Tag Archives: dog

Your Best Friend?


I don’t know who first suggested that a dog is a man’s best friend. I don’t have to know who it was to know that there have been many times I’ve believed it to be true. Dogs seem to have the ability to love unconditionally…something that I struggle to do. Seems that we people have too many vested interests and are much more selfish than dogs.

Still, I would be skeptical of the dog in today’s photo that I took last Saturday with my cell phone. The dog here seems to me to have an ulterior motive. Would you trust this dog to watch over  your food while you wander away?

Our male boxers were tall enough that they could see the food on the table and put their chins there and just stare at you, begging with their huge eyes. Would I have trusted them to leave my Thanksgiving turkey on the table while I went outside to put the trash in the trash bin? Uh, no.

Our present dog is a yellow lab. They are notorious eaters and the food barely hits the bottom of their dish before it is gone! The are so famous for how quickly they eat that their eating style has it’s own name: the Lab lunge.

So, I encourage you not to yield to this dog and it’s sign. On the other hand, if you want me to watch over your frozen Snickers and Dr. Pepper, I’d be happy to oblige!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1804 during the First Barbary War, U.S. Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led a military mission that famed British Admiral Horatio Nelson called the “most daring act of the age.”

In June 1801, President Thomas Jefferson ordered U.S. Navy vessels to the Mediterranean Sea in protest of continuing raids against U.S. ships by pirates from the Barbary states–Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripolitania. American sailors were often abducted along with the captured booty and ransomed back to the United States at an exorbitant price. After two years of minor confrontations, sustained action began in June 1803 when a small U.S. expeditionary force attacked Tripoli harbor in present-day Libya.

In October 1803, the U.S. frigate Philadelphia ran aground near Tripoli and was captured by Tripolitan gunboats. The Americans feared that the well-constructed warship would be both a formidable addition to the Tripolitan navy and an innovative model for building future Tripolitan frigates. Hoping to prevent the Barbary pirates from gaining this military advantage, Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led a daring expedition into Tripoli harbor to destroy the captured American vessel on February 16, 1804.

After disguising himself and his men as Maltese sailors, Decatur’s force of 74 men, which included nine U.S. Marines, sailed into Tripoli harbor on a small two-mast ship. The Americans approached the USS Philadelphia without drawing fire from the Tripoli shore guns, boarded the ship, and attacked its Tripolitan crew, capturing or killing all but two. After setting fire to the frigate, Decatur and his men escaped without the loss of a single American. The Philadelphia subsequently exploded when its gunpowder reserve was lit by the spreading fire.

Six months later, Decatur returned to Tripoli Harbor as part of a larger American offensive and emerged as a hero again during the so-called “Battle of the Gunboats,” a naval battle that saw hand-to-hand combat between the Americans and the Tripolitans.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The average adult heart beats 72 times a minute; 100,000 times a day; 3,600,000 times a year; and 2.5 billion times during a lifetime. Though weighing only 11 ounces on average, a healthy heart pumps 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels each day

‘Tis the Season to be Cool…


Aren’t we having strange weather? Sure, some will say “El Nino!” and maybe they’re right. All I know is that those who live in cold parts of the country are enjoying temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s, and those in the west are getting some much needed rain and snow. That’s OK. I don’t begrudge them a bit of moisture!

This time of year people dress up and try to look nice. Just check out the folks at a concert, or at church, or even in the mall as they do their shopping. They wear bright clothes, women wear baubles and bangles with Christmas colors, folks don Christmas sweaters and wear Santa hats. Why? Because it’s fun, and it’s cool!

But when it comes to cool, I think the dog in today’s photo has it hands down over us humans. This dog was sitting on the front seat of a horse-drawn carriage in Helen, GA, this past Saturday. My wife was in a store shopping, and I was sitting outside with my ever-present camera when I spotted this magnificent fellow. If he’s not the epitome of “coolness”, I don’t know what is!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1944, General James Doolittle of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), hero of the daring “Doolittle Raid” on mainland Japan and later the unified commander of Allied air forces in Europe in World War II, offered the following high praise to one of his staff officers in 1944: “Next to a letter from home, Captain Miller, your organization is the greatest morale builder in the European Theater of Operations.” The Captain Miller in question was the trombonist and bandleader Glenn Miller, the biggest star on the American pop-music scene in the years immediately preceding World War II and a man who set aside his brilliant career right at its peak in 1942 to serve his country as leader of the USAAF dance band. It was in that capacity that Captain Glenn Miller boarded a single-engine aircraft at an airfield outside of London on December 15, 1944—an aircraft that would go missing over the English Channel en route to France for a congratulatory performance for American troops that had recently helped to liberate Paris.

