Tuesday, October 2, 2012

P.S. To The Next To The Last Morning Of Vacation

So I went ahead and published the dawn blog, thinking that nothing else of note would come to pass until later in the day. But you know, there are times when it's DELIGHTFUL to be WRONG, and I was WRONG! 

My little brother Garrett Wolfe in California posted this on Facebook:

Please watch, enjoy, and hexaflexagate!

The Next To The Last Morning Of Vacation

Cool and rainy nights are good for sleeping, especially with the warm dog. If the cat wouldn't drool and suckle, he could join us, but the drooling and suckling really bother me, reminding me of a past bad relationship I want to forget, especially at night in bed. 

Although Dobro has lived here over a year, his company in the bed is much more recent. As you can see in the picture, his large scars are dry. The last open area finally closed over in August, exactly one year after his nearly fatal experience being hit and dragged on the highway. No bones were broken but large areas of hide were gashed, ripped, sheared, loosened, mangled, and otherwise damaged. I'll be forever grateful to the officer of the Centerville Police Department who stood by him at the bottom of the embankment while I drove to the site; he then helped carry Dobro up the embankment and led me to the emergency veterinary clinic. The Troy Animal Hospital calls Dobro their "Miracle Dog" because he survived shock, infection, and a long recovery requiring treatments similar to those received by victims of serious burns. He suffered through repeated vet visits so his many wounds could be cleaned and repaired. For months I gave him multiple medications taken by mouth and also applied to his skin. He had to stay on a special high protein diet to aid in the massive regrowth of new tissue and to replace the protein continuously seeping from several areas over his body. In a nutshell, that was why Dobro didn't sleep in the bed until just recently. He seems very appreciative, and usually pauses and looks at me as if asking permission before jumping aboard.

There was no creamer of any kind in the house this morning, no soy milk, no almond milk, no hemp milk, no flaxseed milk, no canned milk, no powdered milk, no ice cream, so I had to get creative with the morning coffee. I ended up putting the coffee in the blender with a huge dollop of Greek yogurt, adding a huge dollop of locally-produced honey and the last of the old cinnamon that had been my mother's. I blended it instead of whipping it so it wouldn't be too foamy. It was okay, and I mean that not in a dull, disappointed tone of voice, "it was okay," but in a perky, pleased tone of voice, "IT WAS OKAY!"

Sipping the coffee creation in the pre-dawn darkness with the faithful hound curled up against my flank, I found a new blog online: http://redwineandgarlic.blogspot.com/. In spite of all the cruelties revealed daily in the media, my faith in the goodness of humanity remains uncrushed because of the growing number of softer voices, sharing their observations, their poems, their images, their gentle souls. Alongside his blog, Black Pete offers the following quote, reflecting so much that is wrong in our society but fixable:

"Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left."                                                               -- ecologist and writer Aldo Leopold

He also blogged a surprisingly lovely poem describing damp laundry hanging on the clothes line: 

The Hanging of Clothes

I am pleased to be hanging
the damp clothing in the welcoming morning,
laundry remnants of closeted life,
our privacy laid bare in the sunlight.

The sheets, clouds of white floating
downward onto my naked body 
but an hour ago, zephyrs like benedictions
before I dared the day,
now shielding the flag-coloured shirts
and sturdy pants, the ribbony socks,
and the underthings--

just clothing, no more than shadows
of the bodies they cover,
no more than suggestions of the reality
of our being.

For reason of this last, I do not linger
over my wife's underthings, hanging them
as casually as my own, though her body
revealed is beauty as terrifying
as the Biblical army with banners,
stopping my breath.
No more than shadows of our bodies,
yet there are old country people 
who will not hang men's and women's underthings
on the same line, perhaps because they are shadows
of that which stops my breath
and pounds my heart. Maybe they are right.
But the ordinariness of this damp clothing
arrayed, pinned, spinning gently in the breeze,
is no shadow, but itself a glory
as the moisture rises like released spirit
into the sunlit air, in which I marvel
at the extraordinariness of the pairing 
of us two many years before, 
on just such a morning.

The morning darkness outside is giving hints that the sun is on the way and I already feel that the day is good.

Monday, October 1, 2012


**Bye, Baby**

No more lonely, cold nights or hearing that I'm bad.
No more growling belly from the meals I never had.
No more scorching sunshine with a water bowl that's dry. 
No more complaining neighbors about the noise when I cry.
No more hearing "shut up," "get down," or "get out of here"! 
No more feeling disliked, only peace is in the air. 
Euthanasia is a blessing, though some still can't see 
Why I was ever born if I weren't meant to be.
My last day of living was the best I ever had.
Someone held me very close, I could see she was very sad.
I kissed the lady's face, and she hugged me as she cried.
I wagged my tail to thank her, then I closed my eyes and died.

Written by an animal shelter volunteer in Massena, NY

This poem was posted from Shannon Marie's ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN Facebook album of pound dogs that have been put down. 

Please educate yourself before deciding to adopt an animal just because you think he or she looks cute; different breeds have different needs. 

Please spay/neuter your pets so the pounds won't fill up with discarded dogs and cats. 

Please check out NO KILL alternatives in your state: http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day Six, Part Two: Elvis Warms Up The Chill

                 Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tom's nursing home held a summer party today that welcomed family members and friends, featuring bingo and  hot food and Elvis and a home-made pie auction to benefit the Alzheimer's Association. It was kind of chilly and Tom didn't feel good at the time, but we knew we'd enjoy the memory of the afternoon afterwards. We have an agreement to make ourselves do that kind of thing a lot, to make ourselves attend events even when we really just want to stay warm and comfy in bed. Arthritis and fatigue and disability and getting older are a bear, but ya got to 
consider the alternative.

I myself was never a huge Elvis fan, but I'm becoming a huge Elvis tribute artist fan. They are invariably sexy and charming, and Jason Griffith was no exception! 

His sound technician was a young woman who knew every word to every song and sang softly along. Twice during the show she donned a large decorative bib-like cloth over her front to nurse her beautiful new baby while the adoring audience rocked with Elvis. It seemed natural and normal.

During the intermission, the maintenance guy for the nursing home, who is also a professional auctioneer, auctioned off a table load of home-made pies donated by employees and other people. It was my first time hearing a real auction. I wonder how old that traditional singsong style of calling is! I went ahead and got one since I would be buying one from the grocery store eventually anyway. Eating pumpkin pie has become a really sad ritual since Mom died, so I although always buy one but so far never fully enjoy it. This way I at least supported a good cause, the Alzheimer's Association, as well as a living person, culinary artist Michelle Stollman, who made the most beautiful leaf design crust I've ever seen! It was tasty, too, the right balance of flakiness with crustiness. If Tom had felt better, I'd have stuck my finger in the pie and let him suck down a few bites of the succulent pumpkin, but he was just too sleepy. Look how beautiful the pie looks on Tom's lap on his woolen powwow blanket: 

Look in the background of this Elvis action shot and see the blonde woman in the print scrub top. That is the pie artist Michelle Stollman talking to Auctioneer Tim!

Two hunka hunka burnin' loves in one photo! Life is good!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


It's cold and raining, and it's Thursday. I was confused this morning because even though I've kept very close track on the day of the week, it still seemed too far along, like, "THURSDAY ALREADY??" Dobro didn't care, though, he was just happy to be in the bed on fleece blankets.

I took McCartney the cat to the vet for an old man check-up and shots, and brought Dobro along for the ride. Learn from my mistake: old cardboard pet carriers on damp days get warped and soft and will not hold an unwilling cat! The wire rabbit carrier held him, though. He was pissed, but observing Dobro's joy in the van, he got used to the idea.

There was a big pretty girl at the office but I could only take a long-distance shot out of respect for McCartney.

 Did you know that cats can be farters just as some dogs are? "Tooters" was the word I believe the vet used. Except for tooting and tooth tartar, McCartney is totally tip-top! I apologize for the alliteration. 

 Dobro was so good waiting. He really likes going there because he knows that he's among friends. 

 Once back home, McCartney was happy to take off, while Dobro and I decided to take a nap. Gotta love vacation.


Terry Allen's Facebook is filled with photos of Tennessee landscapes, sunsets, butterflies, and literally hundreds of images of his beloved dogs. And, yes, a couple of cats, too. When someone speaks with love, the words carry more weight. 
Please read and think.

It's Saturday night. Most of my life it's been the best of times. I have always lived for Saturday nights!

Now I am a little older, twice the legal drinking age. Not into the party scene, rarely drink at all. Still love me some Saturdays.

I love dogs, I know I am Captain Obvious! I hate this Saturday night. My timeline is covered up with the most dedicated and loyal servants to mankind...rottweilers, pit bulls and german shepherds. This Saturday is going to be memorable for me. It will go down as the Saturday night that I realized just how disappointing my species really is. We cannot possibly ask these breeds to give up any more of themselves than they already have. We can't expect anymore from them. Yet we label 'em and toss 'em away like trash and they serve and serve and serve us. All for a pat on the head and a bowl of disgusting slop. The best deal humankind has ever gotten but we just SHIT all over em! I Try not to cuss on here but its late and I'm sick of it! Dogs that nobody wants, dogs that somebody wants but the govt facilities won't allow em to have! Its always lose/lose and kill some more. Screw that, we are the monsters! There's no way in hell they'd throw us away like we do them by the millions!

Go take a long hard look in the mirror and then decide who the monsters are.

The death toll, the discrimination, the abuse, the nonchalant attitude of "oh, well, it's just a stupid animal" has to stop. You're killing them in the name of apathy. You're killing me and those like minded with disappointment.

To all my furry friends, I hope you have many more Saturday nights. To the gone, I remember you tonight and I'm sorry you gave so much and got so little in return. Just know, we are quick to do it to each other, you're not alone.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Who’s Watching Your Pet’s Vet?


Ohio Companion Animal Lovers, the next time you check in your pet, check out your veterinarian's clinic. Ask your vet when the last time anyone from the state ever checked his clinic's protocols, record keeping, equipment, medications, or hygiene. Apparently the majority of veterinary clinics are never checked. The state agency, the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board, charged with overseeing veterinarians' clinics, has no full time inspector on its payroll. In Ohio, the Board of Health does not handle animal hospitals.

Moreover, according to a law passed in 1992, the OVMLB has to give the veterinary hospital five days written notice that it will be inspected. The inspections should be random and unannounced to get a true picture of the operations and conditions of the veterinary hospital.

In a vet hospital sick animals are brought in all day long, every day. Who is checking on the spread of zoonotic diseases between the patients and their owners? What is stemming the animal illnesses from being carried out of the premises, into the families’ homes, and into the community?

In contrast to the Vet Board, the Board of Health regularly inspects all types of premises. In Ohio's Hamilton County every gas station is inspected by the BOH once a year; every restaurant two to four times a year; each school and every beauty parlor, twice a year; all tattoo parlors, three times a year. Every nursing home gets a team of several people who come once a year, unannounced and stay for about five full days on the premises. Who checks on the record keeping, the protocols, the equipment, and the hygiene of your veterinary clinic? Apparently no one ever regularly checks the veterinary hospitals. The OVMLB only went to 12 vet hospitals last year. In sharp contrast to that number there are 6,200 licensed vets and vet techs in Ohio.

Governor Kasich and the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board should institute regular, unannounced, random inspections of veterinary clinics, checking on hygiene, protocols, equipment, medicines, and record keeping. These are reasonable requests. These procedures regularly occur in other Ohio state agencies, such as the Pharmaceutical and Dental Boards, and other states' Veterinary Licensing Boards, such as California. Ohio animals, as patients, Ohio pet owners, as consumers, and Ohio veterinarians, as professionals, deserve to have the assurance of high standard of care. It is the mission statement of the Vet Board to assure public trust. It is the right thing to do.

Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/goldenre and join the conversation to work for improved Ohio, veterinary oversight.

Beth Sheehan

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tony Was Put To Death

This is Tony from New York.  Was. Someone found him and turned him in as a stray. His nails had not been trimmed for some time, but his ears were certainly cut. Why his muzzle was so sore is unknown, but knowing how tender our own faces are, you can imagine that the injuries were very uncomfortable.  He did well in his temperament testing, wagging his tail, allowing food to be taken away without showing aggression, energetic and responsive.

He almost got out of the pound,  with several hundred dollars collected for his care, over a thousand shares on Facebook, and many people acting on his behalf, but the system grinds on. It killed Tony.
Does this face look like a beast with no feelings, unaware of its surroundings and its future?

You can help stop this. Please support NO KILL efforts in your state, and spay and neuter your pets so they won't make generations of unwanted babies that end up like Tony. 

Monday, September 24, 2012


Dobro woke me up with joy, as usual, in the pre-dawn darkness. I was glad in a way because I wanted to check Suedey, my little rabbit, to make sure he survived the night. There's been a raisin turd stuck to his fur near one back leg that I'm using as a measure of the extent of his illness because he's as vain as a teenage boy in his grooming, normally keeping his fleece perfect. Lately he's been looking pretty moth-eaten. The vet checked him out thoroughly a few days ago, unable to find anything wrong with him. He seemed to be improving until yesterday when he pretty much shut down. Now he's barely eating, just hunched inside the cardboard box in his cage in the dark. He seems to like it when I stroke his nose and the base of his ears, but it alarms me how tufty his fur feels.

