Monday, December 12, 2016

The United States of Poetry

The United States of Poetry
Joshua Blum Bob Holman Mark Pellington
Weight: 2.4 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving Somewhere

I bought this book in the 90s and just now read it in 2016, but I am glad I saved it all this time.  I also think it is better it is released now rather than later.  It seems like there is less poetry out there.  I do, however, find it amusing that I am now married to someone who had a total mental collapse when she realized I was reading a book of poetry next to her.  She has some deep-seated disdain for poetry we need to overcome, apparently.

I picked up this book and read it last weekend, after we had to euthanize our beloved Chihuahua-Potato, Bayah.  I thought she would live for at least two decades and never imagined we would lose her in the 8-12 year old range.  She was rescued with her baby, Aires, from a puppy mill and brought to PAWS Atlanta around 4.5 years ago.  Harriet and her then boyfriend, Connor, took Bayah in as a foster.  She was seemingly young and feisty.

She was adopted out and about a year later she came back looking terrible.  She was overweight, had hair loss, and her teeth were completely rotten.  Harriet had moved back to England, and there was no room at the shelter.  Having started falling in love with the now single Harriet, I could not let anything happen to her foster pup and so I took Bayah home as my own foster.  I fell in love with her too.  And hard.  I tried to adopt her out, but when she came back a week later (she wasn't housebroken) I was so relieved to scoop her back up.  I finalized her adoption that day--April 18, 2013.  I was able to be her family for a little over three years.  That's it.

She was my little hot potato and my co-pilot. She was the dog I could take with me everywhere.  She was relaxed and loving and not at all worried about adult strangers.  Children were slightly alarming, but she would not hurt them, and I always made sure they were sweet with her too.  She fit perfectly in my arms.  She would not lay down or rest until she found a comfy bed to rest on but, if you put her in a bed, she would not budge again until you made her or until you took out some food.  She loved to eat more than anything else in the world and on her last night we gave her chocolate and chicken jerky, which she scarfed down as ferociously as ever.

She developed a head tilt and was diagnosed with vestibular disease, but three weeks went by, and she did not get better.  We got a third opinion.  We were told she had a brain tumor and our time with her was short and, even with the warning, there was not enough time spent together.  There never could be.  That's the thing about death.  No matter how much life allows you to prepare for it you cannot prepare for it.  It feels sudden or unexpected even when it is not.  If it doesn't feel that way then you have likely suffered terribly and for awhile.

That last night was the first time she flinched when someone went to hold her or when her canine best friend, Savannah, got near her.  She was in pain.  The tumor was putting pressure on her eye.  She had gone blind in that eye just a few weeks before. The only option was surgery, and she was not a candidate for surgery at her age and in her condition.  She left us before we left her, and our hearts broke into a million Bayah-sized pieces as we drove away from that hospital and home to a house that felt empty even though it was full of dogs.  I funnel my affections into her best friend and my other dogs, but nothing touches that place within me where the memory of her lives.  It is heavy and damp, soaked through with my sadness.  I know that as time goes on it will fill with positive memories and funny anecdotes, but right now I just miss my beloved little Chihuahua and the tongue that always hung out of her mouth as she sauntered along.  The low, sweet bark she let out when she got really excited and the warmth of her small body resting next to me.  I will love you forever, Bayah. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Flame Alphabet

The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Throwing Away at the Vet

I am at the vet with a very sick dog on my knee. His name is Winston, and he was just rescued from a rural animal control facility.  We are waiting to find out if he has parvo. On the way over here I lost The Flame Alphabet, everything else in my car, and possibly the ability to transfer puppies for at least another year.  It wasn't pretty, but my dear friend, Winston, seems much worse.

I bought The Flame Alphabet in Lancaster on one of my last days in England. I did almost finish it, but I never did get into it. It was a great idea but poorly executed. I almost always finish a book I start. I think Winston might have just saved me some time :) Keep your fingers crossed for him!