a walk or the gym was too much for my mind so I opted for clearing the cobwebs out – literally – I am cleaning my house.  Number one on the list is the laundry.  As strange as it may sound, I hang my bras on back of the door knob.   (Sorry, if that is TMI, but it germane to my story)

Booger, my eldest furry child, was begging to go out.  My feet shuffled to the side door to let Whiny McWhinerton out and he managed to step into one of the bra strap; couldn’t go out the door since both legs were trapped in the one strap.  His face was so pathetic and confused at the same moment.

Laughter sprung from my heart. Enough said…

Thank you, Universe….

Ahh… the simple complex things

I am not sure where this post is going, but here I go stepping off the cliff in my own mind.

Human beings are fools.. honestly, we are.  We dominate this gem of a planet and complain about everything under the sun. Even our life giving sun.

For much of the western world, the Christmas season is rapidly approaching.  It is supposed to be a season of love and giving.  Instead for many it is a season of greed and frustration. I am not saying anything new to many of you.  Many folks say that it has always been this way and always will be this way.

So do I have a point?

Well, give me a moment to work on it. As I type I am recovering from an emotional hangover.  I spent last night crying after a fight with a loved one.  Two dear friends listened to me and mentally tucked me in when I finally fell asleep.  I may have been sleeping alone physically; mentally, however, I was being held in the arms of two angels.

This morning, I got up, treated my brain splitting headache and went to work.  My feet shuffled through the house like the condemned. My face painted so that no one would see its stunning impression of a human raccoon.   The kids were cool and did what I asked of them. They have a way of knowing when not to push my buttons.  Especially, I confess second period is one of my favorite classes.  They walked in and we all started writing in our journals. The timer went off and we all just sighed, too tired to notice that it had been in unison. Five students and one teacher letting frustration leave their bodies at the same time.

We could have pushed through the planned lesson, but no learning was going to take place.  So we played a game and relearned how healing laughter is.  One of the girls slipped her journal on my desk, the signal that she wanted it read.

Why is my life so horrible was the gist of the first line. She went on to tell me that her mother whom she was praying to be reunited with was arrested.  She doesn’t know what is going on or why her mother was arrested.  All she knows is that once again life has thrown her a sucker punch and it landed right on her already broken heart.

I wrote her back, as I always do when they ask me to read.  And while I was, I didn’t worry about all the little things that were weighing my shoulders down, I was in the moment, because she needed me to listen and demonstrate that I heard her and cared.  Both of us were smiling when I handled her back the journal.

At lunch I ran out to find food and decided that the golden arches was my best option. Running thru the drive-through, a women stepped forward and asked if I could spare some change.  Her voice sounded like that of an old friend, rich and warm.   I gave her the last two dollars in my wallet.

Today, I felt doomed and trapped when I woke up, and then I was given a gift. It is the same gift that is placed by each of our bedsides every night.  The chance to make my day a good one.  I still feel a little like I have been run over by a freight train, however, the universe has seen to it that there are some bandages holding me together until I mend.

There is so much I could complain about.  So much that many consider wrong in my world.  There is however a soft breeze threading its way through a cracked window giving me relief from the endless Florida heat, a puppy wrapped around me softly breathing and the man who made me cry last night is also the man who walked me up the street to get a slice of gluten free chocolate cake.  I don’t need any gifts for Christmas, there is no need to trample some poor soul to obtain the latest shiny bobble; the simile on my face comes from knowing I am loved and living in the present.

I can’t fix the world, though I believe that people can make a difference when they try. No, stepping off the cliff of my mind tonight has reminded me that we are all on the fool’s journey.  All stepping off the cliffs in our mind again and again, many times not even realizing it; working our way through the world hoping things will change. Forgetting that the definition of failure is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

The day didn’t get better because something changed the normal course, it got better because I transformed myself and let things happen naturally, in metaphysical terms, I stopped trying to be the pebble and became the water.  Moving with the course of my life and discovering things were going the right way, after all, forward. The wrong turn after school lead to a new route to my favorite teaching store. The wrong turn in a relationship lead to a new understanding.