Tom and I were planning to go to a Country Fair at a historical farm today but it was just too chilly, so instead I brought Dobro to the nursing home and we hung out there for a few hours.

Before I talk about that, let me talk about HISTORICAL. A HISTORICAL FARM. NOT AN HISTORICAL FARM. I asked Daddy, an English teacher for thirty years, about the peculiar silent "h" in American English, how so many people are using "an" before words starting with "h." Daddy was a ready source of grammar wisdom for me and I feel bound to carry on his legacy. His thing was that the article "an" is to be used before spoken vowels, and therefore before silent "h." Therefore, if you say "honest" without the aspiration of "h" as it should be pronounced, then you would refer to "an honest person." Therefore, you would say "a hysterectomy" if you normally pronounced that "h." Therefore, you can say, "A hicky, a horse-sized hicky on the neck, is a happenin' thing for a hipster, but a hidden hicky is even better." A historical event for a hippie, to be sure.

Back to Tom. I draped him in the wool blanket that he got at the powwow a few weeks ago. It was a raffle prize, but the lady who won it presented it to him. Beyond the profuse thanks given to her at the occasion, I have no way to thank her but to pay it forward, to pass on the good. It is an incredible blanket, very warm and so vivid it makes your eyes vibrate.

Tom has always loved the Beatles, and recently we talked about adopting Paul's and his deceased wife Linda's vegan lifestyle, at the very least, a cruelty-free lifestyle. It takes steps to make the change since we are surrounded by a culture that takes so much for granted, but Tom was very clear in making strong single blinks to indicate, "YES!" A few days ago I found a local farm in our county where the couple has their own bees, chickens, turkeys, vegetables, fruits, flowers, and other products from local sources including maple syrup. I bought several items and used the beeswax cream to give Tom a foot massage.

I brought Tom some routine supplies, but also some other goodies. Since his big Abbey Road Beatles backpack had been chewed literally to bits by a frantic Tree Walking Coonhound that we were transporting, I got him a new one, bigger and better, and today was the first time he got to see it. It met with his approval, as I knew by his wide eyes and big affirmative blink, so I'll stock it with some necessities and hang it from the back of his wheelchair. I also brought along a couple of small raw wood birdhouses given to me for him by a friend so we can work on painting them together, again eliciting a long blink. What else? Some delicious colognes, some new socks, stuff like that.

At the recent Heritage Festival from a Native American vendor we had each got a small skin pouch  to be used as a medicine bag or spirit bag for "good medicine," containing personal items as well as herbs and crystals, that hang around the neck for strength and healing. At the powwow Tom was given some very special items as blessings. I brought some things from home for his bag, including his deceased father's crucifix, his old guitar pick, his black leather Camaro keyring, and some other things for him to examine. He was very glad to see them but I think so many mementos made him exhausted, too, so we'll finish the bag later. The main bag will stay at home in his room for safety, but I have an extra bag,  fringed black with blue beads, that we decided to use as a secondary bag to put on his bulletin board in his room at the nursing home.

After our dog's adventure at the flea market, I thought Dobro's visit to the nursing home wouldn't make him nervous, but there were WHITE MEN IN BLUE JEANS that left him trembling even though they were very kind to him. He's getting more and more accustomed to being around people but being approached by a person who strongly resembled his abuser was hard for him.

The happier news is that he's totally used to wearing bandanas. He wore one today bought at a recent dog rescue fundraiser, showing doggie skeletons and the words, "BAD TO THE BONE."

I have to say that I hadn't had any coffee Saturday, so by Sunday I was ready for some. I treated myself to a big steaming cup of Tim Horton's vanilla cappuccino. The bright blue sky and crisp autumn air made it taste soooooo delicious. I feel bad for Tom that the brain injury damaged his olfactory nerves, forever impairing his sense of smell, so food and drink are not only difficult to swallow for him, but they no longer taste as they did. Many years ago, before he was removed from home and institutionalized, he used to use the deaf hand sign for "S," a fist with the thumb in between the index and middle fingers, as the sign for "shit." One time I fixed him a sweet potato with lots of butter, something he had loved before his hiking accident, but he made a terrible face with the first bites. I asked him how it tasted, and he made the sign for "shit."I laughed at his expressiveness but it was a bit sad at the same time. It was no insult to my cooking, but a disappointment representing another loss in his life.

