Walmart and the Eightfold Path

My husband and I had a big fight in the parking lot of Walmart. Over a garbage can. He wasn’t my husband back then. We’d only just moved in together (2001) and in the process of “nesting” I busied myself with vanquishing his bachelor ways. As a newly-minted couple, this was our first big blowout. I’d crossed the line when it came to the kitchen garbage can.

Years later, that very garbage can rears its ugly head… in a book my husband is writing about Buddhism. I’m trying very hard to lead a more aware and enlightened life, so editing the final draft I’ve had a chance to reflect. Some aspects of Buddhism come naturally, others I need to keep working on.

Example of Wrong Action:

During a garage sale last summer a neighbor racked up $25 worth of bargains and promised to pay me later that day. You can guess how that turned out. Not a dime. Seven months later, my keen sense of dog poo timing means every time I take my Bloodhound out for a walk she somehow manages to “lay timber” in this neighbor’s yard… where I’ve NEVER picked it up.

Example of Right Action:

Coming home from a Portland Trailblazer’s game I got on the wrong train. I wound up heading in the wrong direction, changed trains, and somehow found myself STILL on the wrong train and heading to the airport late at night. By now, the once fan-packed cars were empty. Except for me. And a young Hispanic guy who was bleeding.

A lot.

His knuckles were a crisscross of open wounds. He sat directly across from me and stared. I wanted to say something, but really, what could I say? I felt a little scared, too. He looked angry. I finally thought of something I could do to help him.

My friends tease me about being such a girl scout, prepared for anything. In my wallet I carry a half dozen bandages and some first aid cream. Digging through the folds of my wallet, I fished out my medical supplies. I leaned forward, held out everything I had and asked him if he needed help. What happened next surprised me. His eyes filled with tears and he hurried off the train at the next stop. Not a word spoken.

Compassion came naturally to me that night and it doesn’t in other situations. Like with dog poo. Logically, I know I need to cut out this passive aggressive Sh%^ (literally!) and stop judging the neighbor, but as I edit the pages of my husband’s book I’m left wondering if a fight over a garbage can in the parking lot of Walmart was what actually set me on the path to enlightenment… as slow and gradual as it might be!

Jamie Brazil is the author of the contemporary romance, Prince Charming, Inc. and a coming-of-age novel, The Mayan Sisterhood.

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Don’t Let Your Bloodhound Watch Star Wars

I didn’t know there was a danger. Not a clue. One day we’re a normal household of dominant married couple with a docile Bloodhound, the next everything flipped. I blame Star Wars.

The first sign was pretty clear. My husband and I left Frankie, locked in the kitchen using a baby gate, for a couple hours. We’re good dog parents. She had water, food, toys, chewies and a comfy bed. When we returned, our home had sustained some damage… But before we could scold our wayward canine, a message overcame all thoughts in our minds. “This is not the Bloodhound you seek. She did not chew through the baby gate, get trapped in the living room and pee on the carpet. It was another dog.”

Obviously, our dog is a Jedi Master with incredible powers. Another example of her control, on our daily walks I know the names of all the neighborhood dogs (Andy, Lucky, Logan, Blue, Riley, Spot and Dusty), but I rarely remember their owners.  Humans just don’t seem important anymore.

Then there’s the feeding schedule. My husband and I are slaves to it. There’s breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks between walks, pees… and sometimes for no reason at all. Occasionally there’s the double feed. After I feed Frankie, she will often use the Dog Force on my poor husband. “There wasn’t any kibble in this bowl. You will fill the bowl now. You live to fill the bowl. Burp!” Obi-Wan Kenobi had no idea what he was unleashing on us!

So, does your Bloodhound or dog have similar powers? I’d love to hear from you. If I don’t reply to your responses right away, it’s because I have an overwhelming urge to feed the dog a third lunch and rub her belly for an hour.

Jamie Brazil is a contemporary fiction author.  Her comedic romance novel, Prince Charming, Inc., is a Night Owl Romance “Top Pick.”  

Why I Won’t Kiss My Bloodhound

I know lots of people shower their pristine lap dogs in smooches. Somehow, purse-sized canines seem so much more hygienic than my Bloodhound. I’m not against kissing dogs. Though my lips have NOT touched this mug, plenty of other lips have!

Little girls love hound dogs.

Strolling past a neighbor’s house today, I saw him putting away his garbage cans. When he saw me walking my dog he shouted out her name. Not mine. No one remembers my name. For miles around I’m only known as “Frankie’s mom.” The neighbor then paced over and told me how his grand daughter’s constantly ask about Frankie Rose.

Last summer, when the girls were visiting, they’d race out to greet my Bloodhound. Once, as they drove past us, they forced their Grandpa to stop his truck. The girls piled out of the cab, threw their arms around Frankie and smothered her in kisses. The littlest one hung off my dog’s ears. Frankie just sat there, thumping her tail, basking in the attention.

I love hound dogs, too. Exercise, nutritious food, and big, soft dog beds is love. So is stability and routine. I talk to her throughout the day. She’s a great listener. If I’ve tired her out with exercise, she’ll lay at my feet as I type. If I haven’t, I’m scouring the house for hound-projects in the form of kibble-filled Kongs, rawhide chewies or hidden “stuffies” for her hunt down. All so I can get some work done on the computer. This is love.

Just don’t ask me to kiss my Bloodhound. The last time I kissed a dog was in 2008. My husband and I took Max, a Pitbull/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, for a final walk around the garden. He’d been sick for weeks. Recovery wasn’t in the cards. Even though he hadn’t eaten in days, he pretended to want a cookie treat. He peed on his favorite stump, despite his hobbled gait. We told him what a privilege it had been to know him, to love him. Before he made that final trip to the vet, I kissed my boy goodbye.

2015 Post Script: Frankie Rose passed away after a sudden illness on November 1st, 2014. We had to make the very difficult decision of putting her to sleep. Frankie passed at home, in our arms. Dr. Deborah Rotman was the attending veterinarian. And yes, I kissed my beloved Bloodhound as her eyes slowly closed one last time.