Archive for August, 2018

I sat for these two dogs for two weeks recently (with the company of my tiny white dog Toni) – and fell for them.  And they fell for me – because I fed them and I am a person and dogs love people.  

Adorable is wild and woolly – she loves me in a joyous way.  She jumps on me with her muddy paws and leaves muddy streaks down my helpless short pants.  It would be worse in the late fall with long pants. I barely protest. It so sweet and funny – she loves with such abandon.2 dogs and a foot.jpg

Mighty mopes in the corner of the yard – under the playground set, digging hard.  In the bushes. She comes closer only to hide under the chaise lounge with the red cushions.  She comes closer still to give her love/ask for love by rubbing her head against my legs (no jumping here), twisting her head to look at me upside down – do you love me now?

They are a perfect team, with all their difference.  They run up to the gate next to the back door to bark furiously – though in no way menacingly – at some imaginary person or dog next door.  Alternately, they race to the boards up on top of the hot tub to protect the perimeter from some other imaginary interloper.two dogs hunting.jpg

They both resisted food the first three days I sat for them, just to test my confidence in them.  They knew they would eat eventually, but I didn’t know it. Likewise, the only one occasion when they refused to come out of their crate, it was just to mess with me.  Go ahead, put us in this crate – we’re not afraid of no crate. We’ll stay in this crate longer than you can tolerate – you’ll break before we do.

When they came around and acted healthy again – ate normal, came out of their crate like any healthy dog would do – it was not for me, though they later (only later) came to love me.  It was because they love you, their people – Mary, Pat and Zelda. They love you with a passion. They love me only because I am a shadow of you.3 dogs closer.jpg

They love you because dogs are bred to love people and because you represent for them the best that people have to offer.  And part of the best that people have to offer is to love dogs the way you love them: Adorable Lover and Mighty Hunter.  Your wonderful dogs, who you loan briefly to me – the dog sitter – lucky dog that I am.

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Saturday, September 29, 5:30-9:30.
Battery Park Apartments, 1 Battle Square, downtown Asheville 28801, out the north side of the Grove Arcade
reach me: heymajo@gmail.com, 828-582-9822.

Have you been in the elegant and historic Battery Park Apartments?front taller still.jpgLobby

The lobby?

Lobby 2

The glamorous 13th floor Roof Garden penthouse party room?roof garden

Out on the western facing balcony to see the mountains – including Mt. Pisgah to the left (out of sight from this photo, but very visible from the balcomy) – and sometimes a great sunset?west balcony.jpg

Or the eastern facing balcony to capture the art-deco City Hall or the much more mundane County Building?east balcony.jpg

Have you ever helped me to warm this house in my fifth floor western (Canton) and northern (Montford) facing apartment #503?  Most likely not – I’ve just been here for three months.  If you know anything about my gypsy ways over the last year, you will know what a big deal it is for me to warm this house.west from my apartment.jpg

Three big windows facing west.


One big window facing Montford to the north.

Help us to eat potluck (5:30-6:30 – extra points for not bringing hummus and crackers), dance the night away to the music of locally famous DJ Kutzu (two sets – 6:30-7:30 and 8:30-9:30), feast on my poetry (7:30-8:30, or go hang out on the balcony). Hang out in my cozy apartment #503. Sign the journal – leave a wish for me and my house.

Building rules say to vacate the party room by 9:30.  Stop by my apartment #503.  Let’s party late if we feel so inspired.

Don’t be intimidated by all the talk of no parking downtown on a Saturday night.  Allow 10 extra minutes for a little walk and park on a Montford neighborhood side street or there will be parking behind the Visitor Center on Montford Avenue no matter how many tourists or what country singer is playing at the Civic Center.

Children and partner friendly – as long as they are friendly.  This very festive evening will all be too much for my hyper-sensitive (and sick) little yorkipoo doggie Toni, so she will be playing elsewhere that night (aside from the poetry – she and her sitter Diana love my poetry).  Tony hello.jpg

No drinking in this church-affiliated building, except in private apartments like mine (leave me a beer as a souvenir if it’s an imperial stout or a Belgian ale, take any extras home if they are IPA’s).  Wine drinkers should not look for help from me – it would be a waste of good wine. No smoking even in private apartments, but you can go out by the sidewalk if you got ’em.

The building requires that the front door be locked at all times, so we need eight 30-minute greeters.  Do it with your partner or pair up with a friend – or just get off on meeting people. Greeting is a sacred act.  Let me know if you are interested.  heymajo@gmail.com.

RSVP if you would (so redundant), so I know who to get excited about seeing and who I will need to see another time.


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Happy birthday Toni!

Wednesday I took Toni to a new vet, at a different veterinary practice, to get a second opinion about her congestive heart failure.  If you are going to get such a serious diagnosis, that will go with her through life, it seems necessary to get a second opinion. Here’s what, for me, came out of that meeting:

  1. Our current vet is doing all the right things, including giving all the right four meds.
  2. It doesn’t need to be a real expensive process, unless you go to a cardiologist for a second opinion.  That will cost a lot of money and almost certainly gain nothing.  The meds will be expensive.
  3. She’s not going to get better – you need to just keep her comfortable and happy.  This sounded suspicious.
  4. She will probably live another 1-3 years.  Sometimes a dog will live longer, but it’s not common.  I really knew this was bogus.  We don’t want to condemn a person to 1/2/3 years to live (although doctors do it) – why do it with a dog?
  5. The vet had all kinds impressive scientific-sounding things to say, but I mostly couldn’t understand him.kitchen carpet

Thursday, yesterday, we had our previously scheduled follow up with our vet.  Here’s what came out of that meeting with a very impressive vet filling in for our regular person:

  1. “I don’t think we are doing everything right: we’ve got her on eye drops for glaucoma and I think that was mis-diagnosed.  If you take her off of those, there’s one less hassle and a little less money.”  Big sigh of relief.  I’ve been finding it impossible to get those drops in her eyes and mostly quit already.
  2. “You are paying a lot to compound this one med in liquid form.  A pill would be a lot cheaper.  Can you get a pill down her?”  “Before we started her on this exact steroid medicine, she was such a picky eater that there was no reliable way to get a pill down. Now she eats like a hound.”
  3. “You described that over the last three days she actually did get better.  What’s different? Is there a change in her diet?  Is she getting less salt?” “In fact, yes, so many people have told me she needs less salt that in the last few days I’ve been reducing the salty foods.”  “OK, let’s keep it up – maybe she can get better.”
  4. “I wish that other doctor had not told you that 1-3 years business.  Lots of dogs live a long time with congestive heart failure.  We don’t know how long she’s going to last.”  This jibes with what lots of people have told me – that their dog lived a long time with heart disease.
  5. This vet, like our regular person, went out of her way to explain everything to me – and mostly I could understand her.  cookie

Today is Toni’s 10th birthday.  It has felt very festive.  For dinner she had beef eye of round from the Earth Fare deli – probably too salty, but a treat on a special day.  It’s her fourth day of being more perky – she seemed to have a happy day. She may not have another ten years in her, but who knows how many?  If she’s happy and well-loved, that may not only increase her quality of life in the present, but also give her more of a future.



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A close friend said to me the other day, “When you were a cashier at Earth Fare supermarket those last four years, you did so much more than sell groceries.  You were always looking for ways to affirm your customer.  You were really a blessing for them.  Why would it be a surprise that your pet sitting should go way beyond what people think of in that work?”

I recognize that I do more, that I want to offer more.  I send a text message with a new photo every time I look in on a pet.  Because I’m a writer, these text messages have some significant content.  I shine a positive light on the pet – point out their beauty.  IMG_0140

IMG_20180821_104310574.jpgIMG_20180822_090958602.jpgWhen this is a regular customer or they give me a big job, I write a commissioned poem about their pet.  These commissioned poems retail for $100 and totally are a blessing on the animal – and the person’s relationship with the animal.

I love the house – take good care of it, bless it.

I bless the family – want for them to have enchanted relationships with their pets, want for them to have a happy household.  At Earth Fare, I was never content with swiping groceries.  A recent pet sitting customer said she wanted me for the job partly because she remembered having special conversations with me at Earth Fare.

I am grateful to have this work: to spend time with beautiful animals, in a beautiful house, for beautiful families.

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