Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Fate Of Lucy Moon

I used to work within the world of animals.
I was a veterinary technician or "an animal nurse."
For almost 15 years. 
With 13 of those being in the city of Chicago. 
I've seen a lot. 
Dogs that have been shot. 
Dogs that have been starved. 
Dogs covered in maggots. 
Dogs left by the side of the road to die because they were fought and they lost. 
I worked at a clinic that had a pit bull rescue within it's doors. 
I met my husband at this clinic. 
He and I both know the atrocities these dogs have faced when in the hands of dog fighters. 
We have a good understanding of the breed. 
They are loyal to people, but can be unreliable if not trained properly after being in the hellish world of dog fighting. 
We aren't ignorant by any means about pit bulls and the stereotypes and injustices that have been thrown at them.
I truly believe that all dogs are good. 
People make them what they are.  
Purebred dogs can have more of a genetic misfire to behave erratically, but I think they can be fine with the right owner. 
This is my lead up to the one dog who entered our lives that we couldn't help. 

I think the year was 2011. 
I don't remember the season...late summer?  Fall?
My daughter was in the throes of cancer treatment AND had a broken ankle. 
What I do remember is this...
My parents were over and we were eating KFC. 
When lunch was almost over my mom declared "oh, I saw a dog tied up at the fence on Mt Gilead Road when I was bringing over the chicken."
Don't say that to me. 
We decided to go have a looksee. 
I was hoping it was gone or a figment of my mother's imagination. 
It was neither. 
There sitting, and not at all tied up, was a young, white pit bull. 
Small and horribly frightened.
I approached carefully and noticed two things. 
One, female unaltered. 
Two, scars on her face. 
Double ugh. 
I went back home and put our dog crate in the back of our minivan along with some KFC. 
Back to the pup who hadn't moved an inch, she readily ate the chicken. 
I put a leash on her and then wrapped it around her muzzle. 
Then, I could lift her into the dog crate.

We kept her in our barn after contacting several people who wouldn't take her. 
The Humane Society had no room. 
Animal Control would probably have put her down. 
Another shelter had no room. 
A local self-appointed "pitbull expert" had no room for her at her home. 
I put her on a pit bull rescue webpage. 
What I did get was zero interest in her and a certificate from the Humane Society to get her spayed for free. 

By this point she was not growling at my husband anymore. 
If you took care of her, she loved you. 
She loved our girls. 
She was the best kisser and lavished us all with her slobbery tongue at various times during the day. 
She was good at the vet office. 
Too scared to leave her cage after surgery so her "family" had to get her. 
She bounded to my children. 

But she attacked Lola twice in the yard.
A total unprovoked fight both times. 

We eventually let her into the house. 
She enjoyed her dog kennel. 
And the couch. 
We got her a collar and a dog tag with her new name. 
Zoe and Gigi named her Lucy Moon. 
Because she was white like the midnight moon. 

Then she attacked one of our kittens as they stood together next to our stove.
Totally unprovoked. 
The cat had cuts on his head from her teeth as she tried to eat his head. 
But the kicker came when she tried to eat my mother. 
The lady who saw her on the side of the road. 
The lady who had bought the chicken. 

Lucy Moon would growl at my father if he had my children in his lap. 
She would just stare at him and growl. 
And one afternoon, as my mother left the room, she lunged at her and tried to bite her foot, only getting her hard leather shoe. 
I was constantly on edge with this dog. 
She adored our family of four, but she couldn't be trusted 100%. 
We didn't know her history. 
We didn't have the time to devote to rehabilitating her. 
If our daughter had to be hospitalized, which at that time in our lives could happen at any moment, who would feed this dog?
She wanted to eat my parents. 

I had tried finding another place for her. 
My oldest daughter was gravely ill and I had a 3 year old. 
I had run out of options and I wouldn't be able to live with myself if she hurt one of my children. 
So, I took her to our vet to be euthanized. 
I have NEVER had to kill an animal that I couldn't help. 
But, as I tearfully told my wonderful veterinarian, I couldn't help this dog.
If I were 15 years younger, single or it was just Chad and I, and I didn't have a child with cancer, the situation would have been a lot different. 
I didn't know what else to do. 
She was a good dog who needed someone's time. 
And I currently didn't have time to give. 
As I said before, my veterinarian is wonderful!
She said "hang on a minute" and left the room. 
Upon her return she said they would keep her and try to find a home for her. 
Zoe had written a note with pictures of hearts to Lucy Moon saying we loved her.
I left her collar on her, but took her name tag off. 
The veterinarian took her to the back room, along with her note and said she would call me. 
My girls were told that the vet found her a new home. 
They were sad, but happy that she hadn't died. 

A few weeks later I had a message on my voicemail from our vet office. 
One of the shelters who had told me NO had told them YES. 
They would take her and try to find her a home. 

