Archive for July, 2013

July 27, 2013

Am I back in Nuttah’s good graces??

A few days later, on Saturday, July 27, we were sitting outside in the morning having coffee on the deck with our “pack of dogs”. We were just relaxing with our coffee and enjoying the morning. (We try to keep our weekend mornings free to enjoy this kind of relaxation, because our week’s are so hectic with our jobs, responsibilities, etc… ) Looking over my saved photos from that particular day, it appears that I was inspired by a number of things, and below are the pictures I took.

First, there was a picture of Niko and "Red", lounging on the deck with us.

First, there was a picture of Niko and “Red”, lounging on the deck with us.

Then, I noticed a berry bush in our yard at full peak, and not only shot this picture, but ATE most of them.

Then, I noticed a berry bush in our yard at full peak, and not only shot this picture, but ATE most of them.

And then a snake appeared in our cedar wood pile, coming out to soak up some sun-rays.

And then a snake appeared in our cedar wood pile, coming out to soak up some sun-rays.

After this morning of relaxation, and after I took all the above photos, I came in the office to download them and found something that warmed my heart. NUTTAH HAD RETURNED!! And not only was SHE back, but I was back too (my character), and all the missing figurines had returned. We had all been missing for almost 3 weeks. Below is the picture of the “display” I found on my desk. It is not so obvious, because you can only see the back of it, but that white piece in front of “me” is Nuttah’s papoose turned around to face us. I am in front of a wolf-pup, and Duke/Tëme, and also the bark-hut that I had totally forgotten about (and have no idea where that was either). There are turtles arranged in the front, and then Bob’s special stone in the lower right of the picture. Does this mean that I am back in Nuttah’s good graces? Is she just happy that we adopted Red? Hope so; all was right with the world after this. Bob expressed disbelief… he actually thought we would never see the missing things again. (After Bob disappeared the other time that Nuttah was angry, I ended up having to make him a new character. His original one was never returned).

Nuttah Returns! I must have been back in her good graces.

Nuttah Returns! I must have been back in her good graces.

July 23, 2013

“Red” Gets Formally Introduced

As I keep mentioning, I have for the last year been in “catch-up mode” with these posts, and I am always posting about 3 – 5 months after the event actually happened. The last one about the arrival of “Red” was no exception; the actual date I write is October 18, 2013. (Only 3 months behind now!) The reason that I mention that here, is because I think the 3-month perspective is interesting to note: it is very clear to me now that I re-read and write up what happened on a day in July, that Red came to us so instantly for a reason. I did not put it all together then, but I do now, and it was Bob’s “dream” about needing a smaller female as part of Niko’s “therapy” that was the major clue. (Course that was no less a major clue then in July, but other things have also transpired to “clinch” it, so to speak).

2013-07-27Bob wrote this email on July 19, 5:54 AM: When I got up this morning, I got worried because I couldn’t find Niko anywhere. I looked through all the rooms, no sign of him anywhere, started to go down the basement and he appeared behind me, as far as I can tell, literally. Was very worried he was gone. I don’t think he liked being supplanted. Also, something else happened, and not that we have to call Red by this name, but, her name is Nady/Nadie or Numeys/Numees. Not sure of the spelling, giving a couple options for each. That is what she is called by Nuttah, Tëme and the elders. I am not positive she is part of an ongoing historical relationship like Tëme/Dukey/Niko, but she is here for a reason. I find it interesting that Niko doesn’t do the herding thing in the morning when I get them out, he just heads out, does his thing and then waits until everyone is ready to go back in, walks along side her, doesn’t bark or herd. Probably half asleep.

I took a picture of her shadow one morning as I was walking her. You'd think this was the shadow of a wolf

I took a picture of her shadow one morning as I was walking her. You’d think this was the shadow of a wolf

A couple of days later, Bob texted me this while I was walking Red on the towpath:

6:54 PM: “Well, I know what Red is at least partly mixed with.”

Text back from me: 6:55 pm, Me: How do u know and what? Wolf?

Bob, 6:57 PM: Yes. I was ‘shown’, 3 generations back, female, small shepherd, was mated to a red wolf.

