A Basset Named Isaac - Chapter 17 two lab puppies

Chapter 17 – Love is Not Magic, It’s a Decision

“We must speed things up, Pixie! If you do this well, and I’m sure you will, we will spend hours together, sharing stories and contemplating life wisdom”. Marshall’s face opened in a wide grin as he started picturing his new disciple’s adventures in the future. He loved being there for someone, as he knew too well what it’s like to have to take care of your own business very young, all by yourself.

“The sixth principle of love is about dedication. Dedication is a simple thing, but many people fail short in meeting it. They think love is some esoteric force that comes out of nowhere and swipes them off of their feet. 

“Does this have something to do with the saying saying ‘swept off one’s feet’, Marshall?” asked Pixie.

“Good point. It has. People often say that someone swept them away off their feet when they fell madly in love. They attribute too many magical qualities to the other person, believing it’s all about the other. But this is a trick our mind plays on us, Pixie. Falling in love and staying in love is a lesson of self-discovery. Unfortunately, people easily know how to fall in love, but rarely know how to stay in the maelstrom. The art is in the stay because that’s when one’s shadow starts creeping in.”

“Shadow? What kind of shadow? The one that shows up in the sun?” Pixie was getting more and more curious.

“Ha-ha! Not exactly, although exposure to the sun is a good metaphor for what happens when two people fall in love. There must be light for a shadow to come up. If we live in constant darkness, we will see no shadows at all. This is about the shadow inside.”

“I guess that Daniel and Pixie have a lot of shadows in their worlds, then!”

“Probably. We all do. You see, the worst part about shadows is that we don’t know we have them until the light is on. And that’s what two people are to each other. Lighthouses. Pocket lamps. We only get to truly know our shadows if someone directs a ray of light directly at us, and that’s what takes place in relationships.”

“Are Daniel and Charlene each other’s lighthouses?”

“They may be. People have complementary shadows. They are perfect for pairing because what one lacks the other is providing, albeit unconsciously. Often, such awareness leads to hurting ourselves and others. We think we love them, but we don’t. We don’t know how. No one has taught us how to love because we have only seen hurtful things. That’s why we need to help Daniel and Charlene learn this.”

“But how come dogs help them? I don’t get it! People seem to be living the best life, why do they hurt each other so much?”

“Ah, it seems they do. And some do, that’s for sure. But many don’t. Nonetheless, the difference between falling in love and staying in love is learning to dance with the shadows. Shadows have a nasty habit of surprising you when you least expect. Dedication in love means staying with the shadows and working through them until they become radiant pieces of your soul again,” added Marshall.

“Love is not magic, though it can feel so nice, people believe they are enchanted. Love is a decision.”

Marshall’s words reverberated in Pixie’s head as she was growing into a completely new dog.

Chapter 16 A Basset Name Issac husky dog

Chapter 16 – Pixie Flourishes as Her Heart Grows Bigger

Pixie was one third into her training but was already feeling the fur on her back raising with a pleasant pull. The blood in her body tingled with the sweetest tiny tremors and her eyes started sparkling with a newly-found vigor. It was something she has never felt before. 

Those wise healing words pierced through the core of her being and touched at the softest tissue inside. Even for a dog for whom love comes naturally, Pixie was astounded by Marshall’s acumen. His therapeutic words made her stop in her tracks. She was full of love but young and inexperienced. And she never had a guide, a mentor, or someone pointing the right way forward without all those painful learning from her own mistakes.

“I wonder if Daniel and Charlene had such a person in their lives… I wonder if someone taught them how to love themselves, appreciate the moment, and love another without expectations and calculations. Heck, I am just trying to make sense of it all myself and I am a dog! As Marshall says, we know better. If dogs can be so far back in the lessons in love, how far back are humans?” 

Pixie was having this self-talk as she began to understand that there is so much in life she doesn’t know anything about. And that she was lucky to have met Isaac and got on Marshall’s team. Her heart started filling with warmth, kindness, and compassion unfamiliar to the times spent leading her pack. 

She started gaining a new appreciation of life. People seemed less scary. Her fear was diminishing as she started to understand then better. The only problem was, will they be able to reciprocate? Will they learn tough love lessons in so little time? Can Isaac and her inhabit Daniel and Charlene in a single night and consider the job done? Her doubts went up as she asked the old wise pug:

“Can we get this finished in just one night, Marshall? It seems very unlikely. I have a feeling the damage done to these two has taken many years. It can’t be solved with quick-fix solutions, can it? It just looks impossible!,” Pixie shared her concerns loudly.

