Happy 1st Birthday

4 Feb

Dear Jackson,

Today is your first birthday. It seems like both the shortest and longest year of my life. I can’t believe you are 1 already! I remember with perfect clarity taking a pregnancy test at 6am on Friday May 24. I didn’t even have to wait the requisite 2 minutes – that second line popped right up, bold and without any doubt. I woke up your dad with these words “Aaron. Aaron. Um… I am pregnant”. He made me take 2 more pregnancy tests that weekend.


7 weeks gestation

This has been a year of wonder, of fear, of stress, of happiness and magic. I remember holding you the first time and thinking “This is my child. Who the heck let me have a kid?” I won’t lie- being a first time mom is really scary!

I was so blessed to have 8 weeks of maternity leave to spend every moment with you. Dad took a week off work so we could all bond as a family. Some days were really rough – I had an oversupply with a fast let down and there were many days when you puked on me with every nursing session.  Getting to take a shower was a luxury. You were really a good newborn though – you slept pretty well, you hardly ever cried, and if you did, you were easily settled. I finally figured out that I could put you in the bouncer in the bathroom and get that quick shower. You didn’t care for the swing at first, but it grew on you. When you were a few months old, you liked it swinging front to back, but side to side wasn’t your favorite.


I remember the moment I fell in love with you. You were just 1 month old (It was March 1, to be exact!) We were on our way home from the Irish Festival where you rocked your “My Best Friend is a Pit Bull” onesie and were the hit of the booth. You were so good through the whole event. I glanced in the rear view mirror on the way home and I saw your face in the baby mirror and it hit me like a ton of bricks. You were MINE. No matter what happened, I was your mom, forever and ever. Nothing and no one could change that. The depth of that love blew me away.


There was nothing better in those first 2 months than watching you sleep. Your face was so animated. You pursed your lips. You smiled. You furrowed your brow. It was amazing! Sometimes I would lie beside you and just watch you. Reveling in the miracle of YOU.

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I was even MORE blessed to have a few more months where I only worked part time. You started daycare in April when you were 3 months old, but only a few hours a day. The first day I dropped you at daycare was so hard. I cried the whole way home! You weren’t taking a bottle at first, so I had to drive down to the daycare and nurse you! After about a week (and buying EVERY bottle in the store) you finally figured it out and you happily took the bottle. I was so thankful… because I was so worried about you being unhappy at daycare. I shouldn’t have worried, you were almost always happy, and quickly became a staff favorite. I will never forget walking in one day and seeing you sitting at the high chair table. Oh my gosh, you were such a big boy!


On May 11 you were baptized into the Episcopal Church by our favorite priest – on my very first Mother’s Day! It was a wonderful gift. You also took your first airplane trip to San Diego at the end of the month. I was bracing myself for a nightmare (and wondered if I ought to budget a round of drinks for the whole flight) but man, once again, you were a dream. You didn’t cry at all! You actually fell asleep before we even took off! I nursed you on landing and you were just a happy baby for the whole 3 hour flight!

June 22 was your first big development milestone – you rolled over! You’d been working on it for weeks and would get to your side, but couldn’t get that shoulder under to make it all the way. I was so excited!

On July 7, you tried your first food. You were obsessed with our meal a few days earlier, so we decided you were ready. Honestly, you were more interested in the plate.


July 24, 2 days before my 35th birthday, you cut your first tooth. And then 5 days after that, your second one appeared.

On August 13 you used a straw for the first time at the Chinese Buffet. Then you promptly forgot how and you still won’t use a straw, even 6 months later.

A few weeks later, I had to start traveling again for work. Being home with you for the first 7 months of your life was amazing! We decided that Daddy would stay home full time and care for you while Mommy was out of town. That first Monday was the most miserable day. I cried most of the way to the airport and again on the plane. I shouldn’t have worried – like everything else; you took the change with your usual chill acceptance.


Sept 21 you finally figured out forward motion and became a crawler. You’d been scooting backwards in circles for about 3 weeks and rocking forward on your knees, but it finally all made sense.

