Painful Endings

 Every Sunday night Doc and I cuddle in bed to watch one of our favorite shows, “Parts Unknown”  starring Anthony Bourdain.  We loved how every week he introduced us to different food, culture and social issues.  He connected with others through his transparency, adventurous spirit and great curiosity. That’s why it was so shocking when I heard Doc gasp as she read the news on-line that he apparently hanged himself. Earlier in the week designer Kate Spade committed suicide by hanging as well. On the outside both of theses celebrities appeared like they had everything. It just goes to show that you never know what demons people wrestle with deep in their souls. Sadly, Anthony and Kate are not the only ones, as by the time you finish this blog another person will have taken their own life.

In 2016 there were 44,965 recorded suicides in the United States having increased 24% between 1999 and 2014. ( CDC’S National Center for Health Statistics) Suicide has become a major national public health issue. It is the 10th leading cause of death overall.

In Doc’s many years counseling others she has talked to those wanting to kill themselves along with the families of those that have lost loved ones to suicide.  It is always heart wrenching. People’s pain is not always visible on the surface and often they hide their feelings frightened they will be judged or shamed. If there is a lesson from these most recent losses it is this; humans suffer painful experiences and we need to support each other through these times with unconditional love and compassion for each other.

If you are thinking about suicide or someone you love needs emotional support call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at (1-800-273-8255).

 

Photo by Angela Kirk ” Unresolved emotional pain is the great contagion of our time-of all time.”

— Marc Ian Barasch

Smoke and Mirrors

 There is a famous scene from the iconic movie The Wizard of Oz  when Dorothy goes to the wizard for help and her dog Toto pulls back the curtain to expose the Wizard as a mere mortal. The Wizard tries to continue his facade and says ” Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”  Finally realizing the jig is up when confronted by Dorothy and her cohorts, he admits who he really is.

Sadly there are many fake wizards out in the world and they show up in places we would never expect them to be. And even when they are exposed for what and who they really are they continue with their ruse, trying to convince you that your judgment is wrong.  Some people refer to that as “gaslighting”. Beware, because if someone is convincing enough they can make you mistrust your own judgement. It is a powerful manipulative tool to sow the seeds of doubt, targeting an individual or a group hoping to get them to question their own perceptions.

Just the other day I spotted a dog sitting patiently at the base of a tree. He was trying to convince the cat that even though he chases her every time he gets a chance, that this time it would be different.  That today he would not chase her and that they would have a wonderful time together. The dog even had the nerve to tell her that all the times he chased her it was her fault because of the way she acted. I shook my head as I watched that dog slowly convince the cat (against her better judgement) to come down out of the tree. Well you can guess what happened next.

Doc often tells me its important to listen to my own instincts and will often quote Maya Angelou when she said, ” When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”

 

Photo by Angela Kirk ” Conquer the angry one by not getting angry: conquer the wicked by goodness: conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth.”

— Buddha

There’s a Hole in My Bucket

Photo by Angela Kirk

Human’s like to talk about self-esteem. I am not quite sure what that really is, but they discuss  it in terms of it being either high or low. When I asked Doc about it, she told me the easiest way to describe it is to think about a big bucket with holes in it. She said the bucket represents your ego and the holes represent the emotional wounds that occur in your life. “Some people have more holes in their bucket, some people have less.” she said. “People then go through life trying to fill up those holes by engaging in different things to make themselves feel better. The problem is that the things they do or the people they choose to be around are not always the healthiest ways to fill those bucket holes.

After giving that some though I asked? ” Well why would they pick those unhealthy things or people if it’s not good for them?” She became very quiet and then she responded. ” Come over here and lay beside me Grover, this may take a while to explain.”

“Grover, remember when you were being bullied by the cat down the street and some of the dogs made fun of you because you were scared? ” she asked. “Well you came right home and told me about it because it also hurt your feelings and you didn’t like the dogs in the neighborhood calling you a big baby.”  Yes I remember,” I said.  ” You told me I had a choice about how I could handle it and that being afraid is nothing to be ashamed of because everybody is afraid sometimes.” ” That’s right! she said, and in the end you decided to confront your fear and now you are friends with that cat. Instead you could have chosen to say mean things about that cat to everyone in the neighborhood just to make yourself feel better.”

Then I asked Doc what I had been curious about all along, ” So what kind of things do humans do to fill up their holes?” “Well that’s a long list, she said, but the most important thing you need to know is this, the only way you can patch up those holes in your bucket permanently is to work on fixing the problem. People often make the mistake of thinking that if they change things on the outside, everything will get better. It may make them feel better for a minute, but it never lasts. If you remember  this one thing you will always come out on top….patching up those holes in your bucket is always an inside job.”

Doc left me with a lot to think about.  So, I did what I always do when my brain is overloaded with thoughts.  I fell right to sleep.

