Path of Destruction

Disclaimer, Warning, Attention

These are words in the English language that are sometimes ignored, just like the Agree Box that we check after we were supposed to read the disclaimer and agreement page before downloading software.  It seems like we are bombarded with things that require your attention a few levels deeper than your average daily activity.  Who wants to stop and read a warning, or disclaimer?  I know I don’t.  I’ll take my chances I usually shrug while I sit at my computer.  I’ve got several web browser tabs open, as well as Excel, Word and Email.  I’m not slowing down for something that ultimately doesn’t effect me.  I don’t change my working path for anything, unless it’s about the new dog. That special cute puppy who has decided to enthusiastically tear apart something special, something I love, or anything – JUST ANYTHING – of value.  McDermott cannot be ignored.

My puppy sits under my desk while I work, if he’s not busying himself with destruction.  I look down at his face, and he looks at mine, then nothing.  No acknowledgement from either of us.  I’m still thinking about my Excel sheet, and McDermott, undoubtedly, is thinking about his next “victim.”  We look away and keep working – me on the budget, him I assume on a rug in the next room that looks delicious. He has so many targets in one day, that there really is no guessing what will be ruined next.  We try to protect shoes by putting them up high or, closing closet doors to evade roaming sharp baby teeth.  This doesn’t help.  As I finish work, and look down at the floor in my office, he is chewing a plant.  All my efforts to puppy-proof my house and the plant gets wasted.  I’m done guessing.  I’ll have to play a measured game of defense, while taking deep calming breaths.

Here is a Disclaimer that should be read by anyone getting a puppy: “Please be aware that this cute little furry creature is not what it appears to be, AND has the ability to destroy everyday common house items including, but not limited to, blankets, pillows, socks, plants, table legs, wall baseboards, shoes, boots, remote controls, bed spreads, couches, newspapers, and computers.   We knew that a puppy would be a challenge, but there’s no puppy like McDermott.   He has a bed full of chewy toys to satisfy is biting instinct, but instead he savors fine shoe leather and well-constructed snow boots.

Warning: if you take your eyes off him at any point of the day, you’re a sucker.  And, he knows it.  This is where the crate comes in handy…or is SUPPOSED to come in handy.  This wonderful cushy little secluded paradise (as some owners describe it) is his bane.  He absolutely hates the crate and therefor for a long time, I hated the crate.  Not anymore.  I use the crate like an over exhausted mom, getting a break from her kids.  In he goes if I need a break from removing couch fabric from his mouth, or when he gets an attitude that causes him to bite me freely.  The crate is my best friend.  All that is required is a treat and a little covert planning.

Attention is the calming factor that can’t be ignored.  If McDermott is getting enough attention, life is good.  There is a clear correlation between belly scratches and the level of strewn objects throughout the house.  However, even with attention this little creature gets a look in his eyes that says, “what can I get into?… what can I tear apart?”  We know that following this calm period, there will be demolition of some kind.  You can bet on it.

Bottom line is, we are going to see McDermott through this very difficult stage.  After all, Scout our beloved Hound went through a similar stage and he turned out to be an amazing dog.  I guess we ought to give McDermott the same chance.  Sure, we’ll be shoeless, and have half a couch to sit on.  OK, we can always sand down the teeth marks on the baseboards and re-stain them.  Hey, I never liked that shirt that’s now in shreds.  Why not buy more plants? With a firm hand, an open heart and a butt-load of patience we should bring McDermott to full maturity, preferably alive.  After all, between us, we’ve raised 4 children (none of which have pets today). How hard could a dog be?

Abduction – #MeToo


I was almost abducted.  It took two weeks of being followed for me to realize that I was in danger.

My best friend and I would frequently walk the neighborhood, going to the corner store, or just taking walks to pass time.  We noticed a man in a van waving his private parts as he drove by.  We were at the age where we didn’t quite understand what was happening, but knew somehow it was wrong.  We finally asked each other if we saw what we saw, and we were in agreement that we did see something creepy.

