Time Out For Gracie

Tammy and Gracie blog

“Nap Time”

This post was meant to be the next chapter of my chronicle about our recent adventures in British Columbia, however the pause button was hit hard this week. We adopted an Italian Greyhound. At the National Mill Dog Rescue in Colorado Springs, they called her Betsy. Nobody knows what they called her while she was caged for her entire six years of life, regarded as livestock, an asset on which the return was dwindling. She certainly would have been written off the books had NMDR not stepped in.

The moratorium on new pet acquisitions within our family evaporated in the blink of an eye. The last of our four beloved canines passed on (“went to college”) last year and I told my Wife we had to travel 30,000 miles before we brought a new dog home. Lets see, We’ll put last spring’s trip to Guatemala generously at 5000 miles and last months trip to the Northwest at 5000 miles. We made it a third of the way and besides, if Mama ain’t happy!….

When we brought home Betsy, now called Gracie, she was scared to death. In particular, opening and shutting doors, shuffling paper and darkness set her off into a trembling panic. Tammy showed her, perhaps for the first time what it was like to stand in the cool grass on a warm day, to have a bed that was her very own, to accept the soft touch of loving hands in a place that would become home.

If you aren’t familiar with “Iggy’s, you aren’t alone. I’m not sure that I had ever seen one before. She is highly intelligent and curious, watches TV as if the images are real people and she tests the perimeter of all enclosures like a Jurassic Park Raptor. She is lightning quick..”duh.. Greyhound”. They say that if they get loose outside, you may never find them and I believe it. Just trying to get to her to put a leash on can be like trying to corral a wild horse. Once and only once it left me looking and feeling like a Colorado Buffalo Defensive back on a really bad day, I won’t go through that humiliation again. You might also look at an “Iggy” and think that it looks like a baby fawn. Imagine how freaked out I was when I was all alone with her and she started howling like a wolf. I had no idea. Tammy did some reading and is hypothesizing that she has indeed become the alpha for which Gracie will forever howl to find in the future. “Recalculating”.

Three days in and things are looking up. Gracie and our two cats look like they will get along. Gracie is showing some promise of being a travel dog at some point in the future. More than anything, its good to see the smile on Tammy’s face, fulfilled for now with her passion for the animal kingdom.

Goodnight Gracie

Goodnight Gracie

Knowing + Patience = Freedom

“Icy Paws” 24″x48″ Oil on Canvas

Charlie is the lone survivor of the four canine soul mates that have touched our (my wife and myself) lives over the course of the past thirteen years.  Roughly twice a day, he will stand before me, stare into my eyes and wag his unkempt yet lovable tail with a posture that signals that he is ready for a walk, an adventure, an exuberant indulgence in the freedom of being what he was designed to be.  More times than not, I tell him that I am not ready, that I am in the middle of something important and that he will just have to be patient.  He almost always responds by replacing his forward leaning stance with a neutral sitting position, maintaining that intense expectant eye contact for as long as it takes until he hears those words “do you wanna go for a walk”.

Today is the Fourth of July, Independence Day in the USA, a day that specifically commemorates the signing of the Declaration Of Independence in 1776.  While we certainly use this day to honor our fallen heroes and brave soldiers, the Fourth of July has also become a celebration of our individual freedom, the freedom that we have to pursue the life that we authentically desire to live without having any governmental body or religious sect enforce the contrary.

In my experience, I have discovered that the greatest oppressor of personal freedom often resides within our-selves.  Now back to Charlie for an Illustration of that point.  Charlie hasn’t had a lifetime full of choices, education, experimentation, goals or trials and tribulations, yet he seems to have an absolutely clear understanding of that which he wants and that which he is.  When he is idle, I don’t think he ponders   what else he might be to feel complete.  He simply sits and waits with unending patience, knowing that the opportunity to revel in his purpose will eventually come.  In this respect, Charlie knows a freedom that few humans ever find.  Many of us humans have early inclinations towards the things that truly interest us and often those are the things that we are best at, the things that come naturally.  The problem is, most of us don’t follow that lead.  Instead we fail to recognize the validity of those revelations and we set off on a journey to find something better.  We find ourselves in a quagmire of expectations, material distractions, uncertainties and compromises all in the interest of finding something that we had all along, an authentic purpose.

Personally, I met my creative spirit early on in life and then like most of us, I jumped the fence and searched the world for something better.  Almost thirty years later, I have come home to my artful purpose, I am patiently waiting for the next opportunity to create and for the first time in my life I feel that I have truly claimed my inalienable right to be Free.  Happy Independence Day!

“Patience” 16″x20″ Oil on Canvas (Yep, that’s Charlie)