Thursday, September 11, 2014

Chicken Wing Debacle

It was the winter of 2007-2008. It was a ridiculiously cold winter, but a warm day.  We were living in the tiny apartment that backed up to Battleground Park in Greensboro.  It was a ground floor one bedroom on the backside of the building.  By we, I mean me, Roger and Carletta cat.  There was just enough space for the three of us and my little belongings, check that, there was enough space once I removed the foot board from my bed so that I could open the drawers to my dresser that sat facing it at the end of the bed.  It just took me major brain searching and staring into space to recall the name of the park and I'm still not a 100% sure about it.  I have an uncanny ability to completely block, forget or misfile entire years of my life at time.   Not sure whether that's a good or bad thing.  Anyhow...that day I decided to cook me some wings in the oven.  In case you don't know, that shit takes like 2 hours or something.  With my immediate gratification needs this combination can lead to much frustration.  I was already starving by the time the process started so smelling wings for hours and turning them over and over a 100 times and staring through the oven door at can see where I was with this.  My porch/balcony over looked a small grassy area then the woods.  There I had a sheperds hook with a birdfeeder on it.  I could see it from my big chair in the livingroom and it made me happy.  Earlier that day me and Roger spent quality time in the yard filling it with bird seed.

FINALLY the damn wings were done and I grabbed my plate full and piled up into my chair.  I no sooner get started eating when I look up to see a big fat squirrel in my feeder with his cheeks stuffed full.  "Oh FUCK NO!"  Drop my wing plate to the ottoman run out onto the balcony, do some livid hungry girl acrobatics leaning waist deep over the top of the rail and down to the ground to grab a handful of rocks and start slinging them like a crazy person and cussing at this rat in a cute suit eating my bird seed.  I finally bing one off the feeder and he flees.  When I turn back around I see Roger gulping down the next to the last wing from my plate.  OH MY GOD!!  I don't remember exactly what I said but I'm sure it involved his full name of Roger Goddammit.  About a split second later I realize my dog just ingested a whole pile of chicken bones and then proceed to freaking out status.  Luckily he never chewed a single piece of food in his life so I knew they were all in there whole so there should be no worry of splinters or bone shards stabbing in his belly.  I decided to watch him and see if anything looked amiss instead of rushing him to very expensive vet visit.  Before the apartment I had never been privy to doggie waste bags and the picking up of poop.  As often I could encourage it we walked into the woods and away from places that ones poop may take up an undesired residence in the tread of a bitchy neighbors shoe and also where the poo bags weren't necessary.  That night no poo.  Next morning, next poo.  I was starting to be concerned because if there's one thing I know, it's the poo patterns of my furry offspring.  That night I take him into the woods and do a mexican stand off with his butt...literally.  I think he knew something was up and was putting it off as long as possible. When he finallly realized I was in for the long haul  he sniffed and circled and squatted.  And stayed squatted.  Then turns to me with this "Oh Shit MOM" look in his eye.  I can still see his face now.  He started doing these funny little squat pumps...straighten the knees....bend the knees...straighten the knees bend the knees.  As luck would have it we were in a rather dark section of woods away from the intrusion of street lights and it was well before the days of the smart phone and flashlight apps so I have no solid proof that he pooped whole chicken drummettes.  But he never was quite so quick to steal food from my plate...he honed his skill of sit and stare you into food sharing submission after that.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Hope You Had The Time Of Your Life

"Your life is made of two dates and a dash.  Make the most of the dash."

4 and a half weeks.  That's how long it's been since I said good bye to Roger.  I wish I could say that it has gotten easier, but the truth is that it's harder now for me than initally.  The gravity of permanence has landed on me and it's so much heavier than I knew it could be. Of the things that I believe in, I believe most in our souls being not fully contained in our human suits. That the bigger part of my soul (the part that remembers all the lessons I've learned in past lives) is somewhere else looking down, lending it's guidance through my gut instincts and intuition.  I know that Roger is now there with "her" and that he's running around healthy and happy and she is loving on him and taking care of him just like I did when he was here with me.  In that sense he is always with me and always will be. That should make me feel better...and it does but I'm just not done working through being without him.  I can't tell you the number of times Velcro has held me through my tears and listened to me saying "I just want him to come back", kinda what you would expect from a child.  He is the glue holding me together.  
Of the other things I believe in without doubt is the Law of Attraction.  Your thoughts create your reality.  There is no exception. So basically right now all I talk about is what our next dog will be like and creating  what I want our place to look like in the Keys.  To the innocent bystander I'm sure I appear teetering on the edge of delusion but it keeps me happy and that's the entire point of us being here. 

My plans are to let more of what runs around in my head out and onto paper or a screen as it is.  I know from years of experience that it's what I need.  

"Never allow waiting to become a habit.  Live your dreams and take risks.  Life is happening now."

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Roger - November 15, 2000 - July 24, 2014

"Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is that the only time they have ever broken my heart is when they crossed the bridge."

