When your dogs fight

There are really few things I care as deeply for, as I do for my dogs.

One of them I’ve known since he was 6 weeks old and the other 2 I’ve known for a little over a year. There are people who I have known longer than all my dogs have been alive and I would throw those people into a burning building to save any of my dogs. I’m not going to talk about how important animals are and I’m not going to talk about why dogs are better than cats, although they absolutely are. What I’m going to talk about is one of the most heart-wrenching things that happens to me and my partner too regularly.

Orbison Pedro III is a 26 lbs., tan, terrier mix. He has a curly tail, he loves food more than anything in the world, and he enjoys passing the time staring out the window. He’s willing to share his toys, even at the dog park. But he grew up as the runt of the litter and he’s used to being picked on. He is resilient. He never lets down. He never stops being who he is and he doesn’t apologize for it.

Soto is a mid-sized, black, Australian shepherd with brown legs and white paws. She’s unbelievably gorgeous and her personality matches. She loves being petted and purrs like a cat, but we love her just the same. She will steal your food anytime, anywhere, no regrets. Soto loves people, but if you’re a dog, she has no problem reminding you she is the one who gets the most attention and who is the most beautiful. No exceptions.

Pete is a husky. I don’t have to tell you how gorgeous she is. All huskies are beautiful. What you need to know about them is their personalities. Pete talks back. Pete guards socks. Pete lets you know when breakfast and dinner should be served. Pete is a fucking boss and she makes sure you’re aware. Pete doesn’t take shit from anyone. But also please, scratch her butt when she asks because she likes it.

Usually, we describe dogs with words like loyal, obedient, loving, and playful. Some of these words I would like if they were used to describe me. But recently I’ve been wondering if my dogs are caring. Do they care about us? Probably. Do they care about each other? Maybe. Do they care about getting enough vitamins? Absolutely not.

I come to this questions because, while I feel and have seen my dogs exhibit not only the human qualities of sadness and love, but also understanding, they fight.

There are moments where they go black in the eyes and their lips pull back violently to reveal wolf-like teeth with purpose. The sounds they make are like war cries from warriors going all in. They attack swiftly and without hesitation. It’s as if their minds have temporarily gone blind, inhibiting them from recognizing the comrades they’ve shared a home with for more than a year. That’s almost 8 years for dogs!

Like anyone who cares about anything, as soon as said thing is in danger, hysteria ensues. They’re all about to kill each other and I’m an accessory to the crime because I’m just standing there letting it happen. Can someone tell me how hard you kick one of your dogs to stop it from murdering your other dog? Or cat or pig or whatever you have?

I sincerely hope that no one ever has to go through this. I hope no one ever has to witness, a couple of beings you love unconditionally try to hurt each other.

The only thing that gets me through it is realizing that they’re not going in to kill. If that were the case, someone would be dead already. It’s a matter of the pack. It’s a matter of who is the alpha, who is the boss. It’s a not so gentle reminder that they’re still animals despite the way they lick our tears and put their paws on our shoulders like they’re going in for a hug.

I will never stop loving any of them. I will never stop loving dogs. I will just do my best to do the best I can for them. Sometimes that means accepting their mistakes and moving forward.



I hate writing about love.

Every time I try, I just end up hating myself and shoving the doc away deep in my drive. But too much has happened to ignore it any longer.

When you start to feel love whether it’s for a significant other or a friend, you’ve basically just signed up for cancer.

It feels so good at the time, like you can’t fully breathe without it. When you’re not giving it or receiving it, you feel like you do right after you get off of a roller coaster–nauseated and bored.

Some people describe love as an addiction. A drug. And just like with any drug or addiction, your mind is melting right now but you’re in for an ungodly pain later. It’s just a matter of time.

So why do we keep doing it to ourselves? Are those of us who keep engaging in love just as bad as people who pay in nickels for the cheapest cigarettes they can find at the only open gas station at 1 a.m.? maybe.

Maybe we’re all just masochists for our desires. Maybe we’re just not meant to be alone?

