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Isa's Story

July 17th, 2018

The Roxinator: Don’t Fence Me In!

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

Almost two months on the property in the trailer, I thought it time for an update.

First thing I did was to build an enclosure for Roxy. Not very big, admittedly, and I will enlarge it as time allows. I have explained this to her ad nauseum but it matters not. I have repaired and/or reinforced the Roxy Roundup on an almost daily basis so any Roundup expansion has been delayed. As is, it’s not a bad space – she has a couple of beds and a good deal of shade, water and toys. I do need to buy or build a dog house for her as monsoon season has started and seems to be serious about it this year, at least so far. Nonetheless, she refuses to stay put.

Her escape maneuvers have led us to this:

Oh that face!

Have you ever seen such pathos? Such abuse at the hands of a mean-spirited human? She pulled a nail completely off/away from the nail bed. And while I have no evidence one way or the other, I am quite certain she did it ripping a hole in the wire fencing.

Sunday I spent all morning adding a second layer of fencing, reinforcing the wire that she tears through like butter. I had her in the roundup while I was working to both keep an eye on her and keep me company. She knew exactly what I was doing – whined at me a good deal of the time. I finished that up, let her out and went on to another project. Here is where y’all can judge me as a bad mom: I let her wander loose on the property when I’m outside with her. She mostly stays close by. Not to mention that on days when I’m at work all day, she rarely spends more than ten minutes in the Roundup and wanders the hillside(s). Generally, locking her up seems to me to be a moot exercise.

I hear her go full guard dog “I’m going to eat you” and I scamper over to prevent mayhem. There’s a guy posting a notice on the empty house next door and she is taking exception to his presence. I restrain her but since I’m trying to get electricity to the property and there are one or two potential problems with the size of the easement on that lot, I want to talk to this guy. He agrees to wait while I put her in the (newly reinforced) Roundup so we can carry on a conversation. I go back and explain what I’m trying to do. Less than three minutes later “someone” bounds up with renewed threats of immediate consumption of the stranger danger. I grab her and shout/finish the conversation with the guy. He leaves and I chuck her into the trailer while I fix the hole she dug under the fence. For the record, I left later in the afternoon to go to a friend’s for dinner. She was out when I got home. Twice in one day.

And yes, I’m a bad mom. I didn’t fix that hole. It was late when I got home Sunday (and raining) and raining when I got home Monday. Let the punishment fit the crime.

So this morning, I put her into the Roundup and drove off. I stopped at the bottom of the driveway to grab the mail and continued on my merry way. About a block down the road I see movement in my side mirror — she is chasing after me. I stop and try to get her into the car. She bounces at me a few times “isn’t this a good game, mom?” and then turns around and gallops back up the driveway.

Well okay then. I get in the car and proceed. Another quarter of a mile, maybe more, and again movement in the mirror. I stop and this time she it willing to get into the car, breathing hard. I was doing 15-20 mph so she had to work to catch up. I turn the car around and take her home. Block the hole with a plastic bin and boulder. I have zero confidence that held more than ten minutes but it was enough so I could actually leave for work. And yes, all of this with the bandage on her foot. We shed the cone of shame relatively early (and it is shredded) – remarkably, she’s not bothered/chewed on the bandage. She might start today. I reinforced it with duct tape this morning and I suspect it smells funny and needs to be removed.

So that’s our on-going adventure/game. I did win one battle (I will never win the war). I built one of these about six inches in diameter along the base of the fence (called a “gabion”). Mine’s not nearly this pretty.

The ground is so rocky it’s impossible to pin the fencing down and this worked (heaven knows there’s more than enough rock around for this). It’s tied to the bottom edge and she can’t budge it. To date she has either torn a hole in the fencing (now reinforced) or dug under where I don’t (yet) have a gabion installed. Silly me, I thought the trees would be a deterrent. I can’t say as I know what my next step is.

Otherwise, I think Roxy is happy at our new home. Her confidence has increased and she only rarely goes into full guard dog mode. Our old house required massive guarding 24/7. I’m starting to figure out my way around living in an RV and its “unique” challenges. I’m probably as organized as I’ll ever be living in 200-odd square feet. I’ve started on the research for building the house but don’t really expect to break ground until next spring. Getting electricity to the lot is taking about three times as much money as I had expected/completely made up so I need to save up some dollars. Short of winning the lottery, that’s the plan.

