RESCUE DOG…RESCUE KIDS

Tanner and I apologize from the recent inactivity but I’ve been busy with a different kind of ‘rescue’ program.  

Back around the time Tanner came to stay with us, I started thinking that I might want to combine my two very different skill sets, writing and martial arts, to help ‘at risk’ kids.  I wasn’t sure if I still had the patience and energy required so I decided to take a trial run, substitute teaching at the L.A. County Juvenile Probation schools here in Malibu.  It took several months to get my certification and paperwork in order (back in the last century, I taught English before leaving to become an actor).  There were tests to take, forms to complete, interviews, orientations, fingerprinting – you would have thought I was applying for CIA clearance.  

After all the hoopla, I started in March, right around the time we started looking for a rescue dog three years earlier. The first couple days were interesting.  The ‘kids’ – all juvie offenders who’ve committed assorted crimes, some serious, some minor – felt they had to test me, just like we did with high school subs.  Nothing personal.  They were high energy and noisy but I never felt threatened.  Now that they’ve gotten to know me, and I them, I’m enjoying our time together.  Just like shelter dogs (I love dogs so this is a compliment), many of them are desperate for genuine affection and interest, and any special perks, like candy or magazines, they think they can wheedle out of you.

I’m not sure I’m up for a full-time job (45 kids of varying abilities and backgrounds, working on 6-7 subjects!) but I’m thinking of proposing an after school Tai Chi program.  I’ve also spoken to our good friend and superb dog trainer Tony Rollins, about starting a program where they can help train shelter dogs for adoption.  

In the middle of all this, I was busy reworking GIMME Shelter for submission to agents.  Now that the manuscript is done (for the moment), I’ll be back blogging and devoting myself to Tanner, who just celebrated his 3rd ‘anniversary’ with us.  He recently had a systemic bacterial infection that was causing skin rashes and lethargy but Dr. Lisa gave us a prescription and some ointment and now the big guy’s fine and friskier than ever.

Tanner on the Colony Beach


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