"There is no coming to consciousness without pain"
Well, I just got here. That's not really true anymore, but all this still feels new and exploration-worthy to me.
I'm not really good with this whole 'talk about myself' affair, so if you'd want to know what, why and how I got into all of this, please read the story of my personal ascension.
I definitely seem to have developed a passion for body suspension. And because this community seems to be THE place to be to live that passion, I decided to join your little world here. I want to learn as much as I can about it.
No Forum - but I like getting messages. And don't be afraid of the tracking thingie; it doesn't bite.
12/13/2010 | 9 comments
OK, so I said in my last entry I'd post more 'tomorrow'.. Well, it's been a few more days, but then, I've been busy. Anyway, here's part two of the "get-to-know" visit I paid my dog-to-be two weeks ago at the shelter in Spain where she lives at. I hope I'm not boring anyone with all those doggie things lately, but that's what's moving me lately.
I was positively surprised by how this facility is run - things are as good as they get, given the limited resources they have, financially and staffing-wise. There's about 90 dogs there (plus ~50 cats who roam around freely). Jorda and her daughter Santa live in a cage about 3*2m (9*6ft), and apart from occasional walks, which are done by volunteers almost exclusively on weekends that's where they spent all of last year. All I know from her previous history apart from the DOB in her chip is that she was living at a factory in the nearby town of Manresa where she was 'employed' as a guard dog (hahahaha, she's very friendly and didn't bark at all while in my care. Definitely not your average guard dog...). The factory had to close in late 2008 and the dogs were simply abandoned and left to their own devices before being brought to the shelter. I had no idea if she ever experienced life in a house as a family pet, I didn't know if she was used to city life or was even house trained. And the descriptions of her character and personality were pretty vague and not really helpful - apart from that she was supposed to be "incompatible with cats" I didn't know anything.That's why I wanted to visit her - to find out if we would get along and to see if she would fit in with my living situation. Well, what can I say? I fell in love with her the moment I saw her picture on the rescue site, and over the course of the weekend there was nothing to change this my first impression. She's a really beautiful creature, rather quiet and stately - far from the overly exuberant behavior most dogs exhibit when excited.
Anyway, I took her and Santa on a long hike on Saturday, and it was evident both of them were enjoying this far-too rarely time away from their confinements. My arms were sore from them pulling on the leash so hard, and my feet were displaying blisters so much did we do! I was firmly instructed to exercise extreme caution with her when it came to encounters with other dogs, as she was supposed to be extremely aggressive towards them. And she was, oh my - she tried to charge towards those other dogs with no good intentions at all, and it took quite some effort to drag her away from the scene. I envisioned myself needing to do socialization training with her before I could safely walk anywhere with her already. Oh well... Apart from those incidents, we had a lot of fun, and we all enjoyed the trip a lot. I dispensed a whole bag of treats, too :)
And then I returned them to the shelter, and when I handed the leash to the staff and nobody had control of it for a few seconds, she used that opportunity to escape and *boom* charge after a cat that was moving somewhere. The cat ended up on the roof, unscathed, and about twenty or thirty cats in the vicinity frantically tried to escape the scene and seek cover or climb something. It was just too funny, and totally worth it to climb a ladder and rescue the cat from up there... I returned to Barcelona, where I had plans of exploring the city and do some sightseeing, but I was so tired from the days' adventures that I went to sleep immediately.
Sunday, I repeated the process of taking a long hike with both of them and then took Jorda with me when I went back to my Barcelona hotel right on the beach. And what should I say, that went swimmingly and she was just plain perfect! The car ride - she went in the car, laid down on the back seat and happily enjoyed the ride. So no problems there at all. Upon arriving, she immediately checked out everything in the room, and after that was finished, it was time our first outing at the beach. Well, and the next positive surprise - her aggressiveness was totally gone! There was no attacking other dogs at all - just the usual sniffing out and playing with each other! You cannot imagine how relieved I felt! Apparently this behavior is reserved to the dogs at the shelter she's forced to live with. Or some protective thing for Santa? Who knows.
She also seems to be familiar with city life. Cars and traffic (you have to cross a four-lane highway between the beach and the hotel), people, cyclists, joggers - all that left her totally cool. I could leave the leash extended to its 5 meter length all the time and didn't have to worry about her at all! Sooo good! Then it was back to the hotel - dinner time for her!
