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Archive for June, 2013|Monthly archive page

Thanks, teachers, but shut your traps

In Education, Education advocacy, Pedagogy, School reform on Saturday, 29 June 2013 at 07:37

Thanks, teachers, but shut your traps

Shawn Vestal The Spokesman-Review

June 28, 2013 in City

Once again, the mask of “educational reform” has slipped to reveal its real face: anger toward teachers.

Anger toward teachers – always prefaced, conditioned, softened and front-loaded with B.S. – is perhaps the single biggest factor motivating those who don’t want to pay for schools. Every now and then, this might slip our minds as we listen to the rhetoric of “reformers” – who talk about bringing technology into the classrooms, empowering principals, disempowering unions, grading and punishing schools, raising standards, setting priorities, etc.

At bottom, it’s simply anger toward teachers. Summers off! Health benefits! Paid vacations! Who do they think they are, these teachers? At bottom, it’s conviction that the real problem with education is that teachers are too well-paid, too lavishly rewarded for doing such a lousy job, and, even worse, that they don’t really care about children.

They are selfish, these teachers.

Rep. Liz Pike, a Camas Republican, is the latest to let her sneering anger show through the mask. Pike posted a Facebook rant that quickly made the online rounds this week in which she nastily and sarcastically insulted teachers who want a cost-of-living raise. I don’t know if there’s room in the budget for this raise, but it’s surely unsurprising that the teachers themselves would want one.

Still, you get the sense that Liz Pike is a teensy bit sick of it.

“I spent the morning answering emails from constituents,” her Facebook post begins. “I receive a lot of emails from teachers complaining about their cost of living increases being suspended.

“Here’s an open letter to public educators!

“Congratulations on enjoying your last day of the school year. If I had the opportunity to choose my career all over, I would have opted to get the necessary degree and teaching certificate so that I too could enjoy summertime off with my children, spring break vacations, Christmas break vacations, paid holidays, a generous pension and health insurance benefits.

“Instead, I chose to work a career in private sector business so that I could be one of those tax payers who funds your salaries and benefits as a state employee in a local school district.”

One gets the sense that Pike feels insufficiently thanked for being a business owner. Insufficiently lauded.

She continued:

“First, let me be clear, thank you for your service to our schools. I hope you are one of the excellent instructors who is inspiring our children to reach their full intellectual potential and learn the value of true leadership in our community. I hope you are one of the brightest and best in your teaching profession who is willing to raise the bar in our public education system that unfortunately continues to plummet when compared to worldwide education standards. The big difference between the U.S. public education system and others in the world is that we have unions that only care about the adults in the system. Since the rise of teachers’ unions in this nation, our public education system has deteriorated.

“I always encourage folks to choose a job they love! If you are uninspired because of the lack of a cost of living increase, I encourage you to speak with your neighbors who work in the private sector. Ask them when was the last time they were guaranteed pay increases that were not based on performance standards. Furthermore, teachers who are dissatisfied with their pay and benefits should look for work elsewhere so that someone who is inspired to greatness can take their place in the classroom. Our children deserve an exceptional and inspired teacher in every classroom. Don’t you agree? …

“To every excellent teacher in Clark County. Thank you for the great work you are doing in our classrooms. Enjoy your summer!”

Pike seems to have a foggy grasp on the questions surrounding the unionization of teachers in other countries, but hey – there’s some excellent advice in there among the misinformed anger against teachers. Choose a job you love. Choose a job you love – and abandon any expectation that your pay might keep up with inflation. Choose a job you love – and never dare to question the wisdom of those who set your pay. Choose a job you love – and shut the hell up.

Unless, I suppose, you’re a business owner. Then you should go around begging for breaks from the state and whining about your burden, every day, all day.

Pike owns an advertising firm and an organic farm, which sells eggs and produce. Farms enjoy – and perhaps deserve – a wide range of tax breaks under our state tax system, for everything from bull semen to chicken bedding. This last one is meaningful to Pike – those who raise chickens pay no sales taxes for wood-shavings or for the propane used to heat chicken houses.

Upon taking office as a lawmaker last fall, she instantly sought to extend the propane tax break to greenhouses. First things first. The owners of greenhouses apparently do not love their job enough – do not find themselves sufficiently inspired to greatness – that they don’t want a little boost in their pocketbook.