“Indeed, Pixie. You are partially right. Yet, I’ve seen instant transformations with people we have inhabited in the past.”

“There was this drug addict who went into a withdrawal crisis and beat his own mother so hard that she ended up in intensive care. I think his name was Jay or at least that what people used to call him. It was short of something – Jordan, or James, maybe. He almost died that same night because he took a large dose afterwards and went fully unconscious. 911 arrived at the last minute and put him in intensive care, just a few rooms across from his mom.”

“Fortunately enough, Jay had a colleague with a freshly adopted husky – Simon, who spent some time on our team.”

“Did his colleague call 911?”, Pixie’s curiosity was growing. 

“Yes. Simon decided to make Mark his forever mate (that was the name of the colleague and adoption guy) and found himself on the hospital bed together with him when they went to visit Jay. Jay was already on the brink of desperation, his life losing all sense or meaning due to the low he managed to get to – how could he do that, he thought? How did he ever come to that point to hurt people that love him the most so badly? 

“Amidst the worst of his torment, Simon hopped on his bed and licked his face. Then he howled with that famous ancient husky howl that sounds like it had traveled through time and space and will go on to reverberate in eternity.” 

“The sound of that howl made Jay break into tears. He wept for two nights without a pause. It was terrible. He had intravenous support but the withdrawal symptoms started to kick in hard. His pain went from the usual hardness he knew to unbearable physical and emotional pain he had never faced before.”

“Guilt and awakened conscience took their toil and he felt worthless. He called himself a piece of shit so many times those two nights.”

“Did he get better eventually?”, Pixie was growing fond of Jay already, her natural canine compassion revealing itself.  

“Be patient, Pixie! Mark noticed Simon’s impact on Jay’s well-being and decided to break hospital rules. He sneaked into the room during the night and left Simon through the night to stand by Jay’s side” smiled the pug.  

“What about security, Marshall? Didn’t they kick the dog out or press charges against the irresponsible owner? Or did Simon have some therapy dog license?”

“Nope. Simon wasn’t a therapy dog. But Mark was clever. He did this when security wasn’t watching. They didn’t give dogs visitor badges, so no one knew that the dog sleeps by Jay’s side each night calming him as he was suffering. Simon was very quiet when he wanted to help people. He didn’t make a sound, just calmly slept next to Jay’s feet and licked his arm when Jay would start panicking. Mark came back in the mornings and took the dog out. So, all went smoothly. 

“It only took 48 hours and a husky full of love for Jay to change his ways. This was a rare case, Pixie, but it happens. Generally speaking, you are right – it takes longer for love to penetrate and complete a deep healing cycle for people to be able to wholeheartedly love themselves and others. Some never do”, sadly mentioned Marshall.

“This is the perfect moment to talk about principle number five: love takes time. Simple, but very powerful words for people who are used to instant gratification, including Charlene, who loses herself into another, and Daniel with his almost predatory attitude, who thinks the world exists to serve him,” concluded Marshall. 

“Goodness me, we will never get this done if I continue with the storytelling. Let’s not digress and come back to the task at hand. Deep healing is not what we are doing tonight. We are just doing the initiation. The rest of principle number five will take a little longer,” said Marshall.

“Don’t stop your stories, Marshall! I love them!”, exclaimed Pixie. “Each contains precious gems of wisdom. I learn a lot from them. But I agree, let’s continue with the principles. What’s next?” 

A Basset Named Isaac Chapter 15 - pug dog close up

Chapter 15 – Third and Fourth Principle of Love

“But both of them are very different, Marshall. One is the black moon and the other is the golden sun. One is a wrecking ball, the other one is a dandelion in the wind. One is a forceful spring that makes its own riverbed wherever it goes. The other one is meandering like a huge, calm waterway that has found its peace in the valley. It’s so gentle, it’s invisible.

“They seem like the total opposite. How could the twelve principles work on them both? “I’m not sure how that would work out. If I inhabit Pixie, and Isaac inhabits Charlene, wouldn’t the same principles just separate them further apart?”

