Carrying the Flame: 'T Has Been an Interesting Week

I’ve lived in the suburbs of New York City for most of my life. I can’t remember needing to prepare for or fear hurricanes but times (and the climate) have changed.

When the news reports of a “Frankenstorm” started to fill the airwaves, I ignored it as media hype. I vowed to be as dog-like as possible, simply living in the present. Then it got a little windy. OK, fine. I corralled the pack into the lower level of the house, lit a fire and roasted marshmallows. Cozy, right? Then the lights went out. Undaunted, I distributed the battery-powered lanterns and tucked everyone into bed early.

When I took the new puppy out for his 4AM pee, the winds were dying down. There were a few branches down, lots of leaves in the yard and a small plastic wading pool of unknown origin. Not so bad, I thought.

Early that morning, powerless and disconnected from news of the wider world, the biggest crisis we faced was Lizard Boy. His heat lamp went out with the power and he was, according to my son, “acting like an ice cube.” Uh-oh. I have written extensively about pet care and have made a point of encouraging people to remember their tropical friends when the power fails. I raced to Lizard Boy’s enclosure to find him unresponsive, his lizard eyes closed tight. I wrapped him in a soft sweatshirt while my husband stoked the fire. The entire family huddled around this small, motionless body. Slowly, his eyes opened and his little body warmed. He basked which, incidentally, doesn’t look all that different than what he was doing before except his eyes were open. And it may be my imagination but he really did look very content.

So Lizard Boy survived. Crisis averted. We turned our attention to our power situation. We headed out to find a generator, unaware that every one in the tri-state area was already purchased, installed, filled with precious gas and powering the homes of our neighbors. As we drove around, we saw trees and power lines down, signs broken, debris strewn about. When we finally located a place to power up and get some news, we were horrified by what we learned. Devastation beyond our imagination. The loss of life and property is simply heartbreaking.

If a life with dogs has taught me anything it’s to let life’s experience guide you. Submit to the elements, seek what brings contentment and joy, and huddle close to those you love.

Observing our pets, conversing with my family, and communing with friends all blends into a week that has been rich with experience.