Rescue Dog

Who loves dogs?  Oh look!  I see a lot of people are raising their hands!  Excellent!  Me too!  See, I’m raising my hand, really high!

I have a service dog, she’s my second one.  Technically she’s still in training, but she’s awesome.  She is also ginormous.  She’s ginormous and drooly; drooly being the technical term.  The amount of drool can be bothersome in an “oh, we could fill an Olympic pool” sort of way, or she can be great and not drool, like when she’s sleeping.  But I digress; this isn’t about her, nor is it about my aged Pekingese.  This – this is about my fiercely (ironically poor choice of words) loyal rescue dog.  He’s an older Dalmatian/Lab mix who is… Oh, how do I say this?  Special!

I was meandering around Facebook one day and saw on a local pet page that someone was sharing photos of an older dog that needed a home or he was going to a kill shelter.  Well, I wasn’t going to have any part of that. Surely I could give this wonderful older dog a great home for the rest of his days.  Right? Right!  I made dates to meet him and make sure he wasn’t Cujo in a Dalmatian suit. I made another date so he could meet my other dogs. They got along great!  It all seemed so perfect.  I’ve got to say, if I’ve learned anything in my years on this planet it’s that if something seems too perfect, it probably is.  Be wary.  I wasn’t; I never am.

Moving forward, Rescue Dog moved in.  At first I thought he just needed time to assimilate.  Things at my house are different than what most dogs are accustomed to.  They have cushy orthopedic beds in nearly every room, a plethora of toys, raised food bowls, premium dog food supplemented with home-cooked food and nutrient rich bone broth.  They have their own door to come and go at their leisure.  Some will now shout things at me about “structure” and “rules” and “pack leaders” and “dirty animals” and a lot of other things that will upset me and make me say things like: “Stop gettin’ all up in my grill!” and “They have a ton of structure!” Things are done at specific times, there are rules to follow, and steps that must be taken in order for them to get things they want.  Back the hell off.  I don’t tell you how to raise your kids, don’t even begin… wait, right.  Dogs – yes.  I don’t tell you how to raise your dogs, don’t even…. Okay, I might.  But leave me alone, I raised my hand, you didn’t.

Back to Rescue Dog.  He didn’t know (and to this day does not) know how to play ball.  He has seen many dogs do it and watched them revel in the sheer joy of a game of fetch.  I have seen the look of utter dismay on his face.  If you throw the ball to him, he watches it go by.  If you roll it by him, he watches it roll by.  He’ll then cock his head sideways as he looks at you with his big brown questioning eyes and then turn and walk away.  For the longest time after he came to live with us he was a runner.  I’ve never lived with a runner before.  For those of you who are human runners, what in God’s name are you thinking?  And have some mercy on the people who live with you.  Again, back to Rescue dog.  He would wait for the front door to be open and unguarded and then bolt.

The first time this happened I was terrified!  I thought he was going to run like Forrest Gump and not stop.  I tried to go after him.  It didn’t take me long to figure out that THIS, this was his idea of fun.  Um, Dear Rescue Dog, this is not how you’re supposed to dog.  I mean, maybe…  Dogs actually do chase each other all over the place when they play, but –Nope. That whole running thing, it doesn’t work for me.  So, we quickly figured out I didn’t like that game and wouldn’t be playing it.  My poor neighbors.  I had to convince them not to ‘play’ either.  Bless them.  Once Rescue Dog learned that no one would play the “chase game” outside the front door he just stopped doing it.  The other solution, and perhaps more aptly stated, his reward is to take him to “run and run and run”.  Say those words and he will head straight to the garage door.  It means one of two things: he’s going for a bike ride with his Dad, or he’s going to the river to literally run and run and run.

Rescue dog apparently also hates cats.  I’m not sure if this is true or if one of the neighborhood’s feral cats is stalking him.  His version: “Bark Bark, Woof, Bark, Snarl, Bark”.  The version I hear sounds a lot like that but I don’t actually ever see a cat.  I hear a yowl, I hear a scramble, and when Rescue Dog comes racing in to tell me about it his nose is sliced up pretty bad.  Understand that none of the other dogs see or hear the cat. (Which is what led me to the stalking theory.)  Neither of them seem to care.  (To be fair, one of them is supposed to NOT care.) But Rescue dog is very excited, dancing around, and whining while I am trying to clean a scratched and bloody nose and calling the Vet’s office to let them know, just in case we need to come in.

