Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Familiar’s Tale – Part III

Image by Dave Scelfo. Used under Creative Commons license 2.0

[Amy’s note: Sorry I haven’t had time to transcribe more of Fudge’s story. I’ve been really busy trying to save my boss’ butt – again. To refresh your memory, Part II is here.]

That evening, back in our quarters, I interrupted Abou’s study of a piece of papyrus by projecting a feeling of being wrapped, as they did their dead. Abou stopped reading and turned his attention to me.

“What are you trying to tell me, cat?” he asked.

I felt frustrated. If I could only tell him in the words he used! Then, it came to me. Abou did not like crowds and felt extremely uncomfortable whenever his master sent him to the bazaar to purchase materials. I projected that image and feeling to him, then once again, the mummy wrappings, followed by a feeling of ease.

Abou cocked his head. He didn’t understand. I heaved a sigh, hopped onto the table and padded over to a pile of scrolls he’d taken from the library but not read. Some I didn’t know the subject matter but others had to do with magic. Those I could sense to the point I had an idea of their content because when someone writes of magic, a little of it leaks into the ink and the material it is written on. I nosed one out of the pile I was fairly certain covered basic magical theory. Taking my clue, he pushed aside the one about water, unrolled the one I’d indicated and started reading.

Halfway through, he turned to me with a smile on his face. “I finally understand. You’re telling me I need to have a shield!”

As you know, cats don’t smile, at least not in the human sense. To indicate approval, I purred and rubbed my face against his arm.

Abou absentmindedly pet me as he read further then pushed the scroll aside. He screwed up his face in concentration and when nothing happened, said, “Where are you? I can’t feel you. Why aren’t you helping?”

I hung my head. While we can instruct on methods and construction, shielding is one of the few things a human must do on their own. I don’t know why but familiars cannot assist with this type of magic. I projected the image and feeling of being at a wall too high to jump.

Abou sighed. “I think I understand. You cannot help here. But you think this is important so I will continue with my efforts.”

It took some time but at last, a cocoon shimmered into existence around Abou. “I have it!” he exclaimed, and the cocoon disappeared.

That night the lamp almost ran out of oil as Abou read his papyrus with me interrupting with a push to his mind each time his shield fell. The next night I didn’t have to interrupt as much and finally, after something over a week, he maintained his shield, even in his sleep.

The shield did not please the master, however. He made mention of it the first morning, yet couldn’t argue with the reasoning that Abou hated crowds, felt a need for a shield and needed to maintain it even in private so it became second nature.

Over the following years, I noticed the master aging and spending more time petitioning his god for youth, moving from one god to the next when his petition did not work. I privately laughed as it appeared his gods had deserted him about the same time as Abou learned to shield. The flow of energy between the master and Abou had, naturally, stopped. I finally learned why he’d kept Abou on even when the difference in element was discovered. He could draw from Abou but apparently no one else.

Abou, on the other hand, flourished. He was a sponge for his master’s teachings. After only ten years, he was his master’s equal in magical ability – albeit in a different element – and had far outpaced him in knowledge of the library. Patrons consulted Abou much more frequently than the master on where such-and-such a scroll might be found, or where to look for particular information. My human was known far and wide for his specific knowledge of healing – both preparations and magical spells.

In my twenty-first year as a familiar, the master passed on. As a mage and priest, he was given a funeral second only to the Pharaoh’s in pomp. All proper rites were observed and after the requisite thirty days of mourning, Abou was considered a free man and officially took the master’s place in the Library and temple.

To Be Continued…

De-Stressing

Sometimes you can do little things to handle stress. Sometimes, it takes a BIG thing.

If you follow me anywhere, you know that I dealt with having a dog and recalcitrant cats in the house a couple of weeks ago. That situation came to an unfortunate end and I am still feeling sad about it.

