I think I came close to scaring a woman to death yesterday—and I don’t regret it a bit.
I was at work, and went out to get something from my car. In the distance, I could hear a dog whining. Being the animal lover that I am, I of course went to investigate. The dog was in a car that was parked on the street. He looked so pathetic, almost like a wilted flower. I could tell he was barely hanging in there. My heart went out to him immediately.
One window on the car was left slightly open. I don’t think I could have stuck my little finger through the crack. When I saw the dog, I saw a red that was so deep it was almost purple! My blood pressure shot so high that I don’t think they could’ve measured it if I had been hooked up to a blood pressure monitor! I was livid! I could hear my heart thumping in my ears, and it sounded like a jackhammer going off.
I thought about calling the police, but I was afraid the dog would die before the police could get there, so I started looking for a rock or something to break the window with. About that time, the owner of the car came strolling out of a building across the street, idly chatting on her phone. Once I saw that she was coming to the car, I started yelling—as loudly as I could. I’m sure she could see the steam coming out of my ears. The look of horror that came over her face didn’t even register with me at the moment–all I could think of was that poor dog. “YOU’RE NOT FIT TO OWN A DOG! OPEN THIS DOOR NOW! HOW DARE YOU LEAVE THIS PRECIOUS BABY IN THE CAR WHEN IT’S OVER A HUNDRED DEGREES AND THE HUMIDITY IS SO HIGH? HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF I TIED YOU UP, AND LOCKED YOU IN THIS CAR, WITH NO AIR, AND NO CRACKS IN THE WINDOW? YOU DESERVE TO BE TREATED LIKE THAT!”
She looked scared to death, and started trying to talk. “I was just going to be in there a minute…” I shut her up before she could say anything else.
“IT ONLY TAKES ABOUT TEN MINUTES FOR A DOG TO DIE IN THIS KIND OF TEMPERATURE! THEIR BRAINS CAN BOIL IN JUST A FEW MINUTES IN TEMPERATURES LIKE THIS. IF THIS DOG HAD DIED, IT WOULD’VE BEEN MURDER ON YOUR PART! HOW DARE YOU LEAVE THIS DOG OUT LIKE THIS?! YOU’RE OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT THINGS ALWAYS TAKE LONGER THAN YOU THINK. YOU COULD’VE EASILY KILLED THIS POOR BABY.”
“THE RULE IS THIS, IF YOU CANNOT TAKE THE DOG IN WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO, YOU DON’T TAKE THE DOG. YOU LEAVE IT AT HOME. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME! I MEAN IT! DO NOT EVER LET ME SEE YOU LEAVING THIS DOG IN THE CAR LIKE THIS AGAIN. I WILL BREAK THE WINDOW OUT, AND TAKE THE DOG AWAY FROM YOU. YOU’LL NEVER SEE IT AGAIN—EVEN THOUGH YOU DON’T DESERVE TO SEE IT! I’LL ALSO CALL THE POLICE. THIS IS ANIMAL CRUELTY, AND YOU CAN GO TO JAIL FOR THAT, AND I HOPE THEY THROW YOU UNDER THE JAIL, AND KEEP YOU THERE FOREVER! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?!”
I was so angry that it took me a long time to calm down. I fumed most of the afternoon, and wondered if I had done the right thing by letting this lady leave with her dog, although legally I don’t think I had any choice but to let her leave with her dog.
Now that I’ve finally calmed down, I think it’s funny (not funny that she left the dog in the car–funny how I reacted). I am known as a big teddy bear, and gentle as they come. I rarely get upset, and yet I was acting like a big grizzly bear.
I would love to know what that lady thought when I tied into her like that. I’m a 6’ tall man that weighs about 225 pounds. I had on cowboy boots that made me look taller. I’m sure my scruffy beard didn’t make me look very gentle either. It’s a miracle that she didn’t have a heart attack, or call the police on me. I wouldn’t have had much sympathy if she had had a heart attack. She deserved it, but I would’ve been up the creek without a paddle if she had called the police on me.
Bandit, the beagle: Ummm, can I say…I think we love having you, and think you’re absolutely delightful. Is that right guys? I guess we also think you’re still young, and not perfectly trained. Would it be OK if I said, “Keep learning, and you’ll become awesome!?”
Me: Thank you! I’m so excited to have you as my owners. You’re truly magnificent in my opinion.
Here’s what I think I’ve learned so far. I pet you on command and have learned the perfect place(s) to scratch you. We play whenever you want to play. I play a mean game of tug-of-war. I throw balls and give you treats on a regular basis. You get to sleep with me, and get to sleep on the sofa and chairs.
Scout, the beagle: Yes, you’re a very good boy and you do well in these departments. Don’t break an arm patting yourself on the back–you won’t be able to pet us if you break your arm! HA HA! Giving us all your attention is just the right thing to do—it’s your job…but don’t forget how many hours you ignore us while you look at that big box on the wall!
Me: You’re right, Scout. I do sometimes forget to pay attention to you while watching the TV, unless you remind me that you need affection. I will start working on that one immediately.
Let’s get back to the conversation regarding my training. I think I’m pretty well trained to let you ride in the car with me on a regular basis.
Scout, the beagle: I LOVE those car rides! You’re getting better in this area, but you still need some training. You don’t let us ride with you every time you go somewhere. Gracie and I KNOW we deserve to go riding every time you go riding. You know we LOVE to ride in the car!
Me: I will see what I can do about that. What else do I need to work on?
Gracie, the golden retriever: I know! I know! You haven’t learned that, like, EVERYTHING is made for us to chew on. This is, like, a really simple task to learn. You shouldn’t, like, complain when I chew up Grandma’s Bible and all her pictures. We, like, know you give us lots of toys, but sometimes we’re, like, just not in the mood for toys, and something else taste better!
