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Let's Hear It for Beans, Greens and Turkish Apricots (Or How I Try to Skim Over Adopt-a-Pet Week)

Posted Oct 21 2008 12:12am

When I was eight years old, my mother loaded up my brother and me and took us to the Bideawee animal shelter in Wantagh on Long Island, NY. Founded in 1906, Bideawee, which means "stay awhile" in Scottish, is one of the oldest humane organizations in the United States.

My brother and I scanned the aisles of cages until we settled on a little black, brown and white mutt that we took home with us and named Gin-Gin. She was my constant companion until I went to college, during which time she died. When I run (which I don't love doing), I think of Gin chasing waves and digging her muzzle in the freshly-fallen snow on the beach every Sunday morning during winter as she ran along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean with me, and I always smile.

And so, I knew this day would come during our 52-weeks of Every Monday Matters. I gave my kids the book and told them to choose the next activity. They flipped a coin to see who would go first, but it's not as if that even mattered. They both chose the same thing. #19: Adopt a Pet.

I've had a cat--my marriage almost didn't survive it. And there are real reasons why now is not the right time for a puppy. Note to the authors, Matt and Kelly--you could have given moms like me an out or two on this page! It's all dog-cat-adopt. No loopholes.

So the kids and I talked. I said that instead of adopt, we needed to adapt, and that taking any action was better than none. That if we got hung up on doing exactly what was listed, and not take into account the reality of our lives, then this would be a problematic year rather than a year where we feel like we are giving freely from our hearts. Cop-out? Perhaps. But that's where I'm at with this one.

So, we all agreed to think of something about which we could each say, " This, I can do." My older daughter was given money two Christmases ago to adopt a pod of whales and has yet to do it, so she chose to do that this week. My younger daughter looks for any opportunity to visit a nearby pet store and play with the puppies, which she knows always makes them happy, so that's on the list for this week. And the animal hospital (within my one-mile walkshed, by the way) always needs old blankets and towels, so I'm committing to cleaning out that linen closet.

Is this as good as 14 years with an adopted dog? No. But this, we can do.

And speaking of things I can do, I can now give blood! Donation Day was off to a rocky start--I walked to the donation site because it was the first day of One-Mile March, but that meant I didn't have identification with me. Which meant I needed to go back home. Which led to a neighbor driving me home. Which led to a wonderful conversation that we never would have had. Which led to me saying that by giving blood just one time I would save three lives. Which led to the unfortunate end for that squirrel that darted out under her car at precisely that moment. Which led to me amending my comment to say I would save two lives.

But the big news? The nurse tested my iron before I donated. She said it needed to be over 38, and that most women (meat-eating) have about a 40 or 41. My "Nothing with a Face" number came back as . . . 44! I screamed! We high-fived! I was literally on a cloud (as opposed to hitting the pavement from passing out) the rest of the day. I can't believe it. Let's hear it for beans, greens and Turkish apricots!
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