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July 2008

Zeke

Zeke…

best Zeke picture My beautiful, mild mannered, sweet boy, isn’t anymore. I’m shaking like a leaf and have already called my hubby, near tears.

On our walk, just minutes ago, we met a neighbor out with her 2 puppies. Her boxer-mix, a huge, but utterly sweet goofball, immediately ran to us and rolled over on his belly for a pat and good sniffing over by Zeke. We’ve done this a hundred times. Have, in fact, known each other since both the boxer and Suzie were tiny puppies.

Zeke stood over him for a moment, then without warning, attacked and bit the poor boy. Bedlam ensued with me pulling Zeke up and as close to my body as possible, while Suzie ran in terror, wrapping her leash around my legs. The owner of the boxer had to release her pup because leashes had become tangled. The goofball immediately tried to show submission to Zeke again while I tried desperately to keep Zeke from having another go at him. She finally managed to get her pup under control and away as I stood there helpless. I apologized profusely as I fussed at Zeke. The walk was over, I untangled myself and we headed back to the apartment. I was unable to see if her DSCF0911a dog was hurt seriously and have no idea which apt. they live in to go check.

I feel horrible, just horrible. I am in disbelief that Zeke would, without warning, attack another dog. Zeke is neutered, as is the boxer. Suzie is spayed. No competition for either of them. Just this morning, Zeke was sniffing a much smaller pup – I shudder to think what could have happened while I stood blissfully by.

I’ve never had a dog do something like this. Granted, I’ve had only 2 males in my life time, but I would think that their personalities don’t change like this unless they’re ill, so it’s a trip to the vet for Zeke and a muzzle in his future.

I have no idea what will happen if there is a complaint lodged against us and I am frightened for Zeke and frightened by his change in behavior. The joy in our walks is ruined for me. I’ll have to be on constant alert for other owners, especially the ones that allow their dogs off lead, and warn them about my dog. I’ll never be able to let Zeke off lead again to romp with Suzie either, which breaks my heart for them both.

What a horrible ending to the day.

BADGE OF LIFE

 

z23606942

bolThe Myths Surrounding Police Suicide

It’s always good to dispel a few of the myths surrounding police suicide, some of which have been perpetuated to keep them hush-hush or carefully closeted within departments.

 

 

We Know How Many Police Suicides Happen Each Year

 

No one knows how many.No one.

 

Much of the fault lies with police departments themselves, who have done harm to their own officers by muddying the waters, concealing and misclassifying clear cases of suicides as “accidental” or “unknown cause.”

 

Regardless of which side of the argument one stands, one thing is clear–no formal program has been established by law enforcement to track these figures. This is shameful when you think thatdepartments are spending large amounts to solve a problem for which they have no useable data or reliable information.

 

Several private organizations claim to have The Numbers.The National Police Suicide Foundation is frequently quoted, for example, when it gives annual numbers (397 for 2007) and averages of 450 per year.Unfortunately, they are unable to back their number with any organized documentation, give numbers for previous years, dates of suicides, departments, ages, or time on the job.While well intentioned and perhaps of some informal use, we cannot give credibility to numbers that can’t be backed up.

 

 

 

Several private organizations claim to have “The Numbers.”The National Police Suicide Foundation is frequently quoted, for example, when it gives annual numbers (397 for 2007) and averages of 450 per year. Unfortunately, they are unable to back their number with any organized documentation, give numbers for previous years, dates of suicides, departments, ages, or time on the job.While well intentioned and perhaps of some informal use, we cannot give credibility to numbers that can’t be backed up.

 

 

 

Our position is that unsubstantiated data is worse than no data at all.

 

For more on this, as well as our recommendations, read the page “Sloppy Data.”

 

 

“PTSD must be traced to one big event.”

 

It can be.It’s nice and neat that way.Some police agencies are loathe to recognize the important role played by cumulative stress in police work—the daily wounding of the soul over years, over decades.Yes, cumulative stress is a real thing–ask an officer who has been crippled by it.Sadly, it’s the nature of police work and police officers are taught not to talk about it for fear of appearing weak.Banned from the locker room by a code of silence are phrases like:

 

 

“I was really afraid.”

 

“I didn’t know what to do.”

 

“I was lost.”

 

“I made a terrible mistake.”

 

“I wish I could have done something.”

 

“Sometimes I wonder if this is the job for me.”

 

 

Under the heading of “cumulative” are the repeated exposures to screams, to rotting cadavers, assaults, spittings and verbal abuse.

