So sorry I’m late! All I can say is I have the ISP from another planet. Haven’t even checked email in several days.
I’ve decided to finish with the same theme ~ dogs. The Miracle of Blue ~ the pitbull puppy found with his muzzle taped in the mountains of Maine. In October 2015 he was seen running in the area of the Sunday River Ski Resort and picked up by the animal control officer. She took him to Bethel Animal Hospital which is one of the phenomenal veterinary practices involved in my German Shepherd’s health care. This story touched me in so many ways. The sadistic subhuman that abused and left a 5-6 month old puppy to die, the fear the puppy must have felt with his mouth tightly taped shut, and his astonishing recovery. From the moment he was rescued by the ACO, he gave nothing but love and kisses to everyone involved in his road to recovery. Amazing tale of survival and unconditional love and I think this quote sums up the essence of Blue… “Dogs, for a reason that can only be described as divine, have the ability to forgive, let go of the past, and live each day joyously. It’s something the rest of us strive for.” ~ Jennifer Skiff, The Divinity of Dogs: True Stories of Miracles Inspired by Man’s Best Friend
To learn more, please see the links in Challenge 1 or read this wonderful article about Blue and his new life.
“There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings and walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.” ― Suzanne Clothier, Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs
More photos of “Blue” ~ the 8 month old dog found in the woods of Maine with his muzzle tightly taped shut. He was miraculously found and even more miraculously, survived and thrived as he underwent his months long journey towards life.
I had a visit today with Dr. Gary Steur, the doctor who transformed Blue medically. He said the true horror of the situation was that despite what man had done to him, Blue never behaved in a mean way. Dr. Steur said he was sweet from the day he was saved in the deep woods of the Western Mountains of Maine until he was finally ready to join his forever home.
To read more about this remarkable testament to the will to live, please refer to the links in my preceding post ~ 3 Day Quote…Challenge 1.
In closing, a picture I took today of the area of rugged, wooded, mountainous terrain where Blue was found…
“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.” ~ Mark Twain
This is “Blue“, a dog that was found in the woods with his muzzle duct taped, rescued and treated for a lengthy period of time by one of my fantastic vets, Dr. Gary Steur. You can read more about Blue’s recovery and new home on the veterinary hospitals FB page.
This has been my most difficult post to date. I actually wrote it a week ago but whenever I tried to post I simply couldn’t get my finger to scroll the touchpad to the Publish widget. Even tonight the simple task of proof reading has taken on a life of its own ~ so I’m just doing it…
I’ve pondered my own question since I initially posted it on June 22 and think that in my case it’s safe to say it doesn’t. Life will be going along at a steady happy pace then out of the blue something happens and you’re transported back to a place you thought was long gone. A place, a time, or even a state of mind that you thought was buried with time yet here it is, front and center, reducing you to a bundle of spiraling emotions and tense nerve endings. You actually experience a physiological state called fight or fight.
The other night I wanted to escape all the horror in the world; the attack in France, assassination of police in Dallas, the civil unrest brewing in America and the ongoing terrorism in other parts of the world. I wanted to forget about my drive to spread the plight of K9s dying in hot police cars throughout social media. I wanted a night away from researching my dog Sasha’s complex and ever-changing medical needs so I turned to an ongoing and numerous subject ~ my hair. Blogged about my efforts over the years to have Pantene like hair and failing. I went to bed that night without a weight on my shoulders and it was truly wonderful. The next morning I was home alone with the dogs when it sounded like a knock on the front door. The dogs went ballistic because a knock on my door is truly a rarity. We live off the beaten path and our driveway is akin to a steep, dirt logging road disappearing up through trees. The only person that comes here with any regularity is the UPS delivery driver because I buy through Amazon frequently.
