by irene bean

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A Solid Foundation



Not Trying to be Corny

This Little Light of Mine

We Were Once Young

Veni, Vedi, Vinca

U Tube Has a New Star

Packing a 3-Iron

Getting Personal

Welcome Again

Well... Come on in

Christmas Shopping

There's no Substitute

Dressed for Success

Cancun Can-Can

Holy Guacamole

Life can be Crazy

The New Dog

Hurricane Reenie

He Delivers

No Spilt Milk

Naked Fingers


Have Ya Heard the One About?

The Great Caper


Barney's P***S

My New Security System

The New Dog

We have a new dog. Well, kinda-sorta.

We adopted Jessie four years ago when she was 2 1/2, so it was guessed. She had been transferred from a Los Angeles shelter (a misnomer) where she was on death row, to one in Santa Ana where she was on death row, to finally, Laguna Beach where there is no death row. Every stop along the way, an angel granted her a pardon.

In Los Angeles she lived with a family with young children. We surmise the children were allowed to do as they pleased with her, because she's not tolerant of wee ones with quick hands. In fact, she's not tolerant of adults with quick hands either. Brian and I are the exceptions. I make her sound like Cujo - she isn't, though she has a set of teeth that would make a Doberman boast. She's a small, barrel-chested dog (35 pounds) and adorable. She has the most beautiful brown eyes. Full of soul. But most dogs do.

She also had a darting problem. Despite our gentle care, being well fed and watered, she was always twitchy to escape our love, our refuge. She sought any opportunity to flee. I had many murderous, hand-wringing moments. But like any good mother, when she finally would return, I'd fall down on my knees, weep and smother her with kisses and hugs.

Despite all her impatience with the world, she is totally devoted to Brian and me. She is especially protective of me because of an attack by a very large dog about three years ago. The attack had all the drama of blood and torn clothing - but nothing major - mostly emotional trauma. Ever since the attack she has become my personal bodyguard. She can quietly sun outdoors all the day long by herself, and as soon as I enter the yard, she assumes Red Alert mode and barks at the tiniest infraction - a falling leaf. The over protectiveness is flattering and reassuring, but can also be annoying.

Up until about three months ago, Jessie was 100% outdoor dog, because she had a chronic shedding problem. The veterinarian confirmed he had never seen anything like it - fur fell like snow, drifts of fur. It made household cleanliness an impossible task. Brian and I were dismayed, though Jessie seemed perfectly content with her one-acre domain.

In addition to changing her diet to Wellness, which I highly recommend, I think Jessie also simply became content with life, trusting. It took a long time in dog years, but she transformed into a new dog. Now she spends most of her days indoors, gaily trotting on my heels, or with me in my office. She snoozes at my feet, occasionally rising to stretch her neck for strokes beneath her chin, or a gentle rub down her silken back. If inclined, because she now has full run of the house, at night she can sleep with Brian and me. Her bum has fallen in butter, so have ours.

Her recovery got me to thinking about the length of time required to regain trust, be content, and how we humans struggle with these issues. None of us moves through life without hiccups, trauma. Sometimes it takes years, just like it took Jessie.

I found a site, where I was able to properly calculate Jessie's age according to human years. This site disputes the seven year calculation. Today, Jessie is 39-years-old in human years. She was twenty-one when she moved in with us, so it took her eighteen dog years to recover.

In our society of instant everything, it's no wonder we get bogged down and shameful if we have a spell of blueness or have trust issues, or have a broken heart. Modern medicine gives us a big assist, but I prefer to think that time heals our wounds - we just need to be patient. A backrub, now and again, also helps.

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