"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."
-- Unknown

Friday, August 28, 2009

My new hero

Ever since I rescued Maverick, people have been telling me that I’m his angel here on earth. But I think it might be the other way around. He might actually be MY angel. He most definitely came to my rescue last night when I was right on the verge of desperation.

I spent the majority of the evening cleaning my house, doing laundry and replacing light bulbs (I swear, every fixture in my house had at least one blown blub). By the time I finally stopped to catch my breath, I realized that it was after 10. I figured I’d let the dogs out, finish the dishes and get ready for bed. Of course, things NEVER go as planned.

Toby apparently thought it would be a terrific time for a late-night sprint – so before I could shut the gate behind him in the yard, he shot off down street. Now, if you’ve followed my blog for any time at all, you probably know that this isn’t such an uncommon occurrence. In fact, you’re probably wondering why I haven’t learned my lesson yet, or how the hell I keep letting that ignorant dog get away from me. Well – he’s MUCH quicker than you could ever imagine. Seriously – sometimes I don’t even realize he’s gone until he’s halfway down the block.

Maverick, being the wonderful dog that he is, only trotted to the edge of the yard and quickly came back as soon as I called after him. I put him in the backyard and shut the gate before I took off down the street after Toby.

After several minutes of running, he finally found a fenced in yard that looked inviting. I snuck in behind him and shut the gate, feeling better now that he was corralled in one area and not roaming along the highway. Unfortunately, the yard was huge and I kept worrying that the owners would eventually come out yelling (or shooting) at me for being on their property at such a late hour.

We literally ran circles around this yard for twenty minutes. I was sweating and tired and on the verge of tears. He played deaf and refused to come to me, no matter how many times I pleaded. I honestly thought very seriously about leaving a note on the door of this house telling the people that they were more than welcomed to keep the dog that was now penned up in their backyard.

Finally, exhausted and frustrated beyond belief, I sat down on the edge of a plastic slide, trying hard to keep my angry tears held inside. About that time, I heard a noise at the gate and I figured the owners had reached their breaking point and were coming to kick me out of their yard. Only when I looked up, I realized the noise had come from my new hero, Maverick. The little angel had managed to open the gate at our house and TRACK me two blocks down the road. He sat there patiently waiting for me to let him in this stranger’s yard. As soon as I did, Toby came up to us and I was finally able to pick him up and take his little miscreant butt home. Maverick led the way and was waiting at the door when Toby and I got there.

I curtly told Toby that I was ashamed of him, for what good that did. He has been treated so well and spoiled beyond belief for the past two years, yet every chance he gets, he runs off. Then there’s Maverick – the poor dog has never been properly trained, yet he minds so well. And not only does he not run away – he follows my scent over a quarter of a mile to find me and lead me home.

Maybe he can teach Toby a thing or two.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Say what?!

Holy cow!!

I just realized that I now have 104 followers! Who are you people and why do you care about my little mundane life?! That’s incredible.

When I started blogging, I had no idea what I was getting into. I thought I’d publish a few posts, then move along. But something amazing happened. I started getting comments from complete strangers. I started seeing visitors coming in from around the world: Australia, Spain, Romania, Japan, India, Germany, Canada, Mexico… I was hooked. I never thought I’d feel such strong feelings of friendship for people I’ve never met in real life.

So thank all of you who take the time to stop by each day and read my random thoughts. If you leave comments, you have no idea how much appreciate your kind words – they get me through the day sometimes! And if you don’t leave comments… well, that’s okay too. But I’d really like to hear from you! Even if it’s just a short hello.

Don’t be a stranger!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Not for the squeamish...

I picked Maverick up from the vet yesterday and got some heartbreaking news: the poor puppy has heartworms. I have to take him back in two weeks to have his wounds reevaluated and we’ll discuss treatment options then. Thankfully I have a wonderfully supportive family that has been very generous in my efforts to get Mav healthy. My dad and stepmama have helped fund this initial visit (THANK YOU!!) and my mom and stepdad have offered to help with the heartworm treatment (THANK YOU!!) I’m so glad I come from a family that understands and shares my love for animals. You guys are awesome!

