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Tears Almost

Monday 02/05/2007 2:02 AM

Last Wednesday I was driving on North Monroe Street, taking The Boys to The Lake Bottom, when I passed the North Florida Animal Hospital.

Today's image will give you good idea of what I saw, what choked me up.

As he started getting older, many months before we got his diagnosis of congestive heart failure, we started noticing The Red Dog's struggles to get and down from time to time. How he would stand precariously. During the last year of his life, it wasn't unusual to hear him bark an order to me from another part of the house, a request for assistance he figured out how to bellow all on his own. I'd usually find him half-up, straining to not lose any of the ground for which he'd struggled for countless minutes before he called for reinforcements. Almost always on smooth floors, the hardwood in the living room, the linoleum in the kitchen, or the tile in the bathroom.

I'd wrap my arms under him, one under his ribcage, one under his belly. Once I knew I had him, I'd gently pull him up, toward me. He'd right himself with a subtle snrug of "Thanks" and then get on about his day.

He still loved to go for rides and get out to romp around a field or two. But he was more careful then before. Plus, with his eyes starting to fail, he had all the more reason to say closer, playing it safe.

Dr. Guhrt recommended water, swimming for The Old Man, but with us without a pool, good places for water therapy were hard to come by. Dogs are frowned upon at public pools and with any river, lake or pond, you need a spotter for gators. Scary stuff.

We used a friend's pool a couple of times, but we had trouble with hair in the filter. Snuck into a few small, local ponds in the city, but we eventually got ran off by security.

How I longed for a place where Chauncey could get some aquatic recreational activity.

All of that came flooding back in the car Wednesday night when I saw the sign:


I called around noon on Thursday to do just that.

More tomorrow.

Birthdays, Birthdays, Birthdays.

Are you familiar with The Birthday Problem? It states that in a group of 23 people, there is a 50% chance that two of them are born on the same day. In one of my 8 person classes at FSU, there was someone who had the same birthday as me and we later became best friends (hi, John!). When I was a student at FSU, we did this experiment in my statistics class and my birthday was the one with the most hits: there were three of us born on May 25th. Well, a few years ago I discovered my two current best chums, Lou and Richard have the same birthday, and it was yesterday! Happy Birthday, Guys!

Today, is the birthday of the great H.R. Giger. I'll talk about him some other time, but he's the guy who created the Alien creature. Some time in my life I want to own an original work by Giger. If any of you are richer and kinder than I know you to be, I'd be eternally grateful if you would buy this Giger sculpture for me.

File Under: Birthday; Chauncey; Cross, Louis III; Guhrt, Otfried DVM; Health, Dogs; Lake Bottom, The; North Florida Animal Hospital; O'Leary, Richard; Sheriff
Music: Nine Horses "Money for All"

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