It would be difficult to overstate the magnitude of Glenn Miller’s success in the years immediately proceeding America’s entry into World War II. Though he was a relatively unspectacular instrumentalist himself—he’d played the trombone in various prominent orchestras but never distinguished himself as a performer—Miller the bandleader came to dominate the latter portion of the swing era on the strength of his disciplined arrangements and an innovation in orchestration that put the high-pitched clarinet on the melody line doubled by the saxophone section an octave below. This trademark sound helped the Glenn Miller Orchestra earn an unprecedented string of popular hits from 1939 to 1942, including the iconic versions of numbers like “In The Mood” (1939), “Tuxedo Junction” (1939) and “Chattanooga Choo Choo” (1941), as well as Miller’s self-penned signature tune, “Moonlight Serenade” (1939).

The Glenn Miller Orchestra played its last-ever concert under Miller’s direction on September 27, 1942, in Passaic, New Jersey, and shortly thereafter, Miller entered the Army. After nearly two years spent stateside broadcasting a weekly radio program called I Sustain The Wings out of New York City, Miller formed a new 50-piece USAAF dance band and departed for England in the summer of 1944, giving hundreds of performances to Allied troops over the next six months before embarking on his fateful trip to France on this day in 1944.

The wreckage of Miller’s plane was never found. His official military status remains Missing in Action.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: A “mega-tsunami” is a tsunami with extremely high waves and is usually caused by a landslide. A mega-tsunami occurred at Lituya Bay, Alaska, in 1958, creating the tallest tsunami ever recorded at 1,700 feet (534 m) high. Miraculously, only two people died.

…Let Me Go Home and Get Sober!

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Bottle of wine
Fruit of the vine
When you gonna let me get sober?
Leave me alone
Let me go home
Let me go home and start over!

So started the lyrics to the song, “Bottle of Wine”, written by Thomas Paxton and immortalized (at least in my memory) by the Kingston Trio.

I grew up in a non-drinking family, and to this day I seldom even have a glass of wine.  I may drink a glass once every month or so, but that’s about it.  So, being around those who did drink was a different kind of experience for me.

When I was in high school, my best friend’s dad liked to drink beer.  And sometimes, he put beer in the dog’s bowl and the dog would lap it right up.  It didn’t take much, of course, for the dog to become inebriated and walk crazily through the house.  At the time it seemed kinda funny, though in hindsight, it really wasn’t.  (Well, sorta…)

When I was processing some photos this weekend, I came across some pictures that we took of our dog, Lucy.  It must have been from some time ago because the “cover” that’s on her in this picture no longer resides with us.  Somehow, she’d managed to pull this cover (which was on the couch to protect it from her voluminous shedding) down over the top of her.  Just this part of her face was sticking out, and it reminded me when I saw it of what a dog with a hangover might look like and the words to that old Kingston Trio song sprang readily to mind.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (in honor of the release of San Andreas, the movie, this weekend): in 1887, reflecting a scientific spirit that was rare among frontier physicians, Tombstone doctor George Goodfellow rushed south to investigate an earthquake in Mexico. Though keenly interested in earthquakes, Goodfellow is best remembered today for being one of the nation’s leading experts on the treatment of gunshot wounds, a condition he had many opportunities to study in the wild mining town of Tombstone, Arizona.

Born in Downieville, California, in 1855, Goodfellow studied medicine at Cleveland Medical College and graduated with honors in 1876. He practiced briefly in Oakland, but then went to Prescott, Arizona, where his father was a mining engineer. After working for a time as an army contract surgeon, he relocated to Tombstone in 1880, one year before the Earps and McLaury-Clantons shot it out at the O.K. Corral. Since Tombstone was also home to dozens of other gunslingers and criminals, Goodfellow’s skills as physician, surgeon, and coroner were in steady demand.

