Monday, July 24, 2006


roscian (ROSH-ee-uhn) adjective

Of or related to acting.

[After Quintus Roscius Gallus (c.126-62 BCE), a Roman actor famous for his
talent in acting.]

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The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that
which must also make you lonely. -Lorraine Hansberry, playwright and
painter (1930-1965)


Sunday, July 23, 2006

tyler hamilton and his dog

floyd landis rocks
a very exciting tour this year

a very exciting tour with an outcome that pleased me
it was a beautiful battle I enjoyed watching it all unfold
never in my life will I be able to do more than imagine what landis feels like today
now I can go to bed at a decent time
as even fast forwarding through the commercials on the Tivo there were still many hours late into the night watching cycling

I may not know how landis feels riding in the clouds right now
but I do have a little insight into a situation that tyler hamilton went through a few years ago
hamilton's dog had died and he dropped out of the tour or something to that effect
having my dog die a few weeks ago
well, the week that followed I was completely useless
was unable to perform at work
unable to focus on anything
so as much as I may not care for tyler hamilton
I feel bad that I may have ever even thought about joking about his inability to race because of the passing of his dog

I like the thought that this was a cleaner than usual tour
lets not forget that so many racers in the field got to that point in an unclean manner
that said...
it will be a long time before there is a clean tour

hamilton keeps gold
that doper's suck site

I still want to know the landis mountain bike history

Saturday, July 22, 2006

roscoe's ashes arrived today

today we got a package in the mail
without opening it I knew what it was
we had been anticipating it
it is a box from Heavenly Days.... a pet cremetorium

a box came the other day that initiated tears
thought it was roscoe's ashes
when that first package was actually a gift from a neighborhood dog walker

one of the dog walkers in the neighborhood sent us a candle that burns for three days
with a note about the loss of our dog
that was very kind for him to send us this
especially since he was not our dog walker
just someone we know from around the neighborhood

have not opened the box with Roscoe's ashes yet
have not decided where or what we are going to place/spread/or bury
have not ordered or purchased a locket for lisa
lots to do

the boys are in tub washing the maple syrup from their hair
the splashing got excessive
rather than scolding them I try to explain the consequences
then I blew some bubbles for them
I am still sad about roscoe

dean has bubbles in his eyes

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

a familiar site a sad site

on roscoe's last saturday alive he declined rapidly
but... it was hard for me to notice
as he was in his usual place
doing his usual hanging out thing

the afternoon had its usual madness
lisa was out running some errands while I tried to entertain the boys
like a fool I tried to multi-task
tried entertaining the boys while swapping out the deadbolt on the front door
grant was ignoring his call to take a nap
and brutus was acting odd
dean was well entertained with a halloween catalog even it it was the start of summer

brutus can often act odd
so his strange behavior did not pull up any red flags
in hindsight his anxious behavior with his paw clawing at my shin was his was of trying to tell me something
in a lassie sort of way brutus was trying to tell me that roscoe was not okay
but... I was distracted
from my perspective roscoe resting on the dog bed seemed completely normal

it was only later that evening that I noticed the extent of his lethargy

that night I sat with him and tried to get a sense of his condition
after some time on the floor downstairs I headed upstairs to watch some television
roscoe joined me
thinking things were normal I did not sit with him on the floor
I accepted roscoe at my feet as being close enough

when lisa went to bed she called roscoe
he hesitated
I snapped my fingers and sent him to bed
he got up and went into the other room
climbed into bed
things seemed pretty normal

thought he had a cold
thought that his condition was something that would pass

figured we would monitor him
pay attention to his condition the following morning
take him to the vet on monday if his condition continued

as the story played out
he woke fairly normal
then on a walk in the woods with lisa he flopped down and refused to move

lisa rushed back from the woods crying
I drove down to the woods to retrieve my dog
immediately I took him to the vet

every second of every season

walking the dogs in the woods of rock creek each day gives me a wonderful vantage point
I got to experience each second of each season

