Puppy Love

I’ve fallen in love again–I’m totally smitten, head-over-heels, crazy-punch-drunk in love with this little fellow: Zippy, our twelve week old Boston Terrier.

Sleeping Zippy. I love this picture.

For the last year, Dennis and I talked about another dog, and Snuggles (our first Boston we loved for many years) had paved a perfect path for another little short-haired darling.

With the shuttering of schools and many businesses, I am now working from home. I suddenly have the appropriate time to properly train and socialize a dog, and we starting looking. With the help of friends, we located a breeder, and now this rambunctious rascal is helping me survive the sadness of social distancing.

According to health experts, pets provide us many health benefits. I have visited many credible online resources and the psychological and physical benefit claims are pretty amazing.

On every site, increased activity is stated as a health benefit. Hmmmm. So far, I can’t say this is true for me. Yes, as soon as he starts sniffing, I am whisking him to the backyard for prompt pottying, but I find I spend much of my morning in pure-puppy-bliss just sitting on my couch with my little fellow tucked next to me. If I had a rocking chair, I swear I would be rocking him like a baby. I know that sounds crazy, but the serotonin release that comes from holding this little guy is similar to how I felt when rocking our babies. (AND the good news is that I am much more rested!)

This is our favorite activity

Stated again and again in the research is how pets bring joy and help to lessen loneliness. Yes, how lonely I have been during this time apart from my family, my friends, my co-workers, my students, and my community. I do feel better since Zippy entered my life. Definitely. He follows me around the house. He helps me pull weeds in the garden. He sleeps at my feet as I work and write. And he sniffs the flowers and watches the birds at the feeders, reminding me of the beauty around me.

(Here’s an odd claim that makes me laugh from the AKC website: having a dog makes you more attractive. Whaaat? Now that’s a stretch, a huge stretch, especially since I haven’t had an appointment with my hair dresser since early March.)

I think we are both lucky to have found each other, and I predict a great future for this relationship.

When Donny sang in 1972 “And they call it Puppy Love. ” I thought he was singing to me about my 7th grade crush. But, when I change the lyrics in the next section, he is crooning to sixty-something me about this love affair with Zippy.

“Oh I guess they’ll never know, how this old heart really feels, and why I love him so.”

Puppy Love.

It’s a Fine Life.

By Kathleen Oswalt Forsythe © May 18, 2020

Zippy is bringing me so much joy during this time of isolation and social distancing.

A Recommended Training Book

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Some of Zippy’s Favorite Chews

Hope for the Future

Checking my Fitbit, I circle the track near our elementary school a few more times; the Little League Fields are still, the concession stand boarded, the dugouts empty. One baseball-capped woman throws a Frisbee over and over to her golden lab, who races again and again, back and forth, back and forth. The playground is childless, swing set seats hang on idle chains, the wind rippling the soccer field.

My friend Leeanne and I walk down the center of Main Street; town is eerily quiet. In the silence we notice the paint peeling around a storefront window and a squirrel’s high wire act. We hear a woodpecker, his persistence admirable,  drilling high in an oak.

I feel this emptiness, grieve the loss of the togetherness and community we have always enjoyed in my hometown. I am off-balance, out-of-sync, persistently fragile.

Then three weeks ago, my husband spotted a bald eagle soaring above the neighborhood and lake. High in the sky, the signature white head came into view each time he circled our direction.

Photo by Frank Cone from Pexels
During the 1960s and 70s, the Bald Eagle joined the endangered species list, its numbers dropping dangerously low from loss of habitat and use of DDT.

What an inspiring, powerful symbol of resilience and survival–just what I need to think about during this time of isolation and struggle.

As we sat around our dinner table sharing lunch and dinner during the summer months of our childhood, my dad reported regularly about the wildlife he saw while planting corn, cultivating the fields, raking hay, or completing one of the many jobs he and my uncle were responsible for.

Dad loved the woods, the wildlife, the fawns he would gently move to the side of the fields he was working. He respected the barn snakes, teaching us to never hurt them, that they controlled the rodents and other pests. He cherished the rare sightings of the many birds we now regularly see: Sand Hill Cranes, Blue Herons, Canadian Geese all were unusual, and he made continual note of them. But he never spotted an eagle; how pleased and encouraged he would be by the solitary figure perched in the tree across the lake.

Photo by Frank Cone from Pexels
Through careful protection and conservation, the species is again thriving.

We too will survive this time of endangerment, and someday soon we will tell of the challenges and of our recovery.

And of our continued hope for the future.

It’s a Fine Life.

By Kathleen Oswalt-Forsythe © May 8, 2020

Some Stories of Survival and Overcoming Hardship

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The amazing story of the US Rowing Team and the 1936 Olympic Race. It is one of my son’s favorite books.

I just finished reading this fictional story of homesteading in Alaska during the 1970s. The main character’s resilience and survival of not only the wilderness but an abusive situation is inspiring.

Another amazing survival story. I respect the author’s passion for becoming educated against all kinds of odds.