So many things are different now, and so many changes yet loom. It’s hard to put words to it all. What I can put words to is the changes in humans, at least the ones I encounter on my daily walks of sanity with my little dog.
Not too many of us are out walking, and I wonder if I’m making some violation of something or other. True, we are all on isolation in our homes, but should that include staying off the sidewalks? We don’t. Nor do others in our little neighborhood. Like one of my neighbors said today as we passed one another, “You’ve got to get out of the house.”
Getting out of the house restores the humanness of our predicament. Smiling, saying hello and waving reminds us we are not alone.
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I was talking today with someone, and a very learned someone at that, who conjectured whether this Covid 19 virus could be the death of all humanity. Whoa! I am scared and taking precautions, but I never thought it (the virus) could go that far! Could it?
It’s so hard to fathom, but it also lends perspective. I mentioned this comment to my partner, who is a stingy old money-monger, and he said he now wished he’d gotten that car he wanted or taken us on a vacation last summer (not a cruise).
The meaning of a day, hour, minute at a time now screams with legitimacy.
For Donald Trump it’s all about pennies – trillions and billions and gazillions of them. For Donald Trump it is nothing about people. This man would be happy living on top of a heap of coins and cash in a world with no people. Thus is his resolution to bring the economy back by subjecting millions of Americans to the most evil and virulent disease known to modern humans.
Trump continues to snub the realities of a nation in crisis; instead, stupidly promising an imminent panacea in the face of hell. In fact, in a recent daily update, he flouted the advice of one of his top task force members, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Dr. Fauci, who has emerged as one of two heroes in this health catastrophe (the other is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo), said that only the virus can set the timeline for reopening the country, not a human.
Enter another billionaire businessman. Tom Golisano is the founder of the successful company, Paychex. In the midst of the crisis, he was quoted as saying, “I have a very large concern that if businesses keep going along the way they’re going then so many of them will have to fold.” He added that it would be better for some people to die than to potentially have more die due to an economy in tatters. Of course, he has since stated that his words were taken out of context (?) and what he really meant was that once the health officials gave the all-clear, people should go back to work as quickly as possible. Not sure I see a whole lot of difference in his intentions where getting the economy going trumps (so to speak) keeping people healthy.
As the virus marches forward and shocks us with its advancing numbers, it appears that “normal life” could be weeks, even months away. Remember how Trump scoffed at what health experts were saying about the potency of this virus? Knowing Trump, he’s probably still in denial as the rest of us stalwartly face the deadly tsunami known as Covid 19.
From jackrabbit quick to the stall of a snail tucked tight in its shell. This is the trajectory of life before and during a pandemic.
I’m not complaining, except when I get a tad bored and the only thing I can think of to do is clean out the linen closet. In truth – this is a once in the existence of humanity to stay secluded and find meaning in the particles of daily life that go unnoticed.
Correction – some of those particles are evident, like the blanket of dust that acts as a wrist-rest when I’m typing at my computer. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Maybe meme is a better word – the memes of daily existence, like:
Really listening to my green cheek conure to determine if she’s mad, sad, hungry, playful or bored.
Taking my little Boston Terrier, Finja, for a daily walk instead of shoving her out in the fenced-in backyard to do her business.
Listening to all the wild birds on our walk and drinking in the luscious smell of fresh earth as it awakens from its winter cast.
Slowly savoring every crumb of the foods we never have time to eat in our “real” world.
Digging out my digital camera and seeing the unseen and making it exquisite.
Sitting still and looking out the window
It appears our ability to live simply is going to last awhile. I will relish it.
“Is human dignity and human life so cheap that the rights protecting it can be traded away to appease the appetite for intimidation and prejudice of a vicious and self-centered group – for whatever reason, power, politics, nationalism, or unity?” ― Christina Engela, Bugspray
I am nearing retirement, and as a way to set the stage for an easy transition, I have engaged in a volunteer activity that represents my true passion – animals, namely dogs. I spent 3 months training to become a dog walker at our local shelter and through hard work and the support of a mentor, found it to be exactly what my soul was looking for. It’s not always easy, in fact, at times it’s downright hard. And it’s heartbreaking, but that’s for another day and another post.
Ironically, what’s become harder than dealing with the dogs is dealing with fellow volunteers. Fortunately it’s a small group spewing poison, but large enough to be toxic to us fellow walkers, shelter workers, and to the dogs.
Enter Facebook. There are probably a hundred million groups on FB and the shelter walkers have one. Several weeks ago, to my horror, the core group engaged in a bashing job that was more appropriate for teenage girls than a group of “mature” women. It was all directed at a new employee whose job it is to organize volunteers. I couldn’t believe what I read, and I posted that it would be more productive to be positive than critical and negative. That went over like a lead balloon.
I have since quit that Facebook group, but I remain dedicated to the dogs, committed to my shelter duties, and loyal to the woman who is indeed doing a stellar job in spite of the cruel cackling of a clutch of vicious women.
