I Don’t Understand

     I don’t understand. I don’t understand some people. Let me explain.

    On the 8th of this month, a Saturday no different than any other, my granddaughter woke us up early as she always does. We got up to slowly start the day. It should have been a lazy day. A trip to Starbucks maybe? The biggest thing on the to-do list.

    This is not how our Saturday was apparently meant to be. No, this particular Saturday was to be filled with fear, pain, sadness and a general feeling of “What the fuck just happen?”. It also left residual worries.

    I got up and slipped my yard shoes on quick so I could take my dog outside for him to do his morning business. I always look to the south side of the yard before opening the slider because the neighbor’s cat is suicidal and likes to sit in my backyard and taunt my dog. He’s either suicidal or just an asshole, I’m not sure, maybe a bit of both. Anyway, the coast was clear so out we went. 

    Out we went right to the shocking realization that there was a stray dog in my backyard. A dog in my fully fenced backyard. I hesitated for a second because I truly couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My dog hesitated for that same second then approached the other dog. Then faster than it takes to blink, the fight was on. My dog, a 65lb male Belgian Malinois and a 50-60lb pitbull were fighting with a fierceness the likes of which you would see on Wild Kingdom.

    My dog protecting his territory, himself and I have no doubt in his mind, me as well. He is very protective and possessive of me. The other dog protecting himself and God only knows what else goes through the mind of an animal. Especially one in unfamiliar territory.

    I know better than to get in between fighting dogs. I did it once and got three weeks off work with a broken thumb from the bite that went all the way through. Don’t do this okay? It hurts like a son-of-a-bitch.

    Not having anything to use to try and separate them, I yelled to my mother to get her gun. It was a horrible thing to have to say but I am going to protect my dog and I’m also not going to let either dog suffer if the injuries are too great to be treated.

   It took several minutes for the dogs to get to a place where taking a shot would even be thought of let alone actually doing. Then my mom had to make sure she didn’t hit my dog. Eventually, they worked themselves into a corner between the house and the gate. My mom wanted me to open the gate but then both dogs would have been loose and at that point, I have no doubt my dog would have chased the other dog to the far reaches of hell and back. Did I mention I am going to protect my dog?

   My mother was finally able to shoot. Unfortunately, in her attempt to not hit my dog, she had to shoot more than once. She did it as quickly as she could, even as all of this was happening she said she had to take that last shot because the dog would suffer otherwise. 

    Take the shot. No more pain. No more fear. No more fighting.

    I’m not sure how long it took me to get my dog to focus on me, to get him in the house and in his crate. I don’t think it was too long but in that time, my mother realized as she was walking back to the house that she was injured. She has a nasty flap wound on the bottom of her right foot. I hate flap wounds, they are so freaking gross to look at. She walked into the house, grabbed the phone, went back outside, sat down and called 911. I took over the call so she could rest. We had Deputies, Fire, Ambulance, and Animal Control at our house in a matter of minutes (and we live out of city limits).

    My mom got an ambulance ride to the emergency room for what stitches could be put into a flap wound. I cleaned up blood from my living room all the way out to the corner of the house where the fight ended. It was only then, after all that, I was able to check on my dog.

    I checked him and saw multiple wounds on his face. I called our Vet and they took him in as an emergency patient ($100 extra just to walk in the door) and I left him in their capable hands while I went to mom.

   It should be noted that my granddaughter is 6 years old. She is 6 years old and she stood at the sliding glass door, inside thank God, and watched almost this entire event unfold. The only thing she did not see was the shooting because we were on the other side of the house. Thank God for small favors. She was still crying and traumatized. Fortunately, she has a classmate who lives across the street and not only were they home, but they took her in for the better part of the day so I could take care of getting my mother and my dog to and from the ER and the Vet, pick up medications, and get them both settled in before I brought her back to the house.

  I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them. I would have done what ever I needed to but that’s not the point. It was much easier to take care of everything knowing she was safely distracted at her friend’s house. They fed her, they cared for her, they kept her busy. I will alway be grateful for them no matter where our kids end up.

    Going back to my opening statement, I don’t understand. I don’t understand not only how the dog got into my backyard but why was he running around in the first place? Why did he not have a collar and tags? Was he dumped in my yard? That seems to be the popular theory. Who would do that? What the fuck is wrong with people? Why didn’t I see him? He would still be alive if I could have seen him on the other side of the chimney.

