Loss of a Friend

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We lost a good friend last night. Orion, our golden boy, the un-bribe-able guard dog, has left this world to guard, play and rest in a happier, pain-free place.

Orion was one of a litter of eight we found on the side of the road near our home one day in 2007. The pups had been starved and two nearly didn’t make it that first night. Orion was always a shy one, even then. He didn’t push through to get to food but neither was he listless like the two we were worried wouldn’t make it. He just hung back and calmly waited his turn. This is not usual behavior for an untrained pup. He seemed to have the patience of a saint right from the start.

I expected then that Orion’s beautiful golden coloring and white blaze on his nose would mean he would get placed immediately, but it took about a month. Then, apparently he and his new family were unhappy together because Orion came back to us after several months in that home. The family was unable to care for a puppy after all. They had named him “Night” despite his daylight coloring, but we already have Knightshade and couldn’t see having two “knights”. Since he’d had a chance to get used to Night, I wanted to keep the long “I” sound to make transition to a new name a little easier and chose “Orion.” Orion adapted quickly and showed himself to be highly intelligent and patient and compassionate with young humans. We placed him again in another home, but after only a few months, he came back to us again.

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By this time, Orion’s naturally sweet, shy attitude became that of a resigned wallflower. He wouldn’t come forward for attention or treats even when called. He would hang back as if chastised though he’d done nothing wrong. I realised that Orion’s reticence had probably come from being “rejected” now four times – by us, by family 1, by us again, then by family 2 – he felt no one wanted him and had no place in this world. It was sad to see, and with other dogs in the pack, it was hard to show him much of any exclusive attention.

Then came the day that Chuck told him “alright, buddy, you’re here to stay. This is your home now and you’re not going anywhere.” There was an immediate change, a night and day difference! Orion’s perpetual hang-dog expression became hopeful and more often excited. He began to push through for his fair share of attention when we had excited crowding, though he was never aggressive. He again began to show his intelligence and wouldn’t be persuaded from it no matter what the rest of the pack was doing. When I told them to sit, the uber-excited take a minute to realise I’m serious, but Orion would sit immediately and calmly wait for instruction despite being bumped and jostled and sometimes forced to stand or be knocked over. He would quickly readjust and sit again, staring at me, waiting patiently. Orion was not to be distracted. I’ve never had another dog so incredibly easy to work with. He required no treats or extra attention to learn something new. He would get it in just a couple of tries and it almost always stuck right after the first, certainly by the second. Orion was something special.

One thing that never needed training was Orion’s guarding aptitude. A bizarre habit he had picked up was to bark at vultures in the sky. “Death from above” we called it and I truly think Orion thought so. It’s not typical for a dog to look up, much less to do it often enough to call warnings at every sighting. He even recognized when their shadows flew across the ground and knew exactly where it came from. He would chase within the confines of the fence and try to “bark them away.” We can only speculate what horror he might have seen to make him associate danger with a threat from the sky, but Orion’s warnings were always accurate, always of vultures, never any other bird.

Orion was also one who would always bark and threaten any potential human threat who came to the yard or the house. He had been known to threaten even those he knew from previous visits if they were acting “suspicious” and unsettled. We recently had a HVAC tech come by who tried to be friendly to the dogs through the fence. The tech even offered treats to help calm them to his presence, but Orion was having none of it. He didn’t even stop barking at the tech long enough to sniff at the treat. Good boy!

Guard Duty: Orion and Keiran

A couple years ago we noticed Orion was limping a lot and occasionally had trouble putting weight in either of his back legs. His hips appeared abnormally narrow so we assumed it was hip dysplasia but couldn’t afford the vet bill for a while. When we did get Orion to the vet for X-rays, they found he had blown both his knees! Poor guy. But at 7 ½ years old, it seems it would be more torture to try to put him through the exhaustive surgeries and recovery that would likely take 1-2 years including rehab with no guarantee of betterment at his age. We opted to put him on a joint and pain relief regimen and just try to keep him from overtaxing himself. Of course, you can’t explain that to a dog very well. When he became overexcited on a walk or guarding against a threat, he would force his legs to work like normal – never show weakness! He was better than before, but it was obvious to us the toll it took on him. He would be more sore than ever that night. He lost weight. We just tried to do what we could to make his life as comfortable as possible.

