Dog Fight: Pit Bull Attack!

One Saturday morning two weeks ago, I let my dogs out into our fenced-in front yard. It was still dark. They started barking.  Then, chaos.

A pack of three pit bulls forced their way in through a hole in the fence and immediately attacked. It was horrible. My dogs were York, a 65-pound black Lab, Savane, a 45-pound  senior Spaniel, and Cookie, a 15-pound Chi-Spaniel. These attacking dogs were a muscular 70 pounds each.

One dog chased after tiny Cookie. York, our Alpha dog tried to protect her. He got bitten in the flank for his efforts. Cookie raced into the shelter of the bougainvillea vines, and the pit bull followed.

Bougainvillea are beautiful, but their thorns are a deterrence. Near the roots is a small, cave-like space. Here is where Cookie went to hide. It may have saved her life.

Bougainvillea in bloom
Bougainvillea in bloom

I ran into the bougainvillea after Cookie and the pit bull. I was hitting the pit bull in the eyes and snout with my metal flashlight. I was kicking. The pit bull was trying to shake Cookie by the neck as if killing a cat or squirrel. This went on for an eternity.

Suddenly, Cookie got free. She scampered across the yard and under my car. The pit bull joined the two others who had Savane on his back, still biting Savane, although Savane had surrendered.

I started yelling and kicking. My husband, who’d been asleep, came out and joined me, and the stray pit bulls finally left.

All our three dogs required stitches at the vet’s.  York only had one deep bite. Cookie’s abdomen had a huge gash, but luckily no internal damage. Cookie’s leg was also slashed so deeply, the vet put a wrap around the whole leg. But Savane was injured the worst. He had a ring of bite marks around his neck where normally a collar would go. Cookie and Savane’s wounds required drains.

I blame this incident on bad dog owners. I have nothing against pit bulls: my family member has two pits bull mix dogs who are sweet and non-aggressive. I feel it’s wrong to train your dog to be aggressive and dangerous to other dogs or to people.

I wrote an article for Cultural Weekly about the dog fight. The article has more photos and details. Here’s the link:

https://www.culturalweekly.com/dog-fight-lives/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gone to the Dogs

I have a new artistic obsession: drawing pictures of dogs. I use a Sharpie in my sketchbook and/or a stylus on the computer.

Cookie with her ball
Cookie with her ball

It’s wonderful sitting quietly and closely observing my dogs York (black Lab), Savane (Spaniel mix), and Cookie (Chi-Spaniel) so I can draw them on the spot in my sketchbook.

York, the friendly Lab
York, the friendly Lab

I did notice I have a lot of sketches of sleeping dogs–snoozing appears to be my dogs’ main activity besides barking.

Savane resting on rug
Savane resting on rug

My dogs are always waiting to bark at something. Are you familiar with that John Yamus poem “my dogs” where he describes his dogs “when they’re not / barking, / they’re sitting there / waiting for something / to bark at”? Those are my dogs to a T.

 

I’m lucky my dogs sleep most of the time instead of barking. Although they know when it’s five o’clock, dinner time, they’re pretty oblivious the rest of the time….

Cookie, our princess, yawning
Cookie, our princess, yawning

 

 

 

The “Gecko Art” Reception & After

My husband and I are greeted with gourmet ale and gorgeous artworks on the walls as we enter the gallery in Hidden Springs Aleworks on North Franklin Street in Tampa for the reception on Saturday night (9-23-17) for my “Gecko Art” and other art curated by the artists I’m hooked up with, Funky As A Monkey Studios.

This is an art gallery within an ale hall. Tim Gibbons and Jayne Lisbeth of Funky As A Monkey picked  a “kewl” place for the opening reception of the exhibit “ARTISTS STORIES ON CANVAS AND IN WORDS.”

Behind the bar, two young men are busy drawing beers for people here for the art reception as well as unrelated customers; the place is packed. The walls are covered with paintings and mixed media artworks. The art is of good quality, things I wouldn’t mind hanging in my home.

I have five pieces of my “Gecko Art” photos in this gallery showing. My tropically-colored works framed in black are on the front wall under five silver sculptured and decorated torso art done by artist Eileen  Goldenberg. The combination works.

We join our four friends from Polk State College who’ve come from Lakeland for the opening. We appreciate their support! We explore, discovering that the art gallery also covers the walls of the adjacent hallway.

(If you’re interested in more information about my photo art, go to the Menu at the top of this page and click on My Photos.”)

In the days and weeks after the reception, my enthusiasm for photography and for geckos is revitalized.

