Wordsanctuary Revisited

Musings of a writer-teacher-counselor.

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Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

I am inquisitive and have worked in writing, editing, and teaching. I am a citizen of the USA and also concerned about the world. This is an addendum to my original blog, Wordsanctuary. That's at www.wordsanctuary.blogspot.com Please check out my column at www.insidehighered.com, "A Kinder Campus." Click on Career Advice to find it. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Canine who Runs with the Deer

I bought my stray dog a pair of reindeer antlers. Cute, right? She tolerates them for a few seconds, with a chagrined expression, before shaking them off.

But today, Robin flew.

She had whimpered to "go out," and -- naturally -- I thought it was . . .

But it was something else. From the corner of her eye, the crevices of her ears, the heart of her nose, she sensed a herd in our neighbor's yard. Before I had the time to process all this, she decided to become a canine that runs with the deer. I had the leash, yes, but she darted away.

I'm guessing that she had been sensing them for days. They wander into our yard because their habitat, tree by tree, bush by bush, leaf by leaf, step by step, is being destroyed. She is curious about them. At twenty pounds soaking wet, she may be small, but her ancient bloodline of mighty huntresses pulses on.

I remember how she had stood, silent, the first time she saw deer in our yard. Robin had been "picked up on the streets of Cleveland" -- that's all that the humane officer knew. She was given a new name. She had shook, continuously, in her crate at the Valley View pound--shook so hard, I thought she had a seizure disorder.

But when the dog we actually had wanted was adopted a moment before, we thought "why not?" And this chocolate brown, lab-terrier-britney spaniel, adopted us by going into deep relaxation as soon as we sat with her.

We all have three sides, perhaps. As the new mutt on the block, she has been working on the extreme anxiety--too many fears to list--since we brought her home in June. One of the three vets she has seen has called her "the most frightened dog" he has seen in thirty years of practice. What was she exposed to before? I have no idea. But she was so timid that she moved out of the way when a squirrel scolded her this summer and she was reclining in the sun.

Yet, when she is with her own pack of preferred humans, she is the picture of tranquility.

As the snow builds, something is changing within her. A deep hunting instinct? Six months of TLC? Perhaps what I saw in her dash across the yard was a bit of the spirit within us all -- untamed, joyous, free. Herd and canine: almost airborne. I also saw within the true pursuit of passion. She is a researcher...can follow a hunch...on the leash or off...follow the trail wherever it leads.

But there are leash laws, for good reason. I gently called, "Robin, Robin, treat!" at least a dozen times. The snow was too deep for me to brave. I can't walk, let alone run, sideways down a steep hill...

After she had roamed to her heart's content, she returned. She lapped up snow on her way into the house. She was exhilarated.

Time lapse: seven minutes?

If Santa gets a glimpse of this post (and why not), here's my wish:

Can you help people remember that animals need some room, too?

And kindness?

We all share the same earth.

Photo: White-Tailed Deer
Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

World Is Witness

My shock at the theft of the Auschwitz sign near the end of Chanukah left me speechless. I will try to put some of what I felt in words, elsewhere. This event closely corresponded with the 65th anniversary of my father's mother's death at Stutthof Concentration Camp, four months after other relatives, women and children including my half-sister and my father's first wife, perished at and/or en route to Auschwitz. The ambiguity is because without complete records, one must put pieces together...

I wondered, in the light of my shock, what I can do to help people understand that we all are one: Where one suffers, the earth suffers. With hate, we are destroying ourselves.

I offer this resource to anyone interested:


Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service