Posts Tagged ‘pets’

I was sitting at the vet’s office this morning, waiting for Summer Moon’s appointment for her second puppy shot.  She’s been home since September 11, and Rhythm and I have been adjusting to being a two-retriever household again.

The vet’s office has glass doors on all the exam rooms; and across the waiting room, I could see a woman bending over a dog, lying on the exam table.  She was obviously waiting for the vet to come in.  But more than that, the angle of her body and the way she held her dog, told me that she was pouring out all the love and comfort she had on a seriously ill pet. My heart ached.  That was me, back in May, holding Melody, my twelve-year-old Golden Retriever, and telling the Universe not to take her.  Please, please, please.  Not my Melody.  Not now. Not yet.  Not ever.  Please.



Well, I lost that round.  Obviously.  And, as I sat watching the woman on the other side of the glass and sending her all my love and prayers, I also thanked the Universe for starting me on another journey with a new, beloved pet.

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Summer Moon

But then it hit me.  Hard, and then harder.   Love is still who we are, really.  Fundamentally.  At our core.  We love each other.  We love our pets. We love the small moments that make life wonderful and magical.  A sunny day.  The first hint of autumn.  A vermillion leaf on the sidewalk.  A rainy day and a cup of hot tea with honey.   The smile of a husband or a wife or a child.  We love on in the face of loss.  We love unconditionally.  We are champions at love.

As I sat in the vet’s waiting room, I realized that I was looking at love through the glass door where the woman stood over the table, holding her dog.  There are terrible people in the world who do terrible things.  We’ve seen that yet again this week.  But the black souls among us cannot change the true meaning of US, which is love.

I didn’t see the lady and her dog when we came out of the exam room after Summer’s checkup. But I hope the vet sent her home with good news. I was grateful for the moment when I’d seen her behind the glass and realized that love is truly the driving force inside us.   Love, I told myself as I left with the exuberant new life the Universe has entrusted to me.  Love.  Focus, focus, focus.



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Last Saturday began as an exceptional day for me. I normally have to work at least part of every weekend, but last Saturday, in honor of the Memorial Day weekend, I decided to give myself the day off.

I got up early anyway because I wanted to enjoy as many waking hours away from law practice as humanly possible. I fed my two Golden Retrievers, Melody and Rhythm, and headed out for our usual morning walk. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we walk to the nearby duck pond night and morning, to sniff the sniffs, walk up and down the hill, and see what the ducks are up to. Usually it’s relaxing to stand under the eucalyptus trees and watch the mallards paddle around while we look for ducklings. (Well, I look for ducklings. Melody and Rhythm are more interested in finding road kill.)

And for the first fifteen minutes of our Saturday morning walk, all was serene. But then, Controversy struck like lightning in the form of a Thin Blonde in one of those black velour track suits attributable to Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie before Rachel Zoe got hold of them. Thin Blonde came sauntering down the hill with a Starbuck’s cup in one hand and a dog leash in the other. Only the leash was not attached to her dog, a portly little brown and white bulldog. He was toddling along on his too-short-for-his body legs completely unleashed. He looked as if he was fixing to light out for the territory on his own.

Now, the pond is not set aside by the city fathers as a dog park. Dogs are welcome but only when they are on leashes, and there are at least two signs prominently displayed informing all of us of that requirement. Thin Blonde had just sauntered past the one at the top of the hill. Obviously oblivious.

Now as you’ve probably guessed, Melody and Rhythm obey the law. They are leashed at all times at the pond. There are lots of reasons for that decision, not the least of which is their safety. We have rattlesnakes in our area, and I want them close by me whenever we are in off-path, brushy country. But having them leashed is also courteous to everyone else who visits the pond. They can’t bound up to strangers (as they would love to do) and plant two big paws on their shoulders and give them a big dog kiss. They also can’t treat small children like puppies they can play with. Being leashed means they are required to have good manners when they are at the pond, and it also means we aren’t arrogantly occupying more space than we are entitled to. Other people can have their fair share of the pond and its surroundings dog-free when we are there. And off-leash dogs present problems for the rest of us who are obeying the law. Some of them are aggressive and pose a danger to other dogs. Some are just very playful so that Melody and Rhythm pull my arms out of the sockets trying to run after them. No matter what, an off-leash dog at the pond spells discomfort and trouble. And I try to avoid them and their humans whenever I can.

But no such luck on Saturday.

Thin Blonde looked at me and Melody and Rhythm as if we were creatures from Outer Space and drawled sarcastically (ok, Stephen King, it’s an adverb and you hate them BUT she was sarcastic), “Oh, do I need a leash?”

“Yes,” I said. “The ordinance is posted at the top and bottom of the hill.” And I pointed in the direction she had come and in the direction she was going.

“Well, you don’t have to be rude!”

And that’s when the morning was no longer exceptional. I hadn’t been rude; she had been because she’d gotten an answer she didn’t like. I’d been sucked instantly into a vortex of bad feeling where I didn’t want to be. I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible and get myself back into my exceptional Saturday mood.

But as I was about to turn and walk away with Melody and Rhythm, leaving her to mutter as she tried to attach the leash to Bulldog who clearly wasn’t having any of it, the situation escalated.

