Just Another Day In Paradise

Just another day in Paradise

December 01, 2019

Another hot and humid day in my home of choice – Thailand.
I had been woken up by the screaming of two birds, that obviously did not know how to share this huge insect they’d found and were fighting over it, while the insect decided to make a run (or flight) for it.
Here comes the old German saying to mind:
 “When two quarrel, the third is happy.”

These two mynah birds really were at it to a point where even all of my nine very naughty rescue cats would stay away.

After all, they already had enough experience with these birds to know not to mess with them.
To a cat trying to catch a small bird, there is nothing worse than THAT bird yelling for his bigger friends, which arrive instantly with screaming and by the dozens to bomb on them.

So here I was, waiting patiently on my coffee maker to finish brewing that so desperately needed life elixir to wake up not only my body, but my senses as well.

Somehow I get the feeling, that a part of getting older is waking up in stages instead of as a whole, the way it used to be – which reminds me…where on earth did I put my glasses?

After all, today was laundry day, and all the blankets of the animals living here needed to be washed.

Since we are a private shelter with free roaming animals on the premises instead of caged and neither funded nor sponsored, we don’t have an over abundance of supplies, and I just have to wash more often.
Oh joy…I really am looking forward to that.

At least, all I have to do is fill up the washing machine and let her do all the work, and that about seven times for the day.


Being also an online teacher, I have a pretty good routine, which allows me to juggle the job, the household, the music and the animals nicely throughout the days and being the witch that I am, it even leaves room for that occasional “thank you ritual” and daily witch’s hour of power (prayer), as well as the Reiki practices for the animals when needed.


Excited at the thought to have clean blankets again, the dogs surrounded the washer and me to watch the process and very cooly; I tried to demonstrate how things are done around here.

Why was I explaining to them, how a washing machine works?

My big boy Loki stood up on his hind legs to look inside of the washer, that ate his blanket; (he thought) and wagged his tail, when he discovered his blanket was still alive.

I had to explain to him that the washer was neither his new bed, nor could he drag his blanket out of there.
God, how he reminded me of Marmaduke.

Is that coffee done yet?


These 14-hour days sometimes make me forget about some things…like the coffee, I started to brew.


A loud honking at the gate prompted all 11 ferocious watchdogs to race each other to the front, one faster and louder than the others with the smallest one kg loudmouthed Chihuahua named Leo being the leader, followed by dancing girl Chili.

Both are not bigger than an attitude, much less have one.

Chili & Leo

Oh yes, it was Lazada delivery….I forgot about them.
And where did I put my coffee, or did I even pour a cup yet?

After paying the man outside the gate and bringing my package into the house followed by my bodyguards, I found my empty coffee cup.
Time to sit for a moment and enjoy this flavorful magical, lifesaving elixir called coffee… so I thought.

In the meantime, the dogs were enjoying the sunshine and the garden, when suddenly a rumbling sound came from the direction washing machine, which I had filled up with some of the blankets a little earlier.

That thing sounded like it was about to explode, and Loki came running and jumping into my arms like: “Mommy, mommy, there is a spitting monster in the garden, please make it go away.”
Well, that was pretty courageous, considering we are talking about a dog that is scared of spiders and other creepy little crawlers.
After all, those huge butterflies co-existing with us here have scared the living hell out of my poor boy on more than one occasion.
I really should have called him Marmeduke, he is as lovable and twice as clumsy.

My Hero Loki

And to think, I was just about to pour that coffee and enjoy it. With a sigh, I put down my still empty cup to see what was wrong with the washer and – oh boy – I guess that was it.
That thing was on its last breath and after a few coughing sounds it just kind of folded.

Wonderful – the first batch of blankets soaking in water with 6 more loads to go looked at me; it seemed, with a grin to tell me, that I am back to basics and get to do this by hand.

Living pretty rural at the edge of the jungle, of course there was no laundromat near by and why should there be…the next 7-eleven was a few miles away as well.

I felt a big wave of stress coming on and where the hell was my coffee? Oh, right, I have not had any yet!