The vet gave me two weeks worth of oral antibiotics that I have to give him twice daily, as well as a solution that I have to dilute with water. Each day I have to fill a syringe with the mixture and flush out his wounds. Thankfully Mav is a really sweet, laid-back dog and he’s been very good at taking his treatments so far.

He and Toby have gotten along splendidly. They play (and nap) together quite well. I’ve yet to introduce him to Ollie – I don’t think he has any experience with kitties, so I’m keeping them separated for now. In fact, as much as it breaks my heart, Ollie may be going to live with a friend of mine pretty soon. She’s about to move into a new home by herself and I think the company would be good for her. And with two dogs (one wounded and one just plain retarded) I think I’m going to have my hands full.

Now – if you’re at all squeamish, please discontinue reading. I’m about to post a few pictures of the damage to Maverick’s neck and side. You’ve been warned.

This first picture isn't so bad. If you look closesly, you'll see some old wounds that the vet found when he was doing his physical. Apparently he’d been bitten before and received no care then, either. These aren’t nearly as bad as whats on his neck.

Now, here’s the really sad one. You can see the two wounds, with the bottom one obviously being the worst.

I know I’ve said it before, but I just DO NOT understand how people can let their dog get hurt like this and not do something about it. You better believe that if Toby were to get chewed up, I’d be rushing his little butt to the vet so fast it’d make your head spin. If the office was closed, I’d be calling the vet at home and telling him to get to the clinic ASAP.

Anyway, despite the pain that he has to be in, Maverick remains in good spirits. His tail wags constantly and his tongue is permanently hanging from his mouth. He’s such a good-natured goof.

How can you not love this face?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Call me crazy...

I think I’m going to make a big sign to hang on my front door that reads, “Heather’s Home for Lost, Unwanted and Mistreated Animals.”

My little furry family has gained another member.

Meet Maverick the German Wirehair Pointer.

Pitiful, right? Y’all, he is about the sweetest thing I have ever met and his story broke my heart.
To sum it up shortly, he is a very expensive hunting dog who was no longer wanted after the novelty of a having a puppy wore off. His owners dropped him off at my friend’s house. Unfortunately, this particular friend and his family already had three other dogs and they weren’t too keen on having another one around to feed. They talked a lot about getting rid of him – joking that they’d just drop him off on a dirt road if they didn’t think he’d find his way back again. Y’all, I don’t joke like that. I told them I’d take him home with me. They didn’t think anything of it, and I didn’t pursue it like I should’ve until this past weekend.

Friday night I noticed that Maverick had a big spot of discolored, badly matted fur on his neck. I asked what happened and my friend casually said, “Oh, Miller (one of their other dogs) bit him.” I looked closer and saw two HUGE gaping wounds on Maverick’s neck. I asked what they were going to do about it and this is the response I got: “Nothing. He’ll be fine.”

They proceeded to tell me that if it got too bad, or if he got sick, they’d just take him to the woods and shoot him. I almost threw up. I said, “LIKE HELL YOU WILL.”

Needless to say, first thing Saturday morning I showed up and informed them that Maverick was coming to live with me. I took him home, bathed him, cleaned his wounds and introduced him to Toby.

I took him to the vet yesterday and they kept him overnight. They said the wounds were badly infected and they’d need to clean them out and start him on antibiotics. Apparently Maverick’s old owners took him this vet once upon a time, so they had his records on file. Turns out, he’s just shy of three years old, but has not had any shots or medication in the past two years.

I’ve never understood people who get pets and then don’t take care of them. They aren’t toys to play with until something new comes along. They’re living, breathing, feeling beings who will love you unconditionally. All they need in return is a little nurturing.

People complain that vet bills are too expensive. “They’re just dogs,” they say. Yes. They’re dogs. Dogs that you didn’t have to get in the first place if you weren’t willing to make a commitment to their health and wellbeing. Dogs that deserve a loving, happy home. Dogs that do NOT deserve to be in constant pain because you let their neck get so infected it started oozing puss. (Sorry for that last one. I know it’s gross. I saw it first hand yesterday.)

Anyway – I’m getting off my soapbox now.

