Posted in My Life My Way, This N That

If My Dying Dog Could Read; This Is The Letter I Would Write

190269_1003890557482_6555696_n  I’m agonizing over our final hours together.  Each tick of the clock splinters my heart.  Through the halls of my anguished mind bounces the question, how do I say goodbye.  How do I let go?  How do I show you the love you’ve shown me?  And how do I convince my aching soul that you are only a dog?  An animal.  Something meant to be loved for certain, but should it hurt this much?  Am I out of balance to feel my world skewed at the mere thought of you not being in it?

You came to me in my darkest hour.  I needed you so much.  I thought I was getting a service dog for DJ but what I got was a therapy dog for me.  I felt utterly alone when Mom died so Steve took me to the animal shelter to look for dogs who could be trained as a service dog.   16563_1080684437281_829948_n

I spotted you immediately as we drove up to the shelter.  “Boy, he’s pretty.”  Were the first words I said about you.  With your red coat gleaming in the rare winter sunshine you barked as you approached me but we both knew you didn’t mean it.

Since you appeared to have the run of the place, I assumed you must belong to one of the workers there.  While I talked with an employee, you kept appearing at my side and leaning against me.  I was looking for a service dog to help DJ learn to walk so at first I thought I imagined you were leaning against me.  By the fourth time, I at last got a clue.   6249_1038834391056_5170869_n

Three days later Steve and I returned to the shelter with DJ in tow.  I needed to see how you responded to him.  DJ walked in with his little walker and you were called over.  It took less than a second for you to size one another up before DJ let go of his walker, grabbed the fur of your neck and the two of you walked off.  All these years later and that scene has never lost its impact.

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The following day we picked you up at the vet’s office.  You busted through the door and despite having, only seen me twice, and the fact that we were seated behind the door, you came out of, you came right to me.  If anyone had any doubts before that moment removed them.  You belonged to us and us to you. That’s when the memories began.

The first time we left, you alone you freaked out and literally tried to chew your way out a window, leaving broken teeth in your wake.  You thought it was your mission in life to rid the world of cats.  You have such a huge personality behind your big soulful eyes that I never knew existed in an animal.  You were well behaved, easily trained, but also sneaky.  I didn’t have to say a word when I caught you on the couch.  You always climbed down slowly, head, and tail as low as they could be indicating you felt like the lowest of life forms.  You were funny, oh so funny.  But more than all those things, you possessed an uncanny ability to tune into the emotions and stability of your surroundings.  2012-11-23 23.42.50

I will never forget when two stray dogs came loping down the street, tongues hanging out of the sides of their mouths completely happy.  All they wanted to do was play.  You were fine until Colton got upset because he’d had a previous bad encounter with stray dogs.  You sensed that fear and put yourself between Colton and the dogs, letting lose a ferocious growl that scared even us.  Like cartoon characters those dogs came to a screeching halt, running away never to be seen again.  12941_1093670321920_6217877_n

While training you as a service dog I had to connect you to DJ.  Neither of you were pleased with the idea.  But as was your custom, regardless of how mad DJ got you stood your ground.  You did exactly what was asked of you and then some.  You took your service dog job very serious.   998508_4588442289035_378570338_n

In those painful lonely days after mom died, I would hug your neck and cry all over you.  You never flinched.  You simply sat there soaking up my pain through the tears that fell upon your neck.  And now here I am again.  This time there will be no crying on you because the pain is the loss of you.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I know when we walk in that vet’s office tomorrow you will be scared and I hate that.  I despise that your final moments will be spent in a place that frightens you.  I know you’re going to look at me with confused, hurtful eyes and wonder why I am doing this to you.  The answer is simple.  You have given so much to our family keeping nothing for yourself, how can I do any less by you?

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In a little while, I will go to bed and the dreadful day will be upon us.  I will take that long final walk with you and endure your questioning eyes.  As the lethal drugs flow through your system stopping your heart, they will do the same to a part of me.  A portion of me will die with you and I don’t regret it because I have had the privilege of not just having a good dog but having a heaven-sent dog.  There will never be another like you and I am a better person for having you in my life.  Well, done my good and faithful servant; well done.