You started clapping on October 17. I think you finally figured it out watching the other kids at The Little Gym. We took your second plane trip at the end of October, so we could share your first Halloween with your aunts, uncles and grandparents. Now you clap any time someone says “YAY!” It’s hilarious.


November was a crazy time for mommy, but I’m sure you did tons of adorable things that I guess I didn’t write down. We have some video of you dancing to Ingrid Michaelson “Girls Chase Boys”. Man, you LOVE music. All kinds of music!

December was your very first road trip. We went to New Mexico to meet your Aunt Pat and Uncle Wally. You also opened your very first Christmas present! As expected, you found the tissue paper and bag to be the best part. But you also loved the handmade bear.


And now you’re 1. I can’t believe this year has passed sooooooo fast, but also so very slow. The world looks different now that I’m a mom and get to celebrate the smallest, yet MOST MOMENTOUS things in life. I have a new passion for social justice, because I want the world you inherit to be BETTER. My priorities have changed, and while I may lament in the moment that your dad and I haven’t watched a TV show straight through since you were born, we wouldn’t change any of it. Not for all the money in the world.


Kid, I love you. Thanks for making me your mom.


Jackson’s Birth Story

1 Feb

I was 41W 4D pregnant and really ready to meet my son. I went to bed a little after midnight on Tues Jan 28 and awoke around 1:00am with a funny feeling in my uterus. I’d been experiencing a lot of Braxton Hicks, but this was different. I got up to use the restroom and realized my water had broken. Not a lot of water, but enough that it was definite. I had to laugh – the one night that I had very little sleep I went into labor! Of course. I woke up Aaron, Aaron, to tell him the news. I timed my contractions for a bit and texted my doula and midwife, Rosetta, a little before 2am to let them know that I was definitely in labor.

I changed into yoga pants and a long sleeved top and then my water COMPLETELY broke. I had to laugh again – my last clean pair of stretchy pants were now soaking wet. I changed again.

My doula, Megan, arrived around 3am and my mother in law and husband started getting our things together. I labored on my hands and knees and the birth ball. Megan timed my contractions a bit and after an hour they were about 3 minutes apart. We decided it was time to head into Edenway birth center, which was 20 minutes away. We decided that my mother in law would drive my car down so that we had options as far as transportation.

We arrived at the birth center a little before our midwives, Rosetta and Mary. I had chosen to birth in the small cottage in the back of the property which was typically the alternate location if there was already a birth in progress. I just loved that space. It felt so cozy and calming to me. Unfortunately, it was proving impossible to warm up. It was very cold that morning with the temperature hovering around 20 degrees F. They had multiple space heaters going and it was still really cold. The water in the birth tub was also not warming up very well. Rosetta apologized but suggested that we go into the main house where we could all be warm.

Megan suggested we go for a walk to help keep the labor progressing. It was so cold but we trudged around the garden and the parking lot a few times. After a little while, I was freezing so we headed inside.

I labored for a bit longer on the birth ball and then decided to get into the birth tub. I felt like it was any time now that we’d have a baby and I was ready! Unfortunately, being in the tub was a little too relaxing and my contractions slowed way down. After a while, the midwives asked me to get out of the tub.


After laboring for a bit, Rosetta asked me if anything was on my mind. I admitted I had been worrying about the dogs at home and how cold it was. My mother-in-law agreed to take my car and head back to the house to check on the dogs. At some point, I started throwing up. I remember thinking “ooh, maybe I’m close to transition!” I was excited to finally meet my baby. But no, I was just vomiting as some women do.

I had been drinking lots of water during the contractions, and I ate some of the snacks I had brought with me. My mom’s longest labor was 6 hours, so I guess I didn’t plan that we may need to have actual meals during the labor. I had brought snacks that appealed to me normally, but I didn’t want to eat any of them while actually laboring.

When my mother in law returned, it was around lunch time. Not much had changed, so she and Aaron went to grab some lunch across the street. They brought back some chicken and fries for me, along with some sugary drinks to help keep my energy up. Our assistant midwife, Mary, kept encouraging me to eat. Unfortunately, because I was still vomiting regularly, I don’t think I kept much of it down.

