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Some may say that pets are just domesticated animals and that is all they are. Uh, no … read on.
Before I had a long-term partner, I used to say:
“Partners may come and go
But, my pet is always there for me.”
What is it about pets that create in us so much love, hope and delight, even though we know that they will also bring us much grief when they pass on?
Pets are creatures that we get so attached to, animals whom we love so purely, family members for whom we grieve so astoundingly with our saddest of sobs and tears. These lovely beings greet us as soon as we awake in the morning, they sometimes sleep with us at night, and they are present with us whenever and wherever we allow it. How do pets, who may be just animals, make our lives more full and fabulous?
As soon as we enter a room, we see and feel their presences, we hear their howls of joy or meows of curiosity. We sense their smiles toward us even though we sometimes wonder if they really love us, or if they just want a tiny bit more to eat. Pets often seem happy or at least comfortable being around us no matter our moods, and they keep us from feeling lonely and sad. Pets are paradoxical parts of our lives without which we might be lost. Just animals? No.
As I think back throughout my life, I am not sure I have had one pet-less year, except perhaps when I was in college but my parents still had Jill, the tiny beagle who grew up with me and stayed with my parents when I left them. I myself have owned not only cats and dogs but ducks, birds, fish (indoors and outdoors), gerbils, and a ferret, a dear, sweet soul who danced ecstatically but who also stank.
Although I have experienced only a few tragic deaths of extended family members and friends, I once grieved so loudly and forcefully for one of my dogs, a chocolate lab named Choc, that this level of grief stunned even me. I rescued him from the humane shelter and within 3 weeks, it became clear that he had a terminal disease. I cried and wept more for him than for most other pets and people combined, and I wondered why? Loss is loss and we can feel abandoned, rejected, helpless, or betrayed, triggering all sorts of feelings from past traumas.
My gray cat, Cheddar, lived with me for 17-1/2 years of my young adulthood. I imagined that he “decided” to die after I got pregnant for the first time. I believed that he didn’t want a sibling and chose to leave before such a thing happened. But, he was probably just sick. I had to make meaning out of that loss somehow so my brain made up a story about it, as brains often do.
Pets Are People Too?
We sometimes anthropomorphize our pets, meaning that we assume or project onto them many of our own human feelings and thoughts. When our carnivorous cat doesn’t eat, we may think he has a tummy ache. We may rush our dog to the vet when she seems listless (because something must be wrong, right?) although she is just tired from our long walk. We are frequently anxious about our pets.
We assume our pets love us, are so happy with us, or are sad along with us. We project anger and fear onto our pets unconsciously and involuntarily with these crackerjack brains of ours that make snap judgments as we try to explain and understand the world around us.
If the dog is barking, we decide whether he is either excited, scared, mad or lonely just like we project sometimes onto babies what their cries tell us about they want and need. Or, what we want and need.
Our pets also take care of us (or we think they do) if we are sad, distressed or lonely. I have heard so many stories about pets who sit with their sick owners, refusing to leave their sides, even when they die. Or, how pets may “diagnose” cancer in their owners before a doctor does.
Why have people put pets in pyramids and tombs with their dead bodies? Are they hoping their pets will be with them in a next life? Why all this attachment to pets? Maybe because we are closely and primitively attached to them in some visceral, emotional and perhaps spiritual ways, and we feel a strong bond, maybe making up for the looser and more complex attachments we have or have had with the humans in our lives.
But along with joy comes grief when our pets die. Pets touch us so deeply and grief from the loss of a pet feel less complicated than when we grieve people. We seem to mourn pets’ deaths more genuinely or more authentically than we do human deaths. Even though our human relationships can be loving and intimate, human relationships are multi-faceted, complicated and dynamic, full of conflict and/or comfort (and everything in between), especially with family members. We experience a full range of emotions with humans whereas with pets, we may feel more consistent love and sometimes need.
Truth be told, we may experience our pets, the care taking of our pets, and the being with our pets as so integral to our daily lives, full of routines like when we walk the dog and when we feed the cat, that an alteration in these rituals undoes us for awhile. Without our pets, we may feel lost, the day is without form or structure, or at the very least, our routines change dramatically and this takes a toll on us. We are sometimes brought to our knees when a pet dies partly because it impacts so many parts of our everyday lives.
A friend told me recently that when his cat died, he posted the news on Facebook and received over 140 comments, which he treasured. He also got lots of calls, texts and emails from family and friends. They sent him gifts commemorating his pet’s transition from this physical life to whatever comes next. And although he felt wonderfully supported by this outburst of attention, he also cried each night and morning, the times he most missed his adorable pet of 14 years. He also somehow knows that he needs to grieve this pet for awhile before he fills up his life with a new one. And, this next one may create a new adventure of love and attachment bringing him both joy and grief again one day.
Finally, as much as we realize that pets’ lives are briefer than our own, we keep choosing these little love buddies to join us as we walk through our lives, knowing that we need them perhaps more than they need us.
Cover photo: by Eddie Galaxy from Pexels
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.