Monday, January 31, 2011

finding happiness

A few months ago I wasn’t very happy. I didn’t think that I loved my life very much and I was trying to figure out why. I used to spend my days off watching my twin nieces I did it for two days a week, 10 hour days, week after week after week. I loved being able to see them and the extra money allowed me to pay off a good part of my debt.  It was a win win except for the fact that I didn’t get much time off on my days off from my real job. I stopped watching them in August and was suddenly thrown back into the wonderful world of 3 days weekends. I should have been thrilled instead I found myself being miserable.  I thought that it was my job that was bothering me. I mean I do a very specific thing with such a small group of people that if the work place balance is off there you can really feel the shift.  I really just thought that I was growing kind of bored of the mundane parts of my job and maybe craving something more exciting like going back to emergency work.  I so thought that this was the case, that I went as far as have interviews and get offers at other places in town.  I never ended up taking any of those jobs and thank god I didn’t. See what I realized is that it wasn’t my job I was bored with, it was the fact that I had allowed my job to be the only thing going on in my life, and so when that went bad it meant my life went bad.  Does that make sense?

See I went to work all day did the same kind of stuff every day. I made great friends with my co-workers; one of my co-workers became one of my very close friends, you know the kind of friend who you do the friend stuff with like get drinks,  see movies, and meet up with when you’re bored. When I wasn’t working I talked to my co-workers, I sat at home and surfed the web or watched movies.  I would try to date but most of them were met with disastrous results and I would go lament about those bad dates to my co-workers. I don’t make enough money to take many weekend trips but when I would it was either alone or with my mom going camping.  I don’t seem have all that many friends outside of my work place, and the few that I do have are in other states or have more of a life then I did.  I was allowing my job to be my everything, and I didn’t even realize it. And the fact that I spent so many months having two of my three days off be all about more work. (Well watching two babies) I started to find myself becoming resentful about my job.

But like I said,  it wasn’t my job that I hated, it was that fact that all I had in my life was this job. Once I realized this I knew that I had to figure out a way to get myself involved in other kinds of things to make myself happy and meet people outside of my work place. Luckily I never took any of those other jobs because then I would have been more miserable. Instead I really took a long and hard look at what I wanted in the upcoming years. I started taking steps to reach those goals. So I enrolled in classes that I needed and made appointments to have conversations with people involved in the areas I wanted to join in.  I tried to find a few places to do some volunteer work at. I have always liked doing volunteer work, and I have always gotten such positive rewards for giving just your time to a worthy cause. I found a place in the area that does wild life rehab (I mentioned this once before) I started to spend my Tuesday mornings there. I found a place where you help disabled kids and adults incorporate horse riding into therapy sessions and I started to spend my Monday mornings there.  I found a great group of people who work doing ferret rescue at a shelter close by where they currently have 80+ ferrets for adoption., Most of them are given up for the same kind of reasons that turtles are and they just need people who are willing to spend a few hours a week to socialize and help clean cages. I started helping out here every other Sunday for a few hours.  I am also trying to see my little sister weekly in the afternoons after her schools out.

I have found in the last few months that I now have a super full schedule. I have to constantly check my p0hone’s calendar to figure out what I am doing and when. But what I have also done is found a whole bunch of people who I talk and socialize with who are not co-workers. I am no longer just thinking about my horrid dating life. Actually I have pretty much stopped dating and don’t really miss it. I mean when do I have time to date right now?  I have met some really amazing people who I can now consider friends. And because of this I am really enjoying my job again. See now that my job isn’t my everything…when I have a bad day at work ,or when something bad happens, or someone pisses me off,  I can take it for what it really truly is… Just a bad day at work. I am better now at my work because it’s just that, its just work. Not my world… It’s a place that I go to and when I leave I leave.  I love my job again, I love what I do again,  I love it that when I have a day off I am so busy that I don’t have time to worry about work. I love that I have friends who are not co-workers. I love that I surround myself with people who have similar interests and share the same philosophy as I do now both at work and not at work.  I love that when I get to come back to work it’s a chance to be involved in something that I love doing and away from all my other crazy activities.

 I am busy I’ll admit. Sometimes like today I leave the house at 7:30 and have non stop things until 7 pm when I came home tonight.  Or tomorrow where things look to be shaping up the same way. It’s not always relaxing anymore to have a day off. Actually it’s not relaxing at all because all these volunteer places are very very physically demanding. But they are making me find fulfillment, and therefore I am ecstatic. It’s a great balance and I truly found happiness with all these activities that I have immersed myself in.   I have out side activities that are important, fulfilling, and satisfying. And I have a job that I love to go to, love who I work with, and is important, fulfilling and satisfying.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Social skills

I have never been a very social person. Wait I take that back. When I was a kid I was super social with people who I knew. My parent’s friends would probably all describe me as a goofy weird kid who never shut up.  But there was this flip side to it, where I would be horrified to have to ask people what the time was because I had to meet my mom in the mall by a certain time and I didn’t like to wear a watch.  When I turned into a teenager something happened that made me suddenly become this socially inept person I am today.

 I mean looking back I kinda get what happened. A year after my dad died I went to New Zealand as an exchange student, and subsequently had one of the worst experiences of my life, just due to the fact that my host family was atrocious.  Maybe it was partly my own fault but who knows because I was too damaged and immature to want to figure it out at the time.  When they finally kicked me out and the program sent me home I was left feeling quite worthless. Months after wards my brother went off to college and suddenly found his own life,  flourishing in this independent environment that I had earlier failed in. I was always quite envious of my brother growing up and this sure didn’t help that matter any. My mom also started to jump into the wide world of dating and hence pushed me to the back burner. It was the combo of all this and more that made it seem like I didn’t really matter all that much anyways, so I basically just stopped trying.  I mean “why would anyone want to talk to me” and “what would I bring to a conversation” were basically the mantras my unconscious said over and over inside my brain.

I suddenly became afraid to talk to people. Afraid to tell people about my life and found that if I moved around a lot I could pretty much be what I wanted when I wanted to. It was like playing a sick twisted imaginary game. I went to school, made friends on the surface with my classmates and co-workers, then left and never saw any of them again. I never tried too hard and never got seriously with anything. I told my self that I was independent, worldly, didn’t need other people around to make me complete. But really I’m terrified, lonely and still fighting with that  childhood feeling of worthlessness. I don’t talk to strangers, I become the goofy co-worker to avoid being deep, I hate going to parties because I have no clue what to talk about, I’m horrified of social situations and even more so of strangers.   It sucks because once you loose a part of yourself you never fully get it back. Well at least it sure doesn’t seem like you do.

I am bringing up all this back story for a reason besides just rambling. I went to a concert on Friday. I was supposed to meet up with my Stepsister and her friend but she wasn’t feeling well and canceled earlier in the day.  I seriously thought about not going… Last week was a rough one for me and I was pretty exhausted. But I felt like I should go because my sister went through all this trouble to get me in and I didn’t want to seem unappreciative of that fact. I figured I would have a drink or two and them leave an hour or two later.  I arrived about an hour before doors opened so I went to the bar, got a beer, and sat in a chair playing with the various apps on my phone being anti social like always. When the doors opened I went inside the venue and found a chair in the back side of the bar where I could see the stage but also have an easy way out when the place filled up because it was a sold out venue.  I expected that to be it for my night. I figured I would sit there for an hour or two nursing my beer and playing with my phone until I left early and went to bed. What happened instead shocked me.

There was a woman sitting in front of me also by herself. She seemed to be a few years older but seemed cool due to the fact that she had on awesome Gothic jewelry. She asked e a very basic question abut something simple. I answered and then something just hit me. Here was my chance to just try… I mean that’s all I want to do this year is to try to be this person that I have dreamed about being.  So I just talked to her. I asked if she was here alone? had ever seen the band before? and other various basic questions. I tried not to be terrified, I tried ever harder to not think I was wasting her time, I instead just tried to think of her as anyone other then a stranger, more like someone I have know a long time and just ran into. Eventually she asked me stuff back about myself, and before too long she told me to pull my chair over to her table while we waited for her friend and had conversation.  When her friend arrived she sat down on the other side of me so I was between the two of them. No body seemed to think it was weird.  I mean this stranger was sandwiched between too long time friends. We had normal conversation  about everything under the sun, and talked like we were old friends.  It was so out side of where my comfort zone is I was shocked that I felt so freaking comfortable.  I ended up staying for the entire show.