After laboring for a while longer without much progress, the midwives speculated that the baby was slightly turned (he’d been posterior for a good portion of my pregnancy) and that was preventing him from moving completely into the birth canal and causing me to fully dilate. Aaron used the rebozo on me to hopefully shift the baby into a better position. Then, we spent time rotating through multiple positions during contractions. No change.


At this point, I was exhausted and my contractions had basically stopped. Rosetta checked the vital signs of the baby and me often so I wasn’t worried. She had been giving me some homeopathics to encourage the contractions. My blood pressure had been rising so I took some magnesium supplements. She asked if I wanted to get a chiropractic adjustment and encouraged me to rest for a bit.

My chiropractor, Dr Kristin, arrived around 7pm to adjust me and the baby to hopefully get things moving again. The baby had his hands up around his face, as he did through much of my pregnancy, so she was able to get his arms in a better position. Unfortunately, labor didn’t pick back up like we had hoped. Then we brought out all the tricks to restart my labor. Aaron and I took a shower. We used the breast pump for nipple stimulation. I climbed up and down the stairs.

At this point, we were approaching 24 hours of my water breaking. Rosetta discussed the risks with us but I felt comfortable since our vitals, other than my blood pressure, were good. We discussed the possibility for hospital transfer at some point if my contractions didn’t restart because of the risk of infection but agreed that we had time to wait. I was just feeling so exhausted. We decided that some rest would be good for all of us.

Aaron and I napped in the bed for a few hours. We woke up in the early morning and I still wasn’t having consistent contractions. We all agreed that Aaron would take me home, I would see my dogs and take a little nap, have a shower and eat some food and we’d come back to the birth center in a few hours. Perhaps changing things up and moving around would get us back on track. I took a shower and brushed my teeth – quite possible one of the most satisfying things EVER!

Around 11am, Aaron spoke to Rosetta. They both agreed that it was time to head to the hospital to get a little help. My contractions were non-existent and my water had been broken for 30 hours. I was so tired and I was just ready to have the baby, and honestly, I hadn’t been feeling him as much and was starting to worry.

We met our midwives and our doula at Texas Methodist Cleburne hospital around 1pm. They had already called the Nurse Midwives to tell them we were coming in. We headed up to the Labor and Delivery floor and to our room. Rosetta left to attend to another client of hers that had gone into labor but our second midwife Mary stayed with us. The Nurse Midwives that took over my care were Carla and Dana.

After getting checked in, I was started on some IV fluids. I was REALLY dehydrated. So much that they couldn’t find a good vein and had to put the hep-lock in my elbow. Ouch! After a few minutes on the fluids I already felt better. The head Nurse Midwife, Carla, wasn’t happy with my blood pressure but assured me that it would be okay.

Around 3pm I was put on Pitocin. I labored on the birth ball for a while and asked about using the birth tub. The nurses were working to get it set up in the other room. Carla did a vaginal exam to see how far I was dilated. She had me labor for a bit on the peanut ball as a way to encourage my cervix to dilate and get things moving. It was really uncomfortable and I hated it!

I distinctly remember asking Megan and Mary at one point if I was a bad person if I wanted the pain meds. They were awesome – they said “let’s just get through one more contraction and we’ll see how you feel”. I promptly forgot about the meds!

I labored in the room for a few hours before the tub was ready. I believe my contractions were only a couple of minutes apart at this point. I got in the tub and loved the feeling of the water. Of course, my contractions slowed way, way, way down, to like 8 minutes apart when I was in the water. Carla came in and made me get out of the tub. I was NOT happy!

I had another vaginal exam around 8 and was told that I had a lip on my cervix. Carla asked me to labor on that darn peanut ball as long as I could stand it to hopefully get the lip to move out of the way. It was so incredibly painful, but at some point I realized that I could let the contractions wash over me and somewhat separate myself from my body. I think I’d been fighting the contractions all along, rather than surrendering to them and embracing them as bringing my baby closer. After about 45 minutes I needed to use the restroom. I was feeling like I wanted to push, so I told the midwives and they had me head back to my room around 9pm.