I don’t even have politicians soliciting my vote during election years. Complete solitude but instead of welcoming a knock on the door I went into a full-blown panic mode of almost epic proportions. Regressing a minute, panic induced because a knock on the door terrified me until I was about 23. It was approximately 14 years since the original life changing trauma, I was a mother and I NEEDED to lock it away because intellectually I knew I was safe. I knew my fear was irrational and I could not allow it to define me any longer, especially with small children who depended on me. I put the traumatic memory in a compartment within the deepest recesses of my mind and sealed it shut. I did the same with each horrible memory, one by one. I could not be the kind of mother my children needed, the kind of mother I ached for as a child as long as those memories were floating loose in my head. Once I completed the compartmentalizing and sealing process, I actually felt better. I won’t lie and say my psyche wasn’t in turmoil and chaos from time to time but I couldn’t afford to be so I suppressed it. I had an image of the storage area in my mind; it was a dark room with columns of boxes which not only appeared welded shut but each with a chain and padlock. For the most part they stayed safely locked away until 2012. Then came my rude awakening ~ that traumatic memories which have not been properly addressed and processed can never truly be left behind. Instead they lurk below the surface, ready to trigger you at any given moment and often without a precipitous factor. When an employer accused me of theft in retaliation for reporting activity to a state agency which I was ethically and morally bound to do, I knew I was risking my job but it never entered my mind that the repercussions would be so costly to my mental health. Of all the ways they could choose to retaliate they inadvertently stumbled on the ONE thing that most assuredly wold drop me to my knees ~ an unjustified accusation of theft. The very thing that caused so many of my childhood beatings. Of lying on the floor crying that I didn’t steal this or that but not being believed. Of being beat with a leather belt, kicked with feet or being pulled by the hair. All by the parent I loved and at the bidding of a truly demented woman. Even worse, there were no relatives to intervene, no teachers expressed concern about my frequent bruises and cuts, no social service agency reports nor police involvement. As I previously wrote when I tried to describe that day, all the individual compartments within my mind, relics of past abuse and terror, flew open and I was flooded like I never knew was possible. It was as if EVERY incident, EVERY beating, EVERY lie, EVERY emotion was front and center in my car, accosting me from the dashboard. I remember at one point suddenly pulling over, getting out and shaking my head hoping that would bring me back to the present, as if standing for a minute in the bright sun of a summer day would erase the horrors on the dashboard. It didn’t and even now, four years later I don’t know how I drove home. I have a deep-rooted fear of the police because they removed me from my childhood home before I was even ten years old. Not because I was a physically abused child, not because I was sexually assaulted the summer before kindergarten. It was because my crazy stepmother called them. My father came home later than usual that day and smelled of beer. I had the impression for several years that he wasn’t allowed to go to the bar unless he took me with him, a practice that began the summer before I started kindergarten. My mother would have conversations with herself during the day while sitting in the living room with a tissue tightly clenched in her hand. She wore a pained expression at times and an expression of smug superiority at other times. Superiority was the look she had as she showed me her dresses that she said were cheap substitutes of her expensive ones, switched by the nameless faceless people I was terrified of for many years. She radiated smugness as she proclaimed “They can’t fool me. I’m too smart”. That was the same expression she alternated with the pained look of a victim during the conversations she had sitting alone in the chair. I knew from listening by the door to her talking with herself that women were chasing my father in the bar; that they were trying to take him away. So began my ritual of going to the bar with my father. He had to come directly home from work, eat dinner (or not) then he and I left for the bar. I remember hour upon hour of sitting on the bar stool as he played pool with his friends. I had an endless supply of cheese puffs and orange soda from my fathers drunken friends. I would sit on the barstool staring at large jars of pickled eggs, pickled pigs feet, and just pickles that graced a section of the wooden bar near the beer taps. To this day I despise orange soda, cheese puffs and anything that’s pickled in any way, shape or form. I don’t drink alcohol, never went to a bar/club, play pool and so far haven’t had a conversation with either myself or a tissue.
PS: I snapped the header photo last week with an iPhone in Bethel ~ home to one of the several ski resorts in Maine. I drive there every week for Sasha’s acupuncture.