Taken from my phone from our far away seats. Bad quality I know
The opening act... not my favorite. Also not a great pic.

At the end of the show… We all parted ways with a nice to meet you. I never exchanged numbers or emails with them. I might never see them again actually I bet I wont. I almost said “thanks for letting me hang out with you guys” but I figured that was the wrong thing to say. See I need to stop thinking they did me this huge favor.  They probably don’t even realize what an impact they had on my life that night. Normally I would say that I bet to them I didn’t  even matter.   But this new non worthless person is going to say I did.  I made their night even more enjoyable then it would have been if we hadn’t talked. I need to just realize that all I did was go outside my comfort zone and it paid off. Maybe this will prompt me to do it again sometime or maybe not…See this year I really am trying to stop waiting for moments to just randomly happen. I am realizing that you have to put a little work into getting fate moving along in the right direction. 

The band and the sea of people watching them
man my phone has a shitty camera huh!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Frustrated

Let’s talk about frustration… What is it about being so frustrated that you cant see straight and totally ruins your whole day. I hate when that happens.  I used to live close to my best friend when I lived in small town Oregon. It was so nice to be able to just stop in and have someone around to vent everything out to. Today she is across the state and having some of her own life issues so it’s much harder to get in touch with her and when we do the last thing we want to talk about are our frustrations.  But I miss her not just for being my best friend,but also because I now have so few people to really just vent my frustrations to. OK I also miss her for a million other reasons but I won't go in to those right now. I know that having this open forum to just talk about whatever come to mind was part of why I wanted to start this blog. But it seems weird to just go off about all the stuff that I want to vent about in it. So I’m going to cut it short tonight and just say that I had a bad day, I’m glad it’s over ,and I’m going to try to get to bed early so tomorrow will be here sooner and start over again.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

busy me today...

I have to make this post short today for two reasons. First cause I really had a mundane day where not much exciting went on. Second because its 10:39 pm as I'm writing this and I just walked in the door at 10:10pm, for the first time since I left this morning at 6:30am, and I'm reallly really tired. 

I woke up about a half hour early this morning to make breakfast. I normally eat a bowl of cereal or grab a yogurt and banana as I'm walking out the door. But this morning I thought maybe it would be nice to start the day with something hot. So I got up made fresh coffee (yum) and made oatmeal.. I mean the kind that you cook on the stove constantly having to stir. I added vanilla,  brown sugar, and sliced  almonds to it and I have to say it was so good. I should wake up every day and do that. I then web surfed and caught a few hours of the morning news before grabbing a yogurt and heading to work.

Work went by fine. We had crazy cat come in that had been constipated for such a long time, that its poor colon was so distended a child's whole hand could fit up in it. I know I know that's so gross, I'm sorry, but imagine how this cat felt. My doctor had to manually extract poop out of this cats butt using a ton of lube and water to help soften it. It was an all day process but by the end we were able to get this cat to take the most giant shit I have ever seen. It was like a huge gigantic large dog size pile. It was pretty impressive, super disgusting, but impressive. And It has to make this poor kitty feel a ton better. Its times like this when you are hand deep inside a cats ass covered in shit literally that your realize how "crappy" our job really can be! Ha Ha that was kinda punny, sorry couldn't resist.

After work I went to a meeting/lecture with the vets and another nurse at my clinic,  all about chronic renal disease. It was really informative, and I think I might have found something else to add to my cats treatments now that she is feeling a bit better.  It was 9 when that got out, so I thought that maybe I should start off my gym membership right and get in a work out before heading home. I stopped by the crappy gym next to my house and whipped out a quick 35  minute cardio workout. It was enjoyable, but now I am all amped up on the endorphins instead of being all sleepy, even thought I am really exhausted. Did that make sense?

I finally got home at 10:10, oh yeah I mentioned that already. First things I have to do is start the 25 minute ritual of feeding all my pets. So Max got all her meds and shoved into the bathroom to eat her special food, then the other two cats get their food, then I had to feed the dog, then cut up some squash for the aquatic turtles, then make a squash salad mixture for the tortoises. Finally at 10:40pm I was able to sit down and type this out for you all to enjoy. Now at 11:15pm I am going to say good night and head to bed.  Tomorrow will be a great day I think. I'm going to try to wake up early to make some more yummy oatmeal to start if off right. Well see what happens at 5:30 in the morning though.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When sales people go bad...

Today I re-joined the gym. I have been a member of 24 hour fitness off and on for years now. I like that place more then the others simply because of the 24 hour fact. I have a already busy schedule and if I have to try to fit in the time to work out on top of it I wanna be able to do it at either 11 at night or 5 in the morning. See outside the normal hours of operation for most other guys in my area as well as my apartment.  I also am a big fan of swimming and would like to get into a 1 mile swim twice weekly routine.  They have a 24 hour fitness in Lynwood with a pool and one just up the street from me, that's pretty boring  being all cardio and weights. But I have heard that they opened a super new location in the Northgate area with a pool and that’s all freshly built and supposed to be all special. So I thought I would go and check it out this after noon.

I went armed with the knowledge of what it would cost me to just sign up online. I am not dumb and going to spend more money just because I’m doing it in person instead. So I asked to see someone about signing up. The reception girl, I have to call her a girl because she was probably like 16 and this was her after school job, she told me that I had to fill out a form first and then they would call someone. So I filled out the stupid form gave them all my personal information, reasons why was there, what my goals were, how I like to work out, bla bla bla. I gave it back and had a seat.

I then met my helper person named Andrea. According to her name tag she was an assistant service manager but I cant believe it because she was such a bitch. First off she sat down next to me and with out even glancing at me read me my sheet back to me almost word for word. I wanted to be like, yes I know what I put on it because I wrote the whole thing, and then she asked me what my goals were. I told her that I just wanted to try to find some consistency in my workout. I mean I do really. She was like that’s it? I was like yeah pretty much. Then she was like “so you don’t want to get stronger or toner or loose some weight” I was like WTF I’m not going to talk to this random person about my life situation! I should have seen this as a sign, left  right then, and gone home to do the whole thing online. But I bit my tongue said really what I am looking for is the ability to come consistently. Then she was like well what do you do now for exercise? I was like well I have a treadmill  so I use that,  I walk a lot, and I have a small gym at my apartment. But I am looking to start to get back into swimming so… She was like ok well let’s give you the tour.  It was like she couldn’t care less, and frankly it showed. Again I really should have  just left then.

We started the tour… Now I figured that she would show me the place, walk me around in the locker room, point out all the cool things. What I didn’t expect was that she wanted me to keep jumping on all these different machines and have me to try them out. The first one was some weird stair thing. Where I had to keep walking up and down,  but because I’m a little uncoordinated and my jeans were falling off, I wasn’t doing it correctly. She kept telling me that and was like “no just go up and down” I was like I am trying but cant you see that I am holding my purse, I have totally the wrong bra on for up and down motions, and my pants are falling down? This isn’t going to happen! So I faked a "yeah that’s awesome, I will have to check it out later" and we moved on. Next it was time for her to try to figure out what classes would be best for me to take. This required me answering a million questions about my schedule, weather I like dance, weight training, stretching, when do I get off work? All this stuff that I totally don’t care about. See one of the things I told her right at the beginning was that I am not the biggest fan of the group workouts,  because I kind of like to go in and get it done by my self. Working out for me isn’t a social thing.  Yeah I guess like so much else she was totally numb to anything I actually told her.

Over the course of the next hour she tried to get me to use about 4 other machines,  all of them I had to tell her that I didn’t want to right now, but she wouldn’t take no as an answer. I mean what does she think she is a personal trainer? Any time I asked about costs for things, she would say that she couldn’t tell me until after the tour. I was like well screw this whole trying everything out crap lets end this so find out and then leave. She finally got to the money part. Where they were able to match the rates online and I asked her if they were on any sort of commission sales. Once she said no I figured I would just get the membership now instead of going home and doing it online. If they were on commission I would have left in a heartbeat because I didn’t want this bitchy girl to get anything from me.

