Four Long Weeks

JayJay The Con ArtistOh what I would give to see That Look just one more time! This was the look I would see when he was tired of waiting for me. Most of the time I would see it when he was ready to go home and I was still working. Somehow he managed to look a little bit disgusted, while still being patient with the old man. I could never resist him and we would leave in short order.

In some ways, 4 weeks is a long time and in other ways very short. His presence is still so real, I see him every day in his usual places. Hopefully, that will dissipate with time. His death has shot a hole in my soul the size of a bazooka. Nothing seems to make a lot of difference. I don’t even get mad any more, forget about laughing.

Looking for a new dog to try and fill some of the vacuousness of the house and shop has been total futility. I’m not sure how much it would help anyway.

As I was telling someone this week, the pain is expected and worth the 12 wonderful years he gave me. I’m getting tired of this totally hollow feeling. Time will tell.

That’s enough feeling sorry for myself now……

My best friend is gone

JayJayPuppy.pngI woke up yesterday morning with a sense of dread which I don’t recall ever experiencing. For about a year and a half we have been battling renal failure with JayJay. He had been doing quite well, sometimes to the point we felt like maybe we were going to defeat this insidious disease. Kidney failure, however, doesn’t work that way. At best, you can hope to delay the inevitable and we did so very successfully for a while. A few weeks ago he began to exhibit signs of a serious decline. Over the last few days he had lost all interest in food and now he wouldn’t even take his water. I knew that his time was very short and this would probably be his last day. As we had thousands of times, we took a long morning walk, except this time I had to carry him as he just didn’t have the strength to go more than a few yards. He was always comfortable in my arms and I know he enjoyed his last trip through the neighborhood. We had over a year with JayJay after the diagnosis, which many owners of dogs with this disease never have. For that I am grateful.

It was 10 years ago last December when Carol and I decided to get a dog. It was a gift from my mother. We each had friends that suggested a Cairn. Frankly, neither one of us had ever heard of that breed, but it was small and didn’t shed a lot. We found a breeder south of Chicago and went in and saw four or five of the plainest looking puppies you could possibly imagine. One little guy actually walked over to us and he was the one that would change our lives forever. I remember Carol saying, “but he’s not cute”. She was right! Little did we know what a handsome animal he would become. This first picture is one of my favorites as he began to morph from that plain brown puppy to the beautiful animal he ultimately became. What a cute little fur ball he was.
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Could anyone resist that face?

I own a computer repair store and JayJay has greeted my customers, literally, since the day we opened. Not even the most hardened and irritated customer could ever resist petting him. Even the most skittish child quickly warmed up to him. It was fun to watch and I can’t imagine any dog giving more people more smiles than this little guy did in a life that was much, much too short.

I can’t tell you how many times I would get a call and people were trying to remember which store they had been to and they all asked me if I was the one with the cute little dog. I always proudly said yes that’s us. I can’t say I was particularly thrilled being known as the old computer guy with the cute dog, but at least they remembered us. It was amazing how many times people walked in, totally frustrated with a computer problem and they would ask about JayJay before we talked computers. Everyone loved him and he always returned their love.

Like all terriers, he was as stubborn as a mule, but to those of us that love the breed it is this independence that makes them so endearing. Others just don’t understand. I remember my youngest son saying he didn’t think JayJay understood anything I said. As I told him, he understands every word he’s ignoring.

JayJayWaitingI don’t remember exactly when this next picture was made, but it’s a view I frequently had as JayJay had seen something and he was anxiously anticipating the next visitor. (Look at those ears!) Maybe it was the UPS driver, the mailman, one of his friends in the neighborhood or a customer for the shop. Whoever it was, they were about to receive a greeting that they would never get anywhere else.

To those that are familiar with terriers, I’m sure they are surprised to see JayJay sitting at a door like that. Most dogs would be running out as soon as someone tried to come in. Not JayJay, he knew he had a good gig here and was more than willing to let people come to him. He seemed to have so few of the traits that can make this breed so very difficult to manage at times.

Can you tell that I thought he was very special! He was and I sure do miss him!

He was kind of a celebrity here in the business complex and people got used to seeing me walk him nearly every day. If I would have let him, he would have stopped to visit everyone and I never would have gotten any work done. He loved his treats and knew where to go to get them. I’m not the only one that will miss this little guy. He had a lot of friends.

JayJayInLeavesIn some ways this next picture is a little sad, but it is so JayJay. He hated all the things that went along with being sick. I gave him IVs three times a week since the dreaded diagnosis. As soon as we walked in the door to the house after work he would try to make himself as invisible as possible so he wouldn’t have to get the treatment. As smart as he was, he didn’t understand the calendar and on those nights that he wasn’t to get a treatment it took a little while to convince him to come join us. Sometimes he would go out and sit in the yard hoping, I guess, that we would forget. Amazingly, I could call him and telling him it was time for his treatment and he would slowly walk in the house and sit quietly on my lap while I put the needle in and gave him the treatment. After we would finish, I would tell him we were done and he would jump off my lap, walk to the end of the couch and wag his tail as if to say that’s okay, Dad, I understand you have to do that. On some level, I know he did.

I had to give him Aluminum Hydroxide as a phosphorus binder. He also hated that. We went through the same dance nearly every day. I would tell him it was time for his medicine and he would come, but he was not going to make it easy! I would gradually get his mouth open enough to get the syringe in and give him the medicine. Inevitably, not all of it would make it and he would do the cairn shake and get the stuff all over me and the office. I can’t bring myself to clean it all up.