    We will probably never know who owned the dog but whoever they are, I hate them. They are terrible people that I pray have no other animals. They killed their dog. I hope they rot in hell.

    I don’t blame the dog. I don’t hate pitbulls nor is this writing in any way against pitbulls. I happen to be quite fond of the blue nose variety. They are affectionate, smart, and so, so silly. 

    No, I don’t blame the dog, I shed tears for the dog because of the horrible way it had to die just as I shed tears for my dog when I was told he was going to be okay and I wasn’t going to have to say goodbye to him. 

   I’m not the most physically affectionate person but when my mother was released from the ER, I hugged her and cried. I said I was sorry and thanked her too for saving my dog. 

    My granddaughter still brings it up occasionally but she is getting better and we are trying to put it all in the past. It is a little difficult with my dog running around looking like Two-Face from Batman. One side of his face is perfect the other has shave spots and wounds. He’s pitiful looking I tell you.

    Everyone is healing slowly but surely. I check both sides of the yard now before we go outside. 

  

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My True Love, My Dogs. Part 3

Left:  Hunter    Middle:  Kinzy   Right:  Ryker

RYKER

Ryker is a Belgian Malinois. Ryker is crazy.

When people ask me what a Malinois is, I usually tell them to take a German Shepherd, size it in half, feed it crack and Poof! You have a Malinois. Then I proceed to tell them how they don’t want one. I have spent more time over the last 10 years talking people out of these dogs (Dutchies too) than I ever will spend recommending one. I consider myself lucky, blessed even to have my world with them in it.

Ryker’s sire was one of my agency’s K9’s and for a time the only one of our dogs I was actually leery of. Don’t get me wrong I am respectful of all K9’s but it is easy to forget they are supercharged, badass fur missiles when they are on their backs in dispatch getting their bellies rubbed or wagging their tails over butt scratches.

Rudi though, to me he was like the velociraptor in Jurassic Park. When you looked at him you could see him thinking things through.  It wasn’t until I had Hunter and worked with his aggression that I was no longer intimidated by Rudi.

Still respectful. Always respectful.

I got an email from my trainer one day, a group email to potentially interested parties in an upcoming litter. A litter that would come from our very own fur covered raptor. Rudi.

Knowing Rudi’s intensity first hand I doubted that they would really consider me for one of his pups. I replied anyway and she answered me back in short time saying that they would put me on the list for a puppy. I was ecstatic.

Rudi only sired one litter and has sadly passed on. One of my co-workers and I were on shift when we found out and we both cried. Not easy to answer phones and radios while trying to get your voice to sound normal.

Losing a K9 is no less difficult than losing their human counterpart. A Cop is a Cop. Period. If you think K9’s are not cops you have never been privileged to be around one.

Kinzy was 5 when I brought Ryker (originally called Nemo at birth but I changed that quickly) home and while she was not impressed at all, she was so amazing with him. She put up with this little ball of fur constantly bothering her, she taught him the ropes so to speak and she kept him in line as much as I did. Understandably, he bonded with her first.

Ryker was one of two picked for me to choose from. He was originally the one his breeder/trainer wanted to keep to train but when they tested at 7 weeks, he did not test well. The drive was not there. When it did show up at 8 months though, it was in full throttle.

He was a shithead and he even tried to challenge me once. That didn’t work out well for him. We had a “come to Jesus” and he never challenged me again. If that sounds bad to you, I understand. Only a few will understand what I am talking about. I myself did not once upon a time.

It was worse actually when he tried to challenge Kinzy’s position. She flat knocked his dick in the dirt. She was patient and she was kind but she was not to be messed with. Her position was secure until the day she died. Of course, he was a slow learner and challenged her every so often over the years. Always with the same results. I told you he is crazy.

Speaking of Kinzy’s death again. Ryker was as a lost as I was. He suddenly, without warning lost his best friend, his playmate, his teacher, his protector even, as she was protective of him. At one point early on, I even had to start taking them separately to the dog park because she wouldn’t let the other dogs play with him. It stressed her out. He was a thorn in her side but I would not have recommended messing with him in front of her. Not one bit.