I’ll keep you updated on the healing process. I’m sure I’ve gotten myself in too deep – I’m sure I need another animal like I need a hole in the head. But regardless, he’s here now and will be taken care of and loved very much.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's not easy being this smart...

Weekly writing assignment from Mama Kat: Hi, my name is ______ and I am a _______. (inspired by Emmy from Emmy Mom One Day At A Time.)

Hi, my name is Heather and I am a COMPLETE MORON!

Let me explain.

Yesterday afternoon I found myself locked out of my house. Barefoot. In the rain. On my lunch break.

I was wearing a really cute (but totally impractical) pair of heels that I slipped off as soon as I walked in the door. I ate a quick lunch, did a few chores around the house then decided I’d go back to work a little early (it’s been a busy week). Without thinking twice, I walked outside to get Toby from the yard and pulled the door shut behind me. Only Miss Genius here automatically locked the door out of habit and found herself standing under the carport barefoot with no way to get back in. Brilliant, right? Luckily I had my cell phone in my pocket. I tried my landlord with no luck. I tried several people from work with no luck. I tried my friend Jessica, hoping she could bring me a pair of shoes and drop me off at work, but she was out of town for the day. FINALLY, I got in touch with a lady from my office who was able to come pick me up – and she just so happened to have an extra pair of shoes in her car. Halleluiah. I don’t know what I would’ve done if she didn’t. My purse was locked in the house, so it’s not like I could go buy a pair to wear.

My landlord finally called me back late yesterday afternoon to inform me that she is OUT OF TOWN until tomorrow. Awesome. So a friend dropped me off after work and I waited patiently in the rain for a locksmith to come and let me into my house. Ten minutes and forty dollars later, I was finally in.

Moral of the story? It’s a good idea to have a spare key or two incase you’re an idiot.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oh, the irony....

Life is funny sometimes, isn’t it?

Growing up, I had big dreams. I wanted to travel – wanted to see the world. I dreamed of living in an apartment in New York. I imagined all of these grand adventures I would have and interesting people I would meet.

In high school, I started dating a guy who changed some of those dreams. I was “in love” and we talked about our future life together. He wanted to stick close to home and told me numerous times that he had no desire to travel anywhere too far away. We made it through high school and I chose a college in my little southern state so I wouldn’t be too far away from him. In the beginning, I hated my small-town life. I was bored and constantly thought about leaving and starting over somewhere new. But a funny thing happened at the end of my first year. By the time me and my childhood sweetheart broke up, I was in love with my life in Troy. I made friends and eventually began dating my most recent ex, who was even less keen on the idea of moving away from his hometown. So I did what I had to do to make sure I stuck as close as possible – that’s how I wound up here at my current job.

And I’ve learned to love life in my small town. I enjoy the slower pace and friendly people and I’ve tried to become as involved in my community as possible, joining service groups like Junior Service League and Kiwanis Club. I go to church and have a good circle of friends. I enjoy the rolling pastures and lake views that my little town offers – and overall I’m very satisfied with where my life has brought me. But there are days I still dream of something more exciting.

And you want to know the funniest part? A few nights ago I spoke with my high school sweetie – the one who wanted to stick close to home. The one I made sacrifices for several years ago. As we were catching up on life and everything that has gone on since we broke up five years ago, I couldn’t help but laugh a little. Mister “I want to stay in Alabama” is currently living in Hawaii and is relocating to Miami at the end of next month. He joined the Coast Guard, and as a result, has been able to live in some gorgeous places. And mister “I have no desire to travel overseas” will be heading to Spain for training this year. So, as I volunteer to make funnel cakes and judge the photo contest at the county fair in the fall, he’ll probably be seeing some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world.

Yep. Life sure is funny.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Where's the love?

I’ve been thinking about faith a lot lately – well, religion in general, I guess. I’ve noticed (with startling frequency) the number of people who have a really bad impression of Christians, and after some soul searching, I think I’ve figured out why.

A lot of people who call themselves Christians have stopped practicing the way of Christ. We’re taught that He was compassionate, loving and accepting of everyone, no matter how tarnished their reputation. Yet today, too many of us are judgmental of those who don’t fit our idea of an upstanding citizen. Some so-called Christians preach fire and brimstone, eternal damnation and the wrath of God, yet often forget to preach love, compassion and forgiveness – which, in my opinion, are some of the most wonderful aspects of the Christian faith.

