Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hands, Feet and the World
Still Summer 2010
“Stay a child while you can be a child.” -Stephen Sondheim
I MEAN, really, how hard can it be to take care of two children under the age of four (one being the bad seed, Rhonda was her name in the movie, so from now on to protect the innocent and that’s me of course, we shall refer to her as Rhonda) for a few hours a day, while their mother naps upstairs in the master suite? I MEAN, my mother did it and she wasn’t allowed to nap, she wasn’t allowed to take a break for that matter. My father had her so busy preparing meals, baking from scratch, cleaning and disinfecting the house, making my clothes, making our lunches, even creating the art work that hung on our walls. One of my most vivid images is of what seemed to me at the time to be a life-size piece of artwork that hung above our TV set in the family room. It was a replica of The San Gabriel Mission made out of titles, a mosaic so to speak. I clearly recall the recreation of this historic establishment that was in fact about fifteen miles from our house and in the town my mother grew up in.  I remember the kitchen table being strewn about with pieces of tiles, some cut into squares, some not, burlap, and the smell of glue: talk about a craft project, this was hardcore. The mission was all traced out and my mother cut each tile into the appropriate size and color and then glued it to her masterpiece. 

I also remember when I was in high school a project of hers where she used tiny scrapes of material to reproduce Monet’s Lily Pads.  I didn’t think much about it at the time, but now that I look back with some perspective, it was pretty damn impressive.  As the years marched on and we kids flew the coop and she traded in one husband for another, these creations became less and less until they were non-existent. I wonder what made her stop and if her being suffered in some way from their exit.

I digress, back to the bad seed. For over a year now, I traded in my pumps & twin sets (let’s be real here:  if I’m wearing a twin set, I’m pretty sure I’m dead) for child chasing shoes & spit up wear, in a sense Garanimals for adults. Remember those? If you paired the lions or graffics like in concentration, you’d have an outfit that matched – walla!!! If I had a device like that to date I would save myself a ton of time in the morning, as it is, these days, I can barely pull an outfit together – I barely recognize myself when I look in the mirror. I gain weight; I shove mac & cheese, turkey dogs, cheddar bunnies & alphabet cookies into my mouth at every turn. I read children’s library books until I’m blue in the face. I come up with clever games, cookie baking sessions, day trips & special projects to amuse the youth and in return I am screamed at, told “I hate you” and bit on the arm on more then one occasion by sweet, sweet Rhonda……man oh man and I’m praying for a lightening storm. I know in my heart that all children aren’t bad, the bad seed’s brother is a joy and delight, but he is sadly, ignored and over looked by all of Rhonda’s drama. I have a butt load of nieces and nephews and they were all great kids who I enjoyed spending time with every chance I got, but this is another tale. I find myself dreading going into work and feel like I’ve pretty much just traded one bad job for another.

I thought hanging with kids all day would bring back my innocence, remind me of the simple things in life and give me a fresh lease on life. I thought that I just might look back on my youth and find joy and memories that have been lost. And some days were just like that –carefree stolen moments that felt like summer could last forever and when I got home at night I could still feel the cool grass on my bare feet…..not a bad way to send a work day.

Yes I am a slave; a slave because I have to make money and, because I’m working like a dog, cooking and cleaning for other people and then going home and having to attend to the like for myself. There is no joy, there is only dread and I cannot continue to live like this – it’s not good for me, or The Bad Seed. I need to chart an escape route and come up with a plan of action.

Perhaps it’s time for Rhonda’s mother to stop ordering take-out and reclaim her place at the dinner table and face her children instead of running away from them. Maybe she needs to build herself a replica of The San Gabriel Mission. If I stop coming she will step back into her rightful role? But, I know too well that I will simply be replaced – a role I have come to know all too well. My thoughts return to my own mother and I know at times I was the bad seed; we definitely charted some rough storms together.

