Category Archives: Insight

The Three Amigos

The 3 Amigos title final version 3.29.16

I have my best friend, Cheryl, who is a kind, generous, witty, and otherwise wonderful human being. But I also have a trio of animal best friends, two dogs, and a cat. And this woman’s furry best friends are best friends.

Like millions of households, mine is a multi-pet home. It’s pretty much always been that way since my childhood, with my sister and me enjoying the benefits—and responsibilities—of pet ownership. Dogs dominated our lives, with at least one, and very frequently two, pups bringing fun and happiness at all times. We also had parakeets, turtles, and fish. And, for a brief time, Tabatha, a very irascible silver tabby named for the daughter of Samantha and Darrin on “Bewitched.”  Tabatha was not happy to be a house pet, often escaping from our home, and being prone to attacking bare legs during middle-of-the-night ambushes. She ended up becoming a mouse-killer at our godparent’s dairy farm, much happier–even if to the regret of the pesty barn rodents. And that was the end of my cat-owning experience…

…until September of 2013, when, at the urging of my then boss, who ran an animal rescue, a young cat entered my life. He’d come into the rescue after being discovered on the porch of one of the groomers, Kim, and her husband. The furry tyke had been enjoying the food set out for the couple’s outdoor cat. Kim quickly realized that the kitty was a stray and brought him in for an exam, shots, and neutering. After a thorough going-over by the vet, the youngster ended up in the rescue, and given the moniker “Donald.” Every time I happened to enter the cat room, Donald would mew and reach out for me. Jaime, the rescue placement director, decided that I needed to adopt him. After a short period of her friendly pestering, I gave in. At home, I made arrangements to introduce him to my two dogs, setting up a giant dog crate for the newly re-named “Donal” to use during the transition. I bought an appropriately sized airline dog crate to transport Donal home.

When I arrived home, the dogs greeted me with their usual “wow-we-thought-you’d-never-return!” doggish enthusiasm: Melanie barking, Tank shoving a toy into my hands while trying to stop himself from jumping up. But as soon as they saw the crate, they immediately switched their attentions from me to the mysterious new object. Donal was silent as I set his crate on the foyer floor. The dogs’ heads went down, shoving close to the crate. Noses were twitching, taking in a strange new scent. Through the air holes in the crate’s side, I could see Donal squishing his body as far as possible from the canine examiners. Then, he settled and gave out a small mew. Melanie woofed, Tank’s head canted from one side to the other.

Once the dogs had settled, I picked the crate up and walked up the steps. Putting the dogs into the kitchen behind a baby gate, I let Donal out of his portable crate and into the giant wire dog crate. The dogs were anxious to see this new addition more clearly and up close; I barely had moved the baby gate when they were rushing over to the wire crate. It was a fascinating sight to see these three animals assessing each other, the dogs trying to decide what Donal was and why he was here, the cat trying to decide whether Melanie and Tank were friendly.

Melanie and Tank quickly welcomed the new arrival into their company. Donal has turned out to be a real “dog cat,” a feline who enjoys the company of his canine companions. He is so much a dog cat that he likes rough-housing with Melanie, frequently starting the action by swatting playfully at her, then racing away. Donal and Tank don’t engage in play-battles, but they like to nap side-by-side and at night, always sleep by me.

It’s a fine thing to have three best furry friends, but even better knowing that they are best buds with each other. Melanie, Tank, and Donal….the Three Amigos.

The Three Amigos final version 3.29.16

The Restful Bench

the restful bench 9.19.15

To rescue means to save from danger or distress. As a noun, it means the act of saving or of being saved from such situations.

For many years, my boss and friend, a veterinarian, operated an animal rescue, saving from danger and death countless puppies, kittens, cats, and dogs. Eventually, the intensity of the work began to take a toll upon her family life, so she closed the rescue.

Over the years, she garnered much support from the community, including a local Girl Scout troop. During the summer before the rescue closed, the troop presented us with a handsome brown wooden bench, decorated with hand painted paw prints, dog bones, the name of the rescue, and the troop’s number. The girls and the troop leader created a lovely spot for the bench, complete with flowers and several rescue-themed, homemade stepping stones. It was a wonderful place for visitors to enjoy, often spending some time there with a newly adopted dog.

After the rescue closed, Dr. K kindly gifted me the bench. My co-worker Katie helped me bring it home, the two of us easily stowing it into her great old green Ford truck, “Dino.”  We put it in my backyard, in front of the spot where a grand old maple had once stood. Until the weather got too cold, I often enjoyed sitting on the rescue bench, enjoying the yard’s transition from fall to winter. The bench overwintered outdoors, bearing up very well.

After the springtime breezeway renovation, I moved the bench inside. Being a wood slatted bench, it was a scosh uncomfortable, even for well-padded me. A comfortable bench pad, made with several colorful blankets and a squishy, homemade pillow transformed the rescue bench into the Restful Bench.

Here, I’ve enjoyed a summer of creativity, writing and reading, meditation, garden planning, and, most often, a restive enjoyment of simply being still, as my backyard nature plays out, and my dogs and cat play on.

Life Woo Woo Woo!

9.18.15 Tank in the Subaru

Lately, I’ve been expressing my satisfaction, happiness, and even amusement with a little cheer: “woo woo woo!” I’m aware of the webstreet use of this phrase as a surreptitious code phrase for sex, but I’m not sure who these users think they are fooling.

Non-verbal exaltations are Nature’s regular expressions, parlayed by all who walk, run, hide, flitter, fly, and flee. These expressions, spontaneously uttered, whispered, sung, and shouted, are true elucidations of love, lust, happiness, fear, bluff, and triumph. And in many situations, signals of satisfied completion.

A few things I’ve recently woo woo woo’d life about…

  • My older dog, Melanie, being cancer-free
  • Teaching a student how to teach her highly distracted dog how to pay attention
  • My younger dog, Tank, doing well on the glove retrieve target exercise
  • Getting all the Day Care dogs’ kennels cleaned after they went home
  • Seeing all of the good buggy activity in the compost pile
  • Getting great photographs of boarding and day care dogs
  • Seeing Monarchs on my sunflowers

What life moments have you been woo-woo-wooing lately?

The Five Reiki Principles

Just for today, I will not be angry.

Just for today, I will not worry.

Just for today, I will be grateful.

Just for today, I will do my work honestly.

Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing.