Laying Down on the Job

Laying Down on the Job
The Santa Monica Easy

Friday, September 21, 2012

Today at the Santa Monica Pier...

upon closer inspection...

These are photos of an example of the best of human endeavours and I'm so happy the good ship Endeavour has come to spend her retirement years in Los Angeles where she can inspire and delight untold numbers of future scientists, explorers, astronomers, teachers, artists and people like me who are just proud of what was achieved through her existence. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sunday At the Beach with Dory

In a continuing episode of Adventures with Dori - scared, adorable Jindo dog extraordinaire -- currently being fostered by this Santa Monica resident, this photo essay is submitted. 
"I'm the best dog I know how to be..."
Sunday, March 4th, having made impressive progress facing fear and flinching in Santa Monica, I journeyed with bright-eyed and eager Dori through the loudest part of Santa Monica to its most congested and attractive part -- the beach.  Actually we only went to the Pacific Palisades park which overlooks the beach near Wilshire Blvd. 
Regardless of the beautiful day, clear sky, low surf, Dori Dog was none too impressed, clearly turning his back on the ocean so it wouldn't scare him.  Earlier he had been seriously startled by his shadow so the ocean scene was a bit beyond his ability to face new fears for the day. 

Walks with Dori are studded with full-body flinches and crouching plus the occasional attempt to avoid or escape.  Dogs and those on the other end of the leash are supposed to enjoy and bond during walks but walking with a hyper-vigilant and nervous dog who turtles his tail with every city sound is challenging work (to be fair, for a dog whose previous 5 years was spent alone on the end of a long leash staked in a back yard in the quite Pasadena mountains, Santa Monica must sound like he's in the midst of blunderbuss hunting season for Jindo dogs). I thought a back pack would help Dori feel more confident on his walks. So, with the help of one of Mr. BoJindo's back packs, which arrived today, Dori got a new red bag! 
"Now what?"
Dori accepted the back pack (which, empty, is about the weight of a bath towel) without fear even though it required some fiddling under his chest where the straps connect with clasps that can sometimes pinch. Nevertheless, Dori stood still while I lowered the shoulder straps over his head, the bags across his back and clicked the chest straps together.  I had to cinch the chest straps a bit since Dori is probably 10 to 15 pounds lighter than Mr. BoJindo but Dori patiently tolerated -- or perhaps enjoyed -- all the handling and physical fuss.  The pockets are filled with his poop pick-up bags and some handi-wipes or me.  When he gets some of his weight back I may add a water bottle so he'll have water on longer walks.

The back pack seemed to help Mr. BoJindo focus when he walked or hiked so he wouldn't ramble and charge off to the end of his leash after a squirrel as much as he did without it  I hope it'll help Dori feel more secure when we walk.  We'll soon find out!

Once outside with his back pack, Dori met my neighbors who patiently introduced themselves and offered a gentle hand to scratch his neck. 
To be continued... 


There's always something new to be found while walking Santa Monica and sometimes it's under my feet. During a recent walk along one of Santa Monica's oldest boulevards I took the time to notice the lovely art work in the sidewalk.  These mosaics take public art to a whole new level.  Ground level. 

And then there's this. 
This isn't art but it's history. I found it thanks to one of our awesome librarians at the Santa Monica Public Library familiar with Santa Monica history who gave me a rough idea where to find this street sign that's been in place since sometime prior to 1912.   Santa Monica residents might scratch their collective heads wondering where in the city is Oregon Ave.? "Oregon Ave." can be found on early maps of Santa Monica (also available online through the Santa Monica Library).  Most residents know where Colorado, California, Idaho, Washington, Montana, Pennsylvania, Arizona -- even Ohio -- avenues are -- but Oregon? Not so much. That's because Oregon Ave. was changed to the now world famous Santa Monica Blvd. in 1912.  This faded street sign is on the north west corner of 5th and Santa Monica Blvd.  

With all the countless pairs of feet crossing and scuffling across this street sign every day, eventually it'll be worn away and forgotten -- or at least illegible.   Wouldn't it be nice if the Santa Monica City Council could initiate some action that would preserve this piece of under foot history?