But we all know, that no matter how much you love the person standing in front of you whether it’s your boyfriend, girlfriend, child, mother, uncle, distant cousin you still keep in touch with, the best possible outcome is that you die together at the exact same time. Literally. Simuldeath is the best scenario here! Because you don’t want to suffer without them and you don’t want them to suffer without you. We can all predict that death will occur, eventually. And yet here we are, driving friends to the airport, letting them cry on your shoulder, falling in love and kissing in the rain.

It sounds so stupid sometimes.

Recently, I lost a friend and a couple of my best friends lost a parent.

The pain seemed neverending at times. Facing it was incredibly difficult. Everyone tells you it just takes time. That time will heal and make it easier. Well that’s fine. And it’s true. But everyone forgot to mention the gut-wrenching feeling of meeting a new person who wants to be in your life.

At this point you’ve thrown up your hands. You’re calling it. F this. Never again. Never again will I go down this road and throw my emotions callously into a vacuum that I imagined would last forever. Oh no. Time to gather my things, and live in the forest. Alone. That’s the only way to protect the heart.

Except, unlike cigarettes and booze, love has a way of feeding you. It’s less of a leach and more of a symbiotic relationship. Sure you can try to say no to love. Shun it, and call it names while you laugh and do some more crossword puzzles alone with your cube wine.

But unless you’re Richard Proenneke, you can’t escape other people. As a matter of fact it’s the only thing that gives your life meaning when you really think about it.

That triathlon medal can make you feel good but it can’t kiss you on the forehead. That fancy Ikea lamp can make the light in your Instagram selfies look esoteric but it can’t hold your hand when you’re nervous. Those new shoes can make your legs look longer but they can’t know you better than you know yourself.

We don’t think about what we’re doing when we start to love someone. We generally don’t think about them dying, or us dying and how sad everyone will be. We see adventures, unforgettable memories, laughing until someone almost pees, blurry nights, new first times, and more embarrassing stories you hope no one remembers.

And that’s why we do it. Time and time again.

Is it worth the ups and downs? Is it worth the deprivation, the destruction, the absolute wreckage of your being when the love is gone?

Go hug someone you care about for a full minute. That’s how you know.


About life and driving, and which one needs better maps

When you’re on the road, you find you have a lot of time to think.

You have a lot of time to think when you’re on a trail, too.

You might even find that you have a lot of time to think when you’re taking the trash out.

You don’t have as much time to think when you’re avoiding rocks in the road.

Or when you’re avoiding sharp spikes.

You don’t have as much time to think when you’re trying to figure out how to climb over something.

And sometimes there is something interesting in your way that causes your mind to be led astray by imagination and you find there is time to think after all.

But beautiful things can be distracting. So you have to find your way on the road again.

You think about a lot of things as you go down this road.

The beauty and wonder of life.

And maybe how fragile it is and how quickly it can be taken away.

I get lost a lot when I’m driving. But there always seems to be a map or a sign letting me know where I’m headed.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t come with maps. So you just kinda have to keep going. Until you run into something so great, you don’t have to think about it.


Congressman Barney Frank marries longtime partner Jim Ready

This weekend, Barney Frank became the first congressman to exchange vows in a same-sex marriage.

A quarter of a century ago, this Massachusetts representative first announced he was gay.

This weekend, he finally tied the knot with longtime boyfriend and photographer Jim Ready.

About 300 guests joined Barney and Jim at the Boston Marriott hotel in Newton, Mass., including House Dem leader Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Senator John Kerry, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The pair met at a political fundraiser in 2005. In 1987, Barney Frank became the first sitting member of Congress to come out about his homosexuality.

“’I told him I had a crush on him for 20 years,’ said Mr. Ready, recalling that as a teenager he was inspired by Mr. Frank’s public declaration that he was gay,” reports the New York Times.

Whether you disagree with gay marriage or not, there are so many aspects of this story that are incredibly inspiring.

The valor it takes to be transparent not only among your peers but the nation as Barney Frank did in 1987, a time where being gay was more widely unacceptable.

And what I find the most important, perseverance and beauty that come from having a successful and loving relationship over a long period of time.