She urges her constituents to support – and hug! – local farmers. She noted in a legislative update: “They are forced to compete with cheap imported produce from other parts of the world.”

Forced to compete! If only they could have chosen a job that they loved.

Shawn Vestal can be reached at (509) 459-5431 or shawnv@spokesman.com. Follow him on Twitter at @vestal13.

Retrieved from: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/jun/28/thanks-teachers-but-shut-your-traps/

ADHD Meds Don’t Raise Risk of Drug Abuse in Adulthood: Review

In ADHD, ADHD Adult, ADHD child/adolescent, ADHD stimulant treatment on Sunday, 23 June 2013 at 10:14

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/05/29/adhd-meds-dont-raise-risk-of-drug-abuse-in-adulthood-review

Education Chief Lets States Delay Use of Tests in Decisions About Teachers’ Jobs

In Education, Education advocacy, School reform, Special Education on Thursday, 20 June 2013 at 12:23

Education Chief Lets States Delay Use of Tests in Decisions About Teachers’ Jobs

By MOTOKO RICH

Published: June 18, 2013

Acknowledging that the nation’s educators face large challenges in preparing students for more rigorous academic standards and tests, Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, told state education officials on Tuesday that they could postpone making career decisions about teachers based on performance evaluations tied to new tests.

Rick West/Daily Herald, via Associated Press

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said “the rollout of new, higher, state-selected standards will continue on pace.”

Mr. Duncan wrote in a letter to state education officers that they could delay using teacher evaluations that incorporate test results for “personnel determinations” by another year, until 2016-17. The postponement was in response to growing complaints from teachers’ unions and school administrators that they were being held accountable for results on tests before they had time to adjust to new curriculum standards.

Over the past 18 months, states have agreed to adopt new “college and career ready” standards for mathematics and reading and to tether teacher performance ratings partly to student achievement on standardized tests based on those new standards. These changes are part of an agreement with the Department of Education that allowed states to qualify for waivers from No Child Left Behind, the signature Bush-era federal education law.

Most states were at risk of violating the most onerous provisions of that law, which required that all children be proficient in math and reading by 2014. The waivers relaxed that requirement in exchange for agreement by the states on a timeline for instituting the new standards and teacher evaluations.

As states have scrambled to revise their public school curriculums and develop the new performance ratings, teachers have complained that they have not had time to learn how to bring the new standards into their classrooms before being subjected to new tests. They have also protested that they are in effect forced to teach one curriculum in the morning and another in the afternoon, because some states are still administering old tests while introducing new standards.

Teachers’ unions have fought with education officials and lawmakers over the proper role of standardized tests in public schools and, most controversially, in individual ratings of teachers. A backlash against high-stakes testing has also been building in several states, including New York, Texas and Washington. And legislators and Tea Party critics in states including Indiana and Michigan have said that the federal Education Department has pushed the new standards on states without consulting teachers or parents.

In April, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, warned that the new standards could be consigned to the “dustbin of history” and proposed that teachers be given a year to master the new curriculums before test results counted in tenure or other personnel decisions, including possible firings.

In his letter to state education chiefs, Mr. Duncan wrote that he appreciated “both the courage to tackle so many challenges at once and the burdens this imposes on frontline educators.”

The department will now allow states to apply, in effect, for waivers from their waivers. States that are introducing new tests will also be relieved of having to give both new and old tests in the same school year.

“This decision ensures that the rollout of new, higher, state-selected standards will continue on pace,” Mr. Duncan said in a statement, “but that states that need it will have some flexibility in when they begin using student growth data for high-stakes decisions.”

In a conference call with reporters, Mr. Duncan insisted that Tuesday’s announcement did not amount to a “pause or moratorium” in introducing new standards, tests or performance evaluations.

Some education policy groups expressed disappointment. Daria Hall, K-12 policy director at the Education Trust, a nonprofit group that advocates for racial minority students and low-income children, said the evaluations would be introduced without any teeth. “So you’re saying set up a system that tells us we have teachers who aren’t up to it, but don’t do anything about it for another year,” she said.