Hair. Let’s talk about something we can relate to in one way or another. We all have it as well as the accompanying emotions that seem to cause us endless angst. We have straight hair but long for curls. Natural redhead but would prefer being deep brunette. Or those who struggle to stay ahead of graying locks and when the battle is lost, struggle to stay ahead of the gray roots. I’ve always said, if I worried about my body the way I do my hair I’d look like Madonna back in the 90’s but minus the cone bras.
Let me tell you about my hair. It is extremely thick and I can honestly say every stylist who has ever worked on it “claim” they’ve never seen such thick hair (which somehow I doubt). In my late teens I allowed a stylist to thin it out with thinning shears ~ never again. Because my hair is also course (especially the top) when it was thinned I had pieces sticking out all over my head that literally resembled corkscrews . I’ve had stylists subtly ask if I was biracial because of the texture of my hair ~ the horsehair part that is. I’ve been tempted to say that I’m only biracial on the top of my head but haven’t. Biracial isn’t a bad thing but I’m 100% Irish with extremelypale skin and dark hair. Adopted by a Polish couple and later lived in Little Italy. Some diversity right?
I’m a 3B
A bad hair day!
I’m now nearing 50 so have undergone quite a few hair transitions over the years. Frosting in early 20’s which was torturous because they used THOSE caps. For me it was like they were pulling my brains out because of the thickness but did I have it done again? Of course! In hindsight I think I must have been going through a masochistic phase but didn’t realize it.
I’m a natural dark brunette with red undercurrents that keep coming through. But I have something different in that I have a Mallen Streak . I was born with one in the area of my upper right hairline. As a child my adoptive step-mother (who knew one kid could have so many mothers?) would take me into a room and have me look at a photo of Shirley Temple and berate me for not looking like her. “Look at Shirley’s beautiful curls Bunny. Why can’t you look like her?” or “Shirley doesn’t have that horrible white spot on HER hair”. I had no idea who Shirley Temple was but I knew I didn’t like her because I was constantly being compared to her. At home I was ridiculed for my white patch as well as for my “birds nest” ~ a term they used to describe the particularly course, thick hair on the top of my head.
At school I was called Skunky, Lily Munster, Bride of Frankenstein or Pepé Le Pew. Seriously? Ridiculed and beat at home and taunted at school. The name calling continued throughout high school but seemed more like a harmless joke then as opposed to the cruel way grade school children inflict pain with their words. I think I began honing the fine art of sarcastic retorts during my time in high school because I’ve got quite an impressive collection.
Now that I look at her, she’s kind of cute!
Once I gained my freedom, one of the first things I wanted to do was have my white streak colored but was told it was impossible. I eventually discovered (pre Google folks) that the hair lacks pigment). Looking back I think that’s what steered me in the direction of the masochistic frosting cap.
In my late 20’s and into early 30’s I had that section bleached then highlighted. I had the chunky highlight going on before it became vogue. But alas by late 30’s I was tired of it. Salons had found a way to color Mallen Streaks so I was on that like white on rice. I turned my dark brown hair with the auburn highlights into dark brown with burgundy highlights. I thought it looked fabulous but in reality I probably resembled an eggplant from the neck up.
That phase ended in a few years and I stuck with dark brown for my streak, stripe or chunk. In between I went through a braid phase (and occasionally still do especially for hiking) and actually am somewhat adept at a variety of braids. I used to put my toddler granddaughter’s hair in cornrows just to annoy her mother (my son’s now ex-wife). In 2011 I had my hair chemically straightened and can say with all honesty that was my favorite hair phase. When I returned a year later to the same stylist to have it done again, I had major breakage and I really do think it was “operator error” as the whole process was somewhat different from the first time so despite a love of all things three, won’t go for a trifecta.
Since I discovered Argon and Macadamia oils my hair is much more manageable and I’ve come to love it. During the winter I do add a bit of EVO to the shampoo just before I slap it on my wet head because it gets dry easily if I don’t stay one step ahead of it. After towel drying I use a spray leave in conditioner. I can’t find the one by Nexxus that I used for years but recently discovered It’s A 10 Silk Express Leave In that’s quite nice. Then I follow that with either one of the oils and I’m good to go.
