Tag Archives: Rescue Dogs

Burning Bridges

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“Because growing up I was never the logical one, packed my shit and left home like the prodigal son, filled with spite staying high as a kite, I was dealin’ and stealin’ everything in sight.”  Kid Rock

When Jimmy was in jail, in the Correction Center downtown, where everyone, unless he is the wrong man, is bad, he was on a bad floor. He was there because his brother put him there, with murderers and molesters and rapists, even though he was technically in jail only on theft charge. He was in with the worst of the worst.

He shouldn’t have been there. He was the wrong man on the wrong floor. But you can’t always get what you want, no matter how bad you want it.

He called me once a week, usually on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon. When he told me about how he had started giving Bible lessons, and three jailbirds were coming to them, I sent him a Bible, even though he had argued with me about the seven deadly sins, and would not admit he was wrong, no matter what. Every time his pride rears its head, and it always goes right to his frigging fucking pride, I’m stuck in back, because he knows everything, Jimmy does.

Surprise, he doesn’t.

The biggest idiot you will meet in life will be the Jimmy who thinks he knows it all. Everyone who thinks they know it all have no way of finding out that they don’t.

I’m still learning about the Bible, and I’ve been reading it for years and years.

The core of Protestant teaching is in focusing on the Bible as the sole source of infallible truth, and the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone. We traditionally encourage private interpretation of the scriptures by one and all rather than relying on the interpretation of the church, like Catholics do.

Scripture is clear about the essential truths of salvation. That’s why I keep reading it. “When you follow Christ, it must be a total burning of all your bridges behind you,” is what Billy Graham once said.

Brian and I were out at a Friday night football game. We were rattling on about something I had said the week before, that he was pissed off about, and missing most of the game as we rattled on.

“There’s nothing for you to get pissed off about,” I said.

“OK,” said Brian, “but what about Jimmy? What is he going to do when he gets out?”

I knew that he thought he would be getting out of jail sometime during the holidays.

“Where is he going to go? asked Brian. “What is he going to do?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “It’s not my thing.”

Jimmy was waiting for the kidnapping and armed robbery charges to be dropped, because they weren’t real, and waiting to be released on the lesser charge of simple theft. He was talking to his lawyer, waiting, watching time creep along.

“I don’t know where he’s going to go. He kind of burnt that bridge with us.”

I don’t think you want to burn bridges unnecessarily, but some bridges are just meant to be burned. Some roads are not meant to be traveled again, like the Jimmy highway, when there have been too many fender benders and crashes on that road.

He has lost all his jobs with the union. He’s been stupid. He lost a great gig with them. If he can even do it, he’s going to have to fight hard to get back into the union.

“Julie,” Brian said, we might have to do that, take him in.”

“What? We’ve been there, done that. I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Honey, we need to help him out.”

“Look, this is you and Jimmy,” I said. “I am not inviting him. If it were up to me, that bridge would stay burnt. I would be telling Jimmy, you’re not coming back, ever, sorry.”

“We’ve got to help him,” said Brian. He and Jimmy grew up together. They were best friends for a long time.

I wasn’t thrilled, not at all. I would have been surprised if Jimmy even asked us, though. I didn’t think he would. But I knew he couldn’t just get another pick-up truck and live in that. It would bring back the loneliness in him.

Loneliness is a part of life, but it is the least favorite part about life for most people. Jimmy is so self-centered, he gets lonely easy.

We can help him, I thought, but he doesn’t have to live here. I didn’t want him in my house. Besides, it would be better for him, building a life, to take responsibility and have his own place.

“I think we should give him a place to live until he can get his own apartment,” said Brian.

“We’ve had him here before,” I said. “If you feel you need to put me in this predicament, I predict I’m going to kick him out again.”

I love Jimmy, but being in jail, getting out of jail, he hasn’t proven he’s not going to go steal stuff again. I don’t think he would ever steal from me. He’s never done it, yet. The only thing he’s ever done is ask me for money. But it depends. It depends on how bad his addiction gets. He needs to go to rehab, and continue going to rehab, before he does anything else.

I told Brian, ”I don’t think we should be coddling him, either. He should get his own place, make his own bed. He’s like a brother to me, I love him, but always helping him, no, I don’t love him that much.”

He needs to get a job, get an apartment, get a truck, pay his own bills, make his own bed, and look out for himself.

It can’t be me looking out for him. Not anymore. That bridge has burnt down.

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Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.

