I’m a word freak. I admit it. I’ve always been fascinated by words – their origin, their impact, their use. Their, they’re, there.
I also love the origin of phrases. “Three sheets to the wind,” “rule of thumb,” “horsefeathers.”
I was thinking about “cat got your tongue?” this morning – don’t ask why – and decided to learn its origins. Turns out, there really isn’t any good documentation of the phrase. Lots of theories, but no facts.
But I tripped across a very recent and fascinating article from NPR about an English boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who didn’t speak for seven years until a stray cat came into his life. The story is paralleled with his mother’s own past of living with a “crazy cat lady” and vowing to never have cats in her home, but now finds herself caring for two ferals. You can read the transcript here.
Animals really do transform our lives. Their healing powers are well documented, but I fear I take that power for granted – especially days like today when I was too tired, too preoccupied, too lazy to take the dogs for their morning walk.
So I guess my rambling all comes down to this: Hug your cat, today.
Missing a sock?
Maybe you should look in your dog. The Veterinary Practice News released their annual X-ray competition, and second place (not first!) went to a Great Dane that had eaten 43 1/2 socks! You can check out all the X-rays here.
Dogs truly will eat anything. My Zed had an early attraction to plastics. Toys would disappear in seconds, Frisbees would fly down his gullet. He became particularly obsessed with the bright blue plastic bags that my Wall Street Journal came in on rainy days. If he got outside before I did, he would strip the bag off the paper and swallow it whole.
When cleaning up the yard each week, I would find his poop intermingled with the blue bag, which had passed through his system intact. I often wondered if he could be taught to poop inside the bag, making my job easier.
Recently, I discovered a bright green moss in the flower bed. It was that fluorescent green you see on dead manzanita out in the woods.
When I showed my discovery to my fellow gardener, he politely pointed out that it was the fuzz from a tennis ball that Zed had stripped off and swallowed.
Has your dog (or cat) eaten something extraordinarily weird? I’d love to hear about it.
This is similar to the signs we put up, but were told to take back down.
So this happened last week: http://www.mailtribune.com/article/20140829/NEWS/140829437/0/SEARCH
And it’s an action that is long overdue.
Our wonderful volunteers show up 365 days a year, regardless of the weather, to walk the dogs. Because of our location on Table Rock Road, the only safe place to walk them is in the neighborhood across the street. But to get there, the volunteers need to be able to safely cross busy Table Rock Rd.
We’ve asked for guidance from the city, which has declined to put in a painted crosswalk, and were advised to put up signs alerting drivers to the pedestrians – legal pedestrians, I might ad. So we bought signs and put them up. The change was amazing. Fully half of the drivers stopped when they saw someone waiting to cross the road. Prior to the signs, the rate was about 5 percent of drivers. That’s a big change.
Then we were told the signs weren’t legal and we took them down. The Medford police committed to doing an enforcement action and the fact that 34 cars were stopped and cited or warned in a very short time comes as no surprise to me or to anyone else that crosses Table Rock.
Please remember that pedestrians have the right of way at an intersection – even if it is a T-intersection like ours or if the intersection does not have a marked crosswalk.
When in doubt if there is an implied or marked crosswalk – say someone is trying to cross mid-block – err on the side of grace and stop anyway. It’s the right thing to do.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the South Pacific, mostly on small islands. I love the people, the culture, the food – all of it except the trash. I can be on a small beach on a tiny island and see trash left there by people. This isn’t trash that washes up, it’s left by locals and tourists.
I asked a Chamorro (native to Guam) friend who used to be a park ranger in Idaho and he said he thought it was because people who had spent their whole lives on the island didn’t understand how rare the beauty of the place was and took it for granted.
I bring this up because I decided to get away this weekend by driving to the coast, then turning inland and following the Chetco as far as possible to find a remote camping site. I love to camp, but I don’t like campground. That’s why I like dispersed camping on Forest Service and BLM lands.
I got there after dark and had to back out of a few spots that were already occupied before finding a desolate camping spot right on the Chetco, just 15 feet from the river bank. Perfect! The dogs were able to wander around and not disturb anyone as I looked at the stars and counted satelittes.
I woke the next morning anticipating spending time just “dogging around” on the river. As soon as the dogs were out of the truck, they began exploring again. One look showed me why they were so anxious to get out of the truck.
There was trash everywhere. Empty beer and soda cans. empty hot dog packages, empty chip bags. Zed was digging in the sand behind a bush and I saw white toilet paper. Gross.
I had to put them back in the truck before they made themselves sick. I packed up and left disgusted.
Oregon is a beautiful state, but perhaps – like some South Pacific islands – people take it for granted.
Clean up your act, Oregon – I doubt there were many tourists who found their way to this remote site.
Remember the two dogs that I found tied by their leashes to our fence? I wrote about it here.
The larger, younger female quickly found a home with a previous owner, who had given the dog to someone else and was horrified to learn that, years later, the dog had ended up tied to a fence (we were able to find the woman through the registration of the dog’s microchip).
The other dog, an older female Aussie mix, has not fared as well. Suzy, as we’ve come to call her, has lingered at our shelter. She is a sweet dog, but is old. She also has a kidney issue that requires special (and pricey) food.
But I have good news to report. Suzy will become a permanent foster dog at the Addictions Recovery Center in-patient treatment facility. She will be the second senior dog that we have placed with this wonderful agency, which helps people deal with their addictions.
Because it is a treatment center, it is staffed 24 hours a day. That means Suzy will never be alone again. If she needs to go out, someone will be there. If she wants some attention, someone will be there. If she wants to just sleep quietly, someone will be there when she wakes up.
What more could a dog ask for?
Thank you, ARC, for helping humans and animals get to wellness.
My recent post about off-leash dogs in Bear Creek Park really touched some nerves – there’s likely enough of us ticked off about this to form the first COPS chapter (Cranky Old People Society).
Right up there with the off-leash issue are people who don’t pick up their dog’s poop – either in the park, in the neighbor’s yard, etc.
When I lived in Houston, this was a real problem. I lived in an old, inner-city neighborhood with great shops, cafes, etc., which meant there were a lot of pedestrians, and a lot of people walking their dogs. And yes, many people would let their dogs poop in my yard and not clean it up.
At first, I would stand at the door and yell “Clean that up!” in full cranky mode. It rarely worked.
So I switched to a new campaign that became much more effective and one I use to this day. When I see someone letting their dog poop while on a walk and then not clean it up, I say “Excuse me – it looks like you’ve run out of poop bags. That happens to me all the time, so I carry extra: here you go.” And I hand them a poop bag (Yes, I almost always have some in my pocket – occupational hazard). Faced with a polite smiling person, they really don’t have much choice but to clean it up.
Non-confrontational (and, therefore, slightly less satisfying), but very effective.
You know what they say, you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, but nothing attracts flies like your neighbor’s dog’s poop in your front yard.’
Life is messy: Clean it up!