Since he has been here he has also been our neighborhood’s version of that cranky old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn.  We have a local street-walker, a haggard looking Border Collie with a checkered past. She drives Rescue Dog to distraction.  He sees her and he bays like a bloodhound.  At first I thought he was looking for some action, but he’s (you know) fixed.  No, Rescue Dog is angry.  He will bay at the front windows.  If the front door is open, he will announce to the world that she is out hustling. If I am not nearby, he will find me in order to convince me it is imperative we warn the neighbors to hide away their puppies.  I know this is what he’s upset about because all I have to do is say her name.  “Yes, yes, okay, calm down honey.” I’ve finally gotten him convinced we’re not the dog police and we can’t arrest her.  Yes, we’ve talked about it.  Did you have something to say about that?

Rescue Dog’s weirdest hang up?  State Farm.  Yep, that’s right.  He has issues with them.  Apparently they aren’t’ trustworthy.  Or, knowing Rescue Dog as I do now, maybe he just has this huge concern that most people are terribly under-insured.  In all honesty he reacts the same to Farmers.  The commercials come on and even if Rescue dog is in a dead sleep he will wake up and become alert, he’ll listen for a moment and then howl the longest, most mournful howl you’ve ever heard.  If this happens while I am home alone it can be a bit unnerving.  Allstate, Geico, Nationwide and others are all fine; it is only Farmer’s and State Farm

There is so much more, but that’s okay.  Rescue dog is super sweet, and he’s been with us a few years now.  He still ducks most of the time when I reach out to scratch his ears.  That part will forever make me sad.  The things that make our special, special Rescue Dog totally worth all of his weirdness is having him finally learn how to be excited when dogs should be excited.   It is seeing him realize that when he is really excited and his nose touches mine it is totally okay and no one is going to hurt him.  Maybe he’ll never play ball or tug-of-war.  But he’ll know love – lots and lots of love.

The Vicious Snake

*Disclaimer: The video discussed in this blog has not been endorsed by Donald Trump nor his campaign.  My feelings regarding the refugee situation, however, have not changed. 

I’m back.  I’m raising my hand for some new questions. A few opinions, an answer or two, which I’m sure many will consider wrong, and that’s okay.  Here we go.

Ooooh, the poetry, the imagery, the sheer force of the narration, the power of the lyrics and the visual montage hits me right in the feels. I’m reeling.

Seriously.  The sick, Montezuma’s revenge, I just stepped into a whole Webber Kettle of hot coals, I must have the black plague kind of feels.

— So it has come to this.

So it has come to this.

How can our Nation, a Nation of intelligent, compassionate, diverse people allow Donald Trump to recite the lyrics of Al Wilson’s 1968 R&B song “The Snake”  and think that’s okay to use as political rhetoric, let alone in a video compilation of misleading images of the same title ? Too many of the images used do not relate to the issue he’s addressing (which to my knowledge is supposed to the Syrian refugee crisis) but to terrorism.  How does this motivate us? And what is he trying to motivate us to do – exactly? I’ve raised my hand, per the rule, so let’s keep this civil.

This is, at best, fear-mongering, at worst, hate-mongering.

I’ve watched the video.  Many times.  I’ve researched the images. Some I knew instantly, because while so many people know me as ‘Pollyanna’, I really do know what’s going on around me.  I just choose to promote and raise up, spread and share the positive.  THIS is not any of those things and I must raise my hand, be acknowledged, and say so.    Ugh.

