When Dolly left us in January, Clemencia and I were very clear with one another: “No more dogs.” Then it was, “No dog for at least six months.” Then we said, “Since we are not going to be getting a dog again, what can it hurt to activate a PetFinder account? We are suckers for rescue dogs but we are adults…we can just look and read their stories.” Then we saw Ebie.
He was a toy schnauzer. We have always had miniature schnauzers and did not want a smaller dog. He was a boy. We have always preferred females. He was not neutered…yet. That worried us. Even more worrisome was his description in Petfinder. Across the top it read, in all caps:
PLEASE READ. PLEASE READ. PLEASE READ. PLEASE READ.
The description read a lot like the side effects warnings you hear on pharmaceutical ads. You know what I mean. The announcer’s voice is usually sped up so fast no human can possibly understand them and when you can make them out you are tempted to conclude that the cure may be worse than the disease. Ebie’s description was full of those kinds of warnings.
- He is only 60% house trained.
- He chews things…and seems to especially like power cords.
- He was a bit snippy when he arrived at the foster family’s home…but he has not actually eaten other small pets or children…that we know of.
- He’s not neutered yet but we think he will stop marking things once he has had the operation.
- We don’t know how old he is but our best guess is that he is about 5 years old.
- He is an extremely messy eater…and often pounces on all the treats before the other dogs can get theirs.
- We think he’s a schnauzer…but we are not sure because he was terribly overgrown when he was rescued and he is still shaggy.
It was such an odd description for a rescue because it almost sounded like they were trying to discourage people from applying.
Ah, but they did not how much we like lost causes! It only made us more eager to welcome this uncivilized goofball into our home. “After all,” Clemencia said, “He’ll fit right in.” I was puzzled what she meant by that until I realized she was Colombian lip pointing toward me.
In the end, our application was approved, we were chosen by the foster parents, and we welcomed Ebie home on February 17.
When he came to us, we did not expect much except headaches but we were ready for it. We realized, after Dolly’s death, that we are hopelessly dog people.
We were pleasantly surprised when we realized there was more to Ebie than the description we had read. He has had very few accidents in the house. He is getting used to riding the elevator…even gets onto it by himself now, though he still cannot seem to reach the buttons despite our best training efforts. He has not chewed anything and we still have all of our fingers and toes. He has quickly bonded with us and become a loving pet. He got a clean bill of health from our vet yesterday. He really is a schnauzer; I gave him his first schnauzer haircut today and, wow, he is guapo (Spanish for “handsome”).
His foster family did an amazing job of introducing him to civilization again and helping him feel like a real pet and a member of the family. After a little more than three months with them, he was ready to come to our home. He has fit right in. He responds almost immediately to training (schnauzer’s are a very smart breed). He comes, sits, lies down, and rolls onto his hip – all on command….just like me! His leash training is going well and he loves to walk – which is really good for our health…just like me, though I am still not fond of the leash. He likes to play…a lot…just like me, but I prefer golf over the chew toys.
He is not shy about asking to crawl into your lap. This morning he asked to climb into my lap. He likes to lay in the crook of my arm (the same way you would cradle an infant) and fall asleep (see the picture above).
In a year that has seen so many of us traumatized by the pandemic, the critical illnesses and deaths of family and friends, electioneering, and the attempted violent coup of our country, all of us are in need of recovery…lots of recovery. Ebie is part of our recovery and we are part of his. We saw pictures of Ebie on the day he was rescued. He was unrecognizable as a dog and certainly not as a schnauzer. His living conditions were worse than anything we have seen on the ASPCA commercials.
Ebie was a dog looking for a chance to recover. So are we all.
Recovery of Sight
TheDailyDrivel.com has been silent for a while because I have had to take a little time off for an essential surgery and recovery. In late January I had eye surgery to remove a cataract and replace the lens in my left eye. The surgery was actually pretty cool…especially for a guy who hates any kind of cutting on any body part. It was painless and was mostly like attending a 45-minute firework show. That’s all I saw while the surgery was being done…fireworks. Yep, pretty cool and I did not have sit in the park swatting mosquitoes just to see the show.
From the moment the patch was removed from my eye 18 hours later, I could see again. The vision in my left eye was 20/40 immediately and everything was in brilliant, living color. For the first time in my life I had distance vision in my left eye. I was able to return to work on a limited basis within three days…and would have done so earlier except for one thing. My right eye is still very near-sighted, has a cataract, and trying to make visual sense of the world with one eye seeing distance only and one eye seeing up close only was a bit daunting. It took me about a week before the juxtaposition of the vision (is that even a thing?) began to work for me.
