SH, who drives a Ford Truck and has a “Veteran” license plate talks about his beloved dog, his opinion on Flint (From CNN: The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, was caused by cost-cutting measures leading to tainted drinking water containing lead and other toxins) and his plans after retiring in 4 months.
Heart: What’s his name?
SH: This is Cooper, he’s a Sheltie. They’re are very very social, very laid back dogs. Just lots of hair, that’s the only thing.
Heart: Oh, they shed?
SH: A lot. (Laughs)
Heart: My kids are just pestering me to get a dog.
SH: This is a great breed, great with kids. Real wonderful with them. They are great with my grandson, he loves to play with him. This guy here, Cooper, absolutely adores children.
Heart: So, is the dog yours or your grandson’s?
SH: What now?
Heart: I was asking if the dog was yours or your grandson’s?
SH: Oh, this is mine, my wife’s and mine.
Heart: Oh, he comes to play with it?
SH:Yeah, this guy is 8 and half years , going on 9.
Heart: Aww, I thought he was much older.
SH: Yeah, he’s got some issues. Hope I can keep him a while longer.
Heart: (Petting Cooper) Are you OK, Cooper?
SH: That hard thing on his nose is some sort of an autoimmune disease. He had a hard part on his nose removed and it came back. The only thing, what Shelties do, they’re herding dogs, you know for sheep, and around kids they just want to put them all together. Trying to herd the kids. (Laughs)
Heart: That’s so cute.
SH: I mean, I’ve seen him with a little 3 year old, I’ve seen him sniffing up her diaper, to get her to go where he wanted her to be with the other kids. Not biting, just nibbling her with his front teeth. (Laughs)
Heart: (Laughs) Some natural tendencies don’t go away, I guess. Where did you get him?
SH: I bought him for 850$ in South Florida. That’s a lot of money I guess. The pet stores are puppy mills, the quality you get there is awful. I’ve a 2nd Sheltie that’s much smaller, and I got it through the Georgia Sheltie rescue. And they usually have an event in October. And you can get on their website and get registered. And they’ll send you an email when any are available. And then you can go to the shelter and find something. They’ve all had their vaccinations and have a microchip in them and everything. They have all the records. Its a good deal.
Heart: So, is this a rumor or something that once you adopt a dog, and you can’t handle it, you can’t just give it up for adoption just like that. You’ll be asked too many questions?
SH: I think if you take it back to where you got it, that wont be a problem. If you get a dog that doesn’t fit into your family, and if you got it from a reputable breeder, you can take it back for 2 years. No questions asked. They don’t want the dog to have a bad home; they want it back so they can give it a proper home. And the good breeders are going to interview you. (Laughs)
Heart: Yeah, makes sense, they’re after all like children.
SH: It absolutely is. Its a family member. I had to put down a cat last week and it just killed me to do that.
Heart: I’m so sorry. Can you tell me a little about your life?
SH: Well, I’m retiring in 4 months in October. Cooper and I are going to Florida for 6 months.
Heart: No way. I’m jealous.
SH: (Laughs) We’re going to spend the winter down there.
Heart: Do you own a home there?
SH: I have a travel trailer, 36 foot travel trailer. We’re going to a RV park and we’re going to live the good life for 6 months.
Heart: Sounds pretty good to me. Tell me your lineage.
SH: I have Scottish and Irish ancestry.
Heart: So, you are retiring from your own company?
SH: No, no, I work for the Gwinnett County water department, making sure you get good drinking water.
Heart: Cool, thank you. So, what do you think about Flint?
SH: Flint. (Long pause) Everybody there is licensed and they’ve made a mistake. They all know better. Everyone of them should be fired. They all know what to do to fix the situation. You don’t have a license and not know that. The lower people, I’m sure were reporting the situation to the upper people (in the chain of command) and they in turn were most likely saying, “Don’t worry about it.”
I would’ve quit. I wouldn’t have produced a product that isn’t safe. That just isn’t something I would do. You gotta have some integrity.
Heart: Do you think poverty played a role in how they were neglected?
SH: Poverty? You mean the people who were being served? See here’s the thing. The federal government sets the standard of how the water should be, like the local municipality in our case. They say, for the water you produce, you’ve to put a chemical in it called phosphate. And what that does is coats the inside of the pipes to protect the coating. Phosphate will pass through our bodies just like any other chemical, in and out. That (phosphate) keeps the lead and copper from getting into the water and poisoning the population. That’s what its for.
If you don’t do that, then the municipality is responsible for fixing your home that has lead and copper issues. That used to be your problem. Once they didn’t do the chemical treatment, its their problem. There are maybe hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, over what they didn’t do. It’s awful. And the water quality, you can treat it almost anywhere and make it safe for drinking. I’ve been doing this for 10 years, before that, I was a sales manager. That’s the only way, I can afford to take a pay cut and do what I’m doing. Everything I own is paid for. (Laughs)
Heart: Good for you. Thanks for that, because when I heard of Flint, it blew my mind, that such a thing can happen in America. You know what I mean?
SH: Yeah, I agree, this sort of thing shouldn’t happen.
Heart: And somebody along the line, as you said earlier, said, “Eh, forget it.”
SH: Yeah, I tell you what, that’s exactly what happened. I almost think that, um, its just an opinion, the white management, who were supplying water to the lower social economic group just didn’t care. They were like, “Let’s burn ’em. Just don’t tell them what’s going on.” And that’s how they hung them to dry. And this is only an opinion.
Heart: Are there any lessons you can give me?
SH: I work very very hard to not make any decisions in my life based on Fear, Anger and Loneliness. If everything goes well with these three aspects, then I’m safe to make a decision. You know.
Note: Before you rate this episode, please consider if you would’ve been so open and authentic about your own life. Earlier episodes available at The Anonymous Manifesto.
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