Me, 7 pm: Huh. Thought so. She looks so wolf-like.

And I wondered “What is her role in this?” That is still not completely clear, but apparently she is part of the ceremonial therapy that will “repair” what is ailing with Niko. Or at least hopefully.  I’m always a little cautious with these new shelter dogs, especially not knowing their past background. Unfortunately, though, whenever I walk her, if we pass people, especially people with other dogs, it is very difficult for me to contain her. And she can quickly resort to growling and snarling. I always make sure I have her under good control with a very secure leash. So, it would appear that the last link in the chain to repair Niko’s damaged psyche has been thrust into our midst, so to speak. Lets hope it works.

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July 17, 2013

A “Red Wolf” becomes part of our pack

Just a few days later, on July 15, Bob wrote me this email at 8:20 AM:
Rough night last night. Interrupted twice with “dreams”. One with two wolves. One was Tëme, one was a younger female. Had to do with Niko and his ceremony. I know, at least at the moment how to “perform” ceremony. IN PRIVATE!. I am so tired, because of the dream instruction. At least I think that is why.

8:58 AM, Me: There are 2 wolves on my clock radio: a pup, and Tëme, I think. Does that make sense? No idea where they were before they showed up there. What does the ceremony involve? I’d be interested in the details. Had a dream that there was a “see-er”, of dead people in our midst, and could “see” my mother sitting in the corner of a room. She got up to go somewhere, and he said “There she goes, she’s off for somewhere…”

Then the weirdest thing happened sometime during the day on Monday, July 15. Bob got a call from the woman who runs the rescue club where we got Niko. She said she was in touch with a woman who runs another dog-rescue club and she had a nice female shepherd that was adoptable. Were we interested? Bob texted me to ask, and I told him to go meet her.

Bob meets Red Girl and sends me this cell phone picture at work.

Bob meets Red Girl and sends me this cell phone picture at work.

At 5 pm that evening,  Bob went to meet the woman. She introduced him to “Girly”; definitely a shepherd-type, but she had a lot of red in her. “Girly” was desperate for a home, this woman had been fostering her for quite some time. Bob sent me a couple of cell phone pictures of her so I could get an idea what she was like. One is pictured to the right.

The next morning, on 7/16, Bob sent me an email to fill out an application for “Girly”, so we could adopt her.  I did, and her “Foster Mom” came out later that day to pick it up when Bob was home. She  also brought “Girly” to meet our other dogs and to get a look around.


Was this speedy adoption process somehow related to Bob’s dream:  “One with two wolves: one was Tëme, one was a younger female”. This experience with “Girly” and this rescue club was SO different from when we waited months last fall to adopt Niko. What was different?  Was this “younger female” supposed to figure into Niko’s “therapy” somehow? Maybe. How else did this all come together in just TWO days. One day really. Seems impossible given how long it took to get Niko. It definitely seemed that there was something working with us this time, it just happened so quickly. One night, Bob has the dream, the next night, we have a new female shepherd. We renamed her in short order, and now call her “Red”. Here is a picture of the beautiful “Red” and Niko below:

Niko in front, "Red" the new female shepherd behind him, shot through the kitchen window.

Niko in front, “Red” the new female shepherd behind him, shot through the kitchen window.

July 11, 2013

Niko thwarts a Home Invasion?? (or worse?)

In the very early morning hours of July 11, Niko may have possibly completely redeemed himself. At any rate, what he may have done made me realize how important he is to have here with us. He may have actually thwarted a home invasion while I was home sleeping alone.  Read on…

As Bob was leaving for work in the dark, early morning hours, he saw a car in his rear-view mirror turn the corner toward our house. It did not catch up to him, as he expected it would. He thought maybe they lived on the street, and that was why it did not continue, but that was very unusual, as there is almost never any traffic on our road at that hour, except Bob. He actually considered coming back to the house to check, and regretted later that he hadn’t. Because when he got to work, the Lao woman approached him with a vision she had seen. Through translation, she described Niko, and she described our foyer as you would look in from the porch door. Described it as best she could, considering she did not know what all the objects were. She said someone had come to the door in the dark and Niko had been sitting there on the foyer rug. He looked up at the figure in the door and bared his teeth and growled. He scared off whoever it was.