Not mentioning it to anyone, I set out to do my daily paper route one day, not knowing what lay ahead.
As I walked the sidewalks that I’d walked a million times, I saw the van drive down the street.  Looking up from my routine, I saw this man wave his genitals as he drove by.  I began to panic. I felt my pulse quicken and was in a state of confusion.  I did, however, understand that this fear was real.  My house was nearby, so I ran inside to tell my mother.

Upon entering the house, I crouched down, as to not be seen through the windows, and confessed to my mother that I was a target of this deranged person.  She calmly told me that I had nothing to worry about, and that I should say the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23:4, and I would be fine.  She continued to say that I should finish my paper route, and to not worry.

I don’t know why I continued the paper route, or why I even left my house, but my mother said to say the Lord’s Prayer, and that’s what I was going to do.  She said I would be safe and I halfheartedly believed her.  As I took a side street, connecting two major roads, I saw the van again.  This time, it was slowly turning onto the side street heading toward me.  I was on the 3rd or 4th Psalm 23:4 as the van approached me.  Without any premeditated thought, I instinctively ran into an overgrown grassy corner lot, heading toward the middle and layed flat on my stomach, paper sack by my side.

I held my breath, as to not have the grass move to give away my location.  I remember feeling shocked as the van stopped on the side of the road and the driver’s door opening and closing.  I was petrified.
He was coming after me, and I had no protection, nowhere to go.  I could see him approaching the lot through the grass. “ The Lord is my shepherd…the Lord is my shepherd.”  Then all of a sudden, I saw him re-enter his van, as another car came driving up the side street.  He didn’t want to be seen I realized, he didn’t want to get caught.  He was going to let me go.

After about 20 minutes of lying flat on my belly, I realized that the coast was clear.  I should have ran home, but I had a paper route to finish.  So, I collected myself and continued my route.  But, it didn’t take long before he appeared again.  I didn’t know what to do this time.  I was safely canvasing my customer’s homes, keeping close to their doorways and away from the sidewalk.  But, it wasn’t enough.  I was inflamed with the psychological toll this was taking on me.  I was not safe, and I had stopped saying the prayer.

Finally, I had enough.  I was delivering a paper to the back door of a customer, when the van stopped at the end of the driveway.  Luckily, the customer was in his back yard.  I implored him to help me, trying to explain what was happening, without getting into the gory details.  Right about halfway through my plea, the van pulled up at the end of the driveway.  The customer was at his back door, not visible from the street.  I stopped to catch my breath and saw a devious smile from behind the van’s glass.  The customer stepped away from his backdoor, and looked toward the street.  The van peeled out with a loud sound of the revved engine and burning rubber.  I pointed toward the van to tell my customer that this was the man following me.  My customer called my father to tell him that I needed to be picked up.  “The Lord is my shepherd there is nothing I shall want.”

Detectives came to my house a couple of days later to question me about the incident.  It was during Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  I hated to have to stop watching my favorite show.  They asked me all kinds of questions about the pervert, which I answered completely and truthfully.  My father sat at the table with us.

I learned a few weeks later that the man was caught, and that my mother didn’t want me to go to court to relive the entire events again.  That was fine with me at the time.  However, looking back, I can’t understand why she didn’t want him off the streets.  Would someone else know to say the Psalm 23:4 when stalked?  And, most importantly, I wondered why my mother didn’t protect me at the time.

I have now come to terms with what happened.  I trusted my mother, and she trusted God.  It was her way of dealing with the situation.  It was 1974, and these things didn’t happen in suburbia, or so we thought.  I would have protected my children in a much different way, but this was her way.

I have said the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23:4 under my breath many times since the near abduction.  There will always be predators amongst us, but they won’t take me.  They can’t take me.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil.  Who knows what saved me that day.  Could it have been prayer, or quick instincts?  I’ll never really know for sure.

Can I get an AMEN?!?!

Bless McDermott

I’m still in love with my first love.

A new puppy that is playful and happy, but he can’t live up to all that I had.  He never will  be  the hound I knew and loved.

