Thursday, July 26, 2007

Attack of the Jack Russell Terrier

My neighbor Erica and I, had quite a day. It all started when I returned home to find a police car in Erica's driveway. She came outside to inform me that a Jack Russell Terrier had been stalking our houses all day. I had first noticed "Jackie" (as I named her), yesterday, when she appeared in my backyard. She only stayed a second or two before darting off from, and I thought nothing of it. Well... apparently Jackie had been hanging around all day today... and Erica finally decided to call for some assistance when her efforts to keep Jackie from scratching at her back door proved useless.

She seemed harmless enough... rubbing up against us... begging for attention. No tags... possibly "up there" in years we thought... and she was really pretty sweet (we thought).

We soon learned that our county does not have an animal control department. On top of that... police officers are not allowed to transport stray animals to nearby shelters. (We couldn't help but wonder what on earth else the Whitestown version of Boss Hog has to do with himself... but I refrained from asking). Instead of offering any suggestions, he simply gave the dog a pat on the head, shrugged saying, "she seems harmless enough", and headed off to undoubtedly bust the next careless citizen who dared go 2 miles over the 20 mph town speed limit.

Erica and I debated over what to do with this pesky creature while at the same time entertaining her one-year-old daughter, Rachel... and then for reasons that I still am searching for... I decided to let Max out. Rachel adores Max... and she was getting frustrated simply talking to him through the front door window. Typically, Max enjoys a little kiss and teasing from Rachel - but today was different. It was different simply because I had forgotten about our little guest - Jackie. "No big deal", I thought to myself as Max bolted to inspect the intruder. He generally likes other dogs and plays well... never mind the fact that this particular animal was a stranger to us... without tags and an unknown immunization status.

Fast forward to what felt like 10 minutes but probably was all of 2. The attack started so fast that it took quite awhile to come to my senses and go into rescue mode. With Rachel in my arms... it was difficult to try and kick Jackie as hard as I wanted to ... watching her pin my poor sweet dog up against our house and mawl him. I finally passed (ok threw) Rachel off to her mom (also frozen and in shock)... and headed back to save Max. It was probably a good thing that I didn't stop and consider the risk of putting your arms into the middle of gnashing teeth and claws... although I'm pretty sure I would have preferred to be cut up over Max sustaining further injuries. He is now OK.. I think. One very large laceration to his leg along with a few others... but I think he'll live to tell about it.

The attack was all my determined neighbor needed to get the police back out and demand they do something. This time, it was Barney Fife himself who arrived to rescue us. Let me give you a step-by-step breakdown of the hillbilly way to scare a dog off your property.

A) Obtain large bucket of water.
B) Follow dog around with bucket of water aimed and ready.
C) Reassure civilians that this technique looks cruel, but is indeed extremely effective.
D) Dump bucket. Miss dog. Soak civilians.

(I didn't make this up.)

Jackie ran away... and Barney proudly announced that he thought he was gone... just as Jack came back around the other side of the house. The State Trooper who lives down the street happened to be driving by about this time. He pulled over, and for a moment I actually thought just maybe he might have a more sophisticated approach. Perhaps State Troopers are allowed to transport stray dogs??? Barney asked him if he had any pepper spray... (apparently Whitestown Police do not have the authority to carry pepper spray). The State Trooper replied "yes". Barney requested he loan it to him to spray Jackie. The State Trooper said, "no". (Erica and I exchanged hopeless, yet slightly relieved glances... as we could not possibly understand why this officer was so sure that making the dog petrified of him... would get him off our property.

It was at this point that I suggested we put the dog in Max's crate and I personally drive him to a shelter.

Barney Fife: "You have a crate?"

Me (trying so hard to not sound sarcastic): "Yes".

Barney Fife: "Well then yes, let's try that. Then you can put her in the shade with some water and maybe find the owners later."

Me (thinking to myself): "When I get the little monster in the trap, I'm going to dump her at the pound and come home so I can sleep and go to work."

After a small battle of trying to remove the crate from the house and Max jumping in it trying to keep me from doing so... I emerge outside. I began coaxing Jackie with treats toward the crate and she comes slowly, but willingly.

Barney: "Here give me one of those... I'll get her in there".

(Jackie retreats... cowering behind me).

Barney: "I think she's a little scared of me... (ya think)... c'mon girl..."

(Jackie moves farther away...)

Barney: "If I had some thick gloves or something, I'd just pick her up and put her in there."

Me (rolling my eyes at Erica and promptly picking the mutt up and throwing her in the crate): "There. Now what?"

Barney (sticking his finger in the crate... I guess trying to tickle Jackie's leg or something, and announcing proudly): "Well... another case closed by the Whitestown Police!"

(You're kidding, right?)

Some time later... Erica and her husband Steve attempted to drop Jackie off at the nearest Humane Society. It was found that she had no microchip with owner information.

Humane Society Employee: "We can take the dog, but there will be a $20 impoundment fee."