We spent a few hours outside together and then parted ways, each looking forward to our respective beds since we don't share one now except on special occasions. I was happy to spend time with him, especially since we are both marking the death anniversaries of our mothers this month. The bleakness of our parents' absence is ever present. It's weird how absence can be a presence, a kind of silence at the periphery that doesn't go away. Since the weather is warming up again this week, I'll try to plan a visit to their cemeteries for us. Daddy was cremated, so I can't be in his physical presence again, although I do carry a tiny gift from him in the medicine bag around my neck.

 When I got home and checked on Suedey the bunny, I was elated to discover that the raisin turd stuck to his leg was GONE! He ate some of his alfalfa pellets, the raw celery bits, and then half an apple. He came out of hiding a few times, leaving the cardboard box to be petted.

Tomorrow the new week begins.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Today is the first day of vacation. Technically it doesn't start till Monday, but it feels as though I'm out the door TODAY, Saturday. I had a shitload of ambitious plans, but sleep crowded them all out. Usually Dobro, my dog, gets me up around 5:30 in the morning, but today I went back to sleep and he stayed curled up next to me till the early afternoon. Faithful boy.

A phenomenon exists in which the organism pumps out an incredible amount of adrenalin to survive a prolonged extreme situation -- being stranded on a raft in the ocean, for example, or living in a home where one cannot escape regular abuse -- but when the situation ends and the adrenalin stops flowing, the rescued organism crashes in exhaustion, sometimes even dying. It's not coincidence, but simple pathophysiology, if that is not an oxymoron. I guess I should have pencilled that into my calendar, some Post-Adrenalin Crash time. Although I had envisioned springing up out of bed and launching into activity, that just didn't happen today. I did surf the web with return dips into Facebook, and ended up volunteering to drive three hours to a shar-pei sanctuary near Cleveland next week where I'll be meeting some dogs that were rescued from a puppy mill.

The Animal House & Ohio Pet Placement has the following contact information:
2555 North Ridge Road, East, Lorain, Ohio 44055

Photos of a few of the rescued babies are below. Most of them are afraid of people and have medical issues such as skin inflammation and visual and/or hearing impairments in spite of their young age. They're now being cared for with love and patience, feeling grass in the open air for the first time, learning how to play, discovering that human touch brings comfort instead of pain.









I fell back asleep dreaming of these girls and boys and hoping I can adopt one of them so Dobro will have somebody to play with and I'll have a new baby to ... I don't know the right verb to use ... indulge ... nurture ... mother ... well, play with.  

Waking up later, hungry, it was with great pleasure that I remembered going to a country store a couple of days ago and buying many locally produced delights including honey, maple syrup, and turkey eggs from Mr. Adams' farm. They were huge eggs, speckled, with hard shells and tough membranes, but tasted pretty good this morning scrambled in chemical-free Earth Balance fake butter that really tastes like butter. A filling breakfast, and not eaten at the cost of causing animals to suffer. 

Speaking of suffering, I'm worried about Suedey, my little mini Rex rabbit, so named for his suede-like fleece. I took him to the vet a few days ago to get checked out because his usually voracious appetite has been flagging, and his usually impeccable grooming has become sloppy. Of course, at the vet's he was perky and fine. It never fails. The doctor did say that lots of people's rabbits are shedding now, and don't always feel too great during the process. She recommended I give him papaya tablets for the benefit of its digestive enzyme in case he has a hairball from all the fur. He was back to himself yesterday, but today he's not eaten much of anything and he's as bedraggled as if he'd been partying all night. I'm keeping a close eye on him because rabbits, being prey animals, hide their sickness and can die fast when they really do get sick. I'm kind of scared. I was going to take him to the Bunfest in Columbus at the end of next month, a celebration of house rabbits and featuring lots of exhibits, giving him/us a chance to meet lots of other bunnies and their humans. 

A rabbit's foot is supposed to be for good luck, so I'm posting a photo of Suedey's foot for his own good luck. 

I'm getting sleepy. Worrying about Suedey as well as having the SyFy Channel on all day and listening to giant drooling, squealing bugs battling humans has been exhausting. Dobro and I wish you a gentle goodnight.