All posts for the month August, 2016


Published August 28, 2016 by mindfulofchatter

There are changes on my horizon. While I can see some of the good in them, most it is not good. There is fear. There is disappointment. There is the learning curve that is forever there because one simply walks this earth.

I am struggling to stay afloat. I struggling to care for my dying dog. I am struggling to feel my own worth.

I have asked for help. I am still looking for work. I still have personal items for sale.

As much as I have tried the things I have tried to sell are not selling. I have asked what my research says is a reasonable, if not cheap, price. And here they still sit. Now, I suppose, they will go to the upcoming yard sale and go for close to nothing.

I have been looking for work. I have been on interviews. I signed with an employment agency. The employment agency is not doing its job. Oh, they seem to have work. Work in my field, but they are not passing those jobs along. How could I know this? I received a recruiting e-mail from a company I applied at a year ago. I when the hiring event and asked about the positions available. The one I was interested in was being filled through the very agency I am signed up with. The recruiter looked over my resume and told me to contact the agency to get an interview. Now, if I should get hired, I will be paid through the agency. The agency will make money off of a job I found on my own. Since the company hired the agency to fill that position, they are obligated to fill it through the agency regardless on how I found out about the position. This is nuts.

(on a side note – the woman who came to fetch me for my interview remarked how poor the employment agencies were in this area. She expressed disappointment in how the agency seemed to be dragging its feet to send them applicants)

Though I have asked for help, I gotten very little. It is simply disappointing that people would rather help someone who wants to ride a hoppity-hop across the country, than people who are losing everything. I am amazed that people can’t even share a fund-raiser, let alone give anything no matter how small. I have a friend who is also struggling. This person has lost their home, had to give up pets, lost their car, their job – yet still has tried to help others.

I will lose my home soon. I don’t have enough money to pay my rent. I will lose my car because the bank still owns it and they don’t care about anyone’s situation except their own. I will most likely lose my cell phone. And to make it all sting even more, people I know will watch it happen. Will let it happen. How can I feel I am worth something when no else seems to think so?

I have been asked what I will do. I don’t know. I have never been homeless. I don’t know how to be homeless. I will have to learn. I will have not pay people and companies that I owe for services. This the first time since I left my parents house over 30 years ago that I can not pay my bills.

There is no anger, only disappointment. In myself, mostly, for coming to this place at all. For ending up in corner with no escape hatch.

The short-term plan – sell everything. Pack the things I need or want to try to keep into one or two bins. Pay for the car for as long as I can so the dogs and I have somewhere out of the weather. I’d sell the car, but I won’t get enough out of it to buy even a beater. It is at that point of being worth about what I owe. I think I know someone who let my store a few things at their place. Maybe I won’t lose everything, but will be pretty darn close. Most of it can be replaced one day.

All in all, I am trying very hard to see this as a new beginning. Wish me luck.


Life With Gus

Published August 19, 2016 by mindfulofchatter

Gus 14 years


We are going on three weeks since the news came of Gus’ health issues. We have fallen into a new routine to accommodate his needs and keep home clean.

The medication I brought home to help with his incontinence did nothing. Not a thing. While there may be another one out there, I am happy with how things are going. We can manage.

I made Gus two belly bands. They are a kind of male doggie diaper that wraps around in front of the hips. Pads are placed inside to soak things up. I found pads at my local dollar store. I can get 10 for a dollar. I did check at the other stores, but this is the cheaper way to go.

At this point our days are pretty much the same.

I get up and pull on a robe and slippers. I let both dogs out and as Gus goes by on his way out, I pull the belly band off so he can go pee. In the mornings, the pads are and band are soaked. I use double pads at night since I am not taking him out every couple of hours.

While Gus and Arty are out doing their morning business, I put the used pads in the outdoor trash and put dry pads on a dry belly band. I washed the wet one out with soap and water and hang it on the fence to dry. Gus and Arty come back up the steps and Gus gets the dry band put on before we go in the house.

Breakfast is served all the way around, and Gus gets his pain pill. I watch to make sure he eats as much food as he wants before Arty The Piglet offers to clean his dish as well as hers. Most days his appetite is good and he eats all of his food. Some days, he gets a few bites down and that’s it.

I have found that Gus is good for about an hour after he eats, then he needs to go out again. If I wait too long, his pads and band will get soaked again.

Because his kidneys are failing, he has trouble staying hydrated. This means he drinks a lot of water. I fill the water bowl several times a day.

