Plinky Prompt: 5 Million Dollars For Charity-Where Would It GO?

Cancer Sucks

Cancer Sucks (Photo credit: when i was a bird)

Charitable Donations

One Million to Pediatric Cancer

One Million to Young Adult Cancer -In Honor of the wonderful Suleika Jahoud

One Million to Heart Sisters for Carolyn Thomas’ Research on Heart Attacks for Women

Two Million for Cancer Research for Treatment, Cure, Prevention

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The Healing Powers Of A Puppy

When our dog, Callie died, I thought I would never feel happiness again. She was my first dog, the most gentle, shy, docile animal on the planet. She was scared of everything and only wanted reassurance and comfort; she loved my lap and my bed. She was frightened of external stimulation, loud noises, new people, she just felt safe with her family. We, of course, got her from an animal shelter and adopted her at six weeks; she had already been adopted at four weeks by another man. She was sweet and loving, and could read my feelings better than anyone else. Callie saw me through my father’s death, the most painful experience of my life. When I cried, she licked my tears and wouldn’t leave my side.

The risk you take of getting a shelter dog is that their past is somewhat of a mystery and you need to accept that. The dogs or puppies do come with some baggage, but really, don’t we all? I’m definitely a rescue dog person, I can’t, personally, see the need to go to a pet store to buy a pedigree but it’s just my personal preference.

Callie was an amazing first dog, she was not a problem for one second except that she was  afraid to socialize with other dogs, wary of new people and was anxious. Our backyard was fine for her, walks were okay but she needed to stay close to home and she hated the car. I always dreamed of taking her to the beach or a lake so she could swim but she got near water and ran away, terrified.

When, from one day to another, she wouldn’t look me in the eye and yelped quietly twice, I brought her to the vet, he told us that there was a mass on her spleen and he needed to operate. Once he operated he saw that 75 percent of her body was filled with cancer. We were in shock; there were no signs. She didn’t even trouble us in her pain, her last, dying days. We did not want her to suffer,  the vet suggested we end her life while she was in surgery and we agreed. With the lovely technician, Stephanie, covering her face with kisses, Callie left our world, without suffering any pain. Pain was for the human beings she left behind, extreme pain.

I didn’t think I could get over it. I cried, all day and night, she was my girl. We understood each other and for at least a solid month I was depressed and nothing could get me out of it, except time. I found I also needed to be near other dogs so I visited other animal shelters. I wasn’t ready to adopt but being around dogs helped me heal. I went to shelters about twice a week, looking at the older dogs, smiling at the puppies, asking about volunteering. Each time I thought I was honoring Callie, little did I know I was helping to heal myself.

My husband and I went to a couple of shelters together, he was definitely not ready to adopt but he was open to looking. We looked together but there wasn’t a dog that “felt” right and that was fine. A couple of weeks later, I went with my friend, Sarah, and what I was looking for was sleeping right in front of me, curled up like a little cinnamon cupcake. I loved her immediately, or rather fell in love with her. I did walk around the shelter (not really seriously) but I came back to “my” dog and asked to hold her. It went quickly from there, adoption procedures were started, I welcomed her to our family.

Yes, I thought about my chronic illnesses, Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and my age, 55 with a new puppy. It really is like being a mother to a newborn. Did I doubt myself? A couple of times. Did I regret it? Not for a second. Is it challenging? As Sarah Palin used to say “You Betcha.” I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Lexi is NOT Callie’s replacement, there is love in my heart for many people and now I know, many dogs. She is nothing like my first dog, my first love. She is a rambunctious, rebel-rouser, biting, jumping, super-active pup. She has found the stairs and climbed up them in three days; we had to train Callie to go up them because she was so scared. Lexi is fearless, too fearless sometimes and we need to work to reign her in. As you can imagine, my nickname for her is “Marley to the Max” based on the wonderful book “Marley and Me.”

How can you heal a broken heart? Many different ways, of course. For me, I welcomed a homeless puppy into our home. One crazy, willful, gorgeous, “*mutt-a-gree” dog with big brown, rebellious eyes and short, warm, silky fur. Do I still have my chronic aches and pains? Yes. Do I feel them more? Sometimes, but I can’t concentrate on them, I don’t have the time. Am I happy? Absolutely. Did I do the right thing? For me and my family, for our new puppy? Without a doubt, yes. There is no doubt about it, we saved each other. each other.

