Clementine

By Amy Temple

Featured Pic Credit: Bing/Bassett Hound

Every once in a while, someone comes into your life and leaves a lasting impression on you. Whether or not they are in your life for 20 minutes or 20 years, they completely change you.

I have met people who have done that just but the one who touched me the most was a Bassett Hound named Clementine.

Clementine came into my life on June 9, 1987. I was 9. The breeding family raising her decided to sell her when a complicated birth required Clementine to be spayed.

On the day we met, my father and I took her for a walk and already my protective instincts were kicking in. I knew I had to have her.

A few days later we did. Oh I was so excited!
Bing/Excited

I laid out a blanket complete with a treat and a doggie toy. She went for the treat…go figure!

Clementine was famous in our family for eating a whole loaves of bread and half a chocolate cake. The most interesting thing about these incidents was that she actually pulled back the plastic just like a real person would!!

However my mother and I will never forget having to rush her to the vet after she ate a whole bowl of Hershey Kisses, foil and all.

One thing you had to remember was not to bother her whenever she was sleeping or she would growl. We were reminded from time to time but Clementine rarely bit.

In general, Clementine was a very good dog, affectionate and playful. I came home from school sick and she laid on the couch with me, laying her chin on my knee. She always seemed to know when there was something wrong and tried to make things better.

Bing/Bassett Hound

Like any other animal owner, we considered Clementine a member of the family. There wasn’t anything we wouldn’t try to do for her.

Clementine was always doing the funniest things. While we were having supper one night, my father discovered she was sitting right beside him, just staring! I mean, she wasn’t even blinking!

There’s one incident that particularly stands out the most to me…

One day Clementine was sniffing behind the toilet and got stuck! It took a lot of pulling and grunting but eventually she was freed. In mid 1995, Clementine began having trouble breathing and developed a hacking cough.

After numerous tests it was revealed Clementine’s whole heart was enlarged.

Bing/Bassett Hound

She was on too much medication for kennels to keep her so our family didn’t see us too much but thankfully they understood.

Around Labor Day 1997, Clementine had a heart attack while out in the backyard. She managed to crawl back inside and died in front of the coffee table.

I remember how brave my father was that night. He called the family to announce Clementine’s death. He was so calm and strong on the phone but afterwards, Dad broke down.

Clementine’s death tore me apart as well. I must’ve cried every day for two weeks straight. I felt like half of me died right along with her. She was the only dog, I’d ever lost.

Pets are our very best friends and confidante’s, they’re our FAMILY. I miss Clementine and think of her often. She’ll forever be apart of my heart.

R.I.P Clementine ❤️

Do you have a pet that you loved and lost?
Share your story below, I’d love to hear about it!

Amy is a resident of Florida.  Since 2006, she has been self-employed in the dog care field.  In May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.

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A Survivor’s Story

Photo credit above via Roshonda – B Creative

By Amy Temple

As most of you know I have learning disabilities.

I’ve had to deal with all kinds of discrimination and rejections for most of my life.

However, what I’m about to confess is something that I hadn’t openly talked about to many people.

In junior high, I encountered a lot of bullying and harassment. Every day I was verbally and occasionally physically harassed. I’d get called all sorts of derogatory names, mocking my learning disabilities. There were trippings, pushes, and verbal threats.

Photo credit: Bullying hurts via Canva

I was so frightened to go to school. I would huddle up against the wall in between classes clutching my bookbag tightly. I would often go homesick.

The school administration really tried hard to get the abuse under control but it was a big school so there was only so much they could do.

After two years my parents finally moved away to another town.

I attended high school in a nice and quiet country town. What a relief it was to see friendly people and not be afraid I was going to be assaulted.

However, I dealt with a male student who asked me out frequently for over a year! He wouldn’t take no for an answer. I found all those familiar feelings of fear returning. I finally got a teacher to get him to back off.

I found myself dealing with some serious trauma issues. I dealt with anxiety, fear, and insecurity.

I wanted to be approved of so badly! I wanted to be free from all of my negative feelings. During my senior year, I thought maybe if I had the attention of a popular guy… all my mental problems would be over.

So, I mustered up the courage and asked one of them out.

Gif Image

In the end, instead of it being lovers bliss. It ended up being a practical joke that the guy and his friend played on me. I felt like such a fool. Let me tell you that didn’t help my low self-esteem at all!

As I previously mentioned I dealt with discrimination and rejection in the workforce, too. No one would hire me because of my learning disabilities. A brilliant job opportunity fell through because co-workers lied about me.

Photo credit: Workplace harassment via Bing

When I was volunteering at a local retirement home, a male resident assaulted me by groping and attempting to kiss me.

With all of the trauma, I experienced I was a mess!

I spent years reading self-help books…it was much cheaper than therapy!