Although he was a serious and studious physician, Goodfellow was not above indulging in a bit of gallows humor, which was well suited to a town like Tombstone. Describing the condition of one murder victim, he wrote that the corpse was “rich in lead, but too badly punctured to hold whiskey.” In his role as coroner, he deflected guilt from a vigilante lynch mob by officially ruling that the victim “came to his death from emphysema of the lungs, a disease common to high altitudes, which might have been caused by strangulation, self-inflicted or otherwise.”

Yet Goodfellow did much more than perform autopsies on murder victims and treat bullet wounds. He developed new methods of operating on the prostate gland and performed the first successful prostatectomy in history. He was among the first surgeons anywhere, much less in the remote regions of the Wild West, to use spinal anesthesia. He advocated an open-air treatment of tuberculosis that soon made the desert climate of the Southwest the home of hundreds of sanatoriums.

In a time when many self-professed doctors had little or no formal training and used treatments that often did more harm than good, Goodfellow was a dedicated scientist who believed diseases could be cured with rational methods. He made frequent trips east to remain abreast of the latest medical breakthroughs. He was also a talented linguist and an avid student of geology, rushing to the Sonora Desert on this day in 1887 to study the effects of a powerful earthquake.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: An earthquake in A.D. 1201 in the eastern Mediterranean is labeled the worst earthquake in history and claimed an estimated one million lives.

…a Dog’s Life

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Double click for a larger version…

Another saying that must be mostly American is, “It’s a dog’s life!”  And let’s face it, dogs in America have it pretty doggone good (pun intended!)  I’ve been in conferences for the past two weeks and I’ve eaten like a pig…or two.  I’d recently been going to the gym regularly and had lost 8-10 pounds.  I fear now that I’ve put a fair bit of that back on my bones.

Dogs in America eat better (and much more often) than many of the people in the world.  That has been brought home to me again this week while I’ve been in conference with my Medical Ambassadors co-workers who serve in some of the most impoverished and hunger-prone areas of the world where people literally don’t know where the next days’ food will come from…or if it will come at all.

People in those countries will work from dawn to after dark to try to feed their families and get enough water to keep flesh and spirit together.  I am old enough that I probably would never survive in those countries because I no longer have that kind of strength and physical prowess.  There’s a reason why there are not many old people in those areas of the world…they simply cannot survive.  If the diseases or war won’t kill them, inability to work hard enough to provide for one’s needs will.

Today’s photo is of our dog.  I don’t want to make light of the plight I’ve described above, but the simple truth is that she has it made.  She sleeps most of the day, eats twice a day, gets to walk around in safety and won’t be eaten.  Sort of gives new meaning to “It’s a dog’s life”, doesn’t it?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1965, in the early morning hours of a Clearwater, Florida, motel room, a bleary-eyed Keith Richards awoke, grabbed a tape recorder and laid down one of the greatest pop hooks of all time: The opening riff of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” He then promptly fell back to sleep.

“When I woke up in the morning, the tape had run out,” Richards recalled many years later. “I put it back on, and there’s this, maybe, 30 seconds of ‘Satisfaction,’ in a very drowsy sort of rendition. And then it suddenly—the guitar goes ‘CLANG,” and then there’s like 45 minutes of snoring.” It wasn’t much to go on, but he played it for Mick Jagger later that same day. “He only had the first bit, and then he had the riff,” Jagger recalls. “It sounded like a country sort of thing on acoustic guitar—it didn’t sound like rock. But he didn’t really like it, he thought it was a joke… He really didn’t think it was single material, and we all said ‘You’re off your head.’ Which he was, of course.”

With verses written by Jagger—Richards had already come up with the line “I can’t get no satisfaction”—the Stones took the song into the Chess studios in Chicago just three days later, on May 10, 1965, and completed it on May 12 after a flight to Los Angeles and an 18-hour recording session at RCA. It was there that Richards hooked up an early Gibson version of a fuzz box to his guitar and gave a riff he’d initially envisioned being played by horns its distinctive, iconic sound.

