"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart..." Linda McCartney

Archive for the ‘Animals and Pets’ Category

Raffle Winner: Back at 2:30

In English Bulldogs, Feelings, GS Levine on August 26, 2009 at 6:45 pm
Sharlize Theron in "Monster"

Charlize Theron in "Monster"

“Love conquers all.” “Every cloud has a silver lining.” “Faith can move mountains.” “Love will always find a way.” “Everything happens for a reason.” “Where there is life, there is hope.” Oh, well… They gotta tell you somethin’…”   -Monster (2003)


Monday morning I got a call and it was good news.  No, I didn’t get a job 😮  (I wish).  I won a gift basket in a raffle!  After some small talk, I told the caller I would be there to pick it up tomorrow (Tuesday).

Nowadays all I ever win is the occasional $2.00 playing the lottery.  The last time I won a raffle it was 1991.  It was an office raffle and I won a color TV which was a big deal way back in 1991.

I got up early, tidied myself up and drove to Sorrento Valley.  I got there around noon. After a week of  fall-like temperatures, this week we’re in the midst of a heat wave.  It is hot, hot, hot! Yesterday was no exception.

Sorrento Valley is some 53 miles (one way) from where I live, but I didn’t mind.  Besides, it was a chance to take a drive and maybe stop in the village and have lunch with That (you know he goes with me wherever I go). We’ve been mostly housebound since this episode with his eye and I admit I was excited to visit the office and maybe get some pictures for the blog.

We arrve at the office only to find a post-it note on the locked door:

Raffle winner:  Back at 2:30

It would have been nice to have been called before they left the office to let me know it was going to be closed this afternoon, but I’m a big girl. I take my lumps. I should have nailed down a specific time for the pickup. My bad. Fortunately, there was a company kitchen right there, lots of magazines on hand and the AC was on. I took a deep, cleansing breath and decided to hang out and wait.

The company kitchen is shared by GS Levine (the “G” stands for Gary, CEO and founder), a personal lines and group insurance company that provides a full complement of products and services including Business Insurance, Workers Compensation, Employee Benefits, Risk Management, Financial Services, Personal Asset Protection and ADP services.

GS Levine

GS Levine

It’s lunchtime, so after a very short time several of the company’s employees begin to trickle in.  Naturally, a white English bulldog splayed out on the floor in your company kitchen is not exactly an everyday occurrence, but everyone, to a person, was just so happy to see That.  They oooo’d and aww’d, they smiled and laughed.  They stooped to stroke him.  They offered him treats.

They extended the same warmth, hospitality and goodwill toward me.  One of the ladies was a dead ringer for Judith Light (wish I’d taken her picture).  And Rosemary, herself a bulldog owner, took pictures.  If I hadn’t turned out looking like a lump of coal in them I would share them with you, but as usual, That looks great. He just ate up the attention.  Even with one eye closed, he’s still the ladies man.

That @GS Levine

That @GS Levine

Rosemary & That

Rosemary with That

empathbearAll this activity helped make the time go by fast.  Before I knew it, it was 3:30 and still no sign of life at the other office.

Raffle winner:  Back at 2:30

I called.  I got voicemail.  A GS Levine employee called.  She got voicemail.  The Judith Light look-a-like expressed empathy, after all That and I were there four hours!  I was embarrassed and a tad… put out.  But as usual, I was determined I was going to be happy and enjoy this day.  I was not going to get upset.

This morning, as I was getting dressed to have brunch with the Dog Park Bitches, a group of ladies I met and befriended at our community dog park, the phone rang.  It was Stacy, the Executive Director calling to apologize for the office being closed yesterday.  Seems a meeting they attended took longer than she had anticipated, and since everyone in the office lives in the area, they all decided to just pack it in and go home.  Oops! Sorry.

I’m sorry, too.

She pledged to ship the basket, so what more could I say?  Oh, well…

California.  It’s so laidback.

Tell Me More About My Eyes…

In English Bulldogs, Humor, Pet Health, That's Life, ThatOne on August 14, 2009 at 12:15 am
or A Day in Thats’ Life

As told by ThatOne:

I love the dog park. I wrote a song about it. Like to hear it? I’d love to sing it for you. And the off-leash dog beach. I’m small, yeah, but I like to think I can keep up with the big boys, you know? Unfortunately, this one time the big boys bested me. I got trampled and my face was ground deep into the beach sand.