Ryker is 7 years old now and he is as prey/ball driven as he was when he was still growing. If he is awake, he has a ball in his mouth and if it moves he will try to go after it. In his lifetime he has killed 2 cats, 2 squirrels, and 2 birds. I’m not sharing this to say it is a good thing because it is not. I am simply explaining him. Explaining the pure, primal drive that Malinois have. It is a sight to see believe me. It’s like watching a nature show only its not a wolf, its a dog. Fortunately, he is efficient and his prey does not suffer. He is quick and precise. It is over almost as fast as it starts.

In his lifetime he has killed several of the small animals unfortunate enough to cross paths with him. I’m not sharing this to say it is a good thing because it is not. I am simply explaining him. Explaining the pure, primal drive that Malinois have. It is a sight to see believe me. It’s like watching a nature show only its not a wolf and its not in the wild. Fortunately, he is efficient and his prey did not suffer. He is quick and precise. It is over almost as fast as it starts.

Whoever thinks the theory of dogs still being closely related to their wolf ancestors is false is clearly not paying attention.

On the other side of that, in the day to day he is goofy, affectionate, and a constant source of entertainment. He is a spoiled Mama’s boy. He is my protector.

His true downfall is his jealousy. He is jealous of anyone that takes my attention. He is jealous of my granddaughter (she is 6 now) whom he mostly only tolerates. They require constant supervision so they will both be safe. Sometimes they play well together, even get in trouble together and other times he ends up in his kennel and/or she plays in her room for a bit while he gets a grip on himself. That comes hard for him.

In all honesty, I would not have bought him if I had had a small child in my house at the time or if I had known at the time I was going to have one in the near future. Regardless, I have never regretted having him. He makes me want to pull my hair out and keeps me sane all at the same time. He is everythi

He listens, he’s a good dog, he just sometimes gets the better of himself.

He loves my daughter (she sounds just like me) and he loves my mom. He is friendly and/or indifferent to people when they are in the house as long as he is free. In his kennel, he barks and is not friendly. As soon as he is out and knows I’m okay, he is good as gold, doesn’t care one bit about you.

He is the same way at the vet. I have to leave the room.  It was actually a vet that explained to me why he was aggressive with me in the room and a total sweetheart without.

He is being protective of me. I love you too boy.

I will love you till my last dying breath and beyond. Don’t go anywhere anytime soon. You need to drive us all crazy for at least another 7 years okay?

In the words of Roy Rogers, “If there are no dogs in heaven, then I want to go where they went”

I don’t know that I have painted quite the picture of Ryker I had in mind but some of you will understand. Some of you know how beautiful these crazy creatures are.

 

 

My True Love, My Dogs. Part 2

Left: Hunter     Middle: Kinzy     Right: Ryker

KINZY

Shortly after giving up my Hunter (part 1) I was called by my wonderful trainer about a dog that needed a home. I was hesitant when I found out it was an adult dog as I was really wanting another puppy to train but I agreed to go see her. I drove about an hour or so north of where I live to meet her current family, my trainer, and of course, the dog.

She was pretty and really not very interested in me at all. She had her little human child to play with after all. How much is anyone compared to that?

While we were talking about her, I as informed that Kinzy was a littermate to one of my agency’s K9’s. Crap! Now I have to take her. I have to keep her in the family right?

She was in heat and I also needed to get supplies for her as everything I had for Hunter was gone. So we agreed I would pick her up in a week. That gave me time to prepare and her time to finish her heat cycle.

Kinzy was 3 1/2 years old and was fully trained and certified to be a Narcotics K9. She was listed on their website for $4500 to an agency or working family only. One trip to the vet changed all of that. Her final vet check showed a joint defect in her front legs. Hardly visible unless you know what you are looking for. Needless to say, she went from $4500 to free to “let’s call Cheryl”. I have always appreciated the confidence in my ability with these crazy dogs.

I had it easy with Kinzy. It was like cheating. She was fully trained and from the day I put her in m car to drive her home she never challenged me. She knew I suppose that she and I now belonged together.

Kinzy and I were a twosome until she was 5 years old when I brought Ryker home. He will be part 3. She and I walked almost every day, played at the dog park, when the weather was not too hot she was my car alarm because she went for “drives” even if it was just to the store.