I took a very deep breath with 11 pairs of eyes staring at me, no – 20 pairs of eyes, because the cats were watching this scenario as well from a safe distance.
That rumbling, smoking and fire spitting square thing was something they did not really want to make an acquaintance with.

I dragged my tired, (and not having had any coffee yet), behind to the bungalow to get that big tub out, that I used before when my first washer exploded. That seems to be the norm here after two years with washing machines.

When I turned on the water hose to fill up that black plastic tub, the hose slipped off the tap, and the water splashed everywhere.

One way to wake up without having had any coffee yet, I thought. Lucky this is Thailand, and it stays hot, so a little lukewarm splash is a welcome cool-off even in the weirdest of situations.

My goodness, I realized that my courageous gang of dogs was made of sugar, because they had scattered in all directions to avoid that dangerous stream of water.


So here I was, soaking wet, still without coffee and feeling just a teenzie weenzie bit irritated at this glorious Monday morning.


What the heck, with my hardworking hubby still sleeping, and not getting any of this commotion, I suddenly felt really alone and just wanted to cry.

Nevertheless, then again, I realized that an earthquake could not wake him unless the bed was pulled from under him, and he deserves his well-earned sleep after a hard day in the recording studio.

So I ended up putting these wet blankets into the tub and started to walk on them.

The dogs were looking at me like I lost my mind, the cats were courageous and tried to put their paws on the blankets only to pull them back really fast realizing…YUCK…THAT was water!!!

I kept walking on these blankets for at least half an hour and thought of my Zumba classes.


Did I even have coffee yet? I don’t think so.


Finally done with that wash, I looked around me and realized, that I was alone, no cats, no dogs … hmmm, how very weird
!

After hanging the blankets up to dry, I finally went to get my well-deserved delicious cup of coffee and to check on hubby …. well, well, well, what did I find?


11 dogs and 9 cats all snuggled up on my side in the bed hugging my blanket, since they didn’t have any at this time.

Oh well, I guess, I will sleep in the doggie basket tonight.

And How Was Your Day?



The Becoming Of Loki

Loki

The Becoming Of Loki

It was a rather cold day about 3 years ago and I was working at an animal sanctuary at the time.

The stories of some of the dogs and cats were rather heartbreaking and new ones were being dumped on a daily base in every imaginable rice field or near the sanctuary on the open roads.

The sanctuary was already way overcrowded, but the number of newbies was growing almost daily.

We had some volunteers arrive from Germany and it seemed to be just another day at the rescue.

Everyone was going by their business and doing their daily chores, when a truck arrived with an in dark blue plastic covered cage on it.

It was driven by a farm worker who was performing her daily duties in a rice field and came across this big, in plastic wrapped package.

She usually would have not paid more attention to it, because things like that are found on a daily base, but this package made weak, little noises and when she peaked through a small hole, she found the most pathetic looking bunch of puppies, she had ever laid eyes on.

She wasted no time, dropped everything she was doing and loaded the cage onto her truck to bring the puppies to us.

Upon her arrival, we gathered around her truck to unpack this mysterious package – and my heart almost stopped.

My eyes filled with tears and I could not stop them from vividly running down my face.

Oh God, why do you allow things like this to happen?

Too weak to even move their heads, five puppies, no more than maybe 3-4 weeks old and covered in filth, were trying to cuddle with each other for some comfort.

A food bowl with an unidentifiable and moving something was in the middle of that cage, no water and the poor pups covered on feces and giving out a smell, that would have knocked the strongest bull over.

We pulled them out one by one and they slowly opened their weak eyes and looked at us so scared and started to duck, as if they were about to be beat.

Any fast movement on our side made them shake with fear.

Whoever did this to such innocent fur babies, deserves nothing short of the worst life has to give.

They were so frightened, so fragile – and so sweet and all of our hearts just melted.

I had never seen more pathetic little creatures, yet with such a strong will to live, that they survived the unmerciful Thailand sun for days, being locked up and additionally wrapped in plastic.

Someone hurried and went to get some water and these pups drank so much of that much needed liquid, they started to look like balloons.

Their fur itself looked, like it was twitching and we discovered an army of fleas and ticks on them.

So first things first – a flea and tick bath.