I was a trooper, though. I ain’ no punk. My mom flushed my eye and then we both just expected my usual resilience to kick in and do the rest. A month later, my face was all itchy and scratchy all the time. Then it got so I really couldn’t open the eye and I was winking and squinting and rubbing and sticky stuff started running out the corner of my eye all the time.

I got an indolent corneal ulcer.

It’s been three weeks now (since July 28) and when the meds and the non-invasive treatments failed, I had to have my third eyelid sutured across the defect in a procedure called tarsorrhapy.

I usually look like this:  


But today I look like this:  


Even with my protective “doggles” strapped on,  LL Cool J ain’ got nothin’ on me:  

Oh yeah.  This is how I roll..!

I got another two weeks to wear “the cone of shame.” In the meantime, my mom is waiting to exhale. Wish me luck that all of this effort will be a success, my eye will heal and  I can get back to the business of just being a handsome dog.

Goodwill energies always and to each and every one of you each and every day,


(with a little help from his Mom)

Well I can’t do everything around here..!

People let me tell you ‘bout my best friend

He’s a warm-hearted person who’ll love me to the end

People let me tell you ‘bout my best friend

He’s a one boy cuddly toy my up my down my pride and joy

People let me tell you now he’s so much fun

Whether we’re talking man to man

Or whether we’re talking son to son

Cause he’s my best friend now

The theme to The Courtship of Eddie’s Father | 1969-1972 | Harry Nilssen

Now smile!

Proverbs 17:17

In English Bulldogs, Life, Television on April 11, 2009 at 9:30 pm

There is nothing– nothing on earth and in this world– Nothing! more painful than to have to say “no” to your child, particularly when this child is your only child.

I shared several months back(https://killinmesoftly.wordpress.com/2008/06/25/walk-and-don%e2%80%99t-look-back/) that my then six year old son pressed me for a bulldog. We were too financially unstable to accommodate his oft  repeated requests during those years but I never forgot his audacious perseverance.  We got two cats instead.

Now my son is grown and on his own. He has a life and I couldn’t be more happy and relieved. He’s found his niche here in Southern California. Now that the nest is empty,  I began to search in earnest for bulldogs.  I have always wanted two.

I got ThatOne and my whole world changed. The goodwill I receive because of him is more than I have ever received, experienced or enjoyed in my entire lifetime. I meet people and have conversations with people who are genuinely interested, attracted to,  curious about and drawn to him. Then they turn to me and ask questions or ask to pet him or take his picture or tell me about their pet or that they know someone who owns an English bulldog. I am grateful for each and every one of these experiences.

Bulldogs are just GREAT dogs. Loyal. Funny. Lovable.  Beautiful.  Owning an English bulldog is like having a two year old toddler forever.  They are wonderful dogs and wonderful companions, and more than that, they are the very epitome of the definition of a friend:

“A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.” Prov 17:17

I was aimlessly surfing the net one evening 18 months ago when ThatOne’s picture just appeared. The post was dated several days before I’d stumbled upon it so I was certain he’d probably already been sold  but, since nothing beats a try but a failure,  I left a voicemail message anyway.

To my shock and surprise, the owner not only returned my call but volunteered the dog was still for sale as well. I told him right then and there I would take him.

“He’s my dog!” I enthused.

The next day, armed with my MapQuest hardcopy and the asking price in cash, I showed up at the owners home in Oceanside, California. They had what seemed to me like a kitchen full of bullies.  I immediately focused on another bully that appeared to be about the same age as the dog the family was selling.  I decided I wanted to take them both.

“Oh.., I’ll take this one and that one” I gushed.

“Well, you can’t have this one,” He said.

“Ok, then I’ll take that one,” I responded. And ThatOne is his name-O.

Every time I feel like checking out, ThatOne keeps pulling me back in. And there came to be morning and there came to be evening. Yet another day. (Gen 1:31).

ThatOne, this post today is dedicated to you.

People let me tell you ‘bout my best friend
He’s a warm-hearted person who’ll love me to the end
People let me tell you ‘bout my best friend
He’s a one boy cuddly toy my up my down my pride and joy

People let me tell you now he’s so much fun
Whether we’re talking man to man
Or whether we’re talking son to son
Cause he’s my best friend now

The theme to the Courtship of Eddie’s Father | 1969-1972 | Harry Nilssen

I Only Wanna Be…

In Animals and Pets, Celebrities, Life, Music, Society, Unemployment on April 4, 2009 at 9:06 pm
That  ThatOne

ThatOne has once again exposed me to a whole new and different world: The neighborhood dog park. Yep. You read it right.