I smell like a man???
My new discovery!
The texture is such that I essentially wash and go as I despise blow drying (makes it frizz uncontrollably). I rarely use a comb instead opting for fingers and until last winter I kept it pretty long. When my dog Callie died in November I hopped on what I eventually began to refer to as the “Crazy Train of Grief” and a week later went into the bathroom and cut inches off. Then a few days later I cut some more. And because I like the #3, I went back one more time and tried to layer it. Yeah, not a pretty picture. A return of the corkscrews from my late 20s only cut by Edward Scissorhands before he honed his craft.
During my train ride I also didn’t worry about the Mallen ~ until the day I decided to self color my entire head with a dark brown. It came out nearly black! Because I used a permanent one as opposed to semi-permanent, my choices were live with it or lift it. Therein was the problem because I didn’t want my hair bleached or stripped simply because of its course dry texture. I scoured the internet and found an interesting concoction that received great reviews on Makeup Alley (my go to site because every woman who lives in the willy whacks up a densely wooded mountain simply must know the latest fads). It’s a mixture of crushed Vitamin C tablets combined with shampoo to make a paste which you apply to wet hair. To be honest my family thought I’d been on the train too long as they heard me use a meat mallet to pulverize the Vitamin C tabs inside a zip lock bag. However it worked and I had my normal dark brown back plus the streak. At that point I decided on a different approach; I’d “embrace” my white streak. It’s visible from mid winter in my Gravatar picture. I still liked it then. I liked it for nearly six months. Now however I’ve decided (depending on the day of course) that it’s served it’s purpose and must go back into hiding. I mentioned this to my hairdresser when I ran into her recently and she babbled about all the coloring ideas she had for my streak; lavender grey, plum, copper, or a sparkly silver. I just looked at her, laughed and said “Hell No”. I have an appointment this Wednesday and she booked me for enough time in case I change my mind. Somehow I doubt it but then, never say never.After all, I don’t drink, smoke or go anywhere (except of course the veterinarian) because I hate driving 5 miles one way to shop so I guess you could say hair is my hobby…
The recent death of Pennsylvania DOC K9 Totti has galvanized me into action more than any issue in many years. K9 Totti, a two-year old yellow lab, was left by her handler, Sgt. Chad Holland, in the car on a day when the temperature outside was in the high 80’s. Unlike some police cars, the DOC vehicles do not have safety monitoring equipment installed that could save a trapped K9. Instead, Holland left K9 Tottie for over two hours while he attended a training session. The temperature inside the car would have rapidly escalated to over 100 degrees. There is no doubt in my mind that this poor dog suffered. When Holland realized his negligence, he and coworkers rushed to the vehicle and took actions to cool the still breathing K9 down. They then took her a veterinary facility where she was treated. I know I put the timeline in a previous post but this is germane so please bare with me ( failed to notice until today that in this timeline issued by the DOC they referred to K9 Totti as male when in fact the dog the officer was female):
12:15 p.m.- Dog handler stored training items in his vehicle at the end of a training session 2:44 p.m.- Dog handler realized Totti was locked in the car. Dog handler and other Drug Interdiction Union staff cooled Totti down with water and carefully placed him in ice to reduce body temperature. 2:58 p.m.- Totti was placed in truck and driven to vet clinic. 4:15 p.m.- Totti’s body temperature was back to normal, but creatine levels were high; blood sugar was low but being treated; heart rate remained elevated 7:30 p.m.- Totti passed away
The key words for me here is “creatinine levels” as they indicate Totti suffered acute and irreversible renal failure because her body was subjected to a very high temperature for several hours. It dawned on me today why this dogs death has resonated with me on such a passionate level; my own dog Callie Ann who died last November. Yes Callie had lymphoma however THAT is not the reason she died. I have been reluctant to go into great detail surrounding her death for several reasons ~ the primary being that nothing could bring her back. I could publicly flog the person responsible yet it wouldn’t change the outcome. At the end of the day my black angel still wouldn’t be by my side.
