Free Fido – the rights of “our” dogs

Hear Majo read the text below:

It has become clear to me over time that nothing – nothing, no consideration – makes it acceptable to never let a dog offleash.

Most of the time, Pancho knows that she can go wherever she wants to go. Here I think she is pondering where she might want to go next.

If they have to run, let them run – to find a new life somewhere else or maybe to come back.

To never let a dog offleash is to take them prisoner for life – to never allow them to live as a normal dog.

That is not taking care of the dog – that is imprisoning a dog.

We are really trying to root out the practice of slavery with humans, but we regularly allow it with dogs.

It’s great to be happy that your dog is happy when you get home. But much of that happiness is not because they’re so glad to see you as that they hope that now they will get a chance to have some fun – after perhaps a painfully boring day.

(“It’s all right. He just sleeps all day anyway.” In many or most cases, that sleeping all day is just his way of coping with a situation that could make him insane.

Doggy daycare may not be in the budget for you – and might not agree with him – but, if he had the chance to play all day, he probably would choose to do that and not sleep all day.)

So, after all the excitement of them greeting you, your job is to provide some fun for the dog. Hopefully going for a very long walk off-leash will be fun and relaxing for you, too.

I think we are making progress at getting it that our children do not belong to us, but , as Kahlil Gibran said, belong to the future.

It is clearer to me than ever that romantic partners do not belong to us – and that monogamy is not the right path for all people or all couples.

Similarly, “our” dogs do not belong to us. Life has entrusted them to us. We had better do a good job with them.

My 10″ rant about the “casual abuse of dogs” in Asheville.

My favorite tweets I have posted today

To hear me read the text of this post in my own voice, click here:

1) I read the other day that – in Spain or someplace – it is now illegal to shout a catcall at a woman. So I am trying to be very disciplined. I no longer will say to a woman that she looks great in those tight pants. Or even anything innocent like “nice blouse“. I do find, however, that – with the right woman – I can still say “Ooh, mama!” and it goes down just fine.

2) It has been 40 years since I last had my own personal secretary. At AT&T in the 80s, four of us managers shared the same secretary and did most of our own word processing.

But now I have Siri! I can tell her to call somebody and she does it. I can ask her to take a note and she does it. I have so far, however, had no luck getting her to bring me a cup of coffee. She just opens up a list of local coffee shops and says “Go get it yourself, asshole.”

3) My public defender just reassured me that I definitely will not go to jail next week for punching that guy last spring who aimed a racist slur at my black friend. “It’s only a misdemeanor unless you use a weapon.“

I told him that this feels very empowering to me. I now feel that I can go ahead and punch somebody else if I really feel a need to. As my legal advisor, he counseled me that a second offense might not go down as well. Shucks!

The way we treat the children

We get to determine the quality of our future world by how we treat the children.

I comment on this in the attached six-minute video.

I have since been apprised that the quote I attributed to The Rubaiyst of Omar Khayyam actually comes from Khalil Gibran:

The song I referred to is “For the people” by Nakho and the Medicine People. Thanks to Brandon Fox for that.

Saying yes to people is not enough

The title of this blog is “Healing validations” – and I am known for saying positive things to people. One of my clinical interns a long time ago dubbed me the “master of the positive reframe” – and lots of people trust me as someone who will build them up and make them feel better about themselves.

But I am realizing more and more clearly that saying nice things to people is only one side of the story. It may be 90% of the story. Roughly 90% of the time I am telling people they are great: “You’re on the right track – keep going.”

But sometimes they are not on the right track. And I am realizing that the other role I play with people – and maybe even the more important one – is to be the person who is can be counted on to say “No, that’s not OK. You have to do better.”

I explore these ideas in this 10 minute video.

Covid Day 15, Back in Spruce Pine

Sunday night I slept 15 hours. I got up for about an hour, then went back to bed and slept two more hours.

I woke in a panic about my dog. “My landlord hates my dog. Her big rough farm dog hates my dog. I’ve been trying to put in plans for someone to come up from Asheville to get Pancho if I die, but I’m not trusting those plans to be solid. I have to get out of here.”

I went from being so weak I could not walk to the bathroom and was peeing in a jar next to the bed – to spending the next eight hours moving out of my apartment and driving down to Spruce Pine, where my friend had reserved a motel room.

3 p.m. Dancing in the park

Is it not really Governor Cuomo’s fault? No – it’s ours.

I was a big fan of Gov. Cuomo early in the pandemic, but at the end of the day is he not an American oligarch? Does he not represent one of the great American patriarchal families?

Is that not maybe the root of the problem? These folks are used to having power. Propositioning a staff member feels to them like just one of the perks of their position.

If we, the American public, keep going to our comfort zones and electing people who are household names, we will keep getting leaders who casually abuse power and don’t really get it what it’s like for the little guy.

Covid Day 13, Sun., 2/28/21+

8:50 a.m.

“Life – you take it.”

11:30 a.m. – Top of the old road

11 a.m., half-mile down road

11:06 a.m. – by the stream

12:29 – at the foot of the mountain

11 p. m. – Still dancing

Today’s FB memory: on 2/27/13, I started a new job – back in my old field of “mental health”! Yay! (Read on…)

2/27/13 – my Facebook post (which Facebook very helpfully reminded me of today)

“I start a new job on Friday! Full-time at Family Preservation Services (a wonderful agency) in their adult day program (a wonderful program). I’m totally psyched! It’s been a good run at Greenlife, but after almost two years I’m very ready to bless it and let it go – and go back to my old field of counseling, where I can use more of my rifts.”

What a amazing memory, from my current perspective (2/27/21).

I left that job after just about two weeks, saying that I was too depressed to be able to do the complicated mental work.

Sure! The “complicated mental work” was to organize and document the psych evaluations of new patients.

As a clinical psychologist myself, I probably could have actually performed those psych evaluations better than the person who did them.

But my karma in this lifetime is to do battle with the entire process of judging and labeling people, especially by the psychiatric profession.

Hear the dialogue at NPR’s 1A program on January 10 (not even two months ago) about “mental health”, in which I twice – calling in to the show – try to shift the conversation away from giving labels to people.

At Family Preservation Services, I was not overwhelmed by writing up those diagnostic evaluations because it was too complicated for me. My brain was resisting that work because it was exactly what I am here to try to stop.

At that point, I was still in the throes of believing that I myself had a psychiatric disorder. I had recently gone through of solid week of training to be a “peer support specialist”. I was in that job because I was “someone with a psychiatric problem” trying to help “other people with psychiatric problems”.

I didn’t know then that I was actually there to let the animals out of the zoo cages. I was there to open the jails and say “Run free my friends!”

(Last summer, my very young friend Sam rode with me and Pancho in our van – Narwal the Whale – for 10 days. When she happened on us, she was homeless and in a world of trouble. She did better with us every day. “Sam, wherever you are, I still love you and promise to come looking for you.”)

Last summer, the first night that my friend Sam rode in the van with us, we “somehow ended up“ parked in that parking lot – where I worked for Family Preservation Services and where I also, during another period, attended depression and bipolar support meetings in a Family Preservation Services conference room.

Sam had told me very clearly earlier that night last summer that “I do not dance”.

So when she and I ended up – at three in the morning – dancing in the moonlight in that parking lot, it was one of the great karmic triumphs of my life.