 

 

Photo by Angela Kirk “When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.”

— Brene' Brown

Doggie Makeover

Photo by Angela Kirk

Today I decided that I was going to make some big improvements in my life. This revelation occurred to me after watching all those infomercials in the middle of the night. Sometimes I  find myself so fascinated by the multiple ways I can improve my face, body, love life, finances and psychic awareness that it is hard to turn off the TV and go back to sleep. Being bombarded with all those images of change, it got me thinking that I could do a doggie makeover and not only feel better about myself, but that others would find me more attractive. As there is no time like the present, I decided to get started.

In order to keep myself focused, I made a list of the things I would like to change.  After “borrowing” Doc’s credit card, I placed my orders on-line. Thank goodness for same day shipping. The orders started arriving that afternoon.

For the next few weeks, I stayed busy focusing on my make-over, keeping it all a secret from Doc. I read books on how to Think and Grow Rich and Dating for DummiesI put on wrinkle cream that promised to make me look ten years younger. I even consulted on having a “Quick Lift” but they said they didn’t do them on dogs. I told them that was discrimination and left the office in a huff, but not before I marked my territory on an office chair.

I was starting to get exhausted from all the work outs and changes, but I forged ahead. Some of my friends told me I was becoming so high maintenance that I didn’t have time for them any more. Thinking they did not support my dream or were somehow just jealous of me, I ignored them.

The last day of my makeover, while Doc was away, I completed the final two steps. First, I called The Psychic Hot-Line about my future. After charging over $100 to Doc’s credit card, they told me my life was in line with the planets, whatever that means. Then a dog hair designer came to the house and changed my hair style to match my vision of looking more like a poodle.

Doc walked in the door just after the hair designer left. The look on her face was mixed with shock and amusement, not what I was expecting. “Grover, What have you done to yourself?” she said loudly. After telling her about the make-over and confessing to using her credit card to pay for it all she asked, ” Why did you think you needed to change?” I then looked her in the eye and told her I must have gotten caught up in the hype of all those infomercials. ” They all made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.” I told her. ” That’s what they want you to feel, so you’ll buy their crap. You are loved, because you are perfect just the way you are she said, and don’t ever forget that.”

In case you thought Doc wasn’t going to make me pay back the money I charged to her credit card you were wrong. I had a lot of time to think about the whole makeover thing while I was doing the list of chores she gave me to work off the money I spent. And what did I learn from all of this? I decided to stop worrying about changing myself and focusing on loving who I already am. Not a bad life lesson for this dog.

Photo by Angela Kirk ” Beware that when fighting  monsters, you yourself do not become a monster.”

— Nietzsche

Dear Grover

We have not checked the mail in a very long-time, so let’s see what questions you have for this canine.

Dear Grover,

Does it ever bother you that you cannot compete in events like Westminster or The National Dog Show because you are considered a mutt? It bothers me sometimes. What do you think Grover?

-Bailey

Dear Bailey,

The reality is that all canines are mutts. Dogs are mixes of different canine ancestors of all types. Just check their DNA. Now that being said, purebreds are classified as such based on the precise record keeping of their lineage. Not so for regular mutts. No telling who their baby daddy might have been. So there you have it.

In answer to your question about not being able to compete in Westminster or the National Dog Show, I could care less. Bailey, do you really need to compete and win a dog show to know how much you are love and appreciated? Just look into your humans eyes and you will know how special you are.

Take care,

Grover

 

Dear Grover,

I know humans think puppies are cute, but they aren’t. Two puppies have moved into my neighborhood and they are annoying me. I am six years old and they interrupt my naps wanting to play all the time. They even have the nerve to steal my toys and nip at me. I try to be patient, but this is getting old and if I try to correct them, the humans get mad and tell me to remember they are just babies. What can I do Grover?

– Sunny

 

Dear Sunny,

With a dog name like Sunny, I would think you would have a less-grouchy disposition, but you didn’t write me to discuss that, so here goes.

First of all remember that puppy-hood goes by fairly quickly, so eventually they will grow out of their wild behavior. Until then, I would suggest you setting aside some play time every day with them so they know what to expect. It’s all about setting boundaries with these youngsters. They will also learn to respect you as the top dog that you are. Remember when your mom use to correct you when you were just a runt?  Also, I would let them play with your toys. Didn’t your mom teach you to share? They might get so busy playing with your stuff that they will leave you alone.There is a 11 month old puppy that lives next door to me and he has become one of my best friends.

So Sunny, be open to new experiences, its good to get out of your rut every once in a while. You’re an old dog and the youngsters might teach you some new tricks. LOL!

Keep smiling,

Grover

 

Photo by Angela Kirk ” Before you can break out of prison, you must realize you are locked up.”

— Healthyplace.com