She then proceeded to type all my information into the computer incorrectly. I told her at the end that she had miss spelled my name, the apartment number, my email and my phone number wrong. She was like “Oh… Well I have a hard time reading your writing” I mean I’m standing right here, can’t you just ask me what it is? Anyway we got that all fixed I paid my dues. She tried to sell me a bunch of other junk that I firmly had to say no to a bunch more. Then I was free!!! Thank god because if I had to spend another minute with her I think I would have killed her. But anyways I now belong to 24 hour fitness again. And because I paid the extra I get to do to the sparkly new super club out in Northgate. I figured that would be a better place for me to go to on my way home from work since its right between home and work.  I’m glad about it, i'm really try these next few months to see if being a little more consistent with working out helps my body start to function like it should, and see if I lose some weight. Then maybe that is really the problem, if not then maybe it is time for me to consider surgery. Well see what happens I guess.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fat but healthy.. Huh???

I went to the doctor today for my yearly physical. I don't mind doctors all that much. Maybe cause I have been to so many. I didn't used to like my general doctor all that much because she seemed like a huge bitch for lack of a better word. I had asked about a few things she gave me quick curt answers and didn't seem to really give a rip about me. But as I have gone to her more I am starting to really like her.  Today I had an appointment at 3 pm and they told me that I had to have a 12 hour fasted blood work done for it. I was like 12 hour fasted blood work? How is that going to work when my appointment is at 3 pm? The receptionist told me that I just had to figure it out. I ended up waking up this morning at 3 am and staggering out of my cozy bed, shoving a power bar, some Greek yogurt and pre-packaged protein shake in my mouth before going back to bed until 7 when I had to wake up. I knew that without that food I would not have been able to function in my morning actives.  By 11 am I was hungry, but I powered through only getting a little bit of a head ache from the lack of substance in my system, and made it to the appointment with an empty stomach.

Of course the doctor’s office was running late. I mean how come every time I see a doctor, well with the exception of the podiatrist last week, the office is super late. Do they just plan super crappy? Or is it just my bad luck that causes it? I sat in the waiting room for nearly 40 minutes with my very empty stomach and now full blown headache, waiting till anyone could come and save me from having my stomach eating itself.  I finally got into the room had all the normal vitals taken and history given, before starting the wait for the actual doctor to arrive.

She came in, we talked some, and she did her exam, bla bla bla. I'll skip the details and jump right to the end of this post. She told me that all in all I am a very healthy overweight person. How can that be you ask? I mean aren't all overweight people unhealthy? Aren't they products of not exercising and overeating? Don't they sit on the couch and eat ice cream and candy all day long? How can you have one and the other? Well I am the prime example of how you do. See I eat great, I work out regularly, I beat most people in hikes and walks, I am super physical, and on my feet all day. And yet here I am almost 300 pounds, being what they consider morbidly obese.  My doctor today told me that she thinks I should get weight loss surgery. She said that the best time to get it is while I am healthy, because then I would be preventing the chance of developing any sort of diseases from being obese in the future. And because I am so healthy I would survive the procedure and the lifestyle changes with ease. Since they are what I am already doing (eating great, working out, etc.) She said that I should really consider it now. Because obviously eating great and working out like I have been doing isn't going to end up being enough for my wacky body to lose some weight.

She said that the problem with referring surgery for me is that she knows my insurance company won’t cover any of it, because I would be in that purely cosmetic group and not the medically necessary group. So because of how healthy I am, I won’t be covered for something that would make me even healthier and prevent me from having to use more insurance down the road?  It is such an oxymoron in terms of our health care system?  I am not even sure if I want to have weight loss surgery. I mean I want to remain healthy in the future for things like kids, family, activities, and all that. And I certainly don't want to develop some of the things that I know overweight people can get like diabetes, heart disease, and such. But I am truly happy with what I look like and honestly don't think of myself as that morbidly obese person because of the fact I am so active and healthy. But now that this doctor has planted this seed into my brain I am stuck processing it over and over again and again because I have to make a decision for my future. The future I want to remain healthy in. 

The one good part about seeing the doctor is that she was able to give me what I had wanted to get from her today. I wanted a prescription for medical massage. Because I am so active and I use my back, neck, and shoulders so much at work and my extracurricular activities, I want to make sure I am not going to develop issues with them down the road. So getting started with some massage will be a good idea I think. She seemed to agree because I got a script for a year’s worth. So maybe the best move to make next is to see about talking to a weight loss surgery specialist and see what they think about the situation. Maybe that will be the next doctor I can add to my list. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Jeremy

I met a great dog today. His name is Jeremy and he is a little look alike Morgan type with the kind of face only a mother would love.  He is a Brussels mix and is at a shelter looking for a new home. I first saw him when I was doing my bored at work weekly browse through the Petfinders available dogs search. He has a super cute face and I loved his little picture. He was listed for the shelter as being found as a stray and if anyone owned him to come and claim him.   It said that he would become available for adoption after the 8th of the month, and I figured someone would either claim him as their own, or swoop him up. Because he is all the things people tend to want in a dog, small, cute, and potty trained.  Imagine my shock when the next week he was still listed as being available. At this point I got that little seed planted in my head about maybe making him my new dog. 

 
It doesn’t take that much for me to get that seed planted I’ll admit. I mean I love animals and when I had two dogs it was just twice the awesomeness. I really do think that my dog want a friend, even if she is enjoying being an only dog just as much. Like I mentioned before, I’m not desperate for the second dog... but I also don’t want to miss out on any opportunities to find one.  This entire last week I showed all my co-workers his link on the shelter website,  I looked at his pictures multiple times a day,   I even looked up the hours of the shelter,  and found that in order for me to go visit I would have to leave work a little early.  I figured that over the weekend someone might adopt him so that would be that. But then today as I was laughing with my co-workers about his cute face and our afternoon was slow so our boss asked if someone would go home an hour or two early, I said I’m going to go and visit him. “Just visit” I said, I think that I need to meet him in person.  Everyone was like “oh if you go your going to take him home” but I knew that I could just go visit and be smart about it. Because ultimately what is most important to me about my second dog is that Morgan loves it and vice verse. 
  
So I drive to the shelter and ask to visit him. He is way cute and totally reminds me of scruffy Morgan. He came right to the front of the kennel and wanted pets and rubs. The guy told me a little about his story. He was 5 years old and had been owned by a man who had been sick and ended up passing away. He was found in a neighborhood and a lot of people called the shelter saying they knew who he was and that his owner had passed away. No one came to claim him so after the 10 days he is free to go to a new home.  I got to take him to a play area where he pretty much just sniffed around and peed on stuff. Eventually he got ok enough for me to give him a few pets on the head, and after a few treats he got comfortable enough to jump on my lap. After about 15-20 minutes another worker came in and we seriously talked all about his personality and he asked if I wanted to move forward and have a dog meet and greet with my dog.


 At this point I was feeling really positive about it. I mean he was exactly the kind of dog I had been looking for.  Isn’t if funny how people tend to stick with a type. I mean part of why I loved him is because he looked so similar to Morgan. The huge reason that 6 years ago I was in a different shelter looking at a then stray Morgan was because she looked so much like other dog Bandit. I really have a soft spot for the scruffy mutts for sure.  If I was even going to have a dog rescue I would totally name it SUM… standing for Save Ugly Mutts. Please don’t steel that if any of you want to.  So anyways I was feeling good about moving forward and letting Jeremy meet Morgan. So we took them out to a different play yard, and let them sniff each other on the leash, So far so good. They both seemed relaxed and happy and comfortable. After a few minutes I took Morgan off her leash and we kept him on his. There were a few times when he kind of jumped right into her face and she growled but he seemed to get the correction and backed off. After about 10 minutes we took him off the leash as well and let them both run around together.  What I learned over the next 25 minutes or so, is that I could tell he was really into Morgan, He wanted to get her to play with him , and he kept doing that follow her around all the time thing that dogs do when they want to play. Morgan did what she always does, sniff. She couldn’t care less about this little thing chasing her, jumping on her and bothering her. That was the problem she was totally indifferent.  I knew right then that unfortunately he wasn’t the dog for us.