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Posted in Uncategorized

My Son Colton Has Aspergers & Needs Your Help

August2010 123After being bullied in Middle School my son, Colton, who has Asperger’s Syndrome found his place in the world by being the water boy for his high school football team. But after graduation, he was again left searching for what we all need, a place to fit in. People with Asperger’s have a natural inclination to turn inward. They prefer to be alone because Asperger’s annihilates any social skills. If left to themselves and without intervention people with Asperger’s can become self-destructive and lead unproductive lives.

Many things can be done for people like Colton and others with disabilities. It is amazing how what may appear to be a minor thing to the rest of us turns out to be life altering to those with disabilities. Sadly, many with disabilities don’t get to give or receive all they can in their communities because they have no way to engage. Often caregivers are unable or unwilling to get them where they need to be. In our case, Colton has a younger, more profoundly disabled brother, which makes it nearly impossible to get anywhere. My worries about Colton floating through life unconnected, with no friends or sense of community proved unfounded when STRIDE entered in.

STRIDE (Supporting Therapeutic Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities Everyday) STRIDE provides an environment that caters to the needs of each participant. The focus of STRIDE is not to entertain, even though laughter and entertainment abounds. The center of the program is to provide a safe place for people with intellectual disabilities to learn and grow, so they may become all they can and give back to those who have so lovingly given to them.

STRIDE participants have classes where they are taught valuable life skills such as cooking and money management.

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STRIDE is environmental  conscious when they plant their garden and grow their own food.   

 

 

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 During fundraisers for STRIDE, you will always find the participants working.

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They are active and volunteer in their community.

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They learn self-defense.

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STRIDE is  A LOT of learning fun.

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STRIDE has taught Colton how to turn the word friend from a noun to a verb by teaching him to not only have a friend but be one as well. During a modified rope course Colton volunteered to go first which was a huge shock to me because Colton has always been terrified of things like that. He once flat refused to climb over a very sturdy, steady, wide-bar gate, so for him to attempt moving ropes is nothing short of miraculous. When I asked him about it, he said he felt like he needed to be an example to his friends. He said, “I thought if I did it first they wouldn’t be so scared.” Through teary eyes, I told him how proud I was. Then I saw the pictures and the tears flowed freely. He explained how he and his friends were “spotting” each other and sometimes just holding on to them or giving them a boost, because, he said, “we all need a little help.” Indeed, we do.

Today I’m asking you to give a little help Colton and all his friends by simply voting for STRIDE in the Toyota 100 Cars For Good on Nov. 18. Toyota will give away vans to organizations receiving the most votes. Considering STRIDE picks up and drops off participants in only one van getting a new van would be a huge benefit to them. You have to wait until Nov. 18 to vote for STRIDE but you can go to the page https://apps.facebook.com/carsforgood/  and have a reminder sent to you on the day of voting. Or you can follow this blog and I will be sending out a reminder to vote as well. You can also follow the Facebook page “Vote For STRIDE in 100 Cars For Good”

When I look at this picture, I see Colton on that rope scared to death but trying to be an example for his friends. The faces of his friends clearly reveal their uncertainty but their hands reveal their hearts. They are unsure but still willing to reach out a helping hand. All their hands together will cover Colton should he need help. But your hand will cover all of them when  you reach out and help by voting for STRIDE on Nov. 18.

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Posted in My Life My Way, This N That

Word Association: Pumpkin Latte, Naughty Selfie & A Boxer Dog

pumpkin latte  My hubby sends me a text after being out of town all day and wants to know if I need anything.  My response is well; I don’t “need” anything but would love a pumpkin latte.  His response was confusion.  That’s not too surprising considering he lives with me and I have a thing about drinks.  I’ve always got to have a favorite and the number one slot rotates continually.  I blame my current desire on my Facebook friends.  I’ve never even had a pumpkin latte.  But they keep posting pictures of their pumpkin lattes from various coffee shops and ranting about how good they are I felt left out.  And when I feel left, I out I revert to middle school age.  Hey, I’m not proud of it but let’s face it.  How mature could you be?  You’re reading my blog.  Which by the way I am very happy about.  Anyway…..