“That’s a great question, Pixie. I see where you are coming from. But love is not about maths. It doesn’t work with statistical precision. Or,  rather, it isn’t simple math – it is a complex function – university level math. It is not a simple addition or extraction with pluses and minuses. It’s not linear. It doesn’t go one way only on a straight line.”

“It’s circular, concentrical, multidimensional, irrational. Just like irrational numbers. Pure chaos, sometimes. Gosh, I blabber too much about maths and our minutes are numbered…” 

“So, principle number three is pretty simple, short, and sweet: in love, there is no calculation. If you are calculating and representing people and their actions through numbers or put them on an end of a spectrum, you are not loving, you’re manipulating. Love is horizontal. No one is better or worse. Everyone is a human being deserving of respect and reverence. See what I mean?”

“Fine, but we do have some hierarchy as dogs. And it can sometimes get pretty violent. It’s not that everyone is equal.”

“Ah, yes… It can get violent. Bloody feral, you are right.”  

The corners of Marshall’s eyes swelled with unresolved memories as he remembered the number of canines he loved and that loved him back through the years. The wet sparkle made his big sad pug eyes even bigger and his wrinkly, downward-facing, frowny muzzle even heavier as he remembered the dogs that left him. 

Some of them were like family. “My own family,” he thought. “And now, there is no one left. I am the oldest. From time to time, it can feel terribly alone.” Such heavy thoughts were frequent visitors lately as he was becoming more and more aware of the shortness of a dog’s life, so much shorter than what humans get on average.    

“But dogs never hurt each other out of spite or pure evil, like humans often do, Pixie. For food and shelter, maybe. Sometimes, when they are young and stupid, out of fear. But never, never just to cause pain… And what’s even more important, they never hurt themselves on purpose.” 

“We have an incredibly healthy sense of self-preservation. Which brings us to principle number four: your love must always include yourself, too, otherwise, it’s not love.

You see, I’m not sure either one of our targets for tonight knows how to do that properly. On the surface, it looks like Daniel is completely in love with himself. All that bloated self-esteem and high opinions about himself would make you think he truly loves himself. But all that overworking, overexercising, overdrinking, hooking-up, is that really a sign of self-love?”

“Think about it, Pixie! What would happen if you forget how to sleep, eat well, form long-lasting bonds with other dogs, and nourish your soul by doing what becomes us naturally? And that is to love like we are the love masters of the universe!” 

Pixie listened thoughtfully and started thinking about Charlene: “I guess Marshall is right. All that softness and passivity can’t be good for her. Does she put herself into the love equation? Why is she letting people walk all over her, especially that arrogant, bull-headed, deeply unhappy colleague of hers, Daniel?”           

Chapter 14-A Basset Named Isaac couple with dog walking

Chapter 14 – The Twelve Principles of Love

“Inhabitation is pretty simple. All you need to do is be your dog-self. Trust and good contact with the person mean everything. By practicing these simple principles while you and Isaac gain Charlene’s and Daniel’s trust, you will simultaneously inhabit them. Slowly and carefully, you will help them raise their warmth, break the shell around their hearts, and learn how to ask for what they want. They will get to know how to love themselves”, explained Marshall, contemplating how dogs have warmer bodies than humans, and with a purpose. 

If you ask any dog, the simplest words kept pouring from his mouth, comprehensible to puppies even, and yet so little people knew them and understood them well or at all. 

“Yeah, I think I know what you mean, Marshall”, Pixie was gradually digesting her first lesson. “I believe these principles have something to do with a saying I’ve overheard people use often: ‘we don’t deserve dogs’ – they say. Am I right?”, she directed her black eyes towards Marshall, irises twinkling from the deep dark wells that emerged from beneath the red fur that covered them. 

Half-curious and half confused, Pixie remembered that she’d never had a pampering session. Her territory was full of rich households whose domestic dogs got regular grooming. Thinking about this, Pixie grew more self-conscious as the fact that Isaac stood nearby and watched her all dirty and smelly dawned on her and wrapped her in shame. Luckily, he was too concerned with that evening’s task to concentrate on her self-perceived faults or notice her discomfort.

“It sure does, Pixie. But people who say that they don’t deserve us are actually on a good path. The others are the tough nuts to break. But let’s not digress into minor, unimportant bits. Here is what you need to keep in mind, girl!”, concluded Marshall.

