Are you Adopting a Rescue-Dog?

There are some boundaries you may want to carefully consider before you adopt.
We adopted CocoRoo two weeks ago. I had never adopted a dog, all of my dogs were raised from pups, including my Chihuahua that I have now- Romeo.
I adopted an older dog because Romeo doesn’t really like active young dogs. He likes older sickly dogs. So I knew he’d like CocoRoo.

She being a rescue was not the raised the way I raised Romeo.
You can watch an older dog and see what they are familiar with and what they have been exposed to.
CocoRoo doesn’t sniff anything on our walks and jumps at every sound.
I found giving her short run helps her settle down for walking.
She is learning about walks outside in new places, not barking at everyone and every dog.

She has not been reliably fed. She was brought to the shelter emaciated and very sick. So we feed her on a schedule that she can count on. She is learning not to dive into Romeo’s bowl when he is eating. She was used to some kind of “group” feed where she and other dogs ate out of one bowl. Very confusing to have her own bowl. Romeo has been very gentle and tolerant of her and now she waits for him to finish eating and still runs to his bowl to see if anything is left.

She will have some healthcare expenses. All dogs need some basic vet care, Romeo has been a very inexpensive pet due to his good breeding, good nutrition, luck, and overall good care. He is 14 and our expenses were the cost of neutering and one surgery for a blockage from something he swallowed.
CocoRoo needed a $75 antibiotic on her first vet visit, and needs some deep dental cleaning. And I anticipate there will be other things because she has not had the nutrition or care that Romeo has had.  I adopted her knowing there would be some expenses for her health and I was willing to adopt an older dog and give her the care she will need.

She is also a total snuggler with me. Over the years Romeo has drifted away from wanting to snuggle with me and has been very attached to my husband. He sleeps curled against my husband too. I wanted a dog that could snuggle with me. Warning,  This is a very BIG expectation to put on a rescue dog. Really, the snuggling and cuddling of  safe trusting connection isn't fair to expect from a new dog from a shelter. I was prepared that she might not be a snuggler.
But it turns out- she is – so we have lots of cuddle time.

If you have never adopted a dog before, and you are thinking of bringing one home this holiday,
keep in mind;
The holidays can be a hard time to give a pet the attention they need so be sure you have the time to attend to your dog.
Be sure you are willing to learn what the dog knows and doesn’t know. CocoRoo doesn't play with any dog toys. She doesn't chase balls. She is learning to play. Romeo has a house full of toys to share with her.
 Check your expectations- are you expecting housebroken? No accidents, no anxiety, no behavior issues? If those are your expectations, please don’t adopt a dog. These dogs need patient gentle training. They have lots to learn in a new family.
They often are very unsure what kind of care or protection they can count on from you as they may have been fending for themselves.
Teach children and adults not to invade the space of the dog. The dog needs to count on you to help it feel safe. This takes lots of vigilance in the beginning to be sure the dog is not getting overwhelmed. It takes time to get to know all the people in a family and neighborhood.

I am learning a lot from CocoRoo and hoping to see her spend her later years being loved and appreciated and accepted, just as she is. I feel grateful to have the time in my life for her. I noticed many people adopting older dogs, and really understanding the care and time needed. Be realistic about how your family is with managing boundaries around a new family pet and how much time you can spend providing the boundaries and nurturing.

We Can Stop Using Boundaries to Protect Racism

On Saturday: Before any news from Charlottesville, VA broke, I was out running on Maxwelton Road on Whidbey Island. The opposite end of the country. About halfway into my run, a young woman came running towards me waving her arms to stop me. She looked to be about my daughters age, late 20’s maybe 30. I pulled out my ear phones and stopped to listen. She was dressed in running gear and had come from the place I was heading. 
She said, “Don’t go up the road, there is a guy up ahead that feels dangerous!”
I could sense her fear. I asked her if anything happened to her, she said no. 
I asked if she lived here. We get many tourists especially on Saturdays. I wondered if some of our local people could look a bit peculiar, maybe scary if you don’t know them.
She said she lived here.
I told her not to be afraid, that I would turn around and run her back to town.
“I will be right behind you, I have your back”
This is what we are struggling to build in America. 
We need to have each other's backs.

