5 Random Facts About Chloe the Diva Dog

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1) Thinks she is human:
Although everyone can plainly see that she is of the canine family, she herself does not see it that way. Hence, when we humans sit down at the dinner table to partake in our food, Chloe the diva looks up at us with those judging eyes as if to ask, “human, where is my plate?!”

“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen”
~Orhan Pamuk

2) Likes a tummy rub but LOVES a good scratch at the base where her tail starts:
This is when her eyes glazes over and she does this stupid tongue protruding thing…

“In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag”~
W.H. Auden

3) At sharp 6pm, she expects to be fed. Pronto..:
Otherwise, she will stare you down like a rattlesnake in heat..

“After years of having a dog, you know him. You know the meaning of his snuffs and grunts and barks. Every twitch of the ears is a question or statement, every wag of the tail is an exclamation” ~Robert McCammon

4) Loves a walk, hates getting wet:
When it starts to drizzle outside, Miss Diva will look towards to sky, look towards me, then runs to her bed. As if to say, “Human, how about YOU go for a walk…”

“It’s hard not to immediately fall in love witha dog who has a good sense of humor” ~Kate DiCamillo

5) Hates cats:
Need I say more?

Now, here’s 15 random facts about a human child I know who although is not as cute as the diva, can be pretty weird herself..

High on Lows

The Day Reality Bit. Again..

ImageAs I sat at the breakfast counter this morning scoffing down scrambled eggs, sausages and my much longed for mug of strong coffee, it was no surprise, yet again, that the skin on my upper right side thigh would start feeling damp and dewy.  Every morning as I eat my morning meal, this almost disconcerting occurrence repeats itself. That soggy spot, can grow abnormally large and wet depending of how much control I want to perform to stop it.  I have tried ignoring the problem, nudging the problem and even sweet talking the problem away but no luck, Diva dog insists on dribbling all over my leg.  Pavlov would be so appreciative. 

Now I am no dog expert but I would like to claim that I know a thing or two about dog behavior especially when it comes to my own beloved mutt.  I reckon that the reason why Chloe Maloey slobbers so much over food, particularly my food, is because she has an innate desire to partake in a shared experience with me.  Because out in the wild when pack animals like dogs hunt, they would collectively ‘share’ in the feast.  So when I eat my food, she wants to eats too.  May also mean that when she eats her food, she wishes deep in her hearts of hearts that I would get alongside her bowl of chow and dig in. No. Thank you. It is really about partnership, companionship, connecting, bonding.. It is about playing a part in each others life.  Much like family really. 

Yann Martell in The Life of Pi said, “To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures who people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you. It is like losing–I’m sorry, I would rather not go on.” 

C Joybell quotes, ““There is no such thing as a “broken family.” Family is family, and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, and adoption documents. Families are made in the heart. The only time family becomes null is when those ties in the heart are cut. If you cut those ties, those people are not your family. If you make those ties, those people are your family. And if you hate those ties, those people will still be your family because whatever you hate will always be with you.” 

Family.  Clan. Tribe. Folk.  Bonded together by something special and truly unique.  These past few weeks, my family and I have been praying, wishing, hoping and questioning the tragedy of the missing MH370.  Looking through the photographs posted on-line of those on board and now missing, it is very hard not to feel an association.  Association not because I personally know them but because of that common familiar alliance we all have in common.  We all have a father.  We all have a mother.  We all have a sister.  We all have a brother.  We all have a son.  We all have a daughter.  We all have a friend.  We all came very close to loosing someone we care dearly on that day MH370 took off.  Even though these people may be unknown to us, we are emphatically connected.  There exists a shared loss.  Herman Menville describes it best when he said, ““We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”

Perhaps in times like this when catastrophe hits people around us, recognize the fact that although it is not us who have lost a loved one, that it is not us who have had our hearts broken into a thousand pieces, and that it is not us who have to spend nights laying awake, we are not unaffected or unaltered.  Shared experience.  We partake in the good.  We partake in the bad.  Just like diva dog’s insistence on staring me down drooling, we must also take in life around us and let the experience move us.  That is the reality of life as I see it. 