On a recent Mother’s Day I was perusing the card section of some local drug store while nearly puking in the Hallmark section. I seemed to always find my way to the blank card area, as they say less is more. At the more appropriate and realistic blank card section, my eyes spot Monet’s Lilly Pad and I’m transgressed to a time a place that seem to be in a galaxy far, far away.  I make a note to self to ask my mother why she ceased with her artwork. I know presently that she is having issues with the working mechanics of her hands. I think of my art and how in the recent years I’ve let it ride on the back burner, again, are we more a kin then I’ve let my thoughts allow? Until now I never thought we had much in common or shared many traits, with most of my family in general I felt like a foreign exchange student that stepped out of the sanctity of her room every now and then to forge for food….perhaps once again, my perception is askew. Motherhood is not something I understand from first hand experience, though I have loved many children in my lifetime. Regardless of the roads we take or the paths that end up choosing us, I believe in my heart that we all try to do our very best. Maybe Rhonda’s mother just needed a little more time to except her faith, maybe I provided her with a brief sabbatical – who knows. When the moment of truth chimes from the eternal grandmother clock – in that millosecond in the darkest moment in the night…..I, truly know my calling, my faith – the issue at hand is when the cock crows and the dawn does its dance…..will I step up to my plate, to my faith?

“The hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.      -W. R. Wallace


Thursday, May 24, 2012

I think the person who takes a job in order to live - that is to say, for the money - has turned himself into a slave.
                                                                                            -Joseph Campbell

If the Shoe Fits & Shit

Still Summer 2010

Okay, so I use to hate going to work because of the VP of Advertising, now I hate to go to work because of a 4-year-old. Yes my friends….times are tough and as my friend Kitty would say, “Be lucky we have ‘em my Betty.” What she is referring to is some sort of income and I whole-heartedly agree, but I question when is it okay to say UNCLE? I mean how much longer does this insanity have to go on??????

I was as the new PC terms says “let go” because of financial restructuring and that may just be so, but the real truth of the manner was I was at the top of that list because I didn’t kiss ass, mainly the ass of a-she-wish-she-was-devil-wearing-Prada nasty dirty blond. And now I’m kissing the ass of a-wish-she-wasn’t-wearing-carters-recently potty -trained fair-haired blond. Seems my old Ferragamo pump wearing boss and my new Stride Rite Mary Jane wearing boss could be one and the same.

Back to that dirty-blond Cruella Deville old boss, who had one lazy wandering eye, that seemed to be more centered in the middle of her caved-in forehead reminding me of Cyclops. This one-eyed monster gave me no guidance, no direction and seemed to possess not a trace of compassion; she just left me out there with her pack of wolves (who I will kindly refer to as Fatty and The Fetus) to fend for myself without a GPS in sight……but I digress and…..
sometimes we lose our course for a reason, to find a new path, and surrender over to a higher power. Of course this was the best thing that could have happened to me, but it’s hard to swallow when you have a mortgage, hounds, bills and chardonnay to pay.
Truth be told, “Corporate America” was slowly sucking the life out of me and gnawing away at my spirit. Not to mention the “secretarial spread” that was occurring around my thighs and mid-section from too many company lunches and spending time around the water cooler with co-workers (not Fatty and The Fetus of course….we hate them!) complaining about everything while stuffing any and every possible sugar coated snack that was floating around the kitchen into my mouth…..again I digress…..back to nannyland.

If only I had a time machine I would see where these two “bosses” were separated at birth. I suddenly hear my fathers voice in my head, as I’ve done a million times over and over…. “The issue will continue to present itself to you until you deal with it” and “You can pack your bags, but where ever you go, you take yourself with you.” Did I not deal with the first bitch properly and now it’s coming to bite me in the ass, by a precious pre-schooler? And I mean literally bite, as I’ve had to surgically remove her teeth from my flesh many-a-time.

To protect the innocent and lets face it folks, that would be me, we will give this child a sudo name…..what was the name of the little girl in THE BAD SEED? Let me Google it….Rhoda was her name. Times being what they are and the gargantuan amount of resumes flooding the market, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. With no job opportunities in my field (and were still not sure exactly what that is) or in sight for that matter and my savings account slowly empting out. I changed course and looked at who was hiring in this quant New England town and there seemed to be an influx of jobs in the childcare category. I was working part time in a daycare center so I thought hey this will be a piece of cake. I mean what a great escape from the bores of office politics, not having to one-up your co-workers with your wardrobe changes, not being sucked into the vortex of a teeny-tiny cubical and pretty much being on your own schedule. I mean what a great way to spend your day using your imagination, drawing, playing and daydreaming away your day, reliving your childhood or recreating yours as in my case, if you didn’t like the way things panned out. I MEAN how difficult or challenging could it possibly be?????? Boy oh Boy…..was I wrong.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer 2010 #9

“Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible.” – St. Augustine

One step forward and twelve steps back. A year has passed since I started this discovery; this blog and I find myself not much further along on the yellow brick road. Baby steps are one thing, but I can’t even muster up that. What am I doing…. ant steps? I’m disgusted with myself, depressed and disillusioned. I ask myself for the millionth time…..if not now…..when??????

