Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Life hurts, but not as much as a needle in the finger

When I stabbed myself in the finger with a syringe full of ivermectin this evening, it was sort of the last straw. Byrd didn't really understand why I was crying. "You're not going to die from a little poke," he told me. "It didn't really hurt that badly, did it?"

But the last two weeks have been full of ups and downs that have put strain on my heart.

Dozer's limping on his leg--the one that had TPLO surgery. The vet isn't sure why. X-rays are the next step, if the anti-inflammatories don't work (and they're not). Dozer's vet bills for the leg alone have reached almost $4K... And his allergy test results are still out. That dog is determined to drive us to poverty.

Star has been a very rude dog lately, and her prey drive has noticeably increased, so I'm taking her to remedial behavior classes. It was hard to hear the trainer say that I'm letting Star control too many situations. But it's true; I got lazy after having a couple of "easy" dogs who would bend over backward to please me. Even during the first session, I could see just how lazy I'd gotten. I really wasn't in charge, and Star was doing whatever she wanted. No wonder I was only getting compliance from her half of the time. So things are changing for Star, as I dust off the Boss hat.

National Pit Bull Awareness Weekend encompassed more than just a weekend. It started with a visit to city hall for a mayoral proclamation on Thursday--and I was late due to rush hour traffic (we don't have traffic in my outlying part of town, so I miscalculated my drive time).

Then there were two days of events. It was a really successful weekend in my book. I got to meet a lot of people and have some great discussions. And I even met a really nice pit bull owner who is practically a neighbor--she lives two streets over and I didn't even know it!

The aftermath of the weekend has started to crash on me. I have a newsletter to write, and the group has future events to plan. The Love-A-Bull website needs updating; I have a dozen emails asking me to post such-and-so on the site. I also have 300+ names/addresses, gathered over the weekend, to enter into a database.

Unfortunately, no one's adopted Dubby yet. He's had a few lookers, but there's always something in the way. The most promising family was denied by their landlord because Dubby is a "vicious breed." I hate crap like that sooo much. Here's that vicious beast in a purple monkey costume. He was not very pleased with the monkey-head cap but he kept his composure--even though most of the other dogs mistook him for a giant moving stuffy.

Yesterday, I had to euthanize one of my chickens, Squawkers. She had some sort of growth that was compressing her organs, and after several hundred dollars and x-rays, the vet gave me a grim diagnosis: imminent heart failure. I buried her in the backyard next to Penny the prairie dog and Cluckers, another chicken.

Piling on to the stress, I'm working two freelance jobs right now.

Then today, my old boss proposed that I come back to work for them as a contract labor copyeditor, with a possible permanent position coming soon. Of course, I totally said yes to that, because it means: 1) benefits, 2) steady paycheck, 3) Byrd gets off my back about "eating bon bons and watching soap operas all day long" (because to him, it's not work unless you're actually making money at an office).

Then I had to stop and think about how on earth I was going to do two freelance jobs, keep up with my websites and blogs, shuttle Dubby to and from the adoption site every day, volunteer with Love-A-Bull, AND work a full time position. And what about organizing my photos, cleaning my house, gardening, playing video games, reading, writing my never-finished novel, drawing, watching all The Office and Heroes DVDs I borrowed from my sister, doing training with Star, cooking edible meals, and going to the grocery store? Not to mention incidental events like vet visits, doctor appointments, meetups with the Love-A-Bull group...

My brain exploded.

By the end of the day, I had a bad headache. Possibly due to brain explosion, but hey, I'm not a doctor.

Then the syringe stabbed me, as if to say "Hey, you're a clumsy idiot. You have more work than you have time. Your chicken is dead. You're a lousy dog owner. You're a goody-two-shoes volunteer when you should be working, making a living. And you think this new job is a good thing, but it's just going to take you farther away from your family and your dreams." Such harsh words from such a hurtful needle! And I cried.

Let me tell you, it didn't help the headache at all.


Heather in MN said...

