Meet the Beautiful Saffron

Saffron has improved a whole lot since I saw her and spent time with her last weekend.  From what I understand, another volunteer at the shelter also spent some time with her this week.  She was out in the yard when I got to the shelter today, and she was lively and seemed happy to see me.  I was happy to see her too!  She is walking on leash much better, and though she is still a bit afraid of going through doors, it took no time at all for us to coax her through.  Soon she may even be ready for her temperament test and then she will be available for adoption!

Meet the sweet and beautiful Saffron!

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A Saturday at the Shelter

Saturday was a very gratifying day at the shelter, and not just because it was the last few hours of volunteer work I needed before I am allowed to take my final exam.  I got to do a few new things.

When I’m at the shelter to work with the dogs, people see me with my leash and collar dangling around my neck, and my Home Depot apron full of treats, and my name tag (if I remember it,) and they think I work there… which I do, just not in the usual volunteer capacity.  I likely don’t know as much of the inner workings and policies of the shelter as those other volunteers either.  But when people ask me questions, I try to be helpful and tell them whatever I can, and if I don’t know the answer, I send them to someone else that I think would know.  I like being able to tell them about the dogs I have worked with, and try to help facilitate adoptions.

Last Saturday, while I was putting one dog back and perusing the kennel area for my next “pupil,” a middle aged guy started to talk to me about a couple of the dogs, saying he wanted one for a farm dog, but the decision was between two dogs there.  One was a huge hound dog mix, and he seemed mostly gentle and calm (until I got him on leash, then he was a ridiculously strong puller, but that’s another story.)  The other was a smaller black dog that looked like it might have had lab in it, and was severely malnourished from his time on the streets.

A recent experience with a friend who had to give her dog up after he broke loose from his pen, got into her parents’ pig pen, and savaged the pigs led me recount part of the story to the gentleman, asking him if he had cats or livestock.  He confirmed that he had cats and cows, and I suggested he ask that whatever dog he chose be tested for compatability with cats before he take it home, which is something usually not done in routine temperament testing, but only if a potential adopter has cats.  I then suggested, (trying to be clever) that perhaps the tow dogs between which he was trying to decide might get on well together and be able to keep one another company.

Long story…less long… guess who got to do their first temperament testing with the house cat, Cheddar, on Saturday?  I also believe I have the gentleman seriously considering taking home both dogs too!

This cat even sort of looks like our Cheddar...

This cat even sort of looks like our Cheddar…

In case you’re wondering, Cheddar gave the huge hound dog his seal of approval by rolling over on his back for a belly rub, and although he didn’t care for the higher energy of the black dog, the black dog showed no aggression towards Cheddar.

 

And then there was Saffron. One of the shelter managers– we’ll call her M*–  is the lady who worked with me personally to accommodate my curriculum needs. She seems genuinely happy to have me at the shelter,and last week she asked me if I would pay special attention and work with a certain dog that was still in the back of the shelter (where dogs who are sick or not yet ready to be adopted out are kept.)

Saffron was a pretty girl with coloring somewhat like a Golden Retriever (perhaps that’s why they called her Saffron?) and the look of some sort of border collie mix.  And she was painfully afraid.  She still had enlarged nipples, having just recently had a litter, although no one saw her puppies when she was brought in.  I was told that she wouldn’t even walk on a leash.

I had an idea of what I wanted to try to do with her, but when we went in to get Saffron, she hunkered down and piddled on the floor in terror.  M had to carry Saffron to the spacious room where I normally take the dogs to work in cold or inclement weather.  When she deposited Saffron gently on the floor, the dog hunkered down and peed again, and M went to go retrieve a towel and some dog brushes.  I don’t have a lot of time with these dogs, only usually able to get to the shelter once a week, but it seemed really important to be able to help this dog.  If she could not be brought out of her shell, she could not be adopted out and could possibly be euthanized.

The first thing I did was clip my martingale collar around her neck, with the leash attached, so she could get used to their presence.  All she wanted to do was lie there, making herself small, with her head on my leg.  I laid another towel down, figuring the tile floor must be cold on her dragging teats, and I coaxed her over onto the towel.  The next half hour to forty five minutes was spent sitting on the floor, petting her, talking to her, trying to get her to take treats (in my experience, dogs that are too nervous will not accept food sometimes.)  I gradually started moving around more, standing up, going to the bathroom and coming back, and I got her to take one of my “grade A” treats**.