If

“If freckles were lovely, and day was night,
And measles were nice and a lie warn’t a lie,
Life would be delight,–
But things couldn’t go right
For in such a sad plight
I wouldn’t be I.

If earth was heaven and now was hence,
And past was present, and false was true,
There might be some sense
But I’d be in suspense
For on such a pretense
You wouldn’t be you.

If fear was plucky, and globes were square,
And dirt was cleanly and tears were glee
Things would seem fair,–
Yet they’d all despair,
For if here was there
We wouldn’t be we.”

– E. E Cummings

 

 

When the Dung Hits the Fan, I Open My Umbrella

ImageIt has come to my attention that Chloe-the-dog is very clear-cut, deliberate and intentional when the situation calls for her to…err….micturate.  To tinkle. To wizz.  To take a leak, pee-pee, have a go..Every time we go for a walk, within a period of 60 minutes she would have performed at least 8 random acts of peeing.  It is so fluky that this dog walker can only shake her glossy haired head and wonder each time, where in tarnation does all that flow come from?  Apparently, a dog tail-wagger’s size would carry with her a bladder the greatness of Navels, Valencias, Sunkists and Moros. Oranges. So just this last Monday, mellow ol’me took an orange from the fruit bowl, cut it in half and handclasped each as steadfastly as possible.  I then extorted the fruit with all of my might.  Really wringed the succker dry.  What I got was nearing one cup of juice.  Now, because it was a rainy day, exams are just over and I have nothing else better to do since my coffee girls don’t like to hang out on Mondays..ahem.. I took the effort of dividing all the squeezed juice into 8 portions and Walla! Genius!, I got the quantity upshot, or rather down shot of tail-wagger. 

Now, bear with me as I write the next half of the story. Before peeing Chloe does these reconnaissance acts. A look, a sniff and then cross-checking praxis to determine supreme spots to perform her squats.  Hilarious.  Cesar Millan says,

In some it is definitely dominance – I am here and letting you know. With others it appears to be almost friendly – Oh that smells nice; I think I will leave them a message.  Kind of like the Facebook for dogs.”

Facebook.  For dogs.  Really..I will go with that logic and claim that diva-dog is a total Miss Social when it comes to leaving her cue cards behind.  That every morning as she steps out of the house, she intentionally makes her Sunkist go into overdrive. That every morning as her and I brisk-trot that sidewalk, her side pull to pee is intentional and purposeful.  To leave her mark on earth and proclaim to those canines who had come before her and to those still yet to pass after – “Hello Snout-bookers! Newsfeed My Timeline and I Will Notify Your Wall!!”

Yet again, perhaps there is some lesson which we can drip off from Chloe-the-dog’s intentional and purpose-filled bladder.  Perhaps the lesson here is that when we take up on any sought after venture or any deliberate deeds in life, we must expect and look forward to releasing a little bit of ourselves into the situation.  Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” That just like doggie’s practice of leaving her bouquet behind for the next furry butt that comes along, we sometimes won’t possibly be around to witness what or how our choices, our decisions, our undertakings, our schtick can or will affect those around us.  And it is OK.  Because when we intentionally and willingly release ourselves with a clear intention of doing good to others without selfish gains, that decision to “lose ourselves in the service of others” can only reach out and restore the goodness in others.  Shauna Niequist said,

“It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.”

Perhaps the trick to any successful endeavor is to give in to that element of risk because in relaxing our grip and demands over situations, role, people, circumstance, affairs, etc., we can gaze up long enough to focus, to calibrate, to sharpen our view and then on find our bearings.  That nothing in life is full proof but the only way to come out unscathed from the other end is the ability to release life’s pressure “one squirt at a time”.  Because life is all about change and the risks that comes along with it.  Change is necessary, is inevitable, is compulsory and just like a dog’s pee that lasts only until the next one comes along to leave it’s number, we must expect to lose ourselves and welcome change.  Perhaps we just need to learn to embrace the fact that when we let go and let God, then truly can we find peace in transformation.  There is a poem written by Annie Johnson Flint and part of it sings,

“One day at a time, with its failures and fears,
With its hurts and mistakes, with its weakness and tears,
With its portion of pain and its burden of care;
One day at a time we must meet and must bear.