The neighborhood dog park is the fun, social hot spot especially for our times.  It’s the place to see and be seen. Different breeds freely associate with the only goals being to play and have fun and sniff some butt.

It’s the closest thing to life in the paradise earth in that people love their dogs, people love to talk about their dogs, the dogs make people smile and laughter, smiles, goodwill abounds. Love, love, love. It’s a wonder John Lennon never wrote a song about it.

Dog park etiquette is enforced like the mafia code of conduct. You are expected to supervise your dog. Your dog may not be aggressive. You are expected to pick up after your dog.

If you decide not to observe The Code, the Poop Police, ever vigilant, who caught your dog in the act will make you an offer you can’t refuse. But nicely. No cement shoes or severed horse heads between red satin sheets here. No one gets angry.

There are no flushed red faces, no outbursts of temper, or dirt kicking or pouting. No, everyone dutifully and often cheerfully marches right over to the temporary latrine, crisp, crackling plastic bag at the ready, and removes the offending mass. No static at all.

There are those infrequent visitors who are both indifferent and disrespectful of The Code. In that case, the Poop Police will pick it up, albeit grudgingly and after some bit of discussion, ever mindful of the fact that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

After a while, people are actually  falling over themselves volunteering to pick up the poop. Cooperation is the operative word. Consideration is the next. People don’t want to step in it and no one wants their dog to step in it, track it into the car or home, or worse, eat it.

The small dog park and the big dog park are adjacent, separated by a fence. The difference between big dog owners and small dog owners is like the difference between the blue jeans and tie wearing high school teacher and the multi-pocketed oversized jeans smock dress wearing kindergarten teacher.

“One pair of matching bookends, different as night and day*.”

Big dog owners seem to be a more mixed, more diverse, more inclusive and homogeneous demographic. In the big dog park there are no cliques, no ridicules “My dog doesn’t like your dog” prejudices. Young people don’t seem to mind at all hanging with the OG’s.

Everybody’s protective and tolerant of one another’s dogs. No one manhandles or is rude, or unkind to anyone’s dog. There is no disrespect. There are never any overprotective “parent” outbursts. When a regular is absent for a few days in a row, there is genuine concern. People take the time, not just to make small talk, but if you listen carefully, you may actually witness a whole conversation taking place.

In the Big dog park, people tend to use the entire length and width of the dog park as opposed to congregating in a specific area. It’s important to stand away from tables and chairs otherwise the dogs will congregate underneath and we all know what can happen when a dog feels cornered.

It’s just a great sort of hidden society. I mean, no one ever comes back to the office after the weekend and tells tales of their weekend in the dog park with Daisy or Rufus or Tank. It’s not a subject that keeps people gathered around the water cooler. It’s never a “hot topic” on the View.

People bring their collapsible canvass chairs, their gallon jugs of water and a book, but you will only get to read your book if you’re alone, you are determined to be alone, and there is no other person in the dog park. It’s not like riding the subway in New York City where possessing an open book screams: “Don’t talk to me. Don’t invade my personal space.” Having a book doesn’t convey the same subliminal “back off” message here in Southern CA. You need to stay home if you really want to be alone.

A well attended, well supported community dog park serves a purpose that is especially important in these difficult times when people are increasingly isolating themselves because they’re jobless or are experiencing some sort of personal and/or financial difficulty.

In my case, I find myself enjoying a sense of community I never experienced before and a sort of camaraderie (dare I say it.., even a level of goodwill) I never experienced in any office I have ever worked in; Goodwill that is freely expressed and that with no strings. It not contingent upon regular attendance. There is no tithe. There’s no joining, no public baptisms, no oaths– no conditions. You go and you– just be.

People describe the love of a dog or any pet they have as “unconditional.” ThatOne isn’t concerned about my anxieties or worries. He doesn’t care if I’m young, or wrinkled or whether my breath is minty fresh. He doesn’t care what I do or don’t do for a living. He’s the same in the back seat of a Honda Civic as he would be in a Bentley. He just only wants to be– with me– just the way I am. That’s how it is at the dog park. The only thing you have to do is be– just the way you are. Canvass chair optional.

