My dad informed me this evening that both Michael and I need to write about something interesting on our blogs because frankly, we’re boring him to death. I love my dad. He’s a fabulous communicator. I must get my mad skills from him, don’t you think? 🙂
As life often does, I’ve been tossed some pretty difficult curve balls. My transmission on my truck went out. My horrible landlord sold my house out from under me. And I find myself in the tortured position of needing help, constantly, all the time, for everything.
I have to tell you. Being the needy person just sucks.
Last Friday, after a very disappointing day that offered up more problems than solutions, Rebekkah and I found ourselves stranded outside of a little neighborhood pub. The transmission on the truck had thrown up its hands in despair, and would go no further. Simon was at work. My family lives a long way from me. My best friend lives somewhere near the moon, and I have no friends here that are those kinds of friends. A laughable attempt to find out when the next city bus would be coming along was enough to convince me, I don’t want to be at the mercy of those morons. Dejectedly, we trudged our weary, cold bodies into the closet-sized bar, sent a text to Simon, and sat down to wait for our rescue.
Rebekkah, as upset about this latest downturn in our luck as I was, was fighting back her tears, which caused me to lose my shit. I locked myself in the grungy little bathroom and wept like an infant. Then, I washed my face, ordered several tequila shots, and the rest of the evening is just a nauseated-tinged blur of panic and slightly insane forced optimism that didn’t fool Rebekkah for even a second. I spent the next few days trying to recover from my dry heaving stomach, migrane-grade headache, and as an added bonus, a bladder infection that made my hair hurt. I went to bed, and I didn’t get up for days.
For what seems like a million years, I’ve handled the crap life has tossed at me, and so I guess it is no real surprise that my survival instinct kicked back in sometime after I was able to stop puking, and I began breaking down each problem, organizing and prioritizing what needs to be done first, and getting back some sensation of control over my life. It’s amazing to me how I can literally make myself sick worrying over something, and not really have a clue what it is exactly that I’m freaking out about. Yet again, this was one of those times. I was not losing my cookies over having to move….The Blue House has always made me blue. I wasn’t losing it over my broken truck either. That poor thing is always in the shop.
You want to know what drove me to drown my worries in tequila, limes, and a little salt?
Animals. Lots and lots of animals.
I live in a rough area of town, and daily, I see homeless people setting up tents along a highway, or see them being harassed by the latest crop of academy graduates, with their shiny new badges. I see the open sores of an impoverished existence bleeding and scabbing on too many cracked, dry hands and gaunt, solemn faces each day. I hand out my cigarettes to people who truly comprehend just how expensive each little stick of death really is, and listen to stories that make my soul weep for the hopeless state mankind has wrought on itself and all it touches.
I see all of that human misery daily, but it is the animals wandering loyally next to their homeless humans that make me want to close my eyes and never open them again. There is a message in each furry face that I can’t seem to escape, and I find myself haunted by these visions constantly.
I get that we humans disobeyed the ONE rule in the garden we were given, and brought this horror show down on our own shoulders. But there is such an injustice in seeing any animal suffer because of our stupidity, and my grief over what my own kind had brought into their innocent lives has caused me to become the safe house for a bunch of abandoned/lost/dumped pets. My neighbors call me the dog whisperer, and at any given evening, I have a pack of strays loitering in my yard, along with whatever material possessions they deem to drag here with them. I get annoyed sometimes as I’m picking up empty cans of food, scraps of rugs or blankets, chewed plastic bowls, and the myriad of wrappers they scraped mercilessly clean, but not as much as I pretend. The truth is, I care about each of them, and wonder what their stories are, sad that they can’t tell me about the life they have led up to this harsh moment. Maybe it is the burden of guilt I feel that drives me to make things better for them, as best I can. I hope to give them a minute of happiness in their neglected lives.
I guess I wasn’t paying attention to the deepening sadness and feeling of indebtedness that was saturating my soul, until I realized I was going to have to move. When I go, what will happen to them? I’m not stupid. I can’t haul dozens of stray animals where ever I go. It’s winter now, and without my garage, will they be cold? Sick? Will they wonder why I’m not there? I imagine some of this melancholy is from the depression I have been battling for months now, but ironically, knowing that makes none of it better.
I’ve spent days trying to find animal rescues that are no-kill shelters, and cleverly, they’ve made it almost impossible to have an animal placed into their shelters. Ironically, it has also become distressingly easy to pay to take one out. This is all done in the guise of dissuading irresponsible pet owners from dumping their pets whenever they cease to be adorable puppies, or they fail to train them from barking, chewing, or jumping fences. How convenient for them!!
News flash: irresponsible pet owners aren’t bothering trying to find no-kill shelters for their discarded pets…. they are just dumping them in my yard and driving away.
Rebekkah and I have been treating mange, posting pictures of them on Facebook, feeding them, sheltering them, and trying to rehome them, but we both know some of them aren’t going to find any takers. Not all dogs are attractive, or pleasant natured, or funny. It feels like a futile enterprise, but we keep trying, each of us dreading the quickly coming day when we will have to decide that the city pound and almost certain death is preferable to a life of starvation, neglect, disease, and isolation. I dread it. I know it is coming.
I know that this dilemma can easily be avoided by refusing to see them, or by calling someone to haul them away where I don’t have to feel this anguish every time they look up expectantly when my door opens. I could probably even justify my refusal to engage as an act of self defense. But instead, I’m going to choose to feel this sorrow, regret, and sense of indebtedness to the animals suffering under the curse we unleashed on this majestic earth. It has become all too easy to pick and choose our realities, and our refusal to suffer has made us pathetic and weak. All wisdom comes with pain, and suffering widens our knowledge.