Here are a couple more pictures of the property:

The first one is sort of where the house (might) will be. The other is the view from where I will have the mondo deck built.

In other news, it’s July (that’s not the news part) – anniversary of Isa’s diagnosis and amputation. Hard to believe it’s been two years since then and yet it feels like a lifetime ago. Made taking Roxy to the vet, two days after Isa’s ampuversary, rather poignant. Some days, one simply keeps putting one foot in front of the other.

So that’s about all I have to say for myself. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.


Teri, Wallee, the Roxinator and Angel Isa

June 15th, 2018

Operation: Roxy New Home

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

This will be a long, long post – forgive me. But remember, y’all asked for it! I keep trying to shorten it and it just gets longer.

As we all have known for some time, Roxy needed a new home and sooner rather than later.

I put the house on the market March 9, a ton of showings and got a full price offer seven days later. Closing was set for April 30. So far so good. I started packing.

I’d been looking at properties since December, everything in the county in my budget. As much as I would have liked to move into some sort of already-built building, such a creature simply did not exist. Maybe with another $500,000. HA! So I decided to move into a travel trailer (a la Wyatt Ray) on a piece of land and build something later, when the dust had settled. After accepting the offer on the house, I figured I’d maybe better make a decision on our new digs sooner rather than later. Picked a place in Cerrillos (twenty-odd miles south of Santa Fe): 9.5 acres, septic, electric, telephone and water all in place. The down side: a ton of junk on the property, including a mobile home that had seen better days, and a “driveway” in rough shape. Rough enough that it wasn’t going to be possible to remove the mobile home until the road was repaired. Couldn’t repair the road until I owned the place and no bank would loan me money with the mobile home on the property. Anyone else see a problem?

And that was just the beginning of the problem(s). The primary issue was that the seller did not have title to the property. One would think, having been on the market for approximately three years, that someone might have looked into the status of the title but evidently not. A compromise could have been worked out giving me a place to live while the title issue was sorted. We suggested any number of variable scenarios all within the ballpark of rational and fair. However, every proposal was met with a quasi-hysterical response from the seller and/or her broker, followed 24 hours later by a rational one. This went on for several weeks. In one email the seller’s broker said it had gotten too complicated and she was out of the deal. The seller and I could sort it out ourselves. One day, I received a forwarded email from the seller’s broker that said, among other things, I could “limp along” with the hole in the septic tank until the title issue was resolved.

That was the last straw for me. I was pondering my options and went into the ladies room to continue pondering. All the best pondering is done in the ladies room. And there on the floor was a penny! My Angel Isa sent me a penny to let me know that it was all going to be okay and that it was okay to run (screaming) away from this particular piece of land. So I terminated the purchase agreement (final) on April 25th. Closing on the house remained set for the 30th.

“Regroup” may be an understatement. Went through the listings all over again, everything in the county remotely in my budget that had water in some form or another. That didn’t yield much, but a couple new possibilities. My agent spoke with the brokers on those properties and realistically it came down to one viable property east of Santa Fe: 1.7999 acres with a well drilled already, but no electricity or septic. Also a better option as it’s in a much a better hood than the previous property, therefore a better investment, and a much, much shorter commute. Went to see it (gorgeous!) and put an offer in on April 24 and set a May 8 close date on the assumption the seller would carry the note as had been offered in the listing.

Movers came April 27 and moved the bulk of my stuff into a storage unit currently stuffed to the gills. Included in that move was Roxy’s chair.

My Chair!

That was bad enough but she still had the couch. Then, on the 28th, ReStore came and took away the couch. This left her with nothing more than her dog bed (holes patched with duct tape). Talk about side eye, hers was at a Meg-a-Star level.

As scheduled, we closed on the house on the 30th.

Late that night we got a counter offer on the property – purchase price was agreed on but the seller was not willing to carry the note. That meant I had to find a mortgage, inevitably with an institution that would require at least 30 days to process the loan. And I’d already lost a week waiting for this guy to tell me he wasn’t willing to carry the note. Arguh!

