Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sunny Saturday

How can it be almost the end of September already?! But -- it is a sunny, beautiful Saturday outside (but only maybe in the low 60's) and Jim and I are going to take Stella out for a walk in just a little while at Castlewood State Park (just a little southwest of downtown St Louis). I slept really well last night -- something that hasn't always been happening recently -- and was even pretty wide awake when I worked/ volunteered at the Hope Clinic for Women here in Granite City (I am actually in my office right now finishing up some paperwork that needed to be done -- but no fears! I will be leaving soon!). We had a busy morning but I always feel like I am helping the staff more on mornings like this and that makes me feel good! I have some papers to grade for my ENG 102 students (summaries and responses) and some reading to do for my Non-Western Literature class (they are reading Dalia Sofer's The Septembers of of Shiraz) but both should be things I can do relatively quickly at some point this weekend. I need to re-read my dissertation prospectice (since the defense of that is coming up in less than two weeks) and I have some more articles to read related to my research.

So I am doing fine. I admit I spent the last few days in tears but what are you going to do? I love my job and so I will just focus on that -- and my research -- and try not to worry about anything else. I had a good group session this past Thursday night at the "Transitions" (post cancer) support group (after a horrible session the week before) and realized that, yes, I am pretty angry that cancer took away a lot of the work I had been doing on a physical level -- I can't seem to get my butt running like I used to and -- when I do -- my times are way off and that just makes me feel old and depressed. But I think I just need to "own" those feelings and go on. I need to do something -- being all sad about it isn't making me feel any better.

So I am about to enter Stella in a contest -- Stray Rescue (where we adopted her from back in 2008) is having an essay contest to find the one dog who will be the "spokesdog" for Stray Rescue and be featured on an area billboard. I am not very good at writing things this but here goes! I am not at all expecting to win but I figure some dog has to and I will always wonder "what if?" Thus, this is what I will be sending in on Monday:

Why Stella Should Be a Stray Rescue Spokesdog!

We adopted Stella in 2008, right after noticing her picture on the Stray Rescue web site. I was hoping for a running partner while my husband was looking for a new “pal,” since the dog he had raised before we had married had died of old age four years earlier. But we got more than that with Stella – in 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and Stella became my “cancer buddy.” She slept with me during those long days of treatment and didn’t even seem to mind that we weren’t heading out for our usual 5-7 mile runs. Earlier this year, once my treatment was completed, we went right back to marathon training. It might be my imagination but Stella appears more “concerned” about my health – during our runs she licks my legs while we wait at traffic lights and she keeps attention to any “obstacles” along the way – squirrels, rabbits, sticks.

Stella started her life on the streets of St Louis but, thanks to Stray Rescue, she has become my friend and health advocate. Not only do we run together, but she goes on long weekly hikes with me and my husband and even keeps the cat active by chasing her around the house (in a playful way!). My husband has done agility training with her and she has learned to jump hurdles, power through tunnels, and walk the balance beam. We live in downtown St Louis – above the very streets where she once roamed – and Stella is the perfect example of a St Louis city dog and stray spokesdog advocate! She is a mix of Border Collie/ Shepherd/ Chow (as far as we can tell); because of this peculiar mix, people are always asking us what exactly she is. I always proudly respond that she is a mixed breed and that we got her from the wonderful folks at Stray Rescue. Shy when we first adopted her, Stella never meets a stranger and sends a good message to other city dwellers that adopting a stray dog is the only way to obtain a new pet.

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