Though the Stones at the time were already midway through their third U.S. tour, their only bona fide American hits to date were “Time Is On My Side” and the recently released “The Last Time.” “Satisfaction” was the song that would catapult them to superstar status. Forty years later, when Rolling Stone magazine ranked “Satisfaction” #2 on its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” it put the following historical perspective on the riff Keith Richards discovered on this day in 1965: “That spark in the night…was the crossroads: the point at which the rickety jump and puppy love of early rock and roll became rock.”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: One in five adults admitted to urinating in swimming pools, which means 20% of adults in swimming pools have urinated in it. Red eyes associated with swimming are not caused by chlorine. They are caused by chloramine, a chemical that is created when urine combines with the chlorine already in the pool. In fact, the more strong smelling a pool is, the more contaminated it is.  (Don’t go near the water!  Sharks aren’t the only danger!)

…Raspberry Dog!


It’s a line that those of my generation grew up with: “Look!  Up in the sky!  It’s a bird!  No, it’s a plane!  No!  It’s SUPERMAN!”  How I loved that show!  Every time it was on my sister and I would gather in front of the tiny black and white screen in the little farmhouse in Iowa where we lived and we’d watch it.  I don’t think I ever missed an episode: George Reeves played the Man of Steel.  I bet you remember it, too!!!

Today’s picture is a photo I took of our third boxer, Ramses.  At the time I took this picture, we didn’t know anything was wrong with him.  Later, he’d be diagnosed with dilated cardio-myopathy that would eventually take his life, but at this point we had no clue.

This photo was taken of him as he was laying on the carpet in our house in Tracy, California.  Boxers have rather large tongues and it is not unusual to see part of it sticking out….but it always cracked me up when I’d reach out and touch it and he’d just look at me with those big brown eyes and I’d crack up!  He was my buddy…

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1991, George Jo Hennard drove his truck through a window in Luby’s Cafeteria in Kileen, Texas, and then opened fire on a lunch crowd of over 100 people, killing 23 and injuring 20 more. Hennard then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. The incident was one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history.

The rampage at the Central Texas restaurant began at approximately 12:45 p.m. and lasted about 15 minutes. Witnesses reported that the 35-year-old gunman moved methodically through the large crowd, shooting people randomly and reloading his weapon several times. Hennard, of nearby Belton, Texas, was shot several times by police before he committed suicide. No clear motive for his actions was ever determined.

In the aftermath of the Luby’s massacre, Killeen residents urged officials at Luby’s corporate headquarters to let the restaurant re-open so people wouldn’t lose their jobs. Five months after the shootings, the cafeteria was back in business and stayed open for nine more years before permanently shutting its doors in September 2000. Another outcome of the Luby’s massacre was that in 1995 the Texas legislature passed a law allowing residents with gun permits to carry concealed weapons. Suzanna Gratia Hupp, who was at Luby’s with her parents on the day of the massacre and watched as they were murdered, was instrumental in getting the law passed. Hupp had a handgun with her that day, but left it in her car to comply with the law that forbid people from carrying concealed firearms.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Christmas stockings allegedly evolved from three sisters who were too poor to afford a marriage dowry and were, therefore, doomed to a life of prostitution. They were saved, however, when the wealthy Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna (the precursor to Santa Claus) crept down their chimney and generously filled their stockings with gold coins.

…Wear Fatigues

Photo taken with Microsoft Surface 2 tablet, Oct. 12, 2014.
Photo taken with Microsoft Surface 2 tablet, Oct. 12, 2014.

Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  Gender doesn’t matter, either, nor does nationality, language, ethnicity or religion.  A hero is a hero…even when they don’t wear fatigues.

At the Airborne and Special Forces Museum in Fayetteville, NC, most of the museum is devoted to the brave men and women who have faithfully and heroically defended our country.  Outside there are several sculptures of some of the more famous ones, but off to one side is the sculpture in today’s photo.  It is a sculpture dedicated to the faithful canine heroes of the armed forces that, like so many of their human fellow-soldiers, have paid the ultimate price.

I recently read a National Geographic magazine issue that was about dogs in the military.  I highly recommend it.  They, too, deserve credit and honor!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1863, the C.S.S. Hunley, the world’s first successful combat submarine, sank during a test run, killing its inventor and seven crew members.

