Tag Archive | dogs

The long and winding road

November already. My baby boy, Ben, will be 33 next week.

Again, where does the time go?

I recently realized it’s been 50 years since I started first grade – 50 years later I’m in school again. What a long and winding road it’s been.

We’re covering mentally and physically disabled people in Diversity and Oppression this week, which is what actually what made the “Wow, 50 years” light go off. Reading about disabilities in children took me back to a couple of elementary school memories, both of which have haunted me.

In my first grade class was a boy named I’ll call Elmer. (I remember his full name, how he dressed and combed his hair, and his rosy cheeks.) One day he just wasn’t there anymore and no one ever told us a thing.

I realized later that he was whisked off to a special school. He had an old-fashioned name and dressed like a little old man, so maybe he had older parents. I don’t remember ever seeing them. He didn’t communicate much – I don’t remember him speaking, actually – but he was very sweet.

But he wasn’t potty-trained, to put it nicely. Before he was just – poof – gone from his desk one day, he had several accidents of both kinds, to speak euphemistically. I don’t remember anyone being mean about it or making fun, and I don’t remember how our teacher, Mrs. Trent, handled it.

I’ve often wondered about him. And I wonder how things would be handled 50 years later.

(My first three grades were the T-name trifecta – Mrs. Trent, Mrs. Trusty and Mrs. Turner.)

The other memory is of a girl we’ll call Violet. She also had an old-fashioned name and an old-fashioned hairdo, and, sadly, she’d had polio and was wheelchair-bound. We didn’t think too much about it, but she must have really felt left out many, many times.

We did square-dancing for physical education in the third grade. Kelly and I and a couple of boys (can’t remember who) were on the “demonstration” team – we’d demonstrate new moves as we learned them and if I remember right, we also showed other classes the moves.

One day we were in the “cafetorium,” as they called the combo cafeteria and auditorium at North Heights, dancing, and Violet sat in her wheelchair watching. At some point our beloved Mrs. Turner let her go back to the classroom to read. When we got back to the room, Violet had poured Elmer’s glue in Kelly’s desk seat. Maybe mine, too – that’s a bit murky.

Fortunately no one sat in glue – the mischief was noticed in time. I remember being shocked at the blatant naughtiness of it and the unrepentedness of Violet.

Years later I realized what that was about – the proverbial light in my head went off. She wanted us to be glued to our chairs, as she was.

So sad. And so insensitive, really, with how things were handled. Instead of giving her an alternate activity, she was supposed to just watch us prancing, dancing and having fun.

I don’t remember her after that school year and I have no idea where she ended up. Maybe we just didn’t have anymore classes together.

But she’s haunted me, too.


On another note, speaking of prancing, we have Wrigley this weekend. She and Zuzu have been doing their usual nonstop playing since Ben dropped her off around 8:30 this morning. Both of them have slobbernecks, and they’re taking their first rest period at 11:35.

Wrigley and Zuzu take a time out. Wrigley is in her safety zone.

Lots of things going on this busy weekend all over the city and the state. At our house, it’s Dogfest.

That’s all right, mama

I’m trying to take lessons about life from my dogs.They really have the best ideas. Every day is the best day, everything is exciting. Beds are for relaxing on (hah, that won’t happen for me, but one can aspire), sidewalks are for walking and the sun if for basking in. Things are really all right.

Tess and Zuzu know how to have fun.

Life if good! Life is great! Everything is wonderful. Live in the present. Stay in the now. C’mon, Mom, let’s play!!

Zuzu has learned to unplug my laptop if I’m working too hard. Pay attention to me, to me, to me. Let’s play, let’s play, let’s play.

Can’t always do that, in the real world, especially with papers and midterms breathing down your neck, but it’s a great thing to aspire to.

Now the dogs and I are chillaxing at home before we take a walk. Gotta get those priorities straight.

The best time is now. The best time is now. The best time is now …

The dog days are over

I’ve been a baaadddd dogmom. (Bad Laura, bad girl.) And John’s been a bad dogdad. It’s been hot. We’ve been lazy/busy. And Zuzu has gotten bored and desperate for attention.

Consequently, she tries so exuberantly to shake hands or high five, that she can knock you into next week. She’s still only 10 months old, but she’s a giant of a girl. Her brain is immature, but her body’s Goliath.

Zuzu, in front, is a 10-month-old giant. Dainty Tess is 6 years.

In her short little life, it’s been hotter than Hades, so she’s not gotten to walk nearly enough as she should. (I cannot do 5 a.m. walks. You wouldn’t want me to, either. I’m not nice at 5 a.m.) As a result, her nails have gotten longer than they should, and we haven’t trimmed them lately, for a few reasons: 1) The last time resulted in bleeding, and that’s so traumatizing for the parents, it alway takes months to recover. 2) She doesn’t like it and misbehaves a bit, which makes Tess the enforcer go on high alert, which is never fun. And, 3) Zuzu gets scared and does her “whoopsy-pee,” which, for an 80-pound puppy, is not cute.

Mixed in with me working almost full-time this summer, those factors and inconsistent puppy-training reinforcement have resulted in a puppy who’s a bit out of control.

But that stops now. We’ve resumed walking, since the weather’s calmed down; we have a date with Dad and the clippers tonight (for Tessie, too); Zuzu is bigger than Tess now, so the enforcer is not so quick to jump in; and we’ve already had a clicker-reinforcement session this morning, even before Mom’s workout.

The jostling over who gets to chill in front of the air conditioner after walks has stopped, too. The girls are now content – happy even – to relax together on the bed. Leaves little room for us, but Tess prefers to sleep on alert in the living room. Only Zuzu sleeps the entire night in the bed with us.

So we spoil her. That’s what kids are for.

No much room for Mom and Dad, but the girls are certainly happy.

But Zuzu loves to please – she’s a people- and fellow-dog-dog. (I typed “person” first. Oh, dear.) Getting her back on track shouldn’t take long. We don’t want her to lose her exuberance for life (or her Toby-reincarnated behavior), just her tendency to do collateral damage via said exuberance.

I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going. Wish us luck.