One day at a time to be patient and strong,
To be calm under trial and sweet under wrong;
Then its toiling shall pass and its sorrow shall cease;
It shall darken and die, and the night shall bring peace.”

Chloe…wanna go potty?

Dedicated to my gorgeous gf Rachel Lewis (whose mom still whispers in her ears) and my buddy Las (who smokes too much). XOXO..

The Miracle of Chewing a Hobnob Cookie

20130511-214900.jpgI must confess that there are days when I get into a fuzzy funky mind trip where my brain goes into spew mode and begin a rendition of notions, interpretations, impressions and solutions.  Brainstorm abstraction aria in A-minus.  I get so many ideas.  Ideas on steps to take for the betterment of mankind.  Ideas on measures to take for the improvement of my fellow beings.  Ideas on how to write sententious words on my blogs so that no matter who reads my words, the world would be a nicer place to live in.  Ideas on how to improve my Chicken Tikka Masala dish so it tastes more authentically northern Indian.  On and on it goes like a mighty gush of the Yangtze river. Fyodor Dostoyevsky in ‘The Idiot’ quotes,

“There is something at the bottom of every new human thought, every thought of genius, or even every earnest thought that springs up in any brain, which can never be communicated to others, even if one were to write volumes about it and were explaining one’s idea for thirty-five years; there’s something left which cannot be induced to emerge from your brain, and remains with you forever; and with it you will die, without communicating to anyone perhaps the most important of your ideas.”

Wow.  Dostoyevsky was a Russian novelist, short story writer and essayist.  His literary works explore human psychology during 19th-century Russia amidst a troubled political, social and spiritual climate.  If I boldly bring it to 10/05/2013, perhaps I can draw some parallelism with Господин Dostoyevsky.  Almost.  I am not yet a novelist, I am sometimes a short story writer and I am definitely a mumbo jumbo essayist in the making.  But just like him, human psychology intrigues me amidst the troubled political, social and spiritual atmosphere of 21st-century earth.  However, I do wonder what he meant when he said what he said.  Was he also plagued with incessant thoughts and ideas?  And if so, what did he do?  Write?  Novel? Walk his dog?  How did he calm himself?  Did he act on any of his own postulation?  Or do all good, great ideas die, without being communicated to anyone? Maybe I am just being idiotic.  The Idiot. 

Then I have to clam myself by latching on to what always works best.  And it is not Chloe-Bear over there.  I latch myself onto a nice warm mug of hot chocolate and a wholemeal Hobnob cookie.  That’s right.  Food.  Sweet food.  Very bad for the waist line sweet food.  Micheal Grant quotes,

“That’s your solution? Have a cookie?’ Astrid asked. ‘No, my solution is to run down to the beach and hide out until this is all over,’ Sam said. ‘But a cookie never hurts.”

Truly I would like to run to the beach, listen to the crashing waves and hide out with Sam but instead,  I settle on the sofa, curl my legs under me and sip.  I chew and I sip.  It is a very conscious sipping and chewing. Then slowly, after all that sugar kicks in, then my senses returns and I feel the warm gaze of diva-dog on me.  Her impenetrable gaze is so focused not on me per se but on my cookie. The only time her optics move is when my hand moves.  To my mouth and from my mouth. Target back and forth.  Ah..classic.  Maybe yet again, I can learn something from damp snout.  Maybe the trick to tackling my situation after all is to focus and target one thing at a time.  Maybe overwhelming ourselves sometimes is OK as long as we have something or someone to latch on so as to gather back our senses.   After all, Albert Einstein said, “Out of clutter, find simplicity.” How true.  I have thoughts and ideas, and this ability is good.  It just means that I am human and I have a purpose here on earth.  And despite feeling smothered, dumfounded and bewildered, I know that I am on the right track.  And I know that before my time on earth dries up and I go have hot chocolate with my Maker, I would have lived out and fulfilled at least 1% of my ideas.  And it’s OK.  Because sometimes, 1% is all it takes to make a difference.  Chloe, want some crumbs?