I could not understand why I was being treated like I was.

  • Why was I bullied?
  • Why was I harassed?
  • Why was I assaulted?
  • What is so wrong with me that nobody would hire me?
  • Why would someone lie about me so I wouldn’t be hired at was to be my only decent chance for a job?

I found it hard to trust. I pretty much kept to myself only spending time with my family.

I had imaginings of a bigger and better life but all of what I went through kept me away from pursuing it. I spent 30 years trying to improve my life, to overcome all that happened to me.

I thought plenty of times I had been healed but recently it all came to a nasty head. All the emotions that I been feeling came out one night and I cried! I vented to God for most of the night.

As the song states “Have a little talk with Jesus, Makes it Right!” and it sure did, I hadn’t felt that clear and at peace in a very long time!

I understand I may never forget what happened to me but I can honestly say I am starting to find ways to begin the bigger and better life I have been seeking.

I have come to understand I have to take life one day at a time. I have to keep pressing forward and not look back.

To my fellow survivors…

What happened to us was not our fault! We must continue on living and not give the abusers any more power.

You are just as worthy as anyone else, hence the song from Gloria Gaynor!

I WILL SURVIVE! I DID SURVIVE & SO WILL YOU!!

I Quit…And I Feel Free! by Amy Temple

Featured Photo by Irina Iriser from Pexels

So, previously I mentioned that I’d been working for 13 years as a dog sitter for a Christian couple who live in the same residential community as my family and I. Well, it all went downhill very fast and here’s how…

Last month as I was taking the couple’s Boston Terrier puppy for a ride in its stroller, I stopped to talk to a woman who was also walking her dog.

When all of a sudden the couple’s Boston terrier puppy -who’s name shall remain anonymous at this point, jumps out of the stroller, despite having on a neck strap, in which fell completely off and goes after this woman’s dog!

Understandably the woman freaked out by the sudden action of the terrier but remained calm enough to pick up its leash and hand it to me. Afterward, what conversation we were having had now been compromised, she then took her dog and ran onto her porch, which thankfully was only a few feet away from the incident.

I felt completely horrible about the incident and apologized immensely, more times than I could count. Finally, I picked up the terrier who had seemingly calmed down, put him back into the stroller and walked away….deep down as I left the scene, I knew without a shadow of a doubt…

I was done with this job!

When I got home, my parents picked up that something was a little off with me as I still had the look of horror on my face. “What Happened? they asked. After telling them the story of the terrier and the chaos it called that day, they echoed my sentiment and agreed – It was time to quit!

Two days later, I spoke with the couple and gave my two weeks notice. However, after further discussion, we all mutually agreed that I’d be better to end the agreement immediately. In all, the agreement was peaceful and offered an open door for me to visit the puppy anytime I wanted.

When I look back on the situation, I realize that I shouldn’t have said yes when the couple asked me to return as their dog sitter for a new puppy they had gotten right after their 14-yr old Boston Terrier passed away.

I knew the hours for taking care of the puppy were going to be dreadfully long, especially since both worked full-time jobs. Honestly, I did try for several months to train him but this last incident had proved to be a little too much for me to handle.

Photo Credit: huffingtonpost.co.uk

However, as I move on, I can’t say I have any regrets over my decision to quit. Now, I have all the time in the world to put my time and energy where it matters most and that’s with my family and my dog Echo – who is very glad I am not leaving her as often as I used to!

Now don’t get me wrong – I haven’t done away with my dog training career completely. I’m still working and do have other clients but the work is sporadic and not on a daily basis as the past couple’s were.

The puppy experience over the last few months had left me with a feeling of overwhelming anxiety – so much so, it nearly wiped me out!

But now I feel so free!

Free enough to pursue and kick my writing career up a notch! I already have several writing opportunities lined up.

Hmm! I wonder, could that be a sign from God?

I think it might be.

What do you think?

Amy is a resident of Florida.  Since 2006, she has been self-employed in the dog care field.  In May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.

Finally Letting Go In Order to Move On…

I’ve been living with a learning disability for most of my life.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also lived with the fact of having many medical professionals tell my parents – that unfortunately, I wasn’t going to amount up to anything.

Because of this stigma, I’ve felt the pain and agony of school bullying and harassment. After graduation, I joined a local job employment program for the disabled where I got my first experience of just how unacceptable society can be.

And trust me, just because I had a disability – employers didn’t waste time making me feel worse than what I already had been feeling, each looked down on me as if I was a complete waste of time, almost as if they “had” to hire me because they didn’t want a lawsuit. My heart went out to the other members in the program who had more severe disabilities. Lord knows what they must have been going through!

After several years of nothing but frustration over the discrimination and rejection, I decided to quit the job search.

