Orion has passed. I am still coming to terms with his death. I have trouble writing it down or speaking of it. He grew tired. I feel guilty. I brought Kira home and he did his job. He trained her. She is perfect and is a protector of her new home. He is gone. I am devastated. I couldn’t talk about it and will have a hard time with all of your sympathies because I loved that dog so much. He was so special and then I had to make a decision. I couldn’t do it. He became sick and was at the Veterinarians and it was quite sad. He was always free and then he was in a kennel without me and all of us at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. I brought him home and my Veterinarian came to my home to put him to rest.
I wasn’t going to write this blog yet because to be honest just writing it down causes me grief. This is why you haven’t heard from me in a while on my blog. I haven’t been able to process the grief I feel. Yesterday, I found out that someone who worked here with me posted that Orion had passed. I don’t know how he found out because very few people knew about it. I was quite upset because this person had nothing to do with Orion’s care or any part of Orion at all. In fact, this person pushed me one time and Orion bit him in the ribs. Orion broke two. That was the only time I saw Orion become aggressive with a human, a human he did love, but he knew he was no one important. Orion could have killed him but he chastised him instead. Quite painfully, but this person is lucky he didn’t do more damage. I am devastated that Orion’s death was sensationalized by a nobody who was a worker at my wonderful nature retreat Villa Migelita Ecolodge.
That being said I need to give Orion the wonderful accolades he deserves. Because of this menial person I am forced to write before I have felt ready about my life with my beautiful Orion.
Orion came to me by chance. He had four previous homes and I was his last. He was the forever loyal dog we all want that was the King of Villa Migelita Ecolodge. My customers loved him, and he was always so gentle with everyone. He was the master of my Villa. He was the gorgeous fixture who was so gentle despite his intimidating presence
Orion was the dog you want for a farm. Many people do not understand big dogs need space to roam. We rescued Kira and we are now looking for an older male Dogo Argentino around the same age of Orion when he became part of my fur family. He was forever happy at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. It pains me to say that he was ready when he crossed the Rainbow Bridge. He never had a leash on for most of his life. He just had my large area of land and he didn’t go outside of my Villa much. I put a leash on him when the veterinarian came up to put him to sleep. He went willingly to the spot in the back of my property where I have buried some of my pets who have passed. He knew. He was ready. I covered him with hugs, kisses and my actual body. I couldn’t quit crying as I am now while I write it down. He crossed his legs and just waited. I kept saying how sorry I was to do this to him. He was noble and everyone was crying when he finally went. I then just lay with him for a long time. I will never forget my Orion, nor the love and protection he gave me.
Kira is now the guardian of Villa Migelita Ecolodge. She sleeps where she did with Orion and she runs outside at any noise she hears. She is growing and Orion made sure she was perfect for her new position.
My life is forever changed because of Orion and I know he is still in spirit with us at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. The first night after he passed, Jazmin heard him snoring outside of her room where he slept. She kept opening the door and he wasn’t there. One of the twins went in the hallway one night and saw him in the same spot. He is still here guiding Kira, and watching all of us.
Some musings from the year 2018 and how I have found patience to be my most valued possession. The year 2018 started off so wonderfully as I was leaving 2017 with success in my business and starting with customers in January. I had new-found independence. I was pleased with the way my Spanish was improving after two men who worked with me had left and I was able to start working with Jazmin. I actually felt comfortable in my home for the first time in years. Working with Jazmin in my business and having her as my assistant, along with her family as a support system totally changed my life.
Then, out of the blue, I was sued by the man I had been working with here in Colombia. He had already been given a liquidation amount for his time working at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. In Colombia, apparently it is OK to sign off on a liquidation agreement as a paid employee, but then sue me again for 1/2 of my Villa. I had paid him a lot of money already and now I had to hire a lawyer to fight this ridiculous lawsuit. In the meantime, I had hired another man to work with me. He left without notice and broke his contract. The first man who was suing me had not done any work with my customers or on the farm for over two years and was just living here, even though I had asked him to move out. I fired him with the help of the second man and a lieutentant of police here in Colombia. I will always appreciate them, and I didn’t mind the second man breaking his contract as this forced me to change myself and my attitude of needing help with driving, translating, and dependence on others. The first man lost the lawsuit and was forced to pay court fees, and he also had to pay me for some of his things left at my house for over a year and a half. So out of this situation I found self-sufficiency.