it was not just a matter of walking in the rain, the cold, the heat, and the humidity
it was getting to cut tracks in freshly fallen snow
it was being the first walk the trails and clear the spider webs from the path
it was seeing the earth brown from months slowly turn to green.... a bud at a time

it is a sight that I will continue to experience with brutus
an experience that will be a little different without my buddy roscoe

our home is also different

with roscoe dead and gone our house is a different place
the house is quiet
significantly more quiet than it once was

roscoe made his presence known
as a shark is known for being able to pick up the scent a drop of blood from a mile away
roscoe could smell a bag of beef jerky being opened from a mile away

roscoe (and brutus) greet everyone as they approach the front door
our mailman harold johnson gets a special greeting
the dogs approached strangers with barks
the dogs approached friends with shoes in their mouth

as I moved about the house roscoe was always there
he had his various perches
with eye contact roscoe would respond
with eye contact a a little lean in forward roscoe's tail would start to wag
a little deeper the eye contact the closer the lean the faster and harder he wagged

that big boney tail made a pleasant sound on the hard wood floors
a sound I will never hear again

I miss that sound
I miss that dog

walks in Rock Creek Park

each day of my life for the last eight years unless I was out of the area has included some time in the woods of Rock Creek Park
as a dog owner I never viewed my walking the dogs as a chore
walking the dogs in the woods was something that I did
like eating, sleeping, or breathing

walking in the woods without roscoe is different

brutus is different
the dynamic of one dog versus two is different

it is simple
when the dog has one owner it turns to its owner for affirmation
when that dog considers getting into some action they may first turn to their owner
while the two dogs turn to each other

brutus has lost half of his mischief
roscoe alone was not trouble
brutus alone is not trouble
the two of them together.... they were often trouble

Monday, July 17, 2006

one week has passed

one week has passed since the death of my dog Roscoe
it was a difficult weekend and a difficult week
each moment of the weekend past I played through my head what was happening one week prior at that time

last night at one thirty am a week to the day, at the moment of Roscoe's death by lethal injection I was in the kitchen drowning my sorrows in a cherry pie
I share certain similarities to homer simpson and al roaker... I eat when I am happy... I eat when I am sad
last night I was anxiously sad

in the picture above I see my family
grant just fresh home from the hospital
the dogs hanging with the pack

with roscoe gone the family dynamics have changed

roscoe loved to sneak up on the couch where the people are sitting
only he was forbidden
so he only did that when the people were gone

Friday, July 14, 2006

dooce and her dog


dooce blog

she is pretty funny
it has been years since I really tunned in...
but thought I would toss that up there

that is not jake dog... but you get the idea

that is not jake dog
the markings are similar
while in actuality that image is just some random dog off the net

last week early into the week I was drowning my sorrows and thought I would call a friend who may understand

an old friend russell had a dog named jake
jake was a special dog that I loved dearly
russell had a special relationship with a special dog
although russell had moved to brooklyn by the time I got my dogs
he did meet roscoe and brutus
but never long enough to learn the specialness of my two dogs; roscoe and brutus

knowing that russell knows dogs and that russell knows me
I thought that he would be a good ear to chew on

as it turns out russell lost his buddy jake just one week prior to my calling him

we spent most of the conversation talking about jake
not much discussion about roscoe and brutus or how I am doing or how brutus is doing
which was fine....
as I loved jake
and really just called to have someone to talk to that would understand

it was sad news
it was good to talk with a friend

one remarkable anecdote from the tales of jake-dog....

