Did Christmas just go by? This was the 1st year ever with no Christmas tree but it was also the 1st year ever that I was in a house with Christmas lights outdoors, I strung them along the porch roof end to end. Holiday glee, walking to the gate every night to turn and see that festive glow of blue & yellow, red & white shining back at me. Mini-lights reflecting purple & green in the wavy and clear pool water. The smile that gave me was an early Xmas present. So SoCal.
Goodbye 2013. We mark the change in years with memories. Out with the old, in with the new - and when was that? Oh yeah, 2006, the year we moved. 2006 was when we said goodbye to the house on Alhama Street. We left behind a pine tree I planted the Christmas following mom's passing, in her honor. I still drive by Myrna's pine on my way back from Serrania Park a couple mornings a week. There it is on the corner, a "Charlie Brown" kind of Christmas tree that grows taller and taller despite it's twisty-turny trunk.
Hello 2014. Here's to the new year! And this year, please let the new, the memorable, be good memories.
Where did the last eleven years go? November 26, 2002 mom was here, and then she wasn't. January 10, 2003 would have been Myrna's 79th birthday. I was determined that 1/10/03 would be a happy day, a do something good day. Lose a life, save a life. So Jerry and I visited four shelters on January 10th. Turned out it was Pilot who was waiting for us eleven years ago. The work of grief, finding a new way to love, began with Pi:
Less than a year old but rarin' to go, I brought Pi to my Topanga jogging trail. Not long after a rock that had been there all the years I had jogged by, that never caught my eye, jumped out at me. Pilot - in rock form. Same color? Same size? Yep. As I was seeing that sameness, revelation #2 came: this would be Pilot's place when it was ashes to ashes time. A puppy with a plan for the years beyond her last years. Death had fresh prints on me.
What better place for the offspring of succulents I've planted, so busy multiplying there's no more room in the yard. This is the second home for some, 10+ years old and so happy their new growth continues like crazy. I dug out spots for seven sprouts and placed each inside chicken wire to guard against thirsty critters. They circle Pilot's rock, the perfect next place for my traveling gypsy aloes. With Bo and Misty ashes sprinkled between.
Aloes, ashes and a rock for resting on to take in the view of the valley below. The San Fernando Valley; Pilot was always a valley girl, Misty spent her whole life there, and Bo moved from Topanga to the house on Alhama. Over half of my California years have been in Woodland Hills. I'm a valley girl too; feet on the ground, eye to the sky.
Pilot's rock, peace out.
Oh, what a difference a day makes. One day it's iron bars and cement floors, then it's palm trees and a pool or Malibu sand. Being so terrified that poking a head out of a shelter cubby is all that courage can muster and just days later, romping with dogs of the rich & famous.
George is another example of the random nature of rescue. No way to tell which pup will make it out, much less what kind of fate awaits outside shelter walls. The on going story of George is what gives hope to all who care deeply about saving dogs. He was a shrinking violet who caught the eye of a rescuer who came back to sit in his kennel, then coaxed him to crawl out and look at her video camera. He wanted so badly to trust but was far too shy for any but a rescuer to consider taking home. Meaning, he didn't stand a chance.
Chela's patiently waiting to video was the beginning of timid George's chance to bloom, to be with a foster who's sharing the good life with a fella seized from a hoarding/cruelty investigation. Nothing close to a deck with an ocean view, Stella & Chewy treats and plush doggie beds for resting after endless beach runs. From shaking shelter un-adoptable to beach photo shoot star - different universes. Heartfelt thanks to Paula who brings pups of all ages out of their cages at Los Angeles' West Valley shelter and cajoles cooped up shelter dogs ready to romp into posing for pix that can open cage doors for good (www.pawlapetphotography.com). The photos you see here are a small sample of gorgeous sunset shots that will help Angelica and Tails of the City find George the right home. Beach boy George is a living fairytale.
BEFORE & AFTER
I don't let go. A group of stubborn protesters, including me, took it to the streets and for 5 years our lives intersected on the corner of Mammoth & Ventura Blvd. The Doobie Bros. would be proud. So I can't let the closing of Puppy & Me disappear quietly. In the big picture, few will take notice. Any one who wasn't there can't know how much this pet shop's closing means to my small band of brothers & sisters. WE WOULD NOT GO AWAY UNTIL THEY STOPPED SELLING DOGS. So what truly matters most is that Puppy & Me's door is closed. We saw this thing through, like we said we would. To the end.
Just as Yes On Prop 2 is unforgettable for me, P&M is another life marker. I will look back on these years exactly as I look back on my Yes On Prop 2 year. Tuesday night I watched the finale to Dexter - what's Dexter got to do with this you ask? Like I said, I don't let go, my nature is like a dog with a bone. I chew on things, I'm sentimental.
I remember sitting on the old HSUS office floor (L.A. headquarters for YOP2) sorting envelopes, talking with Christi Brockway and she tried to hum the theme song of this new show, Dexter. I knew about it but hadn't seen it, didn't think I'd like it. Welllll, hooked is a good way to put it. So well done, usually unpredictable, unique. Watched the whole enchilada.
So looking back on Yes On Prop 2, I will never forget running down the night streets of Van Nuys, up freeway ramps and down a traffic divider, below underpasses - putting up posters with Leigh, Larry & Monica. Over time I've come to recognize when I'm IN a moment, that I'm living one of 'those moments' I will always-always remember. I knew that 'street guerrilla' night was one of 'those moments' and meaningful. P&M will be the same, a treasured memory. A special time, like Dexter, unpredictable & unique.
P&M is Gone With The Wind but those years will stay with me always. Moments that made up years, that make a life worth living.
Oh happy day. Hard to process after 5 years of being on the front lines, 5 years of soldiering on even as our ranks dwindled. I'm so proud of the little band of soldiers who never waivered: Sophia Chou, Ben Harding, Steve Lockhart, Candy Keller, me, Melissa Maroff, Reva Smilkstein + our true blue mascot Asher Chou. This CORE GROUP kept showing up no matter what. But most important, PUPPY AND ME IS DONE:-)) They refused to ever consider a humane business model, never entertained the possibility of offering shelter or rescue dogs. There are more battles to be fought for animal welfare but in many ways, this small victory is huge.
Shelters are in the business of killing. Until the public demands a new way of doing business, until we all insist there be a focus on spay/neuter and on education, our municipal shelters will continue to stick to business as usual: housing and killing - which costs millions and millions of dollars and millions and millions of lives each year. Jennie Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>, the coordinator and voice for the little shelter in Delano, CA wrote the perfect description of the crisis "...dogs come in like a flood & go out like a trickle." Slaughter is the day to day method of making room for the tidal wave of the unwanted, neglected and abused. Killing for cage space must stop.
Until then look who's in line to die at Delano, ALL GOOOOOD dogs or they wouldn't still be alive, VIDEO:
August 11, 1920. that's when my dad was born. he passed away in 2006 so today would have been his 93rd birthday. if only he could have seen this view this morning. on a trail in the fresh morning air, warm sun and quiet all around. that's a gift SoCal style. thinking of you dad.....
Ballot measure Yes on Prop 2 (confinement of chickens, pigs & veal calves) changed my life. Much of what you see on My Story Tails comes from that change.
The People Have Spoken: YES! on Prop 2 - http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2008/11/prop2-victory.html