Category Archives: pups

end of an era

It’s taken me a few days to be able to sit down and write this post. This week I had to do one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Say goodbye to my best friend of more than 16 years.

Sydney came into my life through a comedy of errors that included talking a co-worker into being a translator, a drive late at night into one of the worst neighborhoods of East LA and negotiating the sale with a 12 year old girl with special needs who only spoke English as a second language. It was under those auspicious circumstances that a handful of fur and wrinkles sporting a wet nose became my sidekick through thick and thin.

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I joke that Sydney is my longest lasting relationship, but the truth is…she was. She moved with me from one coast to another several times, living in So Cal, Cleveland, NYC, Connecticut, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Southern Utah. She knew what it meant when the moving boxes came out, and took it all in stride. She definitely saw me at my highs and my lows, but through both extremes never judged me. It was probably because her only focus in life was food, but I like to think it was unconditional love.

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Anyone who ever met Sydney has a story. Don’t get my dad started because you’ll get a recounting of the time she jumped from the back of the couch to the table to devour $80 worth of Berolina’s Bakery Christmas cookies, or he’ll go on about how she loved to eat entire bars of Ivory soap out of the shower whenever we were visiting. She earned the nickname “Sydmonster” from my then three year old niece, and for good reason.

Despite my explicit and repeated warnings never to leave anything accessible to her, anyone who ever babysat for Sydney has a story of how they didn’t think she could “jump/shimmy/unzip/unlock/decode” the “purse/bag/high school locker combo/suitcase/kitchen counter” to get into whatever they were trying to keep her away from. But she could. That list included bubble gum, entire loaves of bread, Subway sandwiches, Axe Body Spray, Ambien and many other items that if consumed should have killed her. But they didn’t. The dog had a stomach of steel. And more than nine lives. She was also a connoseuir of cheap beer. She only liked Bud Light, and if you put anything else in her bowl (especially Coors), she would snub it. Clearly she was my dog.

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In the end, I joked that Sydney was my little Evita. Her mind and spirit were as strong as the day she came into my life. She liked nothing better than to carry around a ball or a chew toy and have you try to get it from her. She jockeyed for position with the other two girls to always be in the thick of things, even as they knocked her down and ran over her. Her little body just couldn’t keep going, and it was finally time to say goodbye. After an afternoon cheeseburger and fries from In-N-Out, she left this world in what I believe was her ideal state…fat and happy.

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I said goodbye to my best friend this week. Five months shy of her 17th birthday. It’s a struggle to imagine life without her, and I have a hard time remembering life before her. She’s been a constant to me, and the emptiness in the house is glaring. I know it will get better with time, but I also know there will always be an empty spot where I expect her to be snoring away while she waits for her next meal…or opportunity to steal a meal.

Thanks, Syd, for all the memories and good times. I love you more than my luggage, and you’ll always have a place in my heart.

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old dogs, same tricks

There are some changes going on in my world right now, the most major of which is a relocation. In preparation, my office has been packed up. My new temporary office is the kitchen table. Apparently this is a significant disruption for Sydney and Bailey.

After all, what happens at the kitchen table? Eating, of course. And, when eating is happening food usually finds its way to the floor to be gobbled up by waiting pups. So, my sitting at the table all day has resulted in a nearly constant vigil by my side. Waiting for food that does not exist. No matter how much I tell them there’s no food they just don’t believe me. So…they stand guard. And stare.

It’s starting to creep me out.

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Since day one Bailey has been hard to win over. It took several months before she would let me pet her for more than five seconds. During the first six months I had her the mere act of putting on a leash elicited looks like I was about to bash her over the head with something heavy.

As I mentioned in her birthday post, she’s come a long way over the last three years. But, the other night I had what I would consider a breakthrough with her. I was messing around and started speaking to the dog in Spanish. And, quite to my surprise, she reacted. She became animated and excited, running around the room and wagging her tail. I told her she was a “bueno perro,” and she nudged my hand.

Epiphany! Bailey is  Mexican. It’s clear. Over the last couple days I’ve been praising her in Spanish and she definitely responds to it.

Now, I live with three! And, I’m still more Mexican than any of them.

happy “birthday,” bailey

It was three years ago yesterday I brought Bailey home from the Salt Lake County animal shelter. She was scheduled for destruction the next morning, and a nice animal officer agreed to stay late and do the paperwork so I could bring her home.

I’ll never forget the ride home. My car looked like it had been attacked by a rabid badger or something. Claw marks on the leather, saliva covering every window and a layer of hair from the dash to the rear window. It was clear…Bailey did not like cars.

Three years later and it’s a different dog in my house. Every morning she comes into my office and stares at me until I grab my keys and coffee cup. I open the door and she runs downstairs to the car and waits for me to let her in. Her favorite thing now is to go for a ride in the car. Well, I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that the folks at Java Jo’s give her a treat each time.

happy birthday

Sydney is 13 today. I’ve had her since she was seven weeks old. We’ve been through a lot together. She still acts like a puppy in most ways. Definitely not one to be underestimated, she’ll probably be around for many more years. Happy Birthday, Sydmonster!