I am now a month out of surgery and am down to just one eye drop each day that I am required to use. My eyes continue to adjust and I’m getting accustomed to the new eyesight. What I am NOT getting used to is life without glasses. I have a hard time recognizing myself in the mirror and I keep trying to put on glasses. I did, however, enjoy having an eye patch for a bit. It inspired this meme that I created with a little help from my friends Lorenzo and Starlee who sent me the pirate gear as a post-surgery get well gift.
Recovery of a Kind of Faith
One of my favorite British comedies is The Vicar of Dibley. The show starred comedienne Dawn French as the first female vicar of a rural parish in England. It first aired as a regular series in 1994. Since 2000 it has aired intermittently with special episodes. What I always liked about the show is that it had lots of fresh British humor and it reminded me of the best of the Bob Newhart series’ in which he was the reasonably normal but quirky person surrounded by unusual, odd characters.
Recently I came across the latest release from December 2020, The Vicar of Dibley in Lockdown on YouTube. The Vicar of Dibley always struck an interesting balance between matters of faith and matters of hilarity. French and her crew did the same again in this episode. I thought you might enjoy it.
Now, if you’d like more of The Vicar of Dibley, I encourage you to check out YouTube. It’s easy…just search YouTube for “The Vicar of Dibley” or, if you have Britbox, you can see most of the episodes there, or check with your local PBS listings as it is often in reruns on local stations.
Recovery of Sanity and Civility
This week a few items in the media caught my attention.
Two were in the The Washington Post. One had to do with the impact of the QAnon conspiracy cult on families. This is not the first time I have come across news items related to QAnon and its association with cult-like ideology and behavior. I do not have any good reason to argue against the framing of QAnon as a cult. It seems to have many of the same characteristics and the people who join it seem to be exhibiting the same kind of troubling and irrational behavior that is common among cult adherents. It is painful for their families, as this article highlights.
I have long been concerned about White Evangelicals and their love affair with the 45th president. On February 11th Christianity Today has reported something even more concerning about White Evangelicals. CT reported on a study done by the conservative American Enterprise Institute in late January that found 1 in 4 White Evangelicals were being swayed by QAnon conspiracy theories and report believing them. At 27% this was more than any other religious group but slightly less than the 29% percent of all Republicans who reported believing them. I find both of these percentages disturbing.
Speaking of QAnon, CNN Special Reports aired last night (February 27) “Inside the QAnon Conspiracy.” We recorded it and watched. It was…well…absolutely fascinating. I recommend you check the CNN listings and catch it in a future airing.
The other story from the Washington Post was the story of a man who has been attempting to engage in civil conversations with his neighbors in New Hampshire who are ardent followers of the 45th president, the Big Lie (and many little ones) he told, and, possibly, QAnon conspiracies. It is an interesting article and provides a bit of inspiration as well as reality testing if you are thinking about doing the same thing with friends, family, or neighbors.
If you are seriously thinking about how to engage with people who are different from you politically, whatever your affiliation, I suggest you consider connecting with Braver Angels, a group that is attempting to facilitate engagement and communication between people who are on different sides of the political divide…primarily the Democrat and Republican divide. For $12.00 per year you can join and have access to their debates, videos, and other resources. Also, they now have state coordinators throughout the United States you can connect with and who can, in turn, connect you with others who are part of Braver Angels.
I have joined Braver Angels. I do not know if the group has THE answer but I think it has part of the answer. The question is: How do we recover sanity and civility as a society?
No, that is not a misstatement. I really do think the two are linked. The Big Lie of the 45th president and the conspiracies of QAnon are not rational, have been widely and repeatedly disproved, and, therefore, it is not sane to cling to them as if they are real. They lie at the heart of the incivility we are experiencing as a country and, dare I say, society. They present a worldview that is unattached from reality and truth.
Civil discourse benefits from, and usually requires, agreement on the terms of reality.
As long as one part of our country is so detached from reality and the 45th president continues to empower them with his lies, we are going to struggle to recover our ability to engage each other productively, respectfully, and with civility again.
Our responsibility as Americans seems pretty clear. We need to renew and redouble our efforts to address the QAnon conspiracy cult and provide a way of recovery for family, friends, and others we care about. Are we our brothers’ (sisters’) keeper…even if that brother, sister, mother, or father has been taken in by the 45th president and QAnon? Yes, but, realistically, it will not be easy for them, or any of us, to recover from the lies, the insanity, and the damage.
The View from Jeff
With appreciation to my friend and colleague Jeff Logan for allowing me to repost his work here. Be sure to visit Jeff’s Instagram page for more of his doodle and drawings.