Unfortunately, Orion was also an escape artist. He would methodically chew through the wire fencing until he could get through and run free. Chuck would barricade the hole but eventually Orion would make another one. He would come back happily exhausted and sometimes half-covered in mud. He had a favorite mud hole that we suspect was his ultimate downfall. It seems someone set a trap.

Yesterday, Orion had let himself out of the yard again and we didn’t notice. When he came back, he was so covered in mud that the rest of the pack didn’t even recognize him. I noticed the that Orion was missing and worried he would come back and attack the “stranger dog.” He looked like a dark brindle, nothing at all like Orion’s usual pale golden coloring. We thought he was a stray, obviously hurting from some trauma, and desperately trying to sidle up to Chuck. It’s not unusual for a dog in need of care to just show up, so of course we would do what we could and try to find his owners. He was obvious wounded, but with so much dirt, we couldn’t even guess at the wounds much less the extent of them. Chuck decided the dog needed a bath before anything else and it took some scrubbing before enough of the dirt came off to see Orion showing through the mud. He had lots of scrapes, scratches and punctures. At first we thought of maybe a dog fight with a neighbor dog or something else but most of the punctures weren’t torn, he had scrapes inside his mouth, and there was more mud than blood… or so we thought.

We set Orion up on the bed with us so we could comfort him as much as possible. He was clean now and cried until the pain pills kicked in but he was obviously still in a lot of pain. Most of the wounds were punctures and scrapes but not consistent with an animal fight. It appeared he’d been caught in something and had to fight his way free of it. After about three hours, he vomited a fair amount of bog water. There were some bits of food and an object that might have been cloth, but mostly it was boggy water. I wondered if some might not have come from his lungs too since he was listless then and couldn’t even lift his head out of the boggy puddle he’d made on the towels, but there was no way to tell. A wound on a thigh never quite stopped oozing blood despite pressure so we have no idea how much blood he may have lost before he was able to get home. We cleaned up all his wounds as much as we could, but even when we thought the leg had stopped bleeding, he would then move the leg and there would be oozing blood again. His breathing became labored and Chuck didn’t think he would last the night. Indeed it seems he didn’t last another hour. Chuck moved Orion to the love seat where he often sleeps to clean up the vomit. Orion was listless and had trouble even standing when Chuck set him in the floor to rearrange the sheets on the loveseat for comfort. When Chuck put him up on the loveseat, he just flopped and didn’t even try to move in a better position for his wounds. A few minutes later, he began to cry-whine again and his eyes looked a bit glassy. It broke my heart to hear him and know there was nothing else we could do for him. I went to him and stroked the portion of his head that wasn’t scraped or punctured. He sighed and seemed to settle. I think now that’s when he left and I just didn’t realise it because when I checked on him a little while later, he wasn’t breathing and the body begun to cool already.

So now Orion is out of pain completely. No more limping, no more aching knees or wounds, and certainly no more labored breathing. He can rest easy now. I figure he’s probably standing guard at the gates to the other world, doing his duty and warning of vultures.

We miss you, golden boy!

Wild Woman

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Deeply meaningful post I strongly suggest women read and take a few minutes to actually consider what it might mean to you. “I am woman, hear me…” Is not a joke, though it seems to have been reduced to one in an evolutionary age of apathy. But it’s hard to instill meaning once it has been stripped away from a culture. I hope you enjoy Avalon’s musings on Wild Woman:


We  have lost touch with the essence of Wild Woman. Sure we hear the word, we hear it like a title said with the same air as the word Queen yet seperated from it’s inherent nobility.  We see …

Source: Wild Woman

What If?

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what-if header

When I was a kid I used to read comics, and although I didn’t read it on a regular basis I always enjoyed a series called “What If”.

The premise of the series was great. Comics have their own history and continuity, so the “What if” series was a way to explore alternatives to that history. It allowed writers to imagine how the current comic world would look if just one event happened differently, or one decision was made differently.

For example, the Hulk is the typical Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story. He’s a brilliant scientist to transforms into a powerful yet relatively mindless creature. What if he could maintain his brilliant mind while adding the power of the Hulk? How would that change that character, as well as the universe he lives in?


These stories imagining alternate realities in the world of comics were usually fairly silly and…

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Learning to Love

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So well done I had to share…


Love. We all use the word, but there is no real consensus on what it is or what it means.

One of my first posts was my attempt at figuring out what love is, and looking back on it now I think I had a lot of things right, but at the same time it seems somewhat lacking.

Some say love is a feeling. Others say love is a choice. I think it’s probably a mix of both.

