Spiritual Manifesto

We walked to the west side studio to stake claim to my prizes. I had never been to this location so I was stoked to finally see it. When we arrived, I gave Quinn the hard glare to suggest she better not move an inch while I was inside. I walked in and told the young lady my name and that I received an email from Sheila that I had won The Humble Warrior giveaway.

With as little fanfare and hype as can possibly be imagined, the young lady reached under the counter and handed me four envelopes in a cute, little, recyclable bag.  I wanted to ask a dozen questions, but I knew not to ask any.  I thanked the girl and went back out the swinging glass doors. Dog and me walked home, prizes in hand.

Envelope One was from The Chaminade Resort & Spa.  I opened it up and there was a short, hand written letter on letter-head from a guy named Trevor.  It basically said call or email ASAP to schedule a convenient time to meet and sign the six month agreement.

Envelope Two was from Divinitree.  Again, a hand written letter, and again on letter-head.  It was another Congratulations and a receipt for a six month unlimited at any of their three locations.

Envelope Three was a small beige envelope w/ what appeared to be the letters AA written on front.  Inside was a business card from a lady named Annette Aberneal with a little note that said, “Hey there Mr. winner. Let’s have a chat Wednesday this week, late morning, say 11:30?  My cell# is on my card.”

Envelope Four contained an anonymous type-written letter that struck a chord or two.  I read it a number of times.  Aside from wishing I had written this beautiful piece, I was super extra curious who had written the piece, and equally as curious how and why it ended up in my goody bag. It read:

My dear proud brother,

I know why you’ve always struggled to truly, fully love every woman you’ve ever wanted to truly, fully love.

I know why every romance you’ve ever indulged in for more than a sweet, fleeting moment soon threatened to overwhelm you.

I know why you still sometimes feel the urge to run from the burdens of relationship toward the promise of freedom in quiet, faraway hills where no woman will ever find you—and why you may be tempted to stay there forever.

I also know why you always return to her…and why you always will.
Because you’re not just merely a man; you’re a goddamn warrior for Love.

Deep in the marrow of your masculine core, you know you didn’t come here to play safe and pass time, simply scoring goals and notches on your bed post, or making money and fragile monuments to your pride.

Hell, no.

You came here to throw down with life, to get bloody and muddy earth all over your soul, as you charge gallantly each day beyond the edges of your hard-earned comfort zone.

You are wise, ancient stardust sculpted into mighty earth come alive. You are a volcano with a hot molten heart at your core, risen to offer your authentic love even in the face of forces that would overwhelm lesser men.

I know what’s been asked of you in this lifetime isn’t easy.

But if you’re ready to claim your birthright as a King amongst Kings, a heart-centered warrior-protector of the planet and all things true and good and beautiful, then it’s time you learn how to love a wild woman in her deliciously untamable fullness.

And you are ready to love all of her, because you’re a goddamn warrior.

I know your fathers and brothers and schoolyard playmates warned you to be wary of her. Through stern faces masking an ignorance they dare not confess, they insisted that the emotions and tears and unpredictable extremes of a feminine heart have no place in the productive, rational world of a “real man.”

Either flee or subdue the unpredictable heart of any woman in your midst, they cautioned, lest her raw power snap all your straight lines, ruin your portfolio and mercilessly break your fragile grip on sanity.

But you don’t buy that bullshit anymore.

Oh, I know you still tremble at the thought of her fiery Kali spirit unleashed like a hurricane in your world. You’ve been gutted and wrecked countless times by awful perversions of love. Too many women in their own fear and immaturity have assigned you the Mission Impossible task of making them happy and then tried to hang you when you failed.

Your psyche has been so badly burnt you can barely imagine anymore the woman who would inspire your devotion.

Fortunately, my good man, all that agony was just warrior boot camp.

Every chaotic, heart-wrenching love affair only served to bleed out the immature and wounded parts of you that would otherwise overthrow your Kingly heart.

You didn’t know it, but life has been preparing you for what’s about to happen: your unconditional surrender to a dazzling love that will sweep through you like a wildfire at dawn.

When she arrives, this love will finally teach you how to breathe through your heart down your spine and into your balls so you can stand full and courageous before the fire-breathing dragons life will never stop sending at you.

