Learning to Kill

I don’t even remember the first Time that I did it.
It was no big deal, not like forming some kind of habit.
Over Time I did it a little more often, I quietly killed some.
Sometimes it was fun, mostly just doing it out of occasional boredom.

Suddenly one day I was driven to obsession.
Murdering in mass and serial slaughtering consumed me.
Death now burned my eyes as they opened in the early hours.

Random methods to choke, smother and drown Time became routine.
Driving the need to kill Time and feed my aging Dragon.

Something Uncharacteristic of Self

Writing, I began to write after my dog Sarrah died.
For reasons unknown to me this became my way to cope with losing her and to absorb my time. Writing was never ‘My Thing”, I actually hated it while in school. After a year of writing daily I began taking classes, attending writing seminars and even started a blog.
It seems she led me down another path, perhaps one without an end.

He may not be Crazy

At first I was Pissed Off!

Nissa ‘set me up’ with an email link to a sad story. I was not ready for a dog, let alone another Dalmatian, I honestly believed that I would not have another.  This caused my mind to race and all of the emotions Hit me, I was completely Consumed by this conundrum, for a couple of days.

The story was put out on the web by Jodie Ray Kelley, who founded and runs the Dalmatian Rescue of Puget Sound organization.  This posting was about a dog who was rescued for a financially impacted family in California, who could not keep the five-year-old Shelby and her brother.  Seems California has a quick death penalty for dogs without homes so Jodie went down and brought a few back.  Two of these dogs had been together since birth, so efforts were taken to find one home for both of them.  After a few months of issues, the male was adopted, but not Shelby.  Apparently she liked living with Jodie and learned that causing problems… got her returned.  The post had a worn tone and a few pictures.

There I was mentally; standing in a deep puddle of thick Sadness, heated by Anger and shouldering a heavy damp blanket of Guilt (for a dog I had never met, but could help).

I went for a few long walks and tried to calm my mind, enough to let me find the best reactions.  Later, I did let Nissa know that I was Irritated.  We talked and I did some more searching… While trying to sleep on it, my mind worked over the situation.

The next day I decided to let fate decide, a little.  I typed up an inquiry and the required application for the possibility of adoption.  I sat there and stared at the computer, with damp eyes.  I went for a walk and talked to myself a little, came home and much like a; cliff dive, gnarly new ski run, first skydive, bungee jump or other self inflicted adrenalized moments that make palms sweat, I pushed the “Send” button.  Instantly it hit me, I asked myself out loud “What did you do!?”  Later a reply came back that “Shelby already had an interested family”.  I felt some relief and at the same time a little disappointment, but told myself that it was for the best.  A few days later I got an email briefly explaining that the family didn’t think that it would work out, was I still interested?  I went for another walk and replied, “Yes”.  This time I felt better about it, but still apprehensive.  We set a weekend day for the first step, to met the dog and go from there.  The Friday night prior, I got a call that “The interested family had re-changed their minds and wanted to try again”.  This hit a little hard and hurt, but I was still going with fate.  Almost a week later, I got another email with a longer explanation about how Shelby definitely was not working with the indecisive family and was there any chance that we might still be interested?  This rollercoaster process was excruciating, but I found the energy for one last turn, I replied and another semi-blind date was made.  Looking back, being put through these sudden painful ups and downs sort of helped me work things out in my mind and show me that at least in part; I knew that I felt some desire to meet this dog. 

Rescue dogs have history, who really knows neither what nor how they interpret it.  Shelby came with a reserved mellow attitude, like a foster kid, as if suspicious of the world.  We shared a look and she showed a willingness to give me a chance by rolling over onto her back to let me rub her belly.  Our meeting went well and while we were in the backyard, Jodie quietly left without a “Goodbye” in an attempt to make it easier for Shelby.  I have no idea how she can handle this emotional part of her rescue service, but we are all better off because of people like Jodie.