The thing is that I am trying to approach the new dog hunt as not just for me but for Morgan too. I mean I know she is getting older, but I remember how she was when I first brought her home and she and Bandit would play all day long. She adored him and I know that she must miss him as much as I do.  I mean I know that she misses having someone to cuddle with, keep her company in the car, help her feel more safe and confident.  But I do not want to force a new relationship on her. I honestly think that the perfect dog is out there and like all my other pets they have just kind of happened by chance.  And I am sure that Jeremy will find a really great home this weekend. Hopefully one with another young dog who will allow him to play with them all day long, like it seems he wants to. I am sad that I didn’t get to have him be my cool new dog. But I am proud of myself for being able to walk away because it wasn’t the right fit.   Now as Morgan is sleeping with her head propped up against my leg as I’m typing this, I wonder if I even really want another dog when the one I have is just so perfect. 

Morgan is tired after her exhausting day

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lets talk about turtles....

I always liked reptiles. I used to have frogs when I was young; I snuck them into the house and put them in cages under the bed to hide them from my parents. I was never afraid of snakes and frequently tried to catch garter snakes around my neighborhood. I also used to try to lour the little lizards that lived in the rock wall in front of my house out with fruit and berries. My favorite animal is the alligator… well kind of an alligator/crocodile combo because I want to mush qualities from both into a crazy super combo animal. So when I was in a random Petco a long time ago, and heard this woman saying that she didn’t want these two turtles, and wanted to give them to the store. At this time Petco didn’t have the ability to sell turtles. So they said that they couldn’t take them. Why was anyone shocked to have me walk up to her and say I would take them.  I had no Idea what I was getting into. Because now I have a very healthy love… ok maybe obsession with turtles 20 years later. 


 Turtles make awesome pets. They have a ton of personality and really are pretty low maintenance. I mean yes you have to buy them a bunch of expensive junk to keep them that way, but once you got it all you really don’t have to do much with it.  They are like little mini dogs; they come to you by name, play with you, eat out of your hand, follow you around the house, like to be rubbed and pet.  Sit and watch you as you do things around the house. I mean what’s not to love about a pet like that. 


What I find so ironic is sitting here saying all this stuff about how awesome of a pet they are, but I hate when people say that they want to get one as a pet. I want to grab them and shake them and say are you sure? I mean are you prepared to have something for the next 40 years? Because a turtle is supposed to live that long. So are you ready to making that thing a part of your life for the next 40 years? That means it will be around for the new houses, kids, pets, relationship? Your turtle will be with you for it all. Are you really ready for that? Are you ready for all the expenses involved in their care? I think it bothers me because you can find so many little baby turtles for like pennies at flea markets or fairs. And this cast a misconception on them as being inexpensive. Well I can tell you otherwise. I have spent 400 bucks in one day just on lights, filters, and foods for my turtles.  But people get them all the time and sometimes they figure those things out and deal with it like I did, or they figure it out and dump them. Sadly that happens a lot more. 

 
Did you know that in Washington State the native species of aquatic turtle is called the western pond turtle?  It’s native to Washington and Oregon and has been around for like thousands and thousands of years. Did you know that right now it’s almost extinct? Did you know that the main factor involved in its extinction is that it’s being overrun by non native species such as sliders and cooters that are native to southern states like Mississippi? Did you know that the red ear slider is the number one sold turtle in the pet turtle trade and that most of them get dumped into local ponds and lakes or die before the age of 5?  Did you know that when you go out to Green Lake or the arboretum and see all the turtles out bathing themselves on logs in the sun. Did you know that none of those are the western pond turtle and almost all of them are non native species that shouldn’t be in our state, and many of them at once time were some kid’s pet turtle?  Isn’t it sad to think about an entire species being killed off simply due to irresponsible pet owner ship?  

 
People might not understand why I like my turtles so much… I just do. They are awesome and anyone who has gotten to see how personal they are I think can agree with me. But honestly even if I did want to get rid of them where would I put them? I would never want to contribute to an already devastating problem. I would never want to neglect them until they died, or adopt them to someone who might dump them after 5 years and still making them a part of that larger problem. See this is all what I consider responsible pet ownership thinking about where your pet will end up even after it’s out of your care. Lucky for me and my turtles, I love everything about them so I’m planning on keeping them around. I love that fact that I come home from work and the tortoises’ come out of the hut and greet me walking around until I open the cage and pet them. I love that all the aquatic turtles watch me as I make dinner.  I can’t wait until summer comes when I can take them to the park and use them to educate people on why they shouldn’t own a turtle until you know what you’re getting into.

 
 I can only hope that I will be 50 and still have my turtles. I hope that my kids and grand kids get to have the chance to play with them. They are a part of me and once again I am reminded of how a chance moment in a pet store has changed my life forever.  Its these moments that happen that  have defined my life.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Max the cat part 2

Max (my problem cat) first got sick in March of 2010. When she was a kitten she was so cute. She would always just lay with you as you did stuff, weather it was read a book or watch tv, it was a given that Max would be with you. I used to fight with my roommate Crissy because she would try to smuggle cute kitten Max into her room and bond with her in secret. It would drive me crazy cause she was my cat and I wanted her to have these snuggle/cuddly moments with me, not my roommate. She was a pretty happy kitten, although she quickly discovered that she could beat up my older cat Neko with very minimal. So after more then one scuffle resulting in Neko's bloodied face, I decided to get her spayed and declawed at the same time. I know declawing is a horrible, controversial, and tough subject. So I'm not going to get into it on this blog. It was my decision to do because I thought it was more important to not let my cat get bloodied every few days by its  kitten friend. Some people may have made a different decision and that's their right to do. But she has been happy ever since.

Ever since she was a kitten she has been indoors. I mean every once and awhile she would get out.  Once when I was in Reno she was gone for like 2 whole days and I finally found her all dirty under a bush. I doubt she moved very much the entire time she was gone.  A few months before she got sick the first time, she got outside. It was a dumb mistake I made when I wasn't paying attention and I left the front door open  a crack. I remember that I was bringing stuff up from the car to put onto the deck, and once I was done started to build or plant something. By the time I went back into the house and realized that the door was open it had been a hour or two. It took me a bit to even realize she was gone because she isn't the cat that takes advantage when the door is left open.  But anyways she ended up being gone for four long days. I found her trapped on a abandoned deck a few building over crying her head off. I was relieved because I had just put my sick dog to sleep this same month and I was freaking out if I had to loose another long time pet.

What made me think that she was sick was when she stopped coming out to eat dinner. I feed all the cats nightly and most times all three are eagerly awaiting for it. I was surprised to not see her two days in a row, so I searched all around the house for her and couldn't find her. I finally found her under the bed and as soon as I picked her up I knew something was wrong. It was a Sunday and lucky for me I work at a great place where I was able to get her treatments started even though we weren't open. So she got admitted to the hospital, placed on IV fluids,  and a ton of  injections and had all sorts of treatment done the next few days (ultrasounds, x rays, blood work). Kinda the whole shebang really. She wasn't doing a whole ton better in the four days I had her hospitalized, so I made the  difficult decision that I would take her home and try to get her improved in the comfort of the house. I really wasn't sure if it would work just  because off  how totally horrible she looked. It was all pretty touch and go. All in all it cost me around 1500 bucks  so far even after me very awesome discount for being an employee. Lucky It ended up working because after a few days of at home treatments and injections she was eating great and doing OK. I was thrilled to have her back to being healthy and thought that it was going to be a one time thing. I was diligent about all the care and follow up in the next few months and each time we rechecked her everything came back with no signs of permanent damage.

She was back to her old self  of being all talkative to anyone who entered my house, rolling around looking cute and slutty, playing with the one toy I can engage her in. I was super happy and worked hard to pay off the bill and all went back to normal.  In November 2010 she had a day or two where she seemed a little dumpy so I brought her back into work and re checked some blood work. She wasn't showing any signs of infections like last time, but was showing signs of  early renal damage. This doesn't have to mean anything really, I mean she is 12, and 12 year old cats tend to go into renal failure frequently.  But in her case it probably meant that it would progress quicker then normal. I debated about adding a daily  oral medication but decided against it because she is a hard one to get to take pills and I figured it would hurt her quality of life. She seemd to recover from her little spell with a day or two of sub Q fluids and then went back to normal.