Naturally, your woman will train you with your own dragons, the ones still lurking in your shadows. She will know exactly where to find them and which spells turn them against you. She’ll delight in casting those spells, too, but only because she revels in watching you, with hungry, primal eyes, claim your mastery.

For that’s her greatest gift to you: mastery in devotion to love.
She will send those dragons after you whenever she doubts your commitment—not your commitment to her little tyrant ego’s selfish demands. No, she’s done her deep inner work enough to know we didn’t come to serve that scavenger dog.

It’s your commitment to love’s will that she wants to trust deeply. That’s the only way she’ll know you won’t abandon her and run for the hills when her own dragons get loose and try to set your hair on fire.

Oh, it’s gonna be spectacular, my brother!

For this journey of devotion is your awakening to the massive truth of who you already are: love, itself!

So give up once and for all using women’s healing energy to fill the goddess-size hole that ages of patriarchy ripped out of your heart.

Stop trying to shrink women into cute, manageable little pets who ask so little of you, and who you can easily love and accept. That just turns them into not enough for your daring soul, anyway.

You don’t need some passive sex-toy with an off-switch that you keep in the closet. You need a spirited sorceress singing shaman songs beside you as you sharpen your sword for battle, because you’re a goddamn warrior, after all.

You’re ready for the sacred quest to love all of her.

She will serve you well on this journey, for this one likes to run with the wild things. She will shine like bright starlight in your eyes and dance like fire to light your way home to your true self.

But it’s only her courage to offer you the fullness of her feminine soul, from her rage to her radiance, that will truly help you navigate deeper into the mystical realms of devotion. No timid woman will ever do for a true warrior.

Your muse is looking for you, my brother, and she’ll probably show up all smiley and sweet-scented. But make no mistake: she will be the best teacher of unconditional love you have ever known.

I suggest you leave your armor behind for this quest. Protecting yourself will only keep away what you most deeply desire, anyway.
Learning to love all of her will require you leave everything behind, actually, except your own authentic heart.

For she’s aching for nothing less than your true authentic heart to step up and boldly claim the untold treasures buried deep within her own.

YumYum

I had to alter our 5am walk. The normal way was putting Quinnie toe to toe with a skunk which was putting me toe to toe with worse. So we adjusted. Animal didn’t like it and tried as hard as heady dogs can try to get things back to the way they were, and I just kept telling her that the old way isn’t always the best way.

It was always Albrights Donuts. Small black coffee, no lid, w/ sleeve, buck fifty.  I usually paid with change. If there wasn’t anybody tending the counter, or even if there was, I would just put all the coin on the glass counter-top and say YumYum. Fact is, Albrights is on a legitimate street corner, and i don’t trust Quinn outside by herself for too long.  Too much sketch lurks at this hour, and she is not perfect. She has giant ears, and tweaks on things from time to time. Certain critters. Certain sounds. Certain homeless.

So we were now walking a slightly different way to get our coffee. Next to an unpopular fireplace showroom, I noticed a discreet little yoga studio for the first time. It was still pitch black.  A flickering candle of some sort was lighting up the lobby at this Divinitree Yoga studio. There were numerous flyers taped on the window. One in particular caught my eye. It was a giveaway they were calling the Humble Warrior Giveaway. There was of course a picture of somebody doing an incredible Humble Warrior pose, and the giveaway prizes were to die for.

It read: In 100 words or less, tell us why it is that you practice yoga. That simple. 100 words or less, why yoga.

The winner was to receive a six month pass at Divinitree, a six month spa and fitness membership at the exclusive Chaminade in Santa Cruz, PLUS a free inclusion in a three-week Yoga Training scheduled for spring 2016.  Wow!

There wasn’t too much small print either. The deadline to submit the entry was in five days. All entries needed to be received via email. Of course you had to be affiliated with this particular studio. The winner was to be announced on Friday, October 16th. I think that was about it.

The next day I joined this yoga studio. I had been meaning to surrender to yoga anyway, so I bought a two month unlimited pass. Therefore, just about the time my two month membership expiration would come due, that would also be about the time they were going to announce the winner to the giveaway.  Timing is clearly everything.

I now was a brand new yoga student.  I suppose I had done my share of Bikram in the past, and other forms of bending. This time though, I just knew deep down that this was going to be the breakthrough effort and the very beginning of a spiritual practice that was sure to reawaken me and prove that I am actually still alive.

