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Never has the focus of energy been more present in my life. A walking meditation; calm, assertiveness, patience, forgiveness, aloofness are so important in training a riley dog. For someone who generally lives in the now, I am no dog. I have to learn to be in the exact second I’m in, otherwise, it’s all lost on him. Tacoma is a hard dog (corrections don’t affect him much, if at all), but also one who is insecure and anxious, has been abandoned, flinches like he may have been hit, has been dropped off in the middle of NYC where there is no quiet place to train or play – he must walk among a dog on every block, children running at him from every other corner – with so much love in his strong heart and excitement in his tiny brain, he is a little unsocialized, incredibly fast at learning, but surprisingly unaware.

As he stares out the window and then back at me and then lies back down for his 16th nap of the day at 8:43 am, I wonder what is running through his mind. If he simply waits for our next adventure, is waiting for me to leave him, or doesn’t think that way at all. If I could anthropomorphize my animal for just one minute, I think of all I could learn. Instead, I rely on my energy for us to relate and understand each other. I wish we could get there faster. I suppose we all walk at our own pace and while we both tend to be fast, perhaps only literally.

I’m exhausted. Summiting is certainly not what we had in mind in naming him after a mountain. Thank goodness for trainers (from our obedience class to YouTube), dog whisperers, and good friends. Puppy updates to come.


I got on the E train at West 4th heading home from a seminar. When I stepped on the train, I think I was listening to “Welcome to the World” by Bobby Weir and Ratdog. There was something savory in the bass line, something bluesy in the guitar. The lyrics weren’t beautiful or poetic beyond measure, but they had heart. I wouldn’t concede that my musical taste is the highest form of absoluteness or that the tunes that fill my iPod would be considered classics to all. I think I can concede that, when I heard that song – like many songs – I felt that I wasn’t missing something. There wasn’t the emptiness of pop or the trendiness of hip-hop, the tragedy of emo or the angst of punk. All that was left was a feeling that a thought had been completed. An appreciation was born. A need to fill a void didn’t exist.

So how does this transpire to a new age of enlightenment? My thoughts that follow targeted the people surrounding me on that train, pondering their levels of consciousness.

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oyster & marley exchanging kitty kisses

What is a pet?  Sounds like a funny name to me.  Animal companion seems a little more appropriate.  We say we own our cats, but I feel it’s the other way around.  Catering service twice a day, janitorial services for the bathroom, weekly manicures, 20 hours of rest daily and to top it off, never ending free massages.  Who owns who?  I grew up with cats.  Always wanted a dog.  It seemed like forever, those 14 years where I waited to be settled enough to get an animal to share my home.  Sue is a trooper for putting up with it, being allergic to cats and all.  I know she loves these two poop-heads with all her snot.  Despite those full moon nights where the two kitties rumble at all hours and the unexpected hair balls on the floor and the piles of fur lining every corner of our apartment, these cats have vastly improved my life.  First, to have a creature depend on you (best to not start with a child), is an adjustment.  We depend greatly on the kindness of our cousin to come over for weeks on end while we travel.  Second, to learn the intricacies of a creature that is an exact replica of a huge wild cat is like being a self glorified Steve Irwin.  Being the wild Brooklyn stray kittens that they are/were, I can only say they are one generation away from truly being domesticated.  Plus, Marley is a miniature panther and Oyster is an albino/grey tiger.  How cool!  Third, I know dogs are pretty loyal and loving, but my cats can’t convince us that they know what love is.  Doesn’t stop me from trying.  I guess every day they show me some level of interest or compassion is one step further to happiness for me.  They are what they are, but I couldn’t imagine my life without them.  The reality is, we need to find a home for these two while we’re away.  Our policy has always been that the cats can stay for as long as they want, wherever they want as long as they are loved.  My sister is going to take Marley and if they bond, Marley may never miss us.  Oyster still hasn’t found a home yet.  We’d love to take him to Japan with us but it’s not practical.  We’re looking at being gone for over a year or two.  If you know of anyone interested, let us know!!!  If you feel like something’s missing in your life, get an animal companion and I promise you the rewards will follow!

oyster marley


When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. -Barbara Bloom