Thursday, December 29, 2011

I've Got Your Back

Day 107

 I tumbled off my pink cloud today.  Sort of.  Remember Sandy, the dog I’m keeping for my friend, Greta (not her real name) who is recovering from a relapse?  Yesterday she dug a hole under my gate and managed to wiggle her way out, but I wasn’t too worried because I usually walk her on the beach without a leash and she runs off and won’t come back when I call her name but she eventually finds her way home and I know that Greta used to let her have free run at her place.  She has been fixed, thank God!

So this morning after our sprint on the beach, Sandy decided she wasn’t done with her morning exercise and when we returned home and I shut the gate behind us, she decided to wiggle out her new escape route again.  I called her name a couple of times but she didn’t come so I went about the business of fixing breakfast and sure enough when she smelled the bacon and eggs cooking she was right behind me in the kitchen.  I teased her a little bit and told her she had missed her desayuno of scrambled eggs but she and Stanley, the blind killer bichon with an abscessed tooth, both got their own bowls.  After breakfast I decided to water the plants and once more Sandy decided she’d had enough of the confines of our compound and once more I didn’t worry too much about it…until I heard that unmistakable squeal of tires and thud accompanied by a dog’s pain-filled yelps.

“Please oh please, God.  Let that be one of the hundreds of other dogs that are running loose in this village.”

But I knew it wasn’t.  I headed around the corner toward the highway and sure enough here came Sandy limping and yelping.  Shit!

I got her in the porch and I frantically called the vet that has been coming over to take care Stanley’s tooth.  Sandy limped into the flowerbed and collapsed.  She was breathing hard, but she didn’t seem to be hurt any place but her foot.  I picked her up to put her back in the porch where the vet could see to take care of her.  She yelped again in pain and I felt her teeth go through the tissues of my finger.  I knew she would never bite me on purpose, I knew she was in so much pain and shock that she was reacting out of her fear.  I’ve been there.

The vet arrived and tranquilized Sandy and inspected her.  She was pretty sure that it was just her foot that was injured but she would need to take her into Merida for x-rays.  She still had several dogs in her office so we decided to leave Sandy here at my house until she could take her.  She left and I had to call Greta.  We had just talked right before Sandy and I went for our walk on the beach.  Sandy was supposed to be going back to her mama tomorrow and Greta and I had made arrangements for me to drop her off at Greta’s new place.  Now this.

 I stumbled through the “I’ve got bad news but it’s not that bad of news…”  Greta seemed to take it okay and I didn’t hear any blame in her voice.

I hung up the phone and I broke down.  Maybe Greta didn’t blame me, but I sure blamed myself.  I should have been more careful.  I shouldn’t have let Sandy run free.  The cap’n had warned me that this exact thing would happen.  And I got that old familiar feeling.  Yep, you know the one I’m talking about.  I didn’t really feel the urge to drink but I recognized it as a feeling I would have tried to drink away in the past.  Then I got worried about Greta.

 I called her and said, “Now this is not something that is going to make either one of us start drinking, okay?” 

“Of course not,” she replied.

“Because it would have in the past, for me.”  I said.

“Yeah,” she replied, “It would have me, too.”

We assured each other that we were okay and I hung up the phone.

I had some friends over last night and the conversation turned to Greta.

“She’ll start drinking again.” one of my guests said.

“People change.” I argued.

“I guarantee it.” they insisted.  “She’s done it too many times before.”

“I wonder if they say the same thing about me?” I thought.

But they don’t know me.  And they don’t know my friend, Greta.  They don’t know how strong we are.

The vet just came back and took Sandy.  It’s been several hours since the accident and there are no signs of internal bleeding.  I am relieved but Stanley is still worried, he is wondering around looking for her and whining.  He crawled up and laid down beside her and never left her side all afternoon. (I have a pic but the camera transfer cord is in the capn’s computer bag with him back in CO.)  They haven’t been the best of friends since Sandy came to stay with us, more like wary cohabitants that give each other their “space”.  It reminds me of Greta and me, we weren’t close friends before but now, when the chips are down and everybody else is betting against us, we’ve got each other’s back. 

So today I’m just out there doing my best to place my bets on people and dogs that the odds are against, they always have the biggest payouts.

P.S. I will update you on Sandy.  And I want to thank you guys for the encouragement on my last blog.
P.P.S. Greta just called to check on Sandy, and to check on me.  "You're not drinking, are you?" she asked.  Do you know how good it felt to know that question was asked out of concern instead of derision?
"Of course not." I reassured her.


  1. you're a good friend, Kary. You might not be on your pink cloud, but you're sitting in the sun with your friend Greta.

  2. That dinner party conversation was quite sad to read - I guess the bright side is its people who don't know what they're talking about because they've not struggled donut probably wasn't meant to sound so dismissive
    Good on you both for coming through a nasty day with a stronger bond .

  3. I'm paraphrasing: Nothing will ensure sobriety as much as work with another alcoholic. Yep, it works. Prayers up for you, G, and the pups.

    Life happens, it's what we do that counts. Dr. Bob's directions are: Trust God, Clean House, Help another. Seems to me you're right on track friend!

  4. As the wife of an alcoholic it is good perspective and insight for me to read what kinds of feelings feel like triggers. I suspect for Mr. M it is shame and fear most of the time with guilt and embarrassment following close seconds. But he is so unaware of it. He always says "I dunno. I was feeling good - maybe too good - and just thought maybe i could start drinking again."... But I am almost CERTAIN it is linked to feelings and because he is so unaware of his feelings but wants to drink, his BRAIN creates another reason is is OK to relapse.
    I am SOOOOOOOOOO impressed that you are feeling your feelings and being honest and aware and are sharing. I am glad you and greta are walking together through it.
    Keep on keeping on!