Kinzy was sweet-tempered and obedient but she was a hyper Dutchie like she should be, she just had amazing control of herself. She put up with a new puppy, a granddaughter less than a year later, a move to a new house and she did it all with grace.

When Kinzy was 9 years old, cancer came for her. It took her fast and within a week of noticing the enlarged lymph nodes in her neck, I found myself in the vet’s office saying goodbye to her. A dear friend helped me get her there as Kinzy couldn’t even walk, and my wonderful trainer was in the room with me to say goodbye to our beautiful girl and to comfort me as I fell apart when she was gone.

I have to point out that she was always protective of me and in the true unbreakable Dutchie spirit she protected me even as death was calling to her.

While waiting for my friend to come over and help me take her to the vet, I had Miss Kinzy laying on her bed and I was sitting with her. She literally could not stand let alone walk. She was shaking and clearly in pain. When the doorbell rang, I got up to let my friend in. As she was coming in, I turned around to go back to Kinzy and there she was STANDING BEHIND ME. I had to carry her back to her bed because she couldn’t walk back but there was the proof of the spirit of the Dutchie, proof of the undying, unconditional love of a dog. Proof that they are here to make our lives better.

Goddammit, I’m crying again. Thankfully no one pays attention to anyone at Starbucks.

Kinzy, I love you and will miss you till my last dying breath and beyond.

Hunter and Kinzy came into my life and changed it forever.  We don’t deserve dogs.

My True Love, My Dogs.

Since I find blogging difficult,  I’m going to start with something I love and talk easily about. My dogs. I will give them each their own writing because they deserve it.

Left: Hunter   Middle: Kinzy   Right: Ryker

HUNTER

Hunter was first. Hunter was my first Dutch Shepherd and my entry into the world of extreme dogs.  I did not set out to buy one of these dogs. They are working dogs,  K9’s, herding etc. I have no need for either. I’m a Dispatcher not a Cop and I’m a city girl not a farm girl.

While I was looking for a German Shepherd one of my Deputies told me to get a “Dutchie” instead. I thought he was crazy and asked him what the hell would I do with a K9? His response was that I could handle a dog like these and to get one.  So….I did.

I bought my Hunter from a breeder in another state. His mother was from a line I was very familiar with and I couldn’t ask for a better lineage. Where I failed was in his sire’s side.  I didn’t go back far enough, didn’t catch the inbreeding.  I became too focused on the one side. I paid for it later.

He was seven weeks old when I brought him home and I fell in love instantly. He was freaking adorable! I found a great trainer.  She was married to a K9 Officer/training coordinator so she was very accustomed to these dogs. They even bred them. Anyway,  he trained the working dogs and she trained obedience and protection one on one.

We worked diligently with my boy, but by the time he was 5 months old he was not only huge (he was large for the breed at 80lbs) but his aggression was becoming evident. One day in particular  (the beginning of the end for my boy and me) he even turned on our trainer for a moment and he loved her so you can imagine how much worse he would have been with a stranger.

After that, she went to her husband and we set up a time for him to evaluate Hunter.  When all was said and done,at 8 months old, he took my boy and along with another handler/trainer turned him into a completely different dog, a K9 with a much better grip on his aggression. Training every day the way they do was the best thing that could have happened to him.

I was heartbroken to give him up and I felt guilty because I failed him.  This is where the inbreeding came back to bite me (excuse the bad pun). Although I have never forgotten him and I still miss him,  I was able to let the guilt go because I did do everything that was best for him. I trained him well,  I loved him, and gave him a good home.

He did become a K9 but 1 month into his new job he died. He was in the patrol car, it was a hot day.  The car shut off and the warning sensor that would have alerted his handler failed. I can’t go any further. That was years ago now and I’m sitting here in Starbucks wiping tears and trying to type. I will miss him until my dying breath and beyond.

 

 

 

 

Okay Fine

Okay fine. Not much else to say as once again I am scratching my head trying to figure out why my mother (who lives in my house) is mad at me today when yesterday, everthing was perfectly fine. I don’t care enough to ask, I’m jus confused.

That sounds cold I am sure but this is on-going thing with her so if I truly know that nothing happened I don’t bother asking because it is like kicking a hornets nest.

She will get over it. Tomorrow she’ll be okay withe me again. Whatever, okay fine.

