Please stop

Here’s how to stop the endless loop of sadness playing over and over again in your head. Sadness you’re feeling for the almost 40,000 people evacuated from their homes due to wildfires in our province over the last two weeks.

Not knowing if they would ever see their homes again was gut wrenching for them. And some even had to do the unthinkable and leave behind barn cats they couldn’t find, horses they couldn’t get loaded on a trailer, dogs running off in fear…

It was beyond frightening and downright terrifying for people to leave the place they felt the most safe, to drive through burning forests and end up in strange towns, registering at Emergency Social Service centers.

And the media made darn certain the rest of us saw how devastating this was to everyone. Which was good, because those of us not affected, needed to know what was going on, so we could get busy and help in any way possible.

Unfortunately, the residual effect, was sadness. People flooded social media with sad face emojis as though to say, “Oh man, I feel so bad for what you’re going through.”

Yep. All good.

But it’s time to stop.

It’s time to stop focusing on the negative–which has absolutely no benefits.

It is time to be grateful instead.

Grateful for the thousands of everyday people helping out in a gazillion ways, big and small.

Grateful for the Canadian Red Cross volunteers helping to register evacuees.

Grateful for the Animal Care volunteers taking in dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, horses, goats, llamas, alpacas, chickens, and cattle…  making sure they were well cared for, so their owners could concentrate on themselves, and the rest of their family.

Grateful for the little girls holding lemonade sales to gather money for the “kids who had to run away from the fire.”

Grateful for meals and entertainment being provided to evacuees and volunteers by numerous groups, clubs, and generous individuals.

Grateful for the town of Fort MacMurray coming together and sending semi-trucks filled with donations from the residents to help out their fellow Canadians.—YES! This is the town wiped out by wildfires just last year.

Grateful for the firefighters and pilots risking their own lives, doing everything in their power to save every square foot of property they possibly could. Firefighters working endlessly, and then sleeping on the ground when they couldn’t go another step.

Grateful for police who came in from their nice safe towns outside the fire zone to protect the homes of those who had to evacuate, to help guide people to safety, and who tasked themselves with feeding and watering animals left behind.

Grateful for people who stayed behind to make sure the firefighters and police were fed.

Grateful for private citizens setting up on the side of the road with fuel tanks in the back of a pick up, and a couple flats of water bottles, and bags of snacks. They held up hand-printed signs reading, FREE gas, diesel, water and food.

Grateful for haulers who took it upon themselves to drive from place to place, INSIDE the dangerous zones, evacuating animals for total strangers—like the one who days later was asking if anyone knew the two ladies who simply showed up and got her alpacas to safety…because she wanted to thank them properly.

Grateful for citizens who wandered among the evacuation centers, asking if anyone needed a hand, and drove a couple of people to a pharmacy to get a prescription filled.

Grateful for veterinarians who made themselves available for sick or injured animals.

Grateful for people sending trucks filled with hay for horses now living in pens on various fairgrounds, and dozens of other places.

Grateful for volunteers walking dogs, and horses, and changing litter boxes.

Really, I could go on and on and on, because there were thousands of people, stepping up in whatever way they were able, just to help a little bit. Because they wanted to ease the suffering for someone having a really, really, really, bad day… or two… or ten.

The message I’m trying to get across is this.

Please, STOP being sad for everyone, because sadness, is negative and really hard on you, and everyone around you. I realize it’s hard to shake, but try, by not focussing on the negatives.

Gratitude is a positive, and creates a healing environment.

Be GRATEFUL for this country we live in, for the wonderful people we call our brothers and sisters, and for being able to help.

I’m not saying you can’t grieve. Grieving is natural and necessary, especially for those who have been through the hell of losing their home or a pet.

But for those not grieving, we NEED to stop thinking of this huge event as a sadness, and start thinking of how wonderful it is that everyone could pull together, take strangers into their home, offer a meal, or a blanket, or a maybe just a spare loonie (for my American friends, that’s a dollar 🙂 ).

We need to be humbled by the outpouring of love and supplies from Fort MacMurray residents who themselves lost everything. For the dozens of hand written messages they sent to the people chased out of their homes by these wildfires.

We need to be grateful, and strong, for those who have lost so much.

So PLEASE try. You, and everyone else will feel better for your effort.

And continue to help out in any little way you can, because I know, those on the receiving end?  Oh boy, are they ever grateful.


 


     

Finding My Way

Today I begin a new project.

Today I begin talking, publicly, about why my characters are so flawed, and why they have so much to overcome before they find happiness.

Why now?

Because it’s finally time, and because today I released, INTO THE SUNRISE, a story I’m passionate about. A story about a woman who overcomes enormous obstacles, and learns to celebrate her own strength.

It reminds me of who I am.

And it reminds me of everyone else out there who has struggled to overcome.

So bear with me for a few days, while I explore what it meant to me, to finally realize I was from a dysfunctional family.


From shattered dreams to incredible joy.

Soul-destroying questions and equally stunning answers have Dusty digging deeper than she ever thought possible, and when she discovers her Self in an entirely foreign landscape, she begins anew, more determined than ever to achieve her lifelong dream.

