2006 is a landmark year for me. This is because something happened that so shocked me to the core that I became hyper-conscious of happenings in my environment in the immediate succeeding years. I had a dog (Winky Dinky, no really her name was just Wink) who had a litter of puppies. I had no intention of keeping any of the puppies myself but I’d also had enough experience with people with ill will to know that I had to try to guard against them when seeking new parents for the puppies. I was not asking for any money for the puppies, even though I’d spent a good amount of it on them. I was intent on not asking for money for them because love and care in no way equates to money and we, as pet owners, already have to spend way too much on them.
So I composed a letter and asked prospective owners.to read it first. In this letter one thing I made clear, by it being the only thing that I emphasized not once but twice, that I didn’t want them to be crated. For me, this was statistically and given communication limitations that would exist in the decision making process, the easiest/best way that I could weed out those that may not really care enough about this living being that I would transfer to them.
And ill-willed people actually showed up before the puppies were even born. Bob Kiss was running for mayor. I was so enthusiastic about the prospect of Bob Kiss serving as the mayor of Burlington that I helped to work on his campaign (nothing huge, just literature drops – but important to the campaign and a choice I made of what to do with my time). On election night I went to Sweetwaters, where volunteers were invited, to wait for the results.
Anyone can volunteer for a campaign. They may truly care, but, too, they may not. I believe this happens a lot – and almost always in left-leaning campaigns – moles and disrupters.
A woman made herself visible and friendly there. I was a alone so it was nice to have someone to chat with who also seemed to be alone and was about my age. She didn’t even necessarily have had to have been a past campaign volunteer – no one was checking credentials, you just showed up.
At about the same time I had a new neighbor who was also about my age (in relative terms). Again, it was nice to have someone to chat with in my neighborhood (this was what was going through my head).
Cut to soon before Wink had her puppies. Over the course of a week I’d made a few dinner engagements with these two individuals – entertainment is easy if you appreciate food. The first was at the female’s house. Wink was heavily pregnant. The three of us and the dogs (I also had a beautiful, caring, and special dog named Angie) went for a walk in the woods along a brook per her suggestion. During this walk she made sure to point out a pile of branches and said that she’d buried her dog there – that that is how you’re supposed to do it because it keeps the scent away. She also tried more than once to get me to let my dogs walk/play in the brook. Given safety concerns there was no way I was going to do that and I was surprised that she chose to try to push that.
After eating we were sitting across the coffee table chatting – the male and the female on the couch, me and my dogs on the other side. We weren’t there too long, maybe at hour, but at the end of this time the female laughingly said something about what my dogs looked like. I looked down and I was surprised to see that they were both sitting very close to me on either side and that they were both looking across the coffee table with squinted, untrusting/suspicious looking eyes. I’d never seen either of them look like this before – it was very abnormal expressions for them and it was the same expression on BOTH of their faces! They were being very still and quiet but not letting their eyes leave their intended direction. This was a great moment to capture as a “Oh I guess it’s time to go” moment.
We scheduled another food item meeting at my house in what ended up being one or two days before Wink had her puppies. The female wanted to take my dogs for a walk. I didn’t want to let my dogs alone with her and I insisted that I go as well. It wasn’t a long walk but the last block or two she said that we should run it – she seemed to tend to present herself as motivational. Since I did want to get back to my house I didn’t think much of it we all ran.
During that moment and also during the walk by the brook a few days before, I’d forgotten that I’d learned/heard/read that you really need to limit the exercise of your dog in the last part the of pregnancy.
Two of Wink’s five puppies were born stillborn and another was very ill and fighting for life (which cost me about $500/$600 in vet bills – I didn’t intend to spend that money but given my remorse and deep sadness of the death of the two puppies there was no way that I wasn’t going to do everything I could to help ‘Noddy’, which was his name, to survive and he did .
I put a lot of time and effort into the letter I wrote for prospective owners. In writing this, I was still working with all of my might to ensure a happy, healthy and full life for Wink’s surviving puppies. I’d also said that I was looking for owners who would let the puppy and mother meet again on occasion. The new owner respected the soul of these beings and their connection.
