The Thin Blue Line

Doc and I could hear the sirens off in the distance, but never imagined they were responding to such a terrible tragedy. Just after 12pm on a cold rainy Saturday, two police officers in our quiet suburb were gunned down after responding to a 911 hang up call.

The grief that our city is experiencing is palatable. You can see it represented in all the blue ribbons tied to trees and light posts and the street signs honoring the fallen on the front of businesses. In the evening when Doc and I drive through the city, the neighborhoods are awash in a hazy blue glow from all the people who have placed blue bulbs in porch lights to honor those that died. It is a small reminder to all our first responders that they are appreciated and are not alone.

The feelings that rise up after a tragedy like this occurs are many.  After the initial shock and disbelief, the sadness and anger set in. Doc is just as confused by all of the violence as I am and since this shooting occurred in our town, 17 more people have been killed in a high school in Florida.

I watch the news along with Doc and I here the arguing on both sides of the issue, but no resolution ever occurs. I think it would be nice if humans could let go of politics and their emotions for once, look at the facts and come up with a solution to stop this from happening in the future.

Maybe I am just a dog, but I know that children shouldn’t be afraid to go to school and people shouldn’t be scared that someone will shoot them just because they chose to go to the movies one night.

For now I will go pay my respects by trying to help the police and the community heal the best way I know how. May Officers Joering and Morelli rest in peace and hopefully this tragedy will lead to change so that no other person or family member has to suffer from one more act of violence.

 

Photo by Angela Kirk “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

— Gandhi

Strangers in the Neighborhood

Photo by Angela Kirk

You just don’t know what you are going to encounter on any given day in this world. It’s what makes life both interesting and scary. On one of my daily walks with Doc, just such an encounter happened and it not only caught me off guard but had me wondering what kind of creatures they were letting into the neighborhood.

Doc didn’t even pay attention to the green thing sitting in the yard until I came to a halt and started growling at it. ” What is wrong with you?” Doc asked, and then she followed my gaze to that green thing wearing a Santa hat and holding a present. Much to my embarrassment she started to chuckle. ” That’s a fake dinosaur” she said, a left-over Christmas decoration.”

I really don’t care what Doc says, I left a wide berth when we walked by it. She knows I don’t like change or anything that looks different, it scares me. “There should be laws about what kind of holiday decorations people can have in their yards I told her, and I should have the final vote”. ” Oh really!” she exclaimed.  ” Grover, if you go through life only being around things, dogs or humans that you feel comfortable with, you are going to miss out on a lot. It’s usually never as scary as you have conjured up in your mind anyway.”

And with that she turned me around and took me back to the yard to have a close encounter with that yard ornament. I didn’t want to say she forced me but she did. I took one sniff and realized that she was right and it wasn’t even real.  ” You see, nothing to be afraid of.” “Now let’s go home and get out of the cold.” she said.

I hate to admit it, but Doc knows what she’s doing when it comes to me. If I continue to investigate and confront what I’m uneasy with, no telling where life will take me.

 

 “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.”

— Japanese Proverb

Be Nice and No Poopy Talk.

Even though I am a dog, I am still interested in American Politics. I wouldn’t exactly call myself political, more like an observer of pack behavior. Given all the squabbling among the politicians in the congress and the senate, I thought you might be interested in hearing about a new and refreshing type of leadership.

In the tiny town of Dorset, Minnesota they elect a new mayor every two years by picking a name out of a hat. Well a few years ago the winner was a three-year old named Robert Tufts. He does admit to going around and coercing the towns people into writing his name down on the pieces of paper that went in the hat. (They can vote as many times as they like for $1 per vote). Some people would call that stuffing the ballot box, but I view it as 3-year-old ingenuity.

Robert can be seen around town talking to the towns people, giving bait advice to the local fisherman and schmoozing with his friends at day care. But what got my attention about young Robert is the political  slogan that he lives by; “Being nice and no poopy talk.” If you ask me, Robert is wise beyond his years. Can you imagine if all of our politicians adopted these words of wisdom and lived by them?

I don’t need to tell you that this dog is impressed and If they would let canines vote he would definitely get mine. Bravo Robert Tufts!

