Human First.

Today I rode a pitbull. This happens every now and then and usually takes place in the kitchen.
My doggy Rhiannon, also known as Monkey, is a beautiful, sweet dog I adopted in October. She has caramel fur with white fur on her chest and down her red nose.
Rhia was abused poorly before she found her way to our home. Her body shows her struggle, she has clearly given birth many times.
  I was unsure about having such a big dog at first, but then the first night here she chased a bear from our yard. After that, she was welcome to stay.

Rhiannon loves to cuddle. She sleeps under the covers and will tuck herself in. If my son is upset and having a melt down, she will immediately go to his side, place her front legs around him and won’t stop hugging until he is calm
Rhia always knows when someone is in need of comfort, and knows a fake! We’ve experimented.

Rhia also has a skin condition that is very common for her breed. I have found that adding more fish oil to her diet along with coconut oil helps her skin immensely. She finally has hair growing on her stomach. All the hair on her face has grown back as well. We also bath her once a week in Dove body wash. I had tried lotions and creams and they just didn’t work well enough. I tried putting the coconut oil on her face and she licked it all off.
The only problem is that its hard to get Rhia to take the fish oil pill.

I have tried to hide it in foods. She learned that any cheese has a pill in it and unfolds it quickly, leaving the pill.
I started to switch up the food in which we stuffed. Soon, she just started to eat the food and spit out the pill.
I learned that she needs to chew crunchy food, so for a while homemade dog safe crackers stuffed with coconut oil worked great for stuff with the pills. We were great for a while, until today.

I looked at my dog, who had just taken the pills out of the crackers, then out of a pizza crust. The only thing around me was a lone fortune cookie on the counter from last nights take-out Chinese dinner.
I unwrapped and  cracked the cookie, pulled out the paper and stuffed each side with a pill.
I cupped Rhia’s mouth gently, and gave her the cookie. She happily chopped it up with my hands on either side of her brown muzzle.
And then she spit out both pills.

I couldn’t take it anymore!
I put one leg on each side of her 80 lb muscular frame, pride open her mouth and threw both pills in before she slammed it shut. I held her muzzle closed gently, while she chomped, backing slowly down the kitchen past the wooden island. I rode along on my tip toes (I’m only 5’2″), making sure not to hurt her.
“Swallow the pill, Monkey! Swallow the damn pill!”
I held on until she swallowed and then dismounted.

After, I looked into her beautiful butterscotch eyes and threw her a slice of pepperoni. Then I looked at her and did a little dance and sang her a song. She wagged her tail and danced along with me. Then she did a circle and left the kitchen.

I looked down at the counter and saw the fortune.

“LEARN CHINESE – Delicious”
How appropriate.
I giggled and flipped it over.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

One of my absolute favorite quotes is this;

” You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

I have always hoped that some day I would be in a place where I could make a difference.
But I always believed that the only way to make any kind of difference was to help as many as I could all in one big action.
Perhaps this was a total lapse in my thinking. Maybe our actions don’t need to be large. Maybe we can all start small.

The next time you pass someone homeless on the streon, start small. Don’t turn away. Don’t feel you need to offer money. Understand that acknowledgement and interaction is just as important. Hand them a sandwich. Buy an extra $1 coffee and hand it to the next face you see that surely needs a cup. You all are so keen to pay it forward in the Starbucks line, instead help the person who couldn’t even afford a small cup.

I have another quote I use often. It’s sad,  but unfortunately one of the truest things I have seen in this world.

“For only the poor help the poor”

Only those who have known the sting of hunger and poverty, these are the people out there truly making a difference.

I have seen people who have $3 left in this pocket and a bank account in the negative feed all the children in the apartment building dinner every night.
I have seen desperate people sell their medications to keep the heat on and their babies warm.
I have heard of a mom, working an 18 hour shift at a waffle house, with her 2 year old baby boy, asleep in the kitchen on top of boxes.
I have seen parents who both work having to pick up a second job to afford daycare.
I have seen a homeless man go hungry so he could feed his dog.

I have also seen millionaires on TV rant about the laziness of those on welfare.
I have seen a trust fund hippie drive past a woman and child, stranded, with a car stuck in a snowbank, in his plow truck but slow down long enough to say he can’t assist because of insurance reasons.
I have seen rich landlords who tell single moms that there are other ways to pay when their behind on rent.
I have watched Senate members, earning $174,000 per year complain about a 1% budget spending on 52.2 million people (only 1/5th of the US population) receiving $10,000 per year.

Now, obviously there are wonderful people on both sides just as there are those who take advantage and set a bad example.

I have always been that person to say “I want to help someday” or “I hope i will make a difference”
Instead of all this waiting, instead of wanting to start large, instead start small.

Buy an extra coffee, or another pack of socks and donate it to a local shelter (new socks are rarely donated and thrown away if used. This is the most needed item of clothes.)
Grab a water for that guy who is standing outside all day in the hot sun, earning shit pay.
Tell that nice kid who held the door open for you “Thank you” and how much you appreciate their manners.
Spread these actions, large or small. Tell that person who isn’t smiling that you love something about them or on their outfit. Make an extra brown bag lunch and drop it off for that person you pass every day that needs a meal.
These interactions are so important. It’s how we build these connections and take care of our own.  Religion, Race, Sex, Sexual Orientation, none of this matters. What does matter is our humanity. So many of us are suffering and if we continue to turn a blind eye to this, what will we ignore next?
Help your fellow person.
Remember, you are Human first.

I am announcing the start of a new project. I have been mulling over this idea for a few months now and considering the direction politics are moving in the US, now seems like the perfect time.
Once a month I am going to interview a person living under the welfare umbrella label. I will post their story and their interview.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to end the stigma.

If you are on any welfare services and would like to be interviewed anonymously by me, please send an e-mail to AmberGriffis@mail.com

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