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The Furballs And I

 

In the summer of 1972, when I was 14, I was put on a Greyhound bus and traveled from Chicago to San Francisco for my brother K's wedding, as the family representative. My mother said it was to make up for my missing my eighth grade graduation and class trip because of moving (AGAIN!), my dad said something along the lines of I might like it there so much I'd decide to stay. What ever the reason was, I was beyond excited.

K and his wife, Violet, lived in the Haight-Ashbury area, kitty-cornered from a large park. I arrived the day before their wedding, a small civil affair, as they'd been living together for quite some time. They both seemed over the moon to have me there and excitedly told me all the 'touristy' things they planned to do, having me as an excuse. Violet even wondered aloud if a week would be long enough and teased they might keep me longer.

What K did not tell me, or anyone else apparently, was Violet was schizophrenic and off her meds about 3 days after I got there. I remember that afternoon quite well, K had gone somewhere leaving me with her. Things seemed fine, as we were chopping up some vegetables. Quite suddenly she turned towards me and said, "I know you're sleeping with my husband." Huh!?! Almost before I could register this really gross remark (I mean seriously - my BROTHER and me? Ewwww.) she swiped at me with the knife she was using. I won't go into details about what followed, just let it suffice that I ran, fell, stumbled out of the apartment and into the street. From there I ran haphazardly into the park. Which is where my story actually takes place.

After I was fairly sure she had not given pursuit, I found a bench and sat down on it. I was trying hard to ignore the cries of 'Tour-eest! Hey Tour-eest," from various panhandlers, trying not to cry from sheer fear, and figure out what the heck I was going to do. Sure as heck I was NOT going back there, not until I was sure my brother was home at least.

So, there I sat, feeling utterly alone and dejected, now and then I'd wander back up to the entrance of the park and look over at my brother's apartment house. Was he home yet? I was fairly certain he wasn't. I knew when he found I wasn't there he'd come looking for me. I just had to stay put until he found me, and back to the bench I would go.

Late afternoon, I was surprised to see this beautiful husky come padding up to me. He sat down at my feet, placing one paw in my lap and looked up at me. I stared at him a moment and began to stroke his head. I believe animals to be wonderfully empathic creatures, and I think he sensed my hurt and bewilderment at my predicament, and offered furry comfort. After a few moments he left and I was alone again.

Time passed, more trips to the entrance, and back to the bench. My stomach gurgled its emptiness. I spotted a hotdog vendor and bought a couple of dogs and a small drink. Back to the bench. I'd barely taken a bite when up comes my furry friend with his twin. They both sit at my feet and stare up at me. "Hungry?" I split the other dog in half giving it to them. The treat gulped down they padded off. Sheeshe, in this place everybody, and I guess even the dogs, will mooch off you.

No one tells you that as the sun sets and the fog starts rolling in, San Francisco gets cold. It was just beginning to cool, when some guy saunters up to the bench and sitting down, begins to try and talk to me. Something about him was off, way off. Maybe it was his opening line of "Hey, pretty girl, you alone?" Maybe it was the way he was looking at me - a lot like the dogs had eyed my food moments before, but I knew I didn't want anything to do with him. I glanced around for a group or someone I could fake knowing, just to make a get away. To my dismay, the park dotted with folks only moments ago seemed empty, except for me and Mr. Creepy.

Suddenly, there was twin barks and the furballs were back, this time jumping up on the bench between us. Mr. Creepy asked if they were mine and if they bite. This time I broke my silence, "Only if I tell them to." As suddenly as the dogs had appeared, he thought of a better place to go, can't say I was sorry to see his retreating back.

I leaned over patting both dogs, thanking them, getting my tear stained face licked clean. "Still don't know what I should do," I whispered to them. One crawled over me, so that I was flanked, it was as if they were saying, "It's going to be OK. We'll keep you safe."

A short while later, my brother strolled into view. I stood calling out his name, and running to him. I looked back but the furballs were gone.

K then told me something that made me wonder if the dogs weren't really guardians. He told me that I'd been 'lucky' because the rape and mugging rate of that park was very high.

The next morning, I was on a Greyhound bus.

