I Rang Your Bells Today…

I Rang Your Bells Today…

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It seems like yesterday we were celebrating your 6 month birthday

Today you would have been 11 years old, a calm yet dignified senior. I know your eyes would still be clear and brown, following me silently as I moved about. I also know you would still have your “fetish”  about being clean, something that used to crack your doggy daycare owner up. I took out the bells I hung on the door to housebreak you and allowed myself to wander back to April 2005 when you first entered my life. It was such a long drive, nearly 4 hours one way along a stretch of turnpike that was completely barren; no stores or gas stations, just trees  as far ahead as one could see. When we arrived at the PAWS Shelter in Calais I could literally see Canada as it was just a few minutes walk from where I stood. We bonded immediately ~ so much so that it was uncanny. I remember when out-of-state relatives came to visit in May. They asked if they could take you outside for a potty trip only to return 15 minutes later saying you wouldn’t go. I took the leash from them and walked you out. Once I said the word, you immediately went. They didn’t realize all your commands were in German and acted a bit indignant. But what fun we had! I took you to puppy class that summer and remember how the black flies attacked us. Many of the other humans weren’t bothered but not being a native Mainer black flies were new for me. I researched and found that  fabric softener sheets acted as a deterrent so the next week you had them tied onto your collar and I had them stuck everywhere.

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I think it was during that class that I first realized that many people from this area resent outsiders or as they refer to us, flatlanders. I was so tempted to ask the extremely rude and condescending class instructor if I needed special dispensation to cross the Maine border but figured it wouldn’t go over too well. I let it bother me for all of one night and after that I got a secret chuckle out of it. The irony of being called a flatlander is I learned to drive in a mountainous region very similar to Maine sans the rude people. It wasn’t until the last day of class during the graduation ceremony that I wanted to punch her lights out. When handing out the diplomas she referred to you as a “primadonna” and in a snarky tone of voice asked where your Downy dryer sheets were; that you’d have to toughen up if you were going to be a Mainer. Instead I sweetly told her that although she seems to find the dryer sheets amusing, at least your eyelids weren’t swollen like many of the other puppies in the room that night. She quickly shut up. I also never took her up on her Intermediate Training Course because she was an idiot.

That night when you hopped into my still new Volkswagen Jetta (oh those heated seats), I realized you had quickly become too tall for it. A few weeks later we went car shopping for a mid size SUV. I don’t really think it was because you were a black dog but when salesmen would show us SUVs you hopped into the back of the black ones every time which was a hoot. Unfortunately because Mom only drives a standard we wound up with a greyish green Honda. I still smile when I think of the dealerships reaction to me wanting to trade in a 6 month old car with less than 3k miles on it. They were great though and even installed a barrier gate I bought for the back (not that you ever used it). We had a lot of fun that year taking road trips in Maine to learn about our new state. We also visited other New England states and my home state of NJ. We even spent a few vacations either in NJ or some other state. You were so well-behaved, never chewing or barking unnecessarily in the hotels and never failed to get a compliment from housekeeping.

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I took a job as the jail nurse that fall and even though you were only 6 months old knew from the outside of the building exactly where my office was. A few times I brought you into the sally port and had you walk up the stairs and across the catwalk as I called it.

It was important to me that you become accustomed to different surfaces as well as surroundings. That was one of the reasons I walked you on sidewalks in a busy town, dirt roads and dense woods. I crossed busy city streets with you while travelling so you wouldn’t grow up fearful of traffic. People often asked why I spoke your commands in German since you weren’t a GSD but I told them it was habit

Your first autumn you decided to pull the chinking out from between the logs of the house. As I painstakingly hammered it back in I told you if we froze to death that winter it would be your fault so you better knock it off; didn’t faze you. Looking back I wonder if you rather enjoyed it as true chinking is made with hemp. Other than your chinking fixation you were a great puppy, never chewing shoes or door jambs. Although we did suffer a bit of pain when you were teething. Such alligator teeth! Yet at the same time you were kind for I remember picking Molly, the terrified beagle up from a transport in MA. You snuggled next to her for the long drive home which eased her trembling.picture-4029

The next spring when you turned one you began digging holes in the ground, usually in the same area. You dug so deep that I told you I was going to rent you out as a gravedigger. Once you FINALLY got out of that phase I turned the area into Callie’s Place. A Vietnam veteran down the road made picnic tables, chairs and wishing wells,  I asked if he could put “Callie’s Place” on a well and he did. Over the summer with your help of course I laid weed paper then covered it with cedar chips. We encircled it with rocks we brought down from the maintain and added a small child size bench. Over the years I added a few decorative glass items but for the most part it remains the same today. Funny how your last summer you and The Germs teamed up and dug a huge hole in the backyard.

