Even if he’s a rescue who’s never been indoors

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Snowy is now a year old — photo by Shefali O’Hara

When I adopted Snowy, he was 6 months old and had never been inside a house, except perhaps for a short period right after he was born. He balked when I tried to lead him indoors. Finally, I picked him up and carried him over the threshold.

He sat in the entry way, cowering. I offered him water and treats. I petted him and murmured kind words. None of it made a difference for probably 20 minutes. He trembled and whined.

Finally, he calmed down and his natural curiosity kicked in. …


Here’s the technique I used to achieve this major milestone

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Snowy on one of our hikes… picture by Shefali O’Hara

I have an 11 month old white German Shepherd names Snowy. I got him when he was 6 months old, as a rescue. He’s my Covid puppy.

This morning, he hit a milestone.

We hiked off-leash in a park filled with majestic trees garbed in autumn splendor. There were LOTS of squirrels.

Snowy’s keen eyes would pick up the distant movement of leaves and he’d be off, charging at the squirrels. Thank God he never catches them. …

Animal Anecdote

Is it something in the air?

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Snowy the Magnificent Mischief Mongrel by Shefali O’Hara

My Covid puppy is Snowy. He’s turning 11 months in about 10 days. He’s a handsome fellow, a rather large white German Shepherd.

When I got him, he’d never been inside a house before. He was 6 months old at the time. We had to carry him over the threshold. He proceeded to cower on the tile for a while, despite being offered food, water and treats. Eventually he became curious though and started to explore.

He has been relatively easy to train in many ways. He’s never had an accident in the house. Not one! I was amazed by this. He also learned very quickly not to jump on people. He is gentle with the cat but he still sometimes chases her. …

Animal Anecdote

Even cute pets should not be touched without consent

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Photo by Ramiz Dedaković on Unsplash

Many years ago, I was hanging out in my front garden with my cat, Snoopy.

Snoopy was a remarkably friendly cat. She would allow friends who came over to pet her once she warmed up to them. Everyone wanted to pet her because she was a beautiful Norwegian Forest Cat with long fur.

So it was no surprise that, as we hung out in the garden, soaking up some sun, a little boy came over wanting to pet my cat.

But he didn’t ask. He just went towards her.

“You’re making her nervous,” I warned him. …

Should adults ever owe each other support?

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Photo by Park Street on Unsplash

My ex and I had an amicable divorce. When we split up, he happily agreed to pay me alimony. Was this fair?

You see, I don’t think marriage is like the Hotel California. If you don’t like it, you should be able to leave. And you shouldn’t be penalized for that.

As far as alimony — it’s a relic of an outmoded system in which women were dependents. Once upon a time, women could not own property. They were dependent on their father, husband or son for support.

As recently as 1974, banks in the United States required a woman to bring a man along to cosign a credit application, regardless of her income. …

Honor her memory before descending into politics

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Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

I was sad to hear that Ruth Bader Ginsburg died yesterday.

She was a liberal lion and a pioneer for women’s equality.

What makes me even more sad is that instead of taking a brief period to honor her memory and to allow her family to quietly grieve, politics immediately came to the fore.

The woman was not even cold when the clamoring started, from both the left and the right.

I could understand the right doing it, though I thought it uncouth and boorish. After all, Justice Ginsburg was not one of their icons. But when the left did it as well… Chuck Schumer immediately started to talk about the timing of her replacement. …

This painting is from my heart

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African Ladies by Shefali O’Hara

My senior year at MIT I called a friend from the lab. I’d been up almost 40 hours debugging a circuit and needed emotional support.

She asked me when I’d last had something to eat. I mentioned a soda I’d had. A half hour later she showed up with a thermos.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“You need a hot meal,” she said.

I was puzzled by the contents. I’d never seen anything like it.

“You’re moving to Carolina,” she explained. Her dimples flashed. “You need to know what grits are.”

I ate them while she kept me company. She’d doctored them with cheese. I was nourished, which helped me through the rest of the day. …

Instead, get a dog

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Me with a collie in Indiana — picture courtesy of Sam Mahmoud

Last night I was walking my dog Snowy. As we passed a neighbor’s house, their door opened. He ran towards them, fully intent on entering their house. When I apologized, they just laughed.

“We like dogs,” they told me. They then proceeded to coo over him as he did the puppy bow on their lawn, rump raised and tail wagging.

It reminded me of the time I was hiking with my dogs Daisy and Red on an off leash trail years back. Red freaked out for some reason as we approached the parking lot and ran full tilt… into someone else’s vehicle! …

My neighborhood is diverse in more ways than one, and we somehow get along

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Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

There is a huge Trump sign in one of my neighbor’s yards. It’s literally 6 feet across. A few houses down, there is a more tasteful Biden sign in another neighbor’s yard.

As far as I can tell, neither neighbor hates on the other. No one has stolen anyone else’s sign, or TP’ed anyone’s house.

I live in a diverse neighborhood. In fact, it’s a majority minority place. Only about 40% of the residents are white. About 30% are Latino. The rest are evenly split between Asians and blacks.

As far as voting preferences… from the impromptu conversations I’ve had with people — many are apolitical. They don’t like Trump but they aren’t enthused about Biden either. Mostly they are unhappy about Covid-19. They don’t think Trump has handled the crisis well but they’re not sure Biden would do better. …

After what happened to Jacob Blake

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Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

On May 3, 2020, Laquisha Booker called the Kenosha police to file a complaint against Jacob Blake. In the complaint, she alleges that at 6am that morning, Blake sexually assaulted her, stole her bank card (from which he subsequently withdrew $1000) and her SUV.

Booker mentioned that she and Blake have 3 children together but that he has never lived with them. She also told police that Blake was unemployed and that he physically assaulted her about twice a year.

She called them again on August 23rd. According to official sources, she said that Blake was not permitted to be on the premises, that he’d taken her car keys and would not give them back to her. Blake already had a warrant out for his arrest on third-degree sexual assault charges from Booker’s prior complaint. …


Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, artist, writer, engineer. Grew up in NYC, living in Austin. Love animals, books, hikes, art, travel, D&D and fireworks.

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