Photo by Angela Kirk” My dog winks at me sometimes…And I always wink back just in case it’s some kind of code.”

— Anonymous

Smile-ologist Extraordinaire

Some people enter our lives and make a great impact in a short period of time. We want them to live forever because the world is a better place while they are in it. That is how I felt about my good friend Aidan who died suddenly last week at the young age of 15.

The first time I met Aidan I was only a few months old. He was ten at the time and had come to work with his mom and dad. We became fast friends even though our first meeting consisted of me pulling on his shirt, chewing on his hands and covering his face with slobbery puppy kisses. He didn’t seem to mind and I can still hear that infectious laugh whenever he thought I had done something funny. If I played too rough, he would give me a gentle chiding “Grover No!” and then start laughing again. From that day forward, whenever he came to work with his parents he would stop by and visit with Doc and I.

Aidan was one of the happiest kids I ever met. I loved being with him as he was never in a bad mood and always smiling. Aidan’s life motto was printed on the business cards that he readily handed out that said ; “Smile-Ologist Extraordinaire, If you’ve lost yours, I’ll help you find it.” The adults could have learned a thing or two from his example.

What I liked best about my friend, is that he never met a stranger. He would engage with anyone and loved to stay busy. One of the funniest things I ever saw him do was write-up what he called a “pink slip” that said Doc was fired.  You should have seen the look on her face when he handed her that slip. I had to turn my head so she wouldn’t see how hard I was laughing. But, Aidan being the great kid that he was offered her a generous severance package that included a month of vacation. Not bad for being fired.

Doc found out that Aidan had died when a co-worker came into her office with the news. I could tell by the shocked and pained look on her face that something awful had happened. As others found out, a dark sadness enveloped our work place as everyone tried to process how such a sweet young man could be taken so soon. I did my best to comfort everyone as they grieved, just like I knew Aidan would have done if he saw all of us crying. I thought of his wonderful parents Todd and Heidi and when they feel ready to return to work, I will try my best to comfort them too.

Doc tells me that when we lose someone that we love, it feels like there is a big hole in our heart that will never be filled again. Although the journey never gets any easier, Doc says that somehow you learn to move forward and live in a way that will honor your loved-one. I know Aidan would want me to watch over the people he loved and cared about and I promise you buddy, I will do my very best.

 

Photo by Angela Kirk ” Grief never ends….but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…It is the price of love.

— Author unknown

Post-Holiday Slump

Photo by Angela Kirk

As the humans put away the holiday decorations and complain about the cold, dark and snowy days of winter, they seem to fall into a post-holiday trance. This is the only time of year where it’s acceptable to put on your PJ’s as soon as you get home from work. Just face it. Even though you paid good money for that gym membership and promised yourself that you would exercise every day, you know you’re not going to leave your house after you get home. In fact, the only calories you are going to burn is on the short walk to the couch to turn on the remote where you will binge watch old episodes of Mad Men. It’s kind of pathetic.

At my house the same thing is going on. Doc, who normally stays very busy, appears to has entered into a type of hypnotic hibernation. If she didn’t have to go to work, I think her wardrobe would consist of old sweat pants and that grey New Orleans hoodie with holes and some unknown stains on the front.

Because Doc isn’t being very vigilant, it is left up to me to guard the house from potential predators. So far this winter I have kept Doc safe from the UPS man invading our home, and most importantly, alerted her to a strange object that showed up one day in the neighbors yard. It looked human, as it wore a hat, had stick arms, a carrot nose and a scarf around the neck. When it didn’t move after all my growling and barking, I finally got the courage to go over, lift my leg and pee all over it. I do believe that my pee has special powers because by the next day after the sun came out, that weird things head has fallen onto the ground. Good riddance I say. That thing was creepy.

You would think that Doc would be thankful for me picking up the slack while she wallows in her lethargic state, but I barely get a pat on the head these days. I guess all I can hope for is an early spring. Until then, I guess I curl up on the couch under the blanket next to Doc. After all, there are worse ways to spend a cold winter’s night.

Photo by Angela Kirk ” The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him…”

— Samuel Butler