That darn lip still wasn’t out of the way, and I pushed HARD while Carla massaged my cervix with some oil. Aaron and Midwife Mary held my legs. Megan encouraged me. The stupid lip wouldn’t budge and I was getting exhausted. They gave me some oxygen and used the internal monitor because the external monitor was picking up my heartbeat and causing some concern. It felt like forever, but was really only about 45 minutes of intense pushing. It was the hardest (and weirdest) thing in my whole life! Finally, at a few minutes to 10pm, the lip finally gave way and the baby crowned. Midwife Mary helped me relax and breathe and pace myself through the next few pushes to avoid tearing. Aaron was positioned and ready to catch the baby!

Jackson David was born at 10:09pm. I heard Aaron say he was afraid he was going to drop him because he was so slippery! Aaron must have stared in wonder at our son a little too long because the midwives said “Put him on mom’s chest!” I asked if he was okay because I didn’t hear him cry right away. They assured me he was going to be fine, just had a little distress after such hard pushing and long labor. They put him up on my belly and did the initial APGAR scoring. It was pretty low, I think a 2.


After a few minutes of skin to skin, he was breathing better and his temperature was rising but it was slow. I asked Aaron if he would like to do some skin-to-skin with him. When Jackson was placed on Aaron’s chest, his vitals perked right up! His second Apgar score was a 9. YAY!


My placenta came pretty quickly after Jackson was born. We took a few pictures and it was packed up for Megan to take and encapsulate for me.

We spent the golden hour watching our baby in pure wonder. We had asked for the weighing, measuring, etc to wait so we could have that bonding time with him. The lactation consultant came and we let Jackson do the newborn breast crawl and it was so incredible to watch. He kept overshooting the nipple though, so finally I helped him out a little bit. Like any first time mom, I was uncertain if he was latching well or getting anything. But he seemed content, so I tried to relax.


After about 2.5 hours, the baby was sleeping and it was time for everyone to rest. Aaron’s mom headed back to our house and Aaron slept next to me on a chair that converted to a bed. Apparently it was VERY uncomfortable. Poor Aaron, he was so tired, and then I kept waking him up because the call button didn’t work to get the nurse – in the morning I found out I’d been using the wrong button! Because of my preeclampsia, I received a magnesium drip for about 12 hours and I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed because it makes you dizzy. Add the 1 pain pill I took, and I was a mess. Thankfully Aaron was a good sport about it.

Unfortunately, Jackson had a slightly elevated white blood cell count, most likely because my water had been broken for so long, and the pediatrician wanted to give him some antibiotics. This meant he had to get an IV in his foot, so we couldn’t take the herbal bath we had planned. Boo. We did take the bath together in our home tub a few days later.

We spent Friday resting in the hospital, and then Saturday night we were released to go home once Jackson’s white blood cell count was back to normal. The hospital prepared a special meal for Aaron and I before we checked out  – it was such a lovely touch. Around 9pm Jackson was finally released and we packed up our new little dude and started our life as a family of 3!


New site!

28 Mar

This blog is being moved to http://www.thiscrazylady.com/. Please update your bookmarks!

I will be disabling this wordpress blog in 30 days.

Rescues bashing other rescues

12 Mar

Yesterday, a local boarding facility/rescue posted names of individuals from another rescue who elected to euthanize some dogs that they had been boarding at that facility.

I don’t know the circumstances behind the euthanasia decision, but if those dogs were unadoptable, I don’t think we have any right to judge. I don’t believe that warehousing dogs is a good life for those dogs either.

We’ve seen long term residents in shelters go “kennel crazy”. Enrichment is critical to avoid kennel stress. I doubt a boarding facility with 30+ dog capacity and a limited staff (that also run a doggy daycare and training classes in addition to caring for their own “rescue” dogs) is providing the kind of enrichment necessary to keep these dogs living a decent life.