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valkricry (32 stories) (2572 posts) mod
 
1 year ago (2016-02-10)
L_Melb,
Thank you for reading and commenting. At the time, I really did feel that the dogs would get 'physical' with Mr. Creepy if the need arose. I know it sounds crazy, being as they weren't my dogs, but...
L_Melb (65 posts)
 
1 year ago (2016-02-07)
Hello valkricry, must say I did enjoy the perfect reply to Mr. Creepy's question about his chances of getting a bite! Excellent thinking for a young scared kid:)
Thanks for ALL you've shared, L
Sattella___Kuaran (4 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2015-11-29)
Animals (especially dogs) are guardians and they can sense when your sad or upset. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten into fights with my mom and I'd be crying in my room when my dog shadow comes to my door and jumps on my bed snuggling me. It always makes me feel better.
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (323 posts)
 
1 year ago (2015-11-25)
Yes, they were triplets. I think something in the groundwater here was making my critters super fertile. We had a lot of triplets and I had one ewe that dropped 6 lambs one day! Of course it had to be out in the second pasture on a stormy day and I had to go out and haul all of them back to the barn. Didn't help that the ewe was a schizo. She did her best to keep me away from her babies but eventually warmed up to me when I started bottle feeding half of them. Laugh
valkricry (32 stories) (2572 posts) mod
+1
1 year ago (2015-11-25)
Allesgute - first off big hugs, you aren't alone. It does my heart good to hear folks like you and Biblio have found support in this life, and are moving forwards.
Some people are just toxic to our mental (sometimes physical too) well being, and I applaud your decision to sever ties with your father. That doesn't mean you can't/haven't forgiven him, you just recognize that in his case he will just keep polluting your environment with negativity, and who needs that?
valkricry (32 stories) (2572 posts) mod
 
1 year ago (2015-11-25)
pjs,
Thanks for commenting!

babygoatpuller, 'trip boys' - do you mean triplets? Or does that mean something else? I'm sorry to hear that Jasmine has gone too.
allesgute154 (3 stories) (254 posts)
 
1 year ago (2015-11-24)
Oh Val! When I read about what you've gone through, it gives me a sense of deja vu. Your words 'seeds of self-doubt, and negativity are sewn at an early age, cultivated, and reinforced over a long period of time' are so true. I've suffered these very seeds, which grew into a mammoth tree, over time and made my life miserable, leading me to make wrong choices and it all became a vicious cycle. That was until I met good people and my life is somewhat better now. But those memories of belittlement, that too from your own parent, never go away. Suffice to say that I've severed all ties with my father because I don't want that nastiness coming into my new world. Now my only aim is to be a good parent to my daughter.
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (323 posts)
 
1 year ago (2015-11-23)
Jasmine is gone now. I think she died of a broken heart. Gracie had a brother, Geoffrey. He was a giant of a goat with orange and white spots. Jasmine kicked him off at about 3 weeks. He slammed into her teats so hard she'd just had enough so I bottle fed him. She still wanted him in the pen with her, just not turning her udder into a cottage cheese bag. Gracie was about 6 months old and not nursing anymore when this happened but Jasmine wanted her by her side all the time. A year later she had trip boys and did the bare minimum with them. She tried to steal one of Buffy's trip girls but Buffy would have none of it. I think Jas was a die hard feminist. Smile
pjs1977 (2 stories) (47 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-11-22)
That was such a cute story I honestly liked it. I also honestly believe that those dogs were your guardian angels because had they not been there that creepy man sitting next to you would have tried something stupid, and as for your brothers wife well all I can say is I hope you never went back to San fransico California. Good story I really liked it though
pjs1977 (2 stories) (47 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-11-22)
That was such a cute story I honestly liked it. I also honestly believe that those dogs wear your guardian angels because had they not been there that creepy man sitting next to you would have tried something stupid, and as for your brothers wife well all I can say is I hope you never went back to California. Good story I really liked it though
valkricry (32 stories) (2572 posts) mod
 
2 years ago (2015-11-22)
babygoatpuller,
Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about Gracie. How is Jasmine doing now? You know, I've heard that sometimes given another kid, or even another young animal to 'mother' helps.
valkricry (32 stories) (2572 posts) mod
+1
2 years ago (2015-11-22)
Biblio,
Thank you for the words of comfort and sharing a bit about your childhood. I know how difficult it can be to do that (the sharing not the caring part), and I appreciate it.
I agree it is not always easy to come to grips with one's past, or to break the emotional chains, forged by others, that cripple us. The healing process can be quite arduous, especially when the seeds of self-doubt, and negativity are sewn at an early age, cultivated, and reinforced over a long period of time. It can be done, perhaps never completely eradicated, but diminished enough to allow self-love to take root. I think forgiveness is key.
I feel, it's important here to define what I mean by 'forgiveness'.
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. It doesn't obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you, or that you need to trust them either. What it means is recognizing the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, to let go of the anger. In short: acknowledge your emotions, feel them, and then let them go.
For myself, I try to focus on the positive things of those long gone years. I cannot change nor alter my past, but I can choose what parts to embrace. Wink
valkricry (32 stories) (2572 posts) mod
 
2 years ago (2015-11-21)
Psychicsenses,
Well, thank you, not sure how 'noble' my soul is though. But, I do believe you to be correct about animals in general. Somehow they see right through the masks folks wear and see the real person.
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (323 posts)
+2
2 years ago (2015-11-21)
WOW! I've noticed something about you Val and that is that your kindness to man or beast is boundless. I'm thinking you've probably got a whole platoon of guardians and they probably fall all over each other to come to your rescue. Laugh

Don't ever doubt that animals do have souls and emotions. I had a goat that lost her daughter, Gracie. My vet killed her when he was repairing her broken leg. I told him she had been eating all day and he operated anyway and she aspirated and died. Her mom, Jasmine, ran over to the gate when I got home without Gracie and she had two tears start to roll down her face. She went into a depression that she never pulled out of. It was heartbreaking.

