A Skirmish in the Rain

IMG_1583 - 2014-05-23 at 17-03-14


It’s getting late and I have yet to figure out what to write about. These past few days I have been exploiting shelter dogs by publishing their pictures without first getting a release form. My bad. But the morning, today, has the freshness of recent rain. Because the rain has stopped, at least for now, Rosie the cat got to go outside for a while. When the rain is falling she becomes as testy as testy can be. It’s as if the rain is my fault and she lets me know about it, so I have some peace this morning.

Above you see a photo of Blanche. She’s a sweetie. When she stands on her hind legs, front feet up against the cage wires, she is nearly as tall as I am. As with most shelter dogs she can get angry with other dogs who come too close, and who can blame her. Conditions of confinement breed frustration. We’ve all been through that.

Reading many and various articles about politics, at this time of the morning, can make my head spin at times. Since I have a liberal outlook toward such things I end up reading exclusively in that area. What really gets to me is the level of violence that our culture and society has developed in the past few decades. I’m not actually qualified to expound on these things. I just get frustrated. That’s all. All you need is love? Yup, but apparently that takes time. In the meantime . . . umm, I don’t know.

It’s time for me to pull out my appreciation for beauty once again. That gets me through when life gets sticky, which it has for me, again. Now, I just ended two sentences in a row with the same word. Some English teacher somewhere would likely come down on me for that, like can’t I get a little more diversity and creativity in my prose? Well, ma’am, maybe I can but not this morning. Can’t you wait? I am not feeling well this morning. Chill.

I know my blog readership is small yet I write as if it is large. I think the lesson here is that it makes no difference when it comes to that. I write what comes to me, be it sparse or be it loquacious to the point of making myself cringe with embarrassment.

“Still write it down, it might be read
nothing’s better left unsaid
only sometimes, still no doubt
it’s hard to see, it all works out” ~ Procol Harum 

That about sums me up on this gray morning. In stepping outside a few minutes ago I found that I could not read the sky. It looked confused, clouds going this way and that. Very odd, and darned if I can tell if and when it will rain again. The experts, folks who are trained in such things, say that the rain will indeed come again, and today, but maybe not until noon. It’ll be a balancing act at work, getting the dogs outside, then cleaning their kennels, then getting them back inside, without them getting wet from the rain. It’s all about them. We are there to give service to them doggies. They need the help. Our facility is meant to give them a home until they can be adopted and taken to a better home. Until then they have us, and we them.

Yesterday I found that I had a small skirmish on my hands. I was taking a pit bull mix out of her kennel when she suddenly bolted and headed right at another dog who was still in their own kennel. The one who escaped me is named Clarabelle. It was Raven she was fixin’ to engage in battle. I went down on one knee and got a precarious grip on Clarabelle’s collar as she ran, and I was yanked down upon my side, at which point I got another finger on the collar. The dog made it to the other dog and they were snarling and snapping with only the wire cage material between them, with me still struggling to get a stronger grip on the collar while trying to avoid a puddle of urine on the floor. Finally getting my fingertips dug in and under the collar a bit I was able to pull the dog away from the other dog, which was no small feat since Clarabelle weighs out just over 60 pounds. A pit mix that size is a formidable thing to try to get under control when all they want to be is out of control.

At some point I was able to get back up onto my knees, then onto my feet. I had the slip lead ready, as it had been throughout the first part of the whole mess, so I started trying to get it around the dog’s neck. She was tossing her head all around in opposing my efforts, jaws snapping and snarls still leaping from her throat. When it gets to that point one has to wonder if a bite will ensue. Bites most frequently happen incidentally in shelter fights. They aren’t intending to bite the handler. It is just a matter of snapping jaws and teeth accidentally connecting with human flesh.

By that time every dog in the room was barking, and loudly. I finally got the slip lead around Clarabelle’s neck and pulled it snug so I could take her outside. Both she and I were dancing a slippery dance through the puddle of urine, and she was still snarling and trying to re-engage Raven. I think she was stronger than me but I had the determination of duty so I was able to win the day. Without getting bitten. Tell me something – does your job ever lead you into heated events like that? It almost makes me want to go back to working retail again, but I know better. Conflict is everywhere, in all workplaces. But I am lucky. I have the dogs and the dogs are loving and affectionate when they are not trying to fight. Surrounded by that much love? It takes me back to the conclusion of paragraph three of this post. All you need is love? The dogs have it in spades. And I love my job. You can’t beat that.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.



2 thoughts on “A Skirmish in the Rain

  1. Tried to find you while passing through Taos yesterday. Even went by the shelter. It was early and they were just exercising several dogs before they were transported to another shelter in Colorado…which is what I happened to be doing to myself as well. Oh well, sorry I missed you, but did say hi in spirit, and met a few of the dogs in the process.

    • Sorry I missed you, Don. They told me, but I couldn’t figure out who it was. They just said, “Two older white guys”. Hi back, in spirit. The connection is always there.

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