In an interview, Ms. Weingarten said she welcomed the flexibility. “It’s a big recognition that you have to actually prepare people to do the work that they need to do when you’ve asked them to do something fundamentally different,” she said, adding, “You can’t lead with measurement and testing.”

Some states have already put teacher evaluation systems in place and may begin using them to make decisions about raises, tenure or staff changes earlier. New York, for example, already rolled out new tests based on the more rigorous standards this year and has begun carrying out teacher evaluations in most of the state. Mitchell D. Chester, commissioner of elementary and secondary education in Massachusetts and the president of the Council of Chief State School Officers, said he hoped the secretary would guard against further extensions. “Inertia is a powerful force you can’t overestimate,” Mr. Chester said. “So I do worry that any signals on delays really do allow folks to hope that new evaluation programs are not implemented.”

A version of this article appeared in print on June 19, 2013, on page A15 of the New York edition with the headline: Education Chief Lets States Delay Use of Tests in Decisions About Teachers’ Jobs.

Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/education/us-lets-states-delay-using-tests-to-rate-teachers.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

yellow tennis ball…

In Animal Rescue, Life with dogs, Mindfulness, Pets on Monday, 10 June 2013 at 08:18

this is difficult for my skeptic mind to process, but i can’t really think of another explanation…

as i write this, i am simply dumbfounded.  i had been reading a lot about dog reincarnation, the various ways they might try and communicate to their people and reading if there is any merit  to dog reincarnation at all.  i kept reading that there would be a sign, a gut instinct, some kind of ‘pull’ you get, but most people also had some definitive sign, something that made them sure.  while, as i wrote before in my story of baloo and jude, there are so many signs that make me think jude is baloo.  i think one of the biggest for me was when i said baloo’s name in that funny and distinct way that he knew and would always respond to while all the puppies were sleeping and jude jumped up and then fell right back asleep while the others slept the whole time.  being that puppies at that age (4 days) cannot see or hear, i thought that was my most obvious sign and maybe the most obvious one i would get. but, i also knew that all the signs that made me feel as if jude and baloo were connected somehow (if not one in the same) were made by my interpretations.  some of the stories i read from others who believed in dog reincarnation and, in fact, had experienced this spoke of very distinctive signs.  but… baloo was never one for grand gestures.  still, all day yesterday after my research on dog reincarnation, i started wondering if i was wishing and hoping so much that i might be making more of it than it really was.  i also wished and wished for a sign.  a real sign.  something that would tell me that jude is THE ONE.  but…i was happy enough with my thinking this whole adventure had baloo’s hand (paw) in it and that if i believed it to be, no matter what, this experience was starting to heal a bit of my heart by just feeling him again.  i was just so grateful to have another chance, be it baloo or not, but another chance to ‘do it over’ and give jude all the love i gave baloo, but the beauty to be able to ‘know him’ from day one and have him never leave my side.

well, as i said, i am completely gobsmacked right now.  i came downstairs as i do every morning to bring martha her extra special breakfast (along with her extra special lunch and dinner and a bowl that is always full.  she needs to put on weight and i am sure trying to help her!), jude was lying on the spot i sit on whenever i am with the pups.  it’s a bunch of pillows right next to the baby pool.  “okay,” i thought, “that is interesting that she had him with her on the pillows, but maybe he needed some extra food or something.”  it was an odd coincidence to me, but since there have been so many of those, i didn’t make a huge deal out of it.  i kind of took it as a sign that maybe she was saying, “here’s YOUR baby” or just that it was what it was, jude was waiting for his other mama  so, i put him back, checked on everyone, gave martha her breakfast, and started to change the blankets in the pool.  i was just sitting down in my spot to get on the computer to post some “day 10” photos and there was a lump in the middle of the baby pool.  maybe i didn’t spread some of the blankets flat down.  i pressed on it and it was hard.  i had to pick the pool up to get to it.  not an easy thing to do when there are nine puppies sleeping in it!  as i write this part, i really don’t believe it myself, truly.  there are things i believe, but this was too much.  especially for me, the self-proclaimed skeptic who finds much to agree with in the writings of descartes and hume and their philosophical theory of skepticism.  although, none of us should live a life of radical skepticism…we’d go crazy.  check out pragmatism and dewey.  but, I digress.