 

Cumulative PTSD, while still rejected by a few hardliners, has finally been accepted in the medical community as real and diagnosable. To quote one expert, “In some ways, a cop’s work may be even more traumatic than that of a soldier sent into a war zone.The police officer’s job, over many years, exposes and reexposes them to traumatic events that would make anybody recoil in horror.”

 

 

Law Enforcement is an Intimate “Family.”

 

If it is, it’s a classic of dysfunctional families.Law enforcement has always been a world of “dirty little secrets.”The armor must remain intact, at all costs.Even officers love shows like “NYPD Blue” because officers smash mirrors and rip towel racks off the walls in the rest room and call the district attorney “a bitch!”–and get away with it.“Angst” is the name of the game–and it’s great entertainment.In the real world, however, the cop knows she can’t rip down the towel rack–and knows it wouldn’t really help, anyway.

 

 

“When in emotional trouble, seek out your fellow officers.”

 

When you’re in emotional trouble, seek out the help of a licensed professional therapist or medical mental health professional!If you have a peer support officer program in your department, take advantage of them for guidance on how to find one.

 

 

“Suicide is an ‘angry act.”

 

Suicide is a painful act.No person wants to die. For some of us, however, the choices seem so few and the pain so great that the only way of finding escape from the pain seems to be suicide.When I exchanged my gun for the telephone and went to the hospital, my first step was to begin crying—the pain was that deep.No one had told me I could do that.I didn’t realize there was an alternative.

 

 

“When you retire, you can relax.”

 

The suicide rate for retired cops is frightening, and far higher than that of active duty officers.For medically retired officers (which includes those retired on PTSD) the suicide rate is even more shameful.The California Association of Highway Patrolmen (CAHP) reports that the suicide ratefor retired officers triples that of the general population.For medically retired officers, they report, the suicide rate is believed to soar to phenomenal levels.

 

 

 

The California Association of Highway Patrolmen (CAHP) reports that the suicide ratefor retired officers triples that of the general population.For medically retired officers, they report, the suicide rate is believed to soar to phenomenal levels.

 

 

Officers cling to the belief, in part based on truth, that they are part of a huge “family” (the ‘brotherhood’) during their careers.When they retire, they suddenly lose that family.They become a nuisance when they show up at their old office to join in coffee breaks.They are relegated to “retiree groups” that render some camaraderie, but which can never equal the feeling of “family” they once felt wearing the badge.

 

Worse, if they had the misfortune of being retired on a stress related injury, such as PTSD, they are regarded, as one officer said, “like the crazy aunt in the basement.” Some drink.Others lose relationships or engage in reckless behaviors.Some isolate and slide into depression.Average life expectancies are low, for officers.Many, as the figures show, choose to simply end it early.What is that telling us?That we have successfully put a band aid on their wounds, by golly, until we could sweep them away, forgotten and suicidal.

 

Badge of Life Staff:

 

1 EDITOR:  Andy O’Hara is a 24 year veteran of the CHP who spent his last day on the bedroom floor with his gun trying to decide whether to shoot himself in the mouth or side of the head.  Hospitalized twice with the effects of his post traumatic stress, he has both written on this topic and spoken to cadets of police agencies in his area.  Through those, he has realized the tremendous potential of a carefully planned, implanted message in this group.  O’Hara was the subject of a Sacramento Magazine article, Relieving the Trauma, in October, 2007.  In addition to his work on police trauma, O’Hara has been a freelance writer and journalist and maintains another site, “Jimston Publishing.” He has authored one book and is writing a second with Dick Augusta on police trauma and sucide.

 

 2

ASSISTANT EDITOR: Richard (Dick) Augusta‘s career with the California Highway Patrol was cut short in his twelfth year  when, on a traffic stop, a felon got the drop on him and gunned him down.  Dick recovered from his serious wounds but when he tried to return to the road, he was haunted by the post traumatic stress that made him hypersensitive on traffic stops and fearful that he would overreact and harm an innocent person.  In spite of therapy, he was medically retired and now suffers a different kind of depression shared by many medical retirees who suffer not only financially but from feelings that they have been abandoned by their “family” and their wisdom dismissed as useless.  His story can be found in Randy Sutton’s, True Blue, Police Stories by Those Who Have Lived Them.   

 

  

3ASSISTANT EDITOR:  Michael Gotfried, was an officer in the California Highway Patrol and served in the San Francisco/Contra Costa offices.  He vividly recalls the moment he was run down by a motorist, sustaining severe injuries that required extensive surgery. He was disability retired in 2004.

