spirit flows thru -- Alison Rittger's spiritual reflections on finding the holy in the daily

A Foxiebeau Update


PictureFoxiebeau's favorite mural. /A.Rittger
No one asks me about my life what with all the moving we’ve been doing. While it’s hard to account for any particular day in the last several months, we did depart the small slow elevator with all the walkers and canes crowding me and move to a big building with three speedy talking elevators, usually empty when we take them for morning walks or afternoon outings. Lots more people of all ages are here and dogs – more than I like!

Highlights first: Car rides on Grand Ave to Safeway and the walks up Jean Street to the Morcom Rose Garden. Dogs can’t go in the park, so we follow the rules, but we do get to walk past the Ace nursery on our way. We pause at the park opening to read the inscription about red roses and blooddrops. Other times we walk toward Lake Merritt down a side street with lots of murals. The picture on this blog shows my favorite. At home, I like it when my one-and-only tosses treats to me.  I’m never sure where on the rug they’ll land. And it is fun to tear up toys. My new toy is a duck and has one quack in its butt.

When the ladies come for meditation, I do not play with squeaky toys. I leap on each of them while they sit their half-hour, but they don’t seem to mind. Then I lie in the center of the rug and chew on a blue toy that’s supposed to be good for my teeth and breath. I like how my one-and-only takes me downstairs to wait for them to arrive. It is fun to have friends!

Lowlights: All the celebrations! When the Warriors won the playoffs, fireworks, more like bombs I thought, went off for hours and I cowered in corners, shaking like crazy. Not my fault! Then the parade. It came right down the street where I live! More noise and bombs bursting in air. Then it was Fourth of July and the noisy fireworks. By that time, I was on medication. Sedatives they’re called. Finally I was fitted for a Thunder Shirt, which we are trying out. It seems complicated. But if it calms me, it will be worth being tossed around while my one-and-only sorts out the multiple lengths of Velcro straps.

Recently, a friend sent an email describing a circus-like training for dogs so they can do tricks. There’s even one for small dogs like me. I weigh just about 12 lbs. Unfortunately, I am unfriendly to other animals and to pant legs, particularly if they are going by fast. But even slower pant legs are not necessarily safe from my aggressive behavior. I'm lucky that my one-and-only laughs as she picks me up and hides my eyes so I won’t notice another dog. She stays cheerful as I struggle to attack, and she smiles while apologizing to the people at the end of their leashes. We never ride up in an elevator if another dog is in it or near it, even. Sometimes I wish I had a different disposition. I know I am like this from causes and conditions not my fault.

If dogs could meditate, would they tap into canine equanimity? My one-and-only could toss the sedatives, take back the Thunder Shirt for a refund, and buy another squeaky toy. Once I could abide other animals, we might join the circus and learn to jump through flaming hoops. Until then, it's the status quo for us.   

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