under the pool, right in the middle, was a yellow tennis ball.  first, let me say that when baloo passed i got rid of all his balls.  no one else liked to fetch or even play with them and they reminded me of him.  funny thing is, he LOVED the ‘real’ tennis balls.  he would play with whatever ball was around (or any round object that could be a ball), but given the choice, he liked the ‘real’ ones and would choose those over the others.  about 4 months ago, i had been given some toys as a donation and there were a ton of balls.  these balls were made for dogs and came in all sorts of colors.  they were not the ‘real’ tennis balls, the bright yellow ones.  they are the only ones i had in my house.  trust me, i looked all over after baloo passed.  so, all i can say is that, to me, THIS is the sign i needed.  jude being right on ‘my’ spot this morning coupled with the bright yellow tennis ball hiding in the middle of the pool…i can’t find a reason to deny that baloo is here either in spirit or soul.

i do live behind some tennis courts, but they are so far away that, much to baloo’s dislike as he would hear all those balls being hit over and over and unable to get even one, they never make it over the fence.  i’m not going to completely deny that could happen but i was never lucky enough to find any in the yard for my baloo.  okay, so if that did happen for the first time in the ten years  i have lived in this house, then maybe martha brought it in to play with.  but…while i tend to be very pragmatic in my thinking, i can’t see any way she would have been able to lift the pool (with all her babies in there) and place the ball in the middle of the pool.  trust me, when i try to move the pool, it’s heavy to me, so that would surely be a feat for her to accomplish!  so, i am done looking for signs.  done trying to feel or see something that would convince me even more than the signs i was possibly interpreting to give support to the strong feelings i have about this whole situation.

in my mind, there is just no way this could be pure coincidence.  why would martha have moved only jude to ‘my’ spot so that he would be there this morning when i came in?  i am sure there could be a reason for that, but i do find it odd that she picked jude.  but…the ‘real’ tennis ball?!?!?!  there is just no way she could have done that.  it was in the middle of the pool with the babies in it.  not to mention the fact that i have tried to throw the ‘dog balls’ to her and she, like all my others, has no interest.  she won’t even bring it back to me.  i have NO idea how that ball even got there.  there are many of the brightly colored dog balls outside in my attempts to get her to fetch, but no yellow ones.  and, as i said, i got rid of all baloo’s balls.  not to mention the ball is brand new.  it still has that new smell.  and, even if the ball was from the courts, how it got to be under the baby pool that must weigh over 20 pounds with all the babies in it is an absolute mystery.  well, maybe not a mystery.  maybe it’s just baloo.

i am done looking for confirmation.  i would have still been convinced jude and baloo are joined, but as i said, some of the stories and articles i’ve read about dog reincarnation say there will be a moment when something happens that is a sign from the pet that passed.  something undeniable. i knew all the things that made me ‘think’ baloo’s spirit or soul was in jude, but the usually very pragmatic, rational, and always looking for ‘proof’ person in me admits to wondering if i was making more out of all these ‘signs’ and they might merely be conicidences.  as i said, had that been the case, i was fine with it as i do look at it as a second chance to be able to do it all over again and just let myself believe.

i sit here completely and utterly dumbfounded.  i belived, but the skeptic in me had a bit of doubt.  i have no more skepticism.  i will no longer look for ‘signs’ in jude or his behavior to support what i believe; i will no longer doubt.  whether baloo’s soul chose to enter jude or this is the one that baloo wants to be my special boy, i have no doubts.  this, coupled with everything else, tells me my baloo is with me.  either in spirit or in jude, but he is here.  i cannot express my thoughts clearly enough.  i am shocked, grateful, amazed, comforted, and have so many emotions right now.  and I also have my sign.  my heart is full and i look forward to watching jude grow and become the dog that he is becoming.  and, in true baloo fashion, knowing his mom as well as he does, on an almost visceral level, he has given me my sign that he knew i needed.  as if to tell me to stop with even that tiny shred of doubt and just accept it.  he knows how difficult that is for me to blindly believe, so i think he was telling me to just shut up and let it be.  accept what i believe.  and love this little guy with all my heart.

once again, baloo, i am amazed by you.