one night I was over at Russell's grouphouse in Crestwood
an intersting group house as it was in a more suburban style neighborhood than most dc group houses
the house was more like something the brady bunch would live in
or better yet
it would be a good place for them to film the documentary KIDS
the wood paneling in the basement and the pool in the backyard would be as valuable a backdrop as the around the clock games of Sony PlayStation

on night late into the night on the approach of morning
all the playstation built up some serious hunger
so we went out back to fire up the grill
while the coals were going from flame to ember we cooled off in the pool
after some splashing and horsing about we started to feast on some food off the grill
while we ate hot dogs and sausages to soak up the beer in our bellies Jake started to entertain himself

jake has seen it before
jake had seen it that night
so he went ahead and tried it for himself
jake jumped in and swam over to the blue foam raft
with his big head he pushed the raft to the side of the pool
then he swam towards the stairs and got out of the pool
with a long and intentional approach jake ran towards the pool

instead of leaping into the water and making a heroic splash jake leaped onto the blue foam mat
he surfed it to the middle of the pool
jumped off
and then pushed the mat to the side again

jake repeated the process a handful of times
balancing quite well
but hating it all the way
a nervous look took over his face that was givne away by the whites of his eyes

although jake appeared not to enjoy this task
he explored it just the same
it was an impressive site
jake was a good dog
I have a lot of great memories of that dog
some of those memories just simlpy hanging out and petting his big pit bull head


hutch was another one of roscoe and brutus' buddies
she was a very tall blonde that both roscoe and brutus loved to hike with

worked out well for me and my old friend tom
those dogs always looked forward to seeing each other in the morning or the evenings

hutch moved to arizona
heard she is well

I called tom to let him know of roscoe's death
it was important for me to call people that knew roscoe and how important he was to me and my family

hutch on dogster
roscoe and brutus never got into the internet... as far as I know

Roscoe and Brutus' first camping trip....

any and every image I pull up can bring up an anecdote about the dogs in one way or another
in the same way
nearly any or every stretch of park in this city can bring up some sort of dog related memory

not sure if it was this 24 Hours of Canaan or a prior one that we took the dogs on the first camping trip
it was one of those last Canaan races....
the date of the milestone could be figured at another time

the dc parks all carry an onslaught of memories
the dogs attended a some summer shows at fort reno park
the ran around the tombstones of congressional cemetary
the stepped on my cross country skies in the glover archebald park
they acted like they owned various sections of rock creek park

all of these places bring back various memories

jim weaver
that guy from the podium shot at that Canaan race is hilarious
he lacked "the eye of the tiger"
wish I had the energy to blog about that guy
he was a trip

life is different without roscoe
brutus is different without roscoe


as recent as this summer lisa and I tried to plan a vacation that included the dogs
there was talk about one of us driving with the dogs to Vermont while the other flies with the children... or something to that effect
in the end we decided to spend out vacation in colorado and not vermont
there was a concious effort to make that happen
when we looked at vermont rentals
all the options had to be pet friendly

when lisa and I moved in together there was on variable that was seriously taken into account
does the rental property allow a dog?
we always asked about a dog..l never telling that we intended to get two dogs

eventually we found a wonderful place in Mount Pleasant that did allow dogs
we did get two dogs
once the dogs were part of our lives we had to take into account whether vacation options allowed dogs

we took trips to the mountain and trips to the sea
always making sure where we camped or where we stayed allowed dogs
sure there were trips that involved flights that did not include the dogs

the dogs never accompanied us on our yearly winter trip to visit the now inlaws in marco island florida
nor did the dogs hike the inca trail to macchu picchu to propose to lisa
but... a stray dog did do some of the trek

there were trips to vermont
and there were trips to the outer banks
the dogs went on day hikes and local camping trips
there were mountain bike races
and there were parties

the dogs traveled all over with us
usually sleeping in the bed along side of us

the travel vehicle of choice in those days was my old Toyota Landcruiser
I no longer have that old truck
I no longer have my dog Roscoe

currently I have a Honda Element and Roscoe's brother Brutus

still too emotional

I have been grazing the surface
avoiding the emotion

the realities of my loss are painful
too painful to talk about
I can talk about my uncontrolable crying
I do not want to write the tings that will make me cry
not ready to drift into those directions intentionally
the crying waves in so muarnech unintentionally
that I do not need to steer my heart that way

today I went to the movies
saw Cars with Dean
wanted Dean and Grant to go....
but Grant is only a little over two and would not have the attention for the feature film
during the film I got emotional and tried to ride the wave
learned that it is just as difficult to make myself cry as it is to stop myself from crying
there is no forcing these emotions in either direction

the emotions are strong
this will certainly be a tough weekend
a one week anniversary of Roscoe's death
a week before the decline
as the hours pass this weekend I will not be able to reflect back on where Roscoe was in his failing health at that moment the week prior

brutus is going through some stuff

roscoe was good with people

earlier this year I approached Dean's pre-K teacher about bringing the dogs into the class to give the kids a chance to learn about behaving appropriately around dogs