Later that afternoon while I’m at work, I got a text from Bob:

A picture from the internet of a possible home invasion

A picture from the internet of a possible home invasion

July 11, 1:12 pm, Bob: “Lao woman just told me I have to take care of ‘the animal’, he takes care of your wife.”

July 11, 1:40 pm, Bob: “She just described our foyer and someone at the door after I left.”

July 11, 1:47 pm, Bob: “I just showed her a picture of Niko, she smiled and said ‘Take care of him.”

July 11, 2:02 pm, Me: “After u left today?”

July 11, 2:03 pm, Bob: “Not certain, I think…”

July 11, 4:19 pm, Bob: “Kind of freaks me out, all of it, every aspect of it.”

My question about this whole incident was, did this really happen today, after Bob left, or was it just a vision? What did it mean? The Lao woman’s visions have always in the past been pretty accurate, at least as far as what Bob was experiencing. I guess this was a way for us to begin to re-appreciate what Niko was here for, and what he was capable of doing, should there be an issue. I was just glad to have him and glad he’d been there where he needed to be, if in fact it had happened. Prior to this, we had not always had him upstairs with us when we slept, but now we always sleep with Niko in the bedroom with us. I’ve always thought the best thing to have in a situation like that would be a dog. A dog like Niko actually. Even better than a gun, because you might hesitate to use it, but I’m certain Niko would not hesitate to protect us for even a second. I feel better here now alone in those dark morning hours. I have Niko.

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July 10, 2013

More Niko Fall-out (2)

Later on July 9, Bob expressed surprise that only Nuttah was missing:
Bob asked, “What about the wolves, the hearts??”
I am not sure why he asked about them, but I checked when I got home, where I thought some of this stuff was (it wasn’t ‘out’) and I can’t find them. Also, my hearts are gone – the paper heart copy and the one it is a copy of. More significantly my character is gone from in the drawer where Bob and I were. Only Bob is in there. I am gone. When she was angry with Bob one time in the past, his character disappeared. I thought maybe I fell out of the drawer behind the desk, but I just pulled all the drawers out and found behind it a whole lot of stuff, including the Dukey/and Teme character, but not my character. So Nuttah, the biggest hearts that were ever part of this, and my character. Gone. She is mad at me? I’m a little perturbed by that. I keep reminding myself that I didn’t even punish Niko over this except to reprimand him over Kate’s defacement. Bob’s looking for reasons online for this behavior, I’m just hoping it doesn’t happen again and that Kate’s face heals without a major scar. It doesn’t feel wrong to be perturbed by that, and I’m unapologetic about it – some people would have severely punished a dog that did that, we didn’t, and I don’t know why I have been banished and Bob is undergoing a guilt trip.

The next morning, at 7:46 AM, Bob wrote me this email: If you think about it, look around to see if anything else is removed other than the Nuttah figurine. The impression I got was that they were pretty disturbed and that fetishes would be removed as an expression of their dismay. Hopefully I am wrong. Hopefully at least her figurine returns. Very depressing feeling being in front of them and sensing their unhappiness and disapproval.

If this were the scene, my character on right is missing, Nuttah is missing, hearts, wolves and turtles, all missing. Nowhere to be found in house.

To illustrate what is missing, I’ve re-used this picture from an earlier post. My character on right is missing, Nuttah is missing, hearts, wolves and turtles, all missing. Nowhere to be found in house.

Me, later, 9:01 AM: You were right about the “fetishes” (although last night I dreamt she’d been in the office all along, just didn’t see her). But she’s not here. My figurine is missing from the drawer. You are in there, but not me. I thought maybe stuff fell out behind the desk, and some did, I found Duke and Tëme, but not me. Two hearts are missing also. Oh, and our turtle upstairs. So apparently her dismay is at me, and for both of us, I feel it is unjustified, I did not suggest we part with Niko, nor was he punished, but whatever; there is nothing I can do about it. I’m not sure how she thought we should react, praise him for what he did?

When Bob and I spoke that evening while I’m at work, he said that I should try to find the young wolf-pup characters. He thinks they may be taken also. He says it makes sense that Duke/Tëme were found, and are still here, but the pups would be gone. He was right; they are missing too and Nuttah is still missing.

So, to inventory everything that seems to have been removed: it is Nuttah’s character, my character, the protective empty turtle shell, all of the wolves except Duke/Tëme, and a couple of hearts. As Bob says, as an expression of their dismay. Dismay over what?? Guess it will take some time to find out, but I’m pretty dismayed at this.

July 8, 2013

More Niko-fallout

She had been sitting on the window sill, positioned to look out at Bob... and now? Gone.

She had been sitting on the window sill, positioned to look out at Bob… and now? Gone.

July 8, 2013: As if to emphasize her irritation with us (probably more than just irritated) by Monday night, Nuttah’s character had disappeared. She had been sitting on my window ledge since the post of June 17, where she’d positioned herself presumably to look out at the garden where Bob had been working. I wrote Bob this email when I got home:

11:33 PM: Nuttah is missing – her character is not on the window ledge, where she’s been since she was watching you do something out there (planting?). I looked around in all the usual spots where she might “show up”; she is nowhere. I had a weird sense of something on the way home, perhaps 9:45-ish. Difficult to describe, just a sense that I was experiencing something a bit “surreal”, best way I can describe it.

Niko appears to engage in a non-verbal "conversation" with an unusual white bird

Niko appears to engage in a non-verbal “conversation” with an unusual white bird

Bob responded at 5:30 AM the next morning, July 9:
Rough night last night. Really a mess this morning. Completely out of it, forgot my coffee. Remember how I told you Niko changed his behavior completely after the last “white bird” incident in the tree across the creek that morning? Turns out that was when he fully committed, that he would give himself up to protect us and stay with us. That is what the the encounter was about, him voluntarily making the decision.  It doesn’t surprise me that Nuttah (her figure) is missing, I am surprised that is all that is missing. There is quite a bit of disappointment right now. It is not an easy thing to be subjected to, nor explain. I don’t know about redemption, won’t be easy to convince them. Not looking forward to any more encounters. Hope you slept well, I know you have had to have a better night than I had.

Me back to Bob at 9:14 AM: Sorry you are such a mess this morning. The one big question I have about the messages you are getting and Nuttah’s disappearance is, how did you “abandon him”? The way I see it you defended him, and still do. Even Kate is defending him. So what happened that they feel, or you feel that you betrayed a friend? It seems that you/we are being punished for something we are innocent of. Yes, I agree Niko (or whoever it is in him that does that) needs to be worked with… but we’re not putting him out with the bathwater, by any means. Except for a very low-talking admonishment and a look of disapproval, I didn’t do anything to him – he wasn’t yelled at, hit by anyone, banished to the basement, put out in the yard — so it’s hard for me to understand why she’s being so critical of our reaction. Literally, some people would not have the dog at this point. What did we do? Anyway, that is my big question.

Now me just narrating: What could be the possible answer to this? Why is she so upset with how we handled this? I just don’t get it; she’s removed herself, given Bob countless messages about how we’ve betrayed Niko, and yet we really didn’t even punish him, and probably should have. Kate admits some fault in possibly somewhat “provoking” it. But still… It is not the first time that Niko has behaved this way, so Kate, and whatever she did, is not to blame. Maybe what Nuttah picks up on, is not so much actions, but thoughts. Yes, I had negative thoughts about Niko. Yes, I was angry. Yes, I had some thoughts about the sanity, or lack thereof, of keeping a dog capable of this. I admit it, I had all those thoughts. But why were we being treated like villains? It was curious to me, but I was not going to let it override my mood. Kate was doing well, she was healing, and soon after the stitches were removed, she actually looked pretty good. I was pleased with at least that outcome, and so was she. Where was Nuttah in all of this?

July 8, 2013

The ritual to help Niko’s behavior

After the bite incident, Kate continued to recover, and Bob and I were severely admonished for “betraying” Niko. This was evident almost immediately, and I was in complete confusion and denial as to why. How were we betraying Niko? I put it out of my mind, since I thought the way we reacted was appropriate and necessary. I really wasn’t sure what part of it was being objected to. It was literally the first time in 3 years that I’d questioned anything about Nuttah’s judgment. It just didn’t make any sense. Kate was doing well, and in my opinion, that was really all that mattered. We would deal with Niko as time went on, so Bob appealed to Nuttah for help with this odd behavior. It went along the lines of “What is the problem, and what can we do to help him?”

Monday morning, July 8, at 7 AM, Bob wrote me this email:

“I asked again last night, I think I might have had some response: I was shown an intensity of fear that was instantaneous and it just as quickly dissipated. The intensity was shown to me and then equated to my most intense negative emotional moment in my entire life. That was something I didn’t want to relive, I still have a slight hangover from that re-experience. I am not sure that it is anything more than a dream, seems so long since I have had any connection that I doubt myself on this.

Duke with his favorite ball and his reflective collar

Duke with his favorite ball and his reflective collar

It was only initially through Nuttah that I “saw” what was going on and how to approach it. The larger part was through the old joints and Tëme. There is a “ritual”: I have a hard time seeing myself doing it, or at least doing it with sincerity, and that is apparently important. It also involves a talisman from a former embodiment, a necklace or something from Dukey, something that contains some of his energy. I don’t know what that is to be, all we have is his toys, can’t see how I am to tie a ball around Niko or whatever. I feel stupid even writing this. Really can’t see me doing any ritual with sincerity, which sort of defeats the purpose. Anyway, I will try, but can’t believe Niko will walk around with a ball hanging off him willingly.

I may have to do it several times and I certainly won’t be doing it in public. Also, I am supposed to say it in a derivation of Lenape, not completely Lenape, sort of a sacred language that I think contained some Maya words, Manche Chol dialect to be precise. That will be interesting. I guess it could be equated to computer language, writing code to correct or change a program, when I say it that way it doesn’t sound so stupid. Regardless I will try… in private.

Later, same day, at 9:07 AM, my email back to Bob:

“Well, there are two things that might work for this “talisman”, that I came across lately, if I am interpreting this ritual and what it’s about correctly. For one, we have Dukey’s collar; it has his name on it, and I also have a little bag of hair that came from him. Maybe the collar alone would work? If necessary, I could sew a little pouch to it that contained the hair. Does it have to be a ball hanging off him or just something attached to him? Can you describe better what the problem is, what the fear is? I hope this will work. Any contact Niko has with anyone now makes me very nervous, and you can’t get around the fact that he has bitten people in the face three times, at least that we know of. In the past, and without his history as part of what’s going on here, I wouldn’t have tolerated that for a second. I can only rationalize letting him stay because he is somehow part of everything, and seems to be here for a bigger purpose. Because there is simply nothing rational about it, especially three times. But we’ll see how this goes, I wouldn’t assume it was a dream, it sounds good to me. Just start working on it. What do you have to do that would be embarrassing to be seen doing?

Email from Bob, later same morning, 9:37 AM:
We have Dukey’s collar?! Leave it out for me. I was thinking all we had was old toys, couldn’t see that working. Something very traumatizing happened to him at a very young age, equated the level of emotional response to me. I don’t know what it is, but it is extreme. I will start tonight, he has done too much for us, apparently more than we know, to not help him.

Me at 10:49 AM:
Funny, I was just going to get the collar from where I put it and leave it out for you, and it was gone. I had put the collar on the shelves against the wall where my knitting and stuff is. I thought, “Great, just when we need it, it’s gone”. But then I had this thought, “Maybe it is already on Niko?” I went to go check, and as I turned to go, I spotted the collar: it had been moved to the table in front of the big screen TV. Right there, where you couldn’t miss it if watching. Now I was watching something on that TV last night and I think I would have noticed if the collar was sitting there. Anyway, I have it, I’ll leave it out. We’ll work with him. What is it that you have to do?

Bob, later, 11:09 AM:
“So you are saying the collar was moved? We/I have to perform, repeatedly, a ceremony honoring him for all he has done to protect us, to honor him for having given himself up in order to be with us, to honor him for his willingness to die for our safety, to honor him for his willingness to confront his only fear to be among us. Those are the four points I must honor. I have to do this each in proper order to the four cardinal points. I have to do it for 5 cycles. That means once a month. It was also made shamefully clear (having a feeling of shame/embarrassment right now acknowledging this to you) that Nuttahs’ father would never have abandoned or forsaken a friend, nor would any man of honor. Makes me kind of sick to my stomach to acknowledge those feelings. Anyway, I will do what I can. I don’t know that I am capable.”

Well, the bottom line is, that it is worth a try if it can possibly help him.

July 7, 2013

A Visit to the Hospital

In early July, something so unexpected was to happen that was to affect the entire rest of the summer. It involved our daughter, Kate. She was visiting us with her boyfriend the Saturday after the 4th of July. We were having a little outdoor “event”, and I was gearing up to get some dinner grilling. I was inside cleaning the grill top in the kitchen sink and Kate came in with her hands grasping her face. She looked pale and alarmed. More than alarmed. I knew she was last seen out on the deck playing and tussling with Niko, the shepherd.

“I think something awful happened, look at my face”, she cried.

Oh dear. Her nose was ripped open and she had puncture wounds elsewhere.

“Geez, what happened, what were you doing!?” I dropped what I was doing and grabbed a handful of paper towels to stem the flow of blood that was dripping down her face, chin, neck and all over the front of her dress.

Kate was crying, “I was just playing with Niko and he bit me!”

Oh boy, did he. I wiped blood and immediately determined without a second thought that we were dropping everything and getting Kate to the ER. She needed stitches, badly. Bob was further out on the deck, I called him in and declared, “We’re going to the hospital, Niko bit Kate”. He dropped what he was doing too, and got into gear. Within minutes, we were all in the car on the way to the closest ER. Saturday night – dog bite, blood, emergency, ER. Flippin’ great. Kate was bordering on hysteria, I was in the back seat with Kate, as Bob drove, trying to tell her during the whole ride that this is “fixable”. Yes you have a cut, yes it can be fixed. I was pretty sure it could be stitched up cleanly without much in the way of marks, but “pretty sure” is not certain, and I definitely was not certain. I was also pissed off at Niko, hauling off and biting her like this, for no apparent reason, but that was in the back of my mind, not the front. I had done NOTHING to Niko before we left, I hadn’t yelled at him, I hadn’t smacked him, and, as far as I knew, Bob had put them in the basement so we could all head out.

Kate needed 8 stitches in her nose, but it did look like it was all sewn up pretty well by the ER nurse. The puncture wounds were just going to have to heal.

So Kate was going to be okay, she was going to heal, and apparently the scar was going to be minimal. Thank goodness. I was quietly seething at this whole scenario, because I have never wanted a dog that was capable of this. It is one thing that we have to be careful with strangers and workmen that come to the house, but another when you have to worry about people that Niko is familiar with. And this is not exactly the first time either. At Christmas, he had bitten our son, Stewie. Bob confessed that Niko bit him in the face too. What was THIS about? Why was he doing it, and what were we going to do about it? The one thing that I am sure of, is that I had NO contact with Niko right before we left on the run to the hospital. My focus was on Kate, and keeping her calm and getting her to the ER. I never yelled at Niko, I did not stop to whack him, punish him, nor did I even think about it. As far as I knew, neither did Bob.

Now you might be wondering, as others have, WHY would we keep a dog that has so far bitten 3/4 of the members of your family? Good question. That day it was hard to answer, but I must say, I did not even entertain thoughts of getting rid of him, because I knew we needed him. It was just going to have to come down to training others to be around him, and working with him for this not to happen again. Of course when you end up in an ER with a dog bite, legal avenues kick in, and you’re going to get a call from “The Authorities”. Which we did. But it didn’t go anywhere, because Kate told the hospital that she was playing with Niko and she was pretty sure on his part that it was an accident.

The reason I sound so defensive above about how we reacted to the biting, is that shortly after we arrived home, things changed drastically in Nuttah’s attitude toward us. Or more specifically toward me. I will write that up in subsequent posts, but it was very obvious to me that I was being vilified for treating Niko like I did. What did I DO?

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