Just a moment

Whilst most of Wyoming resembles a Mad Max apocalyptic landscape, the light at dusk–can and does–elevate the typical high-dessert scene to something more warm and inviting … If you take the time to see it.

On this day, our dog Shadow has prompted a quick pull over to pee and ponder the setting sun. Just a few miles from home, and I don’t know if I’ve ever noticed the rusted tin trailer that likely hasn’t had a human inside it in decades. The toppled plastic dinosaur speaks to the fossil futility of its kind’s iconic fall.

Impending rain presses closer to town. Abandoned corrals ebb with ambient movement. The subtle flow of irrigation canals reflect a magic-hour light–which ironically lasts only minutes.

I’ve driven the miles between my small hometown in the Wind River Mountain Range, and the nearest shopping arenas an hour or two away, yet shamefully, have not taken much time to stop and smell the photo-ops.

These are not belabored tripod shots with multi metered exposure readings, bracketed for that perfect calendar page. These are point and shoot hand-held grab shots. Journal entries, representing moments that usually pass me by … or is it the other way around?  I fear  too often it’s the latter.

anal og

I used to write letters with paper, and ink and I’d draw a doodle at the bottom. I’d never see it again once it slid into the metal mail slot.

I made phone calls standing next to the refrigerator, sometimes taking advantage of my proximity to the milk carton, making the best of a long-standing phone conversation, while tethered to a coiled cord on the wall.

I grew up without remote controls. I was the remote control of the family! “David, click the knob back to Hee Haw right now, and wiggle that tin foil … it’s still fuzzy!” 

I read 20-cent comic books which I held in my hand, and I far exceeded the budget of any block buster movie with the special effects of my mind as I read, filling in all the blanks between each text bubble.

Spielberg would likely agree that Hollywood could never equal the power of one’s imagination. Unless we fail to use that grey glob of Industrial Light and Magic between our ears. Unless we get tangled, mixed up, trapped in what we’ve come to call the …

spidey's-web

Despite this truth, I’m still glad you’re here. I’m happy for this technology. I think we’re all stuck with it. But I do miss much of the analog universe I used to live in.

Shadow Dancing

rei·ki •ˈrākē • noun
  1. a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient's body and restore physical and emotional well-being.

I knew I needed a serious intention in order to help make this therapy worthwhile. So when the reiki master asked me what MY intent was before beginning the session …  all I could think to say was, “I need to overcome my fear of puppies.”

Here’s the current poop on Shadow the Malamute … she’s still crapping all over my world like an evil, Stephen King-gone-mad, Playdough Factory.

The lacerations about my fingers and arms–in various stages of scabbing over–resemble those of a blind, Ginsu Knife-handmodel–one which never quite cut it well enough to make the midnight infomercial cast.

All we wanted was a tiny bit of Disney to color our average world. To walk into the movie poster–as a couple on a beach, their faithful dog, politely not obscuring the scenic beauty with a pile of feces. Dogs don’t poo in Disney flicks.

Instead, we got an extra anus in the family, to follow us everywhere, wagging its little brown eye with a wry wink and a giddy grin.

Underlying everything I’ve felt the past few weeks, is my classic fear of commitment. Having Shadow in my life, means a loss of freedom; a permanent change of life for at least the next decade or more. No more watering a few plants and shutting the house down for a couple of weeks with no other cares.

So yeah, I went through a pretty crazy stage of Puppypeeinsidehouse syndrom. My precious oak floors; as well as my aloof and flighty lifestyle; were in jeopardy. So I had some energy work done; I built a better fence; I found a tastier chew toy; and we have started to see the joy of having our little Shadow, in our lives.

My little writing buddy.
My little writing buddy.

It is more of a dance, than a walk in the park though. It’s something I’ve almost forgotten how to do … almost. But as I pull dead things from her clinched teeth during our walks; as I fret when she wants to lead me off the curb into traffic or attempts to fly out the truck window on a long drive home, because she sees an antelope a mile away on the prairie; I have to smile and recall the fact that this isn’t my first rodeo with a puppy, nor my first waltz with a wolfy little Malamute.

Our Little Grrrrrgoyle

There’s a war going on, just outside our bedroom door … and it stinks.

And much like the proud parents who paste accolade clad stickers on their bumpers, bragging about their child’s latest step towards maturity, my wife and I boldly claimed our pup Shadow, was “house broken” on Facebook.

Truthfully, it’s us, and our house, that is broken–not the puppy.

If turds could fly, we’d have had a flock of butterflies fluttering about our bed last night. But that was just a cruel dream, induced and fueled by premature faith in our pet’s maturity. 

But as we know, Good Owners, Great Dogs, is the reality. We’re going back to the drawing board with our kennel training and forgoing the notion that Shadow can handle having more access to our DEN … she’s still a baby, and we’re still young parents, so there’s nothing left to doodoo (pardon the stutter, I didn’t sleep much last night), but to give the dog and ourselves a break; taking a deep breath (after the nag champa kicks in), and try our best, once again, today.

Where is Ultra Man when you need him? https://youtu.be/7qHNfsst8_c
CALLING IN THE TROOPS: Where is Ultra Man when you need him?

renezvous-3-2

We and our Shadow

For the past 9 and a half weeks, I’ve been lost in my job as papa to my new pup, Shadow …

Somehow, I’d forgotten just how difficult it is to raise a puppy. It’s not my first rodeo with a Malamute either. Kenai my former pet, was an amazing little girl when I got her at 5-weeks. Her mother died shortly after delivery, so I got her early, and bottle fed her for a few weeks. Once she had become fully weened, and even several years later, she still had the adorable habit of suckling my neck in search of a teat, giving me little dog-hickys. Too sweet. We had 15-years of loyal, loving kinship.

Now, some 20-plus years later, I’m at it again–and it feels like my first time. She consumes our entire world. We can’t find the heart to leave her for long so we’re resigned to stay home mostly, spending the past month limited to potty training and care for an animal that’s too young to know how good we are to her.

Shadow is much more willful and likely smarter than any dog I’ve ever had. At 9-weeks, she was nearly potty trained and for the past few nights, has made it till dawn in her kennel before needing to be let out. What that means, is that since we got her a month ago, I’ve not slept restfully through the night at all. I’ve had the “luxury” of spending every hour of each day, schooling this little creature who, up until recently, had me second-guessing why I would even want another dog. I know there’s no comparison to a human baby, but since I’ve never had children, this puppy parenting is about as difficult as anything I can imagine.

Poo is poo and when your whole world revolves around how to deal with shit and keep it out of your living space, it’s far from a piece of “cake.”

At 10-weeks however, the breakthrough came. My wife and I decided to take Shadow out into the wild, where the beast and the best in her, could come out with all that poo, and not do any damage. The gallery below is of our recent  hike around the majestic Green River Lakes and a few shots of her first attempts at swimming in beautiful Fremont Lake, closer to home. Tonight, it’s off to White Pine Mountain where a local, summer concert is taking place.

We may not be flying around the world as much; nor motel’ing it in Vegas as often, because this little girl is not going to live in a kennel like a lot of dogs do. For us, the plan is to take her with us wherever we go. If we can’t take her with us, we won’t go, ’cause as I said, it’s just we and our Shadow, as it should be.