As we walk

Every evening Foxy and I walk to the elevator past our neighbor’s apartments as the sun sinks in the West and the light goes from peach to dark blue. Since the heat in Las Vegas Nevada has dropped, one of my neighbors who is in her mid-70s keeps her front door open to let the heat out and the cool air in.

Foxy, a little chihuahua-terrier mixed dog, rushes inside to great her. My neighbor used to have dogs many years ago. Now she lives in a senior independent apartment and doesn’t have room or energy for a dog. Just for a moment she smiles and pets Foxy. Foxy’s tail wags continuously until the neighbor quits petting her.

We do this every day unless I feel sick. On those days I will get a call from my neighbor to see if I am okay. She misses Foxy and she misses our talks. We will visit and talk about family, life, and illness. We will talk mostly about experiences–like having dogs or working. My neighbor worked in a casino most of her adult life. She has severe lung problems because of it.

When I was a child, I knew a lot of families who welcomed their grandparents into their homes. We live in such a different age now where the elderly is put away where from their families. The knowledge of the elderly is lost.

I laugh because when I stop and talk to them I find out that one grandmother has cancer and goes on the bus every other day to get radiation treatment. She doesn’t tell her grandson because he is taking care of a wife who also has cancer. Just last week an man in his mid sixties died. I met him and he didn’t look sick on the outside.

Every day we see paramedics in this area. Some of the elderly come back and some don’t. I talked to a man who had just turned 84. “All of my family and friends are dead now,” he said. “I am alone.”

Sometimes I wonder why we have gone to warehousing our elderly. At one point they held the knowledge of their tribes. They still hold the knowledge of their families. Every day we lose more knowledge as they die.

Aging is not fun. Many of these folks who are living the long life are grumpy from pain and from loneliness. Some of them spend their days gossiping. They are people after all. They are also the trailblazers to what comes next.


Foxy and I

IMG_0393Every morning Foxy and I get dressed. She watches me put on my shoes. Sometimes I will stop and look at my feet.

She will bump my hand until I continue with the chore. By the time I am ready, she twirls around twice to show her happiness. Her tail starts to wag. We are going for a walk.

After we walk out the front door, I have to tell her to sit because she wants to run to the elevator. She knows that is the way to the outside. I have to tell her to quit pulling so I can lock the door. This little dog with little legs walks faster than I do. She pulls me into a fast walk.

I’ve watched other seniors in my community walk their dogs. It is a slow meandering pace from one patch of grass to another. They keep to the slow pace of their owners. Some of these folks walk with canes and others have the black walkers with wheels. I want one of those when I need support. It gives the senior enough stability that she can walk around the complex by herself.

My dog thinks that to enjoy a walk, we need to walk fast enough that I am just at the point of running. In fact if I didn’t pull just a little I would be running. No wonder I am tired after twenty minutes of this.

Foxy has found friends here. When I first rescued her in 2014, she was not socialized to other dogs. It took a long time before she trusted me and before she listened to me. It took a lot of treats and a lot of discipline.

I am happy that she has found friends. It means she trusts me enough to keep her safe.

When I first got her, she was an accomplished escape artist. Now I can keep the door open and she will sit on my recliner and watch the outside.

Today, I let her run to another Chihuahua mix named Chance. They raced toward each other and played. It was a lot of jumping, sniffing, and running. That little girl is a runner. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with her if she ran away, but she comes back.

When I am tired, we power walk back to the apartment. She sniffs for bunnies and I wait for the elevator.

So this is how my morning starts when I am feeling well.


Tick tock – Tick tock

IMG_0055 Foxy has decided that part of her daily duties is to wake me when the first light shines through the window shades. She climbs onto the middle of my chest and flaps those long ears of hers. My first instinct when I hear her flapping her ears is to duck. She sounds like a small bird ready to dive-bomb me.

Of course when she sees me duck, she lies her whole body across my neck and licks my ears and cheek. I am fully awake then. But by this time she has pinned me to the bed and I can’t move.

Since she began to feel better, (Foxy had pancreatitis), this morning greeting has become a regular occurrence.  It takes a little coaxing to get her off my chest so I can sit up. Once I am sitting the antics stop and she waits patiently for me to put on clothes and shoes. She knows that as soon as I am dressed we will go for our morning walk.

Yes, I am usually half asleep during the first half of the walk. She bounces down the sidewalk with her tail waving back and forth. This morning as soon as the other dogs barked at her, her tail went up.

Living with a dog has been an adventure. She gets me up in the morning and she makes me exercise. Before Foxy I would procrastinate my walks. With my four conditions, it is amazing that I can walk in the first place. Sometimes when I get up out of bed, I am stiff for several minutes. I roll back and forth from foot to foot with a hand balancing me against the wall. The walks with Foxy have increased my balance and my strength.