Erica: "Excuse me? There's a fine for turning in a lost dog?"

Employee: "It's a processing fee."

Erica: "But she attacked my neighbor's dog... why should we have to pay for trying to get her off the streets?"

Employee: "She attacked a dog? In that case... we are going to have to euthanize her. That's going to cost $120, and you will have to keep her overnight because it can't be done until the morning."

Seriously? Is this a joke?

As they were leaving (Jackie still in tow), Erica called me to relay this conversation. While it may not seem humane... we all agreed there was only one solution. Forget coughing up $120 for trying to do the right thing... set the dog loose again. Apparently... this city offers a subliminal threat: "leave our strays loose or pay a fine"!

They found a deserted gravel road - far enough away from our houses but still within the city limits. Just maybe, she would be able to find her way home. It was apparently a very emotional "goodbye". Steve placed Jackie on the ground and she frantically began running around the car trying to get back in. They got in the car and Steve told Erica just to not look back... but that was impossible. As Steve hit the gas, Erica watched Jackie barking and racing to keep up with them. Ironically, at the same time Nelly Furtado was on the radio singing "All Good Things (Come to an End)"...

..."travelling i always stop at exits
wondering if i'll stay
young and restless
living this way i stress less
i want to pull away when the dream dies
the pain sets it and i don't cry
i only feel gravity and i wonder why

and the sun was wondering if it should stay away for a day until the feeling went away
and the clouds were dropping and the...
the rain forgot how to bring salvation
the dogs were whistling a new tune barking at the new moon
hoping it would come soon so that they could die"...

Poor, poor Jackie. Perhaps if you had not ripped my beloved puppy's arm open... things would have been different. While this may have not been the most favorable solution to our challenging day... I reminded Erica that they were merely giving little Jackie one more chance at life. The alternative was a certain death... perhaps now - she may find her way to herreal home. I'm cautiously optimistic... At the same time... I don't think I would be too surprised if we hadn't seen the last of old Jackie, the Jack Russell Terrier...
It may be awhile before Max will be pottying by himself again... I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Amazing Stories

... because I can't say it better myself... I had to post a quote out of Matt Mooney's blog for his little boy Eliot, who passed away a short time ago...

"Eugene Peterson says it this way:
“Everytime someone tells a story well, the gospel is served”

All we have done is tell a story. The story of our son. And, oh, what a story it is.

I have purposely made strides to downplay the God-card. This was simply because all I could do was get in the way with my feeble attempts. God was in the story. He did not need to be exposed.

If you have found yourself drawn to this story and not really knowing why, I humbly propose that my son is only a vehicle to proclaim a story greater than his own.

There is someone who loves you with a love larger than ours for Eliot. There is one who takes you with all of your flaws and delights in all that you are. He sings over you when you sleep and hems you in while awake. He destroys the worth-measures of man and pronounces you worthy. He is Jesus. He is the only way we have made it thus far and our only hope for tomorrow.

Thank you,

Matt & Ginny Mooney"

Friday, July 13, 2007

Coffee "Date"

This post was supposed to be up a couple weeks ago and I totally forgot. Better late than never, right? When I lived in Reno my friend Carrie and I had a regular ritual of meeting each other at Starbucks for a coffee date. Moving to Indiana put a little crimp in that habit, so we've taken to the long-distance version instead.

I am so thankful for my relationship with Carrie. We hit it off immediately when we met at church in Reno about 6 years ago, and from then on she has always been there for me. From random road trips when we just needed to get out of town... to taking on the job of taking care of Ricky when I had to go back to work... she has been an incredibly faithful counselor, friend, and sounding board. You can only imagine the restraint she must had to have when, after dropping me off at the airport to fly home to Chicago for ONE week... she picked me back up and listened (remarkably calm I must say), as I announced that I was going to marry some guy I had just met 6 days before who lived in Indiana. And... oh yeah, I was going to have to move. She barely blinked when I stood in front of her 2 weeks later in a wedding dress that I decided to try on "just for fun"... and even shrugged "what the heck" as I plopped down $600 for HALF of the down payment on the thing... as the lady at the counter was asking when the wedding date was and I replied matter-of-factly, "Oh - I'm not really engaged yet!". :)

After all that... she still answers the phone when I call.

We try to do this every few weeks or so. Long-distance coffee dates have nothing on the real thing... but they certainly are better than nothing. The pictures above are of my iced,venti, non-fat, sugar-free vanilla caramel macchiato, and one of myself while we were on the phone chatting. Carrie also opted for friendship over humiliation and took a self-portrait at the Starbucks out there in Reno... but I can't get it off my phone!

So here's to Java & Friendship. Thanks for STILL being there Carrie. Love you girl.

Even Ricky loved Starbucks Coffee Dates!

