Sunday, July 31, 2011

Good Enough?

I get hand me down magazines from a friend of mine, and I was happy to see that Good Housekeeping has added "good enough" housekeeping, which certainly describes me. But after reading some of the more recent blogs where Francesca beat herself up over Qraq's weight loss and Linda talked about making mistakes with horses/donkeys that could lead to bad accidents, I began to think about 'good enough' when it comes to my own life.

My dog Jake was just diagnosed with Lyme disease. Because he reacts to the flea/tick treatment that you put directly on the skin (and which is most effective) I've only used tick collars this year. Obviously that wasn't good enough. He went from romping on his walk one day to barely able to walk the next. I immediately took him to the vet, but he was very sick. He recovered quickly and is now taking five giant pills a day. However, Lyme will always be in his body from now on. When he went in the vet they dipped him and found several ticks. How did I miss so many? We walk in fields, I know ticks are bad this year, he has long collie-type hair, I do check him, but it wasn't good enough.

And when does not good enough trickle into downright dangerous/criminal? A brief article in the newspaper this morning talked about a Pit Bull that had hung himself with his chain. Neighbors called it in. The owners never checked. A second dog was removed from the home. This was obviously criminal and the owners are being fined. But other cases aren't so clear. Across the street, the older farmer rents his pasture to a 'horseman' (put in quotes because although he talks a good game and on his property raises supposedly high-dollar walking horses, the ones turned out in the pasture are neglected). They are neglected in my eyes, but not in the eyes of the law. All have water and shelter (now) and four are very fat. Two yearlings in a separate pasture are not being cared for to my standards. They have grass, water and lots of weeds. No grain for a growing body, and the one has what looks like bumps/rash from an allergy. I mentioned the rash to the farmer who in turn calls the 'horseman'. It's hard to tell if anything is done. Criminal? No. Not good enough? Definitely.

But in my own life there are tons of not good enough examples so how can I judge? Still, as in the title of Good Housekeeping, I try to be "good enough" every day to ensure my family and animals are loved and cared for.
How is your good enough rating these days?

On a lighter note--make sure you check out Michele's THREE books for giveaway this contest. Also, go to for a giveaway of my book Gabriel's Journey. This is a super book for anyone who loves horses and history and if you have a reluctant guy reader it will draw him in with a Civil War adventure based on the true Battle of Saltville.


Anonymous said...

Here in the mid-west the heat and humidity have really put a damper on my horse activities so right now a twice a week hoof picking/grooming/fly spray/body check for ticks, cuts and/or scrapes is my good enough. We board our horses about eight minutes from our home and have a wonderful BO who would call if anything major was wrong.

Francesca Prescott said...

This is an interesting post, Alison. Made me think...and basically what I think is that we tend to try to do our best. Sometimes our best isn't quite good enough, and sometimes we let things slide for all kinds of reasons. People have different standards, different levels of knowledge, different levels of emotional attachment, too. We can get distracted, take on too much. As I talked about in a previous post, I tend to think other people know more than I do, so I have a tendency to not speak up.

I'm sorry to hear about your dog getting Lyme disease. Collie-type hair is a nightmare. I know I don't keep my dogs brushed and combed enough (not good enough!).Leo, my King Charles, is always collecting burrs and ticks. I use the drops, both dogs seem to be ok with them. In fact my Yorkie, Tom, is allergic to those anti-flea/tick collars.

I once had a cat who came home covered in hundreds of ticks (literally, it was horrendous). We wrestled with him as much as we could to try to get most of them out, but the cat clawed and wriggled and scratched, so we were forced to give up. He survived, and didn't even get sick, but it wasn't nice. I felt I'd let the cat down terribly because we'd just moved into a new place, and he'd panicked and run away and hidden in a barn, which is where he got all the ticks.

That poor pit bull...How awful. I feel sorry for pit bulls, they tend to have horribly agressive owners who taunt and neglect them.