And we keep running into boundaries.
Boundaries that protect racism.

The racist neo-nazi, white supremacist, alt-right, is not a “fringe” small group of people.
 I am concerned about those words. We need to stop minimizing them and mislabeling them.
If you think of them as fringe and small, it may give you comfort. But that is not the truth.
This group has been part of America going back hundreds of years and they have built every system from education to governance to policing.

They are everywhere and if we are going to put an end to this we need to take them seriously, see them as dangerous, and stop giving them power.

On Tuesday night: Baltimore, the city and it’s police department rounded up the confederate  monuments in their city and took them down. This is the bold beginning we need.
Over the days and weeks years and decades ahead, you will have opportunities to stop protecting racism.
We will need new laws.
We will need to dismantle the prison system that was built to incarcerate Black people.
We will need to make reparations to Native Americans and Black Americans.
We will need to root out racists that are in our systems of policing, education, governance, and leadership. 

 And we will need new history books for all of our schools. A history that is truthful and inclusive and stops perpetuating lies. 

We need to stop protecting racism with lies.

Their biggest weapon is the lying.
Labeling liberals as alt-left, is the same way every group is attacked. It is the lies of Hitler about Jews, it is the lies about Native Americans, it is the lies about people who are Black, Hindu, Muslim, Asian, Gay, Trans, Liberal, Refugee, Homeless.  There are lies about all of us.

You and I will be on the frontlines to defeat racism for the rest of our lives. Every line is the frontline.

They want to keep us divided. Don't protect racism by staying divided. 
Some people of color have been writing and speaking up furious and outraged that white people are coming in so late. Hear that!
The racists have kept power because of white silence, white privilege, and white complicity. The racists will continue to use this. 

 They will use all they can in the days ahead. And they will use more than lies. They came to Charlottesville with guns.

We need to do the work of dismantling every vestige of power.  Be diligent in asking yourself
Is my money supporting racism?
Is my vote supporting racism?
Are my words and deeds racist?
Is my silence allowing this to continue?
How can I work against racism? 

May we all be brave in the days ahead. May we all have the courage to stand on the frontline. And may we find the strength to do it together.

When She Said No, Her family Stopped Talking To Her

When she set boundaries with her family members, they cut her off emotionally. She’s happier and healthier now but feels guilty about it. What to do?

Emotionally cutting people off, not speaking, pretending you are dead, is part of some cultures and families. When you set a boundary, or say No to an elder, or break a rule or expectation, you may find yourself cut off from your family.

It is not emotionally safe for you to say No.
When you are in a family or culture that is not emotionally safe there is punishment when you say No.  One of the harshest punishments is being cut off and your family stops talking to you. It is a punishment. It can make you feel very young and powerless. And in every sense you are powerless.
In some cultures and families, this punishment will pass. They may not like that you said No to something or refuse to follow a rule or expectation, but they will accept your decision. Not all families will accept your position. Instead, they will cling to their power to hurt you in this way. They may feel they are doing what is "righteous" according to their belief.

I experienced this with my grandfather. As an adult, when I said No to my grandfather, he stopped talking to me for 20 years. We had been very close, he raised me, so his decision to cut off all communication was painful. But I was powerless over his choice. The 20 years passed. I felt the loss and grief. Many things happened in our lives during those 20 years and when he got to the very end of his life, he let me know how much he regretted the decision. He no longer felt "right", he felt very wrong.
When someone cuts you off, they leave a wound about what love is, about how much you were ever cared for or really loved. It is hard to chase after their approval and love when they hurt you in such a devastating way. It is hard to trust someone who is willing to cut you off. You may wonder what you are chasing after. 
When you say No, my guess is you are giving deep thought to this realizing it is not something you can say Yes to. These are often not small things, but big things about the course and direction of your life. This is not about attending a barbecue. You are being true to you, your beliefs, and trying to be authentic to those around you. Your intention is not to be cut off, but to be real. I hope you are able to find relationships with others who are willing to accept you as you are.