Three weeks ago she once again didn't eat for a day or two and stopped being her chatty self when the roommate would come out of his room and such, very very UN Max like indeed.  I brought her back to work and turns out she did indeed have another attack of Pylonephritis, basically a sever infection of the inner layers of the kidneys. It was the same thing she had before. But this time with already existing kidney disease. It once again required her to have a three day stay at the hospital with IV fluids, injections and a repeat ultrasound. She is now requiring antibiotic injections bi weekly, a daily oral pill, an daily oral liquid antibiotic, a inject-able GI medication daily, and a as needed appetite stimulant pill given when she hasn't eaten in a day or two.  Whatever worries I had for her quality of life with just one pill as gone out the window. This is going to be her life for the next 8 weeks. Its already cost me 850 bucks and I can anticipate another few hundred after all is done. The sad part is that she now is showing signs of  permanent kidney damage and doesn't trust me to do anything except shove things in her mouth so she runs and hides every time I enter a room. I have had to resort to getting my housemate to grab her and put her into the bathroom so I can medicate her every day. I wish she would just accept that this is her new life and deal with it. Quality or not its the only thing that's keeping you alive cat.

See that's the problem I have. I wish that I could get her to act a little more appreciative to all the things I have done for her this last year. I mean I saved her life once and it cost me a lot to do it. I am saving her life now and she hates me for it. So what's the deal is my cat suicidal and resents that I just won't let her die? Or maybe she is just really really ungrateful? Either way she is eventually going  have to adapt to her new life as medicated cat status, because now that I have thrown  over 3000 bucks into her care I am not giving up.. even if sometimes I really want to.

I hear from people who are parents that you fight for your kids even if you know they wont like you for it. Because that's what you do when you have kids. Well for me my pets are my kids. I mean I know what has to be done, and its not an option to not do it. If she hates me for the rest of her life then that will suck, but that's not a reason to let her die. I guess I'll have to be able to take comfort in knowing that she's going to hate me for a really long time, cause I'm going to try my hardest to get a few more years out of her.

Just a really good picture of her. 

Rolling around the floor acting slutty

Looking at me with disgust in having to take her meds

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the podiatrist

Today I went to the podiatrist.  Since I was a kid I always had weird random foot issues. I have nail fungus, athletes foot issues,  high arches, wide feet and  a under lapping toes of the pinky toe on both feet.  Over the years I have asked my various doctors about things and most have said "oh let them go until you start to have problems". I have always kinda liked this passive approach to my health until I really sat down and thought about how crappy that plan really is.  I am obsessed with cog style tennis shoes. I don't really know why I have decided that these are my dream shoe, but maybe its the simple ease of getting them on and off, or the fact that they fit my size 11 wide feet with room to spare. But whatever the reason I searched all around for a pair that wasn't white, finally finding them in a random Sears out in the middle of nowhere Eastern Washington.  I bought a pair and quickly knowing that I was leaving town soon got another. Recently I went back to visit a good friend in the area and she laughed at me because I specifically made the trip back to the Sears to see if I could get another pair. This one store seems to be the only store on earth that has my dream shoe in stock..  What I have found as I started wearing this one kind of shoe, is that I tend to wear them out in a funny location, so i figured that something had to be wrong with my gait or how I put my weight on my feet.


I have a pretty physical job. I am usually on my feet most of the day in some form or another. I also in the last few months picked two very physical paces to volunteer at on my days off. So I never really get to take a break and have a day where I am totally off my feet. I have great shoes that I change into when I am working out or at one of these volunteer places because they handle the rough terrain a lot better then the slip on clog sneakers. At work I wear those exclusively. Why am I rambling about my shoes??? OK because today figured that with the amount of time I spend on my feet and how dependent I have become on standing and walking, I should make sure that they are as healthy as possible for the future.  So I made a visit to a podiatrist and I found out a whole lot more then I expected to.

First off, I have one goofy foot and one normal foot. My right foot seems to be the bearer of all my  bad foot issues whereas my left  foot has nothing.  The podiatrist office was super nice and I didn't even have to wait very long to get seen. The doctor was a cute little older man with some sort of  faint European accent. He did a bunch of touching, bending, and stoking of both feet, told me that I have lovely high arches, and seemed to understand why I was concerned. He asked me to walk up and down the hall so he could see my gait.  Turns out that I am nob-knee-ed. My knees turn inward when I walk and this is making my right foot have to push out more and causing a lot more pressure when I take steps on it.  I come down very hard on that  right foot and in a weird place. He said that right now all my weight when waking is being put on the outside back part of my foot, so basically exactly where my shoes get worn down.  He says that my left foot isn't nearly as server and that a simple orthotic to support my arches will suffice for that  left foot. Now for my retarded right foot with the bad weight distribution, they want to create a custom orthotic contraption that will cost me 500 bucks and be like a second shoe for my foot. Well at least until I have been able to train my foot to not be so gimpy, then we can move down to a normal orthotic like my left foot will already have.  He was able to explain how all the weird toe issues I  have with that foot are all related to this one simple problem. I had no idea, but I guess that is why I went to the podirtist.

The other thing that he told me and I'm sorry this might cross the line into being gross. Is that he thinks I have a super bad case of nail fungus that is not just attacking my nail on that foot but also attacking my foot skin on that foot. He immediately sent out a culture and gave me an prescription anti fungal medication to slather my foot with twice daily until the results come back. Who knew that nail fungus can attack foot skin? Look at all the things I have learned today at the podiatrist office.  So I left the office feeling like I have a plan of action and something that might actually make things easier for my body and feet in the years to come. I love my life right now and I know that I place really hard demands on my body to accomplish all I want it too. I am learning the older I get that treating my body good now will hopefully save me from injury later.   So I will go back in two weeks to get fitted for my orthotics, and hopefully after a few months I'll be walking much better. Oh one more thing to mention. The podiatrist totally said that my dream shoes are OK for me to wear. So I'm glad I don't have to try to find new ones.

Monday, January 17, 2011

being a big sister

I have a little sister named Michaela. She is not related to me in anyway but she is my little sister through the Big Brother Big Sister program.  I guess technically they consider her to be my little. I have been matched with her for just under a year and I totally adore her. I look forward to every time we get to hang out and I am constantly thinking about fun things that I know she would like to do. Its such a great program and I am glad that I have decided to be a part of it.

I looked into it when I was living in the Denver area but at that time, I was uncertain what my future would bring ,and thought the year long commitment was too much. Once I knew I would stay in the area I just got too busy with life and work to wanna be involved. My brother and his wife had a little brother in their area. I knew that they had a good time with him. And I also knew that my brother was getting more and more involved with the program, so I always had joining on my mind. When I moved out to the middle of nowhere small town Oregon it was one of the first groups I called to see about signing up with.  I was swiftly informed that they did not cover my area, so I guess that was that. When I moved back into the Seattle area one of the first things I did was call em, did all the interviews, and in a few months I got Michaela, my very own little.

I have always really liked kids. When I was in high school I worked as a summer nanny and also I worked at the kids club for a local athletic club. The last year I was in Denver, a good friend asked if I wanted to move into her basement and part time nanny for her three kids while living for free. I loved those three kids and I still miss em all the time.  I have a nephew who lives in another state. I have some nieces that are still pretty young and until recently didn't do much interacting I. I watched them a few times a week and found it so exciting watching them grow and develop into toddlers. My best friend doesn't have kids yet and most of my other close friends don't either. So I didn't have a ton of  little kid exposure in my adult life other then a few times.  When I sat down with the little sister people and had my 1st interview, I told them that I wanted someone older then 10 because I think I do better with the preteens. I had a rocky preteen life and felt that I would have the most to offer that age group. 

When they called me and told me that they had a match in mind for me and she was a 7 year old, I was a little freaked out.  I met her and she seemed quit but she also seemed nice. I was really nervous for our first outing. We went to the park I remember, and she was this engaging active happy kid who wanted me to swing with her and let her eat my cotton candy.  It was a really fun day and seemed easy enough. It took a few visits to find a rhythm with her and her mom, as to what she liked to do and when we could do stuff. It was weird to sorta be an outsider, not really knowing I matter in her life at all and where my place really is. But she was pretty easy to hang  out with, because she was so enthusastic and happy doing anything at all.  A few weeks in we had an all day trip to the zoo that ended up being a blast and I knew that by that time all was ok. A few months later she had to move into another house and her mom told me that Michaela told her "we have to make sure Martha knows our new address so she knows where to pick me up at"  This hit me as such a defining moment becuase here was this 7 year old, who has the attentiuon span of a fruit fly, taking the time in her brain to make sure I know where they live. If I didn't think I mattered any, this sure shows me how much I do.

