Saturday, February 24, 2007


I got some really kind thoughts and responses with regard to Daisy. Thank you very much. Your kindness meant the world to me and my family. Honestly, I felt kind of silly about being so busted up about my dog, but people really get it. I think perhaps it's a universal feeling for just about anyone who has had and lost a pet. They really are like family.

Ironically, my friend Beth put her dog TAZ down on the very next day. We had often talked about getting our hounds together, but were never able to pull it off. It was one of the things I thought about when Daisy passed. Now I see them playing together, chasing parked cars, turning over trash cans and blaming it on cats.

Here are a couple of things that touched me. The first is a VIDEO that I thought was a little corny at first, but really spoke to me as I watched it. The second is Message from Valhalla, a poem written from the perspective of a dog who's finally made it to the other side.

Message From Valhalla
by Jane S. Morris

You were with me to the very end and even after I had "gone" you held me, and as my soul left my body and I looked down and saw you crying, I wanted so much to tell you that I understood.

You did this for me.

I tried to tell you in my own way that it was time for me to leave, and I thank you for understanding.

No other will take my place, but those I left behind will need your love and affection as I have had.

You still think of me, and there are times you try to hide your tear-filled eyes but please be happy and think not of sadness, but of how I made you happy and made you laugh at the funny and smart things I did.

There are no fences in Valhalla, for no one has the desire to "dig out".

There are no thunderstorms in Valhalla, therefore fear is never present.

There are no fights in Valhalla. Everyone is congenial.

There is no hunger.

There is no thirst.

There is much to explore.

Many of us who are older take care of the little ones and guide them. It's fun watching them run with their ears flopping and their curly tails wagging.

We have four seasons in Valhalla, and most of us agree, winter is our favorite.

So you see, my loved one, I am very happy. When it comes time for my friends to leave, I will meet them at the gates of Valhalla, and I will acquaint them with this beautiful and serene place, and I will take care of them for you.

Thank you for loving me, caring for me, and having the courage to let me go with dignity.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Daisy Dog

We had to put Daisy down last night. She has been on a pretty much steady decline since Thanksgiving. We found out she has Cushing's Disease, and put her on medication, but she just wasn't getting better. I called the vet yesterday and left a message. He called my wife back and spoke to her. Mrs. Fish explained that daisy was still wandering around in circles, leaving surprises in the house, and was disoriented almost all the time. The vet suspected that the tumor that causes the Cushing's probably ramped up, rather than being destroyed by the medication.

Mrs. Fish called me and explained the situation, and asked me to call the vet and set a time. It's a little weird to be setting an appointment to put your dog down.
"Hi, this is Fish, I'm Daisy's owner."
The girl on the other end says, in a cheery voice, "Hi, how can we help you today."
I need to make an appointment for Daisy." I was hoping she knew who Daisy was, so I didn't have to say it. She didn't, so I did. "I need to make an appointment for her euthanize her," I said, choking up.
To her credit, she immediately recognized the situation and was wonderful, which makes all the difference in this kind of situation. We set it at 6.10, because they like to do it at the end of the day, after everyone else is out of the office.
"I understand. We'll be there. Thank you."

I got home, took a quick shower, and got dressed. Again, there are a thousand weird thoughts that go through your head. What do you wear to put your dog down? I chose a black sweater and jeans, I think more because they were on top than because they were apropos of anything. Then Daisy, Mrs. Fish, Little Fish and I drove to the vet. It's not far, but there are a lot of lights, which I seemed to catch mostly green. Couldn't they be red, to give us a little more time? Maybe it's better that we're being whisked along.

My daughter and wife were both crying intermittently. I think it was hardest on my them, because Daisy was their dog, especially Mrs. Fish--she just preferred being one of the girls. And then we were there. We walked in and sat down, waited for a minute or two until the girl at the desk came out and asked our names. "This is Daisy," I said and her compassion came out again.
"We'll bring you back in a couple of minutes," she replied, her humanity mercifully intact.

"Daisy." They called her like she was going in to get her teeth checked. My wife stood up, and I told Little Fish it was time to say goodbye. She got down on her knees and hugged her doggy for the last time, then I did too, and then Mrs. Fish took her back. My wife wanted to be with her, but my daughter knew it would be too much for her, so we stayed out in the lobby and comforted each other. After a while, she felt a little better, and then she Heely'd around the office (we were the only ones there and they had a smooth floor). It was nice to see her as a kid, the first time since I got home. Then we sat down and waited a little more.

"How long does this take?"
"I don't know, Little Fish. Sometimes they have to help other animals first, so you never know."
Then she just snuggled into my shoulder.
My wife walked out of the door into the waiting area, with the empty leash in her hand, and just started crying, which got all of us going again. We just stood there, holding each other for a while, and then it was time to go.

We walked out into the bitter cold night, and it hit me again that Daisy was not going to be there when we got home. But when was the last time she WAS there when you got home? I mean, REALLY there. I conceded in my mind that it had been a very long time.