Always looking forward to your next submission!
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (657 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-11-21)
Val, it is a sad commentary on your distressing upbringing that you were probably safer with a knife-wielding schizophrenic sister-in-law, a pair of dog-guardians, and a perverted stranger than you were at home. I know that home is *supposed* to be a safe place for children to seek security and comfort, but I'm all too familiar with the "Don't EVER upset your mother" phenomenon; it was only last week that I was told that appeasing the most temperamental/unstable family member is an insidious, manipulative form of emotional blackmail dressed up as "doing the right thing." I have no idea what your dad's agenda may have been (I'll have to read your earlier stories looking for background info), but that was not a paternal attitude for him to take with an vulnerable teenage girl in need of reassurance. His behavior makes my father seem like a perfectly reasonable and well-adjusted adult in comparison!

While these experiences were clearly traumatic and upsetting to you, I'll pass on the best sentence anyone has told me about my upbringing: "You do know that none of it was your fault, right?" Never get frustrated or angry with yourself based upon 'coulda, woulda, shoulda...' because you were a kid! How were you to know -at that time- that everything you thought was normal life was an orchestrated façade? Sure, digging through the past to track down the sources of weird quirks, phobias, and hangups can be painful and upsetting, but there are huskies and trolley cars to see, too!

I'll sign off by re-quoting my wife:
"...none of it was your fault..."
-Biblio.
Psychicsenses (1 stories) (12 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-11-21)
Wow Val,
animals always sense and perceive faster. And that's what happened that day to you. You are a noble soul and hence animal guardians came to protect you.
valkricry (32 stories) (2572 posts) mod
 
2 years ago (2015-11-21)
daz,
Because of my mother's health issues, we had been forbidden to mention anything upsetting to her, so I tried to tell my dad on the way home from the station. He wasn't happy that I had decided to come back evidently as his first words to me were "shut the (explicative) up." So much for any warm fuzzies or sympathy, because shut up I did. Besides I could feel his anger at picking me up. There may have been other causes at play, that I'm still unaware of, but it did not make me feel wanted that's for sure. I just felt as if I had done something wrong by even coming back.
With my Mom I stuck with "rainbows and unicorn" talk - the wedding ceremony, riding the trolley, stuff like that. But, I think she sensed something, because she mention Violet seeming like an 'odd duck' then asked if I was ok. Although this comment may have been formulated by oddities in letters or calls from Violet to my mom, I did tell her that Violet suffered from schizophrenia, but seemed ok as she was on meds. That seemed to appease her. So, my park adventure with the furballs, as I've come to think of it, remained untold, as did Violet's attack.
aussiedaz (18 stories) (1275 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-11-20)
Val, I'm almost feeling the anger of your parents as I'm reading this account you poor thing. How did your parents take this? I'm sorry to say this, but what happened to you is so unfair regardless of the schizophrenia it is not acceptable in my view. Thank god for your guardian angels and those fury friends who were there to protect you, thank you for sharing it.

Regards Daz!
Caz (221 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-11-20)
Lol...What a brilliant story Val! I can just picture the faces of the other kids as they watching you tossing that big burly marine around the floor! Happy I can relate to you being blamed for things by your little sisters too! One of mine used to do that to me, though I never got beaten up for it. My stepdad got really angry one time and threw a toy car at me. It was one of the old fashioned metal ones, but it didn't hit me... I don't really think it was meant to, but I couldn't have been more hurt if it had! I can only imagine what that must've been like for you! That's when I decided to leave home. I was 17 at the time! I'm so glad you're happy now!
valkricry (32 stories) (2572 posts) mod
 
2 years ago (2015-11-20)
dreamer- so glad you're ok! Smile

Tweed, it does, doesn't it? If it hadn't been for those 4 legged furballs being there when they were, who knows what might have happened?