 

How Did I Get Here?

Once upon a time, I was a single mom. I was 19 when I had my daughter and so not ready to be a mom but I was and all things considered I think I did a good job. Was I perfect? God no. I made mistakes, I know I did. I loved my daughter though and I worked hard (with the help of my mother) to make sure she had everything she needed. When I didn’t much help anymore my daughter and I were just fine. We didn’t have a lot but always had what we needed. I was hard on her but I don’t believe unreasonably so and my daughter would probably agree. This brings a question though.

What happened? How did my beautiful inteligent daughter go down the rabbit hole? How have I become a grandmother that is raising a child instead of spoiling her, filling her with sugar and sending her home to mommy? Did I fail so epically after all? Can only one person hold the blame? My daughter is a grown adult and she is the only person responsible for her actions but did I plant something in her to make her fail? Am I being to hard or not hard enough on myself?

How much good then is raising my granddaughter? I did the best I could and it didn’t take so will the second time around be the same, or does my granddaughter stand a better chance? What part of her mother and father will be a part of her? I pray not their addictive personalities. I pray that if it is there she can deal with it better than they have. I want her to be a happy child, a happy healthy adult.

Then there is me. I know people think I should be happy and loving raising this kid. I love her, I do not love raising another child. Think what you will of me but I had one child for a reason. I did NOT want another. My granddaughter does not suffer for this. As I said, I love her. She will not suffer for her parents other than missing them. Her heartache is not something I can make go away, I can only offer comfort when she misses her mama and can’t understand why she can’t “go home”. I am not one for sugar coating but I don’t think telling a toddler that her parents are drug addicts and can’t stay out of jail is really the way to go.

What do I tell her though? She is almost 5 now (she was 2 1/2 when I took her) and is very sharp with a memory like a steel trap. I honestly don’t know how to explain drug addiction to a small child. I’m afraid that I will come across to harsh which may not be as bad as it sounds now but still. I know that my daughter loves her ver much but I don’t understand how this little girl is not enough for her to get her shit together and it won’t be too long before my granddaughter thinks the very same thing.

When I started the process of guardianship, I had both her parents sign. Sadly her father was in jail when he signed and has been in and out ever since. My daughter signed because she knows I am better than CPS and foster care. On a side note, if my daughter ever climbs back out of the hole, if she can take care of herself and keep a job etc… I will gladly let her back into her daughter’s life. I don’t see it happening though. The only light at the end of that tunnel is a train.

I had plans ya know. I have a great job and the ability to retire at 55. I was going to retire at 55 and get the hell out of California. Now, well, I’m not so sure what I will be doing when I reach 55. My granddaughter will be between 8th and 9th grades and I will have to decide if working is my only option, best option, or if I can still retire and we move. Also, I have to get permission to move her out of state so there is not more freedom to do whatever anymore. That was (is) important to me. Again, think what you will. I don’t have to like how things are. The only thing that matters is how I handle how things. They are not the same thing and I don’t think they have to be.

I also have my mother to think of. She lives with me too. She will be 76 when I am 55. What do I with her? Because of my job I know how horrible the care facilities are in my area so moving would probably be an excellent idea but what if she can’t? She’s pretty spry now and I don’t see her not being even then but 9 years is a long time for things to happen to all of us right? Fuck, this is depressing.

I’m done for now. Anyone else out there? I can’t be the only person raising/caring for multi-generations.

Fear For Naught

So Saturday was a week since I shaved my hair. Guess what? I was afraid for nothing.

First, we had so much fun and there was so much support from people that it was easy to get up in that chair. Second, during this past week the world has not stopped, people are the same, and I have even had some compliments on how I am “Rocking The Bald”. I have a nice round noggin turns out 🙂

Now I can’t speak for what people think to themselves but as far as outward appearances and treatments go, I have not had any negative experiences at all. I believe that with social media, education, and well just the sad fact that there are few who have not been touched by cancer in some way (we all have friends/family that have fought the battle) people are less likely to judge now. I wonder if my gesture isn’t about 20 years to late? I think it is still important to show the solidarity and that should never change but I know that my experience has not been what all women have gone through in the past. They were true warriors.

I will do this again and if anyone is out there considering it but afraid….Don’t be. Do it!