Lucy Jensen
Lucy Jensen

When you start the week at the early morning water aerobics class at the Soledad pool, you go out the gate like a champ, rising to greatness like the very light itself coming up. There is nearly nothing as life enhancing as watching the sun greet another day and then, almost instantly, immersing yourself in chilly water.

For you early risers — and I am not ordinarily one of those — I highly recommend it. One full hour of bouncing around in the shallows of the local pool with water weights and other like-minded folks has to be good for the body and soul. I shall endeavor to go whenever I am able.

The day started off innocently enough. We had had a lot of rain, everything was muddy, I thought my foster dog needed fresh bedding in his large “area,” as we call it, because he has to live apart from the general canine population at my place. He cannot get along with the other mutts, least of all my personal German shepherd, so he resides predominantly in his area, quite happily it seemed. Once in a while, we will put our shepherd in the house and let the foster be out in the yard with a day pass to sniff around and huff at the others through the screen.

We call him Hero because he looks like he has been through the wars and back with his one good eye, gammy leg and rough demeanor. My husband would spend time in his area with him, giving small pets when allowed and mild conversation. We were always super solicitous of how we handled his food and treats, knowing that he had been starved in his former life and would forever be food aggressive. I never expected him to bite me, though. We had done nothing but give him careful love and comfort all these months under our care at Solace. He surprised me. I am seldom surprised anymore in this life, but he got me.

As I went to put a fresh duvet on his bed, he jumped up. I raised my arm to my face in self-defense and watched as his large jaws went around my wrist and bit down. From the corner of my eye, I saw the eye tooth pierce the flesh and dark red blood gushed. In all my years of animal rescue, to date I had only ever been bitten by a Chihuahua and, in my memory, he hung on pretty tight, the little rascal; but he had nothing like the power of a full-grown male shepherd. I was in terrible shock and rushed away from his area to the sanctuary of my kitchen and running hot water. I had five puncture wounds around the wrist. What the? And that was just about the beginning of our week.

Celebrating my husband’s birthday at the emergency doctor followed by the pharmacy, sometimes you just have to know when to cut your losses and stay at home. But that’s not really my style, so I got all bandaged up and went about my day. We ate some delicious Mexican food that you can always find in these parts, bought gauze and antiseptic cream to enhance the tetanus shot I’d already received and inhaled the horse-pill antibiotics. It’s amazing how little you can anticipate the happenings in just one short day. We ate cake and ice cream to celebrate husband’s birthday and called it a day.

As the week went on, the moon got bigger. Sometimes you notice not the size and shape of the moon, whether it’s a cloud-filled or starry night, but this week I noticed all those things. My daughter dealt with some terrible events at work, the cows were mooing late into the night and our rooster, Geronimo, knew not, from his roosting position in the bushes, whether it was day or night, such was the power of the night light, as it were, or the waxing moon, ever persistent through the unslept hours of darktime. It was still very black outside and yet he crowed.

Then a kindly neighbor came to pick up our three cows and take them to his ranch where they could munch down on his considerable acreage. If you’ve ever fed a cow, you will know that it is like trying to keep up with the appetite of a constantly hungry teenage boy. We were so happy and relieved that we had given them a super start in life, kept them healthy with copious bales of hay over the past couple of years and now they were going to start a new life where they had much more room to roam.

Then, antiseptic cream and bite reports aside, it was time to celebrate everyone’s birthdays. From a big one of mine in September that we never properly heralded as a family to my husband’s of this week, it was past time. Roy’s at Pebble Beach did not disappoint. It’s not a spot you might frequent every week like the local Mexican food on the corner, but it is super special.

I had always wanted to be there to watch the bagpiper at dusk and that was pretty darn marvelous! Bucket list — check! Ah, the sea view, the fire pit in the middle of the table, the attentive service and delicious food. What a treat we had under the care of our large moon, gleaming away in the darkening sky as we toasted another year for everyone and how lucky we are to all be here together after a rather harrowing week.

Our poor old Hero will have to eventually be laid to rest in the Sanctuary at Solace where he finally knew love, care and good food that should be the basis of every life under the moon. They say that the second bite would likely be worse and some creatures — human and otherwise — are just broken, hard though that is to accept. We will bury him with full military honors and always remember that we did our very best with what we had to work with. In my years of animal rescue, this is the worst part — knowing that you cannot fix every animal that crosses your path — but that each one teaches you something valuable.

And then it was on to the NFC game at Levi’s Stadium and our moon was super present there. She gave the opponents a taste at victory and then ultimately voted in our favor. After the week that was, I very much appreciated that.

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Soledad columnist Lucy Jensen may be reached at [email protected].

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