The first principle is: don’t seek what others can do for you. Rather, think about what you can do for them. Only then you can truly grasp what it means to fall and remain in love with imperfect humans. Humans seem to struggle with this often. They either don’t appreciate themselves or others. It is usually the others. They think: “If only my partner were more thoughtful,  more understanding, more accommodating, more-giving, better-looking, smarter, richer, more-anything, things would have been acceptable for me – I’d be happy”. Do you see what I mean, Pixie?

“I think I do, Marshall. People have mental lists with thousands of conditions to be met and hundreds of boxes to be ticked to find a deserving partner and open to love. And they rarely have enough, from anything or anybody. It’s like they view others from below or from above. They struggle with equal partnerships. Even when they think they respect each other, they forget they are all just human and start demeaning each other. They hold strong to such qualities, we don’t even seem to notice them. For us, each minute, each hour, and each day is a new dawn. We love everyone and with new vigor, as time goes by!”, added Pixie with more zest, as she was immersing deeper into Marshall’s wisdom.  

“Precisely!”, said Marshall.

“One thing in your interpretation is especially on point and brings us to principle number two: all we have is the present moment – the past and the future are a creation of the mind and giving them too much meaning often only complicates love. The past is long gone and there is no guarantee about the future”, elaborated Marshall as Pixie’s eyes sparkled with amazement and a clever smile lit up her face. 

Immersed in the training, she didn’t have the time to see that Isaac observed her energy and cheerful stance without blinking, thinking that, at that moment of time, she was the most beautiful dog in the world. 

“But I’m not sure that will work so easy with Daniel, Mashall. I love you and respect you too much to raise a counterargument out of nowhere, you know that. Still, I think I may need to be more forceful on Daniel. I will need to invade him. I should push myself on him”, Isaac interrupted them with hesitation, as he didn’t want to be a know-it-all, but he couldn’t stop himself. He thought this was something that had to be said.

“Haha, you make me laugh, my dear boy. You cannot win a fight by force. Those victories last shortly. Have you seen a winner in a war? Sure, for a while, one side thinks it has won because it was stronger and more powerful; because it had better weapons and killed more people. Yet, as time goes by, it becomes clear that winning a war doesn’t solve anything. Anyway, we are not trying to win a war here, we are trying to help these humans learn how to love. We try to win them over, notice the difference?”, the old dog raised his eyebrows staring at both young trainees.

“And you cannot make someone love you by force. To act as they love you – maybe. To be afraid of you – sure. But love – love is a voluntary activity. The soft glove approach is all that we can do, want to do, and need to do. You cannot control love, Isaac. You teach people how to love simply by loving them. No other way works”. 

Chapter 13: A Basset Named Isaac - Marshall, the wise pug

Chapter 13 – Training Pixie

As Daniel went on to prepare for his tonight’s journey into whiskey oblivion and the ruckus that followed afterward, the dogs were already on their way to Marshall to complete Pixie’s training. 

Pixie was walking side by side with Isaac, her curiosity mixing with a pluckiness she had never felt before, thrilling her with excitement from the inside and leaving her breathless as she was trying to keep up the pace with Isaac.

“Sorry, Pixie! We have to hurry up. We have to act fast – we only have a couple of hours before tonight’s chance to invade these two. Especially Daniel, he is critical!”, Isaac rushed her as they were running towards Marshall’s shelter.

“Marshall is afraid he Daniel has become so self-destructive that he will destroy himself before we manage to do something about it. And that Charlene girl, she is the perfect match to be victimized by that poor soul full of pain that acts tough I’m not even sure who is worse – that sadist Daniel or her acting masochistically without confronting his awful behavior.”

 

“I have a feeling that’s why Marshall wants to help them both at once, it will be a pair of lucky breaks for your team,” Pixie commented .

“You might be right, I guess. You’ll see Pixie, Marshall is amazing. He is like a father to me. I owe him everything about my survival on the streets. He taught me everything he knew about humans. He was generous enough to make me his student and share his gift. I felt so alone among the competition and the dark alleys, never imagining what life could really be when having someone as a guide. I was a lone ranger as far back as I have memories from my early life.”

“I’ve never heard about inhabitation. Had no idea it existed and how poorly people manage their lives without dogs. By looking at their houses, their shiny toys on wheels, and buckets of food they throw away each day I always thought they were happier than dogs. I never knew that they struggle with love so much. It’s such a wrestle for them. I don’t get it – love is so simple yet they make it so complicated,” Isaac couldn’t stop wondering while he increased the pace to save as much time as possible before the big night. 