Our volunteers had never seen anything like this and were still in shock, but managed to get over it after one stopped vomiting.

The woman was fine, it was the man, who could not handle this site and that god awful smell.

But then we know, some men also need a gas mask to change a baby’s diaper…lol.

I gently grabbed the first one, which was a blond little girl with very wiry hair and the fleas just ran across me as well.

She thoroughly enjoyed her massage and while the flea and tick shampoo was soaking in, I started with puppy number two.

The man had watched and wanted to try to accomplish this heavy duty task as well and sat on the floor with puppy number three – and fell in love instantly.

The woman took puppy number four and we shared the last one.

We had to let the shampoo settle for a while, because that army of fleas and ticks was not about to give up their host that easy.

As the fleas were dying and the pups were itching less, they perked up a little, realizing that they now were in safety, and here came the first, very shy wagging of their tales.

I believe it was already at that moment, that I fell in love with Loki and he must have known, because he perked up and looked straight at me.

No, I can not take more dogs, I thought to myself, my husband will shoot me, we already had six dogs and 2 cats at that point.

But I did not expect the cleverness of Loki at a later point, who was determined to become my everything.

We found a small, unused dog run near the house owned clinic on the premises, that was unused and perfect for puppies in their first stages of puppy-hood and made it comfortable for them.

They were exhausted after that complete ordeal, but still needed to eat, so we prepared a mixture of soft and dry food enriched with vitamins and everything a weakened puppy heart needed and desired when hungry.

Did I say puppy?

It was more like vacuum cleaners when we put the big bowl down, because it did not even take 15 seconds before it was empty and they were still looking for more.

I had to decline, because after not eating for days it is important not to overfeed or their little systems would have not been able to take it and would have shut down.

Time to go to sleep for them and for us.

We left the run and stood outside looking in and watching these innocent, sweet little creatures settle themselves in for the night. I bet that was the first night in days they could really rest. I fell in love even more and seriously started to hate people, because it was and still is beyond me, how any human being is able to perform such cruelty to innocent living beings.

The next days were crucial, because puppies at that age could carry the  Parvo Virus or Distemper among many other deadly diseases, especially in Thailand and being taken away from their mother too early, will raise that chance immensely.

They were much too young to vaccinate and for a few days it was touch and go. We spent a lot of time with them observing, playing, naming and categorizing them for the administration.

Luckily they were healthy and did not seem to carry much memory of their ordeal after a few days.

They did what puppies do best – eat, sleep a lot, play insanely with each other and I spent a lot of time every day with them, after I finished with all the other animals.

Somehow these guys seemed different and they were growing and becoming stronger by the second, it seemed.

The pups were now about 6 weeks old, vaccinated with their first set of shots and very strong, but most of all, so cute and adorable and when they looked at us, it was like they could do nothing wrong.

They were so innocent – I thought.

Then, one day, when we were eating lunch in the workers area, not too far from the puppy run, I heard a heartbreaking yelping coming from that area. I dropped my fork, my plate fell on the ground, which the dogs in the front area appreciated a lot, and ran to the puppy run.

Four puppies were trying to pull number five apart in all directions, which was Loki and he was screaming so pathetically, it tore my heart in two. I picked him up and noticed big tears in his eyes and he had a droopy and pouting lip, which I have never seen on any animal before – ever. He sobbed and looked at me with his tear-filled eyes and I promised him, I will get him out of there.

Loki, Happy & Delgada

Little did I know, that my husband, who definitely did not want any more dogs, had flirted long already with another dog, but I will save that for the next story.

After a couple of days in the clinic, Loki’s wounds had healed and he was returned to his siblings. I spent time with them day after day and it was not long before Loki screamed again.

He must have known at what times I was near, because it did not matter what time it was, this happened always when I was near the run.

I pulled him out and away from his siblings again and again and again and each time he looked at me with those beautiful tear filled eyes and that pouting lip with a sobbing to melt a stone.

We had long adopted the other dog and now it was like: how do I convince my husband to take one more?

Loki was allowed from that point on to roam free, as long as I was on the premises and he never, ever left my site. He knew when it was time to go inside the clinic to sleep, which was always around the time, when I had to leave the sanctuary. He was content with that as long as he got to see me the next day.