Gradually, she came out of her shell, and just getting her to sit up and hold her head up while I sat in a chair seemed like a huge improvement, making her seem like a different dog.  I started picking up the leash more frequently, still petting and talking and praising, and encouraging her to follow me around.   If I stopped petting her for too long or she thought I wasn’t paying attention, she’d nudge me or put a paw on my leg.  We even went outside for a bit, and she seemed to do better in the sun, on the concrete and grass.  She stood alert and proud, looking like a regular, happy doggie, although she still came back to me from time to time for encouragement.M even brought her dog Alex out, a big ol’ friendly lab, and Saffron did extremely well, allowing Alex to sniff her and say “Hi.”

It took some coaxing to get her to go back inside.  Around this time, I felt like it was time for me to go home.  I would have loved to bring her with me, but I’m pretty sure hubby might have murdered me for bringing home another animal.

Saffron seemed to have improved quite a bit in just the two hours or so I spent with her, but she would still not walk very far on the leash without getting nervous and balking, so I asked for help carrying her back to her kennel, and I reluctantly left her there.  That quiet time spent with her, calming her and helping her to come out of her shell a bit was very rewarding for me, and I think she even sort of bonded with me a bit.  I hope I get to work with her again, but as long as she gets a furever home, I’ll be happy.

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** Part of my particular school’s teachings is that when training you want a variety of lures and rewards, ranging in desirability.  Adequate performance might get a grade C reward/treat, while excellent performance might merit grade A rewards or treat “caching.”

 

It’s Over Now…

It seems odd to celebrate someone’s “death day.”  Given my love of Layne Staley and his music, it would seem more appropriate to celebrate his birthday.  But I can’t help thinking of Layne’s personal struggle with drugs not only every April 5, but almost every time I hear his music.  And I would likely have my “Grunge” card revoked if I didn’t also mention Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, whose suicide ironically occurred on this same day, eight years before, also after a struggle with heroin, which he claimed to have tried in order to help cope with a painful stomach condition.  (It is interesting to note that in both cases, the musicians’s bodies were not discovered immediately after their deaths, so the date of their death was determined by medical professionals.)

“We chase misprinted lies
We face the path of time…

If I can’t be my own, I’d feel better dead”

 

“Chaos and hate shadow me, pain it fills me up…Only one thing makes me feel, missing better half of me.”

 

 

*related: http://alienredqueen.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/in-chains-music-and-drug-addiction/

 

Kurt Donald Cobain~ 2/20/1967-4/5/1994

Layne Thomas Staley~ 8/22/1967- 4/5/2002

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James Franco: Perfect or Pervy?

So, if you’ve been on social media at all today you may have seen the various stories about James Franco allegedly attempting to “hook up” with a seventeen year old young woman via Instagram. In case you missed it, here’s a highlight:

Girl goes to show.  Girl meets Franco and takes Instagram with him.  Girl “tags” Franco in photo.  Franco tries to score with girl.
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I mean, in my opinion, he seems to come across as a petulant teen boy with blue balls at one point, (after the girl once again asks for proof of identity) saying “I gave it to you.  If you don’t wanna meet, then text me when you do.”  As in…call me when you’re ready to put out? And then, in a “surprise twist” (haha,) girl is too smart to fall for it and tricks Franco into proving his identity with photos. And despite the fact that Franco is obviously looking for a booty call and not much more  and was trying to sign off when she wasn’t interested, despite the fact that she is barely this side of legal (apparently 17 is legal in NY?) some people on social media and news comment sections are feeling bad for Franco, and blaming the girl, like she somehow “entrapped” him. Even if it’s legal and she is beyond the “age of reason” and legally able to make a yes or no decision on whether or not she wants to be another notch on Franco’s bedpost, she tried to catch him in his bullshit, and some people are pissed at her for it.  What does that say about how far our society has or hasn’t come in regards to gender differences and sexuality?

 

EDIT: Update 2/4/2014   James Franco “scandal” a hoax to promote his new film?

EDIT: Update 2/4/2014   James Franco admits embarrassing incident on Instagram

Oh, okay, so he admits to being caught being a creeper.  Does this “confession” change the fact that he was trolling for young poontang?

“Religious Freedom,” or just plain old Discrimination?

George Takei posted this on his Facebook page today.

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This is just to reiterate; you can’t pass legislation that is fundamentally against the constitution.