I love to come home from work in the afternoon and admire and photo “my” geckos lolling in the sun. They’re such gentle, shy, harmless creatures. Their tails are longer than their bodies. They come in different colors, from almost white to olive green to almost black. They’re more graceful than gymnasts.

I don’t want to tame these wild geckos. Or feed them. Or pet them. Or put them in a terrarium. I want take their photos because they’re beautiful, but not disturb their lives.

Our three dogs don’t hunt geckos like I know some dogs do. York (our pure-bred black Lab, age 8), Savane (our senior citizen Spaniel mix, age 14), and Cookie (our Chi-Spaniel rescue dog, age 2), don’t chase or bother geckos in any way. Good dogs!

Three times recently a gecko has been hiding in the house and has jumped out at me. A dark gecko hopped on my bedside table. I grabbed a tissue out of a nearby box. It froze. I gently grabbed it by the tissue, closed it loosely in my fist, and quickly let it go outside the front door. It scampered off on the porch.

I did the same with gecko #2, which appeared in our second bedroom near a ficus tree. This #2 gecko was almost albino white. I wondered if it had been in the house since the hurricane, almost two weeks. Poor thing.

A third gecko jumped out at me when I was sweeping the floor in the corner of the living room. I didn’t catch it the first time. It hid in the sofa cushions. But an hour later when I was still cleaning, I got it and set it free on the porch unharmed.

Did I mention that for the hurricane, we brought all our porch plants inside the house? That included three tall ficus trees and a monster fern. The geckos must’ve been in the plants. I hope these three geckos are all of them!

One thing my husband said about geckos struck home: “The geckos’ natural enemy is snakes. We have so many geckos, we can’t have a lot of snakes.” And it’s true. Although we live in a semi-rural area, I haven’t seen a snake in quite some time. Let’s keep it that way!

 

 

 

 

 

My Hurricane Article for Cultural Weekly

 

Hurricane Irma slammed into Lakeland, Florida, last Sunday night. I heard the wind howl and the rain beat like a drum.

No matter. I am a staff writer for Cultural Weekly magazine, and I had an article to write. I handwrote the article in a spiral notebook, then typed it into Messenger on my phone. The editor took it from there.

Read the article by clicking this link:

https://www.culturalweekly.com/hurricane-daze/

 

Writer on the Storm

The hurricane arrives, and it is  loud. The over-hundred-miles-an-hour wind howls like a freight train.

The hurricane is coming, the hurricane is coming! I live in Central Florida, right smack in Hurricane Irma”s path. When we find out the storm is headed straight for us, we stoc up on flashlights, water, and gasoline.

The winds have picked up by 5 o’clock Sunday when our guests arrive, two young men and their dog, cat, and four kittens. They rent a mobile home, unsafe in a hurricane. Our house is solid concrete block.

The hurricane arrives, and it is  loud. The over-hundred-miles-an-hour wind howls like a freight train. The electric power surges periodically. We hold our breaths, expecting the electricity to go out. It finally does at 1:30 a.m.

Right about then, the eye of the storm arrives.

More on this story later…

 

 

 

 

 

Good news!-My poem to be published!

I’m so excited! I found out today my poem “Immaculate Conception” is going to be published by the web-based literary magazine Thirteen Myna Birds. A big round of applause is due Editor Juliet Cook, who has published my work before, which must mean she sees something she likes from time to time. I’m proud to be part of the Myna Bird flock again.

Where the name “Mish” comes from

Mish is my email screenname (mishmurphy@aol.com). Mish is also the name of my favorite dog who passed away of old age.

Mish is the name of my favorite dog who passed away of old age in 2009–not that I don’t love my current canine companions York, Savane, and Cookie.

I got Mish at the Chicago Humane Society in 1998. They said Mish had recently given birth, but didn’t have any puppies with her when she was found in an alley in Chicago, a stray.

She was a cross between a German Shepherd and a husky. She weighed about 55 pounds. Her fur was mostly white, with black and tan on her back. Her eyes looked like she used black eyeliner and mascara.

At the Chicago Humane Society, an Australian sheep dog with a blue tongue attracted me. I took him out for a walk. Then I looked at a few more dogs, soon returning for the Australian dog with adoption in mind. But he was gone, adopted by someone else from under my nose. I shed tears and pleaded with shelter volunteers, but I didn’t get that Australian sheep dog.

So I adopted Mish as my second choice. The Humane Society’s policy was to spay or neuter adopted pets before finalizing an adoption. So I picked Mish up at the Human Society after her surgery two days later when the dog was still woozy. She needed me to help her find a place to lie down. And I had to coax her to eat. She was friendly, but subdued.

Almost immediately, I forgot the other dog and fell in love with Mish.