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I remember when we  added Inga to our family and how leery you were of her at first. As tall as you were you were scared of a tiny puppy. Eventually you became best buddies. The two of you even destroyed the mattress when I boarded you for a few days at doggy day care, earning your picture on the Wall of Fame.

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The years seem to have passed much too quickly. It wasn’t because I worked but rather that it was such a long commute each way that my 12 hour shifts 3x a week turned into 15 or 16 hour days. But at least it gave me four days off in a row so we could do “dog things’. For a dog that was part lab you never cared for the water. When we went to the river so you and Inga (and later Sasha) could swim and cool off, you only dipped your feet in the water, preferring to explore the woods behind us. That’s why it was so ironic that your last summer you not only ventured into the river but actually swam. I’ll never forget that summer because at the end of it I kept saying it had been the best summer of your life. Little did I now it would be your last.

There were a lot of “labrador” traits you didn’t share; playing ball and  water sports. I remember when the canine DNA tests first came out and I did one on you. The results were  55% GSD, 34% labrador and the remainder a bit of this and that. Perhaps the GSD component played a factor in your amazing tracking ability. I often wondered if the “this and that” included Great Dane as you were so tall, much taller than The Germs. You weighed 100# but were lean and muscular. That takes me to the summer of the “boneyard”. You would go outside every day and bring me an animal bone and then sun yourself on the deck. After the third “gift” I followed to see where they were coming from only to discover a boneyard. A quick visit from the Dept of Fish & Game answered my questions. He said they knew coyotes were using my mountain as a crossing to the river because they track activity when possible and if a pack of coyote encounter a deer they “take it down”. It all clicked then because I often heard coyotes howling in the mountain and every once in a while I’d hear a God awful noise, almost like a woman screaming. The warden explained that was the noise a deer made when being attacked. I kept a loaded gun and when I’d hear then howl I’d shoot off a few rounds hoping it would disperse the pack this saving a deer.

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You were the first dog that was truly mine.  Yes I had one when I emancipated but you were different. Whereas that was happenstance I searched Petfinder diligently for you. Once I decided you were the one I had to wait for you to turn 8 weeks old. I still remember how excited I was when I brought you home. Our friend Tom tried to talk me into giving you to him because you were so adorable. Little did I know that the fluffy black baby I’d picked out on a computer would turn into a dog that gave me more love, attention and concern than my own parents.You had such an uncanny ability to hone into my every emotion, often before I knew they were there. I think with the proper training you would have made a wonderful PTSD dog.

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I also looked at your ThunderShirt today, the first time since you left me. For such a big fearless dog thunderstorms reduced you to a quivering mass of jelly. When Maine approved fireworks in 2012 it became even worse for you because people were either shooting guns, fireworks or both. I’d read such good reviews of the ThunderShirt and must say it helped you tremendously although initially I thought you looked funny wearing it.

