Harbinger – #writephoto

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It somehow seems unfair that, as you get older, life gets harder. Haven’t we paid our dues by now? Isn’t it time for easy street? Apparently not. I’ve just spend one of the hardest summers ever and I’m hoping it isn’t a harbinger of things to come. I don’t normally believe in omens, but the events of the past summer has filled me with fear.

The good news is that I’m enjoying improved health. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit long-lost relatives — my father’s side of the family. It was wonderful to see them. Then there is the bad news. My life was flipped upside down this summer, early on, when my husband had a huge health scare. Major, unexpected, and emergency open-heart open-chest surgery. I don’t think I’ve ever been so terrified in my life and I remain frightened. He survived and has recovered quite well. I’ll never quite recover from the fear. Then, one of my best friends, a childhood friend, passed away, again quite unexpectedly. I still don’t believe he’s gone. To me, we’ll always be kids, camping out in my backyard.

On top of all this, my contract writing job ended. I knew it would, but I’m still sorry it did. I don’t quite have it in me to job hunt. At least not right now. I may wait awhile, then freelance. I don’t think I’ll take another contract position. I’m not cut out to answer to a boss at this point in my life. Operating my own freelance business is more my style now. Writing non-fiction business articles. Perhaps breaking into the B2B market. I also have other areas of interest – politics, culture, education. Maybe finishing my two books. A novel and a book of flash fiction. Those are my ventures into fiction, except for the fiction I have written and will write on this blog. I’ve made a good living writing freelance in the past.

I was reminded this morning of the harbinger I really should focus on. Three months  ago, I rescued a little dog named Clara. She’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a breed I’ve loved for years. She is seven years old and had served as a breeder dog in a kennel. I won’t go into all of her problems, but she was not well when she came to me. She had been neglected and only valued for her puppies. Clara has had a long summer of veterinary care and loving care in my home and she’s started to blossom. She’s starting to respond to us and she’s remembering she’s a dog who has the opportunity to play and be happy. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. Perhaps Clara is the harbinger I’m looking for since fall has arrived and winter draws near. She represents hope for the future.

#SoCS – 02/03/2018

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Dogs are not dollar signs. This is both a personal stream of consciousness post and a sort of public service announcement/op-ed piece. In other words, you have found me up on my soap box today.

Yesterday, I had to have my beautiful little dog, Hanna, put down. Hanna was not yet a year old. A little more than a year ago, I had to have my sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel put down. Betsy was only four and a half years old. Why did Betsy and Hanna have to die so young? Because of poor breeding practices by the purebred breeders from which they came. Neither did any sort of genetic testing. Both were irresponsible.

Hanna’s breeder decided to develop a “designer” dog and mixed two purebred breeds. To my knowledge, they did no genetic testing. In doing that, they created puppies with extreme fear aggression who couldn’t learn and who were fear biters and worse. They didn’t know what they were doing. It wasn’t Hanna’s fault. She should never have been born.

In Betsy’s case, she developed a fatal genetic disease called syringomyelia that was incredibly painful. It could have been avoided by genetic testing and Betsy would never have been born and would never had to endure the pain she endured.

Both breeders saw dollar signs instead of sweet puppies.

I don’t pretend to know the answer to this problem since breeders of purebred dogs are not subject to any sort of controls by any governing body except the American Kennel Club and various regional clubs that set the breed standard and govern showing purebred dogs. Unless the various breed-specific clubs impose some sort of rules and sanctions, there are purebred dogs that are going to become extinct. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, for example, is thought to have about fifty percent of dogs carrying the gene for syringomyelia, the condition that killed Betsy. Many breeds are known to be fear aggressive, like Hanna, and the condition is almost impossible to treat. The dogs have to be put down. I could cite many more examples.

Be very careful if you buy a purebred dog. Question the breeder about their breeding practices. Ask about genetic testing. Ask if they offer a health guarantee. Don’t just fall in love with a puppy, pay a huge price, and walk away. Ask questions. Get guarantees. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot of vet bills and a broken heart.

