Sunday, March 27, 2011

Southampton: If they could see her now.

I was thinking yesterday that it has been almost two years since I adopted my former mess of a dog. I looked back in my e mails to try and pinpoint the exact date, and discovered that today was the day that she was dumped at the shelter in Baldwin Park, CA. a pound known as "high kill"  --- meaning: depending on the population of the shelter the animals can have a temporary home for few weeks until they are rescued, or more often, euthanasia.

I adopted her from a rescue group who pull animals for adoption fairs every weekend, but return them to the shelter at the end of the day when they have not found homes.

My friend picked her out at the adoption fair.  This is the same friend that can dine out with Satan, and return from the dinner in hell and tell you how "edgy" he was , and that the red outfit really is becoming and the horns are just fabulous. Oh, and the heat? did wonders for her skin. She's that kind of person. She sprinkles white fairy dust wherever she goes.

So, today was a day of celebration of sorts. A day to celebrate her liberation from her former life. A day to celebrate, indeed.

Here is her audition video: (which I didn't see until after the adoption.)

And a footnote: the name Lucky in the shelter world is as common as Kitty is in the Cat world.

  If you listen to what the volunteer is saying about her, NONE of it was true. Honest mistake with an inexperienced volunteer. They do the best they can. C'est la vie.

Her head shot wasn't that much better:


When I first adopted her, it became clear that her exposure to the world was limited at best.  She was frightened by her reflection, the TV, the phone ringing, stairs, sudden noises, a cabinet opening --  she was so unaccustomed to being outside and interacting with the world, that she actually tried to chase a military helicopter.
The instincts were there, just off base.
Way off.

When she saw another dog, she usually got on her hind legs and yelped like a hyena. Just sheer hysteria. I had more than one person yell at me from across a busy street: "You should call Cesar!"

I couldn't call Cesar, and I certainly did not want to be on his TV show, so we did the next best thing: enrolled in obedience class.

My dog listening intently in class:
We were asked to leave on more than one occasion. 
My dog wanted to kill the other dogs. 
Okay, maybe not kill, but body slamming and charging
 other dogs does not make for a nice classmate. 

It was apparent that her life consisted of living in a crate, only to be let out to use the bathroom and then back in. She was a page one re-write.

And there were days that I cried. What am I going to do with this dog? One day after an extremely challenging hike I was weeping when we got back home, and I just looked at her and said in frustration: WHO DID THIS TO YOU?! WHO? 

I wanted to find them. Them - rather they - were some people who thought doing some good ole' fashion backyard breeding to make some quick cash. They dumped about 30 different dogs at the shelter that they couldn't sell.  My dog was one of them.

We've both come along way; She loves stairs (They're fun!) TV, if it's good, and she admires herself when presented with her reflection; the phone means Mom can't play with me, I might as well rest; other dogs for the most part are okay and even fun. Cats are more fun to chase than birds could ever be. She's more annoyed by the sound of a helicopter than intrigued by them.

Today, on the beach in Southampton, NY 03/27/11

Her relationship with the beach here in Southampton has grown apace. In her first few forays to the beach, she would stay on the side with the homes until one day she decided to prance down to the water and run along side of it. 

Soon enough, I would toss the ball into the edge of the water - it was only a few inches deep, and she went happily in to retrieve her beloved ball. This was a dog who would not get near the water, nor the pool in  Los Angeles. Uh-uh. She wanted nothing to do with anything wet. Bath time was an ordeal leaving me and the bathroom soaked. 

I started throwing the ball further in - always making sure the water was never more than a foot deep. And a funny thing started to happen: when we would arrive at the beach she would start nudging her ball into the water to retrieve it.

Today was a good day in her world - she got a stranger to throw the ball for her for a good 10 minutes.

Later, I threw the ball in a small bay of water  not realizing how deep it went --  she had no choice but to swim. It was that deep. Oops.

Oh no, I thought, she's going to be trumatized. She wasn't. She went back in again, and again.

And I thought what a beautiful sight to see this dog so happy and so free, and so at one with nature. Just being a dog. I swear she was smiling. Soaking wet and 42 degrees out, but she was happy.  