From that day forward we have really built a great relationship. She now asks a lot of the time for things that she specifically wants to do with me. For example I knew that she was dying to see the girl movie and asked me mom  more then once if I could take her. Also I know she asked her mom if she could invite me over to play Wii with her one day. I try to balance fun stuff with not as fun stuff such as homework and the library.  I hear from her mom all the time that she says things about me when I'm not around. Just tonight when I went to pick her up her mom told me that as they were buying her a new coat she said "Martha is going to love my new coat" her mom thought it was so funny that she just randomly thinks these things. I find it so awesome.

I am glad that I have spent the last year getting to know this amazing 7 year old (now 8) and finding a way to incorporate her into my life. I hope that she will get to be a part of it for a long time to come. People might not understand how important my relationship with Michaela is, because she is this happy go lucky 8 year old sweet kid. But someday she might realize that parts of her life suck, and I just hope that she'll use me as a friend and let me be around for her if that happens. So tonight we went to the paint your own pottery place where she helped me make a cat bowl and she made a ice cream cone. And afterward we ate grilled cheese sandwiches and fries while walking around the U Village until we stopped and got a cupcake. It was great fun and a wonderful way to spend a evening. I am so happy that I got to do it with Michaela.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Smokey

I am rarely affected by the parts of my job that are tragic. I mean I always feel sadness but I have found this way to not emote the emotions. It one of the parts about my field that I hate the most. Not the tragedy of it but the parts that have made me become so much less empathetic then I ever would have thought I could be.  But I know that loosing this is the only way that I could see some of the truly horrific situations I have seen. I mean you have to close a part of yourself off or all you would do is cry your eyes out all day and never function.  I have put some really great animals to sleep, I have seen some pets come in in the absolute worst situations and not be able to help them, I have seen pets not get care due to money concerns, I have seen lots of ignorance, I have seen more flat out just cruelty then you would imagine, all of this and more in my almost ten years of doing this.  I have also seen goodness, happiness, joy,  I have seen how much some people get from having a pet in there life, and doing above and beyond for that pet. So like most things in life I have figured out that there is a balance between the good and the truly bad, and although I do not think the scale is totally equal.  I have found away to be ok with where the sides lay.

Today I had a moment where I actually teared up and had to seriously tell my self to hold it in till I got home. Today I wanna tell you the story about Smokey.  At the end of the day we had a older gentleman come in and say that his "cat had been hit by a car and that it died". He was looking for cremation services. Its always hard with possible DOAs (dead on arrival) because sometimes the owner doesn't know that the pet still has a heart beat or is still breathing.  So we always have a person go up and get them and bring them to the back and assess the animal.  So this older man said that he had come to our clinic before but it had been a long time. So he was not in the computer system and we had to ask him to fill out new paperwork and the cremation slip.  He was probably in is late 80's and said that was fine and that he would go get the cat from the car. I asked if he needed help and he said that he ok because the cat was in a carrier. I waited for him to come back in and he had a cardboard cat carrier you get at the shelter. I asked him if he wanted the carrier back and he "no I don't have any use for it any more"

I took the carrier into the back room and opened it up and in side was a very dead cat. He was already quite stiff and his face was pretty bloody and torn up. His eye was almost bulged out of his socket and looked like his jaw as almost shattered. It looked pretty bad and frankly made my co-worker a little nauseous just seeing it. It was quite a shock. All you can really hope at this point is that this poor cat got to die quickly. Because the thought of him having a slow and drawn out death would be so completely horrible.  This old man filled out the paperwork, paid the charges and everyone told him how very sad we were for his loss. Then he said the part that really got to me. He said that he went to the door to call Smokey in for dinner. Normally he comes right away for dinner and it was unusual that he wasn't there. He walked outside a little calling for him and saw two neighbor girls looking under a bush and he went over and saw smokey lying dead. Just like he looked now.  He told us about what a great cat Smokey was and  that he was so pretty.  This poor old man was totally trying to be strong, to not feel emotion, to try to not let his love for this cat show. He wanted to act tough and indifferent but we could all see that inside it was ripping him up and he was super sad about his poor cat dying. 

See this is the thing that really gets to me. I hate knowing that now this guy is going home to a empty house. He wont have anyone to talk to, to take care of, to love. I mean I have no clue weather or not he will ever get another cat, but the fact that he said that now he doesn't have any need for the carrier, sounds like he wont. I hate having anyone have to see the animal they love and care for is such a absolutely horrible state like that. Smokey was pretty beaten up and how awful is it, that this will forever be his last image of his beloved cat, forever and ever and ever. I'm sad that he didn't get to say good bye (because I know first hand how much that sucks). I'm sad that he didn't get to prepare for it. I'm sad that as of this afternoon his whole life is going to be different. I worry that maybe this guy has nothing else and will be alone and sad and not have anyone around and that makes me ache for him. I mean if it were any of my animals I would be crushed. But the difference is that I know, that although I could never replace my lost pet, I would get another down the road and that I would be able to give the new pet all the same love and attention the old one got. Its a comfort and one that this old man didn't get to have. He will not get another cat so its sad that the death of his companion had to be this way.  it was truly one of those situations that sucks.. just plain sucks.

So as I'm sitting here crying my eyes out like I couldn't do while I was at work.  What I want to say is that today,  I want to remember Smokey; who I didn't personally know, but  who I know will be greatly missed , who I know was very much loved,  and who touched my life today in this very small way.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Animal rescue rules suck

I don’t understand this thing about dog rescues groups. I mean isn’t the whole point that they want to rescue dogs from the bad situations they are stuck in,  and put them into better situations. I mean all you hear about is the millions of pets that get put down due to lack of responsibility, and how it’s such a huge problem bla bla bla. But sometimes when I get a on a kick about looking for my next dog, or my future dog , I am struck by how many of these so called rescues don’t actually seem to want to adopt anything out to new owners. Want to know how many say point blank that people have to have a yard and it’s always followed by NO EXCEPTIONS!!!  I mean come on; I get that if it’s a large energetic dog then yes of course, but what about the small lazy dogs or old senior dogs? Once I even saw that rule on a dog that had like limited use of his hind end. I was like why the F does this dog who can’t get around very well to begin with, need to have that fenced yard? Its ridicules. 

Other stupid things are stuff like no apartments, fenced yard mandatory, must be within the same zip code. Once the doctor I worked with was denied because she had stairs going into her house and what would happen if the dog got arthritis and couldn’t do steps any longer. She was like I’m a vet,  I’d do the same thing that your vet at the rescue would do. But nope they were denied  the adoption regardless. I mean all these stupid rules are doing is preventing people from being able to adopt your so called rescue dog. Therefore causing your rescue to be less successful then I bet you want it to be and not as effective. I mean shouldn’t they just let anyone who wants to take a pet in, and love it, and care for it, and heck pay for it first just be able to adopt it? I mean who cares if a dog has a fenced yard if the owner is willing to take it for long walks every day. And who cares if you don’t own your own home,  if like me you rent in a place where you are allowed a dog and even have to pay extra each month for the dog rent. And who cares if you live in a different city or state as long as you are willing to spend all the money out of your own pocket to travel to the animal and also pay to get it back to your home afterward. Aren’t all these things a better option than just saying no because some stupid dumb un-necessary rule is in place. 
 