I’ve thought about you a lot this week because your birthday was approaching. I wanted so much to make a tribute video but simply couldn’t get the hang of it. Plus I recently received some news about the veterinarian whom I blame for your death. One of the vets who fought to save your life that night sent a letter of complaint to the Board of Veterinary Medicine. She knew your vet was grossly negligent to keep you in her office all day with a slow dripping IV and a temperature escalating to a dangerous level. The Board issued her a reprimand ~ that’s it. She caused your death by allowing your temperature to reach over 106 degrees then told me it was time to leave as she was closing early. By the time I got you to the emergency clinic 2 hours away your temperature was over 107 degrees. They worked all night and got it down but the damage to your organs had already occurred and you were in acute renal failure. I did what I thought was best for you that day ~ taking you to your lifelong local vet because of the temp and nausea. I thought it would be easier on you to take a 20 minute car ride than a 2 hour one. I was wrong, a mistake that will never happen again. Not only was she your veterinarian but she was my friend;  we both hail from the city. We shared the same values, opinions and we had the same accent. I didn’t mention her for a long time and when the Board sent me forms to fill out I kept procrastinating. Now however I call it as it was; she caused your death. I know it, the doctors in Portland know it and most of all, she knows it. She apparently zeroed out my bill as I never received one (I wouldn’t have paid it anyway). She also purged all of your dog and cat siblings records because when I started going to a new veterinarian they called to get records and were told they didn’t have any plus never heard of my name. I saw her this summer at the Farmer’s Market while there with Sasha. She was heading over when she spotted me and did a fast about-face. Too bad because even though Sasha has a bum leg and lost her vision, once a Schutzhund IPO 3 (masters level) it’s ingrained. I would have told her to sitz  (sit) and gib laut (bark) just to watch the vet scamper as GSDs always made her nervous especially if they were working dogs. Oh well, there’s always next time.

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I miss you Callie Ann my angel, just as much as ever. I find myself remembering the abundance of joy and laughter you brought to my life more now than I did after you first left and I jumped on the Crazy Train of Grief. I still cry every once in a while when I see your picture appear on the digital frame and sometimes I daydream, remembering the many happy times we shared, how you enriched  my life in ways that you can’t possibly  know. There’s a black girl named Maddie who left her Mom one month after you left me. I like to think that you have found each other and are spending your days playing, free of the stress and pain of illness. And most of all, I KNOW we’ll be together again. You’ll run up with your favorite toy, Pinky, and look at me with those beautiful brown eyes and nudge me as if to say “Where’ve you been”? And I’ll tell you I had things to do but I’m here now and will never leave again.

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Jeanne B

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**I tried to get this up for her birthday but have literally been snowblowing and hand shoveling snow for over 6 days.

Discrimination Against Chronic Pain Sufferers…

Discrimination Against Chronic Pain Sufferers…

In September 2016 I posted about Chronic Pain & Pills… and the difficulty a family member was having. He is 73 and retired after 47 years of steady and often physically challenging employment. He was a tractor-trailer driver for 40 of his 47 years in the work force so essentially sat in the cab of the truck for over 10 hours a day. He began feeling ill in 1991 but typical for him wouldn’t take off work to see a doctor until I finally insisted. His PCP at the time diagnosed him with fatigue. Hmmmm. As a nurse,  the diagnosis of fatigue didn’t sit well with me so once again I insisted he seek a second opinion. This doctor ordered basic blood work and when it came back within normal limits, he also diagnosed him with fatigue. Again my professional experience kicked in and I instinctively felt they were both wrong; it was more than fatigue but I didn’t know what or whom to turn to.

One night while working at the hospital I saw a pamphlet about Lyme Disease which was still somewhat new in 1992. I remember looking at it and with each paragraph my mouth fell open a bit more. It specifically described the symptoms and the discomfort he’d been experiencing since the previous summer. More telling however was the photograph of the classic red rash; a red ring surrounding a clear area and a red center. I remembered he’d been bitten by a tick the summer of 1991 and developed an identical rash. Small at first, it enlarged in size over days/weeks until it was approximately 6” in diameter. It lasted for at least a month and always felt warm. I realized that I might have found the answer to his lingering illness so made an appointment with an ID (infectious disease) specialist  in  Philadelphia. After a comprehensive examination and specific blood tests, she diagnosed him with Stage 3 ( late disseminated) Lyme disease. He was hospitalized in ICU and after several days transferred to a medical floor for nearly a week. He had port implanted in his chest  prior to discharge and once home, received IV antibiotics for several weeks through it.  Finally after what seemed like an eternity he began to feel better. Unfortunately, Stage 3 Lyme Disease can cause long-term joint inflammation (Lyme arthritis) usually in the knees along with a host of other complications, many which continue to resurface years later. He developed severe arthritis in his knees which the ID specialist thought was probably made worse by his profession ~ driving for long hours all week. He also developed arthritis in his hands, specifically in his fingers. It hurt his hands to try to grip things and he often dropped them. As a  driver he often had to unload freight. I  remember he developed callouses on his inner wrists. When I asked what caused them, he said he was unable to unload the freight by hand so picked the boxes up using his wrists. Yet not once did he complain.  His dedication and strong work ethic was beyond reproach.