10 june 2013

for more about martha and the pups please go to:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/512790242114895/

it is an open group and anyone can join.

my summer project…

In Animal Rescue, Animal Welfare, Humane Education, Life with dogs on Sunday, 9 June 2013 at 05:37

i work in the schools, so i am off for the summer and, as all of you who work in the schools know, we probably get even more excited about this time than the kids do!  my plan was to have a nice quiet summer, but someone else had other plans for me.  first, i want to share the following article:

Do Animals Reincarnate?

I Kuthumi greet you once more. I come in request to answer the question “Do animals have multiple lives as humans do?”

This is an interesting question and will be of interest to many. First I must tell you that all animals contain a consciousness.
Some species contain a more developed consciousness than others. Yet all behavior patterns stem from DNA and consciousness. Man has often thought of the elemental, plant, mineral and animal kingdoms as lower than himself. Yet all are part of creation and all contain consciousness.

All forms of life in God’s eyes are precious.

The answer to the question asked is yes, they do. The most familiar example I can give you is the dog, often known as your faithful companion. The soul of a dog evolves with each life time of experience. As the dog evolves in each lifetime, it usually forms a close bond with a human being, often more than one. As the dog cannot speak your language, it will communicate through energy and facial expressions.

Please remember I use the dog as a example. You often feel a dogs energy. One who is evolved will provide a peaceful energy as you rub your hand through it’s fur. Older people often receive great healing on an energetic level from an animal, they feel calm, peaceful in an evolved animal’s presence. Those who are unwell will often heal more quickly with the intermittent presence of a dog.

The dog has a very faithful nature to those whom it considers it’s family. Many times the dog will energetically take negative energy from your energy field. Of course if there is a lot of negative energy the dog can and will become ill, and sometimes even cross due to the great amount of negative energy it has “taken” from you. Many animals work on an energetic level, particularly the domestic dog and cat.

Those animals who remain in their native state, what you would term wild animals, do evolve, yet at a slower rate. Their consciousness is not as developed, so their focus is on survival and caring for their young.

Now the subject of incarnation. Let me continue with the example of the dog.

The more evolved the consciousness of the animal, the more they are able to communicate their feelings.

By this I mean of course the feelings of the emotional body. Feelings of love, grief, happiness, questioning – “why, why are you going away,” for example. Also feelings of great sadness. All of this the dog is able to communicate to you through your physical eyes and your own intuitive field of energy. So when a close relationship between a dog and a human is close, a bond is formed. This is similar to what you would experience with another human. You refer to these as “soul mates.” So you can have a dog, cat or horse as a soul mate also. Remember please that this occurs only in a close relationship with an animal of evolved consciousness.

Further, just as humans decide prior to incarnation to play a part in each others lives in the coming incarnation, so can animals with a human. The animal may not look the same as in it’s previous life. The fur may be a different color for example. It may be a different breed of dog. Yet they meet and the bond between dog and human is strengthened. Both are aware of a strong feeling of “knowing” the other. This is on the soul level, which is consciously felt as a “knowing.” Both have chosen this.

This is a higher level of consciousness for the dog. The dog incarnates through choice. At this level the life path is also known before incarnating. Life situations and circumstances will place the dog and human together at the correct time in both lives. The soul growth and purpose will flow as it is meant to.

Any karma owed is also experienced and we would hope, healed. So you see there are similar soul growth experiences for both human and dog.

Often an animal will reincarnate in one humans lifetime. You may recognize previous behavior patterns of a dog you thought had left you (died).

Yet the dog remembers on all planes, just as humans remember when they cross over. Just as you carry a soul imprint, including certain character traits, so does a dog. A cat is also capable of this. I tell you as I watch this one, Lynette, conducting a reading, I see pet animals coming forward to acknowledge the person along with loved ones crossed over. When they cross they all reside on the same plane you see.

Perhaps this is a timely reminder for mankind to respect all life forms. All play a part in the consciousness evolution of man and the planet. As you prepare to enter a year of Unity, of stepping forward in respect of one another, I ask you remember the many kingdoms who also share the planet- the elemental, plant, mineral and animal. I ask you develop a new awareness for these. It is not all about you – the human. No it is not. You must now begin to awaken your consciousness to sharing – with all. For all is part of God’s great creation.