Recently I have been starting to look for a replacement for my dog Bandit. It’s not like I am looking super hard, because I think that Morgan (my dog right now) is really enjoying being the only dog in the house. She is such a good dog that it’s going to be had to find someone equally as awesome. But I have decided that I am going to keep a look out for that dog that tugs on my heartstrings, and I instantly know has to come home to live with me. It’s proven to be more challenging then I figured and mainly due to these stupid rescue rules. The first dog I liked was in a rescue out in Bremerton and I sent an application. I was honest with my living situation and life. They came back and said point blank they that I already have 4 pets, (the dog and 3 cats) and that’s already 1 more than a single person can adequately give enough attention too, and it’s completely preposterous that I would want a 5th. I was like WTF yeah I have a dog who sleeps on the couch when she doesn’t get to come to work with me and get spoiled. A cat that lives in terror of the world and hides under the bed,   An old sick cat I have thrown 300 bucks into this year alone to keep alive,  and Spooky the other non-issue cat.  So yes… far too many and no way could I ever give any attention to this dog. Its far better it stays in foster care for an unknown amount of time instead.  The next dog I applied for was anther cute Morgan look alike dog. This time they came back and said that because I didn’t have a fenced yard  it wasn’t the ideal situation, because "all dogs have to have the freedom to walk around without a leash on in a safe place". I guess I should feel sorry for Morgan who has never had that kinda joy. I mean I take her to work when I go in on the weekends and let her wander around  the fenced yard, she does her potty stuff, sniffs a bit,  then comes back and sits by the door until I let her back in so she can go back to sleeping. Yep seems like that fenced yard is a big loss to her on a everyday basis.  So whatever I mean obviously I am not a good home for these dogs with my renting, lack of yard, and proclivity for neglect. So fine but then please stop shoving the stupid “millions of homeless animals” statics down my throat constantly. 

The other big thing I run into especially when looking for my elusive hairless dream cat, is that dumb out of state rule. I mean god forbid that a rare cat comes in to a rescue,  and sits on Petfinders for months and months and months,  maybe cause she is a rare breed and older than ideal.  Shouldn’t they be ecstatic that someone would even call about her? Maybe someone in the vet field who has harbored a love for this breed of cat forever, someone willing to spend the money to travel to another state , and jump through huge hoops to adopt it.  Wouldn’t you think that would be the perfect candidate for this cat? But of course not!! All because I live in a different state I am instantly disqualified. So sorry Scarab,  I hope you find someone else to adopt you. But since you gotta find someone with in a 10 mile radius, the chances aren’t very good.  
 
So who is to blame for all this crappy rescue behavior anyways? I mean yes in one hand it does make finding and getting that perfect dog or cat so much more valuable, just by knowing what a task it was to adopt them. But at some point , couldn’t I  just say F it and fork over some money to a breeder and buy the perfect dream cat, that I cant seem to rescue because of these stupid rules. I think that like so many other things pet rescue groups are a very flawed system.  I think that there has to have some major changes made to make it more proactive and successful. I don’t know what those changes are and don’t know if I world ever really want to have to spend the time to figure them out. Because that seems like a loose- lose situation, if I have even seen one I feel bad for the millions of unwanted pets in the world. But I feel much worse for the probable  thousands of wanted pets that couldn’t get a great new home due to some stupid rule and never get to know what could have been. 

Here is Morgan who I was able to rescue and I love to death and who someday might get to have another friend. Well as soon I am deemed worthy to.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ode to a co-worker or ten.

I love my job I think I mentioned that before. I work at a long standing vet hospital in the Seattle area. it has been around for a long time and a focal point in the community. We just practice good medicine. I mean I'm not in anyways gonna say we're the cheapest (cause were not) but were also not gonna gouge you either. I think we walk a decent balance between the two. But for me it doesn't matter about the prices or the costs, or the fact that our decor is atrocious (it is). Because I just like all the people I work with. Today was one of those days that I am reminded about all the really great people I have as co-workers. We were kinda busy in the morning and all of us just found that groove where things got done. We had no weird competition, people jumped in where needed, and everything just got figured out. We worked as a team and got it all done smoothly. Along the way we also had a lot of fun times and laughs, and even a really sad case that came in that had to be euthanized. But what I walked away with is that a huge part of what I love about where I work is because of those very people I work with. So anyways..today I am just grateful that I have a job and a job that I like and that a lot of the job that I get to be the goofy, weird, kooky worker.  Its satisfying to be in this situation for once in my life.  So yeah if any of my co-workers read this blog then I guess I wanna say thanks for putting up with all my randomness, for  making what we do so fun at the times that it can be, but also kicking ass at the others. You guys all rock!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Back into the wild.

Today I got the very awesome privilege of releasing some birds back into the wild. I volunteer at a place that does wildlife rehabilitation.  I was hesitant when I first started to volunteer there because they have a approach that is completely different to that of the vet clinc. See in the vet clinic were very hands on, we talk, pet, cuddle, hand feed,  and sometimes carry around the pets as they stay with us. We think that it helps to make the clinic environment less stressful and more like they would  feel at home. All this extra attention is one of the reasons I love doing my job. Wildlife rehabilitation isn't like that at all. The philosophy is that if you spend too much time interacting with the animals then they will not thrive in the wild. They want to have the ultimate goal be a successful return to the wild, and that requires very very minimum human interaction. So there everything is covered up, you talk in a whisper, feed through a lot of cracks and holes in the walls, rarely get to touch them and when you do its always in a towel or blanket so that the animals never knows that it was a human bothering it.  Sometimes you walk in and see a cage with a sheet over it and never once see whatever is in it. You know that its some sort of animal, but you are not allowed to take a peak to see. Its hard for me sometimes cause I wanna look through the cracks,  but know that I can't.  So you go about your day and sometimes the cage next to you rustles so you can tell its a bird, or makes a growling sound so maybe its a bear, or some barking so maybe a seal. This elaborate guessing game is sometimes pretty fun. But honestly  at some point you will get to know what is  behind the sheets,  you just don't get to touch it, or interact with it, or let it see you very much.

The hard part about rehab isn't the lack of interaction. Its the number of things that come in that can't be helped. See the flip side of this is that if the animal is injured beyond repair and could never live successfully in the wild, then they really do think that euthanasia is the best option. So as much as medicine can help its not always enough, especially without the help of major human intervention. Today there was a seagull that had a broken wing that they had pinned back in place a few weeks ago. The problem is that he still wasn't using it at all and the muscles are starting to waste away. They think  now that he wont be able to every return to the wild. They feel that they will have to euthanize him soon. I understand that part because they could never let this bird go out and not be able to fly. I mean flying is a huge part of his natural life, and where do you send a seagull that could never fly again?  Is it OK to keep a wild animal in captivity even if it is injured? I don't know what the answer is to that is, but I know that the place I volunteer for says No. Its never OK to keep a wild animal captive even if it is injured because you can never completely replicate its natural environment. It is sad though, because you hate to think about all that money, time, and effort that is put into this seagull just being a wasted effort.  But I guess this is the nature of wildlife rehabilitation. I mean is it any less horrible to release something that cannot fend for itself  against predators? Or to not bring in the injured bird and let it fend for itself in the wild?  Or heck to just let it suffer with a broken wing and see what happens? I feel like at least it was given the chance to survive but the truth is, not because of any rhyme or reason, I guess he just wasn't dealt the cards to survive.  I feel sad for him and all of us who have worked with him,  because its never happy to have to euthanize anything even if you can justify it.

Anyways back to the good part of the story. So the really great part about wildlife rehab is when something gets to be released back into the wild. Today that was given to both a wood duck and a thrush. The wood duck had been unable to fly due to unknown reasons, but then a few weeks ago just randomly started to again. Was its malnourishment or sickness no one will ever know. What we do know is that he happily swam off into the pond where I released him, like nothing was ever wrong with him, and never looked back. Next I drove a few miles south to release a thrush into the forest. He also flew instantly out of the box and off with out any hesitation. I mean heck he was probably totally unaware about the part we played in getting him to this moment. I mean that's why we go through all those measures to keep them hidden from human interaction right? So that they will never see a human as a positive facet in their universe  I didn't think that I would care about these releases all that much. I mean I was happy to be able to do them and glad that they had been given them their freedom back.  But I never would have expected to get this huge sense of pride or happiness that I ended up with.. It was nice to be able to save something, to allow it to return home, it made up for the decision about the poor seagull who just got dealt a bad hand. But without those decisions, those really hard decisions then your left with nothing but the joy.


That's the thing about life...You have to take all these moments in good and bad . You have to make them a part of who you are. That's what I am realizing the older I get.  The things that matter are the little things, the things that you don't work at, the moments you don't plan for, remembering how those moments make you feel and trying to replicate them as often as possible.  Finding that balance between happiness and sadness is a struggle at times, but you figure it out, you have too. So for me today just knowing that I was able to be a small part of something so much bigger then me, is really a amazing thing. This must be what makes a for a happy life.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Max the cat part 1

My cat has been pretty sick this last year. She is 12 years old and I always considered that as kinda old, but now that I have worked in the vet field the last ten yours I know better. 12 is like a teenager in the feline world.  She should have at least 8 more years of life in her but I am thinking that she might not get those anymore. Max is a cutie pie. She has lots of different names that she has been dubbed over the years (alien baby, Maxi pad, kitty slut). But none the less she seems to be everyone favorite cat of mine. I'll admit that she is chatty, talkative and when she rolls around on her back with her cute petite little meow, it really does make you want to pet her and talk back to her and love her. She knows this though so do not be mistaken and trust me she uses it to her advantage to get all that attention.

