Saturday, July 28, 2012

Need an Ego Boost? Play Me

Should I ever find myself on a therapist's couch and am asked why a clever gal like myself suffers from low self-esteem, I'll blame those two guilty culprits: No, not Mom and Dad.

Try Words with Friends and Draw Something.

Because thanks to these two popular smart phone games, I've discovered that I can't spell and can't draw. There's probably a lot more I can't do, but I haven't yet discovered the games that will further deplete what little confidence I have left.

Really, how else can I explain the ten dozen consecutive games I've lost to each of my friends on the online version of Scrabble known as "Words with Friends?"

At least that's the game as I know it. From their end, they probably call it "Words with Idiots."

Here I am, tippy-tapping simple words like, "RAT" and "FOOT" and the ever-popular "QI." Whoa, lookee me---I just scored 14 points! Whoohoo, I rock. Satisfied and feeling just a tad smug, I sit back and imagine my opponents writhing in my infinite glory.

Then Sharon counters with "CONJUNCTIVITIS" down over "ESOPHAGUS" across, grabbing three double words tiles in the process. Or Peter responds with "AUDIORADIOGRAPH" over three triple point letters, while Terry creates "REPERTOIRE" and "UBIQUITOUS" out of my simple "PET" while crossing two triple word tiles. Deb does a slam dunk with "DEMYTHOLOGIZERS," Maria rakes me across the coals with "DISEQUILIBRATED" and Kim takes it home with "METHOXYFLURANES."

Their triple digit points leave my eyeballs spinning. Even as I look at the words they created, I can't quite figure out how they did it.

They make my brain hurt.

So I take a break and move on to Draw Something, the online game in which you draw a sketch based on a certain word and your opponent tries to guess it.

My word is "ATHLETE." Okay, that's easy. Using my fat finger as a stylus, I draw a stick figure holding a brown baseball bat and hitting a white softball with red stitching. I'm quite pleased with my creative use of color. I hit "send."

Then my opponent, whom I can only guess is channeling Leonardo Da Vinci, sends me her drawing. A multi-colored, three-dimensional sketch of a Renaissance court jester, so life-like I can almost feel the velvet of the jester's cap and hear the laughter of the king he's entertaining. What's the word I'm trying to guess?

"FOOL."

A subliminal message, no doubt.

But the perfect word for using up those extra "o"s in that other game, and across a double-word tile, no less. I'll score a whopping 16 points!

And so it goes.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Just a Little Pee'd Off

I've about had it with dog owners who think the world is nothing but one great big toilet for their pup's personal use. Seriously. I just want to smack these folks upside the head and ask, "You think this is okay? Really?"

If I sound annoyed, well, uh, yeah.
My front porch smells like an outhouse at the close of Lollapalooza and the black cluster of flies only reinforce the image.

In the 11 years I've had dogs, I can truthfully say that I've never purposely let my dogs do their business on or near a neighbor's property. Once, my sweet greyhound Lucy couldn't hold it as we were leaving my townhouse complex and she peed near a neighbor's porch. When we returned from our walk, I went to this neighbor's house with a bucket of water and white vinegar and washed the puddle as best I could.

Be
cause here's a newsflash, folks: Urine stinks. Urine draws flies, and urine attracts other dogs. For more urine.

But some dog guardians seem to be under the mistaken impression that their beloved pups squirt lavender water. And so, I'm giving these dolts the benefit of a doubt with a gentle reminder, this "no pee" sign I've posted near my porch. Honestly, though, I doubt it'll help. You can't make someone be considerate. Respectful. To the contrary, it's probably just a matter of time before someone steals the sign while waiting for their precious Snookums to finish her business. On my porch, of course.

And adding yet another knot to my already twisted knickers.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Secure in Her Forever Home

Every time I feel the need for a chuckle, I sneak a peek at this picture (left) of my silly Olivia and voila! Mission accomplished. I love this picture for two reasons:

1. It's a classic example of a greyhound "roaching" (the dead cockroach pose that greyhounds are known for).

2. Only a happy, relaxed, and content dog will assume this position and expose her belly.

And Olivia has come so far from the frightened, wary dog she was when I adopted her in November; the dog who would stiffen when I'd try to hug her and wouldn't come when called. The dog who bared her teeth and
made my hair stand on end with a skin-crawling growl if I got too close.

The dog who didn't trust or love me.


Fast-forward eight months later to a loving, sweet and affectionate Olivia. Friendly towards strange people and strange dogs. She's goofy, playful, silly, giddy. No growls, no way. My biggest problem now is a 70-pound dog who insists on affection, climbing onto my lap and demanding kisses with adoring, love-struck eyes and one very wet nose.

I accommodate her requests. With pleasure.

Because this former race dog, who just ten months ago was living in a crate for up to 22 hours a day, had previously never known any type of love, treats, toys or affection. Today, when I see Olivia prancing about with her stuffed squeaky shark in her mouth and pure, unbridled joy, my heart flutters and I share her joy.

And so, roach away, my sweet 'livvy. You've earned it.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Letter From a Dog

I don't normally share the dozens of jokes, heartwarming stories and "aw shucks" photos received through email. Nice for a quick read, but I figure we all get enough junk mail.

And so, I read, click, delete.

But I have to share this one sent to me by a Pet Tales reader. I cried when I read it the first time. And later, when I read it again, I cried again. Oh, how I miss my Elvis.

Maybe
you've already read this "letter from a dog." Maybe it's old news to everyone, but me. Don't care. I'm posting it anyway (slightly edited for length) in memory of my beautiful boy.

"DEAR FRIEND,

It is my time to say goodbye. I have been called home, away from you. I know I leave you in loneliness and pain, for that is the way of people when they say goodbye. Dogs are different. We don’t have regrets or wish that we could alter the story of life.

I leave you with memories of our life together...when you looked at me and the corners of your mouth turned up, you smelled and looked different. Lighter, happier. That was my life, my work. Nothing more clearly defined my purpose. When you smiled, I knew why I was here.

I remember my heart jumping out of my chest when you came home and called my name, or grabbed my toy to play with me, or feed me. I hope you know that I loved all of those things. Whatever you chose to give me, whatever time you spent with me, I loved. And I thank you.

You know that there is always a goodbye hovering in the shadow of a dog. We are never here for long enough. We were never meant to share all of your life, only to mark its passages. We come when we are needed. We leave when it is time. Death is necessary. it defines life.

I will see you again.
I will watch over you.

I hope, in your grief and loneliness, that you will consider how sad it would have been had we not had this time together, not had the chance to give each other so much.

I do not mourn or grieve, but I will miss standing beside you, bound together on our walk through life, even as I know there is a long line of others waiting to take my place and stand by you.

Thank you. It was nothing but a gift.

Finally, I ask these things of you: Remember me. Celebrate me. Grieve for me. And then, when you can, let me go, freely and in peace.

When you are ready, do me the great honor of bringing another dog into your life so you can give and receive this gift again."

~Author Unknown
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