 

Jack in the Park

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“A man once told me that his dog was half pit bull and half poodle. He claimed that it wasn’t much good as a guard dog, but it was a vicious gossip.”  Stanley Coren

Jack and I were on our way to the park for a five-mile walk when the next thing I knew a kid hopped off the bus, just a few feet away from me, and started creeping on me. I stopped. I turned around. He stopped. Jack stopped and turned around.

“Don’t come up on a woman like that,” I said. “We have enough to worry about.”

Jack looked the kid up and down. The kid was tall for his age, but Jack can jump five feet up in the air from a standstill. He has great jumping skills. We had to train him not to jump up at our friends who were visiting, who he was excited to see again. He’s a blue nose pit. He is an American Pit Bull Terrier whose nose pit is colored blue. We rescued Jackie. He is the friendliest dog of all time, except when he isn’t.

The kid was still right behind me.

“Dude, you are kind of creeping me out.”

Jackie stepped forward. “What is this guy doing?” I could see it in his face. I don’t think the kid could see it. I don’t think the kid knew what he was dealing with, if it came to that, and he had to deal with it.

Blue Nose Pits back in the day were bred to fight blood sports. One of the   sports was tossing a dog into an arena with a bull. The dog would bite and try to hold on to the bull, fighting to bring it down. The breeders bred the dogs to be ripped and hard as nails. They had a powerful jaw for biting into things. The kid was no bull, for sure. he was scrawny. He wouldn’t have a chance if Jackie got on him.

We trained Jackie to not be vicious, but sometimes there will be blood, when it comes right down to it. You can’t train all the old-school fight out of a pit bull.

Blue Nose Pit Bulls are not a separate breed. They are rare and rare for a reason. The blue color is recessive, which means it takes two dogs with the same gene to make another.

Jefferson Park is just down the street, past the firehouse, from where we live in West Park. It’s a city park, near George’s Diner. During the summer there is a concert series, the Jefferson Rocks West Park. People bring blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy music from local bands. There are some basketball courts and baseball diamonds.

There is a railroad track that runs by the park. There are holes in the fence and kids are always hanging around on the tracks. Bums sleep on the rail bed. There have lately been some Mexican men hanging around, doing I don’t know what.

Jackie is a very active dog. He needs a lot of playtime and exercise. That’s why I take him to the park for a walk. When I can’t, I let him run around the backyard. He never gets bored doing that. He never gets bored doing anything. I like taking his leash off in the park so he can enjoy the outdoors the way dogs like to enjoy it.

When I go walking in the park, I definitely bring one of our dogs with me. Who’s going to bother me, if it’s Baby, who is nearly 200 pounds, or Jackie, who can jump a fence in the blink of an eye? If it’s Jackie, it would be best to not even think of messing with me or him.

Sometimes I have Jackie on a leash and other times I have him off the leash. One time I had him off the leash, and we were coming up to a guy on the sidewalk, who said, I’m freaking out, I’m scared about your dog.

“I sorry,” I said. “I’ll get him on the leash. Just so you know, he’s friendly.”

I don’t usually tell anybody that, because I don’t want most people to think I have a friendly pit bull. I don’t want them to think that, if they tried to do something to harm me, he would be friendly about it. He wouldn’t be, no way.

Jackie is a sweetheart, though, who will break your heart. Now that he’s grown up, he doesn’t fit into the baby clothes I had gotten him, which bums me out. I loved seeing him in his jammies. I have to find him a new set. The last time we were in Mexico I brought a gift back for him, but he wasn’t cool with it, and I was heartbroken. It was a pale blue zipper hoodie. It had big purple polka dots on it. It was a perfect jacket for him, but I could not get it on him. Whenever I tried, he wrestled away from me.

I told the kid, before he could start anything that Jackie would finish, you need to not creep up on me like that, or pass me, one or the other. Don’t breathe down my neck when I’m walking.

God gave women intuition. They always talk about women’s intuition, about getting a weird feeling about something, a gut feeling that something is about to happen.

“A woman uses her intelligence to find reasons to support her intuition,” said G. K. Chesterton. 

I don’t like to be touched, either, when I’m out. If you’re on an elevator with me, don’t touch me. It’s just a weird thing. I don’t know what happened in the park, but luckily the kid finally turned away. Maybe he finally got a feeling about Jackie, a feeling that wasn’t a good feeling. He got smart and went his own way.

I called Jackie to me and we went into the heart of the park, where he ran his legs off to his pit bull heart’s content. It’s just a feeling with him.

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Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.