Greece, for example.  Those images were taken while the citizens of Greece rioted amidst the collapse of the Greek economy in 2011.  That actually had nothing to do with the Syrian refugee crisis, or terrorism.  Neither did the attack on the couple outside a Missouri nightclub – that one that had nothing to do with terrorists or refugees, but everything to do with gangs and the current social climate in the United States.  Some of the images from France are ridiculous… People were dying in theaters, in the streets, and in restaurants at the hands of terrorists; not walking away from obnoxious, assholes (and honestly, I’m sorry; I wanted to use a better, more ladylike word, douche-bags wasn’t appropriate either, and I was at a loss) who were lifting women’s skirts. So many of the clips used were not related to the caption and not related to terrorism yet they were mixed in with enough actual terrorism clips that it’s almost believable. The deception will convince many. The closing image, of the bloody sea, is from a wretched whaling tradition in the Faroe Islands. The terrorists are NOT the Syrian refugees. (They’re actually fleeing the terrorists too.)  There is so much wrong with this video that it hurts my brain to continue.  If this was about terrorists, it is still a pack of propaganda lies; it is still full of scare tactics that (sadly) seem to work.  If this is supposed to be about Syrian refugees, I’m even more confused.  Refugees are starving, homeless, desperate people fleeing the country of Syria who need asylum and are seeking safe-haven wherever they can get it.  Let’s face it.  If Terrorists want into the United States, it is much easier for them to get in other ways (or they’re already here) than to try to sneak in via the intense screening process the Syrian refugees must go through.

How does this happen?  How did our amazing citizenry get where we are? I’ll tell you.  Wait, I’m raising my hand.  Since I’m the only one here, I’m calling on me, and here’s my answer. (I’m going to really oversimplify it because this is a blog, not a novel.) It’s not because we’ve turned away from God.  I know, I know, there’s no prayer in school, but we can do that at home and at church, it’s all good. I also don’t know all that many atheists, not that it would matter, nor has the Church of Satan become all that popular as far as I know.  However, we have, as a country gone through a lot.  We’ve survived the big, scary cold war.  But we won. The Civil Rights Movement, which is still moving, has been a tenuous one. We had horrifying ‘ambiguous wars’.  There are two words that should never go together. There were a few micro recessions.  Then there was 9/11.  That was huge.  It was horrible, terrifying, and tragic. But, and this is crucial, we united as a Nation, we came together and we supported each other.  We supported our neighbors, loved each other and lent a hand where we could.  We were there for one another.  We didn’t go around telling people they weren’t welcome.  We weren’t hateful or hate filled.  We flew our flag proudly and we still said ‘welcome’.  We remembered, I think especially then, what the inscription read on the base Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breath free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

After the first mini-recession and in the patriotism of 9/11 everyone was just fine.  Okay, not everyone, but you get the gist.  Then, the housing bubble burst, and the economy crashed.  Just about everyone, aside from bankruptcy attorneys, hit the dirt by 2009. Everyone had road rash. There wasn’t enough Neosporin & Band Aids in the world to help with this owie. This crash rippled; it didn’t hurt just some people, it hurt everyone.  Really.  It did.  (If I hear ONE person say, but the 1%-ers are just fine, I’ll scream, like anything ever touches… let’s stick with reality, shall we?) Back on track.  Everyone, again E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E was hurt in some way or another.  Those that were set in their retirement because they planned well weren’t set anymore.  Those that had great jobs, got laid off.  Those that had good small businesses lost them.  Some large business went under. So did some really BIG ONES.  Everyone was looking for someone to blame.  Why? Would it fix anything?

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I’m asking a serious question here; I’m raising my hand.  Why?  Why does there always have to be a reason? A scapegoat?  Why must there always be someone to blame? It was Wall Street! It was the Banks! It was the Lenders! It was China! It was for sure those people who have more money than me!  Why must there always be someone to put in stocks in the town square to throw rotten fruit and vegetables at?  Pointing fingers and yelling doesn’t make me feel better.  How ’bout you?

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Anyway, because of all this, we are collectively angry.  Really angry.  Those in the infamous middle class blame the hell out of those at poverty level. Anyone that tries to help those in the lower class or poverty level is a liberal bon viveur, the likes of which should burn in hell because they are taking food (by way of tax dollars) out of the mouths of the working middle class.
Most of us are the middle class to lower middle class and that’s okay.  (We’re talking finances here, to be clear.) And honestly, what’s eating our tax dollars aren’t all the social programs; those are allotted a fair amount of funding, but take a look at the Federal Budget, I mean really peruse it.  You’ll see it’s not all eaten up by… well, whatever programs you think are doing that. 
 So, your middle class status is quasi safe, you may even make it to upper middle class — But I don’t care how much money you have, if you marry your sister and chew with your mouth open you’ll never actually have class.