I guess my point is – maybe we shouldn’t throw stones, but rather WORK TOGETHER to figure out solutions in these circumstances. Rescues that cannot move these dogs to a foster home due to aggression or other issues have a limited budget. The dogs cannot live in boarding forever. I firmly believe that rescues have responsibility to the dogs they pull – but sometimes those dogs aren’t well and don’t exhibit their true nature until weeks/months after being in foster care. Let’s be honest – not all dogs would make a good pet for the average owner. Sometimes we have to make the crappy choices.

You know, instead of bashing another rescue for “doing it wrong”, maybe we ought to work together to find solutions in these situations. Perhaps the boarding facility rescue could have offered to transfer these dogs into their rescue, if they felt so strongly that they had an opportunity for adoption.

Again, I don’t know the circumstances behind the decision to euthanize these dogs, but I can’t imagine it was done lightly. What right do we have to judge? I certainly don’t think we have the right to post people’s names on Facebook when we don’t also post all the facts. It’s also telling to me that the leadership of the boarding facility rescue hasn’t responded to any of my offers to collaborate on solutions. Everyone can be accused of “doing it wrong”, now can’t they?

Menstrual cup – better for you, better for the environment

31 Jan

Warning – this post is about feminine hygiene products. If you’re squeamish, stop reading now.

We moved into our house in the “country” in February and were instantly catapulted into a variety of new homeowner situations. We belong to an electricity “co-op”. We have a propane tank. We aren’t connected to city sewer – we have a septic field. This means we have a septic tank with a series of perforated pipes buried in trenches in the yard and surrounded by gravel which dispose of the wastewater and organic materials that were broken down by the bacteria in the septic tank.

Having a septic tank means we have to be cognizant of what goes down the drain into the septic system. Lots of things are inappropriate for the septic system – too much detergent, bleach, too much organic waste (food), oil, etc. Remember, there’s bacteria doing amazing work but it’s limited to what it can “eat”. Feminine hygiene products – tampons – may be the biggest NO for septic systems. The bacteria can’t break down the material fast enough (or at all) and they can clog the pipes.

Thankfully, I considered this early and stopped flushing. Disposing of feminine products in the trash was also not a great solution. Then I read a review of menstrual cups by a friend and decided that might be the answer to my problems.

I admit, like I’m sure every girl in the world, I was a little grossed out by the idea. But then I remembered that hands can be washed. We come in contact with all sorts of disgusting things during the day – other people’s bodily fluids on doorknobs and telephones. If you think about it too long, you’ll never leave your house. But really, wash your hands with soap and hot water and it’s all good.

After the first day, I’m a total convert. No worrying about when I start my period and if I have enough supplies on hand. No worrying about packing things in my purse or suitcase to deal with it. No worries about leaking. No worries!


I do use Lunette cup wipes to clean my menstrual cup when I’m in a public restroom – since using the sink would be weird for me AND everyone else. Those fabulous folks at Lunette made those wipes biodegradable, so I don’t have to even feel guilty about that. Into the compost pile… or you can even flush it.

The price is a little steep when you first purchase your cup, but you realize quickly that it’s much more cost efficient in the long run. I hesitated at first because what if I didn’t like it? Not to worry. I don’t know anyone who tried one and didn’t like it. And after a couple of days, it’s so not a big deal any more.

More comfortable, cheaper, more natural for your body, no waste. Really – what are you waiting for?

Using “girly” as a derogatory term

9 Jan

Many people were in an uproar over Ann Coulter’s use of the word “retard” during the Presidential debates. I grew up using this word as slang to call someone stupid or uncool. In high school, as many kids began using “gay” as a derogatory term to mean similar things. As I was heavily involved with gay acceptance at my high school, I frequently admonished people who called things “gay”. It was then that I realized calling something “retarded” to say it was uncool was also uncool

It’s true that the word “retard” means something non-disparaging – to delay the development of, or a slowing down – and it makes sense why this word was once used to describe people with physical and mental challenges. Once it started being hurled as an epithet, it’s appropriate for us to take it out of common usage. It’s debasing to people who have a disability by implying that someone with a physical or mental disability is somehow worth less than those who do not.

