Today was one helluva day. This week was one helluva week. I managed to surf through it with no major problems, but I got by with a lotta help from my friends. Yesterday, there was a festival of sorts in my hometown. I wanted to go. It was a beautiful day. But, I knew it would be a long day, so I left Ashok at my friend Jo Ann’s house. She’s stayed over there before with no incident. This time, however, she and the Harrison dogs (probably mostly Ashok) destroyed the dog food container, pilfered some of the dog food and ate part of a king cake and some donuts while we were gone. I was worried when they told me. I know she has a sensitive stomach, and she won’t wake me in the middle of the night. It could be a long and unpleasant night.
I woke up this morning to doggie diarrhea all over my new rug. I put her outside, and she was still in the middle of it. I cleaned up. It was so disgusting I almost threw up. But, I was more sick over the fact that my ‘solution’ to yesterday didn’t work out. I’ve been trying to figure out ways to go out and spend a long day without having to worry too much about her. Having a dog is a commitment. But, every time I think I’ve found a solution, something happens, and I have to start over. In my mind this morning, this was a monumental sign that it was time to do something different. I needed to solve the problem once and for all. I was thinking of getting rid of my dog so she could be in a place where she didn’t have to be left alone all of the time. When I texted my sister, she was concerned. My friend Jo Ann was concerned. They both wanted me to reconsider. I was so upset and feeling guilty over the whole thing that I went down a rabbithole feeling like a bad dog Momma, a mess-up of a person, and a total misuse of blood and bones. I decided to write this morning’s blog to ask for assistance.
I know the power of asking for help. Help showed up. In fact, I was on the phone pretty much all day talking through solutions and answering emails and texts with advice. It was all good. In fact, some of it was better than good. Several friends urged me to try doggie day care. After getting over the sticker shock of how much that would cost, I realized that I could afford it, and maybe I should do it. Eventually maybe she’ll be socialized enough that I can bring her to a dog park. I could even meet like-minded people at a dog park or go to the Barkus Mardi Gras parade. Maybe a better socialized dog would give me opportunities to socialize and spend time with her. One new friend even suggested I could volunteer with a rescue organization and bring her along. I also decided I could make an effort to stop going out to lunch to go home and walk my dog instead of just letting her out. There seem to be lots of solutions.
One of the most profound suggestions came from my friend Nancy in Michigan who had a beloved dog, Sadie, for a long time. She agonized over the whole lack of attention while at work thing, too. What she finally realized is that dogs live in the moment. They don’t know how long we’ve been gone. If they are warm and happy and loved in their house, they are content to sleep until that wonderful moment when I walk in the door. That was also echoed by my friends Davina, Jo Ann, Alayne and Tara Mae. I forget that dogs have a different life experience than us. They really GET living in the moment. I have to have diarrhea all over my floor to remind me about it. I even thought about the fact that I have to sit in that gray cubicle all day while she sits in her room alone all day. Who copes better? I can tell you it’s not me. Sometimes a human brain is not an advantage. In fact, maybe I’ll send her in my place in the morning.
I decided to take her to City Park in New Orleans. I needed to get out of this city, and they allow dogs in City Park. We walked around for about an hour in the sunshine, and I noticed all of the dog owners out enjoying the day with their canine companions. A German Shepherd played frisbee with his young male owner. A black lab raced across a meadow in pursuit of a ball. Another black lab was being coerced into a boat by his owners. He was more interested in swimming than in getting in that boat. A couple of those tiny greyhounds sat by their owner as he listened to some live jazz at Morning Call. It seemed like it was dogs’ day at City Park. In the middle of it all, my friend Beth texted me and asked if I really was wanting to get rid of Ashok. I told her I thought I’d changed my mind. She lives in my neighborhood and is about to embark on her own new journey in life. She and her daughter offered to keep Ashok any time I wanted and for as long as I wanted. They want some ‘without sadness’ in their life right now, too. (Ashok means ‘without sadness’ in Sanskrit). It’s a perfect solution for those times when I need to go somewhere. I realized the Universe was showing up ….. and maybe showing off a bit, too.
I called my friend Nancy in Tennessee who is in a prolonged battle with cancer right now. She had read my blog, too, but we had a great conversation about some things she was learning about her own life battles right now. I am always astounded at how God speaks through others in order to tell me something, and today her words were verbatim what I needed to hear. Last week was the first time in awhile that I’ve had depression. This week I’ve been trying to reframe my struggles of the last 6 months by proclaiming that I’m creating a new life here. I’ve been trying to accept that it will be very different, and I need to let the old one go. Prayer, meditation and affirmations have been focused on my getting this situation reframed. Nancy helped me define that this is Truth, and this is where I need to be living right now in my heart.
The depression of last week and the emotional reaction I had about Ashok this morning were grief about the life I left in Memphis. I’ve been through the denial that it’s over, the bargaining to get it back, the anger at having it taken away and now the sadness that I won’t have it any more. It’s classic grief. I imagine I will continue for awhile longer, but maybe today – and my girl – helped me get some insight that I desperately needed. My former life is over. I am starting a new chapter. I don’t know what that chapter will look like. I’m in that in-between place that makes me so uncomfortable. But I’m trying to be open.
Michigan Nancy texted me to check on me this evening. I told her I thought God was explaining some things to me today. I told her about my cubicle/Ashok analogy.
Nancy: Ah. Good Analogy.
Me: She’s much more patient
Nancy: Dog = God. Mirror image sometimes.
Me: LOL. True. I wonder why he shit on my floor this morning
Nancy: Got your attention for sure.
Me: Well I almost threw his ass out.
I was meditating tonight, and I heard a poot emanate from diarrhea girl’s butt. “Perfect,” I thought. And then focused on my breath. For the first time in a long time, I couldn’t wait to write.