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  • March 25th, 2009 | 9:27 AM
of dogs and writing - here I am

 
 

My dog Cassie is at the vet right now getting a further biopsy of the odd bumps that have suddenly appeared on various parts of her body. I had postponed having it done because I wanted a second opinion. Somehow hearing my regular vet tell me that she had never seen anything like it over 25 years of practice didn't inspire a lot of faith in her ability to solve the problem.

Actually, the vet didn't inspire a lot of faith on several levels. I took Cassie to that vet two times. Once after we got her for her heartworm test and once when the bumps appeared. Both times were odd. You have to know that Cassie's most favorite thing in the world is people. She has a passing interest in other dogs and she likes to eat but her world is brightest when there are people to meet and greet. Everyone is instantly her best friend (sorry about that kiss[info]marypearson and those ear nuzzles for[info]beckylevine ) and she lives for meeting new people.

So at the vet Cassie was just being her wonderful Cassie self, so excited to see people that her whole body wiggled like a snake, faster and faster as she waited for the vet to bring her face low enough to be sniffed.

But the vet never did.

Eventually Cassie gave up waiting and jumped up and the vet was not happy. Cassie tried to sniff anywhere she could but the vet was wearing a dress (both times - what's up with that) and the vet was not happy. She never once got down to Cassie's level or let her sniff around. 

Cassie was not happy. And I wasn't happy either. What kind of vet shoos the patient away from her? Why wasn't she trying to make friends with her or at least acknowledge that she was in the room? I had used this vet before but never noticed this behavior perhaps because Chelsie, my last dog, was about as opposite in personality as a dog could get and very anti-people. She was much smaller than Cassie and I've come to the conclusion that this vet feels much better with cats and small dogs.

It takes a certain kind of person to love big dogs. It was time for a new vet. But first, those odd bumps needed to be taken care of and I called in the experts.

I found a specialist, a dermatologist, so alas, we can't use him as our regular vet but I love him. His practice is in an old house and all the rooms are set up like family rooms with family furniture and end tables and bookcases and not a single metal table in sight. On the first visit he sat down on the floor and let Cassie snuggle and kiss and love on him and she was thrilled. He's had a lot of experience with these sorts of bumps and I feel confident that once we discover, from the biopsies, WHAT they are, he will have the right course of treatment in mind. When I dropped Cassie off this morning the girls in the front office were making such a big deal over her that she never even gave me another look. And that's okay.

What does this have to do with writing? A lot I think.

Many writers have days when they think the words have left them completely. Some writers have those kinds of days that turn into weeks and months where it seems like they can do anything BUT write. I know. I've been there. And here's what I came up with.
 
I think the words are always there, like Cassie, full of energy and just waiting for us to notice them, just waiting for us to get down face-to-face and be there. Cassie doesn't expect anything special from the people she meets - she just wants them to stop what they're doing and "be" with her. Sometimes we're lucky and if we ignore the words they come up and smack us upside the face and remind us to pay attention. Plant Kid is forever whispering to me and Max gives me a growl every so often. Flyboy, he's a bit different. Aloof, always watching, waiting for me to make the first move and spend time with him.

Sometimes I think that's really all we need to do with our writing - just be with it. Get down on the floor and play. Forget about deadlines and publication. Forget about what your teacher said you needed to work on or what your critique group said was a weak idea. Don't worry about what order the scenes go in or even if a certain scene belongs in the book. Surround yourself with people who will understand your writer self. 

Embrace your writing with all the tail wagging, face licking enthusiasm of a dog who is meeting a new friend and who has absolutely no fear about looking stupid.

The words are there, right in front of you, waiting for you to notice them.
 

There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.



Comments

( 36 comments — Leave comment )
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oneminutemonkey
March 25th, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
Awww, she looks like such a sweet dog. She can be my friend anytime. :)

My cats might object to her though, she's a little bigger and doggier than they prefer. :)
susanwrites
March 25th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks! LOL on the cats. So far cats have been creatures to visit from a distance.
beckylevine
March 25th, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
Cassie's ear nuzzles were sweet! And she's a darling--glad you're looking for the vet that works for you both.

Off to the couch (too old for the floor!) to sit with my writing. :)

susanwrites
March 25th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, time for some changes, that's for sure. Hope you get a lot done today.
annemariepace
March 25th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
Great post, Susan!
susanwrites
March 25th, 2009 09:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Anne Marie.
hulabunny
March 25th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
Definitely time for a new vet. I hope I'll get to meet Cassie on Thursday (can I bring her a present?) I highly recommend my dogs' vet, but a tad far away from you. Thanks for the words of encouragement on writing! See you tomorrow (fingers crossed we are still on)!
susanwrites
March 25th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)
Of course we are still on. I can't wait to see you and catch up on everything.

I also can't wait for you to meet Cassie. She's really groggy right now and not at all herself but she should be fine tomorrow, just no rough-housing so the stitches don't rip. And Cassie loves presents! :)

I think I will go back to the mobile vet that I really liked but thanks.