If you love stories about women who pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and get on with living no matter what the universe tosses in their path, this book is for you.

 

 

Daily Gratitude

Gratitude – for 10 hours of undisturbed sleep, for feeling refreshed when I woke up, for the pretty plants I indulged in at the garden center (lol Walmart), for gazillions of dandelions proudly lining the roadway, for being able to give a smile to a stranger struggling at physio, and for taking a me day without a single accomplishment 😀

 

Gratitude – for Calvin

Gratitude – for Friday being the perfect culmination of hundreds of hours of work put in by a small group of women determined to socialize a reluctant feral cat.

 

 

For discovering his reluctance was due to dental pain and wonky blood sugar.

 

For sticking to the goal in spite of hisses and punches and blood dripping from the odd finger.

 

For Rocky 1, and Rocky 2 (the names we gave the elbow-length wildlife gloves) helping us get past a hurdle or two,

 

For the distraction of food giving us the opportunity to touch him without getting punched.

 

 

 

 

For the feather sticks that became the “Key to Calvin,” and the standard first approach tool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For heart pounding moments — of which there were oh so many!  Like the first time I successfully captured him in a blanket, or when I was sure he was about to punch me and instead leaned into my hand to enjoy the rub or scratch, or reaching out to touch him when he was out of his lair.

 

 

 

 

 

For the first time he stayed in my lap, even when I uncovered his head and he was free to go.

 

 

 

 

For the special first moments when he was touching me or accepting my touch and all I could do was say, “I hope someone can get a screen shot of this for me.”  And sure enough, several people would oblige. I am grateful those special moments were captured. (To all who contributed, thank you!)

For being able to finally get him to come out of his lair to play.

For the day I was so excited by an early breakthrough moment, I forgot to take off my scrub booties and wore them home inside my shoes!

For seeing him on camera at night, romping and playing like a kitten.

 

 

 

The weeks and weeks of bunny suits, booties, gloves, and head covers were all worth it. The hours and hours of laundry because everything had to go through the cycle twice are but a distant memory.

Months of staying determined we would get him to exactly where he is today, in a loving home, with people who understand the special needs of a formerly ferocious feral, have paid off.

When I slipped a blanket over him and gently carried him to the travel carrier, I gave him one last hug, and said, “I’m going to open the blanket up, and I want you to go in on your own.”  I let the blanket open, and he calmly walked in, turned around and laid down, snuggled into his favorite little bed. He was calm, ready to get on with his life.

I’ve chatted with his new mom several times since he got home, and he’s doing very well. He left the carrier within a few hours, and has staked out a favorite spot in his safe room. He’s taking all the newness in stride, and he’s blessed to have a human who “gets” it. Knows to give him space, but also understands he needs to feel human touch in order to stay connected.

For those who don’t know Calvin’s story, here’s a brief summary.

First of all, he survived being born in the wild.

He beat the odds and didn’t succumb to parasites, to disease, or predators. But by the age of three, his teeth began to go bad, and he was living with a horrible eye injury. Things were going downhill fast.

Then the best day of his life happened. He finally stepped into the trap set just for him, by Tinykittens.com, and he was whisked away from his forest colony to become part of the October Fixathon held at Mountain View Veterinary Hospital.

Vets and Techs from Mountain View and other hospitals volunteered to spend an entire Sunday spaying and neutering feral cats and doing whatever else was needed to help with controlling the community cat population. Dr. Sakals (Nano’s surgeon) from Canada West Veterinary Specialists, removed Calvin’s eyeball which had by now ruptured, and he was neutered.

Calvin still needed to return to Mountain View for extensive dental surgery before he’d be fit to release back into his colony, but that had to wait because he tested positive for ringworm. Once that was cleared up and the dental done, he was ready… but showing other symptoms, and was diagnosed with diabetes.

Returning to the wild would be a death sentence, so returning wasn’t an option. He was started on insulin therapy, and socialization was his only hope. So we set to work, and it took six months.

We celebrated even the tiniest of milestones, and cheered each other on. Each with our own style, each with our own level of bravery, we taught Calvin about love and trust. Some of us only did socialization, while others took on the massive task of taking daily blood samples and giving insulin injections, all before he’d decided humans weren’t the enemy!

It’s amazing to look back at where he was, heck, who he was, in October, and then see who he is now.

 

 

 

 

 

He is truly blessed, because not only did we all believe in him, but someone else believes in him now, has adopted Calvin, and taken him home, because as she said, he’s family.

 

Thank you, Calvin, I’m grateful for all you’ve taught me, as well as the laughter, and the great group of strong women you brought into my life.

 

To learn more about Calvin and other amazing cat rescues, go to TinyKittens.com.

~Because all lives matter~

Daily Gratitude

Gratitude – for good bird watching on my beach walk this morning, for the eagle who was so close it felt like I could reach out and touch him, for the sandpipers calling out from far overhead, and for the duck who bounced a couple of times when he hit the grass–as though he’d forgotten he needed his “gear down” for a landing not on water–pretty sure that muffled quack was a bad word!