After Callie’s initial chemo dose, her lymphs reduced by 90% and her oncologist was extremely optimistic. During the week until her next chemo she became quite nauseous. It didn’t stop so I decided she needed to be seen. I checked her temperature and it was slightly elevated. Not wanting to subject a nauseous dog to a two-hour car ride to the specialty practice, I opted to take her to our local veterinarian of many years. She started an IV and put Callie and me in a cluttered back room. I laid on the floor next to her, constantly talking and petting her. She seemed warmer so I asked them to check her temperature; it was elevated to 103.2. The vet assured me this was fine and said “that shows her immune system is working”. Something in my gut didn’t feel right but I am not a veterinarian so I stayed silent. We spent several hours in that room with the vet’s children coming in and out as they apparently stay at the practice after school. I asked again to have her temperature checked and the male tech openly expressed his annoyance via his body language and audible sighs. I insisted and her temperature was now 105. I called out to the vet saying that Callie was in danger but she assured me she wasn’t. At this point I began to panic and emailed her oncologist in literal desperation. My email opened with “Please help me”. He responded and said Callie needed to be hospitalized and TREATED. A few minutes later someone from the specialty practice called the veterinarian asking if she was going to treat and admit Callie. She said no, that actually she was closing early and if I wanted Callie to have further care I could take her to an animal emergency clinic. When she hung up with them she turned and told me the same thing. We left and drove straight down to Portland. The specialty practice also has a 24 hour Animal Emergency Clinic in the same building so that’s where I wanted her as opposed to an emergency clinic that was a bit closer. The Animal Emergency Clinic and the specialty practices collaborate so closely that I knew this was best for Callie. When we arrived they took her from our car into the building via stretcher. A few minutes later the technician came out to tell me Callie’s temperature was over 107. My heart dropped when I heard that number because I knew that it was extremely high and she risked organ damage. They immediately gave Callie a cold bath and were able to lower her temperature. But that begged the question ~ what were her internal organs doing? Having an ultrasound was an option and I chose to pay extra money to have the internist come in and do it that night. I was thrilled when she arrived to see it was Dr. Sarah Noble, my German Shepherd Sasha’s internist whom I have come to respect tremendously in the three years she has been treating Sasha. The ultrasound was good and her labs were somewhat acceptable so her prognosis was guarded. Time would tell. We spent the night at a local motel and went back early in the morning. The Animal Emergency Clinic transferred Callie over to the specialty practice even though she stayed in the same area. As soon as Dr. Noble entered the room I knew by her face that my time with Callie was drawing to an end. Her creatine levels would not stabilize and she was in acute renal failure that they could not reverse. It was from having a high temperature for several hours without treatment. They told me the exam room was “yours for as long as you need it”. I spent four hours with my angel, telling her how loved she was, how much joy she had brought to my life, and how I never, ever expected this to happen. I would have paid any price, done anything if only I could have changed the outcome. When I saw that she was becoming uncomfortable I summoned Dr. Noble. At 1:15 pm on Friday November 6, 2015 I said goodbye to the best friend I’ve ever had.
I then embarked on what I called “The Crazy Train of Grief” which literally lasted for two months. I did things I’d never done before such as hacking my hair off in the bathroom, not eating, cooking, cleaning the house, paying bills ~ I merely existed. I shared my intense grief with another woman who lost her “heart” dog several weeks after I lost Callie. We bonded because we both had loved and lost beautiful black angels who filled our lives with unbridled joy. The pictures I post every Sunday morning at 7:33 am along with a prayer is my special tribute to these incredible dogs who blessed our lives. Until the day comes when each of us meet our black angels again, my weekly ritual must suffice.