This is bullshit.  Your rights only go as far as until they infringe on someone else’s.  Being gay and patronizing a restaurant, for instance, does not infringe on the owner’s “religious” rights (There is no legal right to discriminate against anyone– it’s unconstitutional.)  However, refusing to serve someone because they are gay is discrimination and is ILLEGAL…

Of Dreams and Nightmares and Waking Life

It’s supposed to be a pretty day today (59 and partially cloudy beats all the snow and rain and cold any day.)  I have stuff to do today, which includes shelter work and (hopefully) finally taking that injured stray with me that’s been wandering around the apartment complex.

But I have a pretty good headache, which started yesterday around noon and was nicely exacerbated by laying practically upside down, mouth open for an hour, having a cavity filled.  When the Novocaine wore off, I was in less than optimal shape.  I went to bed at 8 last night, hoping to ward off the impending migraine.

But then I had nightmares most of the night.   Dreams fraught with tension, but some sort of epic adventure… * Dreams of wanting but never quite being able to reach…  Dreams of confused desire… Dreams of frustration, where my every attempt to affect some sort of change is thwarted or ignored.

Dreams of needing to be onstage but forgetting my lines.  David Lynch-esque dreams where the events and the characters change but are the same.

And dreams of yearning sadness.  I had a dream last night about a friend of mine who OD’d a few months ago. He was alive and I kept trying to tell him I loved him and he could smoke all the weed he wanted, but for God’s sake, stay away from the heroin!  When I awoke and remembered he was already gone, I was struck by the usual feeling of quiet despair at not being able to change things.

Once, I woke up screaming.  I woke my kid too.  My husband slept on peacefully, so I guess it’s a good thing it was a nightmare and not a masked murderer in my bedroom.  I know myself enough by now to know that when I awaken screaming from nightmares, it’s often because I am so stressed out in my waking life that it spills over into my sleep.  Once, when I was still with a particularly troublesome ex, I awoke screaming every night for about a week.  I still lived with my parents at the time, and by the third night or so, my mom and stopped coming in to check on me when it happened. (Ironically, for the short but extremely stressful four months my husband and I had to live with my mother and step-father while I was pregnant, it was my husband who had the night terrors almost every night, often kicking out– and kicking me– in the middle of the night.)

And then this morning I get on Facebook and am greeted immediately with the sad but not unexpected news that my friend’s cat has passed away.  I kind of got attached to this cat because for some reason, even though they did not really look alike at all, she reminded me of my own girl who passed away 2 years ago.

Anyway, I’m not writing all this looking for sympathy or anything.  It’s just life…how things are.  But, since this is my blog, every once in a while I indulge in a post that has no real point except catharsis for me.  Thanks for coming along with me, readers.

Peace.

 

 

Discrimination, by any other name…is still against the Constitution

I find it distressing that in the current social climate of America, it is now “politically incorrect” to deny someone the right to be a dick to others…

If you have any doubts, in Arizona, the argument now is not about gay people’s rights to be served and treated like everyone else.  It is about restaurant owner’s rights to use their religion as an excuse to discriminate.  I’m pretty sure even if the bible was interpreted to be against homosexuality, that still would not give followers of the bible the right to treat gay people poorly.

But living in a pluralistic society that also grants freedom and civil rights protection to those with whom one disagrees is not the same as religious persecution. And crying persecution every time one doesn’t get one’s way is an insult to the very real religious persecution happening in the world today.

The above is a quote from an excellent article.  Whether Christian or not, I suggest everyone read it.  This principal can be applied to anyone using their beliefs as platform from which to actively discriminate against others.

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Suck it Up, Buttercup

Yesterday, along the lines of my blog post regarding my disgust with all the casual litterers around here, I posted a statement on my Facebook wall; verbatim:

Attention, hillbillies- Please stop using the side of the road, and all of nature for that matter, as your personal trash can. Do you think your trash just disappears when you throw it out your car window?

Literally, more people commented bitching about my use of the term “hillbillies” than the actual point of the post!    Remarks defending “hillbillies” and insinuating I was being racist (guess what– most of the people who live in this area not only ARE in fact white, but also ARE ACTUALLY racist…) abounded, and it felt like I spent more time “clarifying” the point than actually discussing the real problem– the fact that people feel it’s okay to casually trash the planet. The fact that so many people missed the point of the post in favor of getting all butthurt over my use of a fairly innocuous pejorative (that was directed at no one specific person incidentally) has caused me almost as much irritation as the topic about which I was initially posting.

