Friday, February 29, 2008

My Old Girl

This is my old girl. She is a 12 year old Australian Shepherd. I got her at 6 weeks of age and began her training as a search dog at 8 weeks of age. Her life was all about work. When do we work again.... how about now? Now? I am not done yet... I can go longer... I can go farther... I can't stop until I find -it- -her- -him- whatever I am supposed to find.

And can I snuggle with you now? She is an amazing snuggler!!!

She has always taken pride in teaching other dogs. From teaching the ropes on agility, to how to use a dog door, to how fast to come back to your handler after you have made the find, to proper etiquette around other dogs... ahh the list goes on.

With the advent of an enlarged heart and severe hip dysplasia her life is now "when is dinner?" or "When is breakfast?" How about now? Now? And don't forget the go to bed treat.... I let her choose if she is going to go with me the majority of the time. I let her know what is on the agenda and if it suits her liking, or how she is feeling that day, she either bids me goodbye, or eagerly joins me. But mostly, life is waiting for the next meal.

I know she is in pain a fair amount of the time, but she never complains about that. I see her get up slowly, limp occasionally, and ask for help onto the couch, but she rarely whines or whimpers. She has always been a tough dog. The only thing she complains about is WHY AREN'T YOU MOVING FASTER TO FEED ME? And this she does 3 times a day. Breakfast, Dinner and bed time. It doesn't matter how fast or how slow I go, the barking starts in the morning 30 seconds after the alarm goes off and doesn't stop until the food bowl hits the ground. It starts up again when I come through the door at night and I can't get the food bowl filled and onto the floor fast enough for her.... good thing I have tolerant neighbors.....

There will be a day that I have to say goodbye. I have had dreams lately that tell me that I am spending my last year with her... that she has another place to go soon. I wake up from those dreams and take a deep breath, and actually thank the universe for giving me advanced notice.

Nevertheless, I probably won't be ready to say goodbye. She is and always will be the most amazing Red Dawg on the planet. How do you let go of that?


I have spent this week with a deep seated sense of sitting on the edge of .... something. Mostly I have felt like I was just about to fall off that edge. My hold on my surroundings and my ability to control my small universe were tediously on the brink of falling apart. I have never felt so grateful for a Friday. I am so overwhelmed I am having trouble seeing far enough ahead to feel that there is an end to this constantly anxiety producing state.

So many aspects of my life are in turmoil. As more demands are made, my response is becoming more and more "STOP - I can't get to it, I can't do it" and dangit, the world won't stop long enough for me to catch my breath, regroup and get myself together again. With my wife working nearly non stop, I have had no grounded connection to the part of myself that I have needed to find my sanity.

I hope to be able to utilize this weekend, and the upcoming week, to catch my breath. It is in this way that I envy my dogs. Each moment is a new opportunity for someone to give a treat, give a pet, throw a ball, feed a meal ... do something... but the point being they expect nothing but good out of their next moment. Now. Dogs are good at Now.

So for now, I just keep breathing. Necessary for getting to the next moment.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

This is Rachel

Meet Rachel. She is the Red Tailed Hawk that has graced us with her presence. I am hoping to get a clearer picture of her, but for now this is the best I've got. She watches closely all that goes on around us. Strangely, I feel protected. I certainly feel privileged to get to see her. She hunts for our gophers and other small game, but she is not above eating a worm or two. She fiercely protects her territory from other feathered creatures as she is hunting. I wonder if she has a nest nearby.


Tonight's eclipse was a gathering. It allowed a neighborhood to get together and connect, if for just a few minutes. Neighborhood gripes were aired as well as a bit of personal happenings as well. Puzzling over which bright star like object was Saturn, we contemplated the universe and our place in it.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Conquering fear - baby step style

I conquered a fear recently. Perhaps it wouldn't be considered a big deal to anyone else, but it was to me. I drove in the snow. We took a trip to Tahoe last weekend and there was a nifty winter storm going on that weekend. I think it dumped 2 feet of snow where we were. I drove to Tahoe while it was snowing and there was snow on the ground as well. Just thinking of doing something like that normally would cause my palms to sweat and my stomach to drop to my knees and nausea would become a state of being. But I just did it. At one point I slipped the truck into 4WD (I LOVE my truck!!) and the confidence just grew as time and the road stretched on. Even as we watched someone try to make a left turn and end up just traveling sideways down the road, I drove on, feeling good. Oh.... all was not perfect. I did manage to get the truck stuck. In the driveway of the cabin we were staying in. It provided for a bit of humor. It was a problem to be solved and at only one point I felt "I Can't Do This." as the truck was at a nifty angle crossways in the road. But I breathed deeply and we shoveled.... okay so my friend Linda shoveled mostly... finally with a bit of power from the truck and some fancy maneuvering on my part we popped out and we were good to go.

And with that, I have conquered my fear of driving in the snow!