Don’t go changing, to try and please me,

You never let me down before,

Don’t imagine, you’re too familiar,

And I don’t see you anymore.

I would not leave you, in times of trouble,

We never could have come this far,

I took the good times, I’ll take the bad times,

I’ll take you just the way you are.

Don’t go trying, some new fashion,

Don’t change the colour of your hair,

You always have my, unspoken passion,

Although I might not seem to care.

I need to know that you will always be

The same old someone that I knew,

What will it take till you believe in me,

The way that I believe in you?

I said I love you, and that’s forever,

And this I promise from the heart,

I couldn’t love you, any better,

I love you just the way you are.

I don’t want clever, conversation,

I never want to work that hard,

I just want someone, that I can talk to,

I want you just the way you are.

| 1977

*The Patty Duke Show Theme | TV series 1963-1966 |   



The World Is Closed

In Animals and Pets, Death, Emotional Intelligence, Unemployment on March 24, 2009 at 11:19 pm

I’m a very private person. I don’t put too much out there about myself. It’s easy to talk about feelings or to react to current events, or the arts and entertainment, politics, The View. But for the most part my life’s experience has taught me to be on my guard. Anne Frank wrote while hiding with her family in an attic during the Holocaust that she believed people are basically good at heart. I think she’s right: People are basically good at heart but the caveat to that is they are mean as well.

I’m discovering daily over the past twenty years I am just angry. I have cognition around my anger so I pray about it, I cogitate over it, I devise coping strategies and try very hard to act on these. I smile, I try to be nice, I’m effusive, helpful, knowledgeable, funny, ( I’ve read the bible from Genesis to Revelation), but mean people are not invested in me, my success or my future. It’s their mission in life to rid the world of people like me; to expose me as the fraud that I am. I am an angry person trying to look like I’m just like everybody else.

My anger has been reflecting back at me by my recent experiences at the dog park of all places. Before I got ThatOne, I could go whole weekends without parting my lips to utter a single sound. On Friday after work, I’d drive back to wherever I was living, shit, shower and shave and lie in bed where I remained until Monday morning. I have no friends. If I suddenly died tomorrow, no one would care or notice or come to my funeral. Now, I enjoy whole conversations with people who actually touch me, hug me, laugh with me and who call me by my name.

For Christmas 2008,  I saved $200.00 to entertain my son and his girlfriend. I invited them here where I planned for us to relax in the hot tub out back, swim in the pool out back, have breakfast at the Buffet at the casino a minutes drive from here and to show them around the Inland Empire.

It is really quite beautiful here, surrounded by black, craggy mountains with snow capped mountains off further in the distance, the historic old town, the ducks, the lake, the fountains, the ducks. Only it rained buckets Christmas day which was a Thursday, so out of concern for my son I suggested they come Friday instead.  I waited and waited and waited and waited. No one ever came. No one ever called. Part of the reason I hoped I would give birth to a boy 25 years ago was because I believed then that they’re more loyal to their mothers.

Finally I texted my son and told him I was disappointed. He acknowledged in his response that he should have called but that he just didn’t. I told him I was a big girl and that I would get over it. What do you think?

He came here for the first time this past Saturday. He said he was going to celebrate our not seeing each other in over three months by treating himself to a big meal. I took him to the dog park. He met Sharon, and Nancy and That’s doggie friends. Then we went to Claim Jumper. I had the gigantic chocolate cake and milk. He had top round and lobster tail and the crab cake appetizer, cheesy garlic bread and a mixed greens salad.

I recalled how in November I begged him to lend me $130.00 so I could pay my rent. He couldn’t help me. But he and his girlfriend took a trip to Puerto Rico and in April, (the same week as my #52), they’re going to New York.

All of these things and the crushing sadness I feel daily over my unemployment has made me more verbal than usual about my present circumstances. I have been telling everyone that will listen that I am unemployed and passing out my resume to any and all takers. So you can imagine my elation when I got an email response from a lovely woman I met at the dog park suggesting there may be a place in her office for me. But my experience did not leave me totally gullible. This was too good to be true and it was.

You see, it turns out this woman is trying to organize a team under an MLM opportunity called 5Links (http://www.5linx.com/opportunity/index.html). My heart broke in a strange way. I know now what Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath , Ray Combs, David Foster Wallace, Spalding Gray, Vincent Van Gogh, Jean Seberg, Donny Hathaway, Marilyn Monroe, Phyllis Hyman, Kurt Cobain knew at crisis time. They all knew just like I know now: Your arm’s too short to box with God.