*ASPCA

**Lexi, 10 weeks

DEDICATED TO STEPHANIE

Untitled

Dog on the weir

Dog on the weir (Photo credit: Steve-h)

Everything I try to write seems awkward. Nothing flows like water winding down from a river or a stream. I am thinking in short, staccato, choppy sentences even though I am feeling more in harmony. Maybe different parts of me have to catch up with each other, I don’t know. I feel that I don’t have anything to write about but I’m sure I do. Or do I?

The grief that I have gone through the last three weeks over my dog dying has been intense but it is better now. People grieve in different ways; I need to cry and let it come out and I need to look at my dog’s picture and have a conversation with her ( it’s easier than saying she had a conversation with me because most people think I’m a nut case) but we did talk. I am cherishing the ten amazing, pain-free years we had together which were nothing short of a miracle, all hugs and kisses, warmth and happiness. We both had a very good life. Change, especially shock, is NOT something I am good with but we all learn to adapt, we have no choice.

Of course I still look for her to give her the remnants of my hamburger and yes, I do wait for her at the blue front door but she is not there. I keep wanting to say “Up, Up” for her to come on my bed and lie next to me, her most favorite place, but ten years is a long time to automatically forget things like that. I don’t feel the stabbing pain anymore which is good. I will love her always but I know I can love another dog too, I also know she would want me too.

I look through the pages of the ASPCA, I drove to the shelter I brought Callie home from to pay my respects; my husband is adamant he is not ready for another dog. I do not live in a vacuum, I must respect my other family members on the other hand, they need to respect me too. I’m in a bit of a quandary. I don’t want to adopt a dog this second but I have to admit looking at adoptable dogs is making me happy, the thought of adopting a homeless dog is giving me a reason to smile.

However, ten years ago, I did not have Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis; I was also ten years younger and I really need to think about that, seriously. Will I be too weak, as I am some days, to take this as yet unnamed dog for a walk? Will my joints hurt so much that all I want to do is lie on the bed and sleep? I don’t have an honest answer for that. Callie was a dog that was gentle and she was a homebody, she didn’t particularly like being away from home so a small walk was fine, being in the backyard was even better. I know if I had an energetic dog that had to run for miles I would be unhappy and so would he/she. That would not be a good match and not fair to either of us. Of course I would try to be matched up with a gentle dog but that possibility of chance is always there.

I’m a little scared.

I also really miss having a dog in my life.

Any thoughts, comments or advice appreciated.

If I Were an Animal

cute dog on table

cute dog on table (Photo credit: epSos.de)

Pedigrees Need Not Apply

Without a doubt I’d be a dog, but not just anyone’s dog, but my dog. A dog in my family is loved beyond reason, is treated with kisses and hugs and table treats and secret snacks. She is adored, deeply, fully; we go on walks, we play games in the back yard; I warm my feet underneath her body when she lies on the bed with me. We have a pretty albeit small home, we feel safe here together. My dog, Callie, gives back every ounce of love she gets and more. Every time one of us walks in the front door she is so happy to see us that she gives kisses and hugs and licks; there’s always a celebration at our house. A celebration of love and yes, she gets a small birthday party every single year that my daughter and I throw along with our neighbors. My husband and son are no longer even INVITED.

Besides, the dog and I have a secret promise together, something only we know. I promised never to leave her, ever, but also, not to let her suffer terribly in pain down the road. We will make decisions together, she and I, and that I will be with her, looking into her beautiful velvet eyes, as the last person she sees, the person who loved her the most.

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A Change I Should Make IF I COULD

“YOU’VE GOT TO BE IN IT TO WIN IT”

money

If I could WIN THE LOTTERY.

I know the money doesn’t BUY happiness but if you are happy already, it sure would ease the pain of all the bills. I could take my family on vacation and treat them to first class (what am I saying???) I could buy a small plane!!! The food would be EXCELLENT which is the most important part and there would be beds for each of us. I could go to a sandy beach when I wanted….I could take my daughter shopping and not just on the sale rack; I would give my son money for something “techy” and my husband can have whatever he wants.

More importantly, I would give myself purpose; I would start a foundation and give the rest of the money away to children and people and pets (ASPCA) who need it. I would feel fulfilled and proud and richer in many more ways that money can ever provide. Since it’s not likely I’m going to win, I am going to look for volunteer opportunities and I know, that I need to find the right match and the love in my heart will be bigger and better than just writing a check.

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Blue Cotton Candy Will Not Do

Pink Cotton candy.

Image via Wikipedia

Rudy and Riley

‘MAKE YOURSELF SOME FUN’

I need more fun in my life, scratch that, I need FUN in my life and I really don’t have too much. Of course it’s unusual to live and be stuck in a hotel room with your husband, teenage daughter and shelter dog for eight weeks but that could not be helped. (Well it probably could have but that’s a whole other topic and I’m not going there.) No way, no how. Done.

