Losing a Pet



Her name was Hanil (하늘). In Korean, it means “sky.” She was a Shih Tzu, which in Chinese, I imagine means “Sits on You.” She loved to sit on me. If I was on the couch, she was on the couch; if I was in bed, she was on my foot mat. Before she got sick, she would try with grunty zeal to jump up on the couch or bed. She followed me around the house and barked if I closed the bathroom door. She followed only me on dog walks. She needed no leash, because she never strayed from my feet. When we drove, she would jump across the dead man’s zone of used cups and chocolate wrappers in the elbow console just to get to my warm lap. She was brown and white with big black cataract eyes. She used to roll and rub all over my scattered clothes trying to absorb the smell. She loved me and I loved her back. Continue reading


Love and the Jersey Shore

Love is all around us on Valentine’s Day; and not the love that most of us experience. Not the absolute love from family; not the productive love of a partner; not even the dependable love of a pet. We are exposed to the Hallmark version of love. The version of love that can be quantified through expensive jewelry, fancy chocolates, and effusive gift cards. It’s another great idea destroyed by commercialism. Continue reading

A Day of Love

After the hate of Super Bowl Sunday has faded, and the groundhog has squeezed his plump hindquarters out of his hole, and the winter doldrums reach their dour, gray peak, we find the sunny artifice of Valentine’s Day.  The day when you feel bad for being single and having no one special to kiss, or the day when you don’t lavish enough attention on your special someone and either way end up feeling clumsy in your own heart.  We all know this day means nothing and everything.  It is a day to compare your love to the love you see all around you.  Oh, did your co-worker get flowers, did your sister get a chocolate truffle the size of a grapefruit, and did the neighbor get a big diamond ring from Zales?  Are you feeling sufficiently jealous of others and coveting what they received?  At least at Christmas, we can get past the jealousy and envy by celebrating in our own special way.  Some people go to the cinema, or eat a huge feast with family, some go on holiday, or hibernate with a DVD collection.  But on V Day, there is only one way to do anything, and that is with flowers, chocolates, terrible tasting heart candy and an expensive meal at your local, romantic Italian ristorante.  The Hallmarks of the world found a way to get a consumer boom in the otherwise slow holiday season between New Years and Easter.  The day was created by greed and fed by the need.  The need to feel loved.  If we can all remember the day is about celebrating the love between people and not the American idea of money buying love, we could have a less stressful moment.  Don’t buy things, create memories together.  If you have the money, create a big, flashy memory.  If you’re broke, watch a sunset together.  In either case, find something to celebrate yourselves and your relationship.  Someone told me yesterday, “All life is made of, is the relationships between people.”  It’s true to an extent; animals, nature and your setting play their own part too, but people make or break people.  Make someone’s day today with a smile and a wish for good karma.  There is no better gift than a positive future.


Please vacate my pool.

I have always loved cats.  I recently became enamored with dogs.  They are the best two pets if you don’t include trained squirrels or calm bears.  My three cats lay on me during TV time.  They are fun to watch during kitty playtime.  Dogs are aware of every sound in their vicinity and want to protect you, whereas most cats will run and hide at the approaching sound of danger.  The differences between the species is much more vast than their similarities which are basically limited to whiskers and fur.  It’s a great first date question–cats or dogs?  If they choose cats, they are probably snuggly, introspective and seductive.  If they choose dogs, they are probably protective/jealous, boisterous and passionate.  There is room for overlap of course, and that is where most people should find themselves.  Not, are you a cat or dog person, but, are you an animal person?  If you answer no to that, I’ll bet you’re also not a people person.  I hate to generalize and there are surely people out there who just hate fur or litter boxes or walking a dog twice a day and might love other people’s animals, but don’t need the constant attention of a four-legged friend.  Are you the kind of person who sees a dog and needs to pet it, or do you move out of its reach?  I must pet that dog.  I love to feel the completely individualized energy from each little pup.  Contrastly, I get very angry when people tell me not to pet the pup because he’s mean.  “Then what the hell did you do wrong?” I always want to ask.  Spending time with animals is therapeutic and relaxing.  Cancer patients and elderly get animal therapy.  Even Osama Bin Laden probably has some mangy mutt he feeds his extra rice to in that disgusting Pakistani cave he cowers in at night.  Dogs solve crimes, find criminals and sniff out drugs.  Cats have much less utility and are basically hug buttons and purr machines.  Both serve purposes and can really turn that frown upside down.  Do yourself a favor– go to the shelter, save a creature who will love you unconditionally and find some easy love everyday.  (Oh and have them spayed or neutered, feral animals live without love and it’s sad.)