I began chatting with my son again this year. I have found it very frustrating that through many attempts to make peace with my son, my ex-husband has found a way to hide truth from me and sabotage our relationship. My son who is an adult now also has to accept responsibility for keeping things from me, and he is old enough to know that I have always been a good mother, and someone who has his back. We were supposed to go on a cruise together in March, I even trusted his word enough to buy tickets for this cruise which he cancelled on me out of the blue. This cruise was the beginning of another bad episode. I brought my very best friend of many years with me on the cruise and met lovely people and enjoyed all three days. Before the cruise I spent a week with my grandchild. She was different also. Before when I would visit she was a delight and filled with joy and happiness. This time she was very withdrawn, quiet and even had an episode of extreme sadness and anger, asking why she couldn’t go with me on the cruise, who did she belong to and more. I had no answers as her other family told me they didn’t have her birth certificate, which I offered to get for Amaya. It is quite simple. I was then told they didn’t know her social security number, nor did they have papers for who had custody of her. In other words, they lied to me. They also didn’t tell me they gave Amaya away to a family Misha knew from her school years. Yes, I found this out later. I didn’t realize it is legal to just give a child away. It is in Florida. It is not legal to collect my daughter’s social security death benefits and not use them for Amaya, which they are explicitly meant to go to. I found this out also.
I met someone on the cruise the very last night and he seemed quite nice. He knew my friend from high school so I gave him more trust than I usually would with a new man. I realize now this friend new he was a con man, a loser and someone who doesn’t even have his own home. He was living at my friend’s house which he said was temporary because they needed help with a hotel they own on Hollywood beach. I visited with my friend and had no reason to believe anything was untrue as my friend didn’t tell me that he was in dire straights and they were helping him out. He came to visit me here in Colombia and brought gifts, paid for everything we did, and was quite charming. I had no reason to believe he was after me because of my hotel or what he assumed I had. I made plans to visit Amaya in June and see him again. My plans to see Amaya were thwarted. I was not allowed access to my granddaughter and this man put me in the hotel on Hollywood beach in a tiny little room and said he would upgrade to another room as soon as it was ready. I was miserable. I live in a mansion here in Colombia. This room was about the same size as my office here. The internet was spotty and I was sad to be in the same State as my granddaughter and not be able to see her. I also didn’t have a car because this con man was supposed to let me use his. I was very unhappy and cried for a day off and on. He dumped me, thank God! However, I stayed in Florida and rented a car and lived at different places waiting to hear from my lawyer about an emergency hearing in front of a judge, which did not take place. So I spent money I didn’t have, and it was a total disaster. Including seeing my son, which was not a great encounter either. As I am trying to find positivity in everything that happened this year, I will say that living in Colombia is the best thing I have ever done for myself. I am at peace here and I have many great friends and my business is fun also. I meet new people and enjoy new friendships.
Meanwhile, through all of this drama I found out I had a rare condition called CAM in both hips and would need surgery. I had to live in Cali, Colombia for one month after the surgery and I lost a lot of business because I was unavailable during the best months of August and September. I also had to do therapy full-time and could not participate in the many activities we offer at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. I have great insurance here, and I didn’t have a lot of medical expenses, but I did have to pay for two households. I had Jazmin with me in Cali and I had her sister staying at my place in the mountains. To say I was thinking about that disastrous trip to Florida and the unnecessary money I spent is an understatement. The positive part about my surgery is this: I am completely healed, I had the wonderful support of my friends and of Jazmin and her family, and I can now participate in all activities offered at my hotel. I find that my clients like for me to accompany them, which I really enjoy also.