But first thing was first.  The Giveaway.  I had four days to get my entry in, and I thought a lot about it. Do I use all 100 words? Do I use no words? Should I be funny? Should I be sad? Do I tell them that I have entered this contest just for the incredible prizes? Decisions.

Why do I practice Yoga? By Aaron Lubell

How’s it going? I’m a new student. I’m that guy without a smile. The guy drinking from the half empty glass. I appear to resemble a guy that has been unfavorably pigeon holed.  Do you know the term?  Well I do, and the aftermath has me feeling so raw and insecure that sometimes I am too emotional to even come out of Child’s Pose. But this is NOT who I truly am, and that is why I practice yoga.

For the next seven weeks, I made a point of getting to one class per day. If I felt too tired, I went to class. If I was too sad, I went to class. If it was too hot or too cold, I went to class. When I didn’t want to go to class, I went anyway.

On Friday, October 16, after the Hatha Flow class with Rosanne, Yogi Tom pulled me aside and asked if I had submitted an entry for that one giveaway. I told him I had forgotten all about it, but that YES, I did submit an entry. He reminded me that today was the day they were announcing a winner.  We made small talk, and he said he would see me on Monday for practice.

When I got back to the space I now call home, I checked my email. There was something in my inbox from Divinitree.

Dear Aaron, We received 93 entries for The Humble Waririor Giveaway, and your entry was chosen as the winning entry. Congratulations!! We are holding your prizes at our Westside Location. Please fly out of your pigeon hole and come see us tomorrow if you can. Yay!!  Again, congratulations. Namaste, Sheila

IMG_1150   IMG_1151

Pigeon Holed

He read her note.

One line stood out.

*

He read her next note.

The same line stood out.

Her third note was sickening.

And there was that same line again.

*

He wasn’t being called stupid, fat, or ugly.

He wasn’t being called a liar or Jew Boy.

He was being told worse.

Jake

I listened to the voice mail and didn’t hear a word. I just knew that we were losing Jake. My day was now over. It was 9:30am on a Tuesday.

I had spent about forty nights with Jake over the past six months. Three days here. Two weeks there. Ten days here. A long wknd here and there.

We each had what the other needed. He saw me through my un-finest moments. I saw him through some of his. Trying times for both of us.

The first dog that My Quinn met was Jake. Quinn read the situation and knew the etiquette. Jake assured Quinn that her food was safe.

Walks with Jake were reduced to five minutes. Nights with Jake became long and restless. I did everything I could. Quinnie studied my love.

All dogs get missed. Some more than others. Timing can be everything. This time, we are going to feel it. It doesn’t matter why, it just doesn’t.

IMG_0167    IMG_0718    IMG_1017

Pass The Kleenex

It was just past dawn.  I was at the end of Rockview Street, staring out into the ocean. Quinn sat in the passengers seat. I spotted Marv sitting on the cement wall checking the surf. He didn’t see me. I got choked up. Marv was probably getting close to being about 30 years young. I met him when he was still in high school.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to talk with him because I was sick and fucking tired of having the same thing to say to everyone. It usually went like this:

Hey aren’t you supposed to be in Mex?

It’s over.

Oh Aaron, sorry to hear.  What happened?

Everything, and Nothing.

I don’t understand.

Neither Do I.

And then I would proceed to tell this somebody that I didn’t want to get into the specifics, but that I am trying to come to grips with THE most defining time in my life.

So there was young Marvin. He looked good. He looked clean and sober. I felt the magnetic pull to reconnect, but couldn’t tell you why:

Yeah Marvin, What’s Up Big Guy?

Aaron, is that you?

Indeed it is. No, stay there, I will be right out.

I got out of the van, went around to the sliding side door, and let Quinn out. Both she and I walked over to Marv. I could tell that he knew something seemed odd. It surely had to do with the fact that I had a dog, and I was right:

No way, Who’s this?

She is Quinn.

Beauty.  I am guessing Puerto is done?

It is buddy.

Dude, what’s the matter?

I lost all composure, and it felt right. I put my head down, cried into my hands, and basically just broke it all down for the kid. I told him everything in like four minutes, and didn’t hold back. Marvin had no choice but to put his arm around me.  There is something very refreshing about breaking down in front of youth.

