September 20, 2010

Life Is A Lot Like Turmeric

When Gretchen makes my food for me, she always adds turmeric for prevention against arthritis as well as something to help with my peculiar digestive system. It’s yummy so I don’t mind, but it leaves it’s mark. Not on or in me. It leaves it’s mark on all the surfaces it touches — the counters, the spatula, and even the bowl in which Gretchen mixes it. An orangish-yellow glow tints just about everything it touches, including Gretchen’s hands.

No one seems to care, really, but it got me to thinking about ways we are permanently “marked” or touched by what happens in our lives. Things leave a stain — experiences, events, people, places, and for dogs, most definitely scents — and while we often think of stains as bad thing, they are more layers of who we are, layers of what makes us us. Some of these events or experiences happen early in our lives. I, for instance, had to have a tooth removed at a very young age (just 7 weeks old) because it came in crooked. When my adult tooth came in crooked as well, I had to have that removed too. Gretchen wonders if some of my finickiness about food has to do with that early trauma and a mouth that isn’t quite even on the inside.

Rosie had lots of stains as a puppy. Abandoned, injured, and unloved she was incredibly lucky when her forever family adopted her. They take care of her like a Princess and it’s exactly what she needs and deserves. Her brother Tyson has some deep-seated issues about attachment and through the use of herbs and acupuncture, is working through them.

For some reason, Gemma’s turmeric stain has to do with barking dogs behind fences. She hates it and she spins and barks at places where a dog once barked behind a fence, but isn’t barking there all the time.

Oshi’s issue is that he thinks he’s a cat and he’s learned from the neighbor’s cat that being hooked up to a leash is not what cats do so when we go on outings (as we did today to the tennis courts) Oshi always has on that turmeric face that says, “I am not a dog. I am not a dog. I am not a dog.”

After playing with Perrito today, I’m still not sure what his turmeric moment is, though lately I’ve noticed his ears are getting grayer and grayer. He’s younger than I am, but with those gray ears, he sure looks a lot older. Maybe that’s his moment — premature aging — though you’d never know it by how he races around after us!

Saber has structural events happening in his life. A big guy, he has to be particularly careful about his bones and muscles. This means that sometimes he gets to romp and play, but sometimes he gets to just walk. Luckily for Saber, he’s just happy to be outside enjoying the company of other dogs!

Alice, on the other hand, is not at all certain about the company of other dogs. Alice is very fearful, though no one knows for certain where her fear all started. Our mission is to take her on walks and expose her to the world around her so she gains more confidence. Some days I feel like it’s working and other days, not so much.

I understand all of my friends though. I have many of the same turmeric issues though not to the same degree. For instance, I’m not too fond of being left alone though I certainly behave when I am left. I’m also feeling the aches and pains of my bones and muscles these days now that I’m getting older, but luckily, Gretchen is earning a massage license and she practices on me! There are things that make me afraid, too and neither Gretchen nor I can figure out where I learned to be afraid of things like heights or big, black dogs.

But see, there are stains I must deal with every day — imprints that make me who I am. Luckily, I have a family and friends who love and support me and look past those stains. And doubly lucky, the dogs we walk have family and friends who do the same for them.

Until tomorrow,

Rubin

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