I have always joked that Max never really liked me much. It’s not much of a joke if it’s the truth; I see a completely different cat then the rest of you. For me she just sits there across the room, rarely uttering a word, and giving me an evil stare as I move around the house. I don't know what I have done in her little cat brain to deserve such a glare. But I can tell that whatever it is it must be bad. Its hard now for me to keep throwing all this money into saving her life. I would think that least she could do is back off on the glaring at me some. I mean come on cat show me some gratitude.  I mean for 3000 bucks can’t I at least get a cute roll around the dining room table, some snuggle time at night or heck even let me pet ya. But nope I don't get that. I get to chase her around trying to give her pills and have her scratch the hell out of me as I shove em in her mouth. Then just in case it’s not enough that she treats me like this, but the second that the housemate comes out of his room she talks, and talks, and talks, and follows him around like love struck puppy dog! Almost as to throw back into my face her pure hatred of me. Am I jealous? Maybe but honestly, I mean shouldn't I get a little more for my 3000 dollars? I think so. People always say that animals give you gratitude when you save them from a bad situation. In Max's case this isn't even slightly true.

 But maybe it’s because I didn’t really save her from anything.  I got Max form a friend of mine named Jill. I was living in an apartment with my high school friend named Crissy and I had an older cat named Neko. I had started to work really long hours and I was getting the feeling that Neko was lonely. So at some point I started thinking that I should get him a little friend to keep him company. Jill also lived down the street from me and all through high school had many litters of kittens come from out of her house. I happened to see her one day at the store and told her I wanted a kitten. She happened to say that they had a bunch of em ready to go.  I went over to see them that night, with my only requirement being that I wanted a female and that I wanted one that was kind of mellow. I mean Neko was like 8 or so I knew that he wouldn't want a hyper kitten running around bothering him all the time. Anyways I remember there being like 10-11 kittens both black and orange ones and I sat for a really long time trying to pick out the very best one of the bunch. After like 45 minutes I thought I had it all narrowed down and was about to leave with my new kitten in hand when I spotted this orange tabby just laying by itself in a sunbeam alone, like it didn't have a care in the world. This kitten was one that I hadn't seen in my time playing with the kittens, I know because it was a weird whitish milky orange tabby unlike its litter mates who were all dark. I instantly knew that this lone cat, so oblivious to the world outside its sunbeam, who didn't seem to care that for the last 40 minutes someone had been getting all its litter mates to run and play, it was just so content to lay here in the sun and take a nap. I knew right then that no matter what the sex was this was my kitten. I put down the black kitten I had already picked out and scooped it up and was happy to discover it was indeed a female, I brought her home.  She got the name Max. What I didn't know then as an 18 year old but know now from being in the vet world, was that she was born with a raging case of feline herpes, (this is common for cattery situations, and that is what my neighbor had going on) also that orange tabby female cats are an extremely rare thing. So she became even more special after learning that.  Too bad that as mellow as she was in that sunbeam it didn’t carry over once she was in my house or around Neko. Max turned out to be quite the little bully. But I’ll save the rest of that story for another time.  

At this moment I am due to chase her around and find where she is hiding and force her to take her pills. It’s the worst part of my day. But it’s what is keeping her alive and if nothing else, even after how much she seems to despise me, I really do want to keep her alive.  So I’ll keep doing it no matter how long I have to because that’s what you have to do when you get a pet. You have to do everything in your power to keep em alive.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Taking the weekends off.

Here is the thing about this blog.  Oh and a huge thank you for everyone who has been reading the last few days. I think that what I am going to do is to take the weekends off. I mean I don't want it to  ever become a chore. Something that I have to be doing because then It wouldn't be so emotionally real or accurate. I also don't want to make it so scarce that when I look back in the next year all the little moments aren't captured in it. So I think that for right now I am going to try to post on the weekdays and take the weekends off. But more then anything I will give myself the allowance to make whatever rules I see fit.. after all it is my blog.

Friday, January 7, 2011

My father died today .... Well 18 years ago today

Ok yeah so people who know me know that’s its no big secret that my father died when I was 14. And those really close to me know that I still wrestle with the whole missing him and grieving for him stuff. But that’s not what this post is gonna be about today. Well not entirely at least. It’s a weird thing to lose a parent when you’re a kid. Ok in my case I was a teenager (barely) I had just turned 14 two months before. I had no clue how this one moment would impact my life forever forward.  I mean you know that you’re  going to miss him  and that he won’t be around for all the big stuff, but you can’t anticipate what will happen when you grow up have this crazy 6th sense about things because it’s something so inertly him. For me it’s the ocean. I have this crazy draw to the ocean and  I know that somehow he gave that to me.  If he were still alive I know that it would be our thing.  I miss him more because we never had the chance to experience that passion together.  It’s been 18 years to the day since he died and I still think about him almost every day. 

I always had kinda a weird relationship with my dad. I don’t remember ever being a daddy’s girl as a child. I always kind of thought he didn’t really like me all that much growing up.  I we had a great family and did alot of awesome stuff together but I just always knew that  I wasn’t the favorite child and that compared to my brother I would always come in second. at some point I figured out that I could  to do what most girls do eventually and get attention from their dads in  a more negative way.   I  had tried to be the soccer star and impress him like my brother. But after having that fail I thought maybe it would impress him by being the aggressive fearless player who got carded more then I should have at that young of an age.   The same thing goes for grades. I really did start out trying to work hard at my homework and doing reports but at some point I  failed a class and subsequently just stopped trying at that as well. eventually I  just stopped seeking the approval from my dad. I mean what was the point anyways?

 One time I clearly remember him coming into my room at night after I half assed some report on something in like 5-6th grade. He said  that he was disappointed in me and that I could do better than this bad report hurried together at the last minute, and he expected me too. It was a weirdly defining moment, which has forever stuck with me to this day. Because the honest truth is that from that day forth I think I kind of figured it out. This private lecture was part of what I was always seeking from him, this effort  by him, even if  it was negative.  I strived  on it on and ran with it. So the problem is that from that day forward I never put a full 100 percent towards anything again... not really ever before he died.  I don’t think that I ever gave him that chance to not be disappointed in me. So how can I think now that he was ever proud of me?

See that’s the question I always come back to. Would me father be proud of who I am?  It’s a hard thing to wrestle with was you go through your teenage and young adult years. The truth of the matter is that I will never have an answer to that. Because I will never be able to ask him … he died. What I know is I am proud of whom I have become and so I have to be able to make that enough. But it will always feel like something is missing for my life to be whole, that small piece of comfort that can’t ever be given to me.

I wish more than anything that he could see me for who I have become as an adult. I think that as much as I wasn’t a daddy’s girl as a child, I am definitely my father’s daughter as an adult. I have so many similar qualities as he did: my laid back easy going attitude, this love of the ocean and anything in it, being able to sit for hours and watch a documentary, always having a book in your hand, a love for the quite relationships you get to have with people, my sarcastic/teaseable side, the way I can deliver any story and make it awesome, my huge gigantically giving heart but along with it is a very stubborn streak, wanting to make the holidays special even if just with a simple card written from the heart, the natural way I am drawn towards science and knowledge, My love of the outdoors, and the all creative and artistic parts of me.  

These are all things that I know mirror the person who helped raise me for the first 14 years of my life.  If I could do anything over again, I would have stayed there with my family the day that he had died.  I don’t know if  my not leaving would have made any sort of impact, but it’s always made me feel regret. It’s the only thing in my life I truly regret. I regret not being strong enough to see him sick and dying, I regret being a scared child instead of a brave adult like my brother was, I regret not knowing that this one moment would forever change my life. I could have said my good bye, I could have said that I loved him; I could have said that I’d miss him.  Because I do… I miss him all the time. .. Even 18 years later. So this is for you dad. For making me the person I am today. I think that you would be really really proud of me.