Well, hopefully not running off. First post, first introductions. I am a storyteller, a collector of stories and oral histories, a novelist. I love long pauses before a punch line and white spaces on the page, but get me comfortable and you may get too much information. And opinions. Mine, which of course are well founded, intelligent, and insightful. That's what you'll find on this blog. Stories, opinions, random information and snippets, and news of books. I love books and am on a mission to read more and write more. I think I will accomplish this by playing less computer solitaire. Check back and I'll tell you how that's going. That plan may end up being something like my idea of losing weight by cutting back on chocolate. Now really, who ever thought of that?
INTRO # 1: Fred. Fred was a spectacular two year old golden who chewed up my sweatshirt and licked my face when I cried. He chased our dog, Ralph, just enough to give the old boy his exercise and barked just enough to make you laugh at the display because, after all, he was a golden.
INFO #1: Fred died suddenly about a month ago and this is the info. He died from eating blue green algae. Yes, it's the same stuff that you can take in capsules for your health and it lives in lots of ponds and lakes and is generally benign. But, turns out that at some points in its bloom cycle, blue green algae produces a neurotoxin that is about 99.9 percent deadly to dogs. We had never heard of this. When Fred's back legs collapsed we took him to the emergency vet (of course it was midnight) and he sent us home to look for possible poisons that Fred may have eaten. I was thrilled to discover he'd just gotten into a bucket of algae we'd skimmed from our pond and hadn't yet dumped. "It's just algae," I said happily over the phone. The vet said that was probably good but there was one bad kind, "But we've never seen a case in our town." Well, Fred got into that bad kind and he was dead within three hours. No pain, apparently, but he stopped breathing. That beautiful yellow dog looked the same one minute as the next, but he was gone. It was the saddest thing.
OPINION #1: What you don't know can hurt you - or kill your dog. I think everyone should know about blue green algae and then tell their friends. I think everyone should know about a lot of things that can hurt you. What about those drug adds that say, "Side effects may include greasy runny stools," appealing, yes? Or maybe, "In rare instances serious side effects may occur including shortness of breath, stroke, or death." Death? That's a side effect? Who decided that and how much are you willing to gamble that that's not YOUR side effect? More in the next post, intro, and opinion. Enough today or we'll get into that realm of TMO.
BOOKS#1: OK, we started out with the idea of reading and writing more, and since this is a blog and you all may be writers - at least on line - let's launch a chat about reading. This week it's dog books, in honor of Fred. Here are a few I've read: Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, Sounder by William H. Armstrong, Where the Red Fern Grows by Tara McCarthy, Old Yeller by Fred Gipson - now revealing my age. A big difference between Winn Dixie and the others is that in the last three the dog dies, and in the first one it's the mother who's gone. Dead dogs are very, very sad. I'd recommend Winn-Dixie. It's not as heartbreaking as the others. It's a little light - a fun, character read. The others I loved too. Interesting they all take place in the south. Is there something that makes southerners more attached to their dogs? Or do southern dogs just make good stories? Next post - more about dogs - dead and alive.