The sun was setting down, and the night was soon to cast its shadows over the city, inciting all sorts of weird human behavior. 

“I’ve heard stories about people being possessed by demons, dude. They say that’s why they act so destructively,” Shark added showing up from behind, overhearing their conversation.    

“Hey Isaac, if demons make people act bad, and dogs teach them how to love, maybe dogs are angels?” Shark asked gleefully. He liked the idea of dogs having diving qualities a lot, not so much for prideful reasons but because he learned that gods lived in heaven and heaven was a cornucopia of sumptuous food, available always and in large quantities.

“Maybe that’s why we keep getting the leftovers, they fall from the sky as pieces of endless divine displays of delicacies. Ha, the gods must miss us! They send us tasty greetings all the way down. Thank you, gods, we love you, too”! Shark jokingly gazed upwards with a grateful grimace, finding his own joke hilarious.

“Come on, Shark! Hurry up! We don’t have time to play games tonight. You’ll have to get serious and gather your best attributes to help us finish the task at hand. We have a long night in front of us. It’s already sunset and we haven’t even started training Pixie. You know that initiation into inhabitation takes at least two hours even for the best-prepared dogs. Luckily, I think Pixie is a fast learner,” Isaac said with a shy smile as he took a quick gaze at her, hoping she didn’t notice that he was praising while keeping his eyes down.

This was not typical for Isaac’s brazen attitude, even when he was facing bigger and stronger dogs. But this time, it seemed the enemy was gentle and softly wrapped around his heart like a warm blanket on a cold winter night. It was a feeling he wasn’t used to, but he liked it anyway. 

“Don’t worry, Isaac! I just want to keep our spirits up as we are on our way. You know that I get dangerously serious when I need to do work,” the street corgi encouraged his best friend and team partner.

“Yeah, dog. I know. I know. ” Isaac remembered how his buddy used to lose the usual comic attitude and turn into a cloud of seriousness as they inhabited people who didn’t know how to love.

Marshall was patiently waiting for them, eager to help Pixie get into the game. 

“Welcome, Pixie! I know this looks weird but it is important that we cooperate on this case. We wouldn’t get into your territory if it weren’t for your location. Charlene’s apartment is there so we need help from one of the locals.”

“Sure, Marshall. I’d be honored to do something for you. I’ve heard many great stories about your work. Everyone on my side has a deep respect for it. We know that you’ve managed to calm down some pretty feral dogs, training them to become quite the social animals. I’d sure like to know more and apply the same to a few of the wild beasts on my team.” 

“Ha-ha”, wholeheartedly laughed Marshall. “Thanks, that’s nice to hear. You’ll see, it’s not that difficult. Humans don’t have basic love skills. You’ll just need to use your canine hunch about what love really is. You probably know that much better than any human does”, Marshall got ready to explain the training details.

"Dodging Satan" cover page (book review)

“Dodging Satan” or How Not To Raise a Catholic (Book Review)

Dodging Satan: My Irish/Italian, Sometimes Awesome, But Mostly Creepy, Childhood by Kathleen Zamboni McCormick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If we could open up a contest about the world’s most Catholic family, Bridget’s Italian-Irish concoction would definitely top up the rating. The clever girl is raised by the tight glove of religion from both sides of the large family, grows up to become the perfect Catholic and evade Satan’s calling who takes various shapes in her life as a child and young teenager: imaginary snakes coming out of the closet at night, her flirty and cheeky friend Lucy, and the non-avoidable puberty sex drive.

Her parents are not great fans of logic and prefer to keep up the pretense even when strong beliefs are brought into serious question, such as when they pretend to sip the Holy water that seems disgusting because everyone puts their finger in it or when her father refuses to buy her a two-wheeler only because she can fall off it and lose her virginity.

But we all know that Satan can not be easily dodged as he is the other face of God, which becomes increasingly clear for Bridget as time goes by. You couldn’t feel anything less than sympathy for the awesome Bridey, as her mother calls her, who asks some damn good questions about the ridiculousness of Bible passages when reality strikes – two dead family members in Vietnam although they had their crosses on the chest and wives that get beaten but stay in marriage only because they need to play the role of a good Christian wife.