Plainly put:  How about just put your trash where it fucking belongs no matter what color you are, who you marry, or where you live?

This may seem like a small thing, but maybe if more people focused on actual issues instead of every perceived slight, this world would be a nicer place to live.

Get your priorities straight, people.

 

*EDIT:

To be fair, here are three different definitions of the term “hillbilly.”  But to most people I know, there are country folks…and then there are hillbillies.

Hillbilly is a term (often derogatory) for people who dwell in rural, mountainous areas primarily in Appalachia but also parts of the Ozarks in the United States. Due to its strongly stereotypical connotations, the term can be offensive to those Americans of Appalachian heritage. (wikipedia)

A person who lives in the country far away from cities and who is often regarded as someone who lacks education, who is stupid, etc.(Merrium-Webster)

(derogatory usually)  an unsophisticated person, esp from the mountainous areas in the southeastern US (World English Dictionary)

The interesting thing about this is that, although the term is often considered derogatory, I’ve recently found a lot of people seem to actually self-identify as “hillbilly” to an extent, but still get offended when others use the term (much like the use of the n-word, only in the case of the term “hillbilly,” without the historical context to actually justify their hurt feelings.  Regardless of what some whiners may say, the two terms are not nearly equally offensive, given the history in this country of oppression of and violence against black people.)

Dear Person Whose Job it is to Care About This Shit…

(Elected Official)

I live in Glasgow.  My best friend lives in Edmonton.  Consequently, I travel the stretch between quite often.  I have to say, as someone who used to live in a fairly big city, I am disgusted by the conditions of the roads and land around here.  I don’t mean potholes and overgrown grass.  I mean the way so many people around here use the side of the road and the surrounding countryside as their own personal trashcans.   McDonald’s  bags, plastic bags, Mt. Dew and Pepsi bottles, innumerable… Even full bags filled with garbage, strewn all over, especially in the little ditches and strips of grass alongside the road.

Beverage containers typically comprise 40% to 60% of roadside litter (in non-deposit states.)  In a 1999 statewide study, the Solid Waste Coordinators of Kentucky found that beverage containers and closures made up 52% of roadside litter.  (source)

I have actually witnessed people pitching trash from their car.  One day my husband and I were hanging out at the creek/river, and another group of people we had never met pulled up and were also just  “hanging out.”  Then I saw one toss an empty soda bottle right out of their vehicle onto the ground.  Apparently they are just an example of the type who feel entitled to enjoy nature, and feel free to trash it for everyone else.  Do these people think their trash mysteriously disappears once they pitch it?  Or do they even give it a second thought?  This attitude is the height of arrogance.  Will these same people trash a place beyond all enjoyment or redemption and then move on?  It’s bad enough this type of behavior is accepted on a global scale by industry and society, but now we can’t have any nice places?

There are a lot of people around here who literally make their living off of this land…and then there is everyone else trashing it.  This is the only world we have and it is becoming smaller and smaller, with more people occupying less space.  That means everyone has to be more careful in guarding our resources.

It is so frustrating to me, because I could spend eight hours a day walking the road side collecting this garbage (I would not complain without being willing to do something…) but how could I compete with so many people who just don’t have any respect for themselves or others, or else they wouldn’t trash their home.  It may seem silly.  It’s not like the highway around here is some endangered wildlife sanctuary, but that does not give anyone the right to trash it because they are too lazy and ignorant to use a garbage can.  How much of the litter and garbage will make its way to people’s crops or be eaten by their animals?

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These people that are too selfish to be aware or care how their litter impacts the earth and other people around them may need a little “push,” in the way of stricter and better enforced punishments and fines.

I should have addressed this letter to “the person whose job it is to create and enforce litter laws…”  or whatever.  Because, really, to “the person whose job it is to care” is not specifically accurate enough.  It should be everyone’s job to care.

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Sincerely,

Frustrated with Little Hope…

‘Murica V. America

My regular readers know how much I dislike the hypocritical, intolerant, and generally ignorant memes going around now, so I came up with a rebuttal.  Hopefully it will make some people feel stupid.

THEIRS:

'Murica... cuz this is my cuntry...

‘Murica… cuz this is my cuntry…

MINE:

America...because there were actually people here already when when our ancestors got to "our" country...

America…because there were actually people here already when when our ancestors got to “our” country…

At least the immigrants everyone complains about now aren’t trying to hand out small pox infested blankets or anything.  How dare they want any rights or respect in this country?