 

 

 

 

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 SENIOR MEMBER:   Ed Estes, CHP, retired on disability with 28 years from the Stockton Area.

 

A truck had overturned and the driver was dead, pinned in the driver’s seat.  Two brothers, ages 2 and 4, were trapped beyond the frantic efforts of Officer Estes and rescue personnel to reach them.  The children were talking softly, gently as diesel fuel poured into the cab and flooded the space occupied by the 2 year-old.  They continued their soft talk until, soon, the compartment filled and the boy was quiet.

 

The silence still haunts Ed 25 years later.  A survivor of a major trauma in Vietnam, as well, he brings a hard-won wisdom to our program.

 

 

Advisory Consultant:  Catherine Leon, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), is on staff to advise on program planning and development, technical/medical issues and speaking engagements/training when available.  Her experience with PTSD and knowledge of law enforcement issues bring valuable expertise to our program.

After laughing through Craig Ferguson (the Late Late Show), and tossing, turning and punching my pillows for several hours, my peepers finally closed around 3am. It’s 8:30 am. We’re already been for our morning walk, coffee brewed and a mug guzzled down – um, um, good. I’ve read what few posts appeared while I napped and reread a few that I especially liked from yesterday’s offerings.

Apparently, I really am the only person in the world who doesn’t sleep…

We’ve never subscribed to the paper, not even the weekend additions. We live in Hickory – nothing ever happens here and they’re not much interested in the rest of the world. The Sunday paper carries one page of comics – none of the way cool ones – so we just don’t bother. I miss my Sunday paper.

When I was a small, wee girl, I lived for Sunday. My parents always had coffee in bed and read the paper there. Still half asleep, I’d crawl in beside my father and he would read the comics to me. We always started with Alley Oop, my favorite at the time. By the time we were finished, dad was ready for another cup of coffee and mom would fix a cup for me – mostly creme and sugar. Good thing – in later years I realized my mother made horrible coffee.

After breakfast, Sunday school and church. I’d spend the service playing with my mother’s hands, which, for some reason, fascinated me. I’d pull the loose skin on her knuckles to watch it fall back into place and rub my fingers across the bumps and lumps of arthritis swollen joints. She never seemed to mind and I often wonder now if I hurt her. We were close then and I adored her.

After church, home for lunch and an afternoon of watching Tarzan with my father. He would be in his chaise lounge, I’d be on the couch – both glued to the set – watching Tarzan wrestle alligators & lions while an annoying Jane screamed in the background. I wanted to slap her… “Tarzan, Tarzan”, she’d scream, unable to move out of the way of the charging rhino. How could she live in the jungle and be so helpless, I’d wonder? She really got on my nerves and I’d secretly long for the rhino to run her down before Tarzan could save her.

My mother, who wrinkled her nose in disgust at the crap we liked to watch, would be getting my father’s bags packed. My father was a salesman. He flew in on Friday evenings and would fly back out on Sundays. My mother would spend the weekend, washing and then pressing his linen shirts and hankies. My father was a dapper dresser and had a closet full of suits and silk ties. She taught me to iron – those shirts had to be perfect – and it has stood me in good stead. I’m not fond of it, but I’m a great clothes presser – not a wrinkle, every crease perfect.

My father taught me to clean and polish shoes, which I’m also great at. At one time, my father had sold shoes and knew all the secrets of taking care of them; making even old shoes look great. Once a month or so, we would get out the kit and we’d polish every shoe in the house. Usually while watching Tarzan.

Striving to be a good parent and carry on the family tradition – and to give my sons both a sense of the ridiculous and profound, I introduced them to Opus and the wit of Berkeley Breathed early. We lived for Sunday and the morning comics.

By always having a magazine rack in my bathrooms with the offerings of Berkley Breathed, I managed to turn several friends and one boyfriend on to the humor and irreverence of Opus and the gang.

Great way to start the day, isn’t it? Blessings…. Glo

While watching a History Channel documentary on cults, I was struck by how similar their leaders were and how often they used the same divine symbols, God & Jesus, to enforce their will upon their followers. Virtually the same script was followed time after time, allowing them to proclaim their divinity and use their power to completely control every aspect of their followers lives.

It boggles the mind. You have to believe that they, the cult leaders, have somehow pulled together all the weak and mindless people of their time. You certainly find it hard to believe that any rational, sane person would fall for their clap-trap. What God choosen ruler would sexually and physically abuse their flock? Why would the followers of such a man allow him to lead them to their deaths?