This is a wonderful story of humor but also sadness and harsh truths. I am very happy that, in the end, Bridget decides to stay friends with Satan who, compared to God she has met, might not be so bad after all! This is a story of how not to raise a Catholic!

View all my reviews

Get Your Copy of Dodging Satan: My Irish/Italian, Sometimes Awesome, But Mostly Creepy, Childhood by Kathleen Zamboni McCormick

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A Basset Named Isaac - Chapter 12 razor blade

Chapter 12 – Daniel’s Drinking and Violence Problem

Daniel has just finished his daily workout and sat cross-legged in front of the window, staring into the dark, at the lights dimming across from the windows of skyscrapers that were far, far away, too far from each other to offer a chance for humans that lived in them to ever encounter each other’s eyes. He sipped from the whiskey glass, scratching his two-day stub. He was too lazy to shave the beard today. And girls liked it anyway. 

Another thought crossed his mind but he dismissed it as swiftly as it entered his consciousness. Sharp as a blade, the thought pierced through his calm demeanor and reminded him of something he was trying to forget by not thinking about it. Somewhere deep in the back of his head, he knew that he loved the beard because it covered the scar on his left cheek. 

He hated shaving it because, if he was not careful, the coarse upper skin would interfere with the smooth shaving strokes and the scar would start bleeding. He wasn’t as skilled with the hand stroke on the left, causing him to reopen the scar more than he thought was only by chance. 

Daniel used to shave his face the old way, just as his father did, with a razor blade. “Well, that’s about all that I’ve learned from my old man”, he thought. 

“That, and how to tell the difference between a good and a bad whiskey”, he laughed sarcastically as the whiskey was taking over and he didn’t even notice that he was scratching so hard that the scar started bleeding again. 

A dog’s bark nearby brought him back to his body and his immediate senses. It was Shark calling for Isaac and Pixie to wait for him.

“Damn it, you bastards!”, Daniel grew so angry that he opened the window and threw the half-empty glass at the dogs, breaking it into tiny pieces, the crystal of the expensive glassware spreading across the street into worthless sparkle, glowing on the candelabra and reminding Daniel he just wasted another sixty dollars of the luxury set. This was the second glass from the set of six he had broken by throwing it on stray dogs, but he didn’t care. For all the problems he had, money was not one of them. Young, ambitious, and handsome, he was among the top performers in his company. Deviant as he was successful, Daniel overdrunk on whiskey on Friday nights, especially when the next day was the Saturday visit day. 

Visit days were once a month, usually on the last Saturday of each month. They were a nightmare for Daniel, regardless of how cool he kept it on the outside. Each Saturday visit day, he went to see his old man in the senior’s residency out of town. All that whiskey just lessened the pain of the imminent meeting and helped him forget about how unhappy he was under all that surface glamour.

“Watch it, Issac, glasses are flying again!”, Shark warned his friend.

“He might as well throw us a bone or cook those eggs he throws at us!”, thought Shark as he sniffed around the broken pieces, discovering soon enough that nothing was interesting for him. There wasn’t any food, not that he needed any urgently because he was still delighting on the juicy t-bone that was hanging from his grip.

Daniel closed the window and poured himself another glass of whiskey as he went on to pick up the tonight’s outfit. It was time for action, and he had to look sleek. He didn’t plan to go home early and he didn’t plan on coming back alone either. He planned a long night – it usually solved his insomnia, at least for a short while. 

Insomnia always came after he drank too much, uncontrollably. The last physical he took showed the first signs of his deteriorating body. The poor physical health followed his mind that was already a wreck. 

The doctor warned him: “If you continue like this, you won’t even wait to live your father’s age, no matter how grim his life looks to you now. No amount of weight-lifting will handle it. You’d be dead by forty.” 

Daniel secretly knew his doctor was right but he didn’t want to admit that his pain came from his head and his heart. To admit that would mean having a mental health issue on his record and defeat at work. And his boss would certainly not like that! 

Daniel couldn’t face such a career demotion so he went ahead with letting his body and soul fall apart. It was the easier, safer option.

The Lucky Alpinist Dog who got stranded

The Alpinist Dog Who Got Lucky After Being Stranded and Freezing for 24 Hours

There is an unspoken pact between humans and dogs: collaborate, cohabitate, and support each other. Many of us have opened their hearts and souls to understand this intuitively. Some are not there yet. But that’s not so important: what matters the most is not which side of awareness you are on, but the depth and meaning of connections you have made – and if they include an army of dogs, even better. 

