Saturday, March 29, 2014

Winnie: 2005 - March 28, 2014

It's hard to believe she's gone.

At 4:00 Friday afternoon I didn't know anything was wrong with her, and by 6 that same night she was already gone.

The day before, on Thursday morning, as usual Bobby woke me up at the crack of dawn for our daily walk. Bobby, Winnie and I went several blocks to our private dog park, the fenced-in park/community center/fire station. We know how to get in before it opens for everybody else.

It was a relatively cool morning, about 58 degrees, and both dogs loved the cool air. It made them run around and chase each other all the more. Bobby would start running and Winnie-Binnie would follow, only to stop and flatten herself out as if to hide in the grass. Bobby would continuously run circles around her, nipping at her back legs in order to get her going. And then she'd jump up and go like crazy, running in circles, chasing him, being chased, and then roll around in the grass.

She seemed fine.

Friday morning she ate her breakfast as usual and then had a little toast with soy margarine with me as they both do every morning. Later in the day, when it was time to eat again, she didn't want to get off the couch. When I called, she got off, and laid on the floor. She wouldn't touch her food.

When this dog doesn't want to eat, something's wrong. I called her vet, but she had gone for the day. Went back to Winnie to check her gums and noticed they were very pale and her lips and mouth were actually cool to the touch. So I brought her to the emergency vet a few minutes away from home.

She was able to walk to the front desk but then laid down there. They brought a gurney to take her back to the examining area. They too, noticed she was pale and cold. A test showed there was blood in her stomach. The ultrasound showed a mass that had ruptured in her spleen, and another one in her liver. She was bleeding internally. They feared the tumors, whether benign or cancerous, had spread. The offered to call in a surgeon, but said this kind of thing has a very low chance of success. And if she did survive, she'd only last another couple of weeks.

All this was like a punch in the face. How was this possible? She was fine this morning. She went for her daily walk and ate all her breakfast and toast. Well, she seemed fine, but these masses had been growing for a while. I had no way of knowing any of this.

In her weakened state, I didn't want her to go through the surgery, only to die on the operating table, or live in misery in a cage at the vet's office for her last days. I thought about taking her home for the night, but there was no way she would have lasted the night. And she would have felt worse by the minute. I had to let her go.

I didn't want her lifted to the table. They brought out a blanket, put it on the floor, I hugged her and told her everything I needed to say, and continued hugging her on the floor while they administered the injections, and then she was gone.

Hard to believe Winnie originally couldn't get along with other animals. Here she is with Ethel, who I lost 3 months ago.
I got Winnie to "hold temporarily until she got a new home" 4 years ago in March 2010. This became her fourth home.  I have no idea why three other people gave her up. Actually, it was probably because she was very different back then.

When I first got her she didn't know how to walk on a leash. She'd pull hard in every direction. And if she saw another dog or cat she'd go nuts and want to kill them. I was nervous every time I walked her.

But she learned to relax and calm down. In no time she became the best at walking on a leash, never pulling in the slightest. The leash was just a formality; she stayed right next to me on every walk. Eventually, this dog who wanted to attack every other dog she saw, learned to love going to the big dog park -- with dozens of other dogs running around. She became the most excited when we'd get there, and we'd run to the gate, and I'd let her off her leash. There was never a fight, and never any hostility. She loved being around all those other dogs. It was hard to believe this was the same dog.

She learned to calm down and enjoy life mostly thanks to Bobby. She saw right away how happy and confident he is, and she followed his lead. She did everything he did. She never barked, but if the doorbell rang and he got excited, so did she. When he got excited about a walk or going in the car, she got excited too.

But while Bobby is a big, happy-go-lucky, in-your-face fun-dog, she stayed very quiet and reserved at home.

Every night she'd jump on the bed and curl up in a little circle -- never intrusive, not taking up too much space, not looking for attention -- and just fall asleep. When I'd lie down on the couch to watch TV, she'd jump up and curl up in a little circle in her spot. When I'd get on the computer, within seconds I'd look down and both dogs would be lying on the floor next to me. She just wanted to be nearby.

In the morning, after our long walks, sometimes I'd go back to bed for a little while. She'd curl up on the bed in her tight circle, but I'd pull her over next to me, stretch her out and hug her. This made her happy. She'd roll on her back, wiggle back and forth, left-right-left-right almost in figure 8s, and then fall asleep with all her feet in the air.

I don't know anything about her first few years, but I'm glad I had her for these last four. She learned to relax, enjoy life, and she got along great with the cats. They'd sleep next to her and walk right under her.

They'll deliver her ashes to me in two weeks.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Republican Jackass of the Week

US House member from Wisconsin, House Budget Committee Chairman, and failed vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R).

Recently, while pandering to his rightwing base, and thinking he was cleverly avoiding referring directly to African-Americans, he said this: 

"We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work."

Hmm. Exactly what "culture" of people do we find in the inner cities? And what does "not even thinking about working" mean?

His oh-so-clever statement translates to "lazy black people." He's using old racist fears and stereotypes to gather support and rile up his far rightwing base.

Hey Paul, did you think we couldn't clearly understand exactly what you were saying? If your low-information, Fox-watching, racist, Teabagger fans were able to figure it out, everybody was.

Apparently people who live in the inner cities, with substandard schools, substandard housing, a lack of jobs, lots of crime, and increased targeting by police, actually enjoy living below the poverty line. Who knew.

This often-repeated red meat, thrown to his far rightwing supporters further propagates the factually incorrect assumption that more blacks than whites are on welfare. Fact is the vast majority of welfare recipients always has been white.

But why let facts get in the way when you can push lies and racist stereotypes, rile up your base, increase fundraising, and have Fox Noise back up your bizarre position?

Paul Ryan, our Republican Jackass of the Week. Again.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Republican Jackass of the Week

Rep Darrell Issa (R) of California, also Chairman of the Oversight Committee.

This is the committee that, under his rule, does nothing but go fishing for non-existent "scandals," like the "IRS scandal," the "Fast and Furious scandal," and of course, everybody's favorite, "Benghazeeeeeeeeeee!"

Of course, not one shred of evidence of wrongdoing, coverup, or illegal activity of any kind has ever been discovered. Yet arsonist/car thief/oversight chairman Issa keeps blindly plugging away, determined to find something--anything--worthy of impeaching President Obama.

In case you don't remember, this fake IRS scandal consisted of an IRS office in Cincinnati searching the applications of rightwing Teabagger organizations, as well as Liberal organizations, that requested 501(c)4 status. What Darrell and all the Teabaggers don't understand is that the IRS had every duty to check out those groups, since getting 501(c)4 status requires an organization "to operate exclusively for the promotion of social welfare," not primarily to promote social welfare. This means they cannot be political even 1% of the time.

And, in case you don't remember, not a single rightwing organization was denied 501(c)4 status, although legally they all should have.

Wednesday, during his umpteenth hearing into the non-existent IRS scandal, he called a former IRS official before the committee once again, only to have her take the Fifth once again. So what did Issa do? Immediately he adjourned the meeting, despite the fact that Oversight Committee Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings had every right to speak for a few minutes. Cummings was attempting to speak--when Issa ordered his mic to be turned off.

This act of rudeness and inappropriate conduct is unparalleled in recent history. No pundit could remember the last time an opposing member of Congress, who had a right to speak according to House rules, was not only refused response time, but actually had his mic disconnected while speaking.

Darrell Issa is an angry, frustrated little man, who promised his rightwing backers he'd find something with which to take down the president, but who has been a miserable failure for the last four years.

And he's also the Republican Jackass of the Week.