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We agreed to have her stay for the required “trial period” of a couple weeks, to see if living together would work out.  She did not bring whatever issues had kept her moving and homeless.  Maybe Shelby found a sense of belonging, or a purpose that the other places lacked. As I suspected, she chose to keep us and we eased forward.  It turns out that Shelby and I made a good pair; both worn down by realities of life, skeptical and unenthused.  We drew some energy from each other and got a little better, we continue to get better.

Sharing with cats is never easy for a dog, let alone later in life.  With a little quick feline toughness, stubborn human guidance and canine willingness, in time… our animals friends learned to live together.  Again, Rah occasionally tests his game, but in a much appreciated awareness of the noticeably greater risk.

Shelby did not find the first beach weekend road trip and stay to be special; she seemed a little on guard.  Perhaps, thinking that she was being handed off, yet again.  Her first few walks out to the beach surprised me a little.  She acted aloof, as if to be wondering, “What’s the big deal?”

Eventually the persistent magical powers of the ocean and its beach took over, suddenly. on a sunny walk Shelby’s eyes lit up and she launched! into a full speed gallop.  It felt good to observe this shared passion come alive in her.

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To my relief, Shelby and Sarrah have little in common other than obvious similar instinctive traits, looks and a bond with me.  Where Sarrah was a smaller version of “perfect”, Shelby is a much larger version.  Shelby’s additional twenty five pounds give her much more power and torque, pulling me forward.  Shelby is mostly quiet.  She does not have the range of vocal expressions, and would rather quietly observe with silent strength.  She fiercely feels a need to protect me from, well, the rest of the dwellers.  It is as if she senses that I am distracted by damage and commands respect for our space.

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I am certain that they would have not liked each other on the same life plane, but maybe a Spirit Dog has an advantage, a power to overcome.  Perhaps Shelby had help holding out to find me.

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This life experience reminds me of another lasting question, “?Who Saved Who”.

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If you see a guy walking a Dalmatian, talking to two, he may not be crazy.

Happy

A friend with a valuable opinion suggested that I try to write something a little Happier.

I do have Happy moments, lots of them, but apparently they don’t move me to try and write anything (lately anyway).  Perhaps I get too busy simply enjoying those moments.

I don’t know much about writing, it’s rules and terminology (I took just enough classes to get by) but there is something called “Voice”.

Perhaps someday a happier voice will find this aging mind.  Like hitting my head on a low beam and spilling my coffee or tripping over an uneven sidewalk and throwing everything in my hands, like lots of changes it will probably hurt.

Time may tell.

Success

Time proved to us that we had achieved success.  We found the kind of place that you dread leaving.  Where that last day starts with a quiet ache and as other people leave, a somber tone increasingly takes over.  When afternoon breaks taken from the bustle of packing and cleaning, have a sad coating.  Where your mind reflects on the latest stay, dips into the past memories and shuffles them all together.  You start to sneak looks forward, plotting the next escape.  Sarrah had a somber demeanor as she watched the ritualistic events of the last day; she quickly recognized the patterns and knew that the trip was near its end.  You know it is good, when it hurts to leave.

To me a big part of this day is the last walk; Every trip has a last walk, to the beach.  Preferably as close to departure back to reality, as possible.  Usually, taken after most people have gone, giving way to greater observation in solitude.  Along the way small things seem different.  The weathered chairs of wood, quietly stare back at you, as if waiting.  Shuttered empty houses look lonelier.  Even the sea birds seem a little forlorn.

Somehow the ocean sounds different, on the last walk.  The constant roar sounds more like a lonely, resonating hollow moan as if to be saying, “Don’t go…”, maybe “Farewell…”, or perhaps “Happy Trails…”.  I feel and absorb this more every ‘Last Time’.  On these walks, the ocean smells more like a salty tear soaked kiss.  I occasionally wonder… Does the ocean miss us when we are gone?  Will it miss me, after I have gone?

In the joy killing spirit of ‘Tomorrow is promised to No One’ you never know when the actual last walk, may be.  I do not allow myself to dwell on this heavy finality, too much.  But I do make an extra effort to savor all moments… of each, last one.