For one curious dog that decided to follow humans on a mountain expedition, this pact included copious amounts of luck, one that not many other dogs have had when facing extreme weather conditions.

A group of three climbers from the AK8 club started their journey on day one. Was the white dog getting bored on this first day, so much that it decided to try its mountaineering skills in weather that is challenging even for experienced trekkers and Alpinists who have spent many hours on the mountain? We can never tell, at least until we learn how to understand dogs and talk their language perfectly. 

For now, we know that the dog decided to join a group of mountain climbers who were doing regular training. The dog followed their footsteps on day one. But much to their surprise, they’ve found him stuck on the high rocks when they returned to finish the training on day two. So, a training session turned into a saving mission as they invested a lot of effort to get and get down the scared, freezing dog that couldn’t find his own way down through the steep climb. 

Check out for yourself what these amazing team did to rescue the stranded dog that was freezing for 24 hours, both literally and figuratively, because it was too curious, adventure-stricken, and human-bonded. Thanks to that important bond, Lucky (not necessarily his real name) was brought back to safety. 

All credit for the photo and video materials goes to Maja Muhic and Metodi Cilimanov, who were also a part of the rescue mission

We see so many dogs helping people that it is nice to see examples of humans that randomly help dogs, too.  And maybe Lucky is destined to become an Alpinist or at least learn how to find his way around mountains better so that he doesn’t get into trouble again.  

Chapter 11, A Basset named Isaac, basset hound portrait

Chapter 11 – Two Human Knuckleheads in a Desperate Need of Dog Help

“I know it sounds complicated. We have never inhabited more than one human so far. Is it troublesome? Sure. Can we make a mess? Perhaps. But should we do it? We must do it, without a doubt!”, Isaac assured Pixie as her Spitz eyes grew with suspicion even more 

“You are telling me that you need me to inhabit this human female Charlene, whatever that means, and that you will inhabit that bozo Daniel, and that all their problems would melt away? For both of them? That sounds pretty incredible if you ask me. I’ve heard of dogs who have overturned people’s destiny once they came into their lives, but this? This is something beyond I’ve ever imagined it’s possible”, Pixie shook her head in disbelief. 

“Especially with these two knuckleheads. That Charlene girl seems like a softie. What is it that she makes, you say? Gold rings. I don’t know what’s the use of them – they are not food! They look like a cat’s toy, all shiny and tiny! If she were a dog, she wouldn’t survive on the street for more than a few days. And as human, those savages from Duke’s gang would scare the hell out of her. They hang around the ”Demure” often. Weekends are their specialty because of that Chinese place nearby. The cook throws away a week-long of leftovers on Friday afternoons”, she continued. 

“Sometimes I get there before them with my dogs and we manage to pick up most of it. That’s why Duke keeps his fair share of anger directed towards me. I think he hasn’t forgiven me for a full house win last November. We were faster and outsmarted them for the whole month. They ended up hungry all the time and had to go far, further than they’re used to”, concluded Pixie in her adult manner, with just a tad bit of childish victorious grimace that shows up on a toddler’s face when they steal someone else’s toy.

“You should give more credit to people, Pixie”, said Isaac. “For what I can say, you and Shark have a lot in common in how much you distrust people. Maybe that’s why you hate each other. Each reminds the other one of a part of themselves they’d rather hide. Come on guys, we are stray dogs. We shouldn’t be afraid of our shadows!”, Isaac’s wise words rang a bell of truth in Pixie’s head as she reluctantly waited for him to finish.  

“There is something about this dog that strikes me as unusual,” Pixie quietly contemplated. “Isaac is not the usual type I’m used to hanging out with. He has some fineness, gentleness, even nobility about him. He is almost like those wined-and-dined dogs that have found their forever homes”, curiously thought Pixie as a surprising notion initiated into her head. 

“Jesus, it’s not that I like him, do I?” she asked herself as she evaluated the likelihood of his plan ending up in success. 

“Nope, impossible! I’ve just gone all mild and tender because of the boring last couple of months. Well, maybe this is exactly the challenge I needed to spice things up”, all of a sudden, she got excited.

“Alright, Isaac. You got me interested, I must admit,” said Pixie. “And not only in your plan, but you’ll never hear that from me!”, she added silently as Isaac’s face lighted up hearing her agreeing to cooperate in the most difficult of challenges.

