End of 2015

Well, it’s midnight on the east coast. In California, still waiting for the the New Year. I’m watching Jools Holland, with this little gal on my lap. Her name is Isabel. She’s a short hair Chihuahua mix. We think she might be part miniature Pinschre. I was supposed to go to a Patti Smith concert this evening, but I can’t leave the puppy by herself. She is extremely fearful, and has panic attacks. I’ve already been hearing explosions. It’ll be really noisy at midnight. It always is on New Years here.

Photo of black and brown Chihuahua mix dog.

Isabel, Chihuahua mix we got from SPCA.

We’ve had this little dog for two and a half weeks. She’s a rescue from SPCA. I think she’s a PTSD dog. SPCA described her on their website as “a delicate flower,” which was really a euphemism for “extremely fearful.” They didn’t mention that she’d had her little knees replaced. She had “floating kneecaps,” or luxating patellas, which I have learned is common in tiny dogs. She’s only about a year and a half, and she weighs six and half pounds.They told us they got her from the dog pound, who found her roaming the streets of San Francisco. If she had been more accurately described on the website, I would have passed her up. But I saw her picture and I instantly loved her. I paid $25 bucks for them to hold her for us. I had already decided I wanted to bring her home. They were all surprised that we still wanted her after they told us about her little knees, and she didn’t exactly run up to us when we went to see her. Later, we would come to realize just how scared she is. She runs to me, and when I pick her up she shivers in terror. Sometimes she buries her little face in my arm, and whimpers. Lord knows what she’s been through. It brings tears to my eyes. I’m glad we have her with us. I love her so much!

While still at SPCA, my son took her picture, and posted to his Facebook, “She’s misanthrope like my mom, and she’s got replaced knees like me.” (My son has rheumatoid arthritis.)

I said, “Hey, did you really say I’m a misanthrope?”

And he goes, “Yup.”

I said, “Don’t say that. I’m not a misanthrope. I don’t hate people. I’m just. Fussy.” He gave me a look. Didn’t say anything, just stared. “I don’t hate people,” I repeated. He sighed, and held the look. “Oh, leave me alone,” I said. He shook his head and took another picture of the puppy, and posted it.

I looked up the word “misanthrope.” The list of synonyms were: cynic, doubter, egoist, egotist, hater, loner, recluse, skeptic, isolate. And I’m like, uh, well. OK. So, I’m most of those. Well, shit. But I don’t hate people. I hate shit. And where’s there’s people, well…

Isabel is incredibly smart! And stubborn. With a bad attitude. But, of course, that’s a cover for fear. I walk her and she shies away from every person we pass, or objects, like a tarp-covered motorcycle, or a discarded mop head lying in the middle of the sidewalk. Every noise startles her. And cities are noisy. Cars pass by with a whoosh, and sometimes honk, or have radios blaring. Buses hiss, and beep. Children shout. Sirens wail. People talk enthusiastically. Doors slam. She’s already gotten better, though. She trots along, at least, without cowering low to the ground like on the first day. But she’s hyper-vigilant and looks around, wide-eyed, worried and scared, poor baby. She needs to get rid of this bad attitude, for sure. She challenges every dog she sees. “Arrrggg, arrrggg,” she growls. “RRRRufff, ruff,” she barks. She’s saying, “Stay away from me, or I’ll kick your ass.” But it’s all talk. She’s bluffing because she’s terrified. That pit bull she stirred up today would’ve shredded her. Fortunately, the guy handled it well, and he moved to the curb, putting distance between us, held his dog’s leash firmly and kept walking. But I saw the startled look on his face, and I suppose I had the same look. But I also held the dog leash firmly, pulled Isabel toward me, and kept walking.

My son laughed when she snarled at him. Because it’s a little tiny mouth, a teeny, tiny snarl. He held a treat up to her, while she sat on my lap. She didn’t like him getting up that close. She prefers if he tosses the treat to the ground and steps away. Then she’ll timidly approach and quickly gobble it up, then runs to a safe place, like under the table, under a chair, the couch, or into her crate. She only comes to me. No one else. But I feed her, take her out to do her duty (doody), walk her, hold her when she’s scared. My son is at work all day, and he goes out on weekends, not to mention sometimes after work. He’s not a misanthrope like his mom.

Charcoal drawing of Patti Smith.

Patti Smith, charcoal drawing by Estela,

My son is at the Patti Smith concert. I heard Michael Stipe was going to open. It’s gonna be awesome, I know. I never dreamed a day would come when I would pass on a Patti Smith concert. Oh, well. Little Isabel needs me. She takes priority. She’s a lot like me. I was diagnosed with PTSD. Sometimes I have nightmares. I wake up screaming. I startle easily. I used to have a bad attitude, but I’ve learned to let things go. When I think back on it, I can see how my insecurity made me bark and growl like that. Whoo, I could be such a bitch. Well, I still can be. But only when I’m disrespected. That’s something I don’t put up with. I think that’s fair.

Well, there they are. The firecrackers. It’s midnight. It’s been the best and worst of times, an age of wisdom and absurdity, light and dark, despair and hope. May the New Year hold more love and light for all.


About Poet Dressed In Black

Poet. Artist. Grammy of one, a granddaughter. Mom of three, son and two daughters, all grown. Individualist. Care-taker of Isabel, an agoraphobic, fear-aggressive, very nervous, delicate flower, Chihuahua mix.
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