Indelible – #JusJoJan 2018

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She was awakened this morning by one of her recurring nightmares. He was trying to steal her dogs again. She sat up quickly on the side of the bed. So many things that had happened in her first divorce from him had made an indelible mark on her psyche. Harper, her small dog, who was lying on top of her bed had been nudging her. Maybe that had triggered the dream from events that took place 25 years ago.

That divorce and the involvement of the dogs she had at that time hit her like a battering ram. He had tried to use anything she loved, or anything or anyone that loved her, against her. To hurt her. To ruin her reputation. She knew that, this time, this ending of the second marriage, he would do it again. The thought made her lose her breath and feel nauseous.

She let Harper outside and her mind drifted back to the custody fight he had started over her three dogs all those years ago. He had warned her that he was going to take them from her. He didn’t succeed, but he cost her a lot of money and worry in order to keep them. During their first divorce hearing, the judge ruled that she would have custody of the dogs, her precious corgis, even though they were legally considered property. But, he gave him visitation rights. Since he had two pit bull mixes at his house, she let him come to her house to see them. It was a nightmare and everyone knew he was there to see her. She was disgusted.

Over a year passed. She finally received a letter from his attorney. Extortion, she called it. He wanted money in exchange for the cessation of visitation rights. One of the dogs was her mother’s dog. Her mother was terminally ill and lived with her. The middle dog was crippled from birth and a rescue from a breeder. Then there was her precious Kelly. Her dog. There was no choice but to pay the ransom. $25,000. She paid it and kept her dogs. As she watched Harper in the backyard, running and playing, she felt, deep in her gut, that it was about to happen again.

She would not let it. She would take matters into her own hands.

 

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s JusJoJan 2018 Challenge.

#weekendcoffeeshare 8/12/2017

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Good morning to everyone! If we were having coffee this morning, I’d ask you to meet me at our local coffee shop. It has a wonderful patio area and the owner sets up a wonderful buffet for the #weekendcoffeeshare people. Today’s offerings are the best blueberry muffins I’ve ever tasted and banana bread that I’m going to taste. He is also going to offer us bread pudding! Yes, bread pudding for breakfast which is very decadent!

There is a nice selection of tea, including a wonderful raspberry tea, along with a selection of green tea and two black teas including one called “Paris.” Coffee this morning is a regular coffee along with expresso and a nice cafe latte.

Let’s all sit down and talk! I would love to hear how each and every one of you are doing. It’s been sort of an odd weather week where I live here in Kentucky, U.S.A. It’s still rather hot during the day, but one can tell that fall is coming. The summer flowers are definitely fading. The nights are getting cool. We’ve had so much rain this summer. We’re way above our average. There is a feeling of fall in the air. September and October really dry out if it is a usual weather year. There is nothing about 2017 that has been normal about the weather here. Have you experienced the same where you live?

How has your blogging and writing been going this week? I haven’t been blogging as much as usual. That’s because I’ve been trying to finish one part of the novel I’m writing. I did finish it, but it just means I’ve now started on the next part that is the actual “meat” of the book. I hope to finish this part before I go to Florida for the winter. I’ll leave here for Florida in early November. The part of the novel I’m working on now requires about 60,000 – 70,000 words. That’s what I’m facing between now and early November! I won’t be blogging as much as usual!

The other really important thing I’m doing between now and when I leave for Florida is training my little dog, Hanna. When she came to me, she was a blank slate. No one had done anything with her. Hanna is now five months old and doesn’t even know how to walk on a leash. I’ve trained dogs before, but when they were much younger and amenable to training than Hanna. So I’m employing professional help! Hanna starts private obedience training classes on Tuesday with a very good dog trainer in my area. She will learn the basics like how to walk on a leash and socialization skills. She is so very shy. She was clearly not around people at all until she came to me. She will have as many private lessons as she needs. Then, she and I will join a puppy obedience class for more socialization and to learn the basic obedience commands. After that, if there is time, she will join an adult obedience class.

Hanna and I have work to do!

As you can see, I’m going to be busy between now and when I leave for Florida in early November.