She has experienced canyons, deserts, sagebrush filled hills, a ranch with cattle (and a lot of kitty cats) the sights of D.C., the urban pulse of NYC and the dog parks they call dog runs, and the dogs who rule them; the piles and piles of that white fluffy stuff they call snow which she at first wasn't too sure of, but then realized how much fun it really REALLY was. She discovered riding alongside a bicycle, she learned to respect the deer, and stare at them in awe right along with me. She learned how much fun playing soccer at the beach is, and to run free in the water and the sand.  She learned to accept affection from humans and other dogs. She learned to play. To be a dog. To just be.

Smiling on the beach in Southampton, 03/27/11

So, on behalf of her I say to those people that dumped her: Fuck you, Fuckers. Who's laughing now?

She is.  Happy Liberation Day.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

NYC: Part 2 - Journey to NYC - interrupted

Why haven't I been writing as much in 2011, you ask?

Have I been busy?

Well, yes, and no.

I am going to channel some of my more succinct friends and put this in what I hope, is a concise manner.

Prior to this, I couldn't write - I was too angry. I needed time to digest and process what had happened.

My apartment sublet was nothing short of a NIGHTMARE.

How's that?

I mentioned the fact that it was pretty dirty when I arrived in a post from December - I was still putting on a happy face, remaining optimistic, and thinking I will power through this. I will, I will, I will. After all, I was in the city! I was home.

The fact was, it wasn't dirty; it was vile. I was a tad upset. And it took me three days to clean. And, I am not a germaphobe by any stretch.

Now, I can see being a semi-germaphobe. I get it after experiencing that. I will never again make fun of another's obsession with cleanliness.


And there was a little situation living directly upstairs from me. A situation the person I subletted from was well aware of. But, chose to refrain from telling me.

The situation was a young-ish woman. An unbalanced young-ish woman.

The young-ish woman upstairs like to do a hybrid that I like to call the stomp-pace. Twenty minutes at a stretch. Up and down the length of the apartment. Wood floors. 11:30 PM, 2:30 AM, 4:30 AM, 5:30AM, 8:30 AM, and then maybe one around 4:00PM. 

Every night. Every morning. Sometimes she moved furniture back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. Usually the sliding of furniture occurred between the hours of midnight and 6:00AM.

I knew when her dog urinated in the apartment. Am I getting too graphic here? I'm going to stop. I haven't divulged the other details, and considering this is a family blog, I will refrain from revealing any other sordid details. 

Sometimes she had gentlemen callers. They usually arrived between the hours of 1:30 AM - 3:15 AM. 

Then there was the issue of being able to hear the tenants on both sides of my apartment, and the un-balanced woman upstairs. I could record conversations through the walls with my cell phone. The walls were that thin. I knew when they got up, where they walked to, and what they did when they got there. I knew when they went to bed. I knew when they woke up.

I had roommates and dogmates without the financial benefits.

All was not well.

I was sleeping on average 4 hours a night. Even with a sedative.

11 nights of not sleeping a full night through.

11 days of living there, I had spent three cleaning, 2 without heat and hot water, and 1 dealing with the police.  Twice.

Yes, police***.

Police were involved in the early hours of January 3. They had to be. Unbalanced neighbor upstairs, and all. She did some things to my apartment door. The police were not happy. They filed a report against her.

Apparently this wasn't the first time the police were called on her. I imagine it's not going to be the last, either.

I wanted out. Of course, I asked for my money back from the woman I subletted from; Of course she refused.

The person I subletted from turned out to be a bit of a hustler/con artist, as it later turned out.

I wasn't sleeping. I trudged through the month of January. I thought maybe I can get through this.

I went almost 40 nights of not sleeping a whole night through.

My hair was falling out. I broke out in hives, something I have never experienced.I was grinding my teeth. My shoulders were usually up at my ear lobe level. My breathing, needless to say, was shallow. My left eye stayed in a constant twitch.

I looked very cute.

Towards the end I started to sound like someone who has been on drugs. I couldn't follow a conversation.  My mind was leaping from place to place to place, never pausing long enough to, I don't know, breathe?

I suppose lack of sleep is similar to being on a drug bender.

I did discover I would be a horrid CIA Agent. If they ever used sleep deprivation as a torture on me to get me to talk, on day three, I would start flapping my gums like nobody's business.

Now don't get me wrong, I have worked many many long days and nights, have gone many weeks without sleep - but that is different. Usually there's some sort of compensation for the lack of sleep: food, satisfaction of a job well done, and I don't know -  that thing they call a paycheck. Yeah, that helps too.