It was a weekend and the director had to leave town, so I asked, if I could take Loki home to see if he gets along with the other gangsters, that already long stole our hearts and lived with us.

Needless to say, he knew what time it was and was already on that motorbike we used for transportation, before I could tell him the great news.

Like a champ and proud as can be, he sat between my husband and me and seemingly enjoyed that ride.

Upon arrival at our house, he acted, as if he never lived anywhere else and the others accepted him right away, cats included.

The bed became his favorite place and he only left it reluctantly and under much protest.

Monday morning came and it was time to take him back to the shelter.

Upon arrival, the other free roaming dogs tried to attack him and shred him to pieces, so my softhearted husband took him back to our house and we informed the director of what was going on.

Loki already had convinced my husband that he was the perfect dog to have around and the kindhearted director allowed him to be adopted by us and so Loki moved in.

By time I had gotten home, he had made himself a corner with a blanket, all the toys he could get his paws on and a bunch of dry dog food, he had carried into his food bowl portion by portion.

Up to this day, I still wonder, what he told his sisters and brothers, if he gave up his food portions and what he told the other dogs living free in the front ???

Today I am his whole world and he is mine and we are like 2 peas in the pod. The others have accepted, that he has somewhat the stand of the leader and he will let everyone know that he is the boss.

I still do wonder what goes on in the heads of these dogs, when they decide they want a particular person as their forever friend, maybe one day I will know.

Today I am convinced, that this all was planned by Loki, because he is one of the smartest dogs, I have ever met and I really would not put it passed him. 🙂

And how was your day?

And How Was your Day?

I could not really sleep, because I was nervous, excited and felt whatever is normal to feel when you enter a new stage in your life.

My first thought was to have a cup of coffee and as I tumbled out of the bedroom, my 11 dogs and 9 cats looked at me a little disillusioned because it was way too early to get up in their opinion.

Have you ever seen a dog raise its eyebrows at you with that kind of look that states: Are you out of your tree? I got that look 11 times, while my mini chihuahua was not sure if she should keep wagging her tail with speed lightning or just go back to sleep on my pillow. (I gave up fighting her for my pillow long ago … she wins all the time anyway and it does not matter how many pillows I put out there, she will choose the one that I want to lay on every time.)

So as I am fighting my way through the cats and dogs still half asleep and just wishing desperately for a cup of coffee, I passed a mirror and glanced automatically at it.

Holy cow, what happened to my hair?

I keep it short but THAT looked like my hand was stuck in an electrical socket all night long.

Oh, it dawned on me.

While I was passed out my other mini chihuahua played hairdresser again. He loves to just chew and dig in my hair gently, while I am trying to sleep.

With my eyes still half closed and no contact lenses or glasses nearby, I guessed my way into the direction of the kitchen hoping to turn on the coffee maker that I set before going to bed….or did I?

I finally made it halfway through our king-sized hallway and peeked at the huge glass sliding door just to see a pair of big rabbit ears belonging to Bebe, my black and white big, bad boy rabbit. I had to separate him from his brother a while back because he was constantly trying to mutilate him and I know he did not like being alone.

There are 3 rabbits outside in big cages and if one gets out, it is usually Taz – the brown one.

Oh well, coffee had to wait.

It was too early for any of the animals to be outside because during the rainy season in Thailand the centipedes, scorpions and snakes are out and we have lost animals to their unmerciful stings and bites in the past.

To catch a rabbit that is tame and hand raised should be an easy task I thought – BUT – I did not count on Bebe enjoying his freedom so much.

We have a huge yard with all kind of tropical palm plants, bushes, fruit trees, lots of grass, etc. for the animals and Bebe was not thinking for a second about going back to the safety of his cage.

Let the games begin: No coffee, no glasses or contact lenses and me running after a rabbit that has just discovered a 380 m2 garden with everything in it that his little rabbit heart could possibly desire.

I do have a run for the rabbits, where they get to enjoy a little freedom regularly, but it is nothing like that real freedom Bebe just discovered.

