Saturday, October 8, 2016

Shamzi for President

          Hi, everyone.  I’m Shamzi.  (“Hi, Shamzi!”)  And I’m running for President.   
Why should you vote for me?   

      Number one: 
I’m cute.  I promise—no, I guarantee--to bring you cuteness each and every day of my presidency.  Instead of kissing babies, I will smell like one.  A clean, fresh baby that will smell so good, you will be tempted to eat me like a cinnamon cone.  I will carry on the proud tradition of presidential fashion, with an adorable outfit for every occasion.  

          Number two: 
I will be accessible to the people.  I will not be surrounded by Secret Service and entourage who keep me away from you.  I will gladly walk among you, my people, and sniff you.  I will convert the presidential limousines to Shamzi-mobiles, so that everyone can see me and I can see them.   

Only my mother is allowed to carry me and ride in the Shamzi-mobile though, as she is my presidential advisor and we caucus about vital matters of state.  Plus, she is my mama and she takes care of me.  Even the president of the United States needs his nap time and snack time.  If you want anything, just tell the presidential mother and she will make it happen.

          Number three: 
I will use the tools at my disposal to help others.  I will pilot Air Force One to swoop down and rescue stray, neglected, or abused animals, birds, fish, and reptiles and find good homes for them.   They will be fed, they will be housed, and they will ALL be loved.  I will turn the White House into a Sanctuary for the furry, the feathered, the hoofed, the finned, and the webbed. 
       Number four:   I will travel all over the world to spread love and compassion. 
No more fighting, no more hate!  Cupcakes with colorful sprinkles for everyone!  We can make a difference.  We have to start somewhere.
          A vote for Shamzi is a vote for compassion and cuteness! 
          (“Shamzi, Shamzi, Shamzi!”)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bedtime Poetry: Silentium

Sometimes before we go to sleep, my mother will read us some poetry.  I help my mother with the harder words.  Whenever she learns a new poem, I give her a big kiss as a reward.  For a while I tried giving gold stars, but they just stuck to my tongue.

This is part of a poem called Silentium! by Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev.  I like poems that have exclamation points.

Speak not, lie hidden, and conceal
the way you dream, the things you feel.
Deep in your spirit let them rise
akin to stars in crystal skies
that set before the night is blurred:
delight in them and speak no word

Live in your inner self alone
within your soul a world has grown,
the magic of veiled thoughts that might
be blinded by the outer light,
drowned in the noise of day, unheard
take in their song and speak no word.


I am often surrounded by people, both at work and outside of work.  I dont mind because I love people and they love me.  But all this loving can get noisy and distracting, what with the kissing and the cooing and the constant Oh, Shamzi, youre so cute.  So when Im not working, its important for me to be still, in my mind and my body.  Some people call this meditation.  I dont do anything formal, like set aside a special time or place or put on a leotard.  I just try to be still in my everyday life and activities.
I like to be fully present in whatever I am doing, wherever I am, whoever Im with.  For example, lying in the sunny patch of our apartment and basking in the warmth, with eyes closed, belly asking to be rubbed.  Sitting on a patients warm lap, and being petted with complete love and tenderness.  Taking a walk close to nature, like in the park, the beach, or the forest.
We are so lucky to live in a city that contains these amazing pockets of nature amidst the concrete and the skyscrapers, like tasty bits of chicken in my dinner bowl.  I love the feel of soil (or the rocks or the sand, depending on where we are) beneath the pads of my feet.  I have to tiptoe around wet, muddy patches because I dont like getting my feet wet, and my mother wont always carry me.  I love the smells of the different trees, the sounds of rustling leaves as the sneaky squirrels try to avoid me, the sight of the sun streaming through tree branches like stained glass in a cathedral.  My mother and I can walk for hours without speaking.   The world is such a sacred place.

If we are constantly thinking or talking or doing things, then we are not paying attention to what is around us and more importantly, what is within us.  The great thing about being a dog is that I am not expected to speak.  I can be silent.  I bet people wish they could be dogs too. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Human Color

Dogs, like people, come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. And dogs, like people, have their preferences. I for one prefer being around dogs my size, especially Chihuahuas. Maybe we feel a kinship because we look alike or share some of the same DNA. Maybe it’s because we can see eye to eye, or should I say, sniff butt to butt. 

I know someone who loves Corgis and falls into a swoon whenever she sees a Corgi. Someone else goes crazy for blue-eyed Huskies. I ain’t mad at them for liking other dogs more than they like me. My mother loves all dogs but she specifically wanted a small one for therapy work. Don’t get me wrong. Dogs of all sizes can be therapy dogs, but the big ones can’t hop up on patients’ laps without squishing them or jump on beds without breaking them. 

