Tag Archives: dogs

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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brrrrr….

It doesn’t snow often in Southern Utah, and when it does it’s usually a dusting. On Saturday we got nailed with an arctic storm that dumped a lot of white fluffy flakes. It pretty much shut down the city since there are no snow plows or salt trucks to keep the roads clear. It caused a lot of hassles, but on Sunday the day was sunny and clear, and the snow was really amazing!

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peach champagne and stogies

The latter part of December was a killer for me. With a ton of work travel and a whirlwind trip to LA for Christmas (barely 36 hours on the ground), I was really looking forward to the annual Happy Fish New Year’s trip.

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We headed up in two groups on Saturday. Lisa, Cheryl and Jer left early to do the shopping, while Jeanne, Col and I got a later start. We were the official dog carrier with Lucy, Ricky and Bailey riding with us. Fortunately the weather was clear and the drive was nice and easy.

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Lisa and Jeanne had been at the cabin for Christmas when there was a bit of snow, but not a lot. A storm blew through in the middle of the week, so there was a little more snow for New Year’s, although not as much as two years ago when we had to snowshoe in with all our supplies. We were able to get the trucks all the way in to the cabin, but people staying further up the road needed snowmobiles to make it in.

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Our schedule was a little different this year. Instead of arriving late at night, we got to Happy Fish late in the afternoon and still had plenty of daylight to get settled, make dinner and enjoy the evening. With two full days before New Year’s Eve, we paced ourselves pretty well. Sunday morning was clear and cold, so Jer, Lisa, Col and I bundled up and made the trek up the road to a good sledding spot. We packed a backpack of cold beer for fuel and hauled the sleds and tubes to a great spot we’ve used previously. It took a while to groom a good track, including building up some edges to prevent the sleds from shooting off into some rocks and trees, but in the end we had a great track that made for some good runs. The altitude was definitely a factor with all that activity, so we took plenty of beer breaks.

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Monday we lounged around most of the day before setting up for the evening, including our balloon drop. We had a great fajita dinner and played lots of drinking games to get ready for the main event. No NYE would be complete without the annual dollar store gift exchange complete with best wrapping prize.

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We celebrated the countdown with champagne and lots of kisses, then broke out all our glow sticks and bracelets for our own version of a disco. We capped the night off with some cigars and a wee morning romp in the snow covered meadow (Jeanne made a snow angel…and it was barely above 10 degrees!).

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It was tough leaving on New Year’s day, but we packed up and made the drive back to St. George. Col and I had dog transport duty, and also had to drive up to Scipio to pick up Sydney who had spent the holiday with Col’s parents. It was a long day of driving, but well worth the fun.

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I treasure my New Year’s trips to Happy Fish. It’s always a great way to say farewell to the outgoing year of good times and welcome a new one that will hopefully be as jam packed with adventures. Thanks, Happy Fish for all the good times!

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Here is the complete photoset from this trip: New Year’s 2013 – Happy Fish

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.