For better or worse, I rented back the house for a week and we had to be out on May 6. At least somewhat worse, because as my friends were helping me move and “someone” was locked in the backyard, “someone” mangled the screen door – viciously, vindictively, and with malice aforethought. No time for repairs – I left the new owner $30 and the few parts that were salvageable.

May 6 rolls around and we are, essentially and technically, homeless. I had purchased a 25’ travel trailer off Craigslist, older and perhaps less than ideal (in hindsight). Moved said trailer into a campground not far from the property. For reasons obvious to the studio audience, Roxy could not be left alone in the trailer all day while I was at work. Even when I was there, we had a bit of an issue as the neighbors were six feet away and frequently had dogs of their own. I was sure we were going to get kicked out of the campground but she wasn’t even the most obnoxious dog there! She has spent every work day since May 6 at doggy daycare. The good news is she’s gained a lot of confidence, has started playing with the other dogs and is generally enjoying herself. And is very, very tired at night, hooray! Her separation anxiety is even a teeny tiny bit improved.

Not too long after settling into the campground, I sent an email to my agent outlining one or two timing issues that had come to my attention. I was leaving on vacation on the 26th – the trailer absolutely had to be out of the campground before then. I couldn’t/can’t move the trailer with my little car so have to find assistance – always complicated and inevitably the other party has their own timing issues. The loan wasn’t set to close until June 8 and what the hell was I going to do with the trailer. I (pretended) to be calm and asked if maybe we could revisit getting a pre-close occupancy agreement so I could get the trailer out of the campground and onto the property.

She suggested we ask the Bank Guy if he would write an email saying the loan would be approved, no problem, and then she thought it would be okay to approach the seller about an occupancy agreement. Bank Guy responded and suggested an entirely different scenario – the bank would give me an unsecured loan (for far less than the original mortgage) and I would have to come up with the cash for the balance of the purchase price. Then, later when all is calm(er), we could close on the mortgage, refinancing the unsecured loan.

With that financing scenario, I was able to close on the property on May 16. As of today, we still haven’t closed on the mortgage proper and I may have to rattle a few cages. But the difference between 12% and 6% interest is enough to get my attention and start hollering. Bank finally sent me a copy of the May 17 appraisal today. First movement I’ve seen from them since I signed the unsecured loan documents a month ago.

My friend that had towed the trailer to the campground opted out of moving it onto the property. I can’t say that I blame him – steep driveway, super tight turn around. Many, many ways for it to go horribly wrong. I got lucky and found a hauling company – Trailer Guy thought it could be done for a relatively reasonable fee but he couldn’t get to this part of town until the 22nd. I was able to stay longer at the campground (still pre-Memorial Day weekend) so that part worked out remarkably well.

As is to be expected, the 22nd saw the first storm we’d had in 54 days. Trailer Guy (and his son) and I scampered around getting the trailer unhooked and packed up while eyeing massive black clouds. I shoved Wallee into the carrier and loaded her, the plants and other potentially breakable stuff into the car.

I don’t know how, I almost didn’t think it was possible, but Trailer Guy backed that trailer all the way up the steep drive and into position. When all done, I noticed a tire track less than two inches from the edge of the road, he cut it that close. He said afterward it took every ounce of skill he had to get it done. An awe-inspiring and impressive maneuver. Miraculously the rain held off.

After that, Wallee and I went back into town pick Roxy up at daycare. As we hit city limits, it was clear the sky had recently opened and attempted to drown the city but, as is normal here, the storm had moved on. (“If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes.”) In what I consider the first “lucky event” of the afternoon, I was able to pick up a prescription at my doctor’s office before they closed at five. Before you judge me for considering that lucky, remember these sorts of things are relative. Grabbed Roxy and we headed home.

In the second “lucky event” of the day, I opted for taking the frontage road rather than the freeway. It started raining and traffic was a little slow but overall tolerable. As we gained a little elevation, there were three to four inches of snow/hail on the ground. I looked over at the freeway and three lanes of traffic were completely stopped. I said many, many prayers of gratitude for not being there. A little further on, I could see the fire trucks and ambulances. The hail had caused an unknown number of cars to go sliding all over creating mass havoc.