Would you believe some people actually dislike or even hate certain types of dogs? Some people can’t stand little dogs, because they are “yippy” and “annoying,” or dislike pit bulls because they think they look “scary”? It’s one thing to have preferences but I don’t understand why there has to be any hate or dislike involved. After all, we can’t help how we look. I was born looking like soft homemade caramel with a chocolate drop for a nose. But that doesn’t make me good or bad. (Seriously, how can caramel and chocolate ever be bad though?) How can one type of dog be better than another? Aren’t we all alike underneath our fur? 

Which reminds me of a story. (You saw this coming, right?) One day a patient asked my Mom to sit down and talk with him a while. The nice man was very large and had an equally large voice to match. He used to be a boxer, and lived a tough kind of life. Now he has lost much of his memory, but he remembers some important things, which he wanted to share with my Mom. She sat down on the chair next to him, while I snuggled on his lap. 

Nice man: Do you know what my color is? 

My Mom wanted to be sensitive, so she asked if he could clarify what he meant. 

Nice man: Just tell me what color you think my skin is. 

Mom: Brown-ish? 

Nice man: (laughing) No! Try again. 

He held out his bare forearm, closer to my Mom’s face, so she could get a better look. 

Mom: Dark brown? 

Nice man: (laughing louder) NOPE! . .. Ok, what color is your skin? 

Mom: Umm…. Kind of beige-ish? 

Nice man: NOOOPE! 

He whooped in delight. My Mom laughed with him, because he seemed to be so tickled by this exchange with her. It was like when a child tells a riddle, and he giggles in delight because he KNOWS no one will ever guess the answer! 

Nice man: Do you give up? 

Mom: Yes! I give up. What color IS your skin? 

Nice man: HUMAN COLOR! My skin is HUMAN color, and so is yours. All of us are the same. We are Human color. 

Laughing even harder, and shaking his head, he said, “People are so dumb! They don’t get that!” 

The nice man is right. The color of our skin or our fur doesn’t matter. Underneath, we are all the same. Humans are humans, dogs are dogs, and so on. We are all the same spirit inside of different appearing bodies. 

I don’t know how any of us ended up here, but we are here, and we need to live with each other. So let’s be cool. Let’s be kind. I love all of you, no matter who you are or what you look like or what you’ve done. 

Pass that love on.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

On Sharing

This might be hard to believe, but not all people want to be nice.     ...Me, I live for being nice. I wake up ready to be nice. I go to sleep dreaming of how nice 
I will be the next day.  
As my Mom tells me, I am like the sweet gooey center of a jelly donut.  If I had my own car, the license plate would read NCESHAMZ.

                One day my Mom and I were visiting a patient.  I knew the man was nice, but for some reason he wanted the world to think he was mean.  He scowled and acted like a grumpasaurus.  I just sat in my Mom’s arms, as I do, and looked at the man as he ate his pizza.  The man tried to ignore me, but soon he succumbed to my animal magnetism.  (Everyone does, sooner or later.)  He asked my Mom, rather grudgingly, “Do you think he would like some pizza?”  Would I ?!?  I LOVE pizza!  It’s my favorite food, next to chicken.  My Mom responded, “Well, you can offer him some.” 
I sat up even straighter, and my tail started wagging uncontrollably.  The man tore off a small piece of the cheesy crust and held it in front of my face.  I took the treat from the man’s hand, being careful not to slobber, and I ate it daintily.  My Mom taught me good table manners.  Just because I look like a dog doesn’t mean I have to eat like one.  Afterwards, I blissfully licked my lips and looked into his eyes again, hoping for more.
Instead, the nice man (for he was nice, despite acting so gruff) said, “You know, the little bugger just sits there looking at me, like I could be a decent person.  He makes me want to share...  Stupid little bugger.”  He said a few other words that I’m not allowed to repeat. But he was smiling inside. And then he gave me another little bite. My Mom later put me down onto his lap, and he stroked my head gently with his big hands for a while. He loved me.

Now, I’m not sure what a “bugger” is, but it kind of sounds like booger.  Even though he was calling me strange names, the nice man liked me and wanted to be nice to me.  I think it is easier for humans to be nice to dogs because we’re so adorable and we’re so happy for every little bit of attention and kindness.  And maybe because we return the love so happily, too. 
          We all have the capacity for kindness and love. But sometimes humans need some help at sharing emotions and expressing their niceness. Maybe, if they just thought of other humans as funny-looking dogs on two legs, being nice might be more of a breeze...   
 People can practice being nice on me anytime.  
        More pizza, please.