Saturday, September 3, 2011


Bumble is a mix of supposedly labrador retriever and rat terrier, and the "terrier" part is a definite. Growing up we had Airedale Terriers, and I just thought that was how all dogs behaved until I had my first lab, Mari (who, by the way, is doing great despite celebrating her 14th birthday in June!). Don't get me wrong: I know that other breeds can by hyper and jumpy and barkey (Mari is of the hyper jumpy barkey lab variety) but terriers have their own special brand of behavior. Bumble is reminding me of this.

Terriers are described by the American Kennel Club as
People familiar with this Group invariably comment on the distinctive terrier personality. These are feisty, energetic dogs whose sizes range from fairly small, as in the Norfolk, Cairn or West Highland White Terrier, to the grand Airedale Terrier. Terriers typically have little tolerance for other animals, including other dogs. Their ancestors were bred to hunt and kill vermin. Many continue to project the attitude that they're always eager for a spirited argument. Most terriers have wiry coats that require special grooming known as stripping in order to maintain a characteristic appearance. In general, they make engaging pets, but require owners with the determination to match their dogs' lively characters.

Specifics about Rat Terriers from the AKC site ...
The Rat Terrier is a multipurpose companion dog that is capable of hunting rodents and vermin above and below ground as well as coursing small game. He is a sturdy, compact, small-to-medium sized parti-colored dog giving the appearance of elegance and athleticism. His short, smooth coat may come in any variation of pied patterning. Pied is described as comparatively large patches of one or more colors in combination with white. Acceptable colors, with or without "tan points", include the predominate black, or chocolate, red, apricot, blue, fawn, tan, or lemon.

A Look Back
An American breed, the Rat Terrier was created by immigrants using a mixture of crosses of old time Fox Terriers and other European Terriers common in the 19th century; the Old English White Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Bull Terrier, etc.; and later more Smooth Fox Terrier, Beagle, Toy Fox Terriers, Whippets and Italian Greyhounds. From 1910 through the "dust bowl" era of the 1930s, the Rat Terrier was one of the most common farm dogs, used for ratting, hunting varmints and other work.

Right Breed for You?
This loyal, active and playful breed is at its best as a member of its human family, but may be reserved with strangers. Intelligent and trainable, many Rat Terriers excel in Agility and Obedience, events which also serve as excellent exercise outlets. The breed sheds seasonally and requires brushing with a soft brush or rubber curry mitt.

Bumble is sweet but headstrong, athletic but also at times clumsy (think bull in a china shop), full of attitude, and he will obey me when I reprimand him but not without "talking back". He makes me laugh as he tells me off while following my directions! He's my little rebel punk and I have fallen hopelessly in love with him.

This summer has been one of healing for both of us, and we have been very instrumental in each other's healing. I had a very difficult school year along with losing my Bear, and my spirit was depleted and my heart broken by the time June rolled around. Bumble has clearly been through some very difficult times as he journeyed from Kentucky to New York through the rescue system, and who knows what he went through before that - given some of his behaviors it couldn't have been good. Together we have helped each other get over past heart breaks, and to find peace and joy in the simple pleasures in life.

Rescuing an adult dog was not the easiest thing to do. There were moments really early on when I felt a bit of panic as I had a strange and therefor unpredictable dog living in my house. And Bumble does flash a dark side every once in a while which can be a little intimidating if you aren't ready for it. However, he has grown enormously as he has become more confident. His insecure behaviors have greatly diminished, and his secure behaviors are shining through. The Invisible Fence has been a miracle for him, and I would spend double if had to. It was worth every penny. Bum patrols the yard, keeping us safe from all things foreign, but he happily comes racing into my arms when I call him. If I could read his mind I know what he would be thinking: "I can't believe how freakin lucky I am!!!" and in my mind I am thinking the same thing.

~ in his yard ~
~ helping me sort paperwork ~

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Flying Dreams

I remember my dreams more so than most people, I think. "Lucid dreaming". Nearly every night I live in an alternate universe, and when I wake up it usually takes me a bit to sort out my dreams. Often those dreams are built on my anxieties, and it's a relief to enter the real world where I can more easily control my destiny. Sometimes, though, those dreams involve fantastical events and experiences, and upon waking I have a little bit of sadness because I had to leave that universe behind.

August is a season of fresh corn, cooling nights, less humidity, school shopping, savoring my last few days of freedom ... and school anxiety dreams. These dreams usually involve one or more of the following scenarios:

I am late for work and can't seem to get out of the house, 

I cannot find my locker or remember my locker combination, 

I am sitting in a class and realize that I have been skipping said class for so long that I do not have a clue about what is going on, 

I am teaching a class that is wildly out of control despite my screaming at the students, 

My principal is observing me and I am have no lesson plans prepared, 

I am sitting at my desk in my underwear although nobody seems to notice it.

I have grown used to the torture my mind inflicts upon itself, and I have developed coping mechanisms so that I do not lose my mind entirely. I hate those school anxiety dreams.

This August has been different thus far. No anxiety dreams whatsoever. What's up with that!? And last night I had a coveted flying dream, and for the first time I was flying in SCHOOL. CrAzY! In my dream, I had this cool iPad-like tablet that displayed all the imagery in my mind, and I tell you what: it was freakin beautiful. Flowing images and patterns and colors ... I wish I could duplicate that stream in real life. Then, I was floating and flying around the hallways, and the students thought it was really amazing. I proceeded to do a dorky air-dance kind of thing and I was laughing and having so much fun. What a nerd, I know, but I have been thinking about this dream all day, and even though I am feeling prepared and confident for this new school year (more so than most, ironically, given my new courses) this dream has confirmed my feelings of confidence and preparedness. How cool is that.

Additionally, last night I dreamt of my father. We were about to board this huge cruise-type ship, and it was going to take us across a large river or lake (think ferry on Lake Champlain). Somehow he was way ahead of me, and I was afraid I would be late and miss the departure, so I was trying to yell as loud as I could "Hold the ship! Hold the ship!". I was feeling like I wanted to catch up because I wanted to be with Dad, not necessarily to get to wherever the ship was headed. 'Probably a lot of symbolism there, so I have been revisiting this dream and trying to figure out the nuances.

Sometimes I feel weary from my dreams, especially when they tend toward the negative. I feel like I have no rest or escape, and I am almost more tired on those mornings than before I went to bed. But sometimes I get lucky and I fly. Or visit past loved ones. Or ride my childhood horse. Or write a poem. I feel fortunate to be in the camp of lucid dreamers.

Some interesting links to explore ...

Dream Moods
Dream Forth
Dream Doctor
Dream Interpretation at Freud and Jung

from an exhibit in Chicago last summer by Pierre Huyghe: Les Grandes Ensembles ...  it reminded me of a dream