This is the issue that I have with men using phrases like “don’t be such a girl” or “like a girl”. Many modern men don’t feel females are less than males in value. My husband says he certainly doesn’t – but I’ve heard him use “like a girl” in a derogatory way. Use of the word “girl” or “girly” in this way says that being a girl is inferior to being a boy. This perpetuates the inequality of women in society.

There’s a Madonna lyric that perfectly illustrates my point:

But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading
Cause you think being a girl is degrading”

Substitute “look” for any verb – act, play, hit, sound, etc.

We don’t need to disparage women in order to encourage men to behave in a different way. Besides, is it really valuable to our boys to say “you <blank> like a girl”? Maybe we shouldn’t be disparaging our boys either. How about offering constructive criticism instead?

I know many people, my husband included, would argue that it’s just casual speech and doesn’t mean anything. I argue that the language we use is important. I believe it conveys how we really think and feel. This is why I have consciously stopped using the word “gay” or “retarded” when I really mean “undesirable”. In my heart, I believe homosexuals and physically/mentally challenged people are just part of the rich fabric of society and are not inferior to others in any way. Why would I want to imply that  when I communicate? Words MEAN something, and we should take care to ensure the words we speak mean what we intend.

So, look deep in your heart. Is being female inferior to being a boy? If you truly believe in gender equality, encourage your loved ones to stop using “girl” or “girly” in a derogatory way.

Let’s Get Vulnerable in 2013

8 Jan

I’ve watched a few long term friendships crumble because of hurt feelings from misunderstandings, and suffered through a few of these myself. It’s sad to think that if one party had fessed up to the hurt feelings and talked it through, maybe these relationships could have been saved.

I’m not the paragon of admitting my feelings (or heck, even understanding them sometimes), but I’ve been working on it for a few years. I like to believe that most people don’t mean to be unkind. We ASSUME they are being unkind because we don’t have context around their actions or we misunderstand something they are saying.

For example, when I was younger (and even now), I was told I’d hurt some coworker’s feelings with things I said. I was shocked! I respected and valued this coworker, I couldn’t imagine what I said that upset them. I certainly didn’t intend to be hurtful. It really opened my eyes to the fact that communication is about sending and receiving, and that sometimes your message is NOT received the way you thought you sent! It also occurred to me that the opposite must be true – I must have “taken things wrong” a few times myself.

We would hope that our friends/loved ones would know us enough to understand how we mean things, but remember that the receiver comes to the communication with their own set of baggage. Maybe the are sensitive about a particular subject that you aren’t aware of. Maybe the receiver is having a bad day and their threshold is shot. I know this has happened to me a few times – I’ve overreacted/misunderstood something because I was on my very last nerve and I read a whole bunch of meaning into something that wasn’t there. Today’s shift in communication to text, email, Facebook, etc just exacerbates this problem, because there’s no inflection, no body language to help us infer someone’s meaning.

It’s really quite easy to stop this cycle. If someone says something that hurts your feelings, TELL THEM! It’s quite easy to say “you said this, and I took it to mean this.” I bet you’ll find that you misunderstood or they didn’t mean it the way you thought and you received it through your own lens. I think we worry that by admitting our hurt, we open ourselves up for MORE hurt. Now the person can really bury the blade, right? Or maybe we don’t want to appear weak, or stupid. On the contrary, I think by addressing the item head on, you’re showing your confidence. And really, who hasn’t misunderstood something in their life? I think we can all relate.

So next time you are upset by someone’s behavior or comments, take a deep breath and ask yourself if there’s any way you could have misunderstood. Then ask them what they intended by it. Having open and honest communication and being vulnerable can really deepen the relationships we have in our lives.

Buyer Beware: LivingSocial

9 Oct

I will never buy a LivingSocial deal again.

I purchased a “deal” for $72 in Sept for a hair stylist, Top Notch Stylist. I wanted to get my hair done before my vacation, so I called to book my appointment around the end of Sept. The stylist didn’t return my call. I went to her website and booked an appointment through the online tool for 10/5 from 12-2:30p.