Instead of leading by example, too many of us try to scare people into salvation. For example, take this verse from Corey Smith’s song “Where’s the Love”:

Young boy from a trailer park is lost and confused,
Lost faith in God after all the shit that he'd been through.
One day the preacher drops by, says "Boy, you had better change your ways,
Lord knows you're a sinner, son, and you'd burn in Hell if you died today."
Well, that news didn't sit too good with a boy who had done the best he could.
Church talk has scared him to death like his drunken father said it would.

Where's the love?
Where'd your love go, my savior?
Oh where's the love?
Where's the love that Jesus spoke of?

I don’t know – I’m not trying to get preachy here. I generally keep my religious beliefs off of my blog – but I couldn’t get this off my mind today.

What are your thoughts?

Do think some Christians take the wrong approach when talking to nonbelievers?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The perfect storm

So, yesterday y’all got to see my sassy side. See, I’m not all smiles and sweetness. Bet ya think I’m a real tough cookie now, huh? Yep. That’s me. You should be scared.

Or not.

Anyway, moving on…

I saw the most incredible lightning storm last night. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I have always been completely fascinated with lightning. I could watch it for hours. There’s something about it that sparks a childlike excitement in me. And last night, I had the perfect view. I was sitting on a big front porch, overlooking nothing but pastures and ponds. No buildings to block my view. No city lights to take away from the effect. I’ve never seen so much lightning so continuously. The sky lit up with Mother Nature’s very own fireworks for over an hour. The only sound was the soft patter of rain and the rolling booms of thunder. It was fantastic.

I was much too preoccupied enjoying the sights to snap a picture, but I found this one online and thought it was pretty:

Is it sad the the highlight of my week so far has been watching a storm? Guess that shows you how exciting my social life is :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If I only had the hutzpah... whatever that is

Weekly writing assignment from Mama Kat: List ten things you would say to ten different people in your life...if you had the hutzpah. (inspired by Cassandra from Cassagram)

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these, so I figured I was overdue.

We all have things that we hold back – comments we want to say but simply don’t have the hutzpah to spit out. I’m using my context clues with this one, seeing as I have no idea what hutzpah actually is… I guessing it’s nerve? Gall? Guts? Am I close? (We’ll just pretend I am.) So, if I had the hutzpah, I would say:

To a certain self-pitying friend: Enough already! We’re here if you need us, but there’s only so much anyone can do when you lock yourself in your house. Sometimes life sucks for no apparent reason. Move on and LIVE YOUR LIFE.

To an old college professor: Dude, I missed two classes all semester. I came in late (still during roll call) a few times. You gave me an FA. Failure to attend. Seriously? Then you told me I could write a paper for each absence, which I did. With a broken wrist. And you still failed me. Oh, did I mention I made an A on every paper I turned in that semester? Yeah… I loved repeating your class. Jerk. Get over yourself.

To the woman wearing a tube top and falling out of her hip hugger jeans at the grocery store: No one needs to see that while they’re shopping for food. You’ve single-handedly made the entire store lose their appetite. Thanks. Please come back when you’re not dressed for the Jerry Springer show.

To someone who will remain nameless: You frustrate me beyond belief. I’m not sure how to handle myself around you and that terrifies and confuses me.

To my parents: Where are my musical genes? Where is my rhythm? Why can’t I clap to a beat or hum a damn note on key? I blame you. Seriously. I could’ve been a rock star.

To one of my long-time besties: Honey, I love you, but a giant Coach bag (while gorgeous, I’m sure) is not something I want to hear about when I’m telling you about my breakup. I’m very excited that you have a generous boyfriend who spoils you rotten, but bringing that up when I’m telling you about my misfortunes? Not so cool. Just sayin’.

And finally, to myself: Loosen up and believe in yourself, chickadee! Life is too short to doubt yourself so much. Have fun and quit worrying and over analyzing every situation!