Hubby feels he’s married to 15 different women because I’m always changing.  I prefer to say evolving into a better me but he just refers to it as various steps in my insanity.  Texting or calling me after not talking to me all day is a bit like Russian roulette for him.  He has no idea who is going to respond.  I can sympathize with that.  The man has worked hard all day long, has a crazy wife, has been driving around in nutso weather, and likely is praying I want nothing just so he can come home and crash.  I get that.  But nowhere in my wedding vows did I promise not to try to lovingly manipulate him to get me something from time to time.  It’s game on, people!

I quickly determine the odds of my getting a pumpkin latte will significantly increase if I send hubby a little naughty selfie.  The first problem with this plan is that I’m over 40 and should not even be saying the world selfie let alone actually attempting one.  But I’ve never acted age appropriate so why start now?  Besides, you heard the part about the pumpkin latte right.  That’s not something you can get all year.  Its here for a while and gone.  The time to act is now.  (Oooh, if you say that last sentence in the voice of Jase Robertson from Duck Dynasty it sounds really good.)

I have a bra that matches a pair of yoga pants.  Add that to my thoughts of the farm theme for Jesus Prom and you will understand why I envisioned myself in the bra and yoga pants wearing a cowboy hat.  The desire for a pumpkin latte can do strange things to a woman.  I snatched up a cowboy hat, ripped my shirt off, pulled my hair into sassy little pigtails, and grabbed my phone.  Since I’m a novice at this, I’m thinking the fact that the cowboy hat is actually part of my son’s Halloween costume from a few years ago won’t matter.  Who doesn’t love Toy Story, right?

My next problem is that I only have an average intelligence phone and let’s be honest, it’s barely that.  Which means I don’t have one of those cutesy little buttons that turns the lens around make it easy to take a picture of yourself.  My selfie must be done the archaic way; standing in front of a mirror, angling the phone in a desperate attempt to get at least part of me in the picture while trying not to look as stupid as I feel.  To add to the glamour, I’ve been bed ridden for days with back pain so posing was painful fun.  Oh, no wait, just painful.

About 25 pictures later, I’m thinking I’m finally getting the hang of it and start to feel a little sexy.  That’s when a very pungent odor hit me.  No worries.  It was just my son’s way of reminding me that you can be sexy or you can change a diaper but you CANNOT, absolutely under any conditions, be sexy while changing a poopy diaper.  As I pass by my oldest son, who has Asperger’s syndrome is immediately offended at my appearance.  “What are you wearing?  That’s just wrong!”  He shouts.  Panicked I look down.  Yep, I got my shirt on.  Turns out he was referring to the hat.  I dismissed him.  He has autism.  What does he know?

Well, turns out, the boy knows quite a bit.  Perhaps, I should seek his advice on a daily basis, because I looked at the pictures and they are NOT pretty people.  In fact, I scared myself a little.  Exhausted with the incessant picture taking and excruciating back pain I decide trying to practice the art of seduction was going to kill me and if I were dead, the pumpkin latte sure wouldn’t matter then.  I emerged from my bathroom and stop dead in my tracks.

My boxer mix dog, who is significantly older than me, is standing just staring at himself in the full-length mirror.  I don’t think I have ever seen him do that.  I mean this dog is seriously checking himself out.  I swear he is evaluating himself for a selfie.  The thought makes me giggle.  He swings his head around and looks at me as if to say, “Really?  You’re gonna judge me, cowgirl?  Have you SEEN a mirror?”  With an indignant puff of air, he leaves the room.  Before I could respond (and yes I was going to go respond to what I believe are the thoughts of my dog) my husband came in with my pumpkin latte.  And I didn’t even have to try to seduce him for it. Ahh, true love.  I’ll just hide the pictures.  Now, where did that dog go?  We need to talk.    2013-11-03 12.00.38