My good friend asked me to go with her to a local bird store several months ago. I should have known better because this was right after my beloved cockatiel died. As soon as we walked into the store, Ryan, the manager, thrust this little, feather-less creature into my hand and it was love at first flight!
Of course, the story is complicated, but the bottom line is that I am now “mother” to Ethel, my adorable, 4-month old green cheek conure.
This is just a brief introduction, but there will be many more tales to come.
Hint: How Ethel loves to watch what’s on my computer screen and add to its interest by pecking at the touch screen to see what she can come up with next,
Chavo came back – again. He came back to the shelter a few weeks ago, but no one recognized him. I did. Somewhere inside the little, shriveled dog in the kennel hid the big head and broad chest that was once filled out and healthy. At first the dog in this kennel was only vaguely familiar. I looked at his intake card, saw the name Chavo, and looked again at the pathetic dog laying in his kennel, too tired to even get up. This was not the chesty little low-rider pitbull I remembered and loved. This was a sick skeleton with glassy eyes, and foamy mouth.
I wanted to murder the people who did this to him.
It took a village to nurse Chavo back to health. Once his condition became known to the techs and vet, he was quickly whisked to the quiet and protected part of the shelter. Word spread like wildfire about our once robust little low-rider. We all prayed and kept vigil outside his kennel. After two days of not eating and utter lethargy, doc did exploratory surgery on him and pulled a walnut from Chavo’s digestive tract.
And so Chavo began to heal. He ate hungrily and had his own cheering squad urging him through every bite, every step. At first he was allowed just short walks, and we lined up for our turn “at Chavo.” Before long, walks became longer and longer until he was finally allowed back into the adoption part of the shelter.
One day I came looking forward to a walk with Chavo, only to find he’d been adopted. Selfishly, my heart sank. But I heard it was a good thing. Good people. Good for Chavo, and ultimately good for all of us in the village who brought a near-death, low-rider pit back to life and into a home with good, loving people.
Tis the season and the antics at the shelter are in full
swing – and not by the animals!
One of the things this shelter does regularly is hold free
adoption days where it’s just that – you can get a dog or cat for free. Sounds
good? It is not. Granted, there are some honest, caring people who come
committed to adopt an animal and give it the love and care it needs. But there
are also those who lie and present a false picture of a huge, fenced-in yard,
no other pets in the house, and so on.
One of these events was held a month ago, and a shelter
favorite dog, Carlotta, was adopted by an older man who said all these things
about the wonderful life Carlotta would have with him. Initial conversations
after the adoption rang glaringly false About a week after he took her home, Carlotta
was back. Not only was she back, but so was another dog, adopted the same day
by his brother, only they never bothered to inform us of that fact. In fact, they
live together. The man was told that Carlotta was not to live with any other
dogs. When she arrived back at the shelter, we were told she fought with the
other dog. She was a mass of cuts and bite marks, and needed surgery to close
Another free event is happening this Saturday and I plan to
be on the other side of the county while it’s taking place.
I have recently taken on another volunteer job at the
shelter, and that is to follow up with adopters to see how things are going with
their new furbaby in the home. I recently exchanged texts with one gent who
adopted one of my all-time favorite pups. He had taken the dog to his vet only
to get a positive heartworm test. Heartbreak! This shelter has a “live-in” vet
and I am appalled that the dogs are not heartworm tested before they are
adopted out. I have also known of many dogs who have gone to homes with various
degrees of intestinal and respiratory illnesses.
Dealing with dogs, adoptions, and the shelter environment is
never going to be pretty. But by implementing some basic new strategies, and
eliminating things that have proven to provide pain and heartbreak, the whole
adoption process can be made significantly more successful.
The list of terms describing gender preferences is
astounding. When I was younger, there was no such list and there were lots of
behind the hand whispers and mocking of those who displayed characteristics of
gender outside the norm. That is not so much the case at all today and that is
a good thing.
What is not a good thing is the accompanying list of pronouns
and other terms people want others to refer to them by. We have such a
situation where I work and it is stressful trying to remember if this person is
a they or them, an anyone or a nobody. Then there may also be a preference for
other defined pronoun words. The more comprehensive list of gender-neutral
pronouns is as follows:
Here’s the rub for me. If you want to be called something,
that is your freedom. Fine. But on the other hand, it is my freedom to turn
down your request. Aren’t there more important things than to insist on being
viewed in a very prescribed and calculated way? Why not just be what we are –
I work with a “they” who insists on remaining gender neutral
and who wrote our department a long tome on why this was important. This person
dresses as a boy, but is a woman by physiology and a mother by choice. I am
confused because this person is militant in her stand on gender neutrality, yet
goes to such an extreme as to dress as a
selected gender? This is not gender neutral. This person’s baby is now about 2
years old, no one knows its true sex, and it is called Winter. I wonder how
this “it” is going to manage in a very un-gender neutral society.
Author of Living Well in Froggy's World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud; A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way; and Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal; and Owner of Shenouda Associates Inc., Provider of Technical, Marketing, and Business Communications