Friday, April 29, 2011

Why I'm Marching

I'm not always the big community-service, make-the-world-a-better-place kinda girl. I use cloth diapers because I think it's cheaper, and if it saves the planet, that's great. I work at a newspaper, because I like to write, and if that touches someone or connects someone to the services they need, that's sprinkles on top.

But having a kid, a healthy, rambunctious, infection-fighting-on-his-own, kid, makes me want to make this world a better place. If I can help bring more healthy babies into this world, I'm gonna try to do it.

That's why I started doing the March of Dimes March for Babies. I'm so thankful when they hand out balloons on march day, I get to write on mine, "In honor of," and not "In memory of." If the money I raise can lead to another mom getting to do that, I'm gonna keep begging for money.

This year's march is tomorrow. If you would like to sponsor me, you can go to my personal page and use your credit card right there on the website. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

He'll be missed

Can't believe it's been more than a month since I have blogged. Guess I just haven't felt very "green" lately! So hhere's something from the heart instead:

As a puppy, we dubbed him a bad dog. He was always the one that couldn’t figure out not to jump all over visitors or growl over his food bowl if you got too close during dinner.

He was also an oddball. From day one, I wondered at times if he thought he was a cat instead, for his paw-grooming habit wasn’t exactly very canine, and he was finnicky about having his ears touched.
Still, he took seriously his job as my protector (even if at times a little too seriously) and I did my best to keep him — my first pet as an adult — fat and happy.

My Pemboke Welsh corgi, Dexter, had short legs, a stubby tail and a big, wide body. He had a fox-like snout and ears, but made pig-like grunts.

Classified as “sable,” he had a white belly and feet and mostly reddish, fox-like hair on the rest of his body. During a Spanish class, when I answered what color my pet was with “naranja” — orange — my teacher laughed.

At 19 and with just one year of school under my belt, I wouldn’t have had the money to invest in a purebred dog. He was a wedding gift from my aunt and uncle. In 2002, I married my high school sweetheart and moved off campus, though during the week my husband worked too far away to be at home with me. So most of the time it was just the two of us, me and my dog.

I graduated, and time came for looking for first jobs and a first home, and we added another dog to the family. Gertie, a rescued mutt pup, came into Dexter’s world bouncing and biting, and my grumpy corgi showed he was more adaptable than I expected by learning to play with her.

When we took them both on a cabin vacation one summer, Dexter was content to nap on the porch, while Gertie chased groundhogs up and down the ridge.

A couple years later, I brought home a kitten found on the mean streets of Strasburg, and Dexter politely ignored her when she swatted him on the behind every time he walked by.

Next, came baby. And again, Dexter surprised me by minding his own business and staying calm even when baby cried.

A few weeks ago, almost 9 years old, Dexter’s behavior took some major turns, and we discovered a mass on his shoulder. Each day he bacame worse, and by a week later, the tired eyes that looked back at me made our next, painful course of action clear.

Suddenly, life at our house was a little more quiet.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last month thinking about Dexter, my grumpy dog: Some of our happiest times together, the ways he’d drive me crazy and the things I’ll miss. But I keep coming back to two things.
First, is all that has transpired in his lifetime. I feel a little older, and a little wiser with his passing. I feel a bit like my life is entering a new era now that I’ve been an adult for the lifetime of a pet. The cycle of life, birth and death, is a little more real for me now.

Secondly, is that he wasn’t such a bad dog, after all.

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