I had to also have a lot of work done on my Villa this year, more hits financially. When I returned to my Villa I was so happy to be back but was still dealing with the work being done and doing my physical therapy. However, I found myself enjoying my life so much because that short time I lived in Cali, Colombia made me appreciate how peaceful my Villa is, along with being a perfect temperature year round. I found myself relishing my time writing, watching my hummingbirds, Neotropical birds and enjoying the cool breezes that pervade throughout the house. I end the year feeling exhausted from having no contact with my granddaughter, the people who have her don’t let her call me, nor does Amaya have a phone number I can reach her at. I have been speaking regularly with my son, and I was feeling positive about that, but that ended recently when my ex-husband became involved. My son was supposed to come here and live for a while. I was really happy about that. Then I had a phone call with my ex and he gave me a list of demands that CJ needed, and frankly I found this quite absurd because my son is a grown adult and in our conversations we had discussed some things he would like and I would be able to accommodate him with them. I had also discussed how we live here in Colombia. We live quietly and peacefully. We live normal hours of going to bed at night at decent times, and getting up in the morning at normal hours. We are a place of order. Even the dogs know their schedules. I explained this to CJ and he was fine with that. I wanted him to start college online and would give him some outdoor chores that my gardener would oversee. I tried to explain to my ex-husband how to get a Visa for CJ so I could put him on my health insurance. I also asked if I could send Amaya a Christmas gift to his house as I am unable to communicate with her anymore. This is when it got ugly. My ex used Amaya as a way to blackmail me and to make me listen to his demands. I am no longer married to him, nor do I approve of the way he has raised CJ. He did the same thing with CJ when we divorced, it is called parental alienation. He is doing this with Amaya now. He knows she was given away, he is the executor of her estate, so he knows that Amaya is not getting the death benefits of our daughter Misha. He should be concerned about this, and he should take action that the money is used for Amaya only. So he ended hanging up on me, my son will no longer talk with me again, and I don’t know if my granddaughter received her Christmas gift which I know arrived at their home.
So I have decided Amaya will someday contact me when she has control over her life. She must be so sad that she is not chatting with me. I can’t imagine what is going on in her mind if adults are saying bad things about me. It is so damaging psychologically. I know this because it was done to my son. Many think I abandoned my son because that is what my ex husband said to everyone, it is not true. Now my granddaughter who has loved and adored me is being kept from me. Living in Colombia has made me realize that even when I am super sad, I can find joy in the little things around me. I am starting the New Year off with a houseful of guests here at Villa Migelita Ecolodge . I am busy, my hips are healed and I have Jazmin and her family as my family. Sometimes, we just have to accept the bad things people do to us and get on with our lives. That is what I have done since my daughter died. I am filled with joy every single day because we have a sweet new puppy Kira. She has been a light in the darkness that has followed me this year.
Kira has learned quickly because my other dogs are seniors. She follows their examples, and therefore is quite calm. She sits when they sit, she sleeps with Orion when he sleeps. She eats when they eat, and is quite orderly with learning potty training. She has really surpassed all my expectations of bringing a baby into the house with older dogs. The one who accepted her unconditionally was Orion. The others have followed suit because Orion is teaching her to be calm. She has been disciplined by the other two dogs a few times and has learned to not wake them up, bite them and to sit quietly by them if she wants them to be her friends. She is an exceptionally intelligent dog, her breed is Dogo Argentino. She goes places with all of us here at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. She is leash trained and loves attention from everyone.
Orion plays with her, and is so gentle. He has taken her as his own. I am so overjoyed by this, because he is 9 years old and I wanted him to train her to be just like him. She even follows him out when he barks at noises. She is learning from a pro! He is the most patient and loving father Kira could have.
So I end this year with jubilance in my heart. I have let go of the difficult year of 2018 and have a good plan for my future in 2019. I am going to let go and let be. I have learned since the death of my daughter and even the years before her death, we can only control ourselves. What others do is their decision. We all have free will. I choose to be kind, peaceful, and forever hopeful to have my relationship returned to normal with my beloved granddaughter and my son. Amaya cannot control her situation, but someday she will be able to. She will have all of our many memories made together during my times with her. She will never forget them, even if others tell her differently. I believe my son has all those memories in his heart too. I know he knows the truth about what happened during my divorce and Misha’s death. I will be covering all of that in my upcoming book. I will leave nothing out. I am going to write it down for both my son and my granddaughter. If they have been told one thing by me it is to never lie, to be strong and to show people who you are by the way you live your life. I live my life now that I am free of a bad marriage in a way that exemplifies who I am. I am transparent and without any kind of subterfuge. I want to share this with everyone. I want my lifestyle to show who I am. The unacceptable actions of others are theirs to bear.