“Really? Well, that’s great. I never thought you would agree in such a short conversation. But I guess I underestimated how smart you are. Your willingness to cooperate is probably why you are the leader of the pack in your area.”, complimented Isaac, which, much to his shock, wasn’t just a courteous way of getting points and enticing her cooperation.

For a moment there, he honestly thought that Pixie was special. 

However, he didn’t have the time to give too much meaning to the feelings that have arisen unexpectedly. They had work to do and messing with feelings could only further complicate things. 

“Listen, now! We have to visit Marshall. He will train you. You’ll see, inhabitation is not so difficult. You’ll just need to fine-tune your sixth sense and learn how to communicate with humans confidently. We are much better in that than they are anyway. They’re clueless!” finished Isaac as he and Pixie directed towards Marshal’s headquarters, turning their back on Shark, who left them alone for a moment, ravaging a trash bin nearby.

“Hey, there lovebirds, wait for me!” teased them Shark, not assuming how much truth his joking words contained. “Did you forget about me?”, he yelled, as he hopped over, following them with a huge T-bone in his teeth and an equally massive sense of satisfaction. This was the type of bone he often received as a treat on Matias’s farm.

His food quest for today was over. 

Christmas Dog Adoption: Pawsome Enthusiasts’ Efforts to Find Homes for Stray Dogs

In a modest but heartwarming photo exhibition, the passionate volunteers from Pawsome Enthusiasts yet another time tried to find forever homes for homeless dogs in Skopje. 

Heartwarming Stray Dog Photos

As you may already know, there are always more dogs that are trying to find their owners than owners willing to take dogs.

Therefore, any adoption that results in a beautiful story of a human-dog bond warms people’s hearts. It is even more so touching during the holidays when we are all a bit more generous and full of gratitude.

It is a bright shining star among the grey dire everyday events we hear about on the news, instilling hope and optimism in people’s souls, which are never enough around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. For some people and many dogs, this holiday time is the toughest. It’s winter. It can get pretty cold and lonely.

Since most charities and volunteering organizations push forward their plans at this time of the year, dogs often come last. Nevertheless, there is a tiny fraction of the hooman population that is wholeheartedly dedicated to helping dogs. 

We Just Can’t Have Enough of a Noble Cause

What’s so special about this particular photo exhibition is that it included professionally made images. Social media is overflowing with pictures of pedigree dogs and stray dogs who have found their owners. So, why not follow the common trail of success and entice prospective owners with some expert-made pics?

These are stray dog images that have been put on a stand and taken at the exhibition itself. Therefore, some of the picture quality may be lost. But what we could get is the special attention given to each dog when on a pedestal. A single dog gets lost in a legion on thousands on the web or in dog shelters. Yet, when put on a display in front of a dog-loving audience, each dog becomes a character, a persona, and a glorious life waiting to be lived until the very happy end.

A Story Waiting to Be Told

There is a story behind each of these images. It would have been nice to have the dog’s personal story attached to the images. However, given the hours these volunteers invest in saving hundreds from stray dogs from the streets, each small step matters. This blog is an attempt to contribute to their story and help them live happier lives.

Visitors had the chance to ask questions about possible adoption, contribute to the dog rescue Christmas fund (usually an endless pit), and acquire small presents for themselves or their friends and family. Cup and glass coasters, mouse pads, filigree brooches – all lovely things that could be a nice holiday gift for someone. There was coffee and refreshments for a tiny donation fee. All in all, an event that goes well with the Christmas spirit.

Stray dogs for adoption – collective image. Credit for original images made by pro photographers goes to Pawsome Enthusiasts. Display image credits: Stories about Dogs and People

Some of the dogs that were on display are already adopted and some are still waiting for adoption. Perhaps we cannot yet have the final say about the success of this adoption event. After all, dog adoption is not an easy decision and should not be taken lightly. Hopefully, many dogs have been joined with owners. 

Having said that, when it comes to the benefit of stray dogs, all the glory goes to owners who adopt and don’t shop. But to each their own – if you decide to get a pedigree dog from a breeder, it’s a choice you have can make in full right. However, if you hesitate between adopting a stray dog from a shelter or a street dog, at least consider going for one without a pedigree. The rewards you will reap are limitless.