Last night was the first night I've stayed at home since saying good bye to Roger.  Back in mid June he got his summer doggie hair cut and I noticed one of his lymph nodes was a little swollen.  He in general was a super lumpy guy especially as  he had gotten older.  Once when he was about 9 he had surgery to remove some of the lumps that the vet was concerned about, they were all fatty and from that point on I never worried about them again. But after about a week it had gotten bigger and the one on the other side could be felt and even though he was showing zero signs of feeling bad we went to the vet.  I was half expecting it to be some kind of infection or for them to want to take off some of his lumps.  He was diagnosed with Stage 3 Lymphoma.  Chemotheraphy was the only real choice I had to make a long term difference, meaning he could live another 6-12 months.  I choose not to put him through that at his age.  He took the news much better than I did.  I made him a promise that day as he danced all over the house  like a puppy, that I would never let him feel bad or get sick. Even with steroid treatments it only took about 6 weeks for the cancer to start making him uncomfortable and his breathing became labored.  
On his last day I woke around 5 to the sound of his breathing, leaning out of the bed I rubbed his head then crawled in the floor and spooned with him.  As he lay in my arms with his head on my soulder he panted heavily...I knew I was no longer keeping my promise to him.  So we got up and made him dog breakfast and me coffee and headed for the beach.  I wanted to make his last day special for him.  On the beach he didn't want to walk much but he sniffed sand castles and peed on them (that was his thing to do) and watched people and other dogs. We watched the sun come up together, like we've done more times than I can count. He took me into the water about 3 times and shook off as soon as he was ankle deep each time.  
I took a lot of pictures and even though I cried all day, I smiled in all of our pictures.  He made me smile everyday.  
I could tell he was getting tired so we loaded up and headed home.  He stood with his head between the seats like he always did...whenever I have to take my arm from around him to shift gears he would root under my elbow to get my arm back around him.
He was laying down by the time we go home and didn't seem to want to get out, so I stood him up and asked if he was ready to go in...he looked at me and got an excited look then went back to standing between the seats looking out the windshield as if to say "No, let's ride some more!" So we took off for the park.  Roger has always loved the woods and gets so excited when you pull into a wooded park.  He stood with his feet on the wheel wells and hung out the side the same way he rode into every park we've ever been to. 

I took his leash off, something I haven't been able to do much lately because he couldn't hear me call his name when he would wander away when a particular smell caught his attention or an unfortunate cat would cross our path.  He meandered tree to tree smelling who was there before him, then we found a swing over looking the marsh and sat and talked.  He layed his head in my lap and looked at me like he understood evey word.  
We talked and played remember when about all the adventures and mishaps we'd had when I tried to take him kayaking at High Point City Lake when he was a little guy and dove off the boat before we barely got away from the launch and the fiasco of getting his flailing dog self back on the boat while trying myself to not go into the drink.  And the time I was hanging a ceiling fan unsuccessfully and yelled goddammit and he came running from another room and sat at my feet at full attention expecting a treat for his quick response time...I learned to stop saying Roger goddammit when he was doing something wrong.  And when we were hiking at Hanging Rock and a group of Mexicans were gathered around looking at a snake and Roger ran and jumped hitting one of them in the ass, pitching him forward into the snake and sending the rest of them scattering into fits of laughter...he knew what he had done and turned to me with a laughing dog smirk.  One day I look out the back window of the house and I see Roger next to a tree circling and jumping back from something.  Thinking it may be a snake I take off out the back door like a rocket to intervene.  It was a box turtle.  Afraid he may "play" with it and hurt it I pick it up and take it down to the garden and leave it.  A few minutes later I look out and see him coming up from the garden soft lipping the clammed tight turtle in his mouth.  He was so upset when I took it from him and put it out of his reach in the woods. As a puppy he loved to be held and spun around the living room dancing to Bob Marley, he would even recognize No Woman No Cry and make happy dog whimpers years later.  He only grew more awesome as he got older, he was no longer got scared and ran inside when birds screached overhead  and he learned to not bring cat terds and lie by the couch and munch them like popcorn at the movies.  He found his sense of balance and stopped rolling across the back of the car at every turn.  No longer did his leashes have knots tied in them, piecing them back together from being chewed through while I was trying to keep him from falling out of the jeep on road trips.  He never stopped playing and dragging toys all over the house or removing the stuffing and squeakers.  Once on a winter leashless walk on the beach, he got crazy excited and started running cirles around me then took off full speed down the beach,  he ran up into the dunes out of site.  As I got closer I see him poke his head up to see if I was coming then duck down again.  When I got to where I knew he was he came bounding out to surprise me then took off further down the beach and hid again...he did it over and over.  I couldn't believe he came up with his own version of hide and surprise...I figured out that when he got the idea is when he was so excited and running circles around me.  He always loved food and treats so much, for years he had his own monster sized jar of peanut butter in the fridge.  I didn't know until the last few weeks that he absolutely loved coconut ice cream.  I will never have either one without thinking of him.  
I can't even put words to how happy I am, even as sick as he was,that he was healthy enough to do all the things he loved so much on his last day.  My life was so much better for having him in it and it will never be the same without him.  Even when I cry, I smile remembering him butting his head into my chest and waiting for me to wrap my arm around him...we called it dog hugs. 

Thank you Roger Dog for spending your life with me, when I adopted you I thought I was saving turns out it was the other way around.