I’ve been seeing a lot of Facebook posts and articles about rescue pets lately. I’m glad so many people understand the importance of adopting these pets in need. I’ve had three rescue dogs and they’re the best. Here’s Sophie, my latest rescue. She’s a Chihuahua from a busted puppy mill in Kansas. Kansas has a lot of puppy mills. Shame on Kansas.
On my way home from running errands today it occurred to me that we may be trying to use a bucket to empty a sinking boat without patching the hole first.
When I worked for the State of Kansas, I had a long discussion with someone who worked in the state office responsible for inspecting breeding operations. They were under staffed and under funded. And under appreciated. This individual described horrific situations faced when their small staff went into a puppy mill to close it down. I will spare you the details.
They worked long hours and still couldn’t get the work done–it was just too big for their limited resources. I’m reminded of the story of Sisyphus. His punishment in hell was to push an immense boulder up a hill just to have it come crashing down on him again and again forever. That must be how these inspectors feel.
As well as adopting a rescue pet, let’s also contact our state animal inspection offices (often called the Animal Health Office within the Department of Agriculture) and do some research. These are some of the questions you might ask:
Here’s an informative article that will give you a sense of the challenges at hand:
Comments Please. What wisdom can you add to this situation? How can we make a greater impact in patching the hole in the sinking boats we have in so many states?
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I like to have a clean, tidy car. I don’t always have a clean car, but it’s an on-going goal. My car is never grimy or full of trash, but it can get messy. Any day of the week I’d like to be able to say “hey, I’ll take you, hop in” and never be embarrassed by trash in my car.
What does the inside of your car look like? What does it say about you?
I’ve never owned a new car. I prefer to buy a used car in good condition. I’m frugal and a utilitarian. Even though my car is a 2003, it looks good, well taken care of. We live in such a throw-away society, some people never learn how to take care of things. They “stomp” all over their cars so they look worn out and broken down well before they should.
If you’d like to take better care of your car, van, or truck, I have a three step solution:
Step 1: Clear out the junk
Most people have some kind of junk in their car. It’s inevitable because we spend so much time in our cars and use them for so many purposes. Here are some kinds of junk we have in our cars:
Clear out all the trash and throw it away or recycle it. Complete the errands (recycling, returns, donations). If there’s anything left that doesn’t belong in your car, put it where it belongs.
Step 2: Contain and organize it
Our cars help us transport a lot of stuff. And because we’re in them while we’re in transition from place to place, it’s easy to see a mess and think “I’ll deal with that later” and then forget about it until we get in the car the next day and the cycle starts again. My experience tells me that the longer a mess stays around, the easier it gets to ignore because we stop seeing it. It becomes a part of the background.
The main challenge we face is that most things don’t have a place in our cars. If they did, we’d probably put them where they belong. So here’s how I’ve found places for things in my car.
I keep working on my systems and they get better over time. Life is easier with systems. If you don’t have any systems, borrow some of mine and make revisions when you get a bright idea.
Step 3: Clean it
I used to struggle with dog hair and dog smeared dirty windows—it’s the only thing about my dogs that isn’t cute. I got tired of vacuuming the back seat so I bought a Pontiac Vibe – Toby gets the entire back hatch area. Sophie gets a wee dog bed on the floor of the passenger side which is safer in case I need to stop quickly.
I don’t like to climb in the back seat to vacuum and clean windows so I take it to a full service car wash and pay them $13 plus a tip to clean the windows inside and out, wipe the dash and console and vacuum everything out. There’s nothing more pleasant that driving out of the car wash with a clean car, clean windows, and no dog hair on the floor. It’s satisfying in a special way. I visit this car wash at least quarterly and more often if it needs it. I also visit the do-it-yourself carwash whenever it needs it and am on that side of town. I keep several dollars worth of quarters in one of the little drawers on the dash.
After cleaning out my glove box and freeing up space, there was room for a microfiber dust cloth. Now I can easily wipe off the dash and console when I get stopped by a train or red light. I drive in the country a lot and the dash gets really dusty.
Lots of people eat in their cars so caked on food can become a problem. To clean my upholstery I use a spray bottle of my own cleaning mixture and a rag. I lightly scrub the upholstery when it needs it. This just takes a second if you do it before it’s totally trashed.
My systems have evolved over time. When I experience a problem or something that doesn’t work, I think of ways to solve the problem and then tweak my systems.