I also mentioned on social media that the stress had gotten so bad that I had a herpes flare on my hands. That doesn’t happen unless I’m completely unable to handle a situation and hadn’t happened in well over a decade. The (diluted) Melissa/Lemon Balm EO I was applying helped but because the fluid in herpes blisters is contagious, I still had to keep my hands bandaged for fear of spreading the virus. (I looked like a mummy-in-training.) I was drinking Lemon Balm infusions to try to calm everything down from the inside. After the dog left my house I calmed down but obviously not enough because I was still getting new blisters.

What I didn’t say anywhere is that client had been driving me apeshit for a couple of years. To the point that several times, I answered her emails in all caps. (I have no idea if she even knows the significance of all caps. Probably not.)

Then she decided she could pay her own bills and track expenses – they’d save by not paying me to do that. This is the majority – but not all – of the work I do for them. My methodology makes it easy come tax time and, as she will find out next year, reduces CPA bills by a considerable margin. More than what they pay me on an annual basis.

I thought about a spell nudging her to go back to the way things had been but then, after remembering the past two years’ frustrations, decided they were no longer worth my energy – either mundane or magical. I typed up an email last Thursday telling her that since she was now doing the majority of my work, there was no reason to continue our business relationship.

Within 24 hours of sending that email, no new herpes blisters appeared. I dropped their stuff off yesterday (they made sure to be out so we wouldn’t see each other) and looking at my hands this morning, only fresh scar tissue remains.

I just gave myself a 15% pay cut. Will it hurt? Yes. But not as much as my hands have for the last three weeks.

Sometimes, you have to cut the stress out of your life rather than handle it.

Locker’s Saga

This story has been posted piecemeal on my personal Facebook page so I thought I’d consolidate it all into one spot for people to see:

Once upon a time there was a purebred German Shepherd puppy. He was sold to my clients, a couple in their 80’s, by what I consider to be an unscrupulous breeder.

He’s been through training (twice) but the problem is that training was not reinforced at home. Nor was there any real routine or discipline. The man is frail and has mild dementia. The wife is also frail and doesn’t have a very strong voice or personality. Locker was pretty much allowed his head and I’m sure he looked at two frail people & made himself the alpha of the house.

With the exception of biting a groomer who tried to force Locker’s snout into a muzzle a year ago (the groomer admitted it was his fault), he was fine until their houseman passed away a little over a month ago. (He was the houseman’s shadow.) Since that time, he bit the decorator, the (adult) granddaughter and the daughter-in-law. I don’t know what happened with the decorator, but speaking with the father & husband of the other two, I can tell you the granddaughter’s bite was the fault of the owner: granddaughter was trying to teach grandma how to train Locker to a gentle leader, which should take at least a couple of weeks. Grandma got impatient & tried to force Locker’s snout into the leader that first day. The result wasn’t pleasant.

The daughter-in-law was bit because Locker has car aggression issues and he was never restrained in the car. Grandma opened the door to the car, and Locker jumped out, chased the daughter-in-law & bit her, presumably because she was standing too close to the car.

(I should add here that none of the bites required medical attention but he did draw blood.)

I’d told the owner before that if they couldn’t keep him, I’d take him. The son called me the night of Monday June 1st after the incident with the daughter-in-law to ask me if I would so on Tuesday, I picked Locker up & brought him home with me. When my husband (whom Locker had never met) came home from work, Locker got aggressive (but did not snap). A timeout in the garage cured that and within 5 days, my husband was able to give him scratches and even start giving him commands. Unfortunately, we have 4 cats who would not adjust to a large monster in their house and husband & I discovered our lifestyle just doesn’t allow the time & attention such a dog needs. So, I told the family we couldn’t keep him.

The grapevine got around about Locker and a retired K-9 officer (military & police) heard about him. At the family’s behest, I took Locker out to his house on the 9th and they seemed just fine. What this man failed to tell me or anyone else until the next morning is that he wants to work with children using a dog. I would never have considered that match & warned the family off if I’d known that.

Then the K-9 guy said he thought Locker was a great dog & wanted to keep him. 24 hours after that he changed his mind again & now doesn’t want him. He will, however, keep him for a short time in the hopes we can find him a good home.