Out of breath and sweating like a hog, because the heat already settled in with unmerciful sunlight, I decided to let him be for a minute and turn on the coffee maker.

While turning on my computer and doing my usual checking emails and work times for the day, the time passed and knowing it takes exactly 11 minutes for the coffee to be done, I was listening for the gurgling noises the coffee maker usually makes to signal that the coffee is almost done.

No noises…hmmm…I decided to go check on it.

Well Dummy me, I forgot to put down the lid – so I did and turned it on again. (this is one of those modern machines that does not brew or turn on with the lid left open.)

By now I was really desperate for a freakin’ cup of coffee and checked the thermos. Oh good – there was a little left from last night. I hate cold coffee but at this point I was desperate. After all, I still needed to catch Bebe.

So inhaling the small sip of cold coffee that was left in the thermos I felt a little more awake.

Next, try to catch Bebe – so I thought. That rabbit knew what I was up too, and still was not thinking about getting anywhere near me or his cage.

I will walk for miles and miles, but I refuse to run and so I figured a few more minutes for Bebe to enjoy the garden can’t hurt, especially since he had found a nice, juicy patch of grass beneath the gooseberry tree.

By now I was really looking forward to that freshly brewed, nice, hot and delicious cup of coffee.

Entering my kitchen there was still no smell of coffee nor anything sounding remotely like a coffeemaker signaling that fresh coffee is almost available.

So I looked at my coffee maker, that I thought was on, but nothing was happening. The clock showed no mercy either and it was 9:15 am by now.

I still needed to catch Bebe, still had no coffee other than that poor excuse of what once was a delicious liquid the evening before and I still looked like I had been in a major, disastrous storm and started to get a little upset. Then I did a little more investigating – Dummy me… I neither poured water in my coffee maker nor did I add the coffee.

So it was not the coffee maker’s fault at all that it did not brew.

I thought that machine was on a personal vendetta against me and wanted to taunt me for the day.

I poured the water in, put the coffee in the filter, double checked, pushed the on-button and all was well – yet I still needed to catch Bebe.

I took a foldable cage run, which comes apart that we use for the water turtles to stay in when cleaning their pool and pulled it apart to build a fence around his cage and the area where the turtles are – since Bebe was hiding there and did not think I saw him. Now he was ready to go back to his cage and sweetly looked at me as if to say thank you for my little adventure and happily went into his cage on his own.

THAT was a relief.

I folded the run back up and really was looking forward to that nice, fresh cup of coffee. So I went into the kitchen with the happy thought of that coffee and by now it was 9:45 am – 15 minutes away to be brain picked about my abilities as a teacher and to discuss my contract that was already on the virtual table.

COFFEE NOW PLEASE !!!!

I had thrown some water on my hair to tame this ridiculous look that would have scared any interviewer half to death and finally looked civil.

Bebe was safe again and I found my glasses too and was ready to rumble.

I got this – all I needed was a cup of coffee and I don’t think that was asked too much. By now the time is 9:48 am, 12 minutes away from the interview.

I happily had my cup ready to pour this most deserved and fresh, delicious cup of coffee – but – there was none.

I must have looked really stupid and made a gesture of some kind because my big boy dog Loki looked at me like I was off my rocker and went hiding under my desk.

What and where was the problem and why on earth could I not get a damned cup of coffee this morning? Electricity was on, so there was no reason for that stupid thing called coffee maker not to work.

Oh yes, there was !!!!! I forgot to plug it in, Dummy me.

I had exactly 11 minutes and 32 seconds left before I had to be at my virtual interview and quickly plugged the machine in and turned it on.

I raced to my computer, opened the virtual classroom to pull up the material and at 9:59 am I heard the sound I was so desperately waiting for – the gurgling of the coffeemaker. That was the most beautiful sound and smell all morning long and I had exactly 21 seconds left to get that cup of coffee.

I did and while I am taking that first, most desired sip of it, my interviewer appeared – with a cup of coffee in her hand as well.

I took another sip and now was ready.

Of course, I passed with flying colors and could now go over to the rest of the day’s happenings, which were peaceful and nothing out of the ordinary.

And how was your day?

Life’s Stories by Claudia Ulm – The Whispering Witch