Cults usually originate with a living leader who is believed to be “god” or godlike by a cadre of dedicated believers. Along with a dramatic and convincing talent for self-expression, these leaders have an intuitive ability to sense their followers’ needs and draw them closer with promises of fulfillment.

Gradually, the leader inculcates the group with his own private ideology (or craziness!), then creates conditions so that his victims cannot or dare not test his claims. How can you prove someone is not the Messiah? That the world won’t end tomorrow? That humans are not possessed by aliens from another world or dimension? Through psychological manipulation and control, cult leaders trick their followers into believing in something, then prevent them from testing and disproving that mythology or belief system.

These groups are formed primarily to meet specific emotional needs of the leader. Many are psychopaths – social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret.”

Yet, it still seems impossible that so many willingly allow their lives to be completely controlled by another human being. Are we, as a race, so hungry for meaning that anyone with an ounce of charm can take away our humanity?

 

 

Tossed and turned by dark dreams, sleep comes in snatches that I steal. Outside in graying blackness, birds sing in the coming day . They’re calling, calling – longing for the sun. Spring has turned her fickle face from our yearning gaze. Denying our desire as she keeps her virtue intact.

 

Day after day, the rain continues. Oh it tries to get my hopes up, slowing to a fine mist, enticing me out with the dogs, only to turn into a torrent when we’re too far away to make a mad dash for shelter. It mocks me with momentary flashes of sun through dark clouds. It clutches me with cold, damp fingers – sucking all the warmth from my bones, chilling me to my soul. Dank, dark smells… the whole world is gray and foul….

There is no relief as I shiver hopelessly through another day of heartless rain.
 

Dejection….

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Zeke has nothing to do except gaze longingly at the woods and field behind our apartment, hoping for a ray of sun. Suzie is looking for stray crumbs, bugs or seeds to ingest.

I am waiting for one of my hoodies to dry sufficiently for me to take them for another soggy walk.

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Zeke is catlike in his distaste for getting his feet wet. Rain is not his friend; days like this drag by for him. And it’s a drag for me… I have to literally drag him out and he does his necesssaries with looks of reproach.

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Suzie on the other hand, delights in the wet weather. Coming in refreshed, wet and invigorated – ready to leap upon Zeke in mock battle to show her delight. He is not amused.

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So, after our walk, I have the remains of yet another toy to bury in the garbage from Suzie’s frustration at a doleful Zeke, who refuses to play.

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I was feeling pretty down myself, but after reading your comments on my last post, the spring is back in my step and the weirdo chick I usually am is taking over again…. don’t you just love duel personalities?

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A woman goes to the dentist and like most people she’s a bit afraid. After the dental assistant pins the bib around her the dentist approaches her and says, “open wide”. With that she reaches over and grabs the dentist by the balls and says,”we’re not going to hurt each other, are we?”

MGG0101  

KIDS SAY THE DANGDEST THINGS!

HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHOM TO MARRY?
You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
~ Alan, age 10

HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?
You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
~ Derrick, age 8

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?
Both don’t want any more kids.
~ Lori, age 8

WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?
Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
~ Lynnette, age 8

WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?
When they’re rich.
~ Pam, age 7

IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?
It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to
clean up after them.
~ Anita, age 9

HOW WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN’T GET MARRIED?
There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there?
~ Kelvin, age 8

HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?
Tell your wife that she looks pretty even if she looks like a truck.~
Ricky, age 10

~~

I’ve Learned…

I’ve learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is stalk them and hope they panic and give in.

I’ve learned that no matter how much I care, some people are just assholes.

I’ve learned that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you’d better have a big weenie or huge boobs.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others ~ they are more screwed up than you think.

I’ve learned that you can keep puking long after you think you’re finished.

I’ve learned that we are responsible for what we do, unless we are celebrities, politicians or rap stars.

I’ve learned that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades, and there had better be a lot of money to take its place.

I’ve learned that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down will be the ones who do.

I’ve learned we don’t have to ditch bad friends, because their dysfunction makes us feel better about ourselves.

I’ve learned that the people you care most about in life are taken from you too soon and all the less important ones just never go away.

I’ve learned to say “F~ ~ ~ ’em in 6 languages.

peter

I’ll be back… this is your last warning!

Glo

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If you read comments on my post, Spousal Abuse, you will have seen the comment left by rdlght regarding child abuse. I’m not sure why this was commented on as if I’d deliberately left children out of the equation. The post was about spousal abuse. 

Child abuse is a subject I infrequently comment on. Not that I don’t want to help the millions of abused children, I do. But, I also realize that unless I actually see or hear actual abuse, there is very little I can do.