I gave a two second sales pitch as was shot down without having the first word heard

so many kids, especially kids in the city are not exposed to dogs
lack of exposure can lead to lack of understanding
irrational fears are created
inappropriate behavior becomes routine
all I wanted to do was lay a few building blocks for a life of understanding dogs

the no exited the teacher's mouth before I finished my pitch

at the end of the school year I approached the teacher with the propsition of throwing an end of year birthday party for all the kids in Dean's Pre-K Class
figuring it would be a good chance to celebrate all the summer birthdays
to my surprise... this effort was accepted

with a little planning we settled in on a day and the party took place
it was pretty much a free for all
the back yard has a slide and a club house
I put out a kids tent and a little cloth tunnel
add cake, pizza, and pin the tail on the shark and it is a party

since it was held at my house the dogs got to attend

the dogs were the bell of the ball
if there are 25 kids in Dean's class there must have been 7-10 kids that were occupied the whole day with playing with the dogs
one child was irrationally phobic
but... I was too busy with entertaining the other 24 kids and parents to talk him off the ledge

Roscoe loved it!
Roscoe loved to get love
Roscoe loved to give love
Roscoe gave plenty of love that day
Roscoe gave plenty of love in his eight years of life
unless of course you were a squirrel or a cat
then he loved to chase ya

Melvin Hazen Trail

that is a classic scene
the family on a short hike in the woods of Rock Creek Park
brutus in black
roscoe in gray
dean on foot in blue rain gear
lisa with the backpack
grant in the backpack
daddy taking the picture

this little stretch of land with its meandering creek is just minutes walk from our urban home
rock creek park is our oasis in a concrete jungle
guess that an oasis would be in the desert
this oasis is in a concrete jungle

Thursday, July 13, 2006

stealing images off my blog

I am stealing images from my blog
these are some pretty sweet images of both pups
my blog is about bikes
not about grief
this blog is about my the passing of my dog roscoe
a place to unload my shit

dogs are better than people

brinkley for governor

spoke with my friend lev in alaska
he and his dog lodi are doing well
I asked about his girlfriend
he said he lost his turn

lev's dog lodi did not care for many dogs
but he loved roscoe and brutus
I love Lodi right back

scanning my bicycle blog for images of my dogs

the dogs brought me great joy over the last 8 years
the relationship over the last years has had a million moments

the dogs took me for walks in the woods that showed me each stage of each season a day at a time
I saw leaves change slowly
I learned where to anticipate mushrooms after some rain
I hiked in the rain, the snow, and the nasty combination of heat and humidity

the dogs took me looping through the woods
the dogs also took me on evening walks through the neighborhood

people may think walk the dogs is a chore
no... walking the dogs is a part of my life
I thank them for for all that they share with me

I walk and see things I would normally see
I walk with them as I would never care to walk alone
the walks in the woods they run leashless
while there is an invisible string linking us together

the string between roscoe and myself has been cut

getting it out

just trying to get it out
trying to go through the emotions
trying to heal

not ready to wander into a bar and make small talk
not looking to walk into a party and make small talk
had a hard time this week making small talk
when I tell a story I feel the emotion
I can really taste it

it is hard for me to tell the story of Roscoe's death
I have cried in front of my various bosses at work today
cried in front of men
cried in front of women
it hurts
I loved that dam dog roscoe
I do not feel like less of a man for crying
although I am sure that I look pretty funny to anyone who does not really care for or about me

