Thursday, April 29, 2010
This is a sad story. Penny Lane, our border collie puppy, was smart and loving, but she had an uncommon problem. She would go full-tilt wacko and bite people unexpectedly. As two peace and animal-loving people, my husband and I dealt with this for a whole year, but finally, on the day of my mother's memorial, our dog attacked a kennel worker, drawing blood. She didn't want to be leashed. We started (again) working with a trainer, and on the trainer's second visit, my dear puppy lunged and attacked, jumping and biting. And on Easter Sunday Penny Lane attacked my husband, the one person who was above her in the pecking order. Now before you call me a horrible pet owner who shouldn't have even contemplated getting a border collie, contemplate backyard breeding. People who shouldn't be doing it but need the money badly are breeding cute little AKC-registered dogs that go home and become nightmares for their owners. We're talking $5000 in dental work before the first birthday. This was a border collie puppy with massive inbreeding from bad breeding decisions. They tried to breed too fast, too many, with some bad biters thrown into the mix. Border collie rescue of Southern California won't even take dogs from this breeder because of how many volunteers have been bitten badly.
It made us really sad. We had to put her to sleep. What else can you do? The vet called it a mental illness. We put everything into this dog—lots of training.
It was, however, a valuable learning experience and I'd love to help educate people about how to buy good dogs. But maybe I'm not the best-qualified. All I can tell you is what not to do. Don't take a puppy home from a breeder who is obviously disorganized, can't find shot records, and has a dirty home and kennel. You're not rescuing the dog—you're submitting your family to the worst possible attachment to an animal that's not going to be healthy. Probably adopting from a shelter is a good way to get a dog, but the ones I visited had unhealthy dogs.
Of course we were there with our dog when she was euthanized. We stroked her and told her we loved her and that she was a good dog. It really wasn't her fault and she didn't mean to have bad breeding. It was sad.
Sigh, samsara is an ocean of suffering. Please pray for Penny and all animals like this.
But the trainer has helped us to locate a very reputable lab breeder, and on May 8th we're going to go up and see if one of the 6-month old males wants to come be a part of the family. Labs are lovely and I had one as a child. We're looking forward to all of the challenges of puppyhood without the idiopathic aggression. And this breeder has a guarantee. Seriously, folks, if you have a dog that bites people and there's no way to keep it in a large pasture all the time, don't torture yourself if you have to euthanize. Sometimes it's in the pet's best interest too. A biting, aggressive animal is an unhappy one. I'm not talking about a dog that is triggered by certain things in its environment, necessarily, but one that goes crazy periodically with little warning.
Thanks for listening. This was indeed a rant. But I don't care if it offends someone if it only helps one other family. And maybe, maybe we could get some laws passed about breeding dogs for sale. I think we owe it to the animals.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Anglican Rosary for New Jade (Serpentine), Marcasite, and Sterling Silver
Lately it's been so clear that all that matters is love. Sure, you have to pay the bills, get the tires rotated, take care of the garden, and do the laundry, but ultimately, the only thing that brings lasting satisfaction is the growth of the soul. And that's connected with feeling love, compassion, and equanimity.
I'm planning my Mom's memorial with my friends and sister. It will be on Sunday in a meadow between some hills at a garden she used to visit when she was healthy. I don't know who all will be there, but I'm playing guitar and singing with my friend and guitar teacher Cindy Lee Berryhill. My mom always encouraged self-expression and was a tremendous music lover! My sister is bringing a mountain of delicious cookies, my father is bringing photos and scrapbooks. I think it will be okay. I have purchased several beautiful vintage hankies on Etsy just in case anyone needs them.
So, love and compassion. We talk about enlightenment, about being on the path, but I don't think we go anywhere until our hearts soften. When we have been stunned by life into submission, our hearts often have to open.
Sogyal Rinpoche says that when we have suffered, we can understand the suffering of others, and our hearts simply open.
I know so many people who have experienced loss lately. Friends have attended the memorials of their own family members. Friends have discovered their own illnesses. I've had to say goodbye to my dog, due to health reasons. But the heart is resilient, it grows towards the light. And to greater and greater love in this life.
This pretty little new jade Anglican Rosary was made for a very special woman. She designed it with me over a period of months, never wavering in her patience. We found the handmade silver cross in a shop based in Greece, the marcasite and silver beads and the new jade beads in the U.S., and the tassel is French. It's supposed to symbolize and evoke patience and peace. For me it really did. Just making it was a meditation. All malas should come together like this—really special.
Peace to you! May you be well.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Spring Flowers at Self Realization Fellowship—A Pilgrimage
It's been a while since I left my mala-making table and my busy life with family, to visit the gardens at the Self Realization Fellowship in Encinitas. A few weeks ago Jan, author of the Awake Is Good blog, posted some photos and comments about visiting there with journal in hand, to meditate and be at peace. I thought to myself "why am I not going there to sit under a tree? I live about 4 miles from it." It's a gorgeous place, usually full of meditators, families, and tourists who come to see the immaculately tended gardens kept in honor of Paramahansa Yogananda. It's always fun to see people on dates there. That would be a nice way to start a relationship, wouldn't it?
So I went with my camera. It was so refreshing to get out of the house and slowly walk the grounds, smilingly meeting peoople as we enjoyed the pond of giant koi and the flowers. Soooo peaceful. What great altruisum the monks have, to maintain this garden for the public.
I ended up half meditating, half dozing, beneath a large palm tree in the sun. Supposedly this was a place Yogananda enjoyed meditating at. If you go, it's right by the empty swimming pool he used to take a dip in. Another wonderful place to let go of your cares.
Sigh, it's so blessed there. Thank goodness for all the teachers and all the spiritual traditions. There are as many types of genuine teacher as there are sincere students.