Bandit, the beagle: Can I say that you also need to learn that we are supposed to share EVERYTHING that you eat? Would it be OK to say that it should be one bite for you, and one bite for us? Don’t you think we deserve to eat good food also?
Me: Well, I can see why you think I should let you eat everything that I eat, but your doctor says it’s bad for you.
Bandit, the beagle: Doctor, Schmoctor! What does he know? Don’t you think he’s telling you that so we’ll be sick, and have to go see him more often? You know how those doctor types are! Shouldn’t you really listen to us? We know what’s best for us.
You know how your mom always told you to listen to your body? Well, our moms told us to do the same thing, and our body tells us that your food would be good for us!
Me: OK. I will think about what you said. That sorta makes sense to me…i know how I love food, and understand why you love it too. Please give me a little while to think about this one.
Gracie, the golden retriever: Thank you for your love. It, like, really means a lot to us. You’re an all right person, and we’re, like, glad to have you in our life. I think you, like, know how much we love you, and we know that you, like, love us too. In case you don’t know how much we love you, here’s, like, a few licks for you, just to show you our love.
Me: Awww, that’s going to make me cry! I love you guys so much. You mean the world to me!
Is there anything else you need to talk to me about? I’m going to get all emotional if I don’t get back to business.
Bandit, the beagle: Yes, this is really important! I hate to fuss at you, but please stop telling us to stop barking. Would you please not say, “You’re going to cause me to have a heart attack when you bark in the middle of the night? It almost seems like you want us to let the booger bears come in. What if they killed you, and we hadn’t barked to scare them off? Where would you be then? It really hurts when you get onto us for trying to protect you.
Me: I know you think you’re doing the right thing. I really wouldn’t mind if you only barked when you knew something was out there. I get upset when you bark, and bark, and bark and there’s nothing out there. Can you maybe wait to bark until you know someone’s trying to get in the house?
Bandit, the beagle: Sigh…why would you want us to wait until they’re in the house to bark? Isn’t it better if we scare them off before they get in the house?
Me: OK, guys. I think this is an area we both need to work on. I’ll try to not get as upset, if you’ll try to bark just a little less. Maybe a compromise will work for both of us.
(Gracie, the golden retriever): Can I say something?! Can I say something?! You like really fussed at me for getting in the pool without you the other day, and like shaking all over that nice man? What a bummer! I was like just having a nice swim while you talked to the man. I suddenly like realized I couldn’t be rude and like not say, “Hi”. Ladies don’t do things like that! We goldens are the friendliest dogs out there and I like have to keep my reputation up.
I was like so wrong to get so excited that I forgot to shake off before I met the nice man. Just as I got close to him, I realized I looked like a mess with my hair all wet and matted down, so I shook so I’d look pretty for him. Like, a girl can’t go meet someone looking like that!
The conversation went on for a long time. I didn’t realize how many flaws I had, but I will continue to work on the areas that I was told needed improvement. Wish me luck!
What areas do you think your four-legged “owners” would say you needed to work on the most?
Pictures from Gracie’s first weeks with us. She was so cute! When I see how large she is now, it’s hard to reconcile these images of this little puppy with her.
“Please rub my belly!”
“I have him right where I want him–under my paws!”
“Such a nice pillow!”
I had an early doctor’s appointment, and I went over to Venice Beach for a little while after I left the doctor’s office. I rolled the windows down on the car as I approached the beach, and just enjoyed the smell of the salt water. It’s such an unusual smell, but I really enjoy it. There’s a tanginess to the ocean smell that is quite intriguing to me. I’m not sure why I like the smell of the ocean so much. I didn’t grow up around the ocean, so there are no memories that I know of associated with the smell.
It was so nice when I got to the beach. There were not many people out, and I was able to enjoy a few minutes with nature. It was one of those rare, magical moments when I felt one with nature.
Watching all the different types of water birds soar and wheel around in the air was good for my spirits. Seeing them so free somehow freed me of some of the stress of life.
I stopped for a few moments, and just watched the sunlight play off the water. For just a few moments, it was as if the ocean was full of diamonds that were twinkling in a vast show of beauty.
I took a few moments to just enjoy the beauty of nature. I even slowed down enough to really look closely at some things:
The beautiful iridescence of a broken sea shell,
The tracks the birds left in the sand,
The strange patterns the barnacles and lichen make on the rocks,
The cuteness of the little crabs as they crawled around on the rocks,
The patterns that the seaweed had made in the sand,
The amazing variety of colors in a handful of sand…
I stood at the edge of the water, closed my eyes, and just enjoyed the beautiful music of nature. The cry of the birds, the soft rhythm of the waves gently coming ashore and the slap of the waves against a big pile of rocks made a beautiful symphony.
That sound of the waves hitting the shore is almost hypnotic. I can become completely mesmerized by the sound. The waves seem to be the heartbeat of the earth. I wondered if babes in the womb view the sound of their mother’s heart like I perceive the waves on a beach?
People began to show up, and the magic of the moment was broken. However, I carry the beauty of the moment in my heart with me always.
I stopped as I was leaving, and looked at the ocean from a high bluff. I was inspired anew by the beauty around me.
Here’s some pictures of Gracie while she was in that awkward stage, before she became graceful and elegant.
These may not be the most artistic shots, but I think they show elements of my Gracie’s personality. She’s a dear, dear friend.
My golden retriever, Gracie, loves to swim. Here’s just a few pictures of her in the pool. I have hundreds, so it was difficult to pick which ones to use. I didn’t necessarily use the “artistic” shots, but the ones that show her having the most fun. I think she would swim all day if I would let her. We’ve been really lucky, she doesn’t go in the pool unless we’re out there.
“Will he throw me the ball again?”