I wish everyone who follows my blog a very Happy New Year 2019. I wish for all who have had a bad year to begin anew, just like I am going to do. Leave the past behind and head into the future with love and peace in your hearts.
Orion my Dogo Argentino is magnificent. He was given to me by a neighbor the night before I moved to Villa Migelita.
He had 4 homes before he came to me. He is a very delicate dog, although he looks fierce. He has broken two bones, his skin is problematic and he is always needing attention by the veterinarian for some reason. Here are some of my favorite photos of Orion. He is now almost 8 years old. I have lived in Colombia since 2011. He was a young guy when I adopted him. Enjoy the beauty of Orion, my big boy.
Postura showed up at his house and she never left. He let her be. He thought it was a fluke, a wonderful visitor who just came for the mango, and other fruit trees on his farm. She was friendly and started to live in his trees. He never bothered her, but she came to him often. Eventually, Postura made her home at his farm in Colombia. She lives free, she lives without constraint. She decided he would be her human.
She travels around the pueblo of La Buitrera de Palmira, Valle del Cauca, Colombia and is often seen perching in the trees of the park. She goes to other farms, and they tell her human they have seen her. She never lets anyone touch her but her human. She adores him so much it can only be described as unconditional love. She laughs, she talks, she says Spanish phrases. She now recognizes me when I visit. She shows off like a trained bird, yet she isn’t. She is so intelligent and without any conditions she stays on her human’s farm.
Where did this special parrot come from? She must have known humans during her lifetime.
The beauty of her perfect feathers while grooming herself
Magnificent beauty of her open wings
I know animals have a spirit sense. I have many special visits from hummingbirds that I believe come from the other world none of us know for sure exists. I am certain when I get visits from hummingbirds they are a sign from the Universe and the souls I have lost in my life. They might not be there for me to pick up the phone and talk to, but they are still with me. I believe Postura is that for her human.
I have a dog who would not accept a person who came into my life to help me with my business. It is unfortunate how she could not, would not accept this person. He left recently. It was amazing the transformation in my dog! She is so happy and carefree again. I have to take the quiet and often non verbal signals of animals seriously. She was telling me something and I needed to listen. Because you know what, she was right!
All of you who follow my blog know my Orion the Dogo Argentino. He is not feeling well today. He has been bitten by a fly and has skin problems from this. Actually, he has worms under his skin in two places. UGH and gross right? But remember I am in Colombia and he is a dog on a farm. I didn’t know about the other place on his foot. He came to me this morning and was panicked. I followed him because I thought he needed to go outside to use the bathroom, but no, he went to my truck and wanted to get in. He never goes in the truck unless to the vet. He told me in his own way “I need help!” I have the veterinarian coming this afternoon. He will take care of this and I talked to Orion and told him the same, he is sleeping peacefully now.
When we have animals and are animal lovers we understand those signs. I highlighted that video above because you should watch it. It shows the same species of hummingbird that has visited me before, and it is going to all my special old family photos and special mementos. I know we have another side besides the world we live in. We have to accept this as humans. We need to realize that the animal kingdom sees much more than we as humans do.
Follow my blog because Postura the beautiful Severe Macaw (or Chestnut Fronted Macaw) has eggs she is sitting on right now. Maybe she has a mate, maybe not. Stay tuned.
