sunday morning thoughts

some weekends, i really wish i hadn’t taken on a pet sit. it is a very rare occasion since i began this business that i get a weekend day – any day, really – that i can “sleep in,” whatever that means. when i can have that feeling of total relaxation, that i don’t have some creature waiting on me to arrive to be fed or to be let out to pee, or even to just pat them on the head and make their tail wag.

that thought crossed my mind for a second this morning as i was waking up, well before my usual work wake up time of 7am. the reality is, at my age, i seem to no longer be able to sleep past 7am unless i’ve gone on a bender the night before, or stayed awake all night with insomnia or hopefully something more fun. but still, even though my body usually wakes up with the sun, there is a difference between waking up and realizing i have to get out of bed and start my morning routine because i have to attend to an animal somewhere in this town, and feeling like, oh, i can just roll over, drift off again, or fart around reading the internet on my phone, or even better yet, pick out a netflick or tv show i’ve wanted to catch up on and zone out in bed for a few hours knowing i have nowhere to be. the latter very rarely happens; but when it does, i savor it.

this morning i did have two creatures waiting on me. so i reluctantly got up, made and proceeded to eat my granola and soy milk, drank my iced coffee with almond milk, threw on some clothes (it is the weekend after all, i can shower later), and hopped on the scooter for the four and half mile ride out to the pet sit… which is actually quite a lovely ride, particularly on a lazy sunday morning with very little traffic and no rain.

this is the neighborhood where this weekend’s dog clients live:

almost seven years after the federal flood, it is so hard to drive around lakeview and not be transported back in time. it’s hard to see in this wide shot (click the pic for a larger view), but at the end of this road is the historical marker for the 17th street canal floodwall breach, that accurately attributes blame to the army corps of engineers for faulty design. that wall is what burst open, sending a tidal wave of water into this neighborhood and eventually much of city. there used to be houses there. there used to be houses on both sides of this street where there are still, seven years later, only empty lots. much of this part of lakeview still looks like this: deserted, decimated. even the blocks where folks have rebuilt, there are many many empty lots peppering the landscape of newly constructed, jacked-up 10-feet-off-the-ground houses. and there are still, seven years later, plenty of houses that look virtually untouched (though they may be gutted inside), their walls still sporting water stains, looking like a bomb hit it. and the streets are horribly potholed, sunken, broken up and cracked nearly everywhere, except for the short stretch of fleur de lis drive that got repaved. (why did they only do half of it?)

my dog clients live right down the street from this corner, and we walk past this historical marker every time i visit. it is surreal and sobering and strangely serene, all at the same time. i don’t know how these folks who live out here do it, honestly. not just in terms of fearing it could happen again, but just in having to see that every day, be triggered by that every day, all the memories of before, during, and immediately after august 29th, 2005. i couldn’t do it… though i have to admire their resiliency and determination.

thankfully, for me, my two pit bull charges for the weekend do a pretty good job of getting my mind off all these weightier subjects. maggie and buster are probably two of the happiest, most easy going dogs i’ve had as clients, and also two of the most photogenic. here’s a few instagrams to prove it:


and a few more:


so yeah. ridiculously cute. and so sweet. i didn’t get maggie’s full story, but buster was from a fighting ring. he’s got some physical issues, but oh my god, i don’t think i’ve ever met a dog who just wanted to love and be loved more. what a sweetheart. and maggie… well it took her a day or two to really trust me, but by today, she was really coming out of her shell, being playful (she likes to chase the ball and play tug of war with her rope toy) and bouncy and just a doll. so sweet. they have already become some of my favorite clients.

i had a whole ‘nother stream of thought about dogs and their love and need to be loved and my human need to love and feel loved which has occupied a good chunk of my morning… but, well, in the end, it got a little too convoluted to make for good reading. i tried cutting and pasting it over to my livejournal for a more private audience… but i lost my train of thought and, well, i’m over it.

sigh. but the gist of it is, as it turns out, i’m glad i took this pet sit this weekend. glad i got up early and rode out to lakeview on a quiet sunday morning. glad i spent some time pondering weighty thoughts and personal growth, and even more glad i spent some time throwing the tennis ball for maggie, and hugging on buster on the couch.

so grateful for this work i do. most days, i don’t really think about it; it’s just work. an endless schedule of details: appointments and dogs and picking up poop and rain avoidance and scooter maneuvering and the occasional cat or guinea pig or turtle or fish. but on some days, like today, it’s more than that. it’s therapy. it soothes my soul, engages my brain in self reflection, and ultimately, yes, helps me be a better person. (hokey as that may sound, it is true.)

that’s a pretty good reason to get up and out of bed early on a sunday morning.


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