Friday, May 22, 2009

Alice and Alba

About a week and a half ago, two new roommates joined my household. Alice and Alba are 7-month-old shepherd-hound mix sisters. They have mange, but are on their last treatment, and it's starting to clear up. They were rescued from a kill shelter in western VA by Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, a pet fostering & adoption organization. After a day in HT's care, Alice & Alba came home with Rachel and me. They were very timid and frightened for the first few days; they had obviously been abused and/or neglected before they got to us. They were both way too skinny, and they would shy away if you got too close to them. At first, they wouldn't even take a puppy biscuit from your hand; they'd run and hide in the corner under the coffee table rather than let you get close. It was painful to watch.

Fortunately, both girls are getting healthier and happier! They're both putting on some weight--especially Alice, who likes to hog the food!--and they're not scared of us anymore :) Alba is still timid, but she'll let me get close enough to take a treat right from my hand. We're helping them get used to us by having them eat handsful of food right from our palms. That seems to be making a big difference. Both of them are learning to walk on their leashes. Alice love to hop around on her leash! They enjoy being outside, but run straight for the house as soon as they've done their business. We're working on the house training, and expect both puppies to be accident-free before too much longer. Like all puppies, they LOVE to chew--we have to watch out for our fingers to avoid being nibbled on! Both of them now have a menagerie of toys to chew on and play with.

All in all, I'm glad that we're fostering the gals. They're looking for a loving permanent home--if anyone is interested, let me know!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Opening scene

This is a possible opening scene for my memoir. It's taken me a long time to get it finished, even though it's less than a page, because it's hard for me to acknowledge the emotional struggle. I have no problem talking about my physical rehab, pain, etc., but this is much harder. I debated pretty hard about whether or not I wanted to post this; it feels very exposing. What finally decided me is that, if I really do write and publish this memoir, the audience could be much broader than the loyal few who read my blog. So, here it is. Let me know what you think. (Oh, this is set in April 2004.)

Despite the sunshine streaming in the window, I slumped on my bed with my head in my hands. Why am I so sad? I tried to ignore the tears crawling down my cheeks. Life is good, so why can’t I be happy? Wiping my dripping nose on the back of my hand, I flopped backward. I don’t enjoy crying; everything about it makes me feel crappy. To end my jag, I worked on solving the puzzle of why, exactly, I was crying.

It was April. “I’ve been sad for over a month. I want to stop being miserable. Wait—I was sad last year at this time, too. I wonder if I have that seasonal depression thing?” The realization hit me like a ton of bricks. “Oh! I get depressed every year at this time. It’s the anniversary. Duh.”

With this “new” knowledge in hand, I picked up the phone and called help. The woman I called, Jill, is a friend of the family and the mother of a childhood friend. She had recently gotten certified & started practicing clinical psychology; I knew that she would be able to steer me to someone who could help me.

“Hi, Jill. I have a favor to ask. Do you know of a local therapist I can contact? I just realized that I’m having depression issues related to my stroke.” That conversation would change my life. I was about to start a journey that had been 12 years in the making. For those 12 years, I had been oblivious to the emotional charges buzzing around in my mind. I was finally going to start trying to defuse them.