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I'm still here

So is she. For now. I came home today and she had either a mild stroke or seizure. She did some limping and a recovery. I don' think there's any way she's going to make it to Texas with us. I coudn't leave her. She pepped up and we went to her favorite store, the local pet store. That place is so great. Initially this was the second location to open by these folks, and people thought our town was a weird choice of to try and open something "specialty" when all the mom and pop shops barely make it a year. But they made it and they thrive and the past two years have opened up in a few other communities. And each store is local to that community. They know us. They know and adore our dogs. They know Ripley isn't doing so good. So today when I walked in, they gave her lovings and a soft treat that took her two tries to eat. I ended up having to carry her in the store. They had some of these treats she loves in as a sample. They are crunchy, but soft enough for her to still handle. Anyway, I picked her up and carried her around the store, and as the girl behind the counter was putting some of those treats in a bag to send home with us, Ripley sighed and put her head on my shoulder in the crook of my neck. The girl dumped all the treats back in the bag and said to just take it.
This is why we go there. Shopping at this store we spend more. Sometimes a lot more. But the bang we get for our buck is so worth it in quality and quantity, and they have so many frequent buyer programs and rebates that we get a lot back and the difference between them and the box scores becomes really minimal.
But when you shop local, it's more than that. You get community. In a world gone mad with increasing social isolation and strife, people outraged about everything, Neo-Nazi white supremacists who don't even feel the need to wear hoods and hide anymore, and almost no one willing to stop pointing the finger and take a thorough personal inventory of the role they play, every tiny little thing we do to build community is so important.


I remember very well the long wait of knowing, while trying to hold on to every precious moment. There really is nothing for it but to pack as much extra love and care as possible.