So it is up to me to find some fun or make some on my own. You can’t count on others and while I feel pretty pleased with myself most of the time I am not a fun maker. I’m working on it:

Today, I finally bought some sketch paper and pens and will probably have a doodle fest. I plan to take my notebook with me (and sorry iPhone users) while I have the phone and it is amazing, I just don’t leave it on. It will be great to always have a pad of paper and an array of pens to play with.

What else?

We don’t have a bathtub where we are staying just a handicapped accessible bathroom with shower for my poor husband’s busted Achilles tendon…but as soon as we are able to move back home, I’m buying some bubbles, going to listen to some music and sing out loud, happily. Oh, to take a bath again! Fun.

I’m going to start seeing more movies on my own because movies make me very happy and I like going to a movie by myself on a Sunday afternoon when you don’t have to pay for parking.

Next week one of my best friends and I will have lunch together, we missed this week because her kids are home from college, and I can’t wait to hear her stories! We always laugh together and I treasure her friendship.

I am going to buy some pomegranate seeds tomorrow and treat myself to a frozen yogurt, unflavored, sweet and tart at the same time, like a frozen version of a delicious Indian drink, a lassi. I’m drooling with anticipation. I’m going to make a donation to the ASPCA because I haven’t been able to give money for a very long time but it bothers me and even giving a little means a lot. My animal-loving daughter and I will be donating together.

The last thing I plan to do is to find some pretty pink cotton candy and delight in its texture melting on my tongue leaving sugar sprinkles that make me giggle with happiness. I can’t wait.

A Love Letter To My Dog

 

Bernese Mountain Dog, puppy, 7 weeks old

Image via Wikipedia

 

Dear Callie,

I adopted you from the Briarcliff ASPCA  animal shelter 8 years ago. When I arrived,” just to look”, the manager of the shelter was cuddling two tiny puppies, one on each side of her cheeks. She told me that they never got puppies but you and your sister had just been returned by a man who adopted you at 5 weeks old. He returned after a week to drop you and your sister off because “you were too much trouble.” What did he expect from two 5 week old puppies? You and your sisters and brothers were rejected by your mother who was very tired after having given birth a few years in a row and she would not nurse you. I’m sure in my own psychological, baby heart I related to you, having been born 6 weeks prematurely and in the Neonatal department of the hospital for 5 weeks, away from my own mother. I wanted to save you, to save myself.

You and your sister,  tiny,  black with white and tan spots were handed to me as I sat myself down on the cold, gray concrete floor. You fit into the palm of one hand. One of you ran around, eating electrical wires and trying to escape; the other one walked more tentatively and curled up in  the center of my lap. It was love at first sight. I admit, the other dog was more confident and feisty and she probably would have had fun riding in the car, unlike you.  But, we all know that I’m a softie and when the tiny fluff ball that was you crawled in my lap and sighed with contentment, I did too. We were made for each other, Cal.

When the kids came home from school, in 3rd and 4th grade, you were so tiny that they first thought you were a hamster. For the first week or two I slept downstairs with you on the sofa bed and I treated you as if you were a newborn baby. When you cried I held you, when you whimpered I soothed you and I put a stuffed animal in your crate and the sound of a ticking clock to simulate a heartbeat. You were never a dog that needed to be walked continously you preferred to be at home, safe in our tiny house that was always filled with warmth and lots of love.

You are a natural-born charmer.When we eat dinner you stay near me and you rest your soft, silky neck right on my knee. Oh, you’re a spoiled dog, but you don’t whine or beg, you just look at me tenderly, licking your lips, knowing I will surrender eventually. Who can resist your warm brown dog eyes, the way your fur is outlined  so it looks like you are wearing permanent eye liner. I covet your really long eye lashes that dip and curl.  You eat everything, and you especially love Lorna Doone‘s, spaghetti sauce and blueberries. You’re not a fan of broccoli or pretty much any vegetable that’s not covered in cheese sauce. But, I admit, you eat more things than my two teenage children combined.

I love you, Callie. You are so important to our family; you always have been. The kids used to lie on their stomachs with one arm around you and talk. My son would confide in you when he was furious, my daughter still whispers her secrets in your silky ears. I never knew the meaning of unconditional love before you joined our family. Your fur has white and gray in it now, and you jump more tentatively but that’s alright. We will love you as long as you are with us and long afterwards too.