I’ve shared some of the ones that are working well for me to keep my car clean and organized. What solutions and systems do you use to keep your car, truck, or van clean and organized? If you’ve got challenges, what are they? Maybe we can help. Please comment at the link below.7 comments | Print This Post
I was going to write a post about my fabulous dinner and then realized I had a bigger story to tell–my wellness weekend of people, pets, and Pho. Wellness is so much more than diet, exercise, and stress management. Wellness includes all things that nourish your body, mind and soul. Here are a few highlights of what nourished me this weekend.
Friday afternoon I got a chance to hang out with my godchildren Addie and Sylvia. First we watched the demolition for their school charity event and then set out to play. What a treat it is to watch children play and to play with them. They realized that the slide their dad rigged for them would go so much faster if they sat on a cushion and slid down together.
Saturday, I met my friend Brenda in Kansas City for outings to the anitique mall, Trader Joe’s, Stein Mart, the Blue Moose for lunch, and back to Brenda’s for a great conversation about life. Also had a great phone conversation with my friend Lena. I couldn’t make the gathering of my family in Chelsea, Michigan, but I got to talk with my dad, sister, brother, and sister-in-law.
Sunday morning I slept in, had a Chihuahua playdate with my friend Nora’s and her new Chihuahua, Rosie, and Sophie, my rescue Chihuahua, and of course Toby but he’s a little harder for them to play with (8 vs 70 pounds).
After a long walk along the levee with Toby and Sophie….and a little shuffling of papers, I made the very best Pho. Here’s what went into it:
What did you do this weekend? Was it nourishing?
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I’m certain that birds are all over my spiritual totem. I love birds and watch them everywhere I go. I can often tell what kind of bird it is by the way it sits on a wire, the way it flies, or how it looks in the distance. I’m no birder, but I care and that’s why I know things about them.
That said, it’s surprising to me that I’ve lived this long without noticing that hot birds keep their beaks open. How could I miss that! It helps them cool off – kind of like panting. Again, no expert, but that’s the conventional wisdom I’ve tapped into since Kansas is in an record breaking heat wave and wildlife and other creatures across the country are struggling to cool off. Cattle in the feed lots, poultry and swine in the industrial farms….but that’s a story for another post….and an opportunity for prayers.
Even though it’s hot hot hot, I sit on my deck sweating and tuning into the wildlife in my small section of land – a few hundred square feet. I’m thrilled that the special sparrow shows up now and then to let me know that he/she is still around and OK.
Nature is perfect and imperfect all in the same moment. Again, I’ve never seen this….a bird with a gnarled foot – shriveled and only useful to keep the bird from falling to the right when landing. Useless when gripping the bowl I provide for water on the deck railing. He just drank and got his fill, handicap and all. A fantastically lovely site for me to witness. In fact, observing this scene I acknowledge that we’re all wounded – not always visible and apparent to the naked eye. The blessed wounds that provide us with opportunities to rise and shine, adapt, and inspire.
I am inspired. That sparrow probably wasn’t chosen in mating, probably lives marginally, but that sparrow still sings and plays and prospers to the delight of ….. me.2 comments | Print This Post
I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a bit serious about life—I could use more fun in my life. But what? How? We’re kicking off our Let’s Talk About Healthy, Happy living series talking about fun.
Here’s who needs to come to the call, Tue. Feb 15:
• You, if you’re good at having fun (we need to hear your secrets)
• You, if you seldom have fun (we want to inspire and expand your world)
• You, if you are in the middle like me (we want to tip you onto the fun end of the spectrum)
Come to the first call in the series this Tuesday, February 15 and share your take on fun (Do you know how to have fun? Are you fun-deficient? Do you have suggestions for having more fun?)
More info about the series and signup:
When you sign up, you’ll receive an email with the call-in details. If you’re not sure whether you have signed up for this series yet, go ahead and sign up. You’ll get just one notice (unless you use a different email).Leave a comment | Print This Post
It’s appalling how we treat farm animals in our American Industrialized farms. If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, view this little video. If you live in California, you can vote on Proposition 2.
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Jasmine died in October 2007 and it’s finally time to get another dog–and maybe even a cat! It’s a big deal getting a pet–at least for me it is. They are for life and unfortunately death.
I love the idea of getting a dog or cat who has ended up in a shelter. I love being able to provide a fabulous life and home for them after the twists and turns of their life. BTW I can’t watch Disney films that show lost or abused pets trying to get back home. Can’t do it. I rented a Benji film (Benji off the Leash) the other day because I wanted to “try on” a Benji type of dog. I could hardly watch parts of it–even though I knew it would turn out OK. I think some of us are just extra sensitive about animals.
So I’m on the prowl. I’ve been to the Topeka and Lawrence Humane Societies several times a week–hoping to find the one. And now that I’m ready, I want to find him or her now
But the good news is that I’m ready and I know the perfect dog for me is on his or her way to me now. And I’m ready to shop for the perfect bowls, perfect food, and perfect treats for my new little cutie pie. I’ll share pictures when I find the one.