Tell me what’s going on with all of you in the comments. You’re my friends and colleagues!

#weekendcoffeeshare – 07/29/2017

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Good morning, everyone! Thanks so much for meeting Jenn and I at our local coffee shop. I think it is so much nicer, since it’s summer, to sit outside here on the patio than it would be to sit inside my house! There is room for all of us here. The proprietor has prepared hot cross buns for us today, along with other pastries. They are to die for! Choose your drink. You can choose from a wide selection of coffees and teas.

Come sit! I’m glad to see all of you. I haven’t been able to be with you for a couple of weeks. I have been terribly busy.

Good friends are a wonderful thing. Yes, this is related to how busy I’ve been. Most of you know that I’m writing a novel. One of my best friends, and a colleague when I went through the doctoral program, is reading my novel. Right now, he is only reading it for content, though he will probably do the first edit on it. After reading the entire first part of my novel, he was able to give me a completely new perspective on the content. After thinking about it, I decided to take his suggestions and I am doing a significant rewrite. As I write, it is sounding better and better all the time. I am grateful for my friend! This means it will take me a little longer to write the book, but I feel like it will be a better book.

Then there is Hanna, the new puppy. She is absolutely delightful. The sweetest, most affectionate puppy. She’s now 4.5 months old. Hanna is in training to be a dog. 🙂 We are currently working on housebreaking and leash training. At some point, we will move up to crate training and I will try to desensitize her to riding in the car. Every time she gets in the car, she get sick. Very sick. We have to work very hard on this!

Hanna and I had company for two nights this week. My cousin’s little dog stayed with us since my cousin had some business to attend to. Max is a breed about the size of Hanna’s breeds. They got along famously and loved to run together in the backyard. Hanna was a little jealous though! Max is now back home.

My morning glories are finally blooming! I’m waiting on the moonflowers, planted in the same spot. The insects, those darn Japanese beetles, have been hard on them this year.

The weather here has not been particularly good for growing anything. It has been so wet, So much rain the forest looks like a jungle. Not much humdity at times. Intense humidity at other times. Cool days followed by really hot periods. Unusual for my area.

I would love to share a cup with each of you. Please tell me what’s up with you in the comments! See you next weekend!

 

#weekendcoffeeshare is sponsored by Parttimemonsterblog where you can join the linkup. Join us on Twitter at #weekendcoffeeshare.

#weeklysmile 80

Trent’s World, one of the blog’s I follow, runs a weekly challenge called the #weeklysmile which is……well…….just what it says! The participants talk about the moments during the week that make them smile. I could use a dose of that so here goes my first contribution. Here is my first #weeklysmile:

IMG_0718Her name is Hanna (pronounced Hannah) and she is four months old! She is definitely worth the #weeklysmile as she is one of the funniest dogs I’ve ever owned! Since I recently lost my dog, Hanna has been a dose of good cheer. She is a mixed breed but not very mixed. She is half Havanese and half Lowchen. She walks around on her back legs, seems miraculously housetrained, and is already living freely in the house. Hanna is smart! She can’t yet climb steps, which seems to be her only deficiency. She seems able to come down them, but she mostly falls down them.

Hanna is terrified of crates and I’ve always crate-trained my dogs, so I have no idea where she is going to sleep tonight. I fear it is in my bed and I only hope she really is housetrained. She is twelve pounds, will grow to about eighteen pounds, and I fear she is planning world domination.

I hope all of you have great weekly smiles as well.

#weekendcoffeeshare 7/15/2017

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Good morning, my friends! Thanks for meeting Jenn and I in our favorite coffee shop again this morning. The owner agreed to supply us with his raspberry scones again, but offered to add bread pudding with caramel sauce for us. I don’t know about you, but bread pudding may be my favorite thing in the world! There is also a selection of hot teas, chai latte, expresso, cappuccino, and just about any kind of coffee you desire. Grab something and join me!