Well, I didn’t make it to ten, but that’s all I have for now. And ya know? It felt good to get a few of those off my chest. I might have to do that more often.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday ramblings...

Another weekend - woo hoo!

I honestly have zero plans for tonight, which scares me a little. I've gotten so used to staying busy. The idea of sitting at home is a little overwhelming. It's still early evening, though, so maybe something will come up. Don't get me wrong...I'm not afraid to be home alone with my thoughts. I've just become so used to being constantly entertained. Constantly surrounded by friends. Maybe I've become a little dependent.

Tomorrow morning should be fun, though. I'm going to go over to a friend's house to swim and layout. Good Lord knows I need some sun. I'm beginning to get transparent. After that I have plans... I just don't know what they are yet. Apparently there are few options on the table.

Anyway - no matter what I wind up doing this weekend, one thing is for certain: It'll be here in my sleepy little town. And you know what? I'm finally okay with that. Just a few months ago (maybe even last month) I had my bags packed and ready to go when I got off work every Friday. I found every excuse I could to leave. Birmingham, Destin, Mississippi, Mobile - not to mention Montana and Wyoming. I just had to get out of here. Not anymore. I have realized that I actually really, really like it here. Which is definitely good for my gas tank (and my wallet).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Therapy, of sorts...

In all honesty, I’m not sure how to do this. Granted, I’ve never had any problems expressing my feelings… but these are feelings I’d really rather keep to myself. However, it’s been suggested that it might be therapeutic to type out some thoughts regarding last month’s big break up.

Let’s see… how do I feel? Sad, disappointed. Like I lost my very best friend. I think that’s actually the hardest part. As in any relationship, we shared a lot of laughs and there were times I felt he understood me better than anyone else ever had. Of course, there were also times when I wondered if he knew me at all.

It’s hard to face the realization that someone you care for so deeply might not be the right person for you. I’m not going to go into personal details here. I’m not going to point fingers or place any blame – but I will say that my heart had been hurting for quite some time. In the end, it was a hurt that I couldn’t deal with anymore. A pain that I just couldn’t face for the rest of my life.

So, I’m dealing with it in my own way. I’m staying as busy as possible and trying not to dwell on my sadness. I want to move on with my life. I want to be happy. And I want him to do the same. No matter how things ended for us, Kevin was a huge part of my life for a very, very long time. (We met when I was 19.) I genuinely hope that he can find happiness. I wish him nothing but the very best in life.

I find myself wondering how long it’ll hurt. It’s been about a month, and there are still days that it feels brand new. I came across some pictures yesterday and nearly fell apart at work. Not good. But then there are also moments - when I’m surrounded by friends, laughing and enjoying life - that I almost feel normal. It’s like a see-saw.

Anyway – I know I’ll be fine. These things happen every day and my case is not unique. Things WILL get better.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What bad mood?

“Man – I’m having one of those days. I knew it would happen eventually. I knew all of my positive thoughts and good vibes would waiver at some point. I’m not saying that they’re gone – they’re still there, relentlessly fighting to get back to the surface and kick this sullen mood I’m in.

For the most part, things have been good lately. I’ve been putting in a lot of time with friends, staying busy and trying to keep my mind occupied. I know that I have to deal with memories, thoughts and sadness – I know I can’t put those off forever. But sometimes they hit me so hard.”

I was in the process of writing this yesterday and never finished. As I sat there, struggling for the right words, a friend of mine called and asked if I wanted to come over and help her babysit her brother-in-law’s kids. So, having nothing better to do, I happily agreed. And you know what? That was just the thing I needed.

I had the best time with those adorable little kids. We laughed, played games and acted as silly as possible. By the time I left, I didn’t even remember being in a bad mood. I signed back into blogger this morning and saw that I had a draft saved – I couldn’t believe how drastically my mood had changed since then.

There was definitely a bit of magic in their laughter that brought me back to good spirits. There’s something about hearing a six year old tell you, “YOU’RE FUN!” that really makes things better.

And their charm has held. So far today, I’m upbeat and staying positive. Next time I’m feeling down, maybe I’ll ask to borrow them for awhile. It seems that playing make-believe, eating ice cream and having my hair “fixed” made all the difference in the world.