I was running about 15 minutes late due to construction traffic, and then I could not find her suite number in the building (it was INSIDE another shop). I called her and she didn’t answer. When I finally found it, she informed me that she “wasn’t sure I was coming” and had booked another client, so she’d have to reschedule me or try to fit my services in while she attended the other client. I was very unhappy that she double booked me, so I told her I wouldn’t be returning to redeem my deal, and I asked her for a refund. She told me that all refunds had to go through LivingSocial.

I called LivingSocial, and their voicemail system doesn’t allow you to speak with a person. When you press 0 for a person, you are told to contact them through their website and then disconnected. So I sent a refund request through their website. Their first email said the refund was outside their policies. Once I make the appointment I am subject to the merchant’s cancellation policies. They suggested I gift the deal to someone else.

I asked LivingSocial politely to reconsider my request and explained the situation again. I also mentioned that I had asked her for a refund and she directed me to LivingSocial. In addition, hair styling is a very personal exchange that requires you trust the service provider. I certainly wouldn’t trust redeeming my deal now due to the conflict. I’m sure the stylist is a professional but she knows I won’t be a repeat customer, so why would she do her very best work? Also, LivingSocial keeps a fair amount of the price of a deal, so asking the merchant for a refund means you are asking for money they didn’t even receive from LivingSocial.

LivingSocial’s latest response: “We’re sorry we weren’t able to fulfill your request today. Please work directly with the Merchant to resolve this issue.”

I’ve emailed the stylist, and as expected, there has been no response.

So, BUYER BEWARE. If you purchase a LivingSocial deal that you cannot or will not redeem due to issues with the merchant, you’re stuck.

Dogs without houses aren’t “homeless”

9 Oct

Recently my pals at Indy Pit Crew joined up with The Pourhouse, an amazing organization who attends to the needs of the homeless in Indianapolis. Many of the residents of the homeless encampment have pets, and Indy Pit Crew has been providing leashes, collars, vaccinations and arranging for the animals to get fixed, including transporting them to the vet. A recent donation of dry dog food allowed the residents to receive kibble for their pups instead of having to share their own meager rations.


As an aside, I’m terribly disappointed this effort started after I left Indy. Pets and homelessness… two of my most dear causes. I would have loved to be involved. Sigh.

Anyway, this reminds me of an encounter I had with a homeless man in Indy which changed my attitude about “homeless” pets. The man was panhandling on the median near a busy mall and he had a lovely dog with him who was just as happy as can be. I don’t recall the exact exchange, but the man was very polite. My husband and I wanted to help, so I handed him some money and asked him to make sure his dog was cared for too. He said “He always eats first.”

Ever heard the saying “home is where your heart is”? Well, that dog didn’t have a “house”, but he certainly had a “home” with that man.

My friend Nina, an Indy Pit Crew board member, mentioned that many of the homeless in this encampment aren’t opposed to seeking help from a shelter – but the shelters don’t allow pets. These animals are their family. So they choose to face the elements so they can keep their best friend by their side. This dedication to their friends should be a lesson to us all.

Some would suggest to take these animals to the shelter too, so they could find families with houses. You know, that’s a human requirement, not an animal one. Living in the country has taught me a lot about animals – frequently you’ll see livestock laying in the dirt, and seeking basic shelter from sun and rain. They don’t need air conditioning. They don’t require a fluffy bed. I put some hay in my goat’s pen and a tarp over their food bin and they are content. Frankly, us humans don’t need those things either, although we don’t have a thick fur coat to get us through the night.

If my dogs could talk, I’m fairly certain they would say that the house is nice, and the air conditioning is nice, and the couch is VERY nice, but most of all they like being LOVED. And the animals in this encampment already have that.

I really hope the city can come to some arrangement where the animals are allowed in the shelter with their owners. I’m sure Indy Pit Crew and the other animal welfare organizations in the city would be happy to ensure the animals are properly vaccinated and fixed before entry. Heck, I bet we could even find the money to ensure each animal had a secure cage while in residence.

