Unpretentious

“I’m impressed by people who use vocabulary in a way that is interesting but not pretentious,” my husband said to me tonight.  I was happy to hear that, he deals with lots of A players but some B players in many markets around the country.

Steve is President of a huge mortgage lending company, and was in Portland, Oregon to visit with his regional manager out there.  He wants to debrief all of his trips and actually his entire work life with me.  I love it and I help him a lot and always have.

“What more detail about his communication skills impressed you?” I asked.

“He chose the right words at the right time and tempered the entire conversation so there was truth and honestly but no drama.”

“Wow,” I replied, “that is something. So many people are dramatic, manipulative and misdirected so it’s great you have that guy in Portland.”

“Yes,” he said, “he’s one of the good ones. I might promote him soon.”  We then talked in depth about how and where he could be promoted and when that might happen, who he would replace, who would replace him, etc.

“Steve,” I said, “do you think you have impressive and excellent communication skills?”

“No,” he said, “I think mine are adequate and they get the job done, but yours are impressive, excellent and exceptional.”

 

 

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Soul Mates

I have a dog named Haley.  She’s an “English Cream” golden retriever.  We also have Troy who is a regular golden retriever although huge at 100 pounds.  So maybe not so regular.  Troy and I are bonded at the hip, thank god. I paid a fortune for Haley as she is supposedly “ring trained and pure bred” both of which mean nothing to me.  I was, at the time, frantic to try and replace a female dog named Rosie. Rosie was a Catahoula, a breed that is not recognized by AKC, maybe because it’s in their DNA to be very aggressive.   It’s been YEARS and this is the first time I’ve had the strength to write about Rosie.  I’m crying as I write.

Rosie and I were soul mates. I know animals well and I know the really intelligent ones domestic or in captivity need what is called “enrichment”.  It is creating things the animals can do to use their innate skills, intelligence, ingenuity and natural tendencies.  Just like the Chimps and gorillas at the zoo, of whom I’m an amatuer expert and volunteer to speak about their intelligence, relationships, behaviors, etc., very smart domestic animals need it, too.  Rosie was so darn smart, I knew she needed it.  When I took her to agility training for the first time the trainer was astounded.

“Oh, so you are very experienced working together in agility.”  I said, “No, this is the first time we’ve ever done agility but we are soul mates and we get each other.”  She couldn’t believe it.

I had so many close calls with Rosie in aggressive situations.  She would over power me even when I had her on leash. She just wanted to attack everything! (She adored me and was protective and completely loving toward me.)  And she was capable of it and seemed to be looking for it. I was filled with anxiety constantly and knowing there was a legal liability if she ever did anyone harm.  But also knowing I couldn’t keep her if she continued this aggression!  It was torture.  Finally, at a lunch I had at my house for some women friends, she attacked and bit a woman.  I knew that was the end.

The next morning, my husband and I cried together knowing that we had we had to put her down.  Thank god we had the support of our friend Debbie Hartel who is an RN to help us through that.  It was one of the most painful times in my entire life.  I ADORED that dog and she adored me.  I can’t wait to see her again at the rainbow bridge.

I asked my husband a year or so ago if he remembered how I sat on the chaise lounge in the bedroom where I used to be with Rosie in the evenings and cried for 3 months each night after she died.  He said, “Andrea, you did that for a YEAR!”

Back to Haley.  I never bonded with her.  I think I resented her for not being Rosie.  I have faked it for her sake.  She is very loyal to me.  Tonight, I looked in her innocent eyes and realized I need to just love her.  So that’s what I’m going to do.

There’s Rosie in front of gorgeous Ryder.

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Brandy

One day, years ago, I was taking a walk with my mother and my beloved Golden Retriever.  I always carry around a fear about how long my dogs are going to live and I asked my mother, “How long do you think Brandy will live?”

“Oh, 11 or 12, how old is she now?” my mother asked.

“She’s 14,” I replied.

That dog lived until 17 years old and those were the days before I knew what designer dog food was and her entire life I fed her “Skippy” from the grocery store.

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