Anybody else out there looking for a dog or cat?Leave a comment | Print This Post
Friends continue to connect and share their wisdom and stories about their loves and losses. A good friend sent this comforting note:
I heard a story once where a Buddhist teacher cried and cried when one monk died. Another monk said you’re a master and you understand karma, and transmigration of souls. Why, when you have such great knowledge is your grief so deep? And the rimpoche said “I’m crying because I miss him!”
Soon, I’ll post a special link for people wanting to share their “I love my pet” stories.Leave a comment | Print This Post
After Jasmine died, I thought I was doing really well. I buried her, cleaned the house and went back to the daily tasks of living. But I’ve noticed that I’m getting more sad instead of less sad. I feel a little foolish when people ask me how I am, so I say fine. Normally, I don’t fudge the truth. But I really want to be private now. Paradoxical considering I’m writing a blog post about this!
My heart is cracked wide open – and I guess maybe that’s a good thing – because it’s what is. My compassion is deepening, my love is deepening, my life is deepening.
Yes it’s just a dog. But Jasmine was such a fabulous dog. And it’s the first time I’ve been without a pet in 40 years. That’s gotta be part of my grief – the whole pet thing – love ’em and lose ’em. And I do so love my pets.
A friend sent this comforting email newsletter from Steven Lane Taylor…
On television this week, I saw interviews with several families who lost their homes in the fires that raced across southern California. It was nice to see that all of these people recognized that, in the largest sense, life is not about things. It is about love. And even though their houses—and all of the things in them—were gone, each of these families felt extremely grateful and blessed to have each other.
The loss of one’s home, however, is still a very real—and very devastating—loss. And I think it is important to acknowledge that fact.
A home, as you well know, is much more than mortar and bricks, stucco and tile. It is much more than a structure, a shelter, or even—in some cases—a work of art. A home is a box of memories, containing cherished mementos, souvenirs, keepsakes, heirlooms, and photographs. All of those treasured things are physical symbols of the people and the experiences in our lives that we hold near and dear to our hearts.
Although the memories themselves remain intact, it is still understandably tragic when the “memory collage” that one has spent a lifetime constructing, has been destroyed by wind, water, fire, or a shift in the earth itself.
I often mention that one of the keys to living life in the divine flow (and fulfilling your heart’s desires effortlessly) is maintaining a positive attitude. But that positive attitude must be genuine. And that means that feelings such as grief, sadness, and sorrow must first be allowed to run their natural course.
As I recently wrote, living life in the divine flow is not about stuffing your feelings to maintain an “appearance” of positivity. There is such a thing aslegitimate suffering in life. It is not the kind of suffering that you bring upon yourself through needless worry or thoughtless actions. It is the kind of suffering that occurs most often with the sudden and unexpected loss of something, or someone, that you deeply love.
If you are dealing with a loss in your life right now, it is okay to go ahead and let yourself feel your feelings about it. In fact, it is necessary. Give yourself permission to experience all of your feelings freely and fully. Allow them to come, and go . . . and come again . . . and go again. It is the only way that they will eventually dissipate.
If, instead, you attempt to suppress those feelings, they will continue to exist at a subconscious level. And, in the end, that will just delay your ability to heal and feel joy again. And by “joy” I mean that underlying sense of appreciation for the total experience of life . . . a joy that embraces all of life’s twists and turns . . . a joy that may be best described as “bittersweet.”
To each of you who have recently lost a loved one, a beloved pet, or anything else that occupies an important place in your heart, please know that kindred spirits the world over are supporting you in the restoration of your sense of wholeness, and the recovery of your sense of peace.
Blessings to you all.
2007 Steven Lane Taylor
Living Life in the Divine Flow
October 28, 2007
and another with my niece, Clare ….
another with my dad….one comment | Print This Post
Light footprint, big impact. I just buried Jasmine under the pecan tree where she and Chelsea always crawled under the deck. It was a BIG hole. Then I walked down to the Kansas river to sit a spell and ponder all the wonderful help and guidance Jasmine and I have gotten from all sides of the Universe-both human and divine.
I’ve walked my dogs along that river since 1991. It felt really close and personal when I sat on the rocks by the shore. It made me philosophical and I remembered reading about Mother Teresa’s death.
When she died, she left behind only 5 possessions: two saris, a wooden bowl and spoon and her Bible. At the time I remember being ashamed that I had 5 telephones.