Horace Lawson Hunley developed the 40-foot submarine from a cylinder boiler. It was operated by a crew of eight—one person steered while the other seven turned a crank that drove the ship’s propeller. The Hunley could dive, but it required calm seas for safe operations. It was tested successfully in Alabama’s Mobile Bay in the summer of 1863, and Confederate commander General Pierre G.T. Beauregard recognized that the vessel might be useful to ram Union ships and break the blockade of Charleston Harbor. The Hunley was placed on a rail car and shipped to South Carolina.

The submarine experienced problems upon its arrival. During a test run, a crew member became tangled in part of the craft’s machinery and the craft dove with its hatch open; only two men survived the accident. The ship was raised and repaired, but it was difficult to find another crew that was willing to assume the risk of operating the submarine. Its inventor and namesake stepped forward to restore confidence in his creation. On October 15, he took the submarine into Charleston Harbor for another test. In front of a crowd of spectators, the Hunley slipped below the surface and did not reappear. Horace Hunley and his entire crew perished.

Another willing crew was assembled and the Hunley went back into the water. On February 17, 1864, the ship headed out of Charleston Harbor and approached the U.S.S. Housatanic. The Hunley stuck a torpedo into the Yankee ship and then backed away before the explosion. The Housatanic sank in shallow water, and the Hunley became the first submarine to sink a ship in battle. However, its first successful mission was also its last—the Hunley sank before it returned to Charleston, taking yet another crew down with it. The vessel was raised in 2000, and is now on exhibit in Charleston.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Zorba, an English mastiff, is the biggest dog ever recorded. He weighed 343 pounds and measured 8′ 3″ from his nose to his tail.

…he’s my puppy!!!


Today’s photo was shot at the visitors center at the Grand Canyon.  I was waiting for my wife to come back and there was a group of young people sitting outside and one guy had dog sitting on his shoulders.  The dog seemed perfectly content to stay there, and his master was perfectly content to have him there!  It was cute…and made me think of the old song about “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother!”, except in this case, “he” is man’s best friend!

Carry on!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  it was back in 1994 when Nicole Brown Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife, and her friend Ron Goldman were brutally murdered outside Nicole’s home in Brentwood, California, in what quickly became one of the most highly publicized trials of the century. With overwhelming evidence against him, including a prior record of domestic violence towards Brown, O.J. Simpson became the chief suspect.

Although he had agreed to turn himself in, Simpson escaped with a friend in his white Ford Bronco on June 17. He was carrying his passport, a disguise, and $8,750 in cash. Simpson’s car was spotted that afternoon, but he refused to surrender immediately. Threatening to kill himself, he led police in a low-speed chase through the freeways of Los Angeles as the entire nation watched on television. Eventually, Simpson gave himself up at his home in Brentwood.

The evidence against Simpson was extensive: His blood was found at the murder scene; blood, hair, and fibers from Brown and Goldman were found in Simpson’s car and at his home; one of his gloves was also found in Brown’s home, the other outside his own house; and bloody shoe prints found at the scene matched those of shoes owned by Simpson.

However, Simpson’s so-called “Dream Team” of defense lawyers claimed that Simpson had been framed by racist police officers.  After deliberating for three hours, the jury acquitted Simpson who vowed to find the “real killers,” but has yet to turn up any new leads.

In a civil trial brought about by the families of the victims, Simpson was found responsible for causing Goldman’s death and committing battery against Brown in February 1997, and was ordered to pay a total of $33.5 million, little of which he has paid.

In 2007, Simpson ran into legal problems once again when he was arrested for breaking into a Las Vegas hotel room and taking sports memorabilia, which he claimed had been stolen from him, at gunpoint. On October 3, 2008, he was found guilty of 12 charges related to the incident, including armed robbery and kidnapping, and sentenced to 33 years in prison.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Why do X’s at the end of a letter signify kisses?  Here’s why: in the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.

Frolic in the Snow


Ah, what’s a poor dog to do that’s been cooped up in the house for a long time because of the nasty Georgia weather? Well, it depends. If the weather breaks, like it did this morning, you convince “mom and dad” to take you down the hill to your favorite playground by the lake.  Perhaps, if you get lucky, you’ll see some of your playmates there and you can convince “mom and dad” to let you off the leash so you can run and frolic in the snow!

