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And I’m beginning to wonder why…

Why am I wondering why?  It has given Lars, our eldest dog of 11 years, a complex.  Today, as it has been for the last few days, he has been chasing the diddles, trying to eat them.  Add that to Goldie, our pup, chewing everything in site.  Add to that, Lars fighting Goldie over both his food and her food.  We have a mess on our hands… and we’re adding another baby to the mix in a few days – of the kitten variety.

Goldie and her mess.

I’m exhausted today.  Above you see Goldie and her mess.  She tore up our waders (fortunately they already had holes), the girls’ sidewalk chalk, a toy bunny from the sandbox, and somehow she got the girls’ snow hat from inside and tore it up outside.  Oh, and tearing into the food bags.  Ugh…

But, you know… I expect that.  She’s a pup.  They do those things.  Lars destroyed our couch and my pewter statue collection when he was a pup.  Yes, he chewed up soft metal.  What I didn’t expect was Lars to be fine for the first couple of weeks with Goldie around, but now that we have 9 diddles, and they are getting older, he has decided that he is nuts and doesn’t care about the rules.  He has turned on Goldie during mealtimes, yelps coming from the front porch as he puts her in her place.  And, after the last few days, I’m beginning to wonder if our joy with the diddles (“peeps” as Deladis calls them) will last.

The diddles have a mother.  A good mother.  She free ranged and set 9 eggs through hatching, and has made it with all 9 babies through a week as of today.  They are adorable, and we enjoy them like proud grandparents, giving them back to their mother for the complicated part of rearing.  This afternoon, however, as I fell into the peace of yoga, I was interrupted by an upset Deladis.  “A peep is under the house and she is stuck!”

“What!” I jumped out of my crescent moon lunge and we were out the door in a second.  Then, I see Lars – dirt smeared across his face and I see the evidence of him as the culprit of this mess.  Deladis confirmed it, as she had watched it from her swing.  The diddle jumped under the house for protection as the hen and the rest of her brood scattered around the side of the cabin.  The baby was left under the house without the capability of figuring out how to get back out.

First, I go under the cabin.  It’s dark – really dark.  Then, I see where the sound of the peeping is coming from, and that the floor joists are so low that I will have to army crawl to get to the diddle.  Not to mention the diddle is a black one, and I can’t actually see it, just hear it.

I hunt a flashlight.  The only one I find is a toy one of the girls’.  Tinker Bell.  I go back under and realize that this flashlight won’t cut it.  I also realize what I have suspected for some time.  I am a little put off by tight squeezes.  I go back out and call John for a better light and encoragement.  He tells me there are no flashlights within a reasonable proximity to me.  The diddle’s cries are louder now, and I know I have to suck it up and save that baby.  I take the Tinker Bell flashlight and put Deladis on guard outside one of the vent holes in our cinderblock foundation.  I take deep breaths and crawl, only hitting my head once, to the diddle.  It jumps and runs to a nearby corner.  I catch it between the block and a piece of plastic, pick it gently up, and hand it to Deladis who is still waiting outside the vent hole.  She then returns the baby to its mother.  We are all pleased after the minor freak out.

Then, I just get plain mad.  Lars needs to get over himself!  He’s well feed, gets plenty of attention, and has all the room and comfort he needs.  He is being a party pooper and is disregarding the rules of this family.  I guess he thinks he’s old enough now to do what he wants.  Well, you know what happens to grown kids when they get old enough to do what they want… ok, just kidding.  I won’t make him get his own place.  So, I’m left with having to respect his age and realize we a peers now.  And, that leaves me where I started, being mad.

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Lars - age 10

Lars - age 10

I bought the October Guide from Little Acorn Learning.  With all the wonderful festivals and holidays approaching I wanted a little help with ideas, and some help organizing myself.  Nothing beats having it all in the palm of your hand.  Our theme for the week is birds, and another great thing is Little Acorn includes a sort of weekly virtue in the theme.  They even provide a caregiver meditation to remind you to take time for yourself.  I love that!  The virtue for this week is showing kindness.  Not only are we to help create awareness of the need for kindness in our children, but we are challenged to become aware ourselves.