Jasmine left behind just a few simple objects too: her food and water bowls, her leash and collar, two dog beds, and a dog house (that was more for me than it was her since she rarely used it).
As I vacuumed her tufts of white fur from all the corners, I became aware that this was the last time I would do that. In an instant, a task that I had always disliked became a task I longed to have the opportunity to do again and again.
With the loving presence of Mother Teresa who equally embraced the leper, the beggar, and the starving child, Jasmine looked with love into my eyes always–no matter what.
I received an outpouring of cards, calls, and emails. I’m sharing them here as a tribute to Jasmine and the loving community who supports me when I slip, trip, or fall.
It’s raining here and I was just sitting here with the lights out looking out the terrace door thinking about Jasmine.
I loved Jasmine, I really did.
Jasmine is so blessed because she had so much love and light surrounding her. She was like the dog of a village of pioneer, magic women. Jasmine was ours and we were hers. Lena
There is no way to really explain to anyone else the connection that you have with a pet, especially a soul like Jasmine. I feel your loss. May you always know that love. Tomorrow, I will have my dogs send a message to dog heaven. We will miss her. Kris
I am so sad about Jasmine. I have been thinking of you all day. I was thinking that tomorrow was the day the vet was coming. I didn’t realize it would be tonight already. She was truly a beautiful spirit, and she was as lucky to have you as you were to have her. And all of us who were able to meet her were lucky, too, to have been touched by her in some way. She had a beautiful spirit, and her memory will linger always. My love and thoughts are with you tonight. Hugs, Tamara
So sorry to hear about Jasmine’s illness. I know how completely miserable it can be. I had to put my dog Banjo down last year and I wept from my heart. Hang in there and, as I know you will, remember the great buddy that you have had for so many wonderful years. xo Bob
I’m so sorry for your loss. Jasmine was a good friend and a lovely dog-person. It’s so difficult to see good friends decline and suffer. It was wonderful that the vet and tech came to your home so Jasmine could die peacefully with her person in her home. Reading your email made me cry, but I’m glad that you’re taking the time to ponder life and that you’re open to another pet in the future. I can’t thank Cookie enough for all the joy she has given me over the years. And she’s by my side, anxious that I’ve forgotten her walk. So I’d better take her. Know that I’m thinking of you and sending you good thoughts. Love, Claire
sunflowers by the gate
a big white dog waiting in the garden
not barking, calm, interested.
people having drinks on the back deck, animated,
full of pleasure – fluffy white dog at their feet, basking, not needy
giving as much as she received
giving more than we knew
nearby, the river flowing in ancient bed
not hating the ones that polluted her
trains full of coal screaming and humping by
laughter and fellowship at Cheryl’s –
people, and one great dog with boddhisattva eyes.
I’m so sorry to hear that Jasmine did not pull through. She sounds like she was a wonderful pet. I’m sure you have great memories of her that will be comforting.My best, Dennis
I am so sorry for your loss. I know how much you loved her and how special she was. My heart goes out to you. I know she’ll be hanging around to watch over you.I’ll always remember the Community rock. Love you, Lana
I am so very sorry to learn of the death of your beloved pet. She was a beautiful dog, and so devoted to you. I’m glad I got to meet her when we were in Lawrence. Losing a pet is a great loss–they are our unconditionally loving companions, which is more than you can say for some people! It sounds to me like you’re doing all the right things to take care of yourself. The river was a special place for me (and Oliver) when I lived in Lawrence, so I truly understand your feelings for it. If you find yourself wanting a change of scenery, please remember you are always welcome to visit us. With love and understanding, Sandy
I am so sorry about Jasmine. It is 10:00 AM now, I’m at work but I can’t help crying. Don’t know what to say but my heart is with you. Please call me when you can. Najah
Jasmine was such a great friend. I am so very sad she is gone. I am sorry and will keep you in my prayers. Tony (my handyman wrote this at the bottom of his invoice for recent work – really sweet!)
