I’ve Noticed…

I wrote this in the summer of 2016.
Granted, as Americans, we don’t like things that make us uncomfortable. That said, I’m asking that we lean into that discomfort and engage in some DEEP self analysis.

For animal lovers, like me, I’ll admit that I was very upset with Amy Cooper for the way she allowed her hatred for a man that she didn’t know to cause her to nearly choke her own damned dog to death.

I’m not going to even touch on her willingness to weaponize the police because someone called her on her stuff!

ENTITLED!

Now imagine if Christian Cooper had walked over and pressed his knee on that dog’s neck for almost 10 minutes—-until he DIED!

That’s precisely what happened to our brother, and fellow human, George Floyd!
We need to check ourselves!

Make no mistake, America has decided to host a picnic in a gas station bathroom; voluntarily becoming nose-blind to the persistent stench of hatred and death.

Flat out, until we deal with racism and white superiority/supremacy, America will never get its chance to be GREAT for once!

In fact, it will self destruct!

Please believe me when I tell you that nobody wishes America could become GREAT more than people like me!

God have mercy on us! Christ have mercy on us!
#Rest in Power George Floyd

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Friends, I’d like to chat with you about some things that I have recently noticed.

Before I begin, allow me to warn you in advance that you may or may not agree with any of my observations.

That’s alright with me.

But, hopefully, after you read this, we will still be able to maintain a high level of mutual respect; even if we have opposing points of view.

In my mind, that is one of the hallmarks of civility; don’t you think?

Now…

Let me start by saying that I strongly believe that we ALL matter.  Every single one of us.

EVER-Y-BODY!

However, based on several past and present events, I’ve noticed that some people do not agree with me. Sadly, I have no choice but to draw this conclusion based on the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile; not to mention Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown…

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The Doggy as The Teacher

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I have loved dogs for as long as I can remember.  In fact, one of my earliest memories was of my dad asking me to name our newest pooch.  I was only 3 years old and my vocabulary was considerably small so I blurted out the first thing that came to mind and that was “Sheppy!”  You might be wondering where I got that name.  My best guess is that it was a childish corruption of the word ‘Shepherd.’  Clearly, I must have overheard my parents mention that our new dog was a German Shepherd.  ‘Sheppy’ was the closest approximation to ‘Shepherd’ that I could muster.

Believe it or not, Sheppy was one of my first and greatest teachers.  Unfortunately, I can’t say that I was always the best student.  But that never seemed to matter to Sheppy; he simply kept repeating the lessons. Now you might be wondering how a dog could act as an instructor.  Well let me answer that!  Sheppy used a teaching technique called ‘modeling.’  In essence, Sheppy modeled the traits that I, and most of you, will spend a lifetime trying to acquire.  Let’s get specific!  Sheppy modeled unconditional love, acceptance, loyalty, affection and fierce protectiveness.  Frankly, I don’t have enough space to write about all of the traits that Sheppy modeled; dog owners will know what I mean.  Regardless, Sheppy was determined to lead by example.  Alas, after years of repeatedly attempting to teach me these important traits, my dear Master Sheppy Flowers ultimately shuffled off this mortal coil.  For those of you who dislike Shakespearean references, Sheppy died.  Needless to say, I was sad for quite a while.

But, as you might have guessed, Sheppy wasn’t the last dog in my life.  In fact, he was the first of at least fifteen.  And, as a result, I learned that every dog is essentially a teacher who is trying to convey the traits that I mentioned above.  With that said, I would eventually take lessons from other “teachers” like Champ, Lil Gal, Princess and Frisky.  One of my more memorable teachers was Bones.  My dad brought Bones, who was very ill, to our home with the intention of caring for him until he died.  In essence, dad was providing doggy hospice.  Dad and I loved, fed and nurtured Bones until he peacefully passed away.  From this experience, I learned that all sentient beings deserve to be cared for and loved; even unto death. Although it was tough letting Bones go, I took solace in knowing that his last weeks were filled with affection, love and comfort.  Aha! I had begun to catch on! Lesson learned.

At any rate, I am happy to announce that my current teacher is Angel.  She is the Pomeranian pictured above.  I can assure you that age has taught me to pay closer attention to the lessons this time around 🙂

What have your pets taught you?

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In memory of my dogs (I included their breeds for those interested in knowing):

Champ–German Shepherd

Sheppy–German Shepherd

Bones, Princess and Demon–Doberman Pinschers

Lil’ Gal and Frisky–Beagles

Prince–Cocker Spaniel

RA–Rottweiler

And all the other dogs that Daddy cared for over the years.