We Laugh, We Cry

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It has come to my attention, yet once more, that the state of my life since adopting Chloe “dog diva extraordinaire” six years ago have brightened up stupendously. So much has she enriched, not only my life but the rest of my household, that to imagine waking up without her daily presence is just..well..unimaginable.

I can only conclude that this is the curse of having a pet that has become an entrenched part of the family, the agony of loss no different from that of losing a husband or child. We all dread the day of her passing because this will, for sure, leave an empty cavity in all our hearts.

Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.
It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”
~ John Grogan

So for now, there is nothing to do but enjoy every living minute with the ones we love (be this human or dog). Take the time to laugh, to embrace and once in a while, enjoy the silence that company brings.

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..

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…

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!!


 

Just Jump. Love Will Catch You.

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I now finally understand how love conquers all.  That love can overcome all fears, can overcome all dread and can overcome all uncertainties.  I came close to loosing Chloe-the-dog when she was 6 months old.  A venture to the beach almost cost my pooch her life.  Her than owners concluded that taking their toddler and a puppy to frolic in the surf was prudent and fun.  Until a colossal crest hit them.  Fortunately, both ankle-biter and tyke managed to be plucked away from the jaws of peril by some swift thinking quick acting reflex action by then owner but alas, damage was done.  Not to the child but to the dog.  Chloe came to me when she was one.  One year old and a bag full of anxiety.  Bikes scared her.  Busses and trucks terrified her.  But her greatest trepidation was water.  No ocean, no river, no lakes. Not even puddles.  I tried and I failed.  No positive reinforcements with treats and no gradual in-vivo exposure to the beach would work.  Fast forward four years later. Fast forward to March 20, 2013. Today, for the first time in my dog-owner life, I witnessed Chloe-the-dog lunge fur forwards into a swamp lake.  She plunged and dog-paddled in water.  She crawled up the bank, joggled the water off and jumped right back in again.  And again, and again, and again.  My chest swelled with pride while my eyes weeped tears of joy.  Madness.  Pure madness.  She did it and overcame her bugaboo! 

Perhaps there is something here for us.  Perhaps fear in the beginning does not mean despair to the end.  Perhaps with a little encouragement and heaps of love, we can be rid of our burdens.  Ambrose Redmoon says, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” 

Looks like Chloe-the-bear too finally realized that the one thing more important than just courage is love.  Diva-dog will now do lapses in the pool.  She already shrugs cold shoulder at bus drivers, at truckers and especially at all the cyclists.  Well, except maybe the mail-person on the bike.  Still despises them…

 

Where Art Thou Humanity? Arise Pooch-ness!!

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It has come to my scrutiny that Chloe-the-dog has no qualms about being a dog.  As a matter of fact, she wears it like a badge on her white speckled breast.  Carries it like a banner proclaiming her pooch-ness.  She loves being a dog, is proud to be a dog and I reckon the reason why she gets such a high whenever she meets another dog is because of an insane desire to celebrate her doggy-ness.  Sure there are days when she tries to act human: sitting on the sofa, snoozing on my bed, taking a seat at the dinner table, insisting on a back rub, but normally she catches herself very quickly and snaps back into her fido-ness.  But what exactly is it that is so outstanding, so superb, so marvelous about being a dog?  Well, according to “Advantages of Being a Dog by R Holmes”,

  • You go through life naked and don’t get arrested
  • Your entire world is a bathroom
  • You have no bills or financial worries
  • You appreciate the moment, hardly ever think about the past and have no worries about the future
  • You give much more love than you receive
  • You do not have to worry about what other dogs think of you

Perhaps we can learn something from Chloe-the-dog.  Perhaps we should explore the whole concept of humanity.  Humanity can be described as all the people living in the world, a kind and sympathetic attitude towards other people especially those that are suffering, and the state of being human and of behaving and thinking in the same way as other people.  The irony of humanity in the 21st century is that we are distancing ourselves further and further away from what it means to be human.  In our vigor to be different and unique, we distance ourselves far-off from each other.  In our brilliance to create and innovate, we blind ourselves to the broadening chasm and disparity between the ridiculously rich and miserably poor.  And the more modernized and avant-garde society becomes, the less and less we empathize and want to be like minded.   

Perhaps all is still not lost.  Perhaps all it takes is for you and me to start by finding our purpose here on earth.  Perhaps we must stop complicating matters and just have more faith.  Perhaps we should laugh more, love heaps and hope always.  C Joybell C said, “There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human- in not having to be just happy or just sad- in the nature of being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time.”

So, wear your humanness like a badge and carry it like a banner because just like Chloe-the-dog, we do have a purpose..

You Can Sleep On It

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I have come to realize that Chloe-the-dog is a very optimistic sort of canine.  She seems to have a natural knack of not allowing any situation to throw her into a foul frenzy.  From the moment she wakes up, she oozes optimism.  She is optimistic at 7.30 am and 6 pm because kibbles are about to appear in her bowl.  She is optimistic at mid-morning because chances are high she will be going ‘tug-trotting’ (those of you new to my blog, my lassie does not adhere easily to the ‘walk-next or one-step behind your master rule’.  She tugs, she trots, I speed walk..).  She is optimistic at 11.30 pm because chances are pretty high that Pa Hedgehog, Ma Hedgehog, and micro trio-hedgehogs are under the BBQ pit having a soiree so time to have a vocal run.  Chloe-the-dog is optimistic to the very core. Optimistic.  Take this morning for example.  Master and pooch were geared for the daily trek up  ‘Dog Poo Hill’ (fictional but trust me when I say that some dog owners really need to go for lesson 101 on crap aka feces aka flux aka number twos pick-ups).  They had the lead on, the doggy doo bag on, the game face on, and just as partners in crime were just about to step out on their sixes, it rained.  It showered.  It poured.  So, owner had no choice but to cancel the outing and make tail-wagger step back into the house.  Did bow-wow look confused? Sure did.  Did bow-wow throw that droopy disappointed expression? Yup.  Did bow-wow perform an aria in whine-minus? You betcha.  But as soon as I sat her down and explained the dangers of canine influenza, that she may get high fever (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit) and go downhill very quickly,  that pneumonia, specifically hemorrhagic pneumonia, can develop, and that she may very well cough up blood and have trouble breathing, Chloe-the-dog regained her composure once again and the aura of optimism flooded back into her being.  Maybe she won’t get her walk up dung hill this instant but eventually she will. Of course she will. Optimism.

Perhaps there is a lesson here for us.  Perhaps being optimistic is the way to go.  That no matter what catastrophe, failure, disappointments, hardship or meltdown we face in life, there must be a side which still is bright and hold traces of a silver lining.  But we must try to look for it because it will try to hide from our plain sight.  Debbie Bongiovanni wrote this poem,

“Be optimistic in your life,
Believe that things will go your way,
And if you need a little help,
Take some time and pray.

You need to have positive thoughts,
The negative needs to leave,
And if you think long enough,
You truly will believe.

So you did think good thoughts,
And being optimistic made things right,
And it was all because,
You saw the light.”

Looks like the rain has stopped.  Get your lead Chloe, we will be walking on wet meadow muffins…