Shortly after moving to Maine he started seeing a  a rheumatologist for his arthritis. He began receiving injections to his knees which initially worked very well but as the years passed the effect of the injections didn’t last as long. He was still working so his knees were bent every day and he was frequently unloading freight by his wrists. His rheumatologist prescribed Vicodin which he only took on the weekend and even then, only if he couldn’t stand the pain. When he retired at age 66, he was finally able to live the kind of life most of us take for granted. He had the freedom to watch the news on television, walk the dog, drive to the store, sleep in a regular bed, make toast and a cup of tea in the kitchen. All those little everyday things that he wasn’t able to do for 40 years while living in a truck. Yet even with these  lifestyle changes, his knees and hands continued to hurt and were steadily worsening. He had the Vicodin prescriptions filled every month even if he had leftovers from the previous month because he didn’t want the doctor to think  he didn’t need them. They were prescribed  four times daily as needed but rarely did he take more than one or two a day and some days none at all. 

He went to the rheumatologist for his routine appointment in March 2016 and upon arrival  was told they needed a urine sample.  Upon leaving he was given a paper saying that in the future he had to bring his Vicodin bottle with him. That was new but given all the drug related issues in society not surprising. In the beginning of April  the doctor’s office called to say the test didn’t indicate enough Vicodin in his system so it would no longer be prescribed for him. Dumbfounded doesn’t even come close to describing my reaction. He were glad he had leftover pills because when the Vicodin was stopped nothing else was prescribed. He didn’t see the rheumatologist until August so he would have been in horrible pain for five months. During the August visit the doctor said that he wasn’t allowed to prescribe Vicodin based on the urine test, that it wasn’t his policy but rather that of the hospital whose umbrella he was under. He added that the hospital was working with the state to decrease narcotic prescriptions. He prescribed a different medication which is completely ineffective against the severity of his pain.

It pains me to watch him struggle to get up from a chair or  limp when he walks. My heart aches as I see him wince in pain when trying to open a jar. Now is the time he should be enjoying his life but because of chronic pain he is doing anything but. He wants very much to go to Tennessee this summer to visit his family but is worried that his arthritis will affect him; that he won’t be able to participate in  simple activities with his grandchildren due to his pain level. Every week I read of more drug related arrests and indictments in our small rural community. Many are for trafficking which simply amazes me. Where do they get the drugs? If a 73-year-old man with arthritis so severe and painful that it’s adversely affecting his life can’t get a prescription, where are these people getting them? I asked his PCP about it but he said he doesn’t prescribe for a patient who’s been “cut off” by another provider.

As to the medical center’s across the board policy, I have to wonder if it ever crossed their minds that not every person with chronic pain is a potential trafficker? That not every senior citizen is supplementing their income by selling some of their pain pills? Why do doctors automatically assume that everyone who complains of severe, chronic pain has nefarious motives? What gives them the right to play God with a person’s health and welfare? A person who has been their patient for 15 years? Yet because of a prejudicial policy, he suffers each and every day, his quality of life so impaired that he is often unable to enjoy his days.

The same thing applies to the state. In April 2016 over two-thirds of the Maine legislature voted to override two harm reduction bills vetoed by Governor Paul LePage ~ LD1552, a bill that would provide public funding for syringe exchange and expand syringe access, and LD 1547, legislation to allow access to the life saving overdose antidote Narcan (naloxone) without a prescription, something Governor  LePage vehemently objected to. During a town meeting in Damariscotta last year LePage said:

“There comes a point in time where who is responsible for who. You know a shot of Narcan is $70 and the person who gets it doesn’t have to pay it back.”

So a state whose governor publicly implies that a human life is not worth $70 is the same state establishing narcotic prescribing guidelines?