Last year my cousin fostered two puppies (that she now owns!) from the shelter that had taken Lucy Moon.
I was with her one day as we made oogly eyes at the puppies and other dogs at the shelter. 
I asked the lady behind the desk if she knew about Lucy Moon. 
She was cold and looked at me as if I were a very, very bad person. 
I say this only from my vast experience with shelter and "animal people" who seem to always mistrust humans when it comes to rescue/shelter work. 
She didn't believe that I had found Lucy Moon and that I had tried to work with her. 
She thought I was another asshole who had gotten a dog that I couldn't handle. 
I could see it written all over her face. 
She told me that they had worked with Lucy Moon.  
Trained her and that she had been adopted. 
But that she had bitten a child and had been euthanized. 
I have no idea if this is the truth. 
To this day, my children believe she's alive and happy.  

I believe if my life had been at a different stage I would still have Lucy Moon.
She was sweet, but troubled. 
She didn't trust everyone. 
She had been pushed around her entire life. 
She never knew true, forever love from a human, but I hope she knew we did love her.
And it still breaks my heart and brings genuine tears to my eyes that I couldn't help her. 
Sometimes when we are out and about and see a dog that resembles her, my daughters will say "that looks like Lucy Moon!"  
And I smile and agree. 

Part 3 in a series titled "Pets" I'll be doing. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

From A Horse To A Shoe In The Head...

On Tuesday I had to trim Buttercup's tail. 
It had grown so long over the winter that she was going to step on it!

On Wednesday Gigi made me a snack. 
The list of ingredients with zero idea of measuring were:
Cheddar cheese
Peanut butter
Garlic topper
Everyone in the family had a small taste. 

Pigeon flyover caught on camera. 

On Friday the girls' cousins came over for the afternoon. 
Emily and Hanna. 
I caught them playing hide and seek. 
Emily was the last to be found. 
Notice how she's creeping around the tree trunk as they approach?

It was so unbearably hot for Gigi on Saturday that she just had to fill a plastic pool up with water. 
Of course it was so cold that she never sat in it. 

Easter Sunday. 
Chad and I in our Sunday best. 
Why is it that I always feel thinner than I photograph?
Anyway, in these three sequential shots that Zoe took, the following happened...
Gigi saw a bug on her leg. 
So she kicked her foot up into the air. 
Causing her wedge heel to fly off of her foot. 
It soared up into the sky and hit her sister, the photographer, right in the side of the head. 
Looking at Chad's expression, it would seem as if nothing had happened at all. 

Do You Ever...

Do you ever...

Hear a noise while driving your car and think "is that my wheel/doorframe/catalytic converter pinging and about to fall off?"
Only to realize it was a tambourine or synthesizer in the song on your radio. 
Whew, that was a close call!

Wonder if people from your past ever think about you in their present?

Watch too many episodes of House Hunters International and honestly think about packing up all your shit and hiring a helicopter pilot to harness up your horse for an ocean flyover because your moving to the Hawaiian island of Kauai by the end of the week?

Feel that the life you wanted to live can still be fulfilled...if you only had a bit more money?

Have leg envy?
With your husband's legs?
Minus the hair of course. 

Wish it was socially acceptable to wear your pants up high?
Like under your boobs high?
Is it just me?

Wish blood draws could be done ANY other way other than with that damn sharp (but tiny) needle that hurts like a mofo going through your suddenly elephant thick skin?

Watch a really scary movie with your eyes almost, completely squished shut?
Where you end up looking through your eyelashes?
Or with a thin scarf covering your face?
Because that way it's not nearly as scary?
I do. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

6 Days Of Pictures

Wednesday was so warm!
Gigi decided to have a tea party on the pool deck. 
These are her guests...
Deer skull
Deer pelvis (how will it eat?!)
Headless baby (again, no mouth)

Later pelvis left for found baby's head. 
They had a dirt cake. 

Thursday Zoe had her spring music and art show at school. 
She sang three songs with her fellow third graders. 
Songs ranging from the 1930s to the 1950s. 
They were to dress in clothes from those decades. 
She's wearing a poodle skirt that was mine!
That thing is like 35 years old. 
So old that my mother can't even remember if she made it or if my grandmother did. 

Friday was another glorious day. 
Warm and 75 degrees. 
Gigi and I took dad to work and then headed to the park next door to Millikin University. 
We exercised on the bike path. 
She rode while I walked/jogged. 
It's a beautiful place to exercise. 

Saturday we decided to let the chicks go outside. 
We put them in the horse pasture all by themselves. 
They were nervous, but then started to get the hang of things. 
This was their first time ever touching the earth with their chicken feet. 

On Sunday Zoe went to a swimming birthday party, so the rest of us did trash pickup in the woods in our yard. 
We found plastic bags and many super sized McDonald's cups in the creek. 
Gigi is the only one of us who is small enough to walk on the derelict old bridge that crosses the creek. 
Looks like something Grandpa could fix up! 

Yesterday, Monday, it was cold. 
So the girls and Firecracker played on the Wii after school. 