My question to the universe is can a 40-something-year-old- Betty return to the city of her youth where possibilities were boundless and the future seemed more than bright?

Can she pick up metaphorically where she left off and re-puzzle her life back together? Is it true that it is never to late to find substance, happiness, love and a career that one is passionate about or should she just continue along the lines of “What will be, will be.”?

What happens if you don’t reach out and grab your life by the cojones? Is it something you question or regret while your sitting on the rocker in the old folks home staring out into space wiping the droll with the sleeve of your synthetic robe? Once one hits the big 40, senility seems a wink away. You wonder who will come visit you in the “home” and will you even remember them if they do? You slap your hand dramatically on the side of your head as you think about who will change your diaper while you scream out loud with captions floating above your head mimicking “I FORGOT TO HAVE CHILDREN.”  As the evening hours approach you become crankier and nervous and no amount of chardonnay will prevent the fear of a wild case of sundowners, where old folks are afraid to go to bed because they fear they won’t wake up in the morning.

As a child I had a mild case of such an illness and I remember laying awake until what seemed like all hours of the morning staring at the Little Bo Peep framed picture on the wall across from my bed, that my mother made out of felt and the same material as my homemade bedspread and curtains, white with pink raised Pokka dots.  I remember being afraid to go to bed fearing that I would die in my sleep and the only thing I could think of doing was saying my prayers over and over in my head….
                       “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the lord my soul to keep.
                       If I dye before I wake. I pray the lord my soul to take.”
Who in the hell thought those were proper words for a child to say before hunkering down for a long winters nap? Die, Soul, Awake! No wonder I’m so tired now as I didn’t sleep much from the age of 5 on. I remember walking to elementary school in a brume do to lack of sleep and looking back now if there was a god forbidden Starbuck’s in the area, I’d be bellying up to the cash register for a double shot of espresso and steamed milk in my sippy cup.

Year’s later sleep is still stolen from me as if a band of bandits dynamite blast through my bedroom, jumped on my bed, threw back the covers and bitch slap me into consciousness, robbing me from drifting off deeply into a sweet state of slumber and perhaps a chance to dream.
Which explains my days were filled daydream believing and my concentration level has been null ever since.

Now I no longer stare into the pitch darkness of the eyes of Little Bo Peep, but instead into the deep dark black abyss that I have reciped for myself. I know it’s all of my own creating. I purchased the ingredients, I stirred and boiled the goods, but I still feel fear when I see my own eyes looking back at me through the blackness. I wonder how I got here…..things were not suppose to go this way, but then life happened or I stopped letting it happen. Somewhere alone the way I lost the battle and surrendered. The days and nights seem to roll into one huge swelling wave of nothingness and I wonder if indeed, I truly exist. My beloved companion, Knox licks my face as if to say
“Me too pal,”  I say out loud as I scratch him behind his ears and think how nice it would be to have someone scratch me in those hard to reach on your own places.

I look at Knox and though he is the pure color of ebony, except for the occasional white hairs that display the passage of time (and on me as well) there is nothing lacking hue and
brightness about him, nothing gloomy, threatening or abysmal about this magical pup who has transformed my life, he is the polar opposite of my current character. He gets me to my feet and nudges me out the door. Summer is in full swing and the late morning light is blinding. I stand on the stoop of my suburban concrete condo and try to let my eyes adjust. Within seconds Knox is off and running, going door-to-door greeting his favorite neighbors hoping for treats, peeing on flowers and chasing squirrels.  It’s as if he’s saying hello world! Good morning! I’m here, I exist, deal with it!!!!!!! I want to take his cue, but I’m just not feeling very neighborly today or most days for that matter, perhaps tomorrow and I retreat back into my cave.

“Change starts when someone sees the next step.” – William Drayton


Winter – Spring 2010

Winter comes and I go into hibernation. I sleep most of the day and am up most of the night; the only time I feel at some sort of peace is in total darkness. The cold and bleakness only heightens my inherent genetic predisposition to depression. I stuff macaroni and cheese into my gullet at every turn. I take Knox for long walks in the middle of the night and the only lights leading the way is attached to his collar and the blinking light of the lighthouse out at sea. The world is silent and still.  The days, weeks, and holidays all mix into one big thick blob as I try to make my way through.