Mondays are “cooking days”.  This is where the girls help me with a cooking project.  Today’s project from Little Acorn was creating a homemade pet treat.  Our pet is a dalmatian whom I’ve written about a few times here.  His name is Lars.  John and I bought him as a two month old puppy the month before we were married.  He is ten years old.  Lars was our first baby.  He shared our bed.  We took him on special trips and bought him special treats.  Lars destroyed our couch and my collection of pewter figurines (yes, the dog demolished a soft metal with his teeth!) and we still allowed him to remain in the house.  We were over it in less than a week and carrying on as normal.  Unconditional love.

Then, came along Deladis.  Despite the fact that I had balked at the thought that becoming a mother would change my relationship with Lars, it did.  There was little time to snuggle with him on the couch.  He was so rowdy it was impossible for me to walk him while Deladis was with us.  His little shenanigans became more of an aggravation than something clean up and look over.  Keeping Deladis from eating out of his food bowl was a challenge.

Ivy came along.  We found out that Deladis was allergic to dogs, and we moved back to our mountains.  We could finally keep Lars safely outside, and we chose to do that, for Deladis’ sake and for the fact that dalmatians shed 24/7 all year around.  Their hair is not only white, it is fine.  I know (even with him outside) I will be sweeping his hair up long after he is gone.

With Lars outside, it has become even easier to not interact with him.  I shoo him out of the compost where he likes to visit and eat egg shells.  I peek out the door when he barks.  I make sure his food bowl is full.  Every now and then, I will pat his back.  But, mostly, he’s just there and I’m just here.

Lately, I’ve been doing more thinking about this because I know it won’t be long until he won’t be there anymore.  Though he gets around much like an adolescent dog, he has started falling through the cracks between the porch steps and gets stuck.  I have to pull him out.  I know he has lost hearing in one ear that stays infected most of the time despite our efforts to help him.  I’m pretty sure he has cataracts because he has started barking at us when we approach the house until we are right up on him.  When I see his legs shake beneath him, I know he has arthritis.

He doesn’t complain.  He isn’t sad.  He loves my children, and still follows me on walks and around the yard ready to protect me.  He lets Ivy mount him like a pony.  He cuddles with Roy (our rooster) on the front porch.  He is nothing but sweet, gentle, and kind, in spite of my not giving him the attention I once did, and being displaced by our “real” children.

When we gave Lars the treats we made, he wagged his tail like he did when he was a pup and we gave him the gourmet treats from the Three Dog Bakery.  Deladis gave him the first one, then, Ivy.  I gave him one as well.  Then, as I was putting the remainder away, he was standing in the door, and I couldn’t resist letting him have a fourth treat.  I’ll be sorry when he is gone from my doorway, drooling over my cooking.  I don’t think I’ll ever love another dog as I have him.

A part of showing kindness is recognizing the finite state of our bodies.  Realizing that we are all here only as long as the miracle of life continues to allow us to take another breath.  The time for kindness is now.  The time to release our fear and stubbornness is now.  There is no other time.

…patience which is the first condition of real Love. In Love you give without attention to all the mistakes of another as the sun gives light and warmth to all people…

– Yogi Bhajan (on the Shabad Kriya)

I’m finding it harder and harder to even come from that anxiety driven place anymore.  It is becoming easier to stop myself from riding the waves of stressful emotion.  When you truly let go of expectations, extensive future planning (within reason), and begin to focus on the now, and your blessings, it becomes more difficult to be selfish enough to be impatient.  And yet, we are all human.

Kindness is a huge thing.  I think in the modern way of life it is too easy to avoid even the simplest acts of kindness.

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About Me

An Appalachian woman born and raised, mothering two little girls in a place that is non-existent to AT&T or UPS. Happily working toward a sustainable lifestyle and writing on the demand of a loud muse.

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