With no doctor to help and pain that is severely impacting his life, my family member has decided to try medical marijuana  because it’s legal in Maine. As I researched cannabis I was surprised because it’s definitely a profitable business. You make an initial appointment with  a doctor who is certified by the state to prescribe medical marijuana . Upon completion of the appointment, providing your medical condition is one that qualifies,  you will be issued a Medical Marijuana Card (usually tamper proof). The first visit ranges from $150 to $300 and the annual recertification is about $50 less. Then there is the cost of the actual cannabis which can be approximately $300 a month.  My family member doesn’t want to smoke so will try a concentrate that he can add to a cup of tea. And of course insurance doesn’t cover any of the costs whereas a prescription of Vicodin is $10.

So let’s recap. A senior citizen with a long, well documented history of Lyme Disease and arthritis. Retired after 47 years in the workforce, 40 of them as a tractor-trailer driver. No history of drug or alcohol abuse. He didn’t take Vicodin four times daily because he didn’t want to develop a dependency plus  the prescription said “as needed”. Yet for not taking them when he didn’t need them or was driving, the hospital’s inane and unjust policy is forcing him to turn to an alternative source in an attempt to obtain some degree of pain relief. In doing so, he’ll be spending several hundred dollars a month of his limited retirement income; money that he could spend on enjoying his life instead.

Maine, like every other state, is seeing the tragedy of the nation’s prescription opioid and heroin epidemic but it is also seeing an increase in people with chronic pain, especially as  baby boomers age. Chronic pain now affects more than a third of Americans yet as I have discovered, getting help from your physician, no matter how many years you’ve been a patient, is often impossible.

I will never go to this hospital for a procedure  because of this experience. And should I develop a condition which causes me chronic pain, I’ll definitely seek help elsewhere because no one should be made to arbitrarily suffer like my family member; to have his treatment altered based on not taking as many pain pills as they think he should but rather, as prescribed. To be judged on the results of a single urine test as opposed to a long documented medial history and 15 years.

What a sad indictment against the medical profession. When did it lose humanity and compassion?

Halfway To The Light…

Halfway To The Light…

Finally! I had my right eye corrected last week with a laser procedure called a YAG.  Because my eye was blurry from the various solutions and gels, I couldn’t really tell if my vision was improved during the ride home. Plus I had a late afternoon appointment so it was dark during the drive. When I woke up the next morning  however I could see the floor in my house for the first time since the spring of 2016! Who would think seeing a floor would bring such joy? Now mind you, I’m not talking about everyday happiness here but real deal, yell-out-loud unbridled bliss! And it got even better because as I was taking my daily vitamins that morning one dropped on the floor and of all the ones to drop it was  Turkey Tail  , which is a capsule containing freeze-dried, brown, turkey tail mushroom. Brownish capsule on a hardwood floor? See where I’m going with this?

I was going to post that day but wanted to give it some time to make sure the improvement lasted and it has. I go on Tuesday February 13 for the left eye and they’ll probably also book my appointment for the optometrist so that I can finally get glasses and hopefully contact lenses for near vision. The timing is perfect because I’m at the strongest strength in the cheater glasses. Sometimes I alternate between two different strengths if I have an especially long paper to do. I’ve also started to slowly catch up on blog reading which I wasn’t able to do very well before.

On the way down we stopped at a sporting goods store where I had an unused gift card from my AT hike. Since I havent been able to hike, walk the dogs or snowshoe, I’ve gained some weight. Plus my legs aren’t nearly as strong as they’ve always been. So I bought a new pair of snowshoes since mine are ancient. I was going to buy my second choice, Tubbs Wilderness because they were less expensive even though I really wanted my first choice, Tubbs Mountaineer. When in shape I do back country snowshoeing so having really good crampons is important to me and the Mountaineer’s are very aggressive. Lady luck was with me because they were having an in store sale and I wound up getting the Mountaineer for less than $200 (the amount of my gift card). The Wilderness weren’t on sale so it was a no brainer. Of course I’ve started out just walking to rebuild leg strength and then will snowshoeing on trails and a rolling field near me before I even attempt to ascend. Currently my legs are a step above the straw ma from the Wizard of Oz so one step at a time.

It’s been a heck of a year but soon it’ll be over.