I have not always been like this. I used to walk two to three miles every other day, plus lift weights, and on the weekends I would hike to castles with my late-hubby. In my twenties I was involved in Tae Kwon Do. My body still remembers how to protect me. I used to run– I was never a sprinter when I was in school. I am the one that continues running long distances. I haven’t been able to do that since I became ill and had to take chemo.

So my body misses these things. I have had dreams where I ran for long distances. My heart would pump, I would breath evenly, and I would feel the high after the first mile or two. I have dreamed that I used my training to fight dream monsters who feed on the unsuspecting. I have dreamed that my body and spirit never tired as I protected those around me. In those dreams, Foxy in a much larger dog form is with me, fighting monsters with teeth and claw as I use a long sword.

Recently I listened to an Art Bell program on You-tube with a couple of doctors who work with people who have nightmares and night terrors. It was interesting because I have had night terrors and nightmares since I was three years old. Normally children quit having night terrors when they become fully immersed in this reality. I never quit.

I still wake up with my heart pounding and nasty sweat on my body. I still wake up and listen for what is out there. Foxy turns over and huffs which calms me down.

These doctors believe that when we sleep and dream that we go to other dimensions. Some of us are just better at describing and remembering what we experience there. It does have a ring of truth to me– although there may be more to it or less. I don’t know.

I do know that I get my stories from somewhere. That in my dreams I am a hunter, fighter, and warrior depending on what I need to do. Foxy is by my side in her spirit form. She is magnificent.


Life and the usual foibles

IMG_0055 It was a rough day yesterday, Foxy was at the vet for her yearly exam. Normally I don’t worry about her except to remember that she has had pancreatitis. That was not fun.

But this time the vet wanted more of her teeth even though she is not in pain. I decided no, because I just can’t afford it now. For that matter, I haven’t been able to take care of my teeth for awhile. So we muddle along with what we have.

The other problem is that her liver is enlarged. I was assured that she she wasn’t in pain and that her liver proteins were in range. He wanted me to go get a sonogram for her. It would cost another 5-6 hundred dollars and my “plan” would not cover it. So instead I am feeding her some pills. She is too smart to gobble the peanut butter so I have to crush them. Plus I am keeping her on a liver diet. Oh yea, she needs to lose weight. I saw a really fat chihuahua yesterday and Foxy actually looks slender compared to the other dog. I think the liver diet has caused her to gain weight. So that is the pain involved in dog-keeping. Still I will do what I can with the resources I have.

On the other hand, while she was at the vet, I missed her badly. I felt her in all the rooms. Plus she is a stabilizing influence on me. She is the adult in this family.

I also have some health problems that my insurance doesn’t want to cover and to add to the grief yesterday, my internet service raised their rates.

So where is this economic recovery that we are in? Seriously when I hear that come out of certain Senators’ mouths, I wonder if they are living in the real world or an imaginary world just for them.

Now for the good news-– I am on my third WIP this year–Diamond Butterfly. This has been the best writing year …EVER.

I will be starting the second draft– for Dragon Boy — this afternoon. I am hoping to have it ready for Beta readers in March sometime. Then it will be publishing preparation time.

Thanks for listening to me… and thanks for all the fish. (Douglas Adams)

It’s been an emergency week here

IMG_0055Foxy my little chihuahua-terrier mix was sick on Wednesday. She was vomiting yellow foam and then couldn’t keep anything down–food or water.

I called my vet, wrapped her up, and took her down to be looked at. After x-rays and blood tests, the doc told me that my poor doggy had pancreatitis.

Then came the questions – What did I feed her? Did I feed her human food? Did she get into anything poisonous. Since the answers were all no, the nurse asked me the same questions two hours later. Finally I told her that I checked the house and anything dangerous to the doggy was above her reach–even jumping reach.

Then I explained that Foxy was a rescue dog and had been living on the street when she was found. When I got her I had to have her washed a couple of times to get that black oil out of her fur. She had found a way to keep her smell from attracting the coyotes in the area.

So they gave her a shot to stop the vomiting, they started her on an IV to flush the toxins out, and they gave me a prescription on food she could eat. It is a liver diet.

I picked her up in the evening and took her back the next day.

Needless to say, the entire thing screwed up my writing and my mind. Thankfully, Foxy is getting her energy back. I have to give her a daily pill and also some type of liquid to put in her mouth.

Two days I have used guile to get the liquid in her mouth (a treat). It didn’t work this morning. I actually had to open her mouth. So I have a genius dog– go figure.

Anyway I have been doing a lot of cuddling with her for my health and hers.

I couldn’t lose her this month. September 19th will be the day I lost my late hubby –one year ago.