The Best Gift: Love

yoda5I had a major scare this month with one of the loves of my life, my pup, Yoda.  She is a sensitive girl with quite a few unknown allergies, as I learned each time the hard way.

I dropped her off at her veterinarian for a routine teeth cleaning, a first time for my nine-year old Snorkie (schnauzer-yorkie) breed.  I was worried about putting her under anesthesia for a painless deep clean, but her vet and groomer assured me she’d be fine, and she needed it to keep her teeth into old age.  She loves food, so I considered her future.  For the procedure I couldn’t feed her in the morning, so I planned on picking her up late afternoon with a junior burger.

Upon arriving she gave me concern looks, Why am I here getting poked and prodded while I’m hungry?

The doctor said he’d call after the procedure to let me know how she’s doing.

I got the call early afternoon.  “She’s stable,” he said in a shaky,  stressful tone.

He then explained that she made it through the cleaning and woke up with a cough, so he gave her penicillin and she went into anaphylactic shock. She needed three epi pens to come around, an iv, and she’s now on oxygen.

I paced as tears flowed down my cheeks.

He continued.  “I want to keep her on oxygen, and monitor her closely.  She will need to go to a 24 hour care facility around 5:00.  I’ll call and let you know in a few hours.”

“I want to see her before she goes into intensive care,” I managed to say without a sob.

“Yes, I’ll need you to pick her up for the transfer.”

After hanging up I paced some more, made a few phone calls to those who could listen and just floated around not knowing what to do.  There was nothing I could do but hope for the best outcome, her survival.  I was at home waiting for the air-conditioning repairman to finish his work.

He looked at me with concern. “Is everything okay?”

“No, my dog.”  I sobbed.   “Hospital.”

He was compassionate and showed it, although his English was limited he understood and kept saying “sorry.”  I’m sure it’s hard for a stranger to watch a woman cry, but he was gracious and fixed my AC.

I lingered and wandered around the house, and then my office building around the corner until I got the phone call to transfer her to ER.

When I arrived to pick her up, the vet emerged holding Yoda perched in his arms.  It looked like they both went to hell and back.  He gave me the address and let me know they are expecting her and fully aware of the situation.

What should have been a 10 minute drive turned into a harrowing half hour.  My right hand was on her tummy making sure she breathed.  We sat in holiday traffic as I had to remember to stay calm despite her struggle for steady breath.  She flashed me, What the hell looks.”  I glanced back with love, although my nerves and mind seemed uncertain and scared.

“We got this,” I whispered to her.  “Hang in there punky.”

The facility and staff were welcoming and amazing.  She’d be in the best care, level one, which is like intensive care with constant checking in on her well being.  If necessary, they’d notify me with updates and I could call anytime to check on her.

I called in the evening.  They told me she’s fine but still on oxygen, and she’d been through a lot.  My heart dropped and worried.  She had to pull through because she loves life and is loved dearly by many.

In the evening I learned from my groomer friend that she had more machines on her than her body size.  The scene was pretty chaotic and tense from what she said.  They were determined to keep her alive, and I’d be forever thankful.

It was a difficult night for both of us.  With my husband out-of-town and dog in the hospital I watched a feel good movie.  Throughout the night, I sent good vibes to both of them, and the universe knowing she had to pull through.  Our time together was not over, not yet.  We have too much love to share, and lessons to teach each other.


The next day I picked her up, bought her that Wendy’s hamburger, fed her meds she spit out and just enjoyed each others company.  I got the evil eye, followed by looks of unconditional love.  That to me is the best present I could have.



My Love, my first and forever dog.




singing the blues

I’ve read two autobiographies lately by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and the blues and soul singer Ray Charles.  Both are impressive books with characteristics highlighting their diverse experiences and unique backgrounds.  Although very different in content and voice, they have many similarities. 

Both the Rolling Stones and Ray have a background in playing the blues.  I expected it from Ray but not from the Stones.  As I listen closely to their music, I can see the blues influence.  I’ve always been a  fan of  jazz, folk and blues music when listening to it live at a small club or bar, but I’ve never really paid attention to the classics.  Both Keith and Ray mention Muddy Waters as being a great blues musician.  An icon, a person to emulate.  I know the name.  I even named our floatation device in our archaeology lab,  Muddy Waters.  The name for me was obvious.  We poured in dirt, the mud went to the bottom and the seeds floated.  It’s important in archaeology when studying ancient diets and agriculture.  Our Muddy Water machine was well used and famous in our department. But what about the blues star?  How much did I know about him? 

Muddy is considered the father of modern Chicago blues and he was a huge influence in the 1960’s British blues craze.  He inspired not only blues musicians but also those who play rock ‘n’ roll, hard rock, folk, jazz, and country.  He was notorious for his use of the bottleneck  on electric guitar.  His work from the 1950s and early 1960s are particularly influential. Songs such as:  “I’ve Got My Mojo Working,” “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “She’s Nineteen Years Old”, and “Rolling and Tumbling” have all become classic songs, often covered by bands from many genres.  Other songs he’s known for are “You Need Love” (which inspired “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin), “I’m Ready, “Long Distance Call” and “Rock Me.”

It’s a well know fact that Keith was a drug user, a junkie.  But I had no idea that Ray Charles used drugs, especially heroin.  I might have suspected marijuana and perhaps cocaine, but something as addicting as heroin.  I was quite surprised when he talked honestly about this in his book.  I give both of them kudos for their candor.  And for being able to quit such a destructive  powerful drug.  I’ve never tried it, and never will.  The reputation of this drug has always kept my curiosity at bay.

For me perhaps the most humorous part of  Ray’s life was his sexual exploits.  When he first mentioned how much he loved “pussy” I cringed.  I laughed.  Ray, really.  Who would have thought.  I’m not sure why I had this reaction, I certainly didn’t with Keith.  In fact I expected more sexual encounters with Richards but it seems like Charles got more action, at least in his book.  And that was prior to the sexual revolution of the 1960’s.

As I mentioned they are both excellent books allowing a glimpse into the lives of two very talented musicians.  However, given the choice between the two I would read Keith’s book “Life” before “Brother Ray.”  Of course if you have the time to read both, then do so.