I guess my point is that while we are all fools,  we can have a choice to complain about all we have to do in the coming season, all the woes big and small or we can let ourselves be in the present with open eyes and give ourselves to the world like the man who gave his name to the season did. Let’s not fight over the true meaning of the season.  So what if I tend a Yule fire, you decorate a Christmas tree and the family across the street lights a menorah and there won’t be as many presents as last year because Papi was laid off,  we still have right now to be present with those we love or hope to love.

We have to stop trying to keeping up with the Jones, whose house by the way really isn’t that nice on the inside, and learn to be ourselves.  When I sit down for Christmas dinner with my Momma two days after the actual holiday, I am going to love biting into my Sloppy Joe, not regretting for a moment that there won’t be a turkey and dressing.  All I need will be there.

Booger’s Tale cont.

My mistress was always aggravated by the two men’s presence but her annoyance never seemed to disturb them. I believe one of them had some sort of leverage over her.  They never ceased in their attempts to converse with her. The large harry man smelled like another of my canine brethren, a female if my olfactory senses were precise.

Mistress called him Dog in a most disrespectful manner.  I did not comprehend why that was an insult. Mistress, however, seemed to think it was and so I let it go. There wasn’t much I could do anyway, the month or so I had been with Mistress we had never managed to communicate more than a word or two.  She seemed to be getting better, but there were times when I felt like she expected me to behave like one of her precious feline companions.

I tried my best to assimilate myself to their culture. My efforts were for the most part in vain.  The felines weren’t interested in bridging our cultural riff.  My abandonment had also led me to having a deficit in my own canine culture.

A deficit that was soon to be remedied; one afternoon, the tall man and the man named Dog, convened a meeting to discuss my future with Mistress.  We walked into Mr. Dog’s home and I was greeted by the female canine I smelled early. Her name was Mackie.

When I told her my name, she just chuckled.  Don’t worry, Dog and Stew will fix that little problem for you. She won’t explain just sniffed my rectal area.   It was a most disconcerting at first, the whole olfactory inspection, but oddly familiar.  Mackie completed her inspection while the hominids began their negotiations.

The tall man, whose name Mackie confirmed was Stew, was holding a strange leash and collar.  Mackie went to sit

by dog and I lay at the feet of my Mistress.  She was trying to protest, but Dog finally gave her an ultimatum, either she give me to the tall man or get rid of me.  She didn’t fight much after that, just handed me over to the tall man.  I was fond of him, he was my friend, and now my master.  I titled my head towards Mistress. She did nothing.

The new collar was metallic and seemed to pinch my neck, it wasn’t comfortable but I was delighted to be receiving the pets from the tall man,oh, I mean Stew,, no… Master. He had some treats and feed them to me while Mistress left.  I called after her, whimpered in hominid terms. I waited but she didn’t come back.

Booger

Mackie came over to me and licked my face. It’s ok, kid, Stew is your Pappa now, like Dog is mine.  Pappa? I didn’t comprehend what this new word meant or how it would change my life. Pappa led me out of the apartment and down the hall to his home.  His scent coated the apartment.  It wasn’t at all like Mistress home.

Pappa had food for me.  Good food, not that blasted Sam’s choice. Real food.  Fifteen minutes later, he led me to the yard to do my business.  “Go to potty .. Go poop..” it was a cruel command, however, I did feel a certain urge and so complied with the command.

Over the next week, I learned that the collar was meant to discipline me. It caused me to be reminiscent of when my mother would nip my neck for the same purpose.  Something that mistress had never done.  It was somewhat unpleasant, but it felt oddly right and Pappa was more gracious to me than her.  I didn’t have to sleep at the foot of the bed.  I now cuddled under the covers with him.  Cuddling…that is what he called it. A simple, but appropriate word.