Motivational Lying

what do you do? i’m a writer. really? yes, really. well what have you written? tons of shit, i once wrote a short story that made no sense according to my one critic. who’s the critic? it sounds like you are. [sic]

It was Valentine’s Day.  I was sitting alone on a sidewalk in Mexico when Tatiana approached and sat down. Her nervous twitch was twitching nervously. It seemed to be getting worse, bless her heart. She is maybe 50 Something. Beautiful lady. Married. Bizarre. Heart of Gold. Mexican.  In English, it went something like this:

Aron where you are been?
I’ve been living out at the lagoon.
Why you not come visit us anymore?
Spending a lot of time out in Manialtepec is all.
You like it out there?
Oh yes, very tranquilo
What you are doing out there?
I’m writing a book.
Oh wow, what is the book about?
Tatiana was not the first person that I told I was writing a book. I am going to say she was like the sixth. Maybe the eighth. So in calling a spade a spade, I had now told the sixth or eighth person that I was writing a book. Strange behavior I must say. She was about to be the first person that I was actually going to tell what the book was about. It reminds me of the time that Costanza drives his in-laws out to the Hamptons. You know the one.
 
Look, I’ve logged time behind a thesaurus, and i’ve written a short story or two, but for me to make the leap to “author in progress” was just downright lying. i didn’t know why I was doing it, and in the same breath, I knew exactly why.
 
It’s not like i walk around telling people that I am writing a book. I mean if somebody asked me how it was going, or what I was doing, my answer would never be that I was writing a book. However, from time to time, and at times when I least expected it, I found myself in front of some human being telling them that I am writing a book. No, not that i am a writer. No, not that i write short stories. And no, not that i run a corny business blog. No, No, and No. I would say that I am writing a book.
 
So that’s what i told Tatiana. I told her that I am writing a book. A book about a boy and a dog. I told her that I couldn’t give up the title, but once I had one, along with a beginning, a middle, or an end, I would be happy to share.  Trust me..

IMG_0693

Maid of Honor

We sat there on her back porch. We talked about the past, the present, and the future. Just in case she couldn’t see it written all over my face, I made sure she knew right away that I was drowning my way through the most hurtful time in my entire life. She couldn’t believe that was possible.  Both of us began showing serious Deja Vu like symptoms. I told her that it was complicated and that now was not the time to talk about any of that.

The reason I had stopped by to see her was because I had this deep feeling that it was the supernatural move to make. SuperNatural? Maybe that’s not the right word. Organic? Partly that for sure. On a superficial level, and it’s hardly that either, I had this desire to see her because I wanted to show her my new canine. I now had Quinn for about two months, and I was certain that this Dingo like Jackal was extraordinary. If you are a dog owner, I know what you are thinking, and you are not right. You are not right that your canine, as special as it may seem to you, is extraordinary. Because if I’m declaring my Quinnie as extraordinary, then unless your dog can do what my dog does, and can do it as consistently and as bionically as my dog can, then your dog is less than extraordinary. I’m sure it’s sweet and fluffy.  Fair enough?

Lorna is her name. This woman. She is roughly my age, maybe a little older. We have a little history to say the very least. Back in college, and much like the rest of our circle, Lorna was a full time student and a full time athlete. Unlike the rest of us, she also was a full time dog whisperer.  20 year old Lorna whispered to Ashley. Ashley(RIP) was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, of the chocolate sort.  And everybody knew Ashley because Ashley knew everybody. She would go to school with Lorna. She would go to the bars with Lorna. Ash was smart and dialed. She was big and beautiful. Consequently, she will always be remembered.

The past two weeks had presented me with a perfect opportunity to stop by and say hello. It had been awhile.  I had been dog sitting for my dentist and his family in the Carbonera Estates area, which semi put me in perfect line with her house as I would regularly weave my way past her little property en route to the Pleasure Point area. I told myself that if I ever saw her truck out front that I would pop in and say hello. I was curious to know if her current dog Zeus was still alive, and again, I really wanted to show this lady my Quinnie.