Kuthumi

Retrieved from: http://www.kuthumischool.com/en/teachings/volume8/animals.php

and now this:

THE STORY OF BALOO AND JUDE…

 just in case you didn’t know ‘the story’ and why i KNOW i am keeping jude so soon, here it is (my apologies now, because i have a feeling this is going to be a long post).  baloo was my soul dog.  i have never felt a connection like i had with baloo.  i was doing rescue one day and all of a sudden i looked up and saw this little, all black, fuzzy puppy being brought through the parking lot to adoptions.  i cannot explain the exact feeling except to say part of my heart literally jumped out and landed in this baby.  he had not even gotten out of the parking lot (he was in his foster daddy’s arms).  i immediately went to see him and there was absolutely NO question he was coming home with me.  i have never felt a ‘pull’ like that…we were already connected.  i had always adopted adults because they can be more difficult to place, but i can’t explain it, i HAD TO have this pup. i already had my maggie and sadie, so i didn’t ‘need’ another dog.  the girls were bonded to each other so closely (in fact, maggie passed from brain cancer at 18 and sadie passed 3 weeks later…i always knew that would happen…sadie was 17 but in perfect health, she missed her sister.  i was comforted knowing they were together and they had lived wonderful lives).  for two 50-ish pound dogs, 17 and 18 is a very long life.  and it was a great one.

 anyway, i took home this puppy and it was love at first sight.  he was my rock and helped me through so many things.  some ‘quirks’ about baloo: he had this incredibly long tongue and it was usually out of his mouth; it was spotted, but only on one side; he was kind of a ‘loner’ and preferred me over other dogs; he loved chasing balls and would do so until he was literally lying on the ground so tired but still wanted to chase the ball.  when we went to the dog park, while maggie and sadie happily played with their friends, baloo would either chase the ball or be by my side; he became my running partner and we eventually worked up to 7 miles (it happened very slowly adding on a bit of distance at a time); as i said, he was my rock and always there to ‘lend an ear’ and knew exactly when i needed him. describing all his wonderful characteristics and amazing personality and abject outpouring of love that emanated from him  would take forever, but suffice to say, he was my heart and soul.   he could speak to me through his eyes and i always knew what he was saying.

 we spent 13 amazing years together.  when he lost use of his left side and was starting to refuse food or water, i knew it was near.  he had taken to sleeping downstairs because of his arthritis, but once i saw he was unable to use his side, i brought him up to the bedroom.  he kept trying to roll over on his ‘good’ side and try to go downstairs.  so, i placed him in the blue baby pool the puppies are now in so he would be safe.  baloo hated going to the vet when he got older and would shake and shake (this is a dog who was never scared of anything), so i promised him i would not take him if he was at all conscious because i could not make those his last moments.  i took off from work to be able to spend however long with him.  i also have to say that baloo was incredibly stubborn.  so, i knew when he absolutely refused food and i was giving him iv’s and water through a syringe i knew that he was telling me something.  i spent the next 72+ hours by his side at all times.  we talked, i held him, we sang songs.  this all started on a thursday evening.  by Sunday morning, he was even refusing to let me use the syringe.  i put my head to his head and asked him to please, somehow let me know.  this whole time he had been completely conscious, reacting to noises, my voice, etc., and i could not take him to the vet like that.  he would know. i told him that he had been the very best dog in the world and if he was ready, please let me know what to do as i could not and would not take him to the vet when he knew where he was.  as we were lying there on sunday, i looked into his eyes and told him i loved him but that mommy would be fine and he shouldn’t worry.  i swear that he had been looking directly in my eyes until i told him that.  all of a sudden, his eyes became glazed over and he would not respond to me or to any neural stimulation.  i placed the pool into the back of the car (suv) and held him on the trip, trying to get even a pupil reaction to tell me he was still conscious.  he did not respond and i could tell from his breathing that it was his time.  my vet came to the truck and he was already pretty much gone.  this is a dog that needed a baby needle to get at his veins and, even then, it took many, many tries and the vet got it on the first try (even more difficult to do when they are dehydrated…it was as if baloo was ‘letting’ this happen).

 during his last day, i promised him that, if he ever wanted to come back to me, i would somehow, somewhere find a black, flat coat, chow mix who was pregnant and the next thing to happen in that pool would be life and not death.  i told him to wait and come back then if he wanted.  at the time, i had NO IDEA where i would find a black, flattie/chow mama (or have the time off to be able to take care of a new mom and pups).  they are not exactly the most common mix.  then, the morning of my FIRST day off work for the summer, i saw a photo of martha.  seeing her on my very first morning off, i believe, was baloo’s doing.  i HAD TO have her!!!  i have fostered over 100 dogs and never had ‘that’ feeling, I do it because they need me, not that I need them.   i am pretty stoic and not prone to crying, but i immediately felt this fervor that she was going to be with me by hell or high water and i was crying the whole time in a panic that I would not be able to get her.  i knew aau was beyond full but i was willing to take her and however many puppies on as my own and figure it all out later.  a wonderful lady called dinema  can attest to the fact that i was a bit ‘insane’ about getting martha asap, as she was her contact at the shelter and i was in such a frenzy to get her i called dinema (likely waking her up) and was amazed she could tell what i was saying through my tears.  i also sent Martha through aau approvals BEGGING them to consider her, but also knowing that, no matter what, she would be with me and i would work out the details later.  next thing i know, i got an email almost immediately from Lisa (co-founder of angels among us pet rescue (aau) and unabashed golden and flattie lover).  all it said was “yes, we will take her.  meant to be.”  so, lisa got the next crying call thanking her for this knowing we were full and low on money.

 i truly believe (and, while some might think i am just putting coincidences together, i CHOOSE to believe-as a buddhist and as my soul dog’s mom) baloo made this happen.  i wasn’t prepared when i picked martha up from the vet.  i knew she looked like baloo and even had the spots on the same side of her tongue, but i was not prepared for the fact that she looked EXACTLY like baloo, even down to this ‘crease’ he had under his eyes that i haven’t seen in any dog but him.  she is baloo’s EXACT lookalike.   martha had her puppies and this one little guy would always inch his way over when i was around. not to mention, his tongue was always out like it was too big to fit in his mouth!  i felt a pull towards this tiny little man.  as the days have gone by, i have noticed certain things which make me sure it is either baloo or the new soul dog baloo has chosen for me so that i may start to heal.  jude is a loner, always preferring to sleep away from everyone else (unless he’s eating), just as baloo was. yesterday, they were all fast asleep after having just been fed.  i’m talking puppy snores, fat asleep.  anyway, i very quietly called baloo’s name in a way that i only did with him (i can’t even begin to explain it, but he always knew it and would come running…it’s pretty distinct).  i did that same thing and jude literally jumped up!  none of the other puppies even moved and i made sure to do it quietly so they woudn’t. i didn’t expect jude to react.  so, whether i am looking for things or this is truly from baloo, jude is my man.  he may end up looking like baloo and he may not, but i feel baloo’s spirit and know jude is special.  and that heart jump the day i saw baloo…i lost another piece when i first saw jude.  he was the first one i picked up to check when martha gave birth and he always wakes up when i enter the room. 

 sorry for the VERY LENGTHY post, but i wanted to tell baloo’s story as well as how i knew jude was going to be mine.  so, while i am so happy to have given martha and nine other lives safety, love, and a warm bed, i am not the one to thank.  the thanks goes to baloo. 

 i can only hope jude is even half the dog baloo was, but i love him unconditionally already.  my heart has never healed from losing him (nor do i think that part of my heart will ever heal…the part that leaped onto him when i saw him that first day), but i believe jude will help me to fill it a little bit.  i feel baloo’s touch all over this.  and baloo, i must say, your timing was PERFECT!

 martha and her puppes were rescued because of baloo and ten lives were saved because of him.  i miss him each and every day and hope i honor him with this family and in raising jude, as well as finding loving homes for them all.

 thanks for reading this far…if you did!  sorry, so long.  truthfully, i could go on about baloo and tell baloo stories for days. 

 ❤  I LOVE YOU, MY SOUL MATE AND LOVE OF MY LIFE, BALOO. ❤

***if you would like to follow the story of martha and her pups, please join ‘martha’s’ facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/512790242114895/

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