dean rocks

made a call tonight
call my friend rob
wanted rob and his wife vida to know that roscoe had passed
did not want them to hear on the grapevine

rob and vida loved roscoe and love brutus
they are cat owners but dog lovers

they have known roscoe and brutus since their arrival at our northwest dc home

this is a picture of dean rocking rob's gibson
dean is about the age grant is now in this photo
rob was saddened to hear of roscoe's death
while he deals with a loss of a friend of his own
I have my pain
he has his
my pain is great to me
his loss is human...
I hope that he is copeing with his loss

we hope to hike this weekend with brutus
we do not see each other as often as we used to
hiking with the dogs has always been our place to catch up
we have covered some solid ground in various woods of Rock Creek Park at different times of the year

bury versus scatter...

Roscoe died in the vet hospital

had Roscoe died at home I am certain I would have gotten in trouble for digging a shallow grave in Rock Creek Park
would have made the local news
there would have been court dates and fines
the usual crap

since Roscoe died in the vet clinic we are getting him cremated
which simplifies things a little
I am still torn between burying or scattering the ashes
so much of me wants to create a memorial
a tangible spot
versus and implied area
the thought of the box being found and the ashes being found

guess I could hope that the box rots
with the ashes free instead of sealed in a bag

I asked for the most plain wooden box that they had
a cigar box would suit my needs
as it is a symbol
hope the box is plain

the digging of a grave could have been cathartic
I spoke with a man who said that he had a mishap burial that was frustrating as the shallow grave took longer than anticipated and he had to have things sorted out before the kids got home
he said the whole thing helped to free some of the pain

I am thinking of making an area of the part a little more fertile
like a natural garden
there are some stones milled from a quarry in Rock Creek that I may try to move to this location

there was a cement paw print option... I did not go for the paw print
now I am regretting it
I used to love to massage Roscoe's paws
working my fingers between his leathery pads

petting the dogs always had a functionality of checking for ticks and burs

bedroom eyes

this shot of roscoe does not capture his ability to connect with your eyes
that dog had some serious bedroom eyes

not only did he have bedroom eyes
this dog had a habit of being a serious bed hog
his behavior evolved over his eight years of life and changed with each season
in the cold months roscoe slept in the bed
in the hot months... he did not bother

there was a system where roscoe (and brutus) would be hanging with me
either in the basement or watching the tube
then lisa would be motioning for bed
roscoe would get up and join her
just the two of them

then when I would go to bed
before I could snap my finger.... or maybe I snapped my fingers and slapped a bum a few times a few years prior
I can not recall
but... in recent days before I could snap my fingers roscoe would be standing up and stepping off the bed

once asleep he would climb back up
steal the space by my feet
force me to crawl into a fetal mass
giving me terrible scoliosis

dam I loved that dog!

dogs... sleds.... and a crazy dog race

roscoe and brutus loved the snow
well... brutus still loves the snow
roscoe is not around for love anymore
not here to give love
not here to get love

I love my dogs
or should I say
I love Brutus
I loved Roscoe

out front the old house

lisa with roscoe, brutus, and dean on a mound of snow in front of our old place on Lamont Street
roscoe was born gray
he looked no different in the days before he died than he did in this picture 3 or so years ago

roscoe was a young and fit eight year old

roscoe and brutus lived a charmed life
brutus.... still lives a charmed life

the leashless walks in Rock Creek Park
the many trips a week to my dad's pool each summer
the planned vacations up and down the east coast where the dogs joined me and my wife

these guys really had it good

they were fit
they were super fit
brutus is still super fit
roscoe is dead

they by no means were old for eight year olds
these dogs ran like olympiads

a page on senior dogs
a list of dog years to human years
for some people adopting a senior dog is the best option

brutus and roscoe

brutus and roscoe were brothers
born of the same australian shepard father
different golden retriever mothers
born five days apart

two dogs that were nearly identical yet completely different


I wear black on the outside
because black is how I feel on the inside
-the smiths

cunningham falls

that is me holding dean
roscoe and brutus by my side
pregnant lisa taking the picture