So we sat there. Me and 3 year old Quinn. Her and 10 year old Zeus. Elliott was there too. Elliott is a cat. Lorna was drinking a Sierra Nevada. I was drinking a Sierra Nevada. Quinn kept one eye on Elliott and one eye on me. Zeus was sleeping with a ball in his mouth. Elliott was bugging Zeus, keeping both eyes on Quinn.

Lorna informed me that her son would be home any minute. We talked in depth about her son. He was doing very well. He had just turned 19 and had his life together. I hadn’t seen the kid since he was maybe 14. Part of me felt like telling Lorna that I had to go, and part of me was curious to see what had become of this kid. This kid Michael grew up without a father. I was told by Lorna that during the ‘high school’ years, the boy put her through a living hell, but when the California Conservation Core ‘came a knockin’ he answered the door, and it changed his life. No more partying. No more bullshit. Over the course of the last 12 months, he had completely turned his life around.

About 6:30pm, Michael walks in the door. I knew who he was, and he knew who I was. He knew that I knew his father.  I knew that he didn’t.  I stood up and we shook hands. We were face to face. He was a nice looking young man. He was lean. He was engaging. He was also hungry like any 19 year old boy might be. Lorna cooked him up some dinner while Michael and I did some talking.

I knew that he was a musician, and I knew that he was a soccer player. This gave us quite a bit of material. I remembered back about five years prior when Lorna asked me to paint her house even though I wasn’t a painter. One day while painting high up on a ladder, I was able to listen to Michael play his electric guitar. I think he was playing Jimi. The kid was good. These days, his instrument of choice is the banjo.  He even pays for his own lessons.

I asked the questions, and let Michael do all the talking. I let him do the talking because he was beaming to talk. I could tell he was excited about life. I could tell he was stoked and appreciative of somebody like me wanting to know more about his life. He was polite. He was respectful. He was my kind of kid.

His phone rang.  He pulled the phone out of his pocket, looked at who the caller was, and then asked me if he could take the phone call. I told him of course, and he stepped away for a minute.

Lorna came back outside and sat down.  She and I finished up our talk and agreed to make arrangements.  It all seemed so bizarre.  All of it.

IMG_1105      IMG_1106

God Save The Quinn

Quinn sat at the U-end of the U-shaped parking with a soft frisbee in her mouth, staring at me, waiting for me to lock up the van. I had a cup of coffee in my hand. I was the only vehicle in the lot. It was just getting light out.

In his Chevy Truck, the Capitola Park’s and Recreation guy enters the parking lot. For whatever the reason, and I actually know the reason, he has his eyes fixed on me. As he approaches the U-end of the U-shaped parking lot, it began to feel like he had no idea there was a dog sitting patiently up ahead of his truck with a soft frisbee in her mouth. It was a feel. The feel quickly became real. 20 feet, 12 feet, 8 feet, 5 feet, GIANT SCREAM..

It was almost a blur. I got halfway through my entire life flashing in front of me before i passed out onto the asphalt. I did see stuff. It most certainly happened. I watched my little Quinnie get run over by a truck. Front to back. Top to Bottom. Side to Side.

The outcome had already revealed itself as a Given, and I was not going to survive this one. That is probably why I passed out before I watched her finally get squashed. So in the slowest of all motions, with only certain sounds making noise, I was sure i was watching my girl get run over and killed in front of me. What could be worse?

The next thing I remember, I was being helped up off the ground, unable to stand on my own. He kept his arm around me but apparently had no idea what had just happened. Crying like a baby, I told the guy that he just ran over and killed the only thing in the world that I loved at the moment. With his arm still around me, all the while apologizing and apologizing and apologizing, he then directed my attention to the left/centerfield portion of the softball field. With my eyes only able to focus in at about 100 yards, there stood Quinn. “Is that your dog,” he asked.

I made my way over to her. The parks and Rec guy came too. He was talking to me the whole time but i can’t really recall what he was telling me. I wasn’t mad at him because he didn’t do it on purpose. A part of me feels like at that point he still didn’t really even believe me. He didn’t hear me scream from the top of my lungs, and he didn’t feel anything hit his truck. And..there stood Quinn.