After a quick nap (for her, while I typed the last entry) it was time for another to find me something to eat...Spain is everything but a dog-friendly country. They are not allowed ANYWHERE. Not in trains (or all public transport), not in restaurants and not in 99% of all hotels (also not on the beaches, but that's only enforced in summer). I selected the hotel I stayed at because it was supposedly "pet friendly", allowed dogs and didn't charge extra for them. Well, despite being told the contrary when I enquired about it when I made the reservation, this "friendliness" did not include the restaurant - no dogs allowed in there. So I had to go elsewhere for dinner, and choose to walk down the beach to a McDonalds where I could get take out and eat it in the park above the beach. Well, did you know that in order to be served food at the drive-in counter there you had to come by car or motorbike? They didn't let me order outside, and so I had to leave her chained next to the entrance and leave her. I didn't want to do that! Apparently, this joint is some kind of hot nightspot for the local youth (it was packed!), and Jorda attracted a lot of attention among the crowd of young people hanging out there. A group of girls offered to watch and take care of her while I was inside. Man, this felt so uncomfortable (and now I totally I can understand how you felt about Sabrina when we had that argument about the homeless guy - it really makes a difference! Sorry!) . Anyway, I got my food and we took off. Guess who had vegetarian burger, and who got to eat the meat, though. :)
Having her sleep next to me was a very comforting feeling. I just wonder what she did at her tenure as a guard dog - whenever there was someone walking past our room on the corridor she raised her head and went into 'attentive' mode, and once she even got up and went to the door - but never let out a sound. No barking. How great - I have a non-barking dog! That will keep my neighbors happy...
The next morning, I had to log in to work and do some stuff - while she sat at my feet and had this totally reproachful yet cute look on her face that said "what are you doing there - come on, let's go outside and let me have some fun!
And that's what we did shortly thereafter. Side note: she IS house-trained. She did her poopy business the moment we were outside, on the first available opportunity. Another huge moment of relief for me.
Well, and then it was time to return her to Manresa. She entertained the whole hotel by refusing to go into the elevator when we went back up before checking out. That must have been a funny sight - me inside , her outside, on the other side of the leash, not budging. No amount of enticing her succeeded in getting her enterring that thing. Before, she didn't like riding in it and was visibly scared of the movements it made especially getting underway and stopping but always made no fuss about going in. This time, I had to drag her in....
Anyway, we arrived back at the shelter, and I got Santa and we did a farewell hike together. She was so very happy to see her daughter and vice-versa!
But then it was time to leave. That was the worst part. Now, I don't think of myself as a very emotional person, but the sight of seeing these two creatures in their cage looking at me with this sadness in their eyes made me almost lose it. I still get teary-eyed just looking at that last picture.
Now, if this isn't saying "what are you leaving me here? Get me out of here!" ... so heart-wrenching.
Well, I'll be back there ten days from now and take her home for good. This will be the best Christmas present to myself EVER. Hopefully, I'll be able to find someone who will adopt Santa (her daughter) also.
I cannot wait for Dec. 23 to arrive!
11/29/2010 | 9 comments
too tired to write much - will update this with proper words tomorrow, after getting home.
I'm the happiest person ever right now. As I write this, Jorda - my new dog - is lying right next to me on the floor, sleeping. Yes, that means the "get-to-know" visit was a total success, and it did indeed "click" when I saw her standing behind the bars of her cage at the shelter.
Here's a few pictures for you to enjoy:
The other dog is Santa, her daughter - who I'm not feeling good
about leaving there. They've been inseparable since her birth and
always been together. A solution must be found other than me taking
both of them. Can't (and do not want) do that. They are quite a team -
and man, can they pull on that leash!
The cat got on the roof as a result of Jorda escaping when handing over the leash to the staff after the first walk. Oh my, we will have some fun when she's home with me. There's many free-roaming cats where I live. That scene caused quite some commotion among the 90-something dogs and 50-something cats in the facility.
The beach is directly across from the hotel. I'm staying in Barcelona, whereas the shelter is about 60 kms/45 miles (a 45-minute drive) away in Manresa, a small town in the mountains behind Barcelona.
11/27/2010 | 0 comments
In a couple of hours, I'm off to the airport en route to Spain
where I'll spend a long weekend with my dog-to-be. I haven't been as
excited about anything for a very long time. Packed more dog stuff
(treats, toys, brand-new leash...) than things for myself. Oh, and a
ton of Swiss chocolate for the shelter staff :). They even added
"reservada" to her adoption page on the 'net now.
Wish me luck, and I'll report back with tons of pictures soon!
10/25/2010 | 8 comments
While browsing the 'net, I came upon the Holstee manifesto:
So very true. I've got nothing to add. And it's proof that life can well be reduced to very simple things.
I think I'll have that printed in poster size, frame it and hang it on my bedroom wall.
Life is good.
10/17/2010 | 11 comments
This morning I received an email from Allen asking me if it was OK that I appeared in a video which was produced from the footage shot at this years' Dallas suscon. My initial reaction was *SHOCK* and "NO WAY" (You see, this whole hanging from hooks thing is very private to me. Nobody outside this community knows about this part of my life, and I'd like to keep it that way.)
However, after seeing the actual video, I gave it some thought and came to the conclusion that I should embrace the fact that my love of body suspensions is there to stay and I should leave the paranoia behind for good.
Besides, the video is very well made, and I should rightfully be proud of being in it. And I am. This is part of "Feet off the Ground", a grand documentary project dedicated to suspensions, and, in the words of those responsible for its creation Dedicated to making a contribution to our community and the world at large.
And isn't making a contribution what we all should do in our lives?
Even logically, saying "no" here would not make any sense. First, I'm visible there for all of five seconds (together with LotN, doing our spinning beam suspension), and then, anyone who'll be watching this needs to be interested in the subject at least enough to watch the first five minutes...