Someone I know recently went through a horrible episode when their au-pair left their two dogs locked in the car with the windows shut for two hours in scorching heat. The girl just spaced out, forgot about them.I think both dogs survived, but it was touch and go for a few days. The au-pair was sent packing. It's inexcusable, but so common, and the fact that it's so easily done gives me the shivers. And what about parents who forget about their kids in the car? Don't even want to think about that...

I'm slowly getting beyond beating myself up over Qrac's weight loss. He's gained a little bit this past week, and is looking better. But building up the muscle he lost is going to take months.

Although I strive for "good enough", I do beat myself up over all kinds of things. It's just part of my character.

Once Upon an Equine said...

Very sorry about Jake's Lyme disease and hope he does well with treatment. Ticks are difficult to combat. I used to pick them up myself when I was a kid. My dad pulled 7 out of my scalp one day...all picked up at the horse pasture. And I have a friend who got Lyme disease from one tick on her a state where they claim Lyme disease is not a problem. Ticks are good at what they do and can still get through the best defenses.

A lot of people treat their animals below what most of us would consider proper care. It's hard to watch. Most people I know take better care of their animals than they do themselves. Most of the time my animals get excellent care; occasionally "good-enough" care, to my standards. But as for my housekeeping skills these days? Well, they are sub-good-enough. Although I did dust, sweep, and mop this weekend. Much to my husband's delight.

Interesting post and gives us something to think about.

Alison said...

1sthorse--VA is also nonhorse riding weather for me. Fortunately, the flies aren't bad because it's so dry. It sounds as if you are doing more than good enough for your horses!

Francesca--sorry I spelled Qrac's name wrong (bad bad for a writer to do that.) Your cat story gave me the creeps. He/she must have walked into a hatching tick nest. A friend of mine got in one and was covered with baby ticks. Your dog story was very sad. On the bright side I am glad Qrac is getting back to his handsome self.

Once Upon an Equine--the horse issue weighs on my mind. The guy has done nothing with the 'rash' so I assume he feels it's not a problem. I'm glad you tackled that housekeeping! Alas, it starts all over again the next day if like me you have dogs who shed.

jenj said...

I think "good enough" is very dependent on the person. My boys have endless hay, fresh, clean water, 24/7 turnout, and they get their fly masks on daily, plus spray if it's warranted. Their barn and pasture gets mucked 2x/day. They all get a "once-over" 2x/day (often with scratches for the itchy places), and they get fed 2x/day. Their saddles fit, they get prompt vet and farrier attention, and at night check they get "tucked in" with a carrot each. Would I like it if all four of my boys were ridden, hosed, and groomed to the nines every single day? Yeah, but it's not in the cards - and THEY probably don't care much that it doesn't happen. My friend thinks I'm crazy for spending so much time every day on my horses - for him, throwing a round bale out and making sure the trough is full is good enough. Maybe it would be for my boys too, but I have to say, my 23 y.o. looks a HECK of a lot better than his 23 y.o. does. So maybe the extra time I spend matters? Of course, I'm sure I could be doing more...

Terri Rocovich said...

I think that "good enough" is relative to your individual standards as the others have said, but I also think it is also about good intentions and follow through. We are all human and nobody can be super vigilant on every detail all of the time. So as unfortunate as it was that you missed some fleas (anyone would on a long haired dog) you still had the good intentions, good sense and follow through to get your dog to the vet quick enough to save his life and you are willing to make the investment in medication to keep him healthly. To me that is GOOD ENOUGH and I think far better than many.

We all know that far too many animals are neglected by far too many people and more often than not it comes down to simply paying attention and making the effort. The sad case of the pit bull comes down to the owner's not paying attention enough and their stupidity in leaving a choke collar on a dog. And to me that is criminal.

Laura Crum said...

Alison--A great subject. I started to think about my response and more and more thoughts came to mind. Pretty soon my comment was several pages long (!) I think I'll do a follow up post when I get my thoughts straight. If that's possible. Thank you for raising the subject.