We went to the shop yesterday morning, as we did most every day. As I had done recently, I set him down close to the door and let him walk in. It was a beautiful day here and there was a breeze blowing and, as he frequently did, he put his nose up in the air to smell the world. You could always tell it excited him and even in his very weakened condition he stood there for a few seconds and enjoyed it as he had so often. It was a wonderful memory that he gave me, shortly before we had to take him to the Rainbow Bridge. I just know everyone will love him on the other side of the bridge as much as they did on this side. Whether dogs or people, they all seemed to love JayJay.

I have many stories about JayJay, that will make me smile in the coming years. That’s what he was about. Two small incidents stand out right now. I recall taking him to his vet for his initial checkup and after examining him, Dr. Martens said “this little fella hasn’t got a mean bone in his body“. She’ll never give a more accurate diagnosis! The other incident was a brief remark from one of my customers that I never expected – “he’s got a good soul“. There was just something about JayJay and you could nearly feel it.

God did some of his best work when he created the Cairn.

I don’t look forward to starting next week without him, but in time the hurt will be overtaken by the remembrances of the joy he brought to me and so many others over the years.

Till we meet again, Little Buddy – Till we meet again……….

I’ll always love you – Dad

Not Winnable

I said I just got a new Solitaire game for my iPad which has something really neat. There is a light that flashes not winnable when you reach the point in the game that it’s uh…. not winnable.

I got to thinking wouldn’t it have been great to have that kind of button during my lifetime. I think of those times like I went to work for Position Technologies Inc. in Geneva, Illinois. How I could have used that light then! Nothing ever seemed right and it resulted in five of the worst years of my life working for James F Stob and his partner.

There was another time when I was introduced to a new boss at Mellon Bank, Mr. Joe Banko, CPA. This is one of those times that actually I saw the not winnable flash in front of me because the very first time I met him I knew not knew that he was nothing more than a lying bully. Just like virtually every other CPA I’ve ever met. Wormy little cretins that use numbers to intimidate and bully people to achieve their nefarious goals. I saw recently where he was again promoted and I’m not surprised. These are the kind of people running our banks and destroying our economy. .

There was another time when we built our house in St. Charles. This was a time when the housing industry was booming and every person that knew which end of a hammer to hold or could guess which end one out of two times was building homes. We ended up going with St. Charles homes Inc., which was owned and run by a former schoolteacher. I guess you don’t have to be a genius to see the not winnable flashing there do you? Well I didn’t and we have paid and paid and paid and paid.

There are many other times that I’m sure I should have heeded the not winnable, but there are also those times when you are forced into a situation like I was with Job Banko and St. Charles Homes and I knew the inevitable result. I was forced into a corner by the situation. I’ll go to my grave regretting those times and wondering if I shouldn’t have been able to figure out some way out of a situation that was going to cause great pain to both me and my family.

Beyond Endurance

Yesterday, I turned off Colin Cowherd and started listening to music. I can’t recall ever turning off ESPN because I was totally disgusted.

However, as Cowherd droned on and on and on about Martha Burk and the two new members of Augusta National Golf Club, it was more than I could endure.

Here’s the way the New York Times reported the infamous rally at Augusta in 2003:

Vastly outnumbered by police officers and reporters, Burk spoke to a group of about 40 supporters in a five-acre lot authorized by Augusta city officials as the principal protest site. She made references to the fact that she had been denied permission to demonstrate directly outside the club, but said that she would not participate in, or encourage, an illegal protest near the Augusta National gate.

If I recall correctly, the reporters outnumbered the protesters by about 10 to 1.

I hate bullies. And Martha Burk is one of the worst kind. If those guys in Augusta want to have a Pompous Old Bastard Men’s Club, then they have every right to do so. I kept hearing this was the right or moral thing to do. Bull Shit. It’s nothing more than political correctness forced down our throats by the press.

Back to my music….

I HATE Tax Day

imageAnd not for the reason you might suspect. It’s just an annual reminder of how I wasted a career doing this crap and never really built my life’s work into anything meaningful. I met some of the worst people and worked for from some of the meanest, cruelest bosses imaginable. I know that most of this was due to my inability to read people and I ended up at places like Mellon Bank and Arthur Anderson. Nothing I can do about it now, but this time of year really hurts. (I couldn’t find an image of a jackass, so I settled for this monkey.)

JayJay and the mustard seed

JayJayI never would have imagined that I could become so attached to any animal as I have this little dog. When I started this business approximately 8 years ago, for some reason I decided that a dog would be nice to have around. When Mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas I told her a dog and she said get it. I don’t think she realized, at the time, that they cost $700.

Carol and I asked around for suggestions as to what breed it would be best, keeping in mind that the dog would be inside and around people and computers. Two different peoples suggested a cairn terrier and I’m glad they did. If you look up this breed on the Internet you will see the phrase lovable and contrary used frequently. It’s a fair description!

Sometimes at night Carol and I will suddenly realize JayJay isn’t around us and go looking for him. Invariably, he will be upstairs waiting for us to come get him fresh cool water in his bathroom bowl, having decided some time ago that bathroom water is superior to kitchen water,or he will be in the office sitting in front of the closet waiting for a cruncher (what we call a little rawhide stick).

In both cases he is waiting patiently knowing that someone will be there to take care of him. This always reminds me of the passage from Luke 17:6 –

And the Lord said, If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you might say to this sycamine tree, Be you plucked up by the root, and be you planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

If only we could show the faith of this dog in our daily lives.