Oh, sweetie. I'm so sorry to hear about everything that's going on. I totally "get" what you're going through. I work two jobs (as a writer and a teacher) and I volunteer all the time with Girl Scouts and my daughters' school and my therapy cat.
Listen, sweetie... it's time to write down everything you do in a single day and show it to your husband. That's enough of him not thinking you do anything. Why do men do that? It burns my cookie, let me tell you.
You're a good, valuable person with a generous heart. Not many people have that kind of heart. Cherish it. Realize that you have a special, special place in this world. You are good people, kiddo.
And I'm sorry about the chicken. :( What a bad week you're having.
Hugs, hugs, hugs... and if you need to talk, email me at

Kembree said...

Hang in there!! I admire all that you do! I didnt get to attend any Pit Bull Awareness events due to our move! I was totally bummed!

And I kinda get the "What have you done all day?" sometimes too, sometimes you gotta just brush the haters off :)

Ashley (the mom), Dixie (the Catahoula) and sometimes Lola (the Pit Bull) said...

I am so sorry. I'm sorry for the loss of your chicken. I wish I was closer to you so I could help in some way or that I was financially (and life-ly..)stable enough that I could adopt Dubby since he would be great in my herd. You are in my thoughts and I hope you get a well deserved break very soon!

Janet (Gus/Gracie) said...

Some days if just all comes crashing down, doesn't it. Hoping tomorrow will be a sunnier day for you!

Raising Addie said...

You sure are having a difficult time... but we KNOW that it is going to get better! Just look at sweet Dubby in that costume! :)

We are very sorry to hear about Squawkers.

I truly believe that sometimes God or some force in the universe makes us slow down and take a look around sometimes. This happened to me last night when I was trying to take the pups Halloween picture. I mean, I must be insane two pups under a year and Addie running around the set that I built, I slip and took a nose dive to the floor nearly missing destroying my Nikon on a tripod. I smashed my Knee up real good and am cover in black and blue marks but I forces me to slow down. It was a "jokes on me" type moment. :)

I would love to have your type of schedule as crazy as it may be. The flexibility and freedom. I sit in a basement, in a cube with no windows near for 10 to 12 hours a day. Believe me, things could be worse. ;)

Give the pups a BIG hug and just know that things will be great soon!


Kari in Redwood City said...

Ok I giggled when I read the part about other dogs mistaking Dubby for a giant purple stuffy. I could so see that happening.

Dennis the Vizsla said...


Sorry things are so crazy over there. I wish someone would adopt Dubby, he looks like such a sweetie. The benefits will be helpful and I'm sure you'll still find time to do all the good things that you do. And as for the ivermectin, at least you don't have to worry about picking up the demodectic mange now.

BTW you are braver than me. I could never even pick up a hypodermic needle, let alone use one.

forsythia said...

Sorry you've had all this to contend with, plus a needle jab. Life deals some bad cards sometimes. Hope you can slow down and take it easy. Sorry about Squawkers, but I think she probably enjoyed life until she got sick.

Anonymous said...

There is so no easy way to manage what we do in life. Just when all the balls seem to be kinetic, one ceases to bounce and the rest seem to follow. Then its time to gather up the balls and throw them against the wall to get them kinetic again.

I'm sorry about Sqawkers. When that happens, take stock, cuddle the dogs, make the hubby do the dishes for a week, open a box of Godiva and empty the brain. The important stuff will still be there when you open up your eyes, the rest will just be motes.

We have no one-size-fits-all solution, but you do have a lot of people who care for you.

In the words of my favorite songs, "Just Breathe"

shirley said...

i remember reading your posts while you were in school getting your masters degree, and i certainly sympathized with what you were going through since i was a working student myself...but now that i also foster on top of taking care of my own dog, school (STILL), work, life, etc. i really sympathize. in 3 months i hope to join the former-student ranks and do more volunteer & rescue work so i can really put myself over the edge even more often. just like you! really, you're just an ongoing inspiration...

big non-creepy internet hugs from stranger #532

PBOforlife said...

I'm so sorry for all you're going through. You are truly an inspiration to many of us. Please don't forget that.

I'm sorry about Squawkers. It's awful to lose pets.

I hope your days get better and someone adopts Dubby. He's so cute!! :) Tell your husband that's its time for him to do all you do in a day, every day, for a week. I quit doing all the chores for a week and my husband couldn't understand what happened until he really took stock. AMAZING that they just don't get it


Sharon said...


Rinalia said...

I'm so sorry about the chickens and all the stress you're going through right now. I hope you can find some balance. You are doing a lot of good work, you deserve to relax and feel content.