My morning is about my animals. I have dogs, cats, a parrot and two ducks. They are always waiting for me to come down in the morning to feed them. They have a routine, and that routine is part of me. I never sleep in since my daughter passed away, and it is with great pleasure when I look outside and see them waiting. My dogs have their own house with their dog beds to sleep in at night. My parrot has a cage with the door always open. All my animals live a free life. My ducks are even there in the morning reminding me they need corn in their bowl. They are all part of my soul here at Villa Migelita. It is delightful for my guests to sit and have breakfast while my parrot Luci sits outside on the window looking in at us. She is quite social and puts on quite a show for everyone who visits. She loves to be part of everything.
Morning and Luci is watching
I see you
Luci wanders and sits waiting
Luci, Poco and Corazon
My mornings are my favorite time of day. I feel the vibrancy of all life and the Universe through the love of my pets. They uplift me, they give me my will to make myself a better person. I try with every part of my being to live up to what they share with me, unconditional love. Nature and all that it offers is part of my spirit. Nature and animals define me. I live to feel their love. With that I sign off with the requisite picture of the sunrise, but one that is amazing. A hummingbird in the sky.
One of the most amazing natural details I have ever seen is this leaf. It is called Christ’s Tears or Las lágrimas de Cristo in Spanish.
A phenomenon of natural beauty and elegance that surprises with the intricate detail that is on the leaf.
Animals can show us so much detail with their simplicity and kindness. The eyes have it all.
Raindrops on a rose. Detail that is lovely and calming at the same time.
With all that happens in our lives, we need to take a moment to look at the essence of the familiar that surrounds us. We need to embrace the beauty of normalcy. We need to let ourselves find joy wherever we can.
When I hike I see so much I can never capture in a photograph. I try. But the reality is you need to get outside and just look around. Let the moment you see something incredible stop you in your tracks. Take that moment and live it. Stamp it in your memory. Then you will understand the details of life.
I lost an important connection to my deceased daughter on Christmas Eve. Taz ran away and a piece of my heart left with him. I was visiting the home of my friend’s brother and left him in the care of his mother while I walked to the grocery with my friend, his brother and his little daughter. I was told not to bring Taz as the store would not allow him in. I wanted to bring him, I could have had one of us stand outside with him. I will never forgive myself for not doing this, this is a moment I replay constantly in my mind. I probably will for the rest of my life, as this was the last time I saw Taz. He was sitting next to my friend’s mother, looking happy. I know I did not fear danger for my little Taz, but my inner voice spoke to me and I did not listen. Apparently the wife of the brother is an evil person who became enraged when her older daughter called and said a dog was in the house. She rushed home to her house and deliberately opened a door to her outdoor patio which had a decorative fence, but Taz could get through the slats and he took off. I really never even got a good look at this woman because we had not even been inside the house for more than 5 minutes before we left for the store, we were gone 20 minutes total. I was going to the store to buy the family some snacks and a bottle of booze for the evenings celebration. I wanted to be hospitable. Imagine how I felt when I found out what she did. I was in such distress and anguish, I went crazy with grief in the middle of the street. All the neighbors came outside and the woman will forever have to live with the knowledge that her neighbor’s knew what she did to an American. In Colombia they call this “chisme”, the talk of the community about others. They will talk chisme about her forever, and they all knew Taz was my connection to my deceased daughter because my Spanish is pretty good now, and I made that clear when I was crying in the streets “why would you do that to my innocent dog?” So they will think she is cursed also because of Taz’s connection to my daughter who is dead. She will get her karma but I will not get Taz back unless there is a miracle. We immediately left to go looking for Taz all over until the early morning hours. We never found him. I have continued looking for him still, using flyers, the internet and walking the streets and talking with people in the area. I have had no luck, and fear I will never see him again. Thinking of this makes my chest ache with pain, and my eyes fill with tears. He was no ordinary dog, and to me the single most important association to my daughter left in this world.
My daughter and I found Taz in the mountains of Tennessee on her 16th birthday. We were shopping, getting our nails done, having a special Mother/Daughter day. She had a summer birthday so she never really had parties with her school friends and we always spent our summers in the mountains. Her birthday celebrations were always small for the most part, and the time that we spent together during the summers go hand in hand with each year she grew older. Taz is a wonderful memory of those times. Taz became part of the celebration of her life. Looking back I realize she only had 4 more years of life to live from that day forth and Taz never was the same after her death just like I will never be the same. That is why I need to write this down. I mourn Taz like I mourn her.