Locker is a sweet guy. He loves to go for walks, play with his ball and get lots of attention. He’s a ball of rambunctious energy, which is why I don’t think he’d be good around small children. As mentioned before, he does have car aggression issues. It’s both my husband’s and my opinion that with retraining, reinforcement of that training, routine, discipline and a strong alpha human that he will make someone without young children a great companion.

Locker is not quite 2 years old (his birthday is June 26th), weighs about 75 pounds (won’t get much larger) and is in excellent health. All his shots are up to date. The veterinarian recommended a monthly shot of Adequan to stave off the arthritis common in German Shepherds. He knows all his commands, both verbal and hand signals, and obeys them all – except he’s a little stubborn on “heel” when he wants to go chasing a deer that’s crossed his path. (It’s a good thing I’m stronger than I look.) He is currently in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia but I will drive him or arrange for transportation anywhere.

I have a tentative “yes, we’ll take him” but there’s no timetable for giving me a firm answer and I’m afraid the family will say “no mas” and have him euthanized before I get a response. Therefore, I’m continuing my public plea to find this guy a good home.IMG_0041 IMG_0042[1]

Won’t you help spread the word?

17th June Update: Somehow the client found out where K-9 guy lived and yesterday, while K-9 guy was out, they went & took Locker out of the back yard. Didn’t even leave a note. K-9 guy came home & panicked (I would, wouldn’t you?). While wondering how Locker jumped an 8-foot fence, he had animal control, law enforcement, everyone looking for the dog until a while later, the neighbor across the street told him he’d had visitors while he was out & described clients and their vehicle to a T.

I’d like to know how they found out where K-9 guy lived. I was the only one that had his address and he only has a cell phone – no land line.

Be that as it may, Locker is now back with client. The family and I are done. I feel so sorry for Locker. Because client can’t control him, it’s only a matter of time before he bites someone not close to the family and they get sued. Locker will then pay the ultimate price.

Thank you to everyone that tried to find him a good forever home. I truly appreciate all the help, even if it was for naught.

Update from the Mountains

I’m going to be scarce for a few days. There is supervising to do:

Two years ago, 80+ year old clients got a German Shepherd. They never should have – they’re not equipped to give such a dog the routine and discipline it needs. Of course, things have gone to hell in a handbasket…they can’t control him and his aggression is coming to the forefront.

Enter DJ and her big mouth. I’ve known for several months they were going to have to get rid of him. Locker and I are buddies…each week he’d greet me as I walked in the door, obeying my command to ‘sit’ and a split-second later, flopping on his back to get a tum rub. I offered to take him if they couldn’t keep him.

Yesterday (actually, Monday evening but I got the message yesterday morning), the son with whom I have a good relationship – both professional and personal – called to ask if I’d come get him. Locker’s aggression got so bad that he bit the son’s wife. I said yes and immediately made a call to a friend who works with several rescue organizations, including one that trains service dogs for returning veterans, and asked her to find him a forever home. I love him but our lifestyle isn’t conducive to having a dog. He’s young enough that with retraining and the proper, strong-willed human that he’ll be a good dog for someone.

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So, I re-routed myself and at the end of my weekly Atlanta run, loaded Locker and all his possessions into my car. Things were hunky-dory (except for the cats, of course), until the husband came home from work. He got aggressive towards another human that lives in this house! Totally unacceptable! Into the garage he went.

Apparently, garage discipline works because he was just fine with the husband this morning. The cats are another matter altogether. All four are out on the deck and very unhappy with the monster in their house (Locker weighs close to 80 pounds).  He’s growled at them through the door but shut up immediately with a firm ‘no’. Should he growl again, he’ll go back into the garage for a bit until he learns his lesson.

In the meantime, I have a dog that needs walking. Something I haven’t had to do in over 40 years. Then I have to work and try to keep an eye on everyone at the same time. It’s going to be a very tiring few days…

Wish me luck!