Please, Lord, help me to love this new one.  Help me to understand and appreciate all that he brings into my new life.  Help me to erase some of the memories that I still hold dear.  I don’t want to let it all go, but I have to remove myself from the memories if I am to be a good mother.

Bless McDermott, let me be the mother I need to be, let me love him like he has been the only one.
He deserves that.
Let me give scratches and praise like I’ve never done before.

I am still in love with my hound, but will learn to love another.

Bless McDermott.

In the mouth

Everything goes into the mouth; toys, socks, shoes and whatever is laying in his path.  There is a fine line between the habits of a young child and a new puppy.  The destruction can seem epic, or at least serious enough to cause momentary insanity.  I’ve bid goodbye to a handmade quilt I made that was disassembled because of boredom, with the hand sewn seams ripped apart by sharp white baby teeth.  I wanted to cry as I looked at the batting laying all around him on the bed like happy puffy clouds.  His tail was wagging when I walked in on the perfect storm – teething puppy and delicious quilt.

The quilt was only the beginning.  Did I mention the small rug that was ripped apart?  Oh, that was a proud moment for McDermott.  Pulling the threads up from the mat with intense concentration, occasionally chewing a stray thread.  He stopped mid pull to look at me with great pride. “Look what I did Mommy” shined in his eyes.  Oh the joy he felt in sharing his accomplishment.  Again, I wanted to scream, but instead pulled the rug away from him, telling myself, “he’s only a baby, he’s only a baby.”  I walked off to look for a chew toy to keep him busy until the next disaster.

If the oral fixation isn’t enough to drive me crazy, there is the jumping.  Oh yes, jumping to eat, jumping for attention, jumping when excited, jumping when bored.  This exercise is usually followed by frenzied running about the house with his oversized paws, sliding into couches and tables with his long legs getting wrapped around each other.  His favorite thing to do is jump on the end table, and launch himself, flying high, onto the couch.  I have to admit this makes me laugh every time, even though I shouldn’t let him do it.  If I was an Olympic Judge, I’d rate his landing a 10.0.  And, I think he believes this IS a competition because he sits at the end of the couch waiting for a treat after his performance.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my new puppy and look forward to him mellowing out with age, just like the rest of us.  For the most part, he is well behaved, but in those moments of silence I can be sure something is dreadfully wrong.  “Why is it so quiet?” I think to myself.  And, sure enough, there is always something in his mouth; a shoe, a  rug, underware, or a slipper.  The other day, he was gnawing on the leg of my antique Empire table.  Needless to say, his strong little jaws caused extensive damage. I just shook my head, and looked for a chew toy for him.  Sigh.

Like all new mothers, there are days that I reach exhaustion very quickly.   I am confident in my reserve of patients, knowing that shit happens.  I try to keep up with our training lessons, but his cuteness tends to win me over.  I don’t want to be “the bad guy.”  Jamie is the alpha-dog, I’m just one of the pack.  He follows me everywhere and loves me unconditionally, and that makes me happy.  After all, isn’t that the reason we get puppys?  His playfulness is infectious, his kisses are pure comfort.

He will outgrow puppyhood one day, so I should appreciate the fanatical energy while it’s here.
You can always buy new rugs and new shoes.  Not sure I can replace the Empire table, but I’ll learn to live with the chewed leg.  Silence will not always scare me, it will be a time to sit with my dog and enjoy his company.

Until then…where is McDermott? Where did I put his chew toy?!?!


No words can convey the loss of my best friend.

He trusted, he loved, he cherished and he howled.
He brought peace and comfort.

He gave of himself fully without being guarded.
He had the soul of a child, up to his old age, up to the end.

He believed that I would always take care of him,
and I did.

The day you left made my soul scream in pain,
but I did it for you.  I did it for you.

I breathe you in without seeing or hearing you.
You could never be replaced.  Never.

Your paw print rests in my heart and on my soul.
I’ll never be the same without you, and I thank you
for rescuing me that beautiful day at the shelter.