UPDATE 7/14:

Word of advice on the long-distance coffee dates... it's a good idea to stop and consider time zone changes before calling your friend. I called Carrie this morning at 10am my time... forgetting it was 7am in Reno. Oops! Hey - when you need coffee... you need it now!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

God's Protection

John, Janet and Henry were in a car accident just as they were heading home after the funeral weekend in Indiana. They are all ok... although the car is totalled. Please keep them in your prayers as they now are recovering from both internal and external injury from this past week. Please pray especially for Janet's broken foot. She will be evaluated tomorrow as to whether or not she might need surgery.

I couldn't help but remember a favorite line from a song, "sometimes He calms the storm, and other times He calms His child". That is my prayer for them. I know they would appreciate more as well. Janet has posted a few updates on their blog. Click on "The Morans" to the right or click here.

$25 Reward:

To the person who lets me in on my Anni-Birthery gift. Eric has been torturing me with faulty hints and guesses and I've looked all over the house. I know someone out there must know something - and I'm not too proud to bribe. :)

Monday, July 9, 2007


Eric and I had a bittersweet weekend in Kokomo. Despite the very difficult occasion, we were so thankful to spend the time with friends. I couldn't help but admire once again, the bond that Eric has maintained with several guys from his grade school/youth group days. It seems like these days, guys are less likely to have close relationships... particularly ones that go so far back. And I guess that's why it was so neat to see a couple guys drop literally everything that they had scheduled to travel and be at John's side as he said "goodbye" to his mom. Eric said he spent so much time with John growing up that Barbara was like his second mom. They all shared stories and favorite memories of being with her... we all laughed, and cried. It was an such an honor to be there.

Please continue to keep John and his family in your prayers as they now enter this new and very different phase of their lives.

Here are a few pictures that I took of Henry during our day of bonding. You'll have to ignore the very poor quality and lack of photography skills in light of his mother's masterpieces...

"Hey, this stuff is great! I knew cutting all those teeth would pay off somehow!"

"What? You have a DOG?! Why didn't you ever tell me? I would have come to stay with you MUCH sooner!"

"Hey, wait a second... how did I get in here if you're out there?"

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Welcome Home Barb...

Eric's best friend John, along with his wife Janet and their family sat at the bedside of his mom last night as Jesus took her home. To say that she "lost her battle to cancer" is really an inaccurate statement - since I personally don't feel anyone "loses a battle" when the result lands them at the feet of our Heavenly Father. In my opinion, Barb simply received her long-awaited and well-deserved reward when she was rescued from her cancer ridden body last night. I am sad to say that I never was able to meet her... but I feel like I have known her for quite some time. Eric and John have been friends since grade school... and I have enjoyed hearing many stories of their childhood - which inevitably include stories of their mothers. I can tell you that I know she loved her family and gave much. I can tell you that she fought harder then most of us could even imagine being able to fight over the last 7 years as cancer appeared, disappeared, and then came back several times. And I can tell you that she will be missed tremendously by her husband, kids, and grand kids for as long as they are on this earth.

I can say from experience that the death of someone we love so much is sad and hard - not because they are now gone - but because we are now left. So please pray for John and Janet... along with the rest of their family, as they now face life without Barb physically here with them.

Ironically... the night prior to Barb's death... I found myself struggling late into the night with Ricky being gone. I miss him every minute of every day... but sometimes my arms literally ache, wishing that he was here to hold. I was up so late that I slept in quite a bit... and woke up to find a voice mail on my cell. It was Janet... and she was calling to say that Barb had gotten worse and they wondered if I would take Henry (their little boy) for the afternoon. Coincidence? I doubt it. We wound up keeping Henry (who happens to be just a few months older than Ricky was when he died), all night long.

God has a way of working out the timing of even the most painful situations - and for that I am so grateful. If you read Janet's blog posting - you'll learn how they were blessed as well. I feel a little selfish knowing that amidst their difficult day - God actually chose to bless me... but I guess if I've learned anything in life, it is that "His ways are not my own". When Janet called to say that Barb was worsening... she shared with me (and I hope it's ok that I share this with you), that one of the most difficult things for Barb in this illness... was knowing that she would not be around to be with her grandchildren as they grew up. But it occurred to Janet, that Ricky would be up in heaven waiting... maybe missing my mom... his grandma... down here on earth.

Henry woke at 3am last night... and I stole the opportunity to cuddle with him for awhile. Couldn't help but wonder if at that same moment John's mom was holding my little boy, in a place far more peaceful... both of them, in bodies no less than perfect.

So Barb if you can read this... :)... give baby Ricky a big hug for us. Tell him Henry had fun playing with his old toys, and gave Max lots of kisses for him. If you could give Eric's dad a hug for me that would be great too... tell him that his son is an excellent husband, and he should be incredibly proud of who he has become...

We miss you all... we love you... and we'll see you soon.

Photo of Henry by his Mom, Janet Moran

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Blast From the Past

Rhonda inspired me to look up an old favorite of mine... I was a little disappointed when I found a more recent photo of sweet, talented Tiffany.