Archive for the ‘Doga Writing Memoir’ Category

Sometimes making life more difficult for yourself saves the life of another

March 1, 2013

February 27, 2013

HONEY HUGMy standards for clean have never been high, but this winter things reached an all-time low. The only thing that keeps hope alive as I survey the futility of it all is the awareness that spring is coming and soon it will be warm enough to banish all the four-leggeds to the outdoors. I’m already cooking up a plan for sleeping under the stars, to trick them into thinking that living close to nature is the new normal.
Last night, just when I thought I could finally detach from it all and escape into the alternate universe of some yoga magazines (with their nude yoginis wearing only toe “soxs” and glossy ads for Karmalicious shoes, Earth-friendly Subarus, and yoga festivals that look suspiciously like scenes out of the Pentecostal revival tents I attended in my early teens), I saw that Priscilla had thrown up into the crevices of the bottom frame of the sliding glass door. In order to slide the door closed, I had to get out of bed and start the day all over again. I also removed three ticks from Honey’s head that I only noticed when I petted her good night.

Back under the covers, I opened the current Yoga Journal to a promising article entitled “Yogic Wisdom for Decluttering Your Life.” It was all about cleaning and clearing your abode, getting rid of crap you don’t need, getting your finances under control, and, above all, managing your time.
The opening paragraph said, “For true clarity of mind and heart, shine the light of awareness on your habits and clean up your life.” Well, I readily admit that I need help in that department. So I read on, and came to the part that said, “In the face of any challenge, yoga teaches you to pause and look at the source of your problems.”Well, that was easy. The sources of all my problems were sprawled on my bed, sleeping on my pillows and snoring under the covers, totally oblivious of the endless expense, wasted time, and trouble that they cause! They were to blame for the dirty floors andpaw prints on window sills, the kibble residue and stinky kitty litter, the messy clutter of leashes, dog toys, old bones, pet carriers, and piles of dirty towels (Chico pees indoors when he finds the exit blocked) . . . and the financial drain of vet bills, pet shampoo, cleaning supplies, and all those mouths to feed. 

At the end of the yogic wisdom article came this recommendation: “Ask yourself, with each decision you take, ‘Is this making my life easier or more difficult?’ ” 

I get the point. I’m all for simplifying one’s life. But it’s a good thing that those who rescued Honey from death row didn’t ask those kinds of questions. Sometimes making life more difficult for yourself saves the life of another. And, luckily, cleanliness is not next to godliness. And, sometimes clean enough is good enough!

Stick with Honey: A Doga Writing Memoir

December 23, 2012

Four years ago, on the Friday before Christmas . . .

“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”
–Mark Twain

Suza_book_cover_size   The last Chapter in my dating memoir, “Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir,” is entitled, “Stick with Honey.” As many of you know, Honey is the Australian Shepherd rescue dog who appears on the cover. When I told my friend Dale Hanson the truth about “Adam,” the antagonist in my memoir, she offered this simple advice, “Stick with Honey!”

Well, I have stuck with Honey, through thick and thin! Truth be told, like most other relationships, it has not always been easy. We’ve had enough adventures to fill a book. Here’s the beginning of the story:

Four years ago, on the Thursday before Christmas, I got a call from a local dog rescuer who said she heard I was looking to adopt a Queensland Heeler or Australian Shepherd. She asked if she could bring an Aussie rescue over on Friday, “Just so you can meet her.”

I thought to myself, “What a coincidence that I would get this call today.” My previous dog, Queenie, a Queensland Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog), had died exactly one year ago, on the Friday before Christmas.  003_103_8005

I tried not to take this as a sign from God!


Honey, Australian Shepherd rescue dog Photo Credit: Janeson Rayne

For a moment I hesitated. I already had plenty of other animals — four cats, two rescue pigs, and a dear mouse named Whitey. Life was so much easier without the responsibility of a dog. I knew very well that if this Aussie arrived on my doorstep it would probably be case closed.

The clever, determined rescuer softened me up by explaining how her organization goes into the animal shelter on a regular basis to save as many dogs as they can from death row. They already had as many dogs as they could handle in one trip and she almost didn’t notice this beautiful Aussie. She described how this little girl dog came up and gently licked her hand.
I imagined the other dogs desperately barking, “Save me! Save me!” while this Aussie girl wisely distinguished herself by quietly licking the rescuer’s hand.

So the next day, on the Friday night before Christmas, a truck stopped in front of my house. The back of the truck had several crates, each holding a yapping dog. The driver took out a beautiful, fluffy Aussie dog. She didn’t bark. It all happened very fast and I felt like I was adopting an unknown orphan child.

The unknown Aussie stood beside me on the street, appearing very calm. We watched the truck with barking dogs drive away. After the truck disappeared, Aussie girl looked up at me as if to assess this human being who fate had delivered her to. At that moment I think she saw right through me –she picked up that I was easy and that she had nothing to fear. She willingly followed me into the house.

What I remember from our first night together is that this Aussie, who I named Honey a few days later, not only did not chase my cats (at least not while I was looking), she licked Leo’s face. Possibly because Leo’s lips taste like cat food, but it looked like a sign of affection and scored big points in her favor.

Late that night, while we were in the kitchen, a band of raccoons that had gotten way too tame during the year that I had no dog, came looking in the cat door, to see if it was safe to come in. I noticed Honey staring intently at the door, well aware of the intruders peering in. Suddenly she let loose an explosive bark that would shatter the ear drums of the dead. That was the end of the raccoons sneaking into the kitchen and stealing cat food.

For the first few days, as is the case in most new relationships, Honey was on her sweetest, best behavior. She smiled at everyone and sat still during my yoga classes with her front paws crossed, observing my students like a flock of sheep. But gradually, as she felt more secure, the reality of her true nature emerged.

Another day I will tell more about “Sunny” Honey. She is the world’s most loyal and lovable dog, but there is good reason why friends have dubbed her, “Buffalo Girl,” “Thunder Girl,” and other nicknames that reflect her energetic, exuberant, spirit!
Happy Fourth Anniversary Honey! (Honey hopes her story inspires more humans to give a dog waiting at the shelter a forever home.)

Southern California Australian Shepherd Rescue

Please spay and neuter your dogs and cats –thousands of animals are waiting on death row, hoping to be adopted before it’s too late.


Stick with Honey! Photo Credit: David E. Moody

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