I wasn't in my right mind to make any decisions. My friends urged me to come back to Southampton. 

So, at the end of January, I left.

I fled - yes, fled. I thought about staying until the very end of my sublet, but I just couldn't weather it.

Nor did I get my deposit back. Nor did she pay the landlord my rent money for Feb that I paid her in December.

And there's not a lot of recourse. She is gone, no forwarding address, nothing. 

And for the first week and a half in Southampton, I slept. I slept soundly through the night, and at times would still take a nap during the day.

I would still go into the city for meetings or to see a friend.

But it has taken me some time to get past this. I know I make light of it, but it wasn't. It was horrid. It's a horrid situation to be living underneath someone who is mentally unstable and has threatened you.

And that the person I subletted from was well aware of this. Had intimate knowledge of the situation. But that's another story for another time.

During that time, between these two women my compassion for human beings was tested. Severely tested.

Remember my earlier post about true New Yorkers? She was not one; she was a hustler by way of Brazil who was on her way to LA. She has no idea what she's in for in LA, and for that, there is satisfaction. She WILL be hustled so hard her head will be spinning. Right back to Rio. 

So, there's that.

Now, that that's out of the way, moving on.

I still love New York. Love it, love it, love it. Love the people. I still feel like I am home here, I still feel comfortable in my skin here, and love seeing my friends in the city when I am able to.

I love it when it snows, I love it when it rains, I love it when it's cold. Okay maybe not the cold when you're freezing, but you get the idea.

I love the food.

I love the conversations - whether it's with friends or someone in the park, or the cab driver. Love, love the conversations. Everyone's got an opinion and I love hearing all of them.

Southampton's not too shabby either. The people are lovely, the flowers are starting to bloom, and I have been biking around town.

Here I am the other day about to go biking with my dog:
Okay so it's not that warm, and you need five layers or so, and so what that you look a little heavier.  

The days have gotten longer, the sun is shining and the apartment debacle is becoming a faded memory. ***

*** NYPD rocked. They were lovely. Granted it probably has to do that I lived in the Mayor's precinct, but still. They even  gave me their cell number and email address if I needed anything.

*** Well, almost. I still can't stand to hear anything about Brazil or anything affiliated. I know this will pass in time.  I think. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

NYC: Holy Day aka St. Patrick's Day!

Today is a day of CRAZY celebration; New Yorkers treat St Patrick's Day similar to New Year's Eve. The city shuts down, work comes to a standstill and all of the city is green, if temporarily.

Now, growing up in the city, St Patrick's Day was the bane of one's existence. Stepping over the green vomit on the streets, snaking your way through the drunken revelers, trying to get to and from school or to and from work without a "KISS ME I'M IRISH" always, always, from some dude that you would never give the time of day to, sober, drunk, green, Irish, or not. We would be annoyed. Bridge and Tunnel we would say, and try to get out of the madness. 

Like these guys.
 (Tho, truth be told, these are cleaned up examples)

Being back, I am enamored with the festivities. 
The pomp, the circumstance.

The tradition.

The Parade! The Parade in NYC is really an art form.

I love the delight that people take in the holiday here; 
I mean, the local supermarket sold out of their god awful looking green cupcakes in a nano second. Everywhere it seems, are signs that proclaim: BEST Corned Beef and Cabbage! Guinness Beer on tap!

The parade has changed GREATLY since I've been away. There is a strict no alcohol in public, or on the street policy. Police are everywhere. The parade is orderly. 


But for one day across New York, there is unity. Everyone is Irish.***  

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

***PS. except for Donald Trump. He needs to go far, far away. And take that damn toupee with him. Idiot.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

In the meantime...

While I work on part 2, here are some random photo's from NYC.

Dog walkers and their charges.

All taken on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, 

January 2011.

Going on the afternoon stroll:

By the way, dog walkers usually get about $20.00- $25.00 per walk, per dog.

Note the boots:

Dogs waiting while one of their pals is returned to the doorman for safe deposit in owners apartment.

Looking down Park Avenue:

Looking up at a Church near Park Avenue:

And a man singing for his supper:

In the Subway Station:

That's it for now. 

I hope to have part 2 finished this weekend.