When i get up to her, I didn’t notice anything different. Not only that, she had her frisbee face on. I picked up her frisbee and threw it. She fetched it just fine and came back for more. I threw it again, and again she fetched it just fine. I asked the guy if we could be alone. I spent about ten minutes combing over my dog, checking for injuries. She did have about a half dozen superficial scratches. Little scuffs down by her paws, and maybe one little one between her eye and ear. Outside of that, there was nothing. I balled my eyes out.  It felt like a miracle.

 

IMG_0955

Highway Two Hundred

This is all fact. It surely went down. Not to me, but to my friend Abel. I wrote about my friend Abel a few stories back. This story doesn’t have a thing to do with that story. I really shouldn’t even be writing about this story, but I am going to anyway. I figured my stuff is so under-read, that it just doesn’t matter one way or another.

Back to Abel. Abel was enjoying a fresh fish dinner right off the two lane highway that connects Acapulco to Salina Cruz. It’s a big stretch. 500 miles or so. Where it happened along that stretch isn’t of too much importance. In case somebody IS reading this, I will say the Google Coordinates can’t be trusted anyway.

OK, back to Abel. Fish Dinner..Restaurant..Hwy. In walks this old man. The old man looks around the empty restaurant, approaches Abel’s plastic Corona table, and decides to have a seat. When Abel looks up at the old man, the old man smiles, introduces himself as Alex, and politely asks Abel to buy him a Coke. The old man tosses a 10 peso coin on the table and says, “They know me here. They know I am not supposed to have any simple sugar in my diet because that’s what the doctor has said. Pretend it’s for you.”

So Abel calls over the server and orders up a Coke. The server looks at Alex and just shakes his head. After the server leaves the table, the old man and Abel begin talking. Small talk. Super Small. Secretly small.

This wasn’t Abel’s first time seeing, or even talking to the old man. Abel told me that he had seen him around numerous times before, typically in the oddest of odd places. Places that would make anyone sense as though he/she were being followed. It never felt spooky or dangerous.  Privleged if anything. Abel said that it had happened enough times at enough odd places, that he began to jot notes. So in a notebook, he decided to write down each encounter, rather each old man sighting. He would write down where he spotted him, and what time. He would jot down weather temps, sights, sounds, stuff like that. And after having a dozen or so worth of sightings, Abel began to size up the greater meaning.

Whoa dude, so he just came right up to your table?
Simone Ese. He was hard to look at actually.
 
The server brought out a cold coco with a straw and said they were out of coke. It didn’t seem to bother Alex. He knew a cold coco will forever be the golden ticket in the tropics, so he smiled and started sipping away. Through a straw of course. Abel kept his head down, eating away at his fish dinner. The old man sat in his plastic chair, sipping away his cold coco. Nothing was spoken between them for what felt like centuries. Therefore, sometime between 10 minutes and 100 years later, Abel says he must have made it obvious that he was finished with his fish dinner. What happened next Abel says will forever be impossible to forget. It goes like this:
 
You’re not going to eat around the head..it’s the best part?
I think I will pass.
I was told you were smart. Because if you were smart, you’d eat around the head.
I guess I’m not smart then. Would you like it?
Sure thing brother!
 
Abel pushed over his plate, and the old man began eating away around the head. He began humming as he was picking away at the fish head. Periodically he would take a sip of his cold coco too. Abel just sat there and watched. And that’s when it happened. The old man had his head down, working his plate. Abel watched him take a small piece of corn tortilla, smear some hot sauce over it, add a little wedge of avocado and some black beans, and then stuff it complete with some fish eyes and brain meat. Abel recalls the old man taking a gigantic bite of this concoction, and chewing with his head down for about 15 seconds before lifting his head. When he lifted his head, that’s when Abel saw his eyes. Everyone who was anyone had heard about Alex’s eyes.
 
What do you mean they turn Gold?
It means his eyes turn from Blue to Gold.
Yeah but what does that mean?
It means what it appears to mean.

Seven Year Itch

I was wide awake at 3:30am. Suffice to say, nobody was up. For reasons not entirely unknown, I found myself on Craigslist. I hadn’t been on Craigslist in at least five years. I know some of you are on there everyday, but not me. Just don’t use it. Or do I?