I can write my Congressman, my Representative, the President and the newspaper… things I have done in the past. I also know that unless it’s an election year and this happens to be a “hot” issue, I will get no response and it won’t change a thing.

This country plays a lot of lip service about the protection of it’s children, but until we lock pedophils away for life, give real protection to children who are abused by their mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, etc., that’s all it is – lip service.

It’s been my sad experience that families will protect the abuser in their midst. They would rather let the abuse continue than to make themselves uncomfortable or embarrassed by stopping the abuse. The child suffers in silence – knowing that there is no help and the abuse will only get worse if they do tell.

So, dear rdlght, I understand your anger and your pain. I am assuming that you are a survivor. I hope this is the answer you sought when you commented. Please keep up your efforts as I do.

Blessings, Glo

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F-18 Pilot Returns Home To Canine Friend From Iraqi War Zone

By Kristina Davis

Union-Tribune Staff Writer

nubbs  

Scott Linnett / Union-Tribune

Marine Major Brian Dennis greets Nubs

They spent months in an Iraqi war zone cementing a special bond.

But after more than a month of being apart, Marine Maj. Brian Dennis began to worry if Nubs the dog would still remember him, especially in a new place like San Diego.

Their reunion early Saturday at Camp Pendleton clearly showed otherwise.

The 2-year-old old dog, named for his two nubby ears, drenched Dennis’ face with doggie kisses and said hello with excited whimpers.

“You remember that, huh?” Dennis said as he rubbed the dog’s head.

Dennis, an F-18 pilot stationed at Miramar Marine Corp Air Station, was among several Marines to return home from a seven-month tour in Iraq early Saturday.

Among those who also returned was a group that fell in love with seven puppies and also had them brought back to San Diego. They plan to reunite with their new dogs at 3 p.m. At the Rancho Coastal Humane Society.

Nubs, a German shepherd/border collie mix, came to San Diego a month earlier after friends, family and complete strangers raised $3,500 for the dog’s trip out of Iraq.

“It’s almost like ‘Lassie Come Home’ in Iraq,” said Dennis’ mother, Marsha Cargo, who anxiously waited for the unit’s arrival in the wee hours of the morning.

Dennis met Nubs in the Al Anbar Province where the dog ran wild at an Iraqi Border Fort. When Nubs was a puppy, an Iraqi sliced off most of his ears in an attempt to make the dog tough and more alert.

Another time, Nubs was stabbed with a screwdriver, and Dennis nursed him back to health.

When Dennis’ unit, the Border Transition Team, moved camp 70 miles away, Nubs somehow tracked them to their new location two days later.

It was against the rules to keep the dog in camp, and friends jumped in to bring Nubs to San Diego.

“Once he found us there, it seemed like this was supposed to have happened,” Dennis said Saturday. “After he walked all that distance, it seemed like he was supposed to end up in San Diego.”

For the past month, Eric Sjoberg, one of Dennis’ Marine buddies, has been caring for Nubs along with Dennis’ other dog, Bogey.

Nubs has also been learning new tricks and how to behave in a different environment with some help from a dog trainer.

“After running two years out in the desert, he’s got a personality on him,” Sjoberg said.

Dennis said his first outing with Nubs will be a jog on the beach.

“It will consummate the whole journey, going from the sand of Iraq to the sand of San Diego.”

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28.JPGThe first nice day in a week and we’ve enjoyed our outings. I took advantage of the warm sun and bathed both of my stinky furfaces. They need to smell good for Zeke’s vet visit and our trip to the mountains.

Now they both smell of jasmine and have fluffy, shining coats. Both are pouting with me. They are now out on the balcony wishing evil upon me. This will last until they need another walk or dinner. At which time, all will be forgiven. 

Jeff is having a week of warm sun and driving southern roadways… his favorite. Actually, he thinks all of us are nuts, can’t drive and should be banned from the roads.

24.JPGHe gets so cranky with the leisurely pace of southern drivers! Stop and smell the roses, I tell him! He growls, “I’d love to… if these people would just get out of my way so I could leave the interstate! The speed limit is 65! They’re going 35! What’s wrong with these people! I hate Georgia, Alabama, etc.!” Grouch!

Being a damn yankee, he just doesn’t get it. Poor man. I love him, so I try to make allowances for his misconceptions and constant need to get there in a hurry.

And he doesn’t like peas or beans, collards or turnips, either. And he hasn’t once begged me to make cornbread… and I make great cornbread.

                       He had a deprived childhood.

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Blessings… Glo