Mysterious Door

1660 Ninth St.
On my most recent trip to the Santa Monica Animal Shelter, intent on dropping off the last of my paperwork so I can eventually volunteer there, I noticed this intriguing door with the seemingly ominous door knocker.  I have no idea what's behind the door, but it's kind of spooky -- or perhaps intriguingly compelling.  I was tempted to use the knocker just to find out who would open the door and/or hear what sound would issue forth (perhaps Frau Blucher from "Young Frankenstein"?) -- but I'm not THAT fearless nor nosy -- just curious tinged with touch of drama. I'll leave it up to my imagination and conjure up my own visions of mystery, demons and Daniel Webster behind the mysterious door. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fostering in Santa Monica

Adventures with Dori begin!  Dori, the 5 year old, neutered male Jindo dog I volunteered to foster arrived today around noon.
My first visit with Dori at the Pasadena Humane Society
It all started on January 21st, when I read an email sent by Adopt A Pet looking for a volunteer to foster Dori. Not really knowing what "foster" meant, my immediate reaction was, "I know about the Jindo breed, I could probably foster this dog." immediately followed by, "I'm not allowed to have pets. I live in a single bungalow without much room. I'd have to change my daily routine.  I've house-sat for dogs but I don't know anything about being a foster. What if I mess up? I probably won't be able to help." Nevertheless, I responded to the email and later called the contact person listed on the email.  

I won't detail Dori's life before today -- because nothing exemplifies "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" better than dogs -- who always seem to live in the present.  Their behavior may be influenced by human treatment, but animals don't hold a grudge, don't feel sorry for themselves and they don't plot revenge.  They do know how to be loyal, to demonstrate total acceptance of humans no matter how worthy we may or may not be. They can be fearful and untrusting but I believe they're all creatures with undeniable, inestimable worth.  

Dori is nervous but curious and very sweet.  He takes food from my hand very gently, loves to have his neck and behind his ears scratched. He's "hand" shy -- his whole body flinches when I put up my hand to indicate "stay".  We had two walks so far today and he did very well both times. Although he didn't eat breakfast before he made the trip to my place, this afternoon he ate his "Taste of the Wild" kibble enthusiastically (provided by Two Dog Farms).  He is afraid/unsure/wary (?) of the kennel (also provided by Two Dog Farms) so we'll have to work on that.  I don't want to leave him here, on his own, right now.  In a crate he'll be less likely to eat my couch or claw his way through a window in an explosion of canine separation anxiety. With consistent effort on my part, I believe it won't take him long to be balanced and happy.  
The lovely and impressive Pasadena Humane Society
Dori has a second chance through the efforts of real life, terrestrial angels like Rosalind Behenna who runs Two Dog Farms, Inc. Non-Profit Jindo Rescue, a Korean Dog Rescue, Rehabilitation and Rehoming organization. One has only to read my May 20, 2010 post, "The Zen of Mr. BoJindo Sitting" to know that Jindos are very near and dear to my heart. I'm sure that's got a lot to do with my plunging into the unknown of fostering a dog. Step by step, starting with getting my landlord's permission (thank you Victor!), the groundwork was laid through Rosalind, Lorna Campbell at the Pasadena Humane Society and dog trainer Rebecca Setler to get Dori out of harms way and into my foster home care where he can evolve blossom into a self-confident, balanced dog ready for his forever home.  I'll probably make some mistakes along the way -- although I have seriously studied Cesar Millan's "Cesar's Way" which taught me a lot -- especially how to be a good pack leader -- so maybe the mistakes will be less than catastrophic. 
Memorial wall in the Pasadena Humane Society's courtyard 
After a long day, Dori is asleep on the floor right now, dreaming of something that makes his legs move like he's running. I hope it's a good dream and not an escape nightmare. It occurs to me that it might be interesting to make a movie or a computer game based on a dog's dream from the dog's point of view -- or what we humans think is a dog's point of view when they dream -- where every player is the embodiment of a dog having to deal with real canine issues.  Hmmm.  I LIKE it!
Dori scopes out the front yard.
Being able to foster this lovely creature would not have been possible if my landlord had not given me permission.  He's a dog lover and knows I've treated his property with respect for the past 20 years -- as if it belonged to me. I'm just glad I had the determination to ask him. Without his support this dear dog would probably not be alive right now due to overcrowding in the shelter that offered him for adoption and provided a short-term home -- and the world would be a little bit sadder, smaller and miserable.  I know -- how does saving one dog in a world where human beasts slaughter each other and their children make the world better?  I can't save the human beasts but right here, right now, there's the possibility that this dog has something to teach me and other people about being a better human being and I will do my best to help him on the way to a fulfilled doggie life.