We got to the top of the hill, all hail and/or signs of rain are gone, and the clouds are breaking up. There is a HUGE rainbow! Which arguably could be said to end at our new home, these things being subject to interpretation. And we all know who sent that rainbow. (Thank you, my angel!)

We got to the property and halfway up the drive there’s a deer in the middle of the road. Roxy didn’t quite know what to think or do – started to bark and stopped, looked at me, looked at the deer. Barked. Snuffled at me and barked again. She had no clue what it was or what should be done about it but some action was undoubtedly called for. And why on earth was I not doing something?

That was our magical homecoming, all three of us in the car together. I’m clinging to it as a good omen.

Home Sweet Home

Somehow I got packed on Friday and left for Virginia/North Carolina bright and early that Saturday. I’ll leave others to elaborate on the trip, and mostly my pictures suck, but I had a great time. Vacation was badly needed and probably saved those last three brain cells.

Got home late Saturday. Got up Sunday morning to find the refrigerator had stopped working at some point mid-week (frozen raw dog food stored for an unknown time at 60-70 degrees = very unpleasant). I elected to ignore that issue for the moment and went and picked up Roxy and Wallee from their various accommodations. In case anyone is worried that Roxy has changed her destructive ways, while I was inside picking up Wallee, Roxy was waiting in the car and attempted to pull herself through the partially open window, breaking the side mirror and putting impressive claw marks into the housing of the mirror. I was not pleased – $70 for the new mirror.

So that’s the back story.

There is a well on the property and, as it turns out a well pump ($12K I didn’t have to spend – woo hoo!). However, the gizmo that allows me to hook the trailer up and get actual running water inside remains MIA. The well guys are scheduled to come Monday (18th) to install the thingy and clean out the holding tank (currently green and icky). In the meantime, I have a couple of one-gallon jugs that I fill at the office and schlep home. The last shower I had was in North Carolina – how to win friends and influence people.

Also on the “missing utility” list is electricity (necessary to run the well pump for starts, not to mention other niceties like refrigerator, lighting and the ability to charge one’s cell phone). In the interim, I purchased a stupidly expensive gasoline-powered generator to run the well pump. As a bonus, the noise of the generator stresses both Roxy and Wallee out completely (okay, me too but at least I understand the trade-offs). If you ask them, the world is certainly ending.

I am in talks with the local electric company and they are supposed to have an estimate to me by the end of this week. All bets are that I will faint dead away at the sight of said estimate. Assuming the money can be found, I should have electricity four to five weeks after giving them a deposit. Stay tuned.

The vacation frig debacle was due to an empty propane tank – easily resolved. But evidently, and this was news to me, RV refrigerators running on propane do not work when it gets hot outside. This seems a massive design flaw but no one asked me. So I have been “functioning” out of an ice chest for the past week and a half. As of yesterday, the frig is working again (temp dropped below 85). But for how long? How much food can I throw away in the “Is the Frig Working Today” game?

I built an enclosure last weekend for Roxy, hoping to end the constant daycare bill and dragging her all over town. Damn near killed myself in the heat. I left her there for a couple of hours on an experimental, first time basis. Came home to find she had climbed/jumped the fence and was laying contentedly in the shade of the trailer. I am really happy and proud of her: she didn’t wander off (or if she did, she came back) and nothing bad (appears to have) happened. Somehow it didn’t occur to me that maybe if it was too hot for me to work in the space, it might be too hot for her to stay there. So now I get to rebuild it this weekend in a different and shadier location.

Now a month into RV living and I’m finally starting to figure it out and get settled. Formerly living in 1,400 sq. feet and moving to roughly 200 sq. feet takes some adjustment. There are a couple of sub optimum quirks in the trailer design that I continue to question but will eventually conquer. Or they’ll conquer me – probably even money on that. Wallee has been content to become a full-time inside cat – surprised the heck out of me. At dusk, she sometimes thinks maybe she’d like to go out but I think she’s not really convinced.

I think Roxy likes the trailer and the land. Many, many interesting smells!

So there’s the update – I think you can see why it’s taken me so long to post. I’ve been a bit busy.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Love to all

Teri, Wallee, the Roxinator and Angel Isa


June 8th, 2018

We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

One year ago today I brought a beast into my house that threatened to eat me for the first two to three days. Happy Gotcha-Versary Miss Roxy!!