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I won’t, even for a minute (or thirty seconds), say there aren’t horrible people out there who make a living out of bilking the system, and, like you, it chaps my hiney.  But if my government, our government, is going to work, it has to be more honest than the folks that are leeching off of it.  You must convince me you have serious intentions of running the Country with integrity, honesty, and truth. You’re certainly not going to do it with a campaign filled with lies.  Terrorism is real. It is scary. There is no doubt we need to find a way to deal with terrorism, not only for the United States, but for the world’s sake. Our future depends on it, but the terrorists are not the refugees, and you can’t be the leader of the ‘greatest country in the free world’ based on a campaign filled with (and I’m not kidding) cheesy deception and theft of intellectual property. This behavior negates absolutely everything you have to say, truthful or not.

I have to put my hand down now – wait, I’m raising it again.  I’m covering my mouth as I run to the ladies’ room.

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… And Why Can’t I Raise My Hand?

Since we’ve established why we raise our hands, can we talk about why, as we transition into grown ups, raising one’s hand is so flippin’ inappropriate?

We’re going to start this off with one of my many, many questions.  To be fair, there are occasions when it is okay to raise your hand.  You can raise your hand to hail a cab, to signal to someone where you are, you can raise your hands in church (depending on your faith), don’t try that is some churches, they’ll think you were sent by Satan.

… but apparently it is not okay to raise your hand in a restaurant to let your server know you need assistance.  Now, I’m not talking about waving one’s hands wildly about and yelling out “pardon me, Garcon!”  I mean simply raising one’s hand until the server has acknowledged.  It is also deemed unseemly to raise one’s hand in a store to catch the eye of an employee.  Huh.  There really are very few places where adults are allowed to raise their hands

So: if I wait (in an exceptionally busy restaurant) until my server stops by to check on our table when all I need is – say a fork – but the server is pretty sure we are set until it is time to check for drink refills, then what?  People get super huffy (yes, I used the word huffy) when service isn’t immaculate.  I don’t.  I don’t need perfect, but if I do need a fork and I raise my hand so you see me, why is that bad?  I’m not harassing.  I’m not making ugly faces.  I’m not demanding special attention, or free food.  I just need a fork so that I can eat before my food gets cold.  I see you’re busy, I’m not asking you to stop taking the order you’re taking.  I’m not asking you to take care of me before you serve those drinks, or greet those folks the hostess just walked in… just gimme a nod and then come see me.  I’ll be honest, I tip well.   I understand the food service industry’s financial structure when it comes to servers.  It’s not great.

And: If I’m in a store and I get excited when I find something I just fell in love with (typically it sparkles, and has bows, but it might be the latest and greatest drip line system at Lowe’s) and I need help with it I should NEVER raise my hand in order to get assistance.  That is rude and insulting.  Apparently I have to go in search of an employee, usually helping another customer, and wait patiently (of course). The rules of etiquette dictate it is rude to interrupt, ergo I need to silently follow said employee and fellow customer on their trek around whichever store I’m in and wait my turn for assistance, then — maybe?

(Let’s take a moment to think about how freaked out that other customer is right now since I’ve just followed him or her silently around the store waiting for my turn with the store’s employee…   I know, right?!?  Suuuper creepy.)

Now I have to hope that:

  1. What I wanted is still there.
  2. I remember where it is.
  3. I remember what it is.

*sigh*

I’ve been told more than once my exuberance is embarrassing.   So my enthusiasm, my happiness for just being here and in the moment is embarrassing?  Yep, I raise my hand.  I want to talk to someone about what I need.  I’d much rather do that than sit and stew, get mad or frustrated.  I’d much rather do that and just be me.  And guess what?  I’ve seen people in shops looking lost and having absolutely no idea what to do.  I don’t work at those places, but I know I hate that feeling, so I’ve asked them “do you need help?”  Some will tentatively tell me they do. If I know the answer of course I’ll help.  If I don’t, I’ll tell them I don’t and  I’ll say “let’s find out” –  then I’ll raise my hand.

I can honestly thank my Mom and Nancy for my love of life and joyful enthusiasm.  My Mom saw the bright side of everything.  Nancy would skip through parking lots with me on our way into shopping centers and libraries.  Love and laughter was and is a way of life.

As for raising my hand, I thank so many teachers.  Not only did they teach me respect, they taught me to ask questions, they taught me to wait my turn; they taught me that my ideas where important.  They taught me to raise my hand.

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