I take them both out about every 2 – 3 hours. If I miss that window, I risk wet pads and a wet belly band. Often when Gus gets outside and I pull the band off, he is just standing there leaking all over the porch. So while he is out peeing even more, I am rinsing the porch off. At least in the summer heat, the bands and the porch dry fast.

I made other adjustments for Gus as well. He likes to sleep on the bed. Rather than take that away from him, I bought a cheap plastic drop cloth (the dollar store is my friend). I put that on the bed, then put an old throw over top of it. It keeps my bed dry and lets Gus sleep where he is happy. I can then wash the throw. Gus has also decided that sleeping in the bedroom doorway at night is the perfect spot. So I made a little bed of towels for him. Again, I can wash the towels and keep the floor dry. Thank goodness for Frebreeze.

We haven’t been to the dog park lately. It has been very hot here, and Gus has never done well in the heat. But I also noticed that after we have been at the park, Gus walks funny. He kind of walks with long stride or two, then short, little stuttery strides. After watching him walk, I noticed he is so tired his back feet get ‘stuck’ and that makes him stutter step. I am not sure about taking him to the park so often now. He enjoys it, but it wears him out so much I worry.

Gus is not a dog who wants help. I get stinky eye if I baby him too much, or make a big deal about helping him up the steps. So I just stand near by and let him do his thing and catch him if he needs caught. He misses the jump into the car more often now. I am always there to catch him and help him in.

I know a lot of people wouldn’t do this for a dog. Once it was work, they would be done. And that’s okay. Everyone has a limit to what they can do. I am lucky, in a way, to be unemployed right now. It gives me the time to do these things for Gus. It gives me time to be with him. For me, it is a small way to give back to this once thrown away dog who has given so much to me.

The Rainbow Bridge can wait a little longer.




Just When You Think It’s Safe

Published August 9, 2016 by mindfulofchatter

Gus 6 months


Gilda Radner wrote book titled It’s Always Something. The longer you live, the more you know this to be the truth. It is always something.

I have been fighting to stay in my apartment, to find a job where I am treated with the respect due to any office worker, to simply find a way to live my life as I wish to live it. I don’t want anything extravagant. One would think this to be a not so difficult task. But it is.

Throughout my recent trials, my dogs have been my rocks. They keep me grounded. They make me go outside and walk, listen to the wind, watch the trees dance and breath.

And now I am losing one.

GusMonster came to me via a country road in Minnesota. I was driving my son to school when we spied a dog trotting down the road in the distance. I didn’t think a lot about it, a lot of farm dogs go for walkabout. They know how to get home. I know that sounds all kinds of wrong, but it is true. I generally don’t worry about the dogs who don’t look lost.

As we got closer, I saw this was a puppy. This was not an adult dog out for a stroll. This was a puppy, lost and alone on country road where people often drove too fast without a care. I sighed and pulled over. I wasn’t going to leave a puppy on the road. My son got out, made nice and piled the tan and white puppy into the van.

I dropped the kiddo at school and the puppy at a grooming salon. I had to go to work, and the puppy needed a bath. After work I picked up puppy and child and went home. I called the radio station, posted found signs, and called the shelter to see of the owners had come in looking for him. Nothing. No one had lost a tan and white puppy. He had been dumped.

So the tan and white puppy came home with us. He got on with our dogs just fine. He was named Gus, and his large paws earned him Monster. GusMonster was home.  The vet came out to vaccinate the horses and gave Gus a good once over. He said Gus looked to be about 6 months old, and he ought to begin losing his baby teeth soon.

Taking that to heart, Gus immediately began losing his baby teeth. I found them everywhere. But that also gave us a timeline to figure out his birth month and year.

It wasn’t always smooth. We had our rocky times. Gus wasn’t house trained and seemed determined to pee in the basement rather than outside. We had no clue what he was. There was pitty in there, but not full pitty. Gus was the perfect guard dog when strangers came to call or repair things. He would be friendly, but watch. No one was going to mess with HIS family.

He hunted raccoons, rabbits, squirrels and birds. He learned how to be a bird dog. Well, what he figured out was the one dog pointed to where the birds were hiding, and Gus had the job of flushing them out. Only some days Gus got a little ahead of the game and flushed them too early. But he loved it.

He has been my companion and my rock for almost 15 years. That is very old for large dog.

And now my time with him is limited. We have perhaps 3 months together. Maybe more, maybe less. Gus’ kidneys are failing. The arthritis in his back is taking its toll. Before I know it, it will be time to say good-bye and let him go. He will cross the Rainbow Bridge and find Spenser, Tuff and Rocky, his old companions, and hunt once more.

And I will miss him forever.