Much to update everyone on, although a certain number of you have heard it already. Things are starting to ease up now so I can start typing it up.

We should have water next week!

love to all,

Teri, Wallee, the Roxinator and Angel Isa

January 19th, 2018

One Year at the Bridge

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

My sweetest girl,

Grief stops time so I can’t decide if this year has been a lifetime or a blink. The hole in my heart remains although skinned over now so the wind no longer whistles through my chest. Something of an improvement.

I miss you every day, even the days I’m not consciously aware of it, I miss you. I told you I would always come for you – this time it’s just going to be a while (inchallah) before I get there. I know you’ll be waiting for me.

Almost ten years we were together and I can’t begin to count the ways you saved me, daily. I lost so much of myself so long ago. I had been gathering up scraps before you found me but you took my hand and sniffed out the deeply buried pieces and it all went so much faster. You saw me, as me, when no one else did – with love and without judgment.

And how wonderful you took over the conversation with Stacy. More than (the badly needed) help with Roxy, I needed to hear from you. I needed the reassurance that you are still here with me, that we’re still connected. I know I shouldn’t doubt that, have no reason to, but without seeing your goofy smile daily, it’s hard to remember some days. I have made a start of letting go of the guilt but it will still be a while before I forgive myself. Another lesson for me, one of the tougher ones I must say. You deserved much better of me.

Bring your dog to work day

I wrote this looking at the picture of you, the one on my desk that was taken one day when you were under my desk, dust and boxes and all. You were happy being here and all I can see is love for me, for life, for dogness. It really can and is that simple, for all of us. Humans are, for the most part, simply really bad at it. That’s why we keep y’all around, we’re trying to learn.

You made me a better human and a much, much better dog mom (Roxy thanks you for that).

I love you, my sweet girl. I always have and always will.

January 11th, 2018

Roxy chats with Stacy Krafczyk

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

I knew Stacy was good after listening to the November Tripawd podcast. I made an appointment for January but then we got lucky and she had a cancellation! The call was even better than I expected and my expectations were high.

She started with Wallee, or rather Wallee was Wallee and butted in, said her piece and went on her way. Which is what she had to say – she does her own thing and is a superior hybrid being (cat/dog/human combo). She didn’t say anything about how annoying Roxy is – and I know that is what she thinks. Maybe it’s all part of the game? I didn’t get a chance to ask.

Roxy started out with a basic – she really (really, really) wants hamburger. I said we would see about the hamburger (somewhat a payday issue but I don’t/won’t buy hamburger for myself – too expensive). Roxy also said she wants to ride in the front seat of the car when we go out. I told her that was fine so long as she doesn’t interfere with my driving.

That’s as far as we got before Isa butted in and took over. Stacy just kept saying “wow” and “wow” again –  Isa is surrounded by an incredible amount of light and lots of rainbows and she has a “master teacher” energy.  Stacy confirmed Isa is/was my heart dog and she was with me for her to teach me about love (and many other things) as well as for her to take care of me.

[Granted, that is what all dogs are here to do for all of us. BUT! Isa saved me more than once. There was a time in my life when there was nothing good anywhere and masses of sub-optimum. I was daily struggling to find a reason to get out of bed. But the image of Isa racing back to me with big-ass smile (in spite of carrying her beloved pink rubber ball) made everything worthwhile in spite of any and all yuckiness. ]

According to Isa, I’ve had a tough life and am a tough cookie. Stacy said there is a solid cylinder of pink light connecting our hearts. She then described the “tattoo” Isa had made on my heart with her paw prints. Sounded an awful lot like a certain tattoo I have on my shoulder…

Stacy also described a man that was with Isa. From the description, it sounds like my paternal grandfather. A “sweet, reserved spirit” — they were together and both keeping an eye on me. Isa said I was “off” and should be drinking “green juices”. (I blame Christmas! I’ve been really good so far this year! I promise!)

