Compassion fatigue is real, even when the one you’re caring for is furry.

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The past few years brought the loss of four of our animal family members. Prior to their deaths, they required long-term care, which was a new experience for my husband and me.

Smidgen, the terrier mix, came to us as a foster dog at the age of 14 and we eventually adopted her as a hospice rescue. She had heart disease which required regular vet visits and multiple medications twice a day. We (and our amazing vet) helped her pass away at the age of 16 after she experienced multiple strokes.

Gypsy the cat entered my life when she was…


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Thrift store Riedell Carreras, a wannabe derby girl’s dream find… Photo by Joyce Cain

A Tale of a Wannabe Derby Girl

Dreams to be a derby girl
Spun out of
My childhood pretendings
Tempered with a mother’s anxiety;
My teenage longing
Consumed by self-doubt;
My grown-up pining
Hindered by responsibilities
And visions of spiral fractures.

Until a thrift shop scavenge
Manifested them:
Riedell Carreras, size 8.
Ebony with garish wheels,
Nearly no scuffs.
Grasped in my hands,
They became the derby girls
From the vintage poster
I viewed long ago.

Now Saturday evenings
Are spent in a whirlwind
Of motion and lost footing.
After the crashes,
A contusion swells,
Forming into a swirl of lavender
And my favorite hue of blue.


A spell for peace and protection, for restful sleep and magical dreams

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Almost bedtime, with my lover and our furbabies/Photo by Joyce Cain/More like this here: instagram.com/joyceofthewild/

I will extinguish the lights in every room, whispering a prayer of gratitude for all the little things that make my home lovely and cozy.

I will brush my teeth and relish in their minty smoothness.

I will wash my face and breathe in the scent of lavender and rose and enjoy the coolness of the water on my skin.

I will pet all of my furbabies and invoke a spell to keep them safe and make them live forever.

I will take a moment to appeal to all the gods and goddesses to watch over my loved ones, to…


The Moon Calls to Me…

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Moonrise in Boreas Pass, Colorado/Photo by Joyce Cain/More like this: instagram.com/joyceofthewild/

The moon calls to me.

With a silvery laugh, she beckons me to come out and dance, to be clad only in her glittering beams.
And so I run through the trees, where moonlight glistens on leaves already damp with dew.

Out into the meadow, where I am bathed in radiance.
I hear the song of the stars, an ethereal sound that pervades my soul and fills me with an aching need I cannot comprehend.
And so I weep, great glistening tears which flow swiftly down my body to gather at my feet and reflect the night sky. …


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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I’ve stayed up too late.

I’ve traversed the Valley of Drowsiness,
swam through the I Might Actually Be Tired Now Lake,
climbed the Mountain of Go To Bed Already,
topped out at Seriously This is Your Last Chance Point,
and gone over the edge and down the other side
through the Forest of Well, You’re Wide Awake Now
finally arriving at Oh No, Here We Go Anxiety Land

where I shall reside for the rest of this night.

This is a magical place, filled with the Obsessive-Complusive Unicorns, the Fairies of Fossicking, the Pixies of Now You Will Think Of…


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Photo by frankie cordoba on Unsplash

It turned out my compulsive need to empty the shotgun of its shells saved a life that night. Not that I could have known beforehand. It started out like every other night.

“Hey, Zack. Wanna head over to the South Street house?” Paul blew a cloud of pot smoke as he asked me the question, the same question he asked almost every night.

I looked at the beer in my hand and shrugged. Every night was the same at the South Street house — drink too many beers, smoke too much weed, do too many lines of crank. Try to…


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Photo by Saketh Garuda on Unsplash

A lesson in being careful what you wish for

That Sunday was one of those days the phrase “cabin fever” was created for. I woke up all antsy and skin-crawly, with an almost desperate urge to get the hell out of the house. A head cold and freezing temperatures had conspired to trap me in my abode for nearly three days and I was at my breaking point. I needed out of bed, out of my bedroom, out of that house that was closing in on all sides of me and I needed out now. …


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“Two people walking in drifting snow in Ushuaia, Argentina” by Seb Creativo on Unsplash

One winter, about six years ago, we found it necessary to spend some time in a small town in Nebraska. Now, there is nothing wrong with Nebraska. Or small midwestern towns. But in our hearts, we are Coloradans. And we are more of middle-size town to small city kind of folks. The winter was long and lonely and we longed for the time when we could return to Colorado’s front range, where mountains rule the landscape and our beliefs are more aligned with those around us. During that time, I wrote this little short story, a retelling of true events…


A Tale of a Tiny Dancer

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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

She didn’t like it when the others watched her dance. She didn’t understand why she was never allowed to have the hardwood-floored, mirror-walled, brightly-lit room to herself, where she could move without the constant staring, the unsmiling faces, the slightly nodding heads, the scratching of pencils on paper. But her mother told her she needed this assessment. That the dancing wasn’t for her, it was for the others. It was for the ones who would decide if she was good enough, lithe and beautiful and clean, to perform for them. When all she wanted to do was dance.

She knew…

Joyce E Cain

Storyteller. Nature Lover. Wanderer. https://linktr.ee/cainsofthewild

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