It’s only through innovative thinking and partnership that we are going to solve complex, multi-dimensional issues like human and pet homelessness. I’m proud to know folks who are involved in such a radical transformation of lives.

Donations to the Indy Pit Crew homeless outreach can be by contacting them via email.

Pit Bull advocacy is exhausting

8 Oct

Recently, there was a terrible situation in the town just north of mine where a small child was killed by a dog. I commented on the story to thank the reporter for their non-incendiary language in reporting the incident. I couldn’t help but respond (calmly) to the typical comments of how Pit Bulls are killer dogs and should be banned, etc, etc. I pointed out that the situation may have been extremely stressful for the dog, the infant should never have been left alone with the dog, and that the owner had been cited twice for irresponsible ownership of the dog. I also mentioned that dog bites and fatalities occur with all breeds of dogs, and pointed to Brent Toellner’s thorough analysis of dog attack fatalities across the nation.

Another commenter replied that Mr. Toellner’s analysis was suspect because his photo shows him with his two Pit Bull type dogs. (I’d like to note that I’m the only person who used their full legal name in their comments… tells you something about the caliber of discourse on newspaper websites. But I digress.)

It really frustrates me that because someone owns a Pit Bull, their knowledge about dogs, and Pit Bulls specifically, is “biased” and immediately discounted by members of the general public. If someone owns a Porsche and knows a lot about cars in general, and Porsches specifically, wouldn’t you consider them to be more of an expert on Porsches because they have intimate knowledge of one? Instead of seeing Pit Bull owners as a reasonable source of first hand information about the breed, we are somehow ‘duped’ into caring for these dogs. We’re called ‘pit-nutters’ or worse. Somehow, this magical, mythical dog has managed to completely override our logic and critical thinking and lull us into advocating for them – ostensibly so they can continue their covert mission to kill kill kill. My Pit Bull is a master manipulator capable of duplicitous behavior and he hasn’t once dropped character in 7 years! For heaven’s sake, people, really?

Many of us became “experts” because society constantly demands we justify the ownership of our dog. It’s exhausting having to read studies on dog behavior, know dog bite and rescue statistics across the country, ensure that my dog is never, ever, ever off my property off leash, and all the rest. I’ve spent hundreds of hours reading, training, rescuing, crying… all because this silly clown dog looked up at me in the shelter with the most pitiful eyes. I didn’t get this dog to prove anything. I simply believed the shelter’s assessment over the media reports I’d heard (I had a run in with the “media” in high school and know how facts are distorted). I rescued a DOG, and I was handed a controversy.

I’m an advocate for the breed BECAUSE of society’s bias. I’m a college educated woman whose career depends on my strategic and critical thinking skills. I have excelled in my job because I am able to quickly analyze situations and determine outcomes. I have observed this dog for SEVEN YEARS and I can tell you exactly how he will respond in a given situation based on his ear position, tail position, etc. He’s a DOG with an individual personality. I have two other “Pit mixes” who are unique and have individual traits too. Each of these dogs will react differently in different situations because they are individuals. However, they have one thing in common – they are loving DOGS.

Many people are ignorant of Pit Bulls and only know what they hear on the news, which is unfortunately, only part of the story. With these people, I am happy to talk about irresponsible ownership, over-breeding, behavior versus temperament, etc. I encourage them to meet my dog. Usually after he pees on their shoes because he’s SO EXCITED to meet his new best friend, they laugh and realize that he’s a DOG.

Then there are yahoos who have blogs titled “How to Kill A Pit Bull”. (I’m not going to link to the site because I don’t want to increase their traffic. These idiots should just be ignored. They cannot be reasoned with.) I’m not sure what circumstances leads someone to an agenda hoping to eradicate a breed of dog, but they are out there. Thankfully, many of them are so over-the-top in their language and ideas that I hope a rational person would dismiss them.

I’d really rather spend my free time cross-stitching, or reading, or baking. Instead, I spend my free time fighting a social war for my dog’s right to exist. Sounds pretty dumb when I say it that way, doesn’t it?