Forever yours.

Until the Wind Meets the Sun – Repost

We lost Scout yesterday, and our hearts are aching…scout

Until the Wind Meets the Sun

As many of you are aware, my dog has dementia.  Yes, you heard that correctly. Dogs get dementia just like people do, at least that’s what the vet said.  I realize there is a bit of a giggle factor when I say this.  People have asked, “how does the vet know he has dementia.”  All I know is his behavior showed up on her checklist; staring at the wall, barking for no reason, confusion.  He had them all, especially the barking.  We were given medication to make him comfortable and help reduce the symptoms.  So far the barking has lessened, but my concerns have grown.

You see, he doesn’t have years to live, he has months.  I’m not prepared to let go.  At 13 years old, Scout is on the other side of the mountain.  Sleeping and eating have become his main activities – no more toys, no more running. The tennis ball he used to fetch sits in a basket, caked with dirt and memories. I don’t have the heart to throw it out.  I reflect on the puppy years as I look at the ball, wondering how his muzzle got so grey.  Thinking about how many times I would throw the ball into the lake and with labored breath, he would paddle back with the ball in his mouth, excited for the next throw.  He couldn’t wait.  And, a branch was like candy to him whether it was thrown, or he just picked it up in the yard.  It was his treasure, as he pranced around showing it off.

He was a crazed puppy who joyed in the destruction of clothing and furniture.  Not to mention that he took 6 months to become house-broken.  Every time I turned around he would be gnawing on a coffee table, or come trotting out from a bedroom with underwear in his mouth.  And, if you didn’t walk him, when he wanted to walk, the destruction escalated to pillows and couches.  He was the worst puppy.  I was terrible at disciplining Scout, but Jamie played “Bad Cop” to improve his horrible behavior.  It worked over time, as we stuck by him as he grew into a steady old dog, and a great friend.

Since we got Scout at 4 months old, he has always enjoyed boat rides.  That will never change.  We have to lift him onto the seat just like we do in the car now.  Sitting up in a regal pose, he points his nose to the air to smell neighborhood cookouts, or other scents we could not imagine.  His eyes close, like he is infused with the delight of it all.  The wind his muse, the sun his lover. The two are one in the same to him.  We are there to complete the meeting, and keep him company.  He sits in the seat, or moves to the floor to adjust his outlook allowing him to catch scraps of food that fall off our plates.  We gladly share with him.  Each voyage is one of relaxation feeling the simple pleasure of being in a loving family.

Scout lays at my feet while I type, just happy to be next to me.  He will always be my baby-puppy no matter how old he is, or how confused he now gets.  He has been with us since he was a few months old, but it feels more like a lifetime.  He has worn his loyalty over the years, sitting next to me when I lay crying on the couch, or jumping on me when I got home from work.  Our emotional lives are intertwined, and for that I am thankful.  People who lack a special kind of commitment don’t deserve the love of a dog.  For the gifts that dogs will bring you, can leave you vulnerable, exposing your heart in unimaginable ways.  I am happily exposed.

Scout follows me from room to room, ending up under my desk where I work.  A hound needs to be touching, and will often put his paw on my foot, letting me know he is there.  I take a break from typing, reaching down to soothe him with my words, while giving him with a few scratches  He looks at me with his hound dog expression and chocolaty eyes; that tell me, “I’m still here, I remember you, and now it’s time to eat.”

His wish is my command, until the wind meets the sun, and he will be a whisper in my ear for the rest of my life.

The Wind

Open the windows and let
the wind bring memories and farce.
Your hair blows in your face, shake it off.
Drink in the beat.

Speed up, and turn up the radio, let the volume lull you into a place of desire; a place of wonder and imagination.
Tell the truth, you’ve never wanted me.

Sigh, sing and swallow.  It’s just a moment,
it’s just a fantasy.  The world outside is just a snap.
You are here by yourself and with the world,
all at the same time.

Dreams are put together in a moment.
Dream big.