We brought Taz back to our RV that day, having found him in a local store that had puppies from their Rat Terrier in a small kennel on display. It was just someone who needed to give those puppies to a good home. Misha fell in love with Taz, he was such a cute little thing and turned out to be super smart too. He had a little Chihuahua in him, and Misha and I thought he would turn out small and we could take him everywhere with us. We started taking him in my purse everywhere we went. Taz always knew to be quiet, he would lay quietly inside and not make a sound. Misha had him sleep with her and he developed a habit of pulling back the comforter with his paws and snuggling underneath really close to her legs every night. By the time the summer was over and we returned to South Florida he was trained and also knew many tricks which she taught him.
The year she was 16 is closely connected to Taz. She would come home from school to find him waiting anxiously for her. He would sit next to her as she had a snack and watched TV. This is when he learned his most fun little mannerism, the high-five. She would take a bite then offer Taz a bite after he would give her five. I have fond memories of the two of them sitting in front of her TV having their afternoon snack, Taz always on his hind legs, front legs in the air, paw reaching out towards her hand. As the year progressed Misha grew up and so did Taz. He was not a real small dog, like we thought he would be, but he still came everywhere with us. Misha would have friends sleep over and Taz was always in the spot under the covers at night laying next to her legs.
We went to the mountains one more time after Taz came into our life, the year she turned 17. I remember we took two cars to Tennessee that summer, Misha, Taz and I in one, and my ex-husband, my son with my two Collies along with the RV being pulled by the other car. It was a fun drive with Taz in Misha’s lap the entire time, Misha and I laughing and singing to CD’s she had made for the trip. Taz always was with her, she would carry him and he would put his little front paws on her forearm and hold on like a person. That summer was the last summer of really good times as life took over and things changed. Misha’s senior year was full of drama that only a teenage girl can bring into a home, and my ex and I split for the first time during that year. Taz remained steadfast in her life and was her constant companion until she got pregnant after her senior year was done, and then she moved out. Taz stayed with me, and has never been apart from me since. Misha came in and out of his life after she had my sweet granddaughter, and my granddaughter always asks for Taz when I am with her or I talk with her on the phone. I have photo’s of Taz looking at Amaya on the bed when she was just a baby, he knew Amaya was Misha’s and therefore loved her like he loved Misha.
When Misha passed I know Taz knew, because my granddaughter would visit without her. My granddaughter would come stay with me and he would follow her around and always be near wherever Amaya would be playing. Taz showed his feelings through his eyes. When I moved to Colombia and brought him on the plane in a crate, he never made a peep and just was happy to have me near, his eyes shone with happiness that wherever I was going he was going too. He has enjoyed his almost 3 years here in Colombia, the freedom he has had of running in the mountains with my other dogs, the life on my farm, chasing tarantula’s (yes Taz has a knack for digging up spiders or finding iguana’s), or any small creature. Rat Terrier’s are farm dogs, he actually killed some of my ducklings when I had my first hatchlings. I remember finding them, and Taz hiding from me because he knew he did wrong. He did what his genetics told him to do, and I forgave him and kept my ducklings safe from him after that.
Taz is terrified of water and thunderstorms. I feel like a mother who has lost her child, never to know again where they are. I can not sleep well, nor can I quit thinking about his fears. He is not a dog that can be friendly to someone who might try to help him. That is why I am so distraught. Taz might not allow someone to help him. He will keep looking for me, this I know. This is why I am so devastated, I was his world and he was mine. We have mourned Misha together and now he is gone too. The last time I went to Cali to look for him, all the flyers were pulled down, and no one had even seen him, and he had been cited before. I fear he is running and running looking for me, going fast to nowhere. Now I ask everyone to keep Taz in their thoughts, to send positive energy. I am trying one more thing. I have hired a guy who knows the streets, he will find Taz if anyone can. If he does not locate Taz, then I can do no more except pray Taz has a new home with lovely people who enjoy all the tricks he will show them for food.