Monday, November 7, 2011


(Stanley on the boat and dressed up for Fantasy Fest in Key West, 2001. He earned more beads than I did that night but that's another long, sad drinking story.) 

Today, I'll be grateful for all my relationships.
I will open myself to the lesson and the gift from each person in my life.
I will trust that I, too, am a gift in other people's lives.
--The Language of Letting GoDay 55
I'm grumpy! This time change is really kicking my arse. I know that I was supposed to gain an hour of sleep but try telling that to Stanley, the blind killer bichon. Nobody set his clock back and now he is up at 4:00 am bumping into walls waking me up. So I grumble and cuss and haul him outside in the moonlight so he can do his business while he wags his tail, so happy to see me and wake-up to a new day. He has been such a gift to me, he deserves better.

Fifteen years ago I was getting my dog fix by going out to our local humane society shelter on a weekly basis to visit the dogs out there. The cap'n had decreed, "No more dogs," after the lab I had brought into the marriage jumped the fence for the 900th time and escaped. One afternoon, as I was perusing the caged dogs, I noticed a freshly groomed "poodle" dog in one of the cages. He didn't have that forlorn, unfortunate look yet that shelter dogs usually have.

"Are you guys boarding dogs now?" I asked my friend that worked there
"No," she replied, "that one is up for adoption."

"Hmmm," I said, thinking, poor thing, he's not my type. I hate "poodle" dogs and their prissy, yippy ways. Give me a burly Labrador or German Shepherd any day.

"Did you guys get a shipment of food in?" I asked. "I noticed a bunch of big red dumpsters out front."

"No Kary, the dumpsters are for the euthanized dogs," my friend replied.

I immediately ran home to the cap'n and said, "You've got to let me get this dog." And he did.

Poor Stanley didn't know what he was getting into.

He went from an unknown previous life, to a house with three rambunctious teenagers where he usually hid under the couch or a bed, to a sailboat which made him seasick every time we sailed, to a cabin in CO with bears and coyotes that would love to have him as a snack, and now to a casa in MX where the iguanas are bigger than he is. Along the way, he's been stuffed under uncountable airline seats, swallowed a fish hook, stared desperately, for days on end ,at a shoreline that we couldn't get him in to because of rough seas, been attacked by vicious street dogs and cranky sand crabs and now that he is completely blind, we up and move him to a new hotel room every other week or a new country twice a year. Still, he wags his tail.

On the mornings I was hungover, he would wag his tail hopefully and wait for the silly, "Good Morning, Stanley" song I sing every morning and when it didn't come he would look up at me worriedly. Days later when I finally felt like I could sing again and he heard his song as I came down the stairs he would jump up and down in circles until I grabbed his front paws and danced with him. Both of us relieved.

Stanley, I promise no more deadly quiet, hungover mornings, just silly songs and dancing from here on out. That's my gift to you, you lucky dog.

So today I'm just out there doing my best to ignore my grumpiness and get in the spirit of re-gifting.

P.S. My youngest son called while I was writing this and we had one of the longest and most real coversations than we've had in years, the capn's son called yesterday just to yak at me, and one of my oldest friends called last week and I didn't get off the phone for over an hour. (This may be hard to believe, but I am not a phone person, I'm a lot more gabby on the computer). The gifts just keep piling up. It looks like it's time for me to start re-gifting so I'll have room for new ones. I have several phone calls I've been meaning to make.


  1. Stanley looks wonderful -- a lucky dog

  2. He looks worried to me. "Where the hell are they going to drag me this time?" I don't know if you've ever been to Fantasy Fest but it's like Mardi Gras in Key West, FL. when 70,000 mostly naked, totally bombed people descend on this tiny island. The cap'n and I got separated at 7:30 pm and I didn't find him and Stanley until 3:00 am (we were living on the boat and didn't have our cell phone with us????) I was in a skimpy mermaid outfit (like Stanley, I was younger and firmer back then) and I was pissed. I didn't even have money for a drink, although I'm sure I could have "earned" one. The cap'n swore he never left the corner where we got separated but then we downloaded the pics. There were several pics of Stanley being nestled between several different pairs of painted ta-ta's. The cap'n was busted! Stanley could still see back then and, if he could have, I'm sure he would have been blushing. lol