Given that I’d explicitly asked them to read it (and it was short and to the point), if they still said they wanted a puppy, that meant that they knew that I believed that they agreed.
The first puppy went and it broke my heart. The morning of the day she went I found her behind the washing machine, which hurt me more wondering if somehow she knew – this flock of puppies were not introverts and they were always ready to interact.
The second puppy went.
As I’m about to tell the rest of the story, I’m now realizing/recalling that there was a third individual that popped up in my life at this time who lived in an apartment across the street from the new male neighbor. I sort of recognized her from high school but she was not someone I’d ever talked to before. But soon before this she’d started a conversation with me on the sidewalk – the subject of the puppies came up and we became a little friendly.
I am a friendly sociable person. It’s a commitment that I still haven’t given up.
The morning the second owners came to pick up Noddy this second ‘new acquaintance neighbor’ showed up on the sidewalk at the time that the owner(s) was there to pick him up. At this point I was pretty comfortable with the first owner and Lola. However, I was a little uncomfortable with the second owner. There were little things, one of which was her 12ish year old daughter saying to me when they came to meet him “What you have to understand…” – I don’t recall what came after that but I don’t think that was the point of the comment anyway. It was abnormal language, tone, and mannerisms for someone of her age to use to an adult in that context – she was told to say it like she did like she was the one that was the teacher.
But I didn’t really get much of a chance to talk anymore with the mother before she took Noddy away because of neighbor #2’s imposing presence.
Puppy #3 was going to go to a friend of the owners of puppy #1. Then puppy #1’s owner(s) wrote me and said that they’d been crating her. And soon puppy #2’s owner(s) said that they it would be difficult to find the time to let the puppy meet his mother on occasion (due to child duties) but that she was ‘willing’. I didn’t write back. I don’t think she ever intended to, just as I don’t think puppy #3’s intended owner(s) ever really intended to take him either.
And the 2nd neighbor had asked if puppy #3 could stay over for the night (mind you she was being super friendly and kind at the time), I said ‘sure’ – the puppies were so super cute, you couldn’t not love them. The following morning I woke up with a really terrible feeling about it I paced and paced and waited until a reasonable hour and called her at 8am and asked her if I could pick him up. When I did, her daughter said, “He KEPT falling off the bed.” Though some dogs are afraid of the vacuum cleaner and others are not, Lester was a confident dog but he was absolutely terrified and mortified of/with it. I wonder what happened that night. I’ve since learned that she had some bad drug problems. I recall having said to neighbor #2 something to the effect of why would she sit with rotting teeth in her mouth (because her front teeth were and she would regularly smile and converse like nothing was amiss) – and a look came upon his face like “how DARE I say such a thing”, when purportedly he didn’t know her – it was a very odd look to see come over his face given how the conversation had been going.
Oh also, the child (only daughter) who came to look at puppy #1 looks nothing like her real daughter, saving the hair color.
As I was absorbing all of this the time was approaching for puppy #3 to be picked up.
It was clear that actions were being taken as a concerted effort and that exact timing was a big consideration.
I left the house with puppy #3 at the time that he was scheduled to be picked up and I kept him even though I couldn’t afford to and was in no way prepared to – I wouldn’t dare to trust him with anyone else at this point.. Puppy #1’s owner had said that puppy #3’s father worked in selling water rights or something like that that she didn’t understand.
I was well known to be closely involved in Environmental Justice issues at the time and the whole situation was torture. I was walking around in a state of shock for months. I said to myself many times, “This is what it feels like to have a child kidnapped from you.”
I tried to call a lawyer but the call instead went to a jewelry store downtown which had a number so different from the one that I called that it would have been impossible to have mistakenly hit all of those keys wrong.
Six months later I filed a report with the FBI.
2006 was also the year that Scudder Parker ran for governor and I worked on this campaign as well. He had immense support – people loved him and were looking really looking forward to the relief that would be felt when he was installed as governor.