A Cup of Java on a Pier One Morning…

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I have come to appreciate how having a pet like Chloe-the-dog can change how I view the world. Take the photo above for instance. That beholden creature, so resplendent in her blackness is my pet doggie, Chloe-the-dog. As she stands and looks into the distance, I stand in the background just having a moment to myself. And as I take a snapshot of what lies before me, I slowly begin to take in the serenity of that particular moment in time. I notice the breeze wafting the sweet smell of dawn. I observe the colors of autumn when leaves take the appearance of flowers. I smell the crisp dewy air after a night of sprightly rainfall. I hear the swans quavering “oo-oo’s” as they set sail on calm waters. I feel the slippery jade green moss thriving on the pier laying trap to slipping bare feet. And I contemplate my tail-wagger holding a gaze so far off into the outlying distance. I ponder on what her paws feel as they pad the plank. I wonder what she takes notice of as she explores. I query what she apprehends with those floppy ears. I speculate on what she comprehends when she surveys. Try as I might though, I would never be able to conceive the soul of my dog. Milan Kundera shares,

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”

I can attest with Mr Kundera. I can attest that for that 30 minutes as I stood still on that pier outstretched over Lake Rotoiti, I felt bliss. For half and hour, I sensed paradise. Diva-dog taught me a lesson that day. She taught me that every time I attempt something in my life, I need to take time to feel my way around so I grow familiar with the slippery planks of life least I should fall. She taught me to heighten my senses so I am aware of my domain and notice the beauty of God’s creation in every shape and form. She taught me to listen and hear carefully least I should miss a smile or a broken heart. And she taught me that my soul is a gift from God which makes me who I am. William Wordsworth quotes,

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come”

Yet again, perhaps we can take something away from bark-snout. Perhaps we need to realize quickly that our need for speed to success can undermine our vision. That our desire to attain power can numb our divine discernment. And our thirst for more can wring our soul dry. Perhaps all we can do, should do is to wake up early one morning and make a cuppa. Then we find that one spot. Locate that one space to behold. Behold that view which causes your soul to skip a little. The face of your newborn. The smell of freshly baked peach-pie. The accent of children laughing. And the majestic panorama as the sun raises at morning-tide. To be able to find that place at home. To be able to feel paradise on earth…

Starving For Stillness

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It has come to my astute observation, that Chloe-the-dog has durations, moments, junctures where she just wants to be left alone.  To have episodes of solitude away from her human squires. To enjoy periods where it is just her and nothing else.  Interesting.  Fascinating almost because here is an animal known to be ‘Men’s best friend’.  Men’s best friend referring to affectionate, devoted, doting, right-by-your-side companion. Side-kick. Kemosabe.  Illamar.  Pinnariyauyok.  Yup. Ludicrously, blossom-butt over here periodically dematerialize away like David Copperfield and the Eiffel Tower.  One minute she is there and the next, no beckoning, cajoling or treat talking can bop up black mama.  She has gone to the room of zen.  She has escaped to the place of reclusiveness.  She has gone to her resting niche.  There she pauses in refuge.  There she dwells in solitude.  Cesar Millan, dog trainer extraordinaire explains that as pack animals, dogs naturally need and like time alone.  That all the stimulation and exertion of the day needs to be packed away for a time so that some calmness, interlude, respite and idleness can be dispersed.  That all measurement of caring, loving and attending now needs replenishment in order to keep true to its nature.  Diva-dog’s nature.

Perhaps yet again, we can glean two cents worth of chalk talk from this.  Perhaps we need to grasp, and really really understand the value of time alone.  Norton Juster quotes, 

“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.” 