we drove out to cunningham falls with the sled
I pulled the family as the dogs explored

sure enough.... it is Groundhog Day

yesterday as my day turned into evening and then evening into night I started to feel more at ease
went to sleep a little tipsy... maybe one too many glasses of red wine
went to bed a little late and a little drunk
once in bed I crashed as these days have been exhausting
no I did not dream of my dogs playing together at my side
it was a calm dreamless night
nothing but a clear slate
nothing but blackness in my mind

it was a night of sleep a little longer than the closing the eyes at night and the opening of the eyes in the morning
there was the standard middle of the night attempted migration by Dean from his bed upstairs to our bedroom on the second floor
that effort was stopped by me walking him to the bathroom then walking him back upstairs
I tucked him in... gave him a hug and a kiss and stayed by his side as he quickly fell back asleep
yet... somehow, as always, when I woke Dean was sleeping in the bed between lisa and myself

when I woke this morning I felt pretty okay....
lisa was finishing getting dressed and rushing towards the door a few minutes late
Grant was oddly still asleep
Dean was working his normal routine of snagging every last minute of sleep
I woke as slowly as I could
staying in bed but not sleeping
stretching in the bed as the day started around me

before lisa was fully dressed and out the door I heard the sound of foot steps coming down the stairs
not the rhythm of a four legged animal
the patern of a slowly waking toddler

grant came into the room full of grins and giggles
dean woke
we all wrestled in the big old bed
as I tickled my two blonde haired boys I made up some song about my blonde haired monkeys
something about me catching them
something about them gettting away

grant egged me on
begging me to continue the song about the blonde monkeys
so we wrestled some more
all three of us laughing and smiling
lisa snuck out the room then out of the house

we took a break and regrouped
I looked into Grant's big blue eyes and saw him crack a wide smile
Dean tried to sneak up... but I tickled him away
then Grant asked his favorite morning question, "where's roscoe?"
but... now I think my two and half year old son knows the answer to that question
he may not know what it means... but he knows the answer

I tell him he knows where roscoe is... to that he responds... "roscoe is dead"

yes, grant
roscoe is dead
we will all be waking each morning asking the same question...Where's Roscoe?

I hiked with Brutus in the woods before work
a short hike
it is apparent that Brutus is wondering... Where's Roscoe?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

in 8 years I have been down many roads in this small town with my dogs

tonight so many memories came to surface as I passed through the city then over to my dad's for some time in the pool

when I got there it was inside away from the thunder, the lightning , and the rain
it amused me that my dog Brutus was inside with everyone eating dinner while my dad's dog Max was still outside on the screened in porch

after dinner the rain stopped
I swam with five year old dean and two year old grant
Grant is highly mobile with his life vest
while five year old Dean is using goggles sans life jacket and chasing me to the bottom of the deep end
as the swimming pool was always Roscoe's thing and never Brutus'
lisa opted for a breather from the action and went to the street with Brutus

it was good for her to get away from kids screaming out for mommy
it was good for her to get some one on one time with Brutus
sure Brutus has stepped up to the plate and is along side of lisa in bed
but it is good for them to be out on the street together covering some ground

after dinner and swimming it was still early
rather than heading straigh home I offer to switch cars with lisa
she can take brutus....
I will take the boys
we will switch cars as my car is without kids seats at the moment

I offer to take the boys to best buy for some kid's walkie talkies
it is something to do
I had talked about getting Dean and Grant some kid's walkie talkies
and well
it seemed like a good way to entertain them
that and the fact that I am tired of fearing that my walkie talkier are going to get destroyed when one of the kids tosses them off the ladder of the clubhouse

either way...
it was something to do
if they cost me 15 bucks and only occupied this time shopping and an afternoon.... then the toys will have paid for themselves

we roll up wisconsin avenue from bethesda into northwest washington dc
as I get closer to the best buy within the decco building that was once known as the sears building I realize that I am headed right for the animal hospital
as I look for a space I see two spaces right infront of the vet clinic
I keep