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Monday morning, the first morning of a two week Christmas break from work, I feel a tickle in my throat and by Monday night I am at 103 degrees and my body feels hot and cold at the same time and my feet and hands feel like they're soaking in a bucket of ice water. My joints hurt, my scalp hurts, the insides of my ears hurt, my eyeballs hurt, my lungs hurt, my throat hurts. I am a human mucous fountain. I cough until I puke. I sneeze until my nose bleeds. I spend the next four days in bed on a steady diet of Advil, water and Food Network programming.

The last time I was this sick was never.

Rocky lies on the floor beside my bed in his bed pretty much the whole time except for meals twice a day and short walks outside. He's happy that his humans are at home and he's content to sleep the whole time away - not just content but happy. Even with his lymphoma, his bad heart, his arthritic knees, he's never looked happier. I want to ask him what drugs he's on.

Old dogs fit into one's life like a pair of old jeans fit around one's legs. Our lives are so blurred together that sometimes I barely notice him but when I think about it, there is a comfort there, a warmth knowing that he is snoring at my feet or his muzzle is against my lap. It's a melancholic feeling as well because Stella is not there beside him. The sadness catches me off guard. I wish she'd had a chance to grow old, to experience a few more years.

It's strange how something as significant as another living creature can suddenly vanish. Alive one moment and gone the next; Stella is too far away now to touch. Where does a life go? I don't believe in heaven but if by some fortunate cosmic turn of events, I find Stella waiting for me on the other side of life, I would certainly welcome that. It's Christmas time and I miss her.

In my high temperature daze, I go in and out of sleep and I dream but the dreams aren't satisfying. I'm not falling into a deep enough sleep so the dreams are only half formed visions, nothing to hang onto. Still, over the course of several days, the sleep starts to cure me of my illness and I end the year with barely a sniffle and a persistent but thankfully infrequent cough. I'm in no mood for celebrations, though. I will spend the eve at home with videos and a big bowl of popcorn and Rocky and Smitten and Elizabeth.

2010 has been a long year and I am tired.

Here's to 2011.

4 Comments to “Goodbye 2010”

  1. Ian says:

    Here`s to a better year.
    I do believe in Heaven and I believe the ones that have gone before will be there to greet us whether they be human souls or dog souls.
    Love Rocky`s outfit.
    Smitten looks absolutely adorable.
    Reminds me of that old Disney movie with Kurt Russell.
    Think it was called the Shaggy Dog.

  2. Fred says:

    Doesn't Rocky look like an old hoser?

  3. Biscuit says:

    I think he gives that outfit a certain dignity. A hoser, yes, but a noble one.

    And Smitten looks like she's crowing with joy.

    All the best to all of you!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Old dogs and their lives blurred together with our own. So sad and so wonderful.

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.