Being 23 at the time, most people my age were already living on their own with good paying jobs and there I was, still living at home without a job prospect in sight. I remember volunteering at the local senior citizen center just to get out the house.

I began to feel bad for my parents whom were still having to support me. Thinking of that the job search and the remnants of school bullying and taunting began to make me one bitter person, it was like a plague that seemed to latch on to me daily.

However, I could go on and on about how angry I was at being disabled. The bitterness, resentment and grudges I felt from others judging me because of it which led me to carry some big chips on my shoulders – towards everyone!

Oh my, years of holding all that hurt affected me in all areas of my life. So much so, I began to live with worry, fear and anxiety. It all started in junior high when I created the habit of picking my skin to the point of scars and my nails to the point of nubs. I soon developed an eating disorder.

I had major trust issues. I didn’t have any friends outside of my volunteer work. I didn’t date. This lasted for years.

When I was 34, my maternal grandmother died from esophageal cancer. She was my last surviving grandparent. Losing her finally opened my eyes, it’s sad that it takes a tragedy for us to really see ourselves. I decided that I could no longer live this way and I had to do something about it.

It took me several years of self help programs and books but I have finally found peace. Now that’s not to say I haven’t made some pretty big whoppers. I mean, I am still human and do make mistakes, but I’m a much better ME, a me that I finally approve of!

I’ve been on this earth for nearly 42 years and have done an extensive amount of soul searching. In that discovery, I’ve learned quite a few things about myself as well as my environment and that’s this:

  • Not everyone is going to accept you.
  • People are going to hurt you because they’re hurting themselves and get a “high” off of causing others pain.
  • If you allow haters to rule your life, you’re slowly killing yourself.

I know because I spent well over 30 years accepting and doing just that. Don’t waste your life over how others perceive you. How God perceives you is what matters. He sent His son to die for you. All of your sins, all of your mistakes have been forgiven.

You are fearfully, wonderfully and beautifully made.

And don’t you EVER forget that!

Amy is a resident of Florida.  Since 2006, she has been self-employed in the dog care field.  In May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.

I’ve Been Wrong… And Here’s Why

I must confess something to all of you.

image credit: bing

These past few months I believe I have been coming across as bitter.Bitter because I have been discriminated against and rejected due to my learning disabilities. I feel all I have done since I began writing this blog is complain…

And that is not what I want to do here. I wanted to join this team because I wanted to inspire you. I figured you could use a break from all the negativity that I am sure you have been reading elsewhere. And yet, I have been contributing.

I sincerely apologize to all of you. I don’t want you to come away after reading my work feeling worse than you may have already felt.

After re-reading some of my previous blogs, I thought to myself, “Man! I sound like one bitter woman!”

image credit: gif/Emma Roberts

Yes, what I have gone through has really hurt but after a recent incident, I have realized it is time to not dwell on what has happened to me or what has been happening to me.

I have previously mentioned -and complained- about my long-standing work relationship as a dog sitter for a couple in the retirement community I live in with my parents. I was very bitter about their ways and made threats to quit.

AND I DID! but not before I told the wife off via a text first! I mean, I TOLD HER OFF! And there was absolutely no need to do it…any of it.

I had been reminding this couple over and over again, maybe even several times a day to keep their puppy away from leaves, bits of tree twigs and plant seeds – a pretty reasonable request I thought. But after they failed to listen and honor my request – that’s when my ROCKETS got to flying and they flew pretty HIGH!

image credit: bing

Overall this couple are very nice Christians who have very specific ways they want their dog to be treated. Yes, some are a bit peculiar to say the least, but that’s the beauty of free will…right?

But you want to know the saddest part of it all? I also consider myself to be a Christian too. However, judging by my recent behavior, you sure wouldn’t be able to see it.

After completing some majorly, heavy repenting, God pierced my bitterly dark heart. So much so, I ended up sending the wife a text in the middle of the night, swallowing some serious crow!

I deeply apologized for my behavior and asked for another chance. Fortunately, I was given one. And I hope you, my readers -who I am truly grateful to have – will give me one, too.

When you get on this website, you want to be inspired. You want to feel better.

You don’t want to hear about the woe is me tales of how rough life has been for someone because you already know. You don’t want -nor do you need – to be reminded.

So I am here to tell you all that I am not going to be writing any more stories like that.

I am definitely going to be continuing to write for Justsuminspiration and I am forever grateful for this glorious opportunity to share my God-given gift with you all.

My advice to you?, please don’t do what I did. Don’t wallow in pride. Learn to let things go, especially the past. The Bible says “Forget the former things. Keep pressing forward to the life that God has planned for you.”

Oh and no matter how wrong you may get, always – always don’t be too ashamed to say “you’re sorry” – None of us, including me should ever be above that law..

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Amy is a resident of Florida.  Since 2006, she has been self-employed in the dog care field.  In May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source