June 13, 2015
Life is strange. I think I have said that to you before. Things just play out. You know, they just play out the way God intended. In the midst of things sometimes you want things to go differently. I have told my kids, “you get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.” Easy for me to say, right? Sometimes when things are hard, I don’t feel well, money is tight, etc. etc….I get really frustrated. I get lost in my own head. I know from having a teenager that helping someone else is the best way to pull you out of your own head. Teenagers spend lots of time rattling around in their own heads. I am guilty of it as well, I knew I needed to help someone else to stop wallowing around up there. I had been meaning to find some way to do just that for so long. I wasn’t sure what it would look like. I have always had a huge pull to the homeless, maybe I would find a way to help someone less fortunate than I. I wasted all this time thinking about it. I always had this feeling that I was meant to do something else. I wasn’t sure what God meant me for. You know, what was I supposed to be DOING??? I know that I can’t go back to regular work right now as my MS is unpredictable. Fine one day, exhausted the next. If I do not sleep, there is the next day, shot.
You know by now that animals are a big part of my life. I can’t imagine a home without them (poor Ben, oh well). My dog, Kando, came to us with that name. We call her Kandy Bar a lot. Her name is ironic as I went to this wonderful MS program in Vail when I was first diagnosed called Can Do MS. I may have mentioned before that Kando is a retired service dog. As I type the word “service” dog, I chuckle to myself and actually feel like I am misleading you. That is because I am. She is smart enough to do absolutely anything. Right now she is laying on one of her many blankies (such a blankie dog) snoring. She has selective hearing, runs off when I am working in the yard, and has forgotten how to stay out of the way. I would not know how to cook dinner without straddling a Labrador. I had one for 13 years before my Kando that did the same thing. Kando would protect me no matter what. The bad guys could lop Ben over the head, but she would protect me. She would step right over his body and make sure I was all right. Then she would show them where her treat cupboard is. The way she is in tune with me is nothing short of a miracle. Kando worked as my service dog for a while and I took her everywhere. I took her on every trip, to every hotel, restaurant, store, everywhere. The amazing thing about service dogs is that they can be virtually unnoticeable. I could sit in a restaurant and she would be curled up on the ground right by me and people would not know she was there. That is how it is supposed to be. I adored taking her everywhere. She makes me happy. That dog replaced my cane. When I walk with her she balances out the stupid side. Then, like me, she developed epilepsy and had to retire. She still works for me it is just that I cannot take her everywhere. They took her vest. Bummer. I know when she feels crummy and she knows when I feel crummy. If I am feeling really bad, she gets up on the bed. This dog is not allowed on the bed as that is cat territory. She will curl up beside me, sometimes she even has her head on the pillow. Ben will come in and she looks at him as if to say, “I have to guard Mom.” Ben will give her a pat and tell her she is a good dog. She is always right. If she hovers, I am in trouble. Animals just get it. It is total unconditional love.
One day my kids were out walking and brought home this little dog. I mean this dog weighed 8 pounds ringing wet. My cat is bigger than this dog. She was shaking like a leaf. She was lost. All lost and wounded animals come to my house. I am not joking either. If a bird is going to fall and break a wing, he will do it here. This dog was the second rescue that week, not counting the stupid bird. I called the number on her tag and a lady came to get her. The lady said the dog belonged to the old man down the street and was his best friend. I told her to give him my number because I am generally home. If he needed anything, he could call me. The next day the phone rang. It was an elderly man thanking me for saving his dog. It was Carl. Many of you have met Carl. He comes to church with us sometimes. Daisy is his dog. She is a piece of work. Daisy is a Chihuahua/rat terrior mix. Take a moment and visualize with me. She has a hideous under bite and one ear was chewed by her litter mates. A Rottweiler lives in that tiny body. On that day a beautiful friendship began. That was the day I met Carl.
You would not think I have a lot in common with and 88 year old man. It is funny because we like a lot of the same stuff. We share the same sarcasm, we love animals, and he watches Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights. I love Lawrence Welk. I grew up watching it with my Grandma. I can hear Lawrence saying, “Wasn’t that won-der-ful ladies and gentlemen? Now let’s listen to Bobby on the accordion.” I loved it. It is on Saturday nights at 6 on PBS. No one cares but me……and Carl. We also love the animal shows on PBS.
The first time I went to his house I saw he had the same bird identification book that I have. Mine is dog eared and worn. It sits in my birding window just in case a different bird comes along that I can’t identify. I am actually a bit obsessive about my birds. Yesterday there were four Lazuli Buntings on my feeder. They are a beautiful blue and I was glued to them, binoculars on my face for an hour. Google it. They are stunning and have a pretty tweet as well. I couldn’t wait to tell Carl. His feeders had been taken down when his wife passed away. Last year I dug them out, bought seed, and within 10 minutes of hanging it (I am not kidding either) a Western Tanager was at the feeder. They are absolutely beautiful. They look like a pet with brilliant orange and red. These birds migrate through here, but are seen more in the mountains. Once we stayed in a cabin in Meeker and they were everywhere. Stunning.
Anyway, there it was in all of it’s glory….on Carl’s newly hung feeder. That bird was absolutely brilliant orange and red. It was a flying sunset and looked as if it was glowing. I swear an angel sent it, or maybe it was an angel. I screamed and jumped up and down and it flew off. Dang it! Carl cracked up. He cannot hear well at all, but he can see very well. On that day we began keeping track of the birds we saw. At home, I am up to like 37 different breeds that I have seen over the last 11 years. I am passionate and nerdy about it. So is Carl. Carl eats his breakfast and watches the birds every morning, Daisy sitting at his feet waiting for her next handout. Animals bring people together in a magical way. Carl has pulled me out of my own head. I love helping him and it makes me feel good about myself. It was that goofy dog that brought us together. Little Miss Daisy.
EMNoller copyright 2015