“…But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them, otherwise you may perhaps be found fighters actually against God.” Acts 5:39

If  this  pain and decades long misfortune is in fact from God, I may not escape this destiny. The lifelong struggle to escape will only make matters worse as I  become then a fighter against God. Clearly that’s a battle I cannot win or even hope to enjoy a modicum of success at during the brief, fruitless struggle. I’m a fighter against God. How can anything I ever do succeed?

The world is closed. I’ll never work again. I cannot publish a video resume. The world is closed. Like Zack Mayo said in An Officer and a Gentleman: “I got nowhere else to go! I got nowhere else to g… I got nothin’ else …”

“I’ve always taken ‘The Wizard of Oz’ very seriously, you know. I believe in the idea of the rainbow. And I’ve spent my entire life trying to get over it.”
Over The Rainbow | Judy Garland

“And now you know… the rest of the story.” Paul Harvey

The world is closed.

The Needs Of The Many

In Animals and Pets, Life on March 14, 2009 at 9:55 pm

39If your dog has mange, please do not take him/her to a public dog park or a public, organized specialized breed dog meet up.

Mange is highly contagious; an unsightly and painful condition caused by burrowing mange mites.  Mange is contagious and is spread by contact from infested to non-infested animals.  Mange can occur in man, dogs, cats, horses, sheep, cattle and other animals.

When contracted by humans, it often manifests as yeast. It causes excessive peeling of the skin, excessive itchiness, (and particularly on Black skin) unsightly dark, scaly rashes, and will only go away with topical antifungal treatments that can easily be bought over the counter: lotrimin and clortrimazol.38  Washing the affected areas with dandruff shampoo also helps.

ThatOne and I eagerly attended a bulldog meetup in North County. The meetup was scheduled to begin at 3pm. We left our home in the Inland Empire at 2:10pm. Dog parks are often hard to find. They’re usually in a secluded part of a neighborhood that really does not want the immediate public to know there is a dog park there, so the signage is virtually next to non-existent.

If you are going to the dog park for the first time, the entrance sign may be so unobvious you may drive past several times. We did not find the park, despite my being more than familiar with the area until about 3:45pm.

The meetup was poorly organized and even more poorly attended. All went well, however, until about 4:15 when a woman showed up with her female, who was not spayed, who was in heat and who had the worst case of mange I had ever seen in over twenty years.  Pets should not be permitted to mingle with mangy animals or contact premises occupied by them since individual contact is the most important method of transmission.

I was stunned. I turned to another attendee and asked “Does that dog have mange?” I then immediately asked the owner if her dog had mange. She admitted the dog had mange, but with the caveat that hers was non-contagious, which I found hard to believe. She was uncertain about what type of mange the dog had, and when pressed, volunteered her dog had Sarcoptic mange, but I could tell she had no idea on earth what type the dog had.  I am not even confident this dog is under the care and supervision of a vet.   But it doesn’t matter: Mange is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS. PERIOD.

The other attendee with her husband and d0g, Pork Chop immediately left, and I was hot on their heels. I was livid, and frightened and concerned for ThatOne. This was the second meetup where someone brought their dog out with mange. This dog’s mange was not localized and appeared on her face, head and all over her upper body. To add insult to injury, the dog was not spayed and was in heat.

Like me, you may be unemployed. Alone. Seeking companionship or occasional association for your bullie. Like me, you may love your bulldog. But in spite of all that, you may not, YOU MAY NOT bring your unhealthy dog to a public dog park  and expose it to healthy dogs. YOU MAY NOT do that! YOU MAY NOT do that!

I have washed my steering wheel, my car, my hands and shoes with a bleach solution. Bleach kills the mites.

I have all the fellow feeling and empathy in the world for you, but I am also a responsible pet owner and I expect–  no, I demand the same from all of you.  Please, Please, Please don’t bring your unhealthy, un-spayed, un-neutered adult dog around healthy, spayed and neutered dogs whose owners have taken their responsibilities seriously and can, upon demand, produce current immunization records.  It’s thoughtless, unloving, inconsiderate and especially unkind to dog owners with puppies.

You love your bullie, and so do we, responsible pet owners.   But, in the immortal words of  Star Trek’s  Mr. Spock  “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”


%d bloggers like this: