Sunday, November 9, 2014

I Had Every Intention On Creating A Blog Post, But...




I had every intention on creating a blog post, but my husband has been sick since Thursday.  Which means I have been thrust into the role of nurse-on-duty, while being caretaker to TWO puppies (translation: referee/feeder/walker/pooper scooper).

Hot flashes have spilled onto the dining room floor that I have yet to mop. Speaking of spills, how/when did that spill happen at the bottom of my shiny, new gas range? The laundry pile isn't going to wash itself, and - oh yeah - I have yet to get something to eat.

I had every intention on creating a blog post, but a three-hour catnap trumped everything. And when I awoke, it was time to walk a defiant dog on a rainy day, hellbent on keeping her lady paws dry. Hubby wants a cup of tea with honey, and our pittie puppy needs to be fed. And played with. Then reprimanded for chasing the Min Pin.

Paper towel, Ginger Ale and Lysol Disinfectant needs to be restocked.  But not before I order myself a pizza.  Hubby needs a load of laundry done, and little Zora is walking behind me on her hind legs in anticipation of her oven-baked treats.  And the pittie pup just puked all in his crate, in the short time it took me to pour Zora's food...

I had every intention on creating a blog post, but life stepped in with its own rewrite.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Chance Meeting; How I Became Mom To A Shelter Dog


I blinked because I couldn't believe such a large dog was not at the end of a leash.  Feral cats are a dime a dozen in my neighborhood, but to see a dog running loose was limited to the one neighbor around the corner whose dog was part German Shepherd, part escape artist.

But this was not a neighbor's dog.  This was a pit bull.  The name alone creates panic for many, and even though I was raised around them, I knew enough to be cautious of one I didn't know. Stereotypes follow the breed closer than the Animal Control truck that could not catch this one for weeks.  I began to actually call it Phantom, because it would appear from nowhere, on the move to nowhere in particular, leaving a path of nervousness and aromatic gifts on lawns.

The worse encounter for me was one early morning, as I headed out to to take Zora for her walk.  After locking the door, I turned to see it standing on the sidewalk in front of us.   Like a scene out of a horror flick, I shook as I stabbed my key back into the lock to get back in the house, praying I didn't drop it!

Frustrated, I called the city to complain that the dog has been seen WAY too many times for it to still be causing paranoia in my neighborhood.  I continued to get the same response of, "We're trying".  And to add insult to a potential injury, I was told by the driver - after me and my 12-pound Min Pin had a standoff with the pit - that the dog was not aggressive.  

In my world, trying is not doing, so I called the mayor's office.  Low and behold, the wheels were in motion; I received a call from a neighborhood services organization, which was then followed by a call from Animal Control with what I wanted to hear; they picked up the dog.

Usually the story would end here, but my husband and I are dog lovers who had just found out a litter failed that would have produced a big baby brother for Zora , so I inquired about the stray.  I was told by Animal Control that the stray was required to be held for so many days for the owner to come forward, but we could come down and visit her.  Yet when we went down there, it turned out that my intuition was on point.  Once she was captured, she began showing signs of aggression, and therefore being held in the impound section.  Translation; no visitors. 

Seeing no reason to waste the trip, we strolled through the kennel. Talk about your cast of characters! One pit bull was so charismatic that she pressed her nose along the cage and SMILED at me!
After playing with the caged pups, we headed out to go home.

Right before we made it to the car, this flash of red was being walked back into the building by a volunteer.  "LOOK!" I shouted to my husband, to which the dog walked right up to us, tail wagging.

It was love at first lick.  Chance was his name, and we were told by the volunteer worker the procedure was quite simple, so we followed him back in.  Right away, we felt resistance by a female worker who quickly told us it was "first come, first served" in the adoption process.  Her energy became even more negative when she asked if there were any other dogs we would be interested in.  Undaunted, I asked about the hold time for Chance, to which she said "the owner had come forward" and had until October 1 to pay the fees and retrieve him.  I told her we would see her again on the October 2 to fill out the adoption papers...

The day we picked up Chance to bring him to his forever home, I found out the stray pit bull was euthanized because of her aggression.  She is in doggy heaven now, but her journey as a stray angel here on earth was literally divine timing, as she led us to Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. And right to our 7-month-old, 48-pound baby boy Chance.




Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Taking Steps Towards Awareness

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From shoe drives to fashion shows, there are plenty of causes to support Domestic Violence Awareness Month. But to wear your support on your feet, there is a diversity of styles of footwear, like the SJP Alyssa Peep-Toe Bootie icon (above).


Suede pumps

Footnote: if you need to take steps for getting help, the number to call is  1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 24 hours a day. You are not alone.




Domestic Violence Awareness Month



Today is the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and we all know that it is a cause that needs attention throughout the year. Since its inception in 1987, the first national toll-free hotline was begun as a lifeline to 9,000 daily abuse victims. 1 in 3 women will be affected by domestic violence in their lifetime.

Many make the mistake of thinking that physical abuse is the only definition.  My whole purpose in my  book is also what is listed on The National Domestic Violence Hotline website. Heed the warning signs BEFORE it turns physical:

  • Telling you that you can never do anything right
  • Showing jealousy of your friends and time spent away
  • Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing friends or family members
  • Embarrassing or shaming you with put-downs
  • Controlling every penny spent in the household
  • Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
  • Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
  • Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions
  • Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
  • Preventing you from working or attending school
  • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
  • Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons
  • Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
  •    
    Footnote: If you need someone to talk to, the number to call is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 24 hours a day. You are not alone.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

#WhyILeft

I was the first call she made after it happened. She wanted to know if I knew where her purse was. Not knowing why she would ask such a random question, she continued to ask until I heard the hurt in her voice. "What did he do to you?" I asked.

At sixteen years old, I never knew of violence ever being present in this relationship of high school sweethearts. But I knew something was happening. I just didn't know it had a name. After writing down the address she gave me, I had the task of calling her mother to tell her of the situation. I was picked up by my aunt and cousin's brother, and the police were called to meet us at this unfamiliar address.

Imagine seeing the blood of someone you play with, grow up with, trickle from her ear.  Now imagine the confusion I had when the policeman's offer to have her boyfriend arrested was rejected.

That was my first introduction to domestic violence. Throughout my life, it seeped through walls shared by neighbors, became surprise deliveries to offices shared by co-workers, and eventually landed in my own path. But the difference between my experience and the women I knew was that I left BEFORE I was physically abused.

There is not one person who doesn't know someone affected by it. Whether it is physical, psychological, financial, verbal or sexual, domestic violence will affect 1 in 3 women in their lifetime. And it affects women from all walks of life.

With the release of the vicious elevator videotape of Baltimore Raven's Ray Rice yesterday, the world threw a collective flag on the play. Opinions are as diverse as a man's livelihood has nothing to do with his personal life, to his jersey being burned in protest.

I even had a spirited debate with my husband, who believes men are getting "a bad rap" because no one is putting attention on their need for help.  Bless his heart.  My response to his "logic" is that when a man behaves like a boy, he should be treated like one, which means you take from him what he prizes the most. And in this case, just like Chad Johnson, it's his career. I just hope the NFL owns their responsibility to their fans by having the league don purple next month for domestic violence awareness, just as they do for breast cancer.

On the opposite scope of the topic, society is quick to turn attention to the woman's role in the situation. Much like the mindset of a sexual predator, abusers use gifts, mind games and threats to contain victims in a prison without walls. I can't answer why a woman would stay in an abusive relationship, because all I know from my personal experience is that the unrest in my spirit would not allow me to.  Over-the-top jealousy and raising a voice is as foreign to me as Payless shoes.  I loved him, but I loved myself so, so much more.

Prevention is the key to stopping domestic violence. A raised voice can quickly turn into a raised hand. That's why it is my goal to reach as many women I can with my book How To Stylishly Fall From Grace. A portion of every book sold benefits Say NO - UNiTE To End Violence Against Women.

Footnote:  To get a glimpse into the mind of a woman who did stay, look no further than Sarah Kogod's powerful testimony:

And I thought that was my responsibility to take this broken man who loved me and fix him. And I tried so hard to fix him. But while I was fixing him, he was breaking me.