Callie’s premature and unnecessary death also prompted me to become a “helicopter” dog owner, a word usually applied to parents. I oversee every aspect of Sasha’s treatment, get copies of every lab result and progress report which I then scan into the computer. I’m respectful to all the veterinarians on her team because they’re all consummate professionals. However I’m not afraid to ask a question (or 100) if there’s something I don’t understand and basically micromanage all her treatment. I learned trough Callie Ann’s death to never take what a veterinarian says as gospel if it raises an internal red flag. I only wish I hadn’t been so trusting last November.
So for this reason, K9 Totti’s tragic and unnecessary death has provoked me into action. I’ve collaborated on a petition which now has over 100k signatures, checked and double checked facts by email with the reporters who wrote various articles, and created a firestorm on Twitter. I’m not writing this to call attention to the negligence of K9 Totti’s handler; I do that through other venues. Instead, I’m writing it because I finally understand just why this K9s death is so intently personal to me.
Ending with a quote that I use as a signature for my email!
Ranting is becoming a nightly ritual it seems but I feel so passionately about this that I must speak. I’ve already initiated a firestorm on Twitter complete with the information for people to Tweet, email or call both the PA Department of Corrections as well as the administrator. I don’t read the news much and rarely watch television so was unaware until a short time ago that yet another irresponsible law enforcement officer left his K9 partner to die in a hot patrol car. K9 Officer Totti, a 2 year old drug detection dog from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections was left inside the squad car for TWO HOURS while his handler, Sgt. Chad Holland, attended a training session INSIDE the prison. In July. In the heat. How stupid! How abusive! How utterly cruel!
Timeline: 12:15 p.m.- Dog handler stored training items in his vehicle at the end of a training session.
2:44 p.m.- Dog handler realized Totti was locked in the car. Dog handler and other Drug Interdiction Union staff cooled Totti down with water and carefully placed him in ice to reduce body temperature.
2:58 p.m.- Totti was placed in truck and driven to vet clinic.
4:15 p.m.- Totti’s body temperature was back to normal, but creatine levels were high; blood sugar was low but being treated; heart rate remained elevated
7:30 p.m.- Totti passed away
K9 Totti in all probability died of acute kidney failure.
I am so tired of reading about K9’s being left in a closed patrol car and dying from the heat. How can we as a society trust an officer who is sworn to protect and serve us when he FAILS to protect the life of his K9 partner? Because he forgot? Sgt. Holland wasn’t on a 3 hour foot pursuit; he was inside an air conditioned correctional facility while Totti died an agonizing death.
Dogs feel heat differently than humans do. They sweat differently too. Dogs sweat by panting and by sweating from their paws. However, a dog trapped in a hot car can’t effectively rid its body of enough of the heat by panting and sweating ~ simply because there’s not enough cool, fresh air to replace the heated, stale air. Therefore, a dog breathing in warm/hot air for too long will suffer heatstroke …and will die.
In simple terms, heatstroke occurs when a dog loses its natural ability to regulate its body temperature. Dogs don’t sweat all over their bodies the way humans do. Canine body temperature is primarily regulated through respiration (i.e., panting). If a dog’s respiratory tract cannot evacuate heat quickly enough, heatstroke can occur.
The Animal Protection Institute (API) conducted their own study that showed that deadly temperatures can quickly build inside a closed vehicle, even with moderately warm temperatures outside. The study found that even at 9 a.m. with an outside temperature of 82 degrees, the closed automobile registered 109 degrees inside! The API’s study also measured vehicles with cracked windows. With 4 windows cracked, an 88-degree day outside turned into a 103-degree sauna inside the vehicle at 10 a.m. In essence, a death sentence for the dog. This is blatant animal abuse ~ by cop. In 2015 alone there were (12) K9 officer deaths from hot cars. Halfway into 2016 and it appears the US might have even more.
What amazes me even more is how the media outlets in PA have circled the wagons around the handler and are not identifying him. I finally got his name from a NY paper .
This is beyond sickening. Pets, K9 partners, children ~ all left to die in a hot car. I simply cannot fathom nor wrap my head around it.