Writing is something I've enjoyed since I was young. It is not something I've ever really shared with anyone until now. My other passion is animals. I am a certified therapy dog trainer and pet groomer in my other life.
Nana's Blue Ribbon Cake
Invitations had been sent out and all had already been rsvp'd. Nana Marylynn was beside herself with excitement. I got to spend every afternoon with my Nana as my single mother worked two jobs to support us and Nana happily kept watch of her one and only grandchild. In hindsight, it probably was not the most brilliant idea. My Nana, you see, had already begun to lose her mind. She would often wander her small house muttering to people that only she could see. I didn’t mind, in fact I often thought it was funny as I would talk to my imaginary friends too. But this week was different.
Once in a summer past
It seems like my life has revolved around that old barn. From the time I could walk I would be woken with the sun to head up to the old barn to do chores. There were always animals that needed to be taken care of. My summers consisted of hauling bales of hay up into the loft or tossing them down to the feed truck. It was a blessing and a curse at times. Even when I finally left home I could still smell it in my dreams. The smell of a freshly mucked stall, the heat of those big bodies, the sounds of the pawing and rustling in their stalls. It at first brought me comfort after I left home but that was short lived as the nightmare soon encroached on the pleasant memories.
In my daily life career, I am a groomer. I keep dogs looking and smelling their best. I love my job. But it can be a very stressful place. We are working with living animals that may not enjoy or be happy about the grooming process and then we have to deal with the pet parents that generally really have no idea about how difficult our job can be. They think “oh we just play with puppies all day.” Which couldn’t be further from the truth. We deal with dogs that may only get groomed once a year. They may be terrified of the grooming process and they may lash out. We get bit, we get peed and pooped on, we get injured, battered and bruised. Some days are good, we get our favorite regular every four week clients that know and love us and that are used to the grooming process. Those dogs make our day and heartens us to continue on in our chosen career. For many though the days are filled with more of the former than the latter and it takes its toll. We burn out and then, creative grooming became a common practice, and for many of us brought us a breath of fresh air, a renewal that made us passionate and excited about our job again.
My world in a box
Grief is such a funny thing. One day, you almost feel back to your normal then in a breath, it kicks you in the gut again, perhaps brought on from seeing a picture, hearing a song, smelling a scent. Whatever triggered it, it doesn’t matter really because now all you want to do is curl into a ball and cry. At least..that’s how I feel. What brought on my bout was a facebook memory, a picture. It’s been almost a year since he’s been gone. This he being my little shih tzu, my best little buddy, Gunner. To know Gunner was to love him. He was my baby. He came into my life at a point in time I thought I was lost. I had just lost my child, a miscarriage, my fourth and I had decided I was done trying. I couldn’t take any more. I was living in a city I hated, with a man that I grew to detest with every fiber of my being as he was a cheat and a liar. I was worn down and felt like I had no worth. Then, I decided to get a puppy. I scoured the local classifieds until I found what I was looking for. A litter of shih tzu puppies of age to be going to their new homes and the breeder was not charging an arm and a leg for. I called the number and that night we went to see the puppies. After spending time with them all there were two that stood out to me, one was mostly white and was the tiniest of them all. The other was a beautiful mahogany color with black tips. He would run up to me, poke my knee with his nose then run off again to play with his siblings. That alone made my decision, he was a confident independent puppy. I brought my boy home that night. Oddly enough, I wasn’t the one to name him though. We went to visit the in laws, they had a corgi. My father in law was highly amused by Gunner’s long tail where his dog had none. I should also note we are a military family as well, so he was waving Gunner’s tail back and forth and laughed saying “Look he’s a little tailgunner!” and thus that is how Gunner’s name came to be.
Oh Rise Up!
There was a small quake to her fingers as she reached for the shiny piece of metal resting in the palm of her father’s hand. Her gaze sought him as she hesitated, fingers hovering over the piece of jewelry not quite daring to touch it just yet. Finally her father gave a nod of his head and she snatched it from his palm. The metal bit into her skin where she clenched it so tightly within her fist. From her earliest memories, she had been learning about the relevance of the heart-shaped locket. It meant wealth, food, and safety. As long as her family possessed it it meant life for them. No longer would they have to watch a sibling die from not being able to garner medical attention that only belonged to the privileged. No longer would they have to scrape by to clothe themselves after paying tithes to the Regime.