Canine Kindness

True story from some friends…

Peaches was a rescue dog who liked being the only dog. A big, arthritic German Shepherd, she had the air of a retired police dog (though she wasn’t one). On walks, she avoided other dogs, and when house guests visited they had to leave their dogs at home.

One night on a walk, she suddenly dragged her people across a street toward another dog. They feared her attitude had worsened and that she was about to pick her first fight. Instead, she stopped next to a morose stray and sat down. Never had a dog looked as unhappy with freedom as this stray did.

The stray was short and funny-looking, with a barrel chest and a long pointy snout. The people named her Edna and – with Peaches’ clear permission – they brought Edna home. No one ever answered the Lost Dog signs they plastered around the neighborhood and so Edna joined the family. Peaches continued to tolerate her until Peaches succumbed to various old-dog ailments several months later. 

Edna lived for many more years, delighting all who met her with her goofy, gregarious, and loving ways.

Edna looked like a cousin of Frankenweenie.

Edna looked like a cousin of Frankenweenie.

(Written for today’s  Daily Prompt.)

Advertisements

My Top Ten Risks (Whfff! Crash! Boom!)

Pavlof Volcano, Alaska, 2013

You see the plume and … do you run toward it or away?

I’ve got a whole list of risks I might take if only I get the nerve or suffer the judgment lapse. In decreasing order of sanity, they are:

  1. get a puppy (training a puppy sounds so unpleasant);
  2. write a novel and publish each chapter on the fly as serial fiction with no future writing in reserve (what if I hit a block? what if yesterday’s chapter was crap?);
  3. form a rock band and perform (what if no one attends the show? what if they do?);
  4. host a live talk show (what if I lose my glib?);
  5. take up surfing (risk of embarrassment is higher than physical risk, given zero chance of my standing to ride a wave);
  6. meet my heroes (what if they don’t deserve that status?);
  7. retire before I’ve got enough income (I don’t need to explain this one, do I?);
  8. sky dive (I be afeared of heights);
  9. become a tornado chaser (what if I drop my camera and miss that great shot of the looming tornado?);
  10. become a volcano chaser (when an eruption is eminent – the mountains themselves are not a challenge to catch);

I note that 8, 9, 10 may alleviate some of the risk in 7.

(This post responds to today’s Daily Prompt  which asks: what’s the biggest risk you’d like to take…and what would have to happen to get you to take it?)

An End to Needless Worry

(Today’s  Daily Prompt says: write a letter to your least favorite trait.)

Dear Anticipatory Hysteria,

We’ve been together so many years and we will both have to adjust to life apart. But there is no question – it is time for you to go. I remember when you first came around. I was a teenager and noticed that nothing I ever thought would happen, did happen. So I began to imagine terrible things, because if I thought of them then they wouldn’t happen – a mental talisman. But the strategy never really helped. The terrible imaginings didn’t prepare me for other bad things that happened instead. Rather, they cost me so much time, energy and peace of mind — and kept me absorbed in misery that never materialized.

My new strategy is to note that I will have plenty of time to feel bad about something after it actually happens, and in the meantime I will do my best to keep my thoughts in the present tense, and to focus on all the positives, including the fragrance of the jasmine and the sounds of birds greeting the morning, as I write this on my front patio.

From now on I will save my apocalyptic imagination for my novels. There it serves me very well and has proved invaluable as I write my fantasy detective series.

P.S. Wherever you go next, please make room for your parents, Worry and Anxiety. Their eviction is in the works now.

And Then The Doorbell Rang…

doorbell-button-replacement-136 I have spent my adult life deeply agnostic and religion-avoidant, with two exceptions.

My first summer in college, I went through dark times, and at some point decided it would help if I had faith. I would intermittently pray, along the lines of God if you’re there I know I’m supposed to take you on faith but I can’t so if you could please just give me a sign, I will take it from there.  One day, a few minutes after I finished such a prayer, the doorbell rang.

The Daily Prompt: Person of the Year – Philip Marlowe

images-1

Marlowe was at his finest in this book.

Detective Philip Marlowe is the person of this or any year, but don’t give him the award. He’ll be a no show at the ceremony and not just because he’s a work of fiction.

Of all the characters I have met and loved in novels, Marlowe is my favorite. I recently re-read his seven novels and found them as fresh and relevant as they were when I last read them, decades ago.

Marlowe has an unswervable moral code. He makes mistakes, he has doubts, but he always knows what’s right and acts accordingly. His morality is personally customized. It may not jive with law or mores but when there’s a discrepancy, Marlowe’s right.

Marlowe despises phonies and looks out for underdogs. He’s smart but he mostly operates on instinct. He’s often alone and frequently lonely. He’ll never be rich and he doesn’t care because wealth costs honor. Not that he’d ever put it like that. He doesn’t go on about honor or loyalty or justice or dignity but he lives his life in ways that promote all four.

The Daily Prompt: Take Care – Caught Me!

This Daily Prompt is disturbingly well timed. It catches me ducking the same questions in real life: Do I allow someone to take care of me?… What does it take for me to ask for help?

Next week I will have surgery to replace a hip. If I listen to the surgeon, within a couple weeks I will be back to activity, cautiously, with a cane. I like that worldview. But the hospital says to expect weeks of incapacity. I like that not at all. It is a big dose of old and helpless.

Either way, I’ll need help. But a couple weeks means I only tap those who have offered. Many weeks means asking those who haven’t offered help.  That would be a first for me. I’m sure it would lead to great personal growth, yada yada. I am spending equal amounts of time not thinking about it, believing it will all work out fine whatever it turns out to be, and opting to try something easier than asking for help, such as training the cats to wait on me.

Reflecting further on this prompt, I discover that the ability to ask for help requires love, trust, and confidence, in myself and the other person.

The Daily Prompt: The Normal – Pack Response

images

Do wolves get bored? Read on to find out.

I’m not much interested in normal. To me, normal is

  • average
  • typical
  • commonplace
  • predictable
  • unimaginative.

However, normal is also

  • fitting in.

On dark days, I feel like everybody else knows the rules but nobody thought to let me know. Even then, though, I don’t want to go normal, I just want to be better informed.

This reminds me of one of my favorite pieces of writing – ever! – composed by my sister in 2nd grade:

One day the wolf was strolling along with the pack
I am not satisfied he said will I have to run around with this pack all my life
So he left he came to a forest he got to a desert
He lay down in the middle he was dying of thirst
Oh he thought if only I had stayed

(This post topic comes from The Daily Prompt.)