Perhaps that is what we lack in today’s very noisy world.  Perhaps we have lost the desire for solitude.  Perhaps we no longer recognize beauty in silence which Norton speaks of.  And even when we do recognize the importance of laconism, others are voracious in subjecting us to bedlam and soul stealing pandemonium.  Perhaps we confuse solitude with loneliness.  Loneliness is a state of mind, a perception or a belief which undoubtedly can lead to distress.  Solitude however is choosing to be alone without being lonely.  It is a genuine and productive state of engagement with oneself or with God.  Ralph Waldo Emerson eloquently said, 

“Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.” 

Perhaps we need not busy ourselves routinely with acting, doing, making, moving, driving, talking, cheering, laughing, and on and on and on.  Perhaps it is OK to just stop being so busy.  Perhaps being still means being still.  Resign from movement.  Not in a yoga, abstract, transcendent sort of way.  But in a way where it allows us to find our self and in that gain some insight on our life purpose.  Solitude. Learn to embrace the silence.  Fear not the quietness.  Solitude.

Chloe…

Stop Facebooking! You Are Biting My Hand Off!

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I find myself constantly taken aback by how restrained Chloe-the-dog can be.  An epitome of ‘restrain and refrain’ indubitably. Occasions where I expect her to lose all ability to hold-back, throw caution to the wind, take that extra just because she can, she proceeds to baffle me . How? Why?. After all, diva-dog may be poochi-galore and all but she is still an animal and so very full of boundless unbridled energy.  And there she goes surprising me again and again and again.  Restrain and refrain.  Par exemple, when young bambinos visit and play with Chloe-the-dog, she can restrain herself from being too spirited and she can refrain from making them cry.  OK, maybe the little people perplexes the dog and a child’s crying is a BIG NEGATIVE reinforcement for any animal but the point here is that I can’t take the credit for having trained her ‘ankle-biter etiquette 101’.  She just instinctively knows when to take it down a few notches.  And there are those times when I am reaching into her mouth to brush that annoying canine molar.  That far-reaching tooth which can only be attained by placing my human hand into her dog-like mouth.  Pry open jaw, insert hand with brush, manipulate in all manner possible. Now if I were a dog and some mortal is placing their limb into my powerful jaw in an assault like manner with an assault like tool, I may want to chomp down.  Take a bite.  Ruminate on them. Again. Restrain and refrain. And those weak human moments where I secretly dispense table food via fingers to her wagginess.  Somehow or another, the chops inherently recognizes where goodies ends and fingers begins. Why not just keep chewing? Again, refrain and restrain.  No one had to teach fur-ball what she already knows.  Seem like an innate recognition.  A natural discernment.  Dogma of a dog..

Perhaps there is another tip we can take away from here.  Perhaps we need to stop and canvass the restrains and refrains we practice each day.  Do we even utilize a ‘restrain and refrain’ apothegm.  To restrain is to keep under control, to prevent oneself from becoming enslaved by a strong urge or emotion.  Personally, I find it a daily struggle to keep my thoughts and emotions in check these days because it is so easy to just go that extra.  To just ‘tweet’,and ‘FB’ egocentric and madcap sentiments because I have smart capabilities and I smartly can.  To just zip off and take delight in the splendor of retail therapy because them Jimmy Choos Blaniks are there and I can undoubtedly acquisition one, or two, or three pairs.  After all, Anno Domini seems to be about liberty, individuality, commonality and intellectual property.  It is a lush jungle of freedom serenaded by a cacophony of spontaneous ‘I want it now’ voices.  Unbridled energy to just chomp down.  Can we? Should we? Do we?.  Do we have the will power to restrain? Should we refrain from it all?  Yes.  I think so.  Because despite the brass tacks of it all, restraintment and refrainment is pivotal to our existence.  Adam Smith quotes, “To feel much for others and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfishness and exercise our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature.”  It is in our nature to limit ourselves.  It is in our nature to often times, forbear.  Because we are human.

Chloe! Stop chasing your tail!!