Day In and Day Out seems to be an endless repeat of a Chekhovian play or a bad sitcom re-run that was never funny. A job is just a job. I take care of other people’s children, I’m grateful to have it, but wonderwhy these people do not want to be a part of the daily care of their children. Soon all is revealed to me. It’s become pitch black at 4 o’clock and I feel the darkness engulf me in a sea of sadness and melancholy. I see shrinks, I take meds, I increase my vitimin D. I’m in bed a lot, but feel like I never truly sleep, that I am never well rested. Sweat pants have become my daily uniform, not by choice; it’s as if some part of me has left the building, given up, folded my hand.

Then spring comes and the deep thaw begins. The vice grip on my chest begins to loosen and the haze in my head seems to lift, but my vision is still somewhat cloudy. The additional dose of daylight gives me pause for relief that is indeed letting me know that help is on the way. I begin to sleep less and brave the daylight hours. This misery has gone on far too long and it’s time to snap the hell out of it. I set my alarm, I awake and splash cold water on my face and begin to feel less dead. I try to throw out negative thoughts that attack my mind: “You’re no good.” “You’ll never amount to anything.” “You don’t deserve happiness,” “You haven’t suffered enough,” “You’re old,” “You’re not worthy” and “Just do us all a gigantic favor and go back to bed.” When this occurs I adjust the compass in my head to slightly alter the course and journey out into new waters.

 I return to yoga, think about giving up red meat, and spend more time with Knox out in nature. After a long winter’s nap trapped inside my cave, the brisk air on my face slowly breathes new life into me. I feel an ever-so-slight change as I rebuild the molecules in my body; trying to make myself stronger, better, faster. There is something magical and mysterious that each season brings and life is mirroring those images to me. Seasons change and no matter what (except for the fear of global warming) we know that eventually winter will turn to spring and spring will become summer and there is some sort of security in knowing what will come. We don’t know how cold the temperature will drop or how much damage it may cause to crops, but we do know that it will be colder than the preceding season and the cycle of the life of the seasons will carry on. I keep hearing over and over in shouts inside my head that this too shall pass and I’m thinking this storm in my life will pass, and perhaps soon, I will see the forest through the trees, but I know I have to get out of my way first.

Perhaps it’s as simple as just enjoying your current view or looking in another direction or at another angle for some new perspective….of course, Knox already knows this.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”    - Kahill Gibran

The next day

In the morning I call the vet; my hands are shaking as I hit send and when they answer there is a dreadful silence before I can begin to speak. I’m asked if I want to be with her and I reply with a barely audible “yes.”  I’m told they can take us now or later in the afternoon. I’m not ready, I can’t let go, I want to hang up, but I can’t move my hand to release the phone from my ear. I take the later time, hang up the phone and go into the bathroom and throw up.

I then call my friend Leigh and ask her to come with me. I know this is something I cannot do alone. Most of my life it seems I have done the things that most people do with their significant other either alone or with my four-legged companions: holidays, traveling, long Sunday rides and attending weddings and funerals.  Today I need an assist and for a change have no problem asking for it. I go into the kitchen and make Hunter a breakfast of champions, a doggy omelet of sorts. We then head out to the park, which is right across the street. Knox is docile and for the first time ever sort of stays in the background, putting his alpha status aside for the moment and letting Hunter clear the archway first. He lingers a bit behind, not much, but enough to let Hunter lead the way. I sense some form of recognition and respect. I had called Kathy, my vet tech friend and expressed my concern for Knox; he has known Hunter his entire life and I wanted to know how her absence would affect him. I asked if I should bring him with us, so he doesn’t think that I took Hunter off in the car and he’s wondering why she never returned. Kathy said that he is a smart dog and that his main concern is me. He’ll pick up on my sadness, distress and grief and that this will have a profound influence on him.

I remember when my brother Dave died and we were living together at the time and how both Hunter and Knox stuck by my side like glue.  When I’d have extreme emotional breakdowns, Knox just simply couldn’t handle it: he would get this sad look on his face and retreat to another room. Hunter, on the other hand, was my guardian angel as she had been before some fourteen years prior when my brother Darren and nephew died in a scuba diving accident.  I had returned to California after the deaths as my family had seemed to disengage from each other, retreating into their own separate worlds of pain, trying to figure out how to deal and move on. I was staying at my sisters for the first five months or so and she and her husband already had a full house that included four kids, but their generosity never allowed me to feel like I was a burden.  I had no problem in those days, most likely due to the numbness that was still invading my every being to “catch as catch can” and sleep (which I didn’t do much of) on whatever couch, bed or pullout I could find. Often during this time I’d awake in the middle of the night to find scalding tears dripping down my face; no matter where I’d awake, Hunter would be at my side. We’ve been through some rough waters, she and I and together, we’ve shared some amazing experiences.