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Social Media Has Gone Crazy…

Social Media Has Gone Crazy…

I used to enjoy Twitter because with somewhat impaired vision it was easy to hold the iPad mini close to my face and either read, RT, or send a tweet. With a limit of 140 characters it was simple and didn’t require Siri or a dictating app. It took awhile but I finally had the settings adjusted so that gruesome animal photos didn’t appear in my timeline. I basically use Twitter for funny memes and K9 tweets. It became nasty leading up to the election in November and downright vicious after the election results. People seemed to divide based on political affiliation. Many from both parties had their Twitter accounts suspended because of hateful tweets. Social media brewed morally repugnant extremism; conspiracy theories, pedophile rings, white supremacy, Satanic rituals, fake news and Pizzagate. Users quickly divided into two groups ~ the libs and the alt-right.

 

And I still haven’t figured out  Pepe the Frog  except it belongs to the alt-right.

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The alt-rights are also referring to themselves as the Deplorables and the liberals are being called Snowflakes. I’m clueless on both.

The alt-right are joining a new social media site called Gab  which promises no censorship. Someone told me there was a several week wait; I took a pass as it just doesn’t appeal to me.

I’ve never been a heavy social media user. Never felt the need to post a breakdown of my daily routine on the internet. I’m not saying it’s wrong but rather it’s just not for me.

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I actually began to enjoy blogging for the short time before my “eye surgery gone wrong”.

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Now it takes twice as long (if not longer) because the dictating app doesn’t “get” my accent. I’m not offended however because most Mainers don’t understand me either.

So I’m counting down the days till my right eye is repaired on Jan 31 and praying they don’t make my next appointment 3 months out. Sasha saw the vet today and he told me that because of a severe storm warning for Tuesday, his dentist’s office called to reschedule an appointment he made months ago. His new appointment? June! At least I now it’s not just me.

Why Are Americans So Angry?

Why Are Americans So Angry?

In 1789 George Washington, as the first president of the United States, gave his inaugural speech in New York. In 2016 Republican Donald Trump was elected our 45th president and on Jan 20, 2017 gave his inaugural speech in Washington DC. Both during the ceremony and long after, our nation’s capital was full of protesters. Today there is the Women’s March on Washington 2017 which is a massive march calling on supporters to fight and oppose the Trump administration. Live media coverage  report there is half a million women at the Capital Mall in addition to flooding the streets of Washington.

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I don’t have an issue with protests because throughout history civil unrest  has often led to much-needed change. What I do take umbrage to is civil disobedience. Breaking storefront windows, bank windows, jumping on cars until the windshields are shattered and setting trash cans and cars afire ~ this helps your cause how? I’d really like someone to explain to me because I don’t understand how destruction of property and attacking innocent people furthers a political agenda or for that matter, any agenda!

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Democrats and Republicans have become more ideologically polarized than ever. If there was any doubt the violent, flag burning protests immediately following the November 8 election then again on Inauguration Day certainly dispelled them. We are a country divided unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed which begs the question ~ why are Americans so angry?

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News link from Reuters with picture slide show

According to Washington DC police, protesters threw rocks and bricks at police. Six D.C. police officers were injured during the altercations. 217 protesters were arrested.

Even worse were the vitriolic social media posts made by adults about Trump’s 10-year-old son Barron. No matter which party you support, children are off-limits. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. Yet here is a Tweet by Katie Rich, a SNL writer.

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Why? What kind of responsible adult would post such a sick joke about a child? And she wasn’t alone.

Two of these people refer to themselves as “professional writers”. Of what? Bathroom humor? And why? Because their candidate lost? Every election year someones candidate  loses yet America doesn’t see these kinds of violent and cruel acts.

It shouldn’t matter what your political party, nothing condones this behavior because to  engage in it YOU become the uncivilized one. YOU become the very thing you protest.