So I was on Craigslist. And again, I really don’t know what was behind all this, but next thing I knew, I was looking at a picture of a dog with an ad that read:

2 year old Red Queensland heeler. Great dog for a family or being a companion for a female preferably. Quinn is smart, sweet, affectionate and active. I’m asking a $100 rehoming fee just to know she goes to the right family/ person.. Give me a call and we can chat further. I would prefer she go where she would be the only dog. She is a gem and I only want her to go to the best home possible.

Hmmm. Rehoming fee, and a desire for her to go to the best home possible. I found my first loophole and knew I could have the $100 rehoming fee waived because I didn’t have a home. The part about going to the best home possible didn’t really phase me either. Sure a dog might care about a home. But more important than the home itself is the master. Because home, for the great most part, is where the master is. The homeless canine that gets to spend 24/7 with his or her master is the privileged canine. The canine that gets food in the morning, food at night, and a couple pats in between, could care less about his or her 4 bedroom 2.5 bath house near the park.

When my brother woke up, and after making coffee of course, I told him to go to Craigslist and pull up the ad. Neither of us completely understood the line about being a companion for a female preferably, but I decided to reply to the ad to say that I am interested. I basically told them that I am going through the breakup of a lifetime, and that I could provide a wonderful home for the dog.

After we went back and forth for a bit, she asked if I could meet at New Leaf on the westside of Santa Cruz CA. She was coming from Bonny Doon. We agreed to meet at 11am.

I arrived at 10am because I had nothing else to do. Again, I was in a world of hurt, and I felt like I needed some serious grounding. This felt much more than just being ready to have a dog again in my life. It had been seven years since the M & M show were in town, and once Madison had passed in September 2008, that is when I began my winter migrations to  Southern Mexico. Well all that came crashing down in a foul way, which opened up the possibility of ‘dancing with the wolf’ once again.

At 10:45am, two young women, with two dogs in the back, pull up right next to my big white van. It all felt like a real moment of truth. We introduced ourselves to one another, and they let Quinn out of the car. I got down on my knees, looked the other way, put my hand out, and that was how it began.

Immediately I noticed the golf ball-size knot around her left knee area. One of the young woman said that Quinn injured her growth plate when she was a puppy, but that it’s a non factor. That it was scar tissue that had grown around the plastic rubber band that never held in place after the surgery. But again she assured me that it had been checked a number of times and the general consensus is that it doesn’t bother her, and that surgery to remove it, albeit a pretty routine surgery, wouldn’t be necessary.

I then noticed that the inside part of her right leg wasn’t growing hair. They said that Quinn was caught in barbed wire some time back, but that too was and is a non factor. She also had an inch long scar under her left eye, but I didn’t even bring it up. Fact is, my mind was racing and my heart was broken. It was a surreal sort of morning.

One of the girls said that they were going to go inside New Leaf for a cup of coffee and maybe I should see if I could bond with Quinn while they were away. They left. Quinn didn’t like it, but dealt with it. I was still down on my hands and knees. I was trying to get this dog to look at me, but she was intent on watching the girls walk away.

I scooted closer to this canine, and slowly began to make eye contact with her. I kept my hand on her underbelly, and slowly moved my head closer to her head. I went to pet behind her ears, and that’s when she nipped me in the face. I knew right then an there that this attempt to bite my face marked the beginning of a relationship that was sure to flourish.

Ok so now i had this 40 lb Queensland Heeler on a leash in a parking lot. She wasn’t so good on a leash either. She was actually pulling pretty hard. I was like, “Aren’t you a heeler?” And she was like, “Not when I am on this fucking leash with somebody I don’t know!” I took a deep breath, and let it go. I totally understood this canine from Australia. Knowing this, I opted for no commands, no discipline, no nothing.

The girls came out of New Leaf. I took the leash off Quinn and let her run to where the cars where parked. She ran straight there. When we all regathered, I asked the girls what they wanted to do. The one girl said that she was hoping that I would agree to a one week trial with Quinn. She suggested that I provide daily updates, pictures, etc..  Basically just see how it goes.

“When do you want to start?”(gulp) I asked.
“What about right now,” she said.
 

So now I had a dog. The seven year itch was being scratched.  She sat in the passenger seat. I drove straight back to my brother’s home in Aptos, CA. When I pulled up to the house, the whole family was outside in the driveway. Everybody’s eyes lit up. Out of thin air, I had just come home with a dog. Hey everyone, this is Quinn!