It had been a long and crazy day. I taught in the morning, had office hours after, rushed home to get my dogs out, changed into jeans, and then went off to the shelter to walk the dogs. That evening my daughter and I were going out to dinner first before seeing the play Chicago! I rushed home after walking the dogs, changed back into my pencil skirt and top, and off my daughter and I went to begin our evening romp.
Dinner was good – I had my usual – a cheese omelet. Then, off to the theater. We parked on a back street and started the ½ block walk to the theater. About halfway there I felt something odd around my ankles. I looked down and to my horror, discovered my skirt had fallen down. I yanked that baby up as fast as I could and proceeded to spend the rest of the evening with one hand firmly grasping the top of that skirt.
My daughter and I about rolled down the street laughing at
this new “mom-ism” caper. Interestingly, while gripping the skirt after “the
incident,” I thought the waistband was awfully loose and wondered if I had lost
Anyway, I made it home with skirt more or less intact and when I took it off, I discovered that when I redressed myself, I put the darn thing on upside down.
The moral of this story is that pencil skirts only go on one
way and it’s best to identify the position of the waistband before putting one
A wonderful happy and fun-loving 1-year old pitbull pup was surrendered to the shelter a week ago by the only family he had ever known. They got Hershey when he was a puppy and that’s when the trouble began. This family thought crating was cruel, so little Hershey, complete with puppy energy and teething gums, set about to chew and play with everything he could get his paws and teeth on. This included when the family was gone and they left Hershey to his own devices.
We all loved him at the shelter. I walked him several times,
or rather, he romped and I followed at a good clip. But he would periodically stop
to check in with me, make sure I was still there having as much fun as he was.
One time I spent some crazy amount of time trying to get his halter on him while
he just patiently stood. I never did get it on so we went by collar and leash.
I was looking forward to my next visit with him when I
discovered that he was on “The List.” The shelter staff had tried to get a rescue
group to pull him but because of the really bad write-up left by his owners,
takers were not forthcoming. I went into frantic-forward as did untold number
of other volunteers to find an answer for this beautiful, sweet and innocent
boy, a boy who was about to be condemned through no fault of his own.
The good news is – Hershey was pulled by the rescue Operation Freedom Ride – literally hours before his time was up. In a warm, loving foster home, he can now decompress and get ready for an adoptive home that will love him and treat him like the wonderful dog he is!
I was reading an article in People magazine when I came across a compelling quote by Alex Trebek. It especially resonated with me because of my professional involvement with young (and not so) college students. Here’s what he had to say:
“When I was growing up in Ontario, if you were on the street and made eye contact with someone, you would say “good morning,” even if you didn’t know them. Now everyone has their face buried in their cellphones or have earphones in. We’ve become isolationists. There’s a lack of civility in our society right now that bothers me. I always ride the subway when I am in New York, and everyone is just looking down at their phones. It frightens me that we’re losing sensitivity toward others. “
I often think of the movie Wall.E when I ponder the roles the cell phone and texting have taken in our lives today. Wall.E is the story of an enterprising and adorable little robot who finds himself in a space-city where scores of humans migrated when the earth was destroyed in a nuclear attack. The humans have become glutinous and essentially immobile and spend their days floating around on motorized chaises, talking on phones while ignoring the people right next to them. It’s a provocative little film and despite its clear commentary on the state of humankind, it leaves us with a feel-good ending.
I’m anxious to see what our feel-good ending will be.
For over 20 years our paths crossed almost daily when he was walking his dog and I was either riding my bike or running in the days before my knee said enough. He had two dogs during those 20 plus years. He didn’t walk for a while after his first dog died. I missed them. I was happy to see him back with his newly adopted friend.
In all that time we never spoke more than a comment or two about the weather or some other silly thing, yet he and his dog became part of my daily rhythm. They could be counted on when other things couldn’t. He, with his jaunty little walk, and his faithful lab marching along beside him. It gave me a comfort I couldn’t understand to see them pass each day.
Then one day, he wasn’t jaunty anymore. His chin began to
drop until after a few short months it became attached to his chest. He
couldn’t raise his head or talk and a friendly greeting was met with a grunt.
Drool soaked the front of his chest and he wasted away before our eyes.
ALS, or so he told us before he was no longer able to speak. Still, he walked. His pace became snail-like, but twice a day, no matter what, he and his dog walked by our house. Until they didn’t. And that’s when I knew.
Somehow, someway, a vacant house calls out to you, telling
you it’s lonely. This week his house called out to me. It might have had
something to do with the dumpster in the driveway, the lack of footprints in
the snow, and its darkness now at night. He’s not there, and neither is his
I feel a tremendous sense of loss for this man, who I barely knew. It’s like a song off key with no beat or rhythm.
She was timid. She would come out of her kennel, but the brakes went on when it was time to move on. So rather than push, I sat down on the floor right in front of her kennel and she crawled into my lap and right there and then I wanted her to be mine. But with four babies of my own at home, that was not to be. But still, I became attached. I wanted to be the one to walk her, to pet her, to love her and I felt a sense of ownership I had no right to feel. She taught me this. She taught me that she needed love from whoever would give it to her. She loved my love, but she loved everyone’s love, too. She taught me that I am lucky to have even a little precious time and that I must celebrate all the other walks, pets, and loving she gets from all the other volunteers. She taught me it’s about the dogs, not about me.
My shelter friends are teaching me more about life and love than I learned anywhere else.
They make me sad, all those once magnificent Christmas trees. The real ones, now neglected and naked by the side of the road. I wonder what they were like when they were “before,” when they graced a hillside in spring, or accompanied their deciduous neighbors during the vibrant blazing of fall.
When I was a child I begged for a “real” tree every Christmas time. I loved the smell of pine and the way it felt like I had my own forest in the living room. I loved that I had to crawl under the branches to make sure there was enough water in the tree stand. I loved how the needles fell off, covering the carpet under the tree. My parents did not love these things.
I fell in love when I first saw her. She was old and ugly in
that way that is endearing. She looked at me through the bars of her kennel with
rheumy eyes that spoke of things I didn’t want to know. One ear stuck up
straight, the other flopped, giving her a lopsided look. Her old, gray face was
tired. She had served her previous master well with untold numbers of litters
now weighing down her tits so low they reached the ground. Her people got what
they wanted from her. She got nothing. I opened her kennel door and I spoke to
her – quietly – but I am sure she understood me.
Today I ran right to her kennel and she looked at me, wouldn’t
stop looking at me even though others stood before her kennel. After 2 weeks of
being confused, though well taken care of and loved by everyone in the shelter,
she was going to a foster home where she would be warm, cozy, and loved by a
family. Wonderful news for her. I started my shift whispering sweet somethings
in her ear and when my shift was done, she was gone. Her kennel still held the
blanket she cozied up on, and the toy some kind soul gave her, but her essence
was gone, and as ashamed as I am to admit it, I had to wipe away a few tears of
grief and loss. Please, family, give her the love she needs and deserves.