Monday, October 19, 2009

Sick Puppy

Lots of people have asked how Solomon is doing, so I thought I'd post the news.

Solomon has a mast cell tumor - a type of cancer really common in dogs. It releases histamines, which was how I found out, because he was scratching and biting at it. This particular tumor is way up on his thigh (the meaty part of his drumstick if he were a chicken) and hard to remove because it is large and there's not a lot of margin around it.

I thought long and hard about whether or not to do surgery or any other type of treatment. I had to think about the fact that he is about to be 10 years old (although a very young 10), what I am willing to put him through, and the cost. It was a very hard decision and I am sure people will disagree with me on both sides, but my plan is to do the surgery, once. I can't afford to have it done more and I don't want to put him through a lot of surgeries. I also won't do chemo or radiation - partly for money and partly because I don't want to put him through that. The surgeon said another option was to amputate his leg but again, I don't want to do that - due to money and suffering on the part of the dog. I'm sure he'd recover fine but I don't want to put him through the surgery and, again, I can't afford it.

Some of you know how very special this dog is to me. He's been the one constant in ten years and is a wonderful, wonderful dog who has a talent for making people very happy, even people who aren't dog people. It sounds super cheesy but the dog has really truly been a gift from God.

I have had some really good experiences through this last week. Random people waiting in the vet's office have promised to pray for Solomon. People have asked me if they can help with his vet bills. If that's something you want to do - the answer is yes! But I wouldn't ask anyone to do that. However, if you would like to hire me for Spanish lessons, tutoring, editing, or knitting, now would be a great time to do so.

If you pray, please pray that the medication will shrink the the tumor and make it easier to be removed, that surgeon will get it all and it won't come back, and that Solomon will recover quickly and completely.

Thank you all!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Another View of the Boys: Guest Blog

This guest blog is written by my friend "Walter" (he chose the pseudonym, not me!) who has been involved with the two boys I've been writing about for several years now.

I have known the boys for four years now. I met them through the author of this blog when we took them to the Exploratorium one day - that was the first time I had ever met them. The kids were very polite and very cautious at first. They didn't go far from us and watched us the whole time until we got to the Exploratorium and they started running around and playing with stuff. Then they started to loosen up and have fun.

By the end of the day that first day, they were smiling and having fun; getting to be kids. It was really neat to see them getting to be children. I was hooked. I said, "OK, we need to do this again. You guys had a good time, I had fun." Once they got to put off the hard exterior and be kids, I really loved who they were and that they got to be children. I wanted to do whatever I could to get the opportunity to be kids as much as they could under the circumstances.

We've done so many things with these kids now that I don't even remember. For a while, every time we would bring them home, they'd say "Thank you so much, that was the best day ever." Over the next four years, we took them to camp, horseback riding, bowling, to see the Blue Angels, rock climbing, hikes on the beach, etc. We watched them get older and we watched them grow in who they were and I was very proud of them. I still am.

In the last couple of years, "Jorge" and "Luis" have had an increasingly hard time with life, school, and their families. Their behavior has gotten to the brink of uncontrollable and certainly past the edge of unacceptable. They're pushing away from us hard and I think the reason is that it's too painful for them to have people in their lives who love them in a healthy way with good boundaries.

Earlier this year, they suffered an absolute tragedy, when they were witnesses to the murder of their 13-year old friend. Things went downhill for them fast and they began to push people who love them away from them. We're hoping for a big turnaround somehow. I'm hopeful that they are going to turn around fairly soon. I don't know how to fix it and I don't think anyone else can. Please pray.

I'm thankful to all the people who have given their time and energy to support this family. I'm happy I know them. I'm still very proud that there are these two good kids in there. I'm sad that right now it hurts a lot and I'm afraid that they'll never find a good way of letting that out. I see a lot of potential in both of them. I still could see Jorge being an officer in the Navy or something - he has this air about him of someone you can trust. He's just so angry. I think Luis is fantastic at art. He has a gift.

As much trouble as they're being right now, I wouldn't change any of the time I've put into them. They're worth it.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Gecko's Vacation

The gecko is visiting a sixth grade class this month. I went to talk to the class about gecko care and they seemed really excited. I hope that Tiger (the gecko) touches these kids in the same way he touched the third graders.

In honor of Tiger, here are some of the essays the third graders wrote about him during my last year in the classroom.

The gecko eats crickets. The gecko comes out to see us. The gecko has its peace. The gecko climbs on its rock. the gecko sleeps in his own home. The gecko plays outside and sleeps in the day. the gecko has stripes. The gecko is 3 months old. The gecko's colors are brown and yellow. The gecko is scared of other animals. The gecko is a baby.

Leopard geckos are found in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Leopard geckos are among the largest geckos. 8 or 9 inches. Leopard geckos can live in a aquarium or plastic sweater boxes. Leopard geckos need sand, newspapers, and exercise. Leopard geckos can hide in Rocks, hide box, and logs.

They eat insects, crickets, waxworms, mealworms, multivitamin. A shallow water dish is a tank with fish in it. Changed daily nears to changed some thing. His name is Tiger. He is geting biger. [This one has a picture of the gecko with a Christmas present labeled "gecko."]

El gecko esta muy chiquito y come crickets oye muy recio y cuando y lo quieren agorrar corre cuando comiendo se cansa y se acuesta a dormir. El tiene rayas marailla y negra.

When the gecko first came in, I was excited because I thought that we were going to play with him. But we couldn't yet because he had to get used to his cage until next week. Then we can reach down and pat him. Thats what the teacher said and she promised that too. The gecko can eat real live crickets. We can touch the gecko when everyone calms down.

The gecko is brown and yellow and black and it looks like a lizard. It likes to jump and the gecko looks like this.

My name is __. I am 8 year's old. I am going to tell a story about a leopard gecko. The geko eat's crickets It sleeps at day hunt at night. When you pull hard on his tail it will fall of an escape. Oh yah when you hold himp upside down he falls asleep.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Parent Factor

I've had several friends lately tell me that because of what they've heard about public schools, they don't want to put their children into the public school system. I have quite a few reasons for disagreeing, but one of them is that a small group of parents can make a big difference. If parents get involved, they will not be sacrificing their kids' education, but making a school much better. I'll write more about that later, but here's an article on the subject of parent involvement.