See you about 3ish?
mirtlemist
March 25th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
It does sound like Cassie would be more comfortable with a different vet who's more open to her. Sad the lady would respond like that. I totally love visiting friends whose animal pals climb and cuddle and lick on me. It makes my day.

Love the comparison to writing, too! Here words, pretty pretty words...come slurp my ear :)
susanwrites
March 25th, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
It was so weird that I didn't realize it before but it just shows how undoglike my last dog was in her older years.

Me too on having the animals, all kinds, climb and cuddle and lick.

barboconnor
March 25th, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
I'm a doggy gal through and through. And big dogs? Bring 'em on!! I will SO be sending good vibes to Cassie that her vet visit turns out fine and she is healthy. As for that first vet, I think you were SO right to follow your instincts on that. (And a dress? What IS up with that?)
susanwrites
March 25th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Barb. I hope it turns out to be one of the sterile things that we can treat with just antibiotics. I'm a little nervous because he said Shepherds are prone to this one type that bring the bumps to the nose and legs like Cassie's, and that it predisposes them to kidney tumors later. Scary thought.

The dress is just so weird. And if you are going to wear one, and you're standing and a 70 pound dog is roaming around the room, why would you be surprised that she sniffs at your dress? Grrr.
patesden
March 25th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)
I think your comparison works for life in general. I don't know how many times I look at my Gypsy girl and it reminds me not to take life quite so seriously. Enjoy the good things like wet kisses and muddy feet.

I'm glad you found a good vet at least for right now--and I hope Cassie is lump free soon.
susanwrites
March 25th, 2009 09:07 pm (UTC)
You're so right - it is all about life and how we choose to live it.

I think the biggest lesson for me of late from the dogs is to be here in the moment. Let go of the past and quit worrying about the future - enjoy life now.
d_michiko_f
March 25th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
Cassie needs a new/different vet for sure! I never doubt that everyone at Trixie's vet's office, including the vets, adore her (and other pets too)!

Love this post! Words and dogs! :)
susanwrites
March 25th, 2009 09:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Debbi. The difference between the two vets was scary. I'm so glad I found this one and I think I'll go back to the mobile vet for everything else. I liked him a lot too.
(Anonymous)
March 25th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
Dogs have EVERYTHING to do with writing.
My blog is all about the writing life disguised as a dog blog. It toggles, but mostly it intersects.

http://bo-boknows.blogspot.com
susanwrites
March 25th, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Dogs have EVERYTHING to do with writing.
Funny how that works, isn't it? All those wonderful intersections? I love that.
dave_dev
March 25th, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC)
Susan, thanks for that.
susanwrites
March 25th, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, Dave. Thanks for reading.
pamm
March 25th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
Inspiring post! And a very cute dog. (Shame on that vet!)
susanwrites
March 25th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Pamm. What a cute icon!
dave_dev
March 25th, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
Actually, to follow up a bit more on this ... I'm getting started with songwriting and I have two songs about dogs (one is almost done and another is in the works), and I have a third song that makes reference to barking dogs on one line of the verse. Your entry really struck a chord with me (pun intended). I suppose I should not be surprised since our dogs are a bit part of our family life. They can be a great source of inspiration and emotion: innocence, purity, love, devotion, uniqueness, pack behavior, competition, fighting, etc ... They can also elicit a significant amount of anger and irritation ... more likely when dealing with several unruly dogs at the same time ... all the time ;-)
susanwrites
March 25th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
You're right. All the characters in your songs are all right there in your songs. It struck me today as I was trying to decide what to blog about, that all my life lessons can be tied up to dogs. I'm actually going to make the dogs and writing a weekly post every Wednesday.

I think the biggest lesson for me of late from the dogs is to be here in the moment. Let go of the past and quit worrying about the future - enjoy life now.
(no subject) - dave_dev - March 25th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - susanwrites - March 26th, 2009 12:05 am (UTC) - Expand
onegrapeshy
March 25th, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC)
Maybe offer the vet a "treat" when she's "nice" to Cassie, lol.

susanwrites
March 26th, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
Too. Too. Funny. LOL
tracyworld
March 25th, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC)
I love this. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, Susan.

I'm glad Cassie is now being treated by someone who appreciates her. Holding good thoughts for her...
susanwrites
March 26th, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
Thanks, Tracy. I appreciate you holding good thoughts for my girl.
liz_scanlon
March 26th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
OK, THAT is how I'm going to treat my words tomorrow morning. With welcome love and enthusiasm. Thank you!
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( 36 comments — Leave comment )
WHO AM I?



Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.






Susan Taylor Brown

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--Bonnie Friedman

"As writers, we must be willing to feel our sadness, our anger, our terror, so we can reach in and find our sweet vulnerability that is just sitting there waiting for us to come back home."
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--Anne Rice

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