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Blue, aka mainebluedog, Needs Help…

Blue, aka mainebluedog, Needs Help…

I’ve written about a pit bull puppy named Blue, aka mainebluedog, several times. He was found with his muzzle taped in the mountainous and heavily wooded terrain of Maine at Sunday River Ski Resort on October 2, 2015. Miraculously he was discovered by resort security who called animal control. She in turn immediately took the puppy to Bethel Animal Hospital which is owned by Dr. Gary Stuer, one of Sasha’s veterinarians. He and his staff went to work trying to save as much of the puppy’s lips, mouth and facial tissue as possible.  They estimated he was only between 5-6 months old!  The authorities were notified and the HSUS announced a $5,000 reward however over a year later the monster that did this to an innocent and defenseless puppy has yet to be found. The investigation and reward both remain open.

This is very similar to what the area would have looked like the first week in October.

 

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After staying at Bethel Animal Hospital for nearly one month, the puppy now named “Blue” was adopted by a wonderful family from Maine. Because of the open investigation, they have remained anonymous to protect Blue. Everyone has respected their request for anonymity and continues to do so. Because of the widespread media coverage, many people were interested in Blue so his new family set up an Instagram account hence the name “mainebluedog”. Just looking at the photos and video clips show how very loved he is. I don’t know their names; I reached out to them via his Instagram asking permission to write more about Blue and use some of their photos to which they kindly agreed.

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Blue is a very active (you will see for yourself on his Instagram video clips) and well-travelled fellow.  His family noticed that he was limping and took him to their veterinarian. It was discovered that Blue has Medial Compartment Disease in his elbows. The preceding link provides a good overview of the disease as it’s actually composed of several different conditions. Blue is under the care of a veterinary specialist and in mid-December had his elbows scoped. He currently has some restrictions on his level of activity thus the Boo Mobile.

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Blue had his follow-up appointment on December 29 and his Mom reports that the appointment went well but he’ll remain on exercise restriction for several months at which time they will discuss his progress with the specialist and see what the next steps are.

As you can imagine, the type of specialty treatment Blue needs is expensive. Whether or not surgery will be needed remains to be seen. A friend of Blue’s family has kindly set up a fundraising page to help with expenses,  Help Blue Get Back On His Feet.  His story is also featured on the The Dodo!

 

Blue has such an indomitable spirit and supportive, loving family that I’m confident he’ll meet any challenges head on. However everyone needs a bit of help at times and I can’t think of a more worthy cause than Blue’s health. This poor boy hasn’t even reached two and has already endured such trauma. When I think of him as a mere puppy, alone in the woods with his muzzle taped shut my emotions are polarized; I’m thankful that he was found because I’m sure he would have died. At the same time, I’m disgusted by the sadistic and cruel person who committed such a barbaric act against a living, sentient being.

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When my GSD Sasha developed her unique medical issues, there were times I wouldn’t have been able to fully provide what she needed if others hadn’t helped me. It would give me immense pleasure If I can help pay it forward for Blue.

Please consider making a donation to Blue’s fundraiser  Help Blue Get Back On His Feet.; I assure you any amount will be appreciated. Also, if you would kindly share his Go Fund Me link within your social media and email circles it would go far in helping reach the goal.

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I last wrote about Blue on October 17, 2016 in a post called A Little Joy After My Bleak Posts Of Late…  At the bottom of that are three links to my initial posts which were part of a blog challenge. All four posts have additional links and photographs.

Blue’s a pretty funny boy don’t you agree?

 

In closing I’d like to explain how I chose the cover photo because I found it significant. Blue is relaxed in the snow looking towards the mountains. Although they aren’t the mountain where he was found, had things turned out differently he wouldn’t have this wonderful life.

“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”
 ~Karen Davison (The Perfect Companion)

Happy New Year To Us….

Happy New Year To Us….

Another year gone and a new one started. Same as every year; takes a few weeks to automatically write 2017 on our checks instead of 2016. Resolutions made; some will be kept and some ~ not so much. Another year added to our age and if there are still children in the house, another year closer to their tweens, high school or leaving the nest. Some of us may lose an aging parent, a job, become engaged, marry or even  or divorce. The year is a bit over one week old so essentially a blank slate.

