Friday, May 12, 2017

San Francisco Panorama

McSweeney's No 33 San Francisco Panorama
Weight: 3.4 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donated to Goodwill

I see hard things every day.  I watch baby kittens die for reasons completely unknown to us as humans, though mama cat seems to know which will live and which won't.  We fight nature.  I watch dog's hearts break into thousands of pieces while their owners drop them off and don't look back.  A mom telling her children in a chipper tone, "kiss your dog goodbye but don't touch him with your lips!"  Dogs with chemical burns all over their body.  Dogs who will live but are currently so sick that the life seems to leave their eyes, and they just lay in a heap in a cage no matter how much affection you shower on them.  I see dogs and cats being misunderstood. Every. Day.  People say, "that dog is just mean."  Really, she is just terrified and having the worst 6 months of her entire life.  I jump from one broken heart to the next to the next to the next.  This description is of just some of the animals I cared for this week.  Sometimes, the animal will be busting at the seams with gratitude and joy, which is wonderful and, yet, still so sad that they expect so little out of life that 15 minutes with me is enough to change their world.

I rarely break down.  I always power on.  After 10 years you would think I had seen it all, but I still get surprised almost weekly.  Then something not surprising at all, that I have seen many times before, will hit me with all the force of my first day all those years ago and my stomach will turn and my breath will leave me.  It catches me completely off guard.  The other day we sent a senior mastiff to be spayed.  She'd had many many litters, but we had her for awhile and she showed no signs of pregnancy.  She's old and ready to retire.  The vet tech brought her back, and the dog had the most forlorn expression.  The tech said, "She had one big baby in there.  She couldn't have passed it anyway." A solitary puppy.  But it was the word "big" wasn't it?  Or the expression on the dog's face?  Or the fact that she would have to "sleep it off" in a kennel all by herself along with all the other suffering pets.  No peace, no giant dog bed in a cozy home with doting humans.  She was truly and completely on her own.  More alone now, as her one big baby would have died or had to been euthanized after the spay.  No one expected to find that baby. She likely did not expect to lose it.  She just woke up, and it was gone.  Maybe it was painful but a relief or maybe it was devastating,  Her face seemed to tell me it was the ladder.

I wanted to bring her home but, with 5 dogs of my own and 3 foster dogs, all of which had made my stomach turn at some point, I knew I had nothing left to give her and, even if I could take her home, I would have to leave all the other broken hearts behind.  I covered her in a warm blanket from the dryer, pet her, spoke gently and then left with my partner to try to rescue two feral kittens who had been abandoned at the fire department.  No time to cry or to register what had happened to that beautiful mastiff.  It haunts me, like so many other things, though she was much happier today when I saw her just a couple days into her recovery.  I am so ready to see that dog go home and know that her new family will not have to carry the sadness of having seen her that day.  That they will be able to look at her and love her with pride and not the guilt of closing the cage and walking away from her on what may have been the worst or one of the worst days of her entire life. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Helter Skelter

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Leaving in a Lending Library

Just reading this book and writing about it gives me the creeps.  I want to always be 500,000 miles away from anything The Family.  There is also a fine line between understanding what happened and glamorizing it--which has been done by countless magazines, books, tv shows.  I felt much more secure with Vincent Bugliosi.  I felt like I was getting accurate information, and I felt like I could trust him.  I will say that I bought this book many years ago, and I would not likely have bought it at the age I am now, knowing what I know now.  I just struggle with true crime.  I also resent the idea that Charles Manson craves and enjoys attention and that people give it to him.  Still!  He took away the lives of so many people (the exact number cannot be proven) and he just keeps on living, controlling, and making puppets out of people.  It is disgusting.  Reading this book made me struggle with my more recent (last 10 or so years) anti-death penalty stance.  I wanted him and Susan to be put down.  I recognized it was partly from fear.  Reading about them sent chills down into my stomach.  And fear should not rule your moral decisions, but it was hard.  I hate to admit that I do have regret that they were not euthanized before California changed their laws.  I think Vincent had every right and reason to write about Charles Manson and Helter Skelter because he lived it, breathed it, fought it for so long.  I am not so convinced that it is appropriate for many other people to do it, particularly after he has done it so well.

Sunday, April 30, 2017


Strider by Beverly Cleary
Weight: 4.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving in a Lending Library

I am reading children's book in between all of my others.  I need something a little less heavy from time to time to get by.  Working in rescue, every day feels like a life and/or death day.  Survival, Fight or Flight, the best and the worst of people.  Living under a Trump Administration is like an ongoing nightmare.  Besides, with my eyesight going, the print is a little larger ;). 

I remember reading Cleary all the time as a kid, though I did not read Stryder.  It was nice to revisit her work and pleasantly surprising to read about the rescue of an abandoned dog.  It was not my favorite Cleary book by far.  That might be the Mouse and the Motorcycle, Dear Mr. Henshaw, or it might be one of the Ramona books.  I am pretty sure the mouse wins.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating

Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating by Moira Weigel
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Leaving at post office in Tucker

I heard an interview with Moira Weigel on Real Simple's Adulthood Made Easy podcast and was instantly interested in reading it.  I will really miss that podcast!  I really enjoyed this book and discovered random little tidbits I had no idea about--like TGIF restaurants initially starting as singles clubs.  AND that they were inspired by gay bars.  That was exciting and fun trivia.  I appreciated that this book was not just heteronormative and did include some information about queered dating.  It tried to dip its toes into the differences in dating between white and black people, but I felt like that was one portion that was just too little too late.  It felt like it was just peppered in and without a lot of substance.  I wish there had been more of it but, if there was only going to be a seasoning, maybe she should have left it out.  I don't know.  There were very important differences that made "dating" more dangerous for the black community.  It seems like in many eras the line between dating, sex work, trading sex, going steady wasn't always clear, at least to other people looking in at those relationships. 

I left this book at the post office and hope someone else gets some enjoyment out of it too!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama
Weight: 13 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving somewhere in Tucker or Decatur

I am sometimes terrified, sometimes ready to rise up, and most often overwhelmed and sad.  In an effort to prepare myself for my own future and for America's future, I am reading books that apply immediately to the current world climate.  I read Obama's biography in the month before he left the White House and his presidency ended.  I loved it.  I found it inspirational, and I was shocked about his life and how he came to be president.  It gave me hope--how Obama-cliche is that?--but it did.  It showed me what made Obama such an amazing leader, though I simultaneously mourned the life our new president had led in comparison.  Looking at Trump's past there is none of the passion for social work and people, none of the world experience and travel that led Obama to have an incredible amount of empathy, none of the strong family ties, and deep-rooted morals.  I am hoping that when I pass this book on it is picked up by someone else that needs inspiration, hope, and an extra push.  I hope it makes them feel that they can stand up, voice their opinions, listen to others, and make a difference.