Thanks for letting me know about Jasmine. What a wonderful doggy soul! Although I’m saddened by her departure from this plane, I’m so very grateful for the time she and I had on your porch that day. I’ve never had a dog just open up to me in that way, and it was very wonderful. I’m also learning a lot and taking to heart your journey. What a brave and beautiful soul you are as well! Thanks for being part of my life. Love and blessings, Jo
Reading about Jasmine was the last thing I expected this morning. I just sat down to go through the emails from our vacation. I’m so sorry. I know that you had some time to be with Jasmine to think about it and get used to the idea because your last email was very calm and bittersweet. It looks like you have a busy weekend ahead, but I’ll call and see if we can connect at some point. Today is Chris’ 50th birthday so we are going to be out part of the day celebrating. I wish I was there to hold your hand and just be with you. I love you very much. Diane
Hi Cheryl, I hope you don’t mind but I can’t stop crying! I know how you feel and it will take some time to get through all of this. You are doing the right thing by staying busy. As much as I want a dog in my life I just can’t yet. Losing my Jezebel 5 yrs ago this Oct. is still tugging at my heart and she is missed so much. Kiwi and Hodge (my cats) that died will always be in my heart. Please remember that you are in my prayers and thoughts. Love, Justine
I am sorry for your loss, Cheryl. It is a hard thing to lose a close friend. You were both good to each other and she had a wonderful life as a result of finding you. Dogs are amazing creatures. They change our lives in small subtle ways that leave a deep lasting meaning that there are no words to fully describe. I always have found it cruel that their life is so much shorter than ours….but that is just my selfishness. They burn 4 times as bright while they are here. I will be thinking about you and Jasmine today. Love, Chris
I was ironing Sunday afternoon and at 5:10 had a strong feeling of grief. I thought of you and Jasmine, knowing you were in turmoil. We are thinking about you and your “happy” life with Jasmine. I know Hannah is also very sad. I like to think of Jasmine’s heaven looking like your levy! In the fall when lots of leaves and mud. Love you Beth
I wish I could just take away all the pain I know you are feeling – but only time can do that. Just remember that Jasmine will always be with you – in your heart. Your friend, Betty
I’m so sorry to hear about Jasmine. She was a very sweet dog. I’m sure you miss her very much. My thoughts re with you. Ann
I’m so, so sorry. I know she was a huge part of your life. I’ll say a prayer for Jasmine — and you. Carol
i am so sorry to hear about jasmine – what a wonderful spirit she had. it is an honor to have met her and played with her. you are in our thoughts and prayers. blessings, cathy and bettie
What a wonderful thing that you had a nice sunny day so that you could sit and contemplate the great gifts that Jasmine brought you. I’m sorry for your loss. You have such a great attitude. This email brought tears to my eyes-not just because I can imagine how difficult this transition is for you, but because I am inspired by your outlook and ability to look at all life situations as valuable opportunities to grow and move forward. I love you, and will give you a call next weekend. Love Michele
Oh, Cheryl, I’m so sad that you had to say goodbye to your dear friend! Jasmine was a wonderful companion for you, just as you were for her. You were lucky to have found each other. And you are right, when the time is right, I know another animal companion will make his/her way into your life. A big hug to you in this poignant time! Love, Deborah
Oh, love and loss and sadness, damn it. It brings up memories of my own pain to know that you are experiencing all that now. Somehow it is all part of life and we must be in it.
Blessing Jasmine, spirit dog, and my Tip, spirit dog.
Blessing you, Cheryl. You are beautiful and loving and inspiring. I appreciate your friendship, Sharon
In addition to the prayer, let me know if there is anything else you need. Some say i’m a good listener (anytime). Love, Jena
Oh my! I’m so sorry to hear your dear Jasmine was ill and had to leave the planet! I have found the loss of my “pets” to be the hardest thing in this world, often even more so than the loss of lovers! [perhaps because I found the love shared was more perfect and less fraught with pain]. You guys were so bonded and had so many lovely walks and adventures. She was definitely a big force and presence and your life will really feel different without her. She was so solidly there, that I imagine it will mean a big empty space in your life and home for a while.
My last big dog, Ben, had lameness and then cancer was discovered and no chance of survival, so the vet “put him to sleep.” This was just after Tom and I broke up, and Ben lived with him. I was sorry that Ben died in the vet clinic, as he truly hated that place. Once he wouldn’t get out of the car there when he was going for shots, and it was like trying to push around a 100 lb pile of cement blocks with skin on them. Maybe he had a premonition. I finally started crying in frustration, and he jumped right out! I like that the vet and tech came to you.
A friend in CA had a cat named Jasmine, and the vet came to her home and put her to sleep. Later that day I went over and we buried her near the deck (she was a tiny delicate being–like 6 lbs–and so not what you faced), and then we planted a jasmine plant on the top of her burial place so that it would twine up over the base of the deck, and waft soft scents into the windows, as a kind of living memory of her sweetness. It’s good to have a ritual to go though something so difficult.
I got to spend the weekend with the Dalai Lama last week at a teaching on emptiness–how everything we think of as important and real doesn’t last and only compassion and detachment matters. Your note shows that teaching in action.
Keep taking especially good care of yourself, and doing the next right thing! With love and sadness, Priscilla
Would you like to leave a comment? I invite you to leave a comment about Jasmine or any pets you have loved and lost.5 comments | Print This Post