Maybe it’s best to say that love is a feeling that comes with certain choices, and the ability to maintain love (and feelings of love) over a long period is a result of continuing to make loving choices towards your partner.

I don’t think love just happens. Attraction may just happen, but you still have to choose to get to know the other person. To look at them, to listen to them…

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Is Amazon Good For Books?

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Personally, I have mixed feelings about Amazon, but they are frequently my first go-to to find what I need (or at least price compare) and they certainly get plenty of my money (even though as a general rule, I don’t care for monopolies).

As a reader, I sometimes feel bad that I don’t spend more money on ebooks, but I prefer print if I plan to re-read it and especially for reference books. I have been considering adding a Goodreads link to my site since I’ve been posting my thoughts on others’ works lately. Goodreads a good idea? I guess we’ll see.

I fell in love with audio books years ago when I discovered I could “read” while doing chores and other mindless tasks instead of the usual can’t-do-anything-else when reading print books. Of course I’m not always happy with the narrators as they can make or break the impact a book can have, but you just can’t please everyone anyway.

As a writer? Don’t know yet, so that will have to wait for another day…

Meantime, read what John had to say on the subject.

Johnny Reads

Exactly one year ago today I wrote this post asking the exact same question. But if you happen to click the link you’ll find that there was no discussion at the time. One Like and no comments. Which is funny because the post I published just two days later currently has 109 Likes and 189 comments. Just how these things go sometimes. And honestly, I’ve wanted to revisit this particular topic for a long time now. Partly because last year’s post went unnoticed and because a lot has changed in the last 365 days.

Let me also say something very important. I know some of you will read this question as “Is Amazon good for publishing?” Don’t. I’m looking big picture here. Writers. Readers. Publishers. All of it.

First, I’d like for you to simply answer the question. A simple yes or no will suffice for now.

Got your answer?…

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The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks (review)

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Night AngelThe Night Angel Trilogy is a book series I’ve had for years that I re-read every so often, and I’m struck again by Brent Weeks’ genius! The first copy I had was a 3-in-1 hardcover obtained shortly after the completed works were released. I read it several times in the first year I owned it and recommended it to anyone who would listen. Then, as often happens, my copy was lent to a friend and never returned. Ah well, I finally got another copy.
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Research on Writing How-To Continues

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In an effort to better understand what separates “good” writing from “bad” writing, I’ve been taking advantage of free ebook offerings via Amazon, iBooks and Wattpad. It’s helping my understanding considerably. It’s not just mechanics and word choice, it’s consistency (ever read a 25-cent word thrown in like the author just learned it and was determined to use it even if it disrupts the flow?). It’s not just the characters and background detail, it’s how you present them. Read the rest of this entry »

In Consideration of Others

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Said a Blade of Grass

Several weeks ago, I ran across this post about Kahlil Gibran and his poem “Said a Blade of Grass”I can appreciate the point to the post as well as the poem, even though I’d never heard of this particular poet before. It got me thinking, and that’s the door where understanding can come in…

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My Journey with Essential Oils

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Image source: www.MindBodyGreen.com
Image source: http://www.MindBodyGreen.com

When I was a teenager, it seemed like I was constantly catching every virus that made a passing glance in my direction. Not only viruses, but then while the virus had me down, it would always develop into something worse. When I caught a cold, I would end up with strep throat or bronchitis. When I had the flu, I often caught something else at the same time. Over the counter cold and flu remedies sometimes helped a little for a short time, but usually not much, not for long, and often gave me some new nastiness to suffer. Eventually I would be given antibiotics for the bacterial infections that invariably lead to horrible yeast infections (seriously, I’d rather combat the flu). I’d get over the virus and the infections, finally begin to feel normal again, usually just in time to catch the next bug or a mutated version of what I just combatted. Essential oils finally (finally!) broke that cycle for me! Read the rest of this entry »

Essential Oils Revolution Summit – 4 days left!

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In case you haven’t been following along, it’s not too late! Get in on this FREE summit now!


We have four more days of experienced, educated speakers scheduled for the Essential Oils Revolution Summit.  I fully expect the remaining speakers to continue to amaze me away with their knowledge and tips as those who spoke during these first four days have done. This summit has been truly mind-blowing! The fact this information is being handed out for free leaves us with no excuse but to learn as much as we can squeeze into our days.

Here’s who is coming up next… Read the rest of this entry »