Who rescues who or is it whom

by Lorin Michel Saturday, April 11, 2015 9:57 PM

We went to a local event today called Adopt Local Adopt Love. It was a mega pet adoption: dogs, cats, reptiles. Though I still can’t fathom a reptile as a pet. We did see one guy there with an enormous snake draped around his neck and shoulders like a scarf. It was bright yellow and while, and looked like a boa constrictor, but like no boa I’ve ever seen before.

We weren’t entirely sure why we were there. We lost our precious Cooper only two weeks ago, and it seems too early to get another. And yet, we are so hopelessly lost without him. The house needs a dog, maybe two. And so we went.

There were mobs of people – which I was glad to see. Not nearly as many animals for adoption as I thought there would be. There was an area for cats, which we didn’t go into. There was an area for dogs, which we did. But the amount of dogs was relatively small. I expected the place to be crawling with paws. There were a lot of small dogs, many pit bulls, and a number of greyhounds. There’s still a dog racing park here in Tucson, much to my disgust. I suspect greyhound rescue is big here for that reason.

We happened by a booth for Border Collie rescues, and there was an older dog there named Jackson. He was about 10, or so they estimated. He was gentle and mellow. Just a lovely dog. We were infatuated. We visited with him in the booth as he lay on the floor. We gave him treats. Eventually we moved on. We looked at smaller dogs; we tried to like them. They were cute. But we’re not small dog people.

Like having a type with people, we have a type with dogs. Medium to large, about 50 to 70 pounds, with lots of long fur, nice “pants” and floppy ears. Golden retrievers, Australian shepherds, border collies. We like herders.


Jackson

We found ourselves back looking for Jackson. He was outside taking a potty break so we went out to see him in a different environment. He was with other dogs, and fine. His foster mom, Jennifer, stopped again to talk to us. Kevin took the leash and they went for a short walk. He was perfect on a leash, trotting easily alongside, never pulling.

But he’s 10. Do we want to rescue a dog who’s that old? Why not? We rescued Cooper at 6 and we only had him 2 plus years. Who’s to say that an old guy like Jackson wouldn’t live another five years, like Maguire?

The fact is, you never know how long someone – human or animal – is going to be with you. You just make the most of the time you have, and always hope for the most.

Rescues break your heart in a thousand ways. Like not knowing what their past was. They think Jackson had been with a family at some point. He is house trained, he has manners. Did they abandon him? With Cooper, we knew his original family gave him up when they decided to have a baby. But we don’t know anything else. With Maguire, he was a puppy. They told us he’d been found in Oak Park. We couldn’t imagine anyone finding him and not keeping him. But people are weird; people suck.

Rescues break your heart while asking you to love them. And we do. We fall in love every time. And when they leave, we are devastated. It’s the price you pay for loving. But for the time we have them, we always wonder: who rescued who or whom?

We haven’t decided what to do about Jackson. We have time. Not too many people rescue older animals. But he has already re-broken our already broken hearts. So who would be rescuing whom?

Life is lived in moments

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, November 12, 2013 10:02 PM

We tend to think about life in terms of totality but l think that life is truly a series of moments. Some are good moments, some are bad moments; some rip your heart out while others make it soar. I don’t know how to live life without viewing it in certain moments. Like memories, these moments accumulate and are stored in our mind, dusted off occasionally when a smell reminds us of something or a song brings back someone we used to know, used to love. Moments shape our worldview and help us become who we are. Perhaps more importantly they show us how to live through each experience and emerge smarter and stronger.

I realize that not all moments are positive and some are truly devastating. But they are our moments and we never stop living them until we stop living. It’s impossible to chronicle every moment but there are ones I remember vividly.

The moment I met my first husband when I picked him up hitchhiking. It was a simpler time, when I was 18, and we were in a small town in New Hampshire. It was March and he had a tan. That’s what was important to me then. It was a moment that changed my life for a number of years, and eventually taught me who I am.

The moment I realized I was more alone with him than without him. We had gotten together too young and were growing apart. I was 30, maybe 31 at the time and he had moved to New York. It was my job to decide whether I would follow him, give up my life and go to a place I didn’t want to be with a man I wasn’t sure I wanted to be with. We were walking a beach on the north shore of Long Island after July 4th fireworks. I had never felt so alone in my life.

The moment when my mother told me she and my father were splitting up, at a restaurant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, outside with a warm sun drifting down as the tugboats pulled into dock. I wasn’t surprised but it was when I realized I would never have my parents as one unit again.

The moment I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time. I didn’t know where I was and there was a big crowd gathered, so we pulled over to see what was going on. And there it was. The sun was setting, obscuring the rock formations in shades of purple and orange and red and gray. Magnificent. I’ll never forget its majesty, the sheer awesomeness of what this earth can create all by itself.

The moment I saw Kevin in Yankee Doodle bar on a Wednesday night. I knew who he was – we’d known each other previously years before – but he came in wearing khaki pants and a long-sleeve green pullover. It was March 22, and I thought that the evening would be done by 7:30. At 11:30 we were singing MacArthur’s Park with the piano player, the only ones still in the bar.

The moment he cried when talking about his son was when I fell in love with him.

The moment I met Justin, just four years old and 35 pounds, still in a car seat with shaggy red hair and glasses too big for his face. A little blob of a kid. I didn’t have a lot of experience with kids; didn’t particularly like them. He changed that for me. He changed me.

The moment Kevin asked me to marry him with a Big Bird toothpaste kit and a black velvet box. “This,” he put Big Bird on the table, “is to clean this,” he put the ring box in front of me, “if you decide to marry me.” As if there was a question.

The moment my dad called to say Shawn had been born. We had been waiting in Rustico. My cell phone rang and she was here, and Kevin and I toasted with a glass of wine. I cried.

The moment I found out my father had died, and I crumpled to the floor.

The moment I first saw my beloved Maguire, a tiny bouncing ball of dirty fur.

The moment he died as I lay on the floor next to him, some 15 years later.

Moments of great joy and great sadness, moments that transform who we are, that set us on paths toward the rest of our lives where we will live more moments. My life up until this point has been lived in moments. It will be lived in moments from this point forward. Everything in between is filler taken up with work and noise, with the grocery store and bills, with walking the dog and writing. But there are moments that I’ve lived and moments I will live that have and will change my life in ways I never thought possible and can’t imagine. It’s what makes living so extraordinary and what makes living it out loud something to celebrate.

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