We drove to Isaac's Deli and had a good meal. We talked briefly about Daisy, that she was a good dog, who gave us a lot of great memories. I explained to Little Fish that this was part of her heritage. "When someone dies, the people who knew him or her all go out for a meal, and they throw a party to remember all of the good things about him. Other people do it, but no one does it like the Irish."
"Does that mean they drink a lot of beer?" asked Little Fish.
"Yes, that's often true, too."

We ate our meal, and talked about lots of things, things that were not Daisy, and managed to laugh a little. She was a great dog, who led a good life with the Fishes, and she's in a better place. We did the right thing, and that makes a huge difference.

Toward the end of the meal, we were more or less ourselves, and Little Fish turned to me, very earnestly. I wish I could remmber exactly what she said, but it was something like "Daddy, this was a hard thing, and it made me very sad. Thanks for being you. You made it better." It warmed my heart, all the way to my soul.

When we got home, Mrs. Fish and Little Fish went upstairs, while I packed up Daisy's things and put them out. I wept.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Blind Side

Michael Lewis has written another fantastic book, this time about the evolution of the left tackle position in football...and, as he does, a whole lot more than that. The left tackle position has grown as the need to protect the quarterback from his "blind side" has. NFL defenses stack the most fearsome destroyers of quarterbacks against the left side, knowing that right handed quarterbacks looking downfield have a blind side. The defense is arranged with the understanding that hits will be unseen until it is too late, and the damage done will be particularly devastating (witness the career-ending hit the original LT put on Joe Theisman...if you saw it, you probably still wince, just thinking about it). I read Moneyball last year and learned a lot about baseball and how teams are run, and how a small market team like the Oakland A's can compete with the Yankees and Red Sox. More than just a sports story, The Blind Side tells what happens when people take an active interest in a young man, and afford him an environment where he can be successful and reach his potential.

The story follows Michael Oher, a young teenager with all of the physical tools to be one of the greatest left tackles professional football has ever seen. Only, he doesn't know it. The problem is that he lacks even the most rudimantary of social skills or education, owing to his existence on the streets of the Memphis ghetto. The Tuohy's, a wealthy Christian, white family take Michael in, eventually adopting him, and help him grow as a player, student, and most impressively, as a man. The book offers insight into the manic world of Southern Football, strategies of the game, and most amazingly, what happens when very different worlds collide...or, perhaps merge is a better word.
Read this book.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


If you're like me (perish the thought--the psyche bills alone are burdensome at best, crushing at worst) you despise those motivational posters. You know the ones.

Now, there's a place for me, and people like me.

For over two decades, the multi-billion dollar motivation industry has unleashed untold suffering upon the workplaces, schools and civil institutions of the world- in the insidious form of the motivational poster. By the millions they have been sold and displayed- these dark instruments of corporate propaganda. While promising to stimulate "Hope", "Success" and "Teamwork", instead these tools of coercion and intimidation have inspired only grief, anger and nausea.

In 1998, one company dared to fight back, as Despair, Inc. introduced Demotivator,
satirical products reverse-engineered from the most powerful motivational posters ever inflicted upon mankind. And now, with the Parody Motivator Generator, we place those very same tools in YOUR less-capable hands.

You can turn the motivational world on it's head with THIS SITE. Now, you can create your own Fake Motivational Posters, unleashing your creativity and general spoofiness. Create your own and redesign your cube or office...

All UR Catz R Belong to US

If you're not a cat person (LT. DAN!!!) you can just skip this thread....

One of the funniest things I have seen in a long time is THIS SITE, which has funny cats, doing funny cat things, with poorly grammarized (which increases the funny factor) sayings. To wit:

I Wanna Get Physical

Some of you have been following my Physical Therapy for the bike crash. Last week, I got a compliment from the PT on my form for the lunges I have been doing. One of the things I have learned from Lou, Bill, Alwyn, etc. id the importance of form. Most people wouldn't recognize proper form if it hit them in the face (I Love when he punches the bag...the PASSION!), so it's kind of cool when you go in and someone who should recognize decent form, does.

I have to say, I am really feeling better. My lower back doesn't hurt nearly as much, nearly as often. The thigh injury is pretty much still there all time, but the intensity is much less.

It's been too cold to run. Getting up early or runing at night in this kind of cold appeals to me not at all. Still, the rumor is that it might get up to 38 degres today, so I may go for a run...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Scary...but not really SCARY

I was watching the Super Bowl and came to a startling conclusion. I had eaten more than usual (not a LOT more...just more. It's the Super Bowl! You did the same thing!) and decided to wash it down with a brewskie. I drank a Molson, then considered a second. That's when it dawned on me (cue the Anthony Perkins music): I really don't like beer.

I know! Weird! Scary (I told you)! I felt kind of gross, didn't enjoy the taste, and just generally felt bloated. From a beer. That I drank but didn't really like drinking. When faced with a second one, I just switched to water.