If we were having coffee this morning, I guess I would tell you that this is a good news/bad news day for me. Some of you may recall that my precious pup, Betsy, was ill with a genetic illness the last time we talked. We tried and tried, but Betsy passed away from that illness, breaking our hearts in the process. I don’t want to relive it, so I won’t get into the details but I miss her so much.

Since I’ve always needed a dog in my life and I knew my precious Betsy was going to leave me, I had been researching dog breeds. I happened on a breeder of Havanese and Lowchen dogs. Small dogs with big hearts, playful, affectionate, just what I needed. There had been an accidental breeding between a Havanese male and a Lowchen female and two female puppies had resulted. Turns out, they were beautiful.  I bought Hanna (pronounced Hannah) and she has been home with me for two days now. I’ve posted her picture at the bottom of this weekend coffee share. She’s beautiful, four months old, and we’re trying to deal with her severe separation anxiety. If anyone has any tips, I’m surely open for suggestions!

Also, last time we talked, I told you I would be taking a short trip to Tennessee to be with my friend, Marty, as she underwent a surgical procedure. She had surgery and is doing very well. She is feeling much like her old self and the effects of her illness seem to be subsiding. I’m so glad about that.

All of this has put a hold on my writing. I’ve written some for this blog, but my other writing goals have not been met. I have to rectify that this week.

I’d love to hear what’s up in your world! Please stay and enjoy coffee, tea, and these wonderful pastries. Good to see you all!

This is Hanna at four months old!

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#SoCS – 7/8/2017

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Unconditional love is a thing I’m not sure we humans know. Maybe we do. I think we think we feel it more often than we actually do. There is a bond, as old as time, between a person and their dog and a person’s dog loves him/her unconditionally. No matter what we do. We can ignore our dog. Abusive people can even abuse their dog. The dog still loves their person unconditionally. I’ve always thought it was a miraculous thing. This unconditional love between a person and their dog.

Some of you may know that, recently, my dog has been sick for a while now. I’ve written about her in a couple of articles, “Tender Betsy” and An Update About Betsy.

On July 4, 2017, just three weeks after Betsy was diagnosed, she passed away.

I’ve had many special dogs in my life. They are all, indeed, special. They all give me a chance to know that I can love unconditionally. Betsy was at the top of that heap. I have been inconsolable.

In a few weeks, it will be time for me to decide whether or not to get another puppy. I’ve never been without a dog. I feel sure I eventually will. I will never forget the dog from the movie I saw so long ago, “Lady and the Tramp.” Betsy looked just like Lady. She was beautiful, inside and out. She made me laugh and later, cry. She comforted me. She was my constant companion. As the veterinarian put her to sleep, she went to sleep licking my face. Betsy was only four years old. I’ll never forget my little spaniel. She was a very loving trooper.

Tender Betsy

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Three nights ago, I woke up, rather groggily, to a loud banging in my bedroom. I thought of my little dog, Betsy, and immediately turned to find her. She was in her steel crate, with the door open, having a seizure. The banging was her little, tender   body, stiff and jerking, banging against her crate.

I leaped up and went to her. By then, the seizure was almost over and she was in the latter stages. The paralysis that happens after. Her legs were stiff and her head and neck were stuck backward. She stayed like that for ten or fifteen minutes before she could move again. This was her second seizure that I know about.

She slowly got up and left her crate, wide-eyed and shaky. She kept coming to me, looking at me as if to ask me what happened. I had no answers. I just cuddled her. The next stage was the pacing. She paced through the house, wide-eyed and frightened for an hour or two. After that, she collapsed on the couch. She didn’t move for maybe eight hours.

Betsy is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. A breed of dog that is docile, sweet, and tender. To watch her go through something like a grand mal seizure was a horrible thing. It took two and a half days for Betsy to be Betsy again.

There is an innocence and trust in all dogs. We can’t explain to them what happens to them when it happens and we don’t know how much they understand. As their companions, all we can do is get them good medical care and love them unconditionally. We have to show that love to them, cuddle them, make them feel safe. If a person is a good person, dogs bring out the best in us.

Dogs love us no matter what we do. Deserve their love.