We return from the park and I hoist Hunter onto the couch and I sit next to her for the rest of the day, I stroke her, tell her how much I love her and how much substance she added to my life while she sleeps, but I know she’s listening. One more grand meal and a walk around the park, this time it’s Knox whose nose gets left behind, but this time my legs are like Jell-O and can barely hold me up and I feel dizzy as the voices in my head keep shouting this is unbearable!!!!!! I know Hunter can sense all of this and I do my best to put my “happy face” on, but there is nothing to be happy about.

Leigh shows up and I ask her to drive.  Everything else is a blur. The last thing I remember is looking into Hunter’s beautiful brown eyes with my arms wrapped around her keeping her supported so she won’t slip on the arctic sterile metal table. I’m literally holding her heart in my hands as it beats a mile a minute and I wonder what is she thinking, is she blaming me, is she mad, does she hate me? And then just like that, her heart stops and it’s over and I feel a deep sadness and aloneness that will haunt me forever.

“If I have any beliefs about morality it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.”
     James Thurber   


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Letting Go

“Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.”   
                                                               - Percy Bysshe Shelley
October 2009

One evening Knox and I head into the house after a long walk and I find Hunter with her back to the door rammed in the corner shaking with one foot in a basket her nerves all a-shatter, and mushy crap all over the carpet. As I run to her my heart sinks to basement level and I know. Her heart is racing a mile a minute and I wonder how long has she been in this state: a minute, an hour? I can’t contain her and clean up the mess so it doesn’t spread about the condo and she is so freaked out by the whole ordeal that she won’t stay still. Here is my steady, Zen, wise old pup acting like a toddler on a double dose of Ritalin.

I’m finally able to contain her in the kitchen by closing her in with a doggy gate. My home looks more like an old folks’ home then a place of dwelling; there are cut up pieces of carpet and giant size pee-pee pads strewn about the hardwood floors to catch drips and to give Hunter a grip as her hind legs have been buckling out on her. If she falls on the hardwood she can’t get herself up which, only makes her panic more and more as she flails like a fish out of water.

Some days when I’m lucky enough to get work I can be out of the house for ten hours or so, not knowing if Hunter is having one of her episodes brings a razor sharp sting to my heart and streams of tears to my eyes. People suggest crating her or barricading her in certain parts of the house; when I have done this in the past she has such an aversion to it that she uses all her limited power and might to bust her way out and when I get home I find that she has indeed broken herself out of doggy jail; giving prison break a entirely new meaning. This is a dog who has never been crated, barricaded or locked away; she is a free and wild spirit that cannot be caged…… simply kills her……and me…. and again I know.

Knox is cowering in the corner of the room as he usually does when something is wrong with Hunter.  He knows what’s to come before I do.  She is soundly asleep, safe at the side of my bed near the door where her bed has been set up, since she started wetting herself in the middle of the night. Frequently I’m awaken at 3:00 AM to the lapping sounds of her licking herself in shame, trying to hide the evidence that her body has betrayed her and again, my heart breaks.  I purchased a fancy orthopedic bed for her and the surrounding area is covered with pads in case of an accident. I lie down on the floor next to her and stroke her supple plush coat. She is still a beautiful dog, a pedigree above all pedigrees. I put my arm round her and it gently rises and falls with her every breath. I am next to her and she is at peace. Instantly hot burning tears invade my face and my chest is so tight that I fear if I breathe it will crack open into a million tiny pieces. I cry like I haven’t cried in years, when death was all to new to me, as tears continue to pour from my eyes, gushing rivers of raging water that will not stop. I feel like there is a volcano erupting inside me and I open my mouth as if to let hot steaming lava out, but nothing comes: no sound is released; there is nothing but crystal clear silence.