A Cat Named Don

We have cats. 
Many cats. 
I won't bore you with the exact number, but if you really must know, it's less than 8 and more than 6. 
Don't judge. 
The majority of our cats are barn cats. 
Meaning they go outside and hunt mice in the barn and in the pastures. 
And they catch birds. 
And drink the water on the pool cover. 
And for some reason all of our cats look alike. 
There are subtle differences. 
Popcorn has an all-white underbelly. 
Cali is a tortie. 
She's a beautiful mix of browns and blacks and golden reds. 
But everyone is a tabby. 

Meaning brown and tanish/gray with stripes. 
Everyone except one fella. 
A fella named Don Diego. 
He sticks out like a peacock amongst poodles. 

He's part Siamese. 

Siamese cats have large ears, a pointy head, a long body and a 20 foot long tail. 

And they yell. 
I walk into the room where Don is and fall over backwards from the volume that comes from within his body. 
He's just saying "hello", but it comes out as "HEEEEELLLLLOOOOO!!!!"
He yells because the water bowl is empty. 
He yells at the back door because he wants to go into the basement (which is his version of outside.)
He yells at 4 AM when I get up to pee. 
As if he's saying "HEY, YOU'RE UP!!  ME, TOO!!!!

We got Don in 2007. 
We had only been on the farm a few months and only had one cat. 
See what farm life does...makes you get cats. 
Tiger was that cat and Zoe was 2. 
Tiger did NOT want Zoe or anyone messing with him. 
All a 2 year old wants to do is mess with a cat. 
So, one afternoon Zoe and I wandered over to the humane society. 
I may have told Chad. 
Or I may not have. 
Anywho, we saw this 4 month old kitten with his brother hanging in the kitten room at the shelter. 
I had had a black and white cat as a child and always had a fondness for them. 
What really got me was his "freckle".   
The big black beauty mark to the left of his nose. 
Alrighty, we'll take that one!

We were told he was born at the shelter and his mother was black and white short hair. 
Nothing about the dad. 
But he must have been the Siamese. 
Don can stretch out on our queen size bed and he touches both sides.
No lie. 

He follows me around and really only likes to sit with me. 
Chad calls him my puppy. 
He likes to sleep on Zoe's bed. 
He will only eat his cat food on the table in our laundry room. 
There are food bowls on the floor, but he won't have any part of them. 
He has many names. 
He's officially Don Diego de la Vega (Zorro's real name!)
But we call him...
Be Quiet!
Shut Up!
Hold It Down Will Ya!
You don't need an alarm clock with this guy around. 
Want to wake the kids at a certain time?
Get a Don Diego and have him stand in their room when he's hungry. 
He'll wake them up in no time!!

Part 2 in a series titled "Pets" I'll be doing. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Things In My Yard On A Sunday

After the rain ended on Sunday, we put on our boots and went in the yard. 
This is what I found...

A guy...

Broken glass.
Our yard tends to grow broken glass. 
As it was on farms of yesteryear, glass was just thrown outside. 
There were piles all around. 
Bottle shards, pieces of dinner plates. 
Recycling as we know it now did not exist. 
When it rains (and especially in the spring after the long, cold winter) glass can be found sprouting from the earth. 

I love my chives. 
A no nonsense, no maintenance onion that returns year after year. 
Why, hello there chives!


A baby bottle bottom.
Say that three times fast...

A purple pony...

A yellow something. 
We don't know what this is or where it came from!
The leaves emerging all around this yellow wonder are those of our bright orange lilies that bloom in the heat of July. 
Who is this beautiful yellow intruder?

A little Old Glory...

What remains of the neighbor's mean cat who died last year...

This beautiful red tree fungus. 
The colors in nature can be quite amazing, don't ya think?!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Friends Everywhere

The twins were found lounging on Gigi's bed. 
Firecracker is on the left and Jumper is the big guy. 
They often cuddle together like this. 
So darn cute!

Gigi's friend Ella came over to see our baby chicks and to play. 
They get along famously and her mom said she's going to bring her by more as the weather gets warmer. 
So they can run and play in the good ol' outdoors!

Sunday we went to our friends' new home in Normal. 
I went to college in Normal. 
Meet these boys' father in Normal. 
It's so sweet to see my kids and his kids as friends now. 
We went to lunch at an Illinois State institution, Avanti's. 
It was a beautiful day so we went on a walk to get ice cream and to enjoy the sunshine which no one has seen in 6 months!
We walked through the campus. 
Saw the old and new of my alma mater. 
It was really fun. 

I didn't take any pictures Monday. 
But yesterday (Tuesday) the girls and I went to our local zoo. 
It opened for the season and we saw our friends, the wolves and the penguins and the camels and the zebras and the list goes on and on and on. 
Gigi wanted to swing in the baby swing at the playground. 
Ummm, I think she's too big. 
And long. 
Zoe talked to Tilly the wolf. 
Tilly is the alpha wolf of her pack and sometimes the girls can get her to howl.