Lucy, our yellow lab, just loves the snow! She leaps, twists, jumps, sticks her nose down into the cold white stuff and never seems to get cold! One of the things that surprised me is how “yellow” she is. Normally, when she’s not in the snow, she looks very white, but when she’s surrounded by the fluffy white stuff, she looks like she needs a bath (which she probably does anyway)!

She almost looks like she’s laughing at her playmate saying, “Catch me if you can!”

ON THIS DA Y IN HISTORY: in 1633, Italian philosopher, astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome to face charges of heresy for advocating the Copernican theory, which holds that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Galileo officially faced the Roman Inquisition in April of that same year and agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. Put under house arrest indefinitely by Pope Urban VIII, Galileo spent the rest of his days at his villa in Arcetri, near Florence, before dying on January 8, 1642.

Galileo, son of a musician, was born February 15, 1564, in Pisa, Italy. He entered the University planning to study medicine, but shifted his focus to philosophy and mathematics. In 1589, he became a professor at Pisa for several years, during which time he demonstrated that the speed of a falling object is not proportional to its weight as Aristotle had believed. According to some reports, Galileo conducted his research by dropping objects of different weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. From 1592 to 1630, Galileo was a math professor at the University of Padua, where he developed a telescope that enabled him to observe lunar mountains and craters, the four largest satellites of Jupiter and the phases of Jupiter. He also discovered that the Milky Way was made up of stars. Following the publication of his research in 1610, Galileo gained acclaim and was appointed court mathematician at Florence.

His research led him to advocate of the work of Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1573). However, the Copernican theory of a sun-centered solar system conflicted with the teachings of the powerful Roman Catholic Church, which essentially ruled Italy at the time. Church teachings contended that Earth, not the sun, was at the center of the universe. In 1633, Galileo was brought before the Roman Inquisition, a judicial system established by the papacy in 1542 to regulate church doctrine. This included the banning of books that conflicted with church teachings. The Roman Inquisition had its roots in the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, the purpose of which was to seek out and prosecute heretics, considered enemies of the state.

Today, Galileo is recognized for making important contributions to the study of motion and astronomy. His work influenced later scientists such as the English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton, who developed the law of universal gravitation. In 1992, the Vatican formally acknowledged its mistake in condemning Galileo.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  A bat’s echolocation is so tuned that it can detect objects as thin as a human hair.

Two Years and a Million Tears Ago

I know that Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and laughter and wonder and awe.  And it is…it is all those things.  But today has not been a happy day for me.  I am feeling rather down today.  Why?  Because it will have been two years ago tomorrow that my beloved boxer, Casper, died.

730 days ago today (Thursday), I got up in the morning and knew Casper needed to see the vet.  He’d started struggling to breathe a few days before, though in hindsight, it was clear that he’d been having symptoms for a while.  So, on 12/19, I loaded him in the car and drove him to see the vet.

She was a wonderful, compassionate young woman who watched with great interest the video I’d made of his breathing on my cell phone.  I could see a immediate look of concern on her face and she said she wanted to do a more thorough exam and took him to the back room.  She soon came out and said that it appeared that he had air in his chest that was making it hard for his lungs to inflate.  Such a thing could be caused, she said, by a recent injury, an infection, or cancer.  So, she started running tests, calling for consults, and decided that they had to remove some of the air from inside his chest to help his breathing.  I started to hear him howling as they inserted the needles to let the air out of his chest cavity.  It was horrible.  I had to walk out the front of the vet’s office, but I could still hear him.

After draining the area around one lung, she came and told me they were taking a break, but that they needed to do the other side, too.  The howling soon began all over – and every howl tore my heart out.

After the procedure he was much better and I took him home.  He sure seemed happy to be leaving with me!

That night, however, he started to struggle again.  The vet called in the morning with the test results: no infection.  There had been no recent injury.  The only possible explanation left was cancer.  I asked her what she would do if it were her own dog, and she said the words that crushed me: “I would let him out of his misery.”  I told her I would bring him right back over, so with tears streaking my face and falling all over my shirt, I loaded my precious friend into the back seat of the car, talking to him all the way, telling him how much I loved him and how much he meant to me.  I could barely see to drive through the tears.

I can’t tell you the rest because it is far too painful.  But within the hour, Casper was at peace.  It is something that we do for the pets we love when the time comes.  It just always comes too soon.