There are several regulars at the pond who make it a point of honor not to leash their dogs. They are quite aggressive about their right to ignore the city’s posted requirements. I avoid them whenever I can, but there are times when their dogs get too close to me or to mine, and I have to suggest politely that they get their pet under control. And of course that is the last thing one of them wants to hear because they are determined not to do that very thing. They usually launch the kind of ad hominum missiles Thin Blonde had just launched.

So just as I was preparing to leave Thin Blonde to her own devices, a large, large woman with perpetually greasy gray hair who lives in one of the houses that backs up to one side of the pond appeared with her Golden Retriever. Her Golden has never, ever visited the pond on the leash, and she is one of the more outspoken advocates of unleashed dogs. She proceeded, predictably, to attack me verbally and to tell Thin Blonde not to leash her dog.

It is silly to get invested in moments like that. I walked home trying to shake it off. None of us had gotten hurt. I’d done the right thing by my dogs who are very precious to me. And eventually the city will be out to enforce its ordinance. I understand they write pretty hefty tickets for off-leash dogs at the pond. Greasy hair lady will reap the karma she’s sown in the form of big fine. And more than likely Thin Blonde will probably never be back. She didn’t look as if she was from these parts. Or if she is, maybe the city will catch her eventually and make her take a crash course in READING. Or the fashion police might find her and sentence her to a reality TV session with Rachel Zoe, who would force her to give up the velour.

Rhythm is thinking about swimming.

Rhythm is thinking about swimming.

Our Goldens, Melody and Rhythm behaving themselves

Our Goldens, Melody and Rhythm behaving themselves

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It all began on Wednesday morning when I found a large water spot in front of the vanity in the bathroom just off my bedroom. After sticking my head into the dark depths of the vanity (and living to tell the tale), I discovered a leaking cold water valve under the sink. Another piece of original 1978 hardware had failed in my condo.

About that time my son called from downstairs, “Mom, did you know water is dripping onto the living room floor?” Soaking wet myself from my shower, I dashed down to see the sodden ceiling just under the dripping sink. I grabbed a bucket and old towels and summoned the plumber.

Two hours and two hundred dollars later, the leaking valve was a thing of the past. But the fun was just beginning with the ceiling. The “Restoration” service attached to the plumber called to schedule an appointment and cheerfully announced they were going to tear out my wet ceiling “just in case.” Of what, I wondered. I suppose their theory was an absent ceiling can’t grow mold. But an absent ceiling isn’t much to look at. And how does tearing out my ceiling qualify as “Restoration”? I quietly and firmly informed them that, although I had telephoned my claim in to my insurance company and they agreed I was covered sans deductible, the Nuclear Option was not going to happen that afternoon. Couldn’t they just bring over some big fans, please?

Not long after that, a cocky “Restoration” specialist arrived to tell me they would bring fans, but the fans would sound like 747’s taking off, and they would run 24 hours a day. Mind you this is the area where I compose my unbrief briefs 24/7. Appellate work is a quiet scholarly activity. You do it in libraries, not on airport runways. And Mr. Cocky Specialist also informed me that if the errant ceiling didn’t dry out (and he fully expected it wouldn’t) they’d arrive on Monday to tear it out. I said, No thanks. And summoned someone associated with my insurance company for a Second Opinion.

Mr. Second Opinion was a very nice, quiet Hispanic gentleman who spoke a soft waterfall of Spanish to his female assistant. His peaceful demeanor was reassuring. He and the assistant measured and studied and figured and eventually informed me the upstairs wall between my bedroom and the bathroom was also wet. Mr. Cocky in his fixation on demolition had missed that. They said the 747 fans were unavoidable, but they didn’t think they needed to tear anything out.

I surveyed my options. Only I didn’t have any options. Large noisy equipment was going to have to take over my bedroom and living room, including where I work, until Monday. And I had deadlines in the Court of Appeal and I couldn’t just go on “Water Vacay” while I waited for it to be over. Plus my Golden Retrievers, who hate loud noise, and my son’s cat would never last two minutes with the 747’s in the house. Not me mention me, who hates loud repetitive noises.

So here I am on Saturday morning evacuated to a hotel that allows pets while the fans have rendered the house uninhabitable. The hotel is actually quite nice, but I would rather have skipped the ordeal of packing and taking everything down in the condo that the 747’s could damage. I was up really late on Wednesday night.

And then, too, there is the problem of uprooting dogs who never go anywhere except the vets and the groomers. You can explain to a toddler that the family is going to stay in a hotel for a few days while the house is fixed, but you can’t take two Golden Retrievers into a hotel room, turn on TV, and plug them into Cartoon Network for the duration. Melody and Rhythm are better today, but on Thursday they would not let me out of their sight.

This morning thoughtful Mr. Second Opinion informed me we can go home tomorrow. And he installed Hepa filters yesterday because I mentioned I was having trouble breathing from the dust the fans are blowing around. What a change from Demolition Man!

This whole experience has stirred up the homebody in me who loves to live peacefully surrounded by her little treasures. I see why I dream about traveling and then just stay home.

What looks like a fan and sounds like a 747

What looks like a fan and sounds like a 747

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