Isa repeatedly said that I needed to let go of the guilt. That was a big part of my agenda with Stacy, to ask if Isa could forgive me. I have been struggling (understatement) to forgive myself and I thought that if I knew Isa could forgive me, maybe I could begin to forgive myself. If nothing else, I do feel much lighter – maybe I can begin to find a way now. Stacy said Isa is always here with me, always around, still teaching me (thank dog ) and is mothering Roxy.  I think Roxy and I can use all the help we can get.

Partway through, Stacy interrupted herself to say there was another cat with Isa and asked who it might be. Rodney has been at the Bridge for several years now and there’s no doubt it was him. He and Isa were certainly a pair – Isa was more or less scared to death of him. He told Stacy repeatedly that he was No. 1: he was my first cat and he “won me over.” Just kept on with “being number one.” He was my first tomcat but far from my first cat – there were four other cats living in the house when he moved himself in (this was pre-Isa). I did not have a vote on his moving in but, as he says, he won me over. Stacy laughed about his swagger, the epitome of who he is/was. It made me happy he poked his nose in to say hello.

Although Isa evidently had a lot to say, we did eventually circle back to Roxy. She wanted to know if this was her furever home, which I confirmed, with emphasis. Stacy said that while Roxy and I have been together six months (seven now!), to her it feels more like one. Which makes sense – that’s about how long its been since the adrenal support has kicked in and/or she’s started to relax. A little. Sort of. These things are relative. I have seen her confidence grow in the past couple of months.

I asked about Prince Charming next door. Roxy said he “smells funny” and that she prefers women. Pretty sure I had the latter figured out already. I asked about having a house sitter while I’m on vacation in February and she said so long it was a girl, we were okay. Let’s hope she sticks to that. My friend/house sitter came over last weekend for the first of several meet and greets. Roxy did eventually begin to relax with her and start to think about something other than the stranger danger in her house (FREAK OUT!). At the moment, I am far from optimistic that this will remotely work.

Roxy also complained about not getting enough exercise (guilty as charged). I suspect “enough” would be her running loose for three to five miles daily – and how many ways could that go horribly wrong? God knows, I can’t come close to keeping up with her and the term “loose leash” is a joke. Stacy suggested a couple of things that have been in my awareness but are as yet untested (a loaded pack for starters and I even have the pack. What is wrong with me?)

Out of the blue, Stacy said that we should move. I have no clue if that was her assessment after talking to me or if it came from somewhere else. I laughed and told her that was the plan, the house will go on the market when I get back from vacation and all fingers crossed for a quick sale. That was a nice reinforcement for me that moving is the right plan. I asked her to convey to Roxy that moving will be chaotic, I will be psychotic for the duration and she should be patient with me.

I wanted to know what Roxy liked best and she said “eating.” I tried for a secondary answer and the answer was “food”. I sense a trend here. So her weight will be something to keep an eye on – maybe, someday. She won’t always have this metabolism although her slowing down is hard to imagine right now.

So that was the call with Stacy. I highly recommend her not that she doesn’t already wear the Tripawds stamp of approval.

We went out the next day and I offered the front seat to Roxy. She freaked – a most emphatic “no”. She wanted nothing to do with the front seat. On reflection, I think that was actually Isa’s comment. She always rode in the front seat until she became a triapawd. There was no way I could haul her in and out of the front seat – the back seat was a challenge.

In other news, Roxy came down with a case of the zoomies one morning at the end of December. Top speed circles around the first floor, up the stairs turning around on the top step, never once hitting the top landing and back down again. She made at least four trips up and down the stairs and I don’t know how many circles around the ground floor. I swear she was laughing the entire time, and I laughed my ass off too – a great way to start the day. I do wish I knew what precipitated these “attacks”. I’d love to encourage them.

In case anyone is keeping score on the Roxy destruction inventory, the toaster met its demise last week. The good news is that thing was a cheap piece of such-and-such and I am thrilled it must now be replaced.

and last night I came home to a broken (glass) flour canister with remarkably little flour remaining on the floor. What flour remained had been magically transformed to glue with dog slobber. The Roxinator was a little put out that her dinner had to wait until I had the mess (mostly) cleaned up.

and I will leave you with the cutest picture ever (IMHO):

The monkey was a highly successful Christmas present for Roxy – believe me I do not bring it to bed with us – and it frequently joins us.

Happy New Year everyone – however late!



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