So, my friend, Casper, this one is for you. I miss you, buddy. I will love you always!!!!!!  This picture was taken of Casper about 7 months before he died.

Casper051711ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1971, the Apollo lunar-landing program, arguably the greatest scientific achievement and feat of exploration in human history, ended when the last three astronauts to travel to the moon splash down safely in the Pacific Ocean. Apollo 17 had lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, 10 days before.

In July 1969, after three years of preparation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) accomplished President John F. Kennedy’s goal of putting a man on the moon and safely returning him to Earth with Apollo 11. From 1969 to 1972, there were six successful lunar landing missions, and one aborted mission, Apollo 13. During the Apollo 17 mission, astronauts Eugene A. Cernan and Harrison H. Schmitt stayed for a record 75 hours on the surface of the moon, conducting three separate surface excursions in the Lunar Rover vehicle and collecting 243 pounds of rock and soil samples.

Although Apollo 17 was the last lunar landing, the last official Apollo mission was conducted in July 1975, when an Apollo spacecraft successfully rendezvoused and docked with the Soviet Soyuz 19 spacecraft in orbit around the Earth. It was fitting that the Apollo program, which first visited the moon under the banner of “We came in peace for all mankind,” should end on a note of peace and international cooperation.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Cats purr at 26 cycles per second, the same as an idling diesel engine.


One of Those Days?

I’ve had them.  I know you have, too.  We all have.  The question is  how many of “those days” have we had?  If you’re like me, you could probably retire if you had a nickel for each of those kinds of days in your life, right?

Actually, I can’t complain.  My life has been extraordinarily blessed.  I’m tremendously fortunate.  I’m not rich, but compared to so many in this world, I’m far, far from poor.  Still, some days are, well, just lousy!

At the car show in Livermore, CA, we were walking along enjoying the beautiful cars that were on display when we came across this scene that is today’s featured picture.  Along one side of this car was a ceramic or plaster pooch that was helping himself to one of the tires.  Do your lousy days make you feel like the tire in this picture?

Well, today is Thursday.  Tomorrow is Friday….so cheer up!  For most of you, the week is almost over, the weekend right around the corner.  Make tomorrow a good day!  Don’t let any dogs get near your leg….!!!!

_MG_6568From THIS DAY IN HISTORY: On this day in 1901, a 63-year-old schoolteacher named Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to take the plunge over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

After her husband died in the Civil War, the New York-born Taylor moved all over the U. S. before settling in Bay City, Michigan, around 1898. In July 1901, while reading an article about the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, she learned of the growing popularity of two enormous waterfalls located on the border of upstate New York and Canada. Strapped for cash and seeking fame, Taylor came up with the perfect attention-getting stunt: she would go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Taylor was not the first person to attempt the plunge over the famous falls. In October 1829, Sam Patch, known as the Yankee Leaper, survived jumping down the 175-foot Horseshoe Falls of the Niagara River, on the Canadian side of the border. More than 70 years later, Taylor chose to take the ride on her birthday, October 24. (She claimed she was in her 40s, but genealogical records later showed she was 63.) With the help of two assistants, Taylor strapped herself into a leather harness inside an old wooden pickle barrel five feet high and three feet in diameter. With cushions lining the barrel to break her fall, Taylor was towed by a small boat into the middle of the fast-flowing Niagara River and cut loose.

Knocked violently from side to side by the rapids and then propelled over the edge of Horseshoe Falls, Taylor reached the shore alive, if a bit battered, around 20 minutes after her journey began. After a brief flurry of photo-ops and speaking engagements, Taylor’s fame cooled, and she was unable to make the fortune for which she had hoped. She did, however, inspire a number of copy-cat daredevils. Between 1901 and 1995, 15 people went over the falls; 10 of them survived. Among those who died were Jesse Sharp, who took the plunge in a kayak in 1990, and Robert Overcracker, who used a jet ski in 1995. No matter the method, going over Niagara Falls is illegal, and survivors face charges and stiff fines on either side of the border.  (Galen: some folks are just plain nuts!!!!  And those who went over the falls and died or were injured, were just more examples of people having “really bad days”!

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Television’s Mr. Ed was played by a horse named Bamboo Harvester. The voice was supplied by Allan Lane.