Anyone who reads my posts surely must recall what I’m looking forward to. My seven months overdue Botox for Migraine injections which I’m thrilled to say I received on January 2 and already booked my 3 month appointment. Now I’m counting down the days till January 31 when I have the vision in my right eye corrected with a simple laser treatment. That still won’t restore my near vision and I can’t make an appointment for my left eye until the right one is done. I also can’t make an appointment for a refraction (eyeglass fitting) until both eyes are done. Whenever I have the refraction done I’m getting measured for contact lenses because losing my near vision overnight isn’t working out too well for me. I haven’t knit or read a book since the winter of 2015-2016 ~ one year ago. I’m up to the highest strength of cheater glasses so hope this can be finished up as soon as possible. But I have the January 31 appointment so I’m trying to stay positive. It’s progress albeit it small.

My biggest dilemma of this year actually came on Christmas night but it took until January 1 for me to process it and decide how to move forward.  My best friend’s (since I moved to Maine) ex-husband with whom she maitained a good relationship  was killed in a single car accident the morning of December 20. He was a bit pompous and a womanizer which is why they divorced many years age, sharing custody of their only son. However he was an excellent physician who was in charge of the local ER for 18  years. He went on to implement new programs for the rural community, started a health center in an extremely rural area then went to work overseas with Doctors Without Borders where he worked on missions in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Malawi, Sri Lanka and the Congo. He risked his life volunteering to care for Ebola patients in West Africa four times. I learned about the accident approximately 2 hours after it happened but waited till the afternoon to call her even though I knew afternoons were not the ideal time to speak to her. My friend drinks. She doesn’t talk about it nor does she stagger  or fall. She always has a Nalgene bottle with her sipping  water. However around noon she replaces the water with white wine and unless you talk to her you’d never know. When I had a legal matter my attorney spoke to her around 3pm and she spoke jibberish. At first I made an excuse for her but then I told him the truth. We had an understanding that if she was called to testify it would be early morning. Whenever my phone rang in the afternoon and I saw it was her number I wouldn’t answer. I simply cannot tolerate talking to someone who is drunk.  They make no sense at all and I find it beyond irritating. When I called her that afternoon as soon as she answered I knew she’d been drinking. She said “Hey he’s dead, what can you do? That’s life.” She assured me she was fine and didn’t need anything. I called her twice more in the next few days; the first time it went to voicemail and the second time I reached her on Christmas Eve morning.  Again, she was calm but in the years I’ve known her she never was a very emotional or demonstrative person.  I told her to please let me know when the memorial service was and we left it at that. On Christmas night  my daughter was driving home from the 6pm church service when her phone rang.  It was my friend. She demanded to know what was wrong with me. My daughter was confused and said “Well she can’t see very well”.  My friend went on and on about how she was dealing with a traumatic event in her family and couldn’t deal with “your mother’s stuff”.  My poor daughter was dumbfounded as she was sitting in the great room both times I was able to reach my friend. She had no idea what she was talking about. Being a rural area, there are dead cell spots every mile or so and the connection kept getting lost. My friend called back several times even more irate because of the dropped calls. The next time their call dropped she called back and was particularly nasty telling my daughter “I’ve had enough. Don’t ever call me again.” My daughter came in the house and asked if I had talked to my friend and I told her not since the  day before and asked why. When she told me I was shocked. I couldn’t figure out what I could have possibly said when we spoke that could have caused her to react like this a day later. To say I was upset is an understatement because I felt like a little girl again. Getting into trouble but not knowing what for. It really troubled me for nearly the entire week, causing insomnia and angst. I contemplated calling her and asking what I did to upset her. Then I thought I should call and apologize ~ but for what?  On January 1, 2017, I had my first clarity and told myself no. That I’d simply had enough. I am tired of being someone’s “punching bag” just because they’re mentally ill,  jealous or drunk. It started with physical abuse before I even began kindergarten and I am still allowing people to do it. So I blocked her number on both my phone and my daughter’s and haven’t lost any more sleep nor thought about it.10205960966445531

I’m not sure how I feel about her; I’m not angry but I’m not sad or upset. And I definitely don’t feel guilty which is a rather big step for me. I guess if I had to define my feelings I would say I’m done feeling guilty and done apologizing just to “please” someone else. I can’t guarantee I won’t feel guilty about something in the future, but right now I’m content to leave the past behind. Instead I’m enjoying the snow and …..

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looking ahead to getting my vison back.

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