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Tuesday, December 17, 2002
      ( 3:02 PM ) Jackie  

Sasha's Sad Tail

And what, you might ask, was Sasha doing in the fireplace to begin with?

When I came back into the dining room I didn't see Sasha. She's usually lounging on the ivory leather recliner, which has come to be known as "Sasha's chair". But she was nowhere in sight. She has special places she likes in the kitchen and in the living room too; but she wasn't in any of them. I don't know if I looked there first or heard a little doggie moan, but I found her there in the fireplace, her face and fur all dark with soot and her mournful eyes looking up through the sooty rings around them.

I coaxed her out and found she was trembling, barely able to stand. Her tail was down; her ears were pinned back; she looked up at me through accusing eyes. She slowly made her way out of the fireplace and pressed her trembling body against my legs. So I went about my business, with a smutty Sasha at my heels at every turn. I talked to her gently and petted her and got her settled in a comfortable place and she finally stopped trembling.

I couldn’t figure out what was the matter with her. We've had high winds and slashing rains and even thunder the past few days; but yesterday morning it was rather mild. I had opened the wooden front door, leaving only the double locked security screen door closed to get some fresh air. I thought there may have been some gusts of wind that frightened her.

Around 2pm I was rushing out to my GI Rights hotline shift, late as usual. Another volunteer was meeting me to listen in on my calls so I was moving fast--grabbing up my coat and umbrella, setting the alarm, and unlocking the doors. Except that they wouldn't unlock.

After pushing, pulling, forcing, gentling, WD-40-ing from the inside and out, I realized that the dead bolt on the handle was just not going to open. The key turned fine in the lock, but it didn't unlock the deadbolt. I got a screwdriver and took the handle apart. The deadlock portion was still firmly stuck. No GIs would be getting help from me.

I deduced that someone had tried to force the door open while I was at the back of the house. That's pretty scary, especially since it was obvious that someone was home. Sasha is more of a friendly companion dog than a watch dog it turns out. She didn't bark once. Not that she doesn't bark. She does. When she hears a cat or a squirrel or another dog barking. Unfortunately, she thinks that humans are her friends.

The lock is now replaced, at a cost of $90.12. Sasha has endured the indignity of a bath with as much grace as she could muster. I've cleaned the sooty waterdrops from the walls and mopped the small lake replete with dog hairs from the bathroom floor.

Sasha is resting in her kennel in the kitchen. I'm about to go to World Grounds to write.

It was all very annoying and quite stressful for me even though I have not put my tail between my legs. That was some expensive fresh air!

Still, I'd rather have a stuck deadbolt than have a couple of thugs get into the house.

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Words and photos from Jackie in Oakland, CA. More I cannot tell you ... I won't know what it is until I do it.

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