Hunter has always been a sound sleeper; when she slept on the corner of my bed I would wake up many a time to find her slammed up against me like a steamroller.  When I tried to move her over so I wouldn’t fall off the bed, she would not budge; it was like moving a boulder. Often I’d see how harmonious and cared-for she looked and, as I turn onto one side, holding the side of my bed for dear life, let her be. On many occasions when we’d hit bumpy ground with Hunter, I prayed to a higher power to please just let her go gently in the night. Most mornings when my eyes first crept open, I’d listen for her breath. Usually with my heart a pitter-patter I’d meekly approach her, searching for signs of life, even having to shake her at times before coming to and when she does, I’d be relieved and devastated at the same time.
I needed Hunter to make that decision for herself so I won’t have to, and apparently, she needed me to make that choice for her so she wouldn’t have to. I had made all her important decisions for her later in life so I guess she thought I should make this one as well. As she followed me from room to room always by my side, always checking in, getting a reading, I often got the feeling that she was sticking around for me, wanting to make sure I was okay, out of crisis, and that it was safe for her to leave. Crisis has been a constant on my menu. I’ve always been a night owl, staying up until all hours of the late night staring into the abyss, searching for answers, going over life’s plays over and over in my head, punishing myself for my past and fearing my future and wondering if “I should die before I wake.”

Knox is on his own time clock and every night around nine or so he pries himself off the couch, opens his trap and releases a noise that sounds like a yawn and an old man’s sigh at the same time, and he escorts himself to the bedroom. If Hunter weren’t sprawled out on the carpet at my feet, she would soon pop up out of her deep sleep and head to the living room in search of me. What a comfort to know that you’re a top propriety in someone’s life. Knox, at every turn reminds me that he is my sole protector and Hunter is my guru, my shaman, and my spiritual guide.

I drift off into a deep sleep of wet tears lying on the floor next to Hunter, and dream about Knox’s 5th birthday on Cinco de-Mayo and the party we had to celebrate. I remember Hunter having the time of her life, bobbin for apples, guarding the Scooby Doo piƱata, sniffin Coronas and wearing a party hat, she was most certainly, the Bell of The Ball. She seized every moment of every day, a lesson I know she was trying to teach me. I awake hours later stiff and cloudy. My eyes sting as I peel myself off the floor getting a better idea how Hunter has felt lifting her old body up and into action day after day.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Dogs 102

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
      Roger Caras    

The dog days of summer have come and gone and the crisp cool hint of fall is doing its dance. I’m grateful for the reprieve from the heat as I know this temperature is much more pleasurable to Hunter, she isn’t doing well these days and our walks are getting shorter and shorter. Many times I feel a huge twinge of guilt as Knox and I clear the doorway with leash in hand and I close the door as she still tries to nudge out pushing forward with her nose.

In so many ways Hunter still acts like a puppy, she unearths joy in every moment of every day and she is the closest thing to a pure yogi that I know, as she and most all animals for that sense, live in the moment. They aren’t wondering what shoes to wear with a certain outfit, how to best hide a double chin, or what so and so thinks of them for that matter. When Hunter is napping she does it in full bloom with deep, deep pranayama inhales and exhales, she even hums in her unfathomable state of slumber as if she is chanting. When Hunter eats, the only thing that exists in her life at that moment is the meal that is laid out before her and anyone else’s if she has her way. When she goes outside she relishes every scent as if she’s just discovering it for the first time. When she lies with her head in my lap, she is at such complete peace that I can feel her body melting into me as if we are one. When she goes for a walk her tail does a nonstop wag as if she is a windshield wiper in a torrential down pour, and, god love her, that she’s still able to go neck and neck with Knox at his high speed pace. I’m told animals will push on full steam ahead no matter how much pain they are in and have no problem paying for it later. Again, I can look to her to learn.

Her legs have been failing her for sometime now and though I’ve been in denial, I purchased a ground level condo with her in mind. Just two steps down once outside the door and she can claim a patch of grass. I’ve made a deal with myself that when she can no longer make it outside on her own….then I know what I have to do. My friend Kathy who’s a vet tech says that she knows owners feel better about letting their “pets go” when they still have some dignity left in them. I hate the words “put down” and my mind can’t even dance around the issue. I mean, I know many a human folk that I wouldn’t have a second thought about “putting down” and out of their misery, but a loving spirited furry friend who looks deep into my eyes as if she is trying to tell me some secret of the universe, send me a message, for I know, she knows I couldn’t do it. I’ve been told that sense of smell is the last sensation that leaves dogs and I know her hearing and sight has been compromised for sometime now. I feel such a colossal kinship with Hunter, like she’s giving me warning signs of future things to look for in myself; my sight is becoming an issue and as for my hearing….I have always sort of heard only what I want to hear.