Sam - dresses? Lol Gotta love the internet/keyboard gremlins around here.
valkricry (32 stories) (2572 posts) mod
 
2 years ago (2015-11-20)
Red,
Although I understand your view point (it makes total sense), at the time, looking for a cop simply didn't occur to me. My father had ingrained the thinking that 1) my word against an adult, the adult will be believed, 2) I was the cause, no matter what it was my fault, I deserved it and 3) you do not tell. At 14, I was just beginning to understand all this was for his own agenda, but naturally, being a kid I extended it to all adults, especially family. Stupid, I know, but -*shrug*.
valkricry (32 stories) (2572 posts) mod
+2
2 years ago (2015-11-20)
Jerry,
Thank you for the lovely compliment, sir!
I agree, girl's should learn to defend themselves, it's just logical. Even though males are generally just bigger and stronger, it doesn't mean a female needs to be an easy victim (from the view point of the 'fear' you mentioned).
I have 3 older brothers, who all taught me various things, and where I went to highschool they gave us girls self-defense classes as part of the PE curriculum (taught by a coach whom was a 5th degree black-belt, and had served as a Marine). He was a large, burly guy who could sour milk by just LOOKING at it, I swear! Funny side-note: The course ran for 12 weeks, then you moved onto some other gym activity. Fine, end of the 12 weeks, Coach said he wanted me to repeat the class (even though I had passed), I was a bit perplexed but since I actually did well in it, why not? Of course, he always picked me for 'demonstration' purposes, with him as the 'attacker'. Another 12 weeks and AGAIN he says he wants me to take the course AGAIN! This time, I asked why, I mean I did it twice both times got an A so... What was the point? He looked down at me and said, "You're my secret weapon. The others see itty-bitty YOU tossing a bull like me around, and they figure they can too."
I looked up at him and laughed saying, "But I know you let me sandbag you."
He winked,"They don't." So, I had his class for the rest of the year.
valkricry (32 stories) (2572 posts) mod
 
2 years ago (2015-11-20)
Darkangel,
I'm pretty sure (or perhaps I should say 'in my opinion') animals do have souls. The ones I've dealt with (admittedly mostly mammals) seem to bare that out. Name any emotion of mankind, and I've seen animals display it. I think many are also a lot smarter than we give credit for.
samtillie (5 stories) (242 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-11-20)
Dresses! Don't know why that appeared in my first sentence haha never mind Love
samtillie (5 stories) (242 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-11-20)
Hey pretty girl!

Dresses what a creep approaching your 14 year old self like that. I love your story, the dogs were an absolute blessing for you. I think we are all very grateful you were safe that day and appreciate what the dogs did Smile
Tweed (17 stories) (1929 posts)
+2
2 years ago (2015-11-20)
Val, no clue if those dogs were ghostly or not, but sure seems their presence had a 'beyond the realms' vibe to it. Thank goodness they showed up!
dreamer01 (1 stories) (117 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-11-20)
val,
Ouch doesn, t describe it but I am greatful that I am still walking and talking even though it looks a mess.
I do not wear shorts or go swimming anymore, looks like a wild animal took a chunk out of my leg.

But I did learn a very valuable lesson from it and that was to forgive and that some how it was just part of my life journey.

cheers, dreamer01 Smile
RedWolf (26 stories) (1213 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-11-19)
val,
At 12 I was afraid of getting blamed for things by my little sisters and get a beating for it, mine was not a happy childhood. I blocked most of it out. Case in point, my older sister told me that my mother once beat me so bad she thought my mother was going to kill me. Until my sister brought that up I blocked it out. I'm not looking for sympathy ìt was what it was but that is when I realised where I got my insecurities from. My husband literally saved me and made me a stronger person.
So as I said I would have run as far as I could until I found a cop or police station.
Regards
Red

P.S. I answered your suggestion about the imps on my ring story.
I have to correct 1 thing to correct the creatures I saw behind my washer was a year or two prior but the little man (imp?) was the summer before my surgery and moving. I blamed my grandfather and father in-law for nothing they just found and returned the ring.
JerryB (8 stories) (189 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-11-19)
Want to say well done, well written, well explained, well done (deserved to be said twic). Something like that happen to me, I'd be trying to hold onto those dogs. Of course something like that exactly would be highly unlikely, a girl has a different fear to deal with than most boys. That's why all girls should be gun toting, black belt jujitsu experts... With two dogs, as you describe...
valkricry (32 stories) (2572 posts) mod
 
2 years ago (2015-11-19)
Chookie, Otter and Caz,
Hey, thanks for reading and commenting. Smile
All I can really say for those huskies is they were really beautiful, and didn't look like strays. If they were it hadn't been for long. They had impeccable timing too!
I do have another small 'animal' antidote that I thought was weird, but you might like. When I was attending college, I had to walk about 1/2 a mile past a water retention pond and a farmer's field to get to campus from the bus stop. This combo attracted all kinds of birds and water fowl, from the great blue heron, and Canadian geese, to black crows and tiny sparrows. Every day, I'd trudge past and they'd chirp, squawk, or what ever. One day, it was really overcast and they were kind of lined up along the pathway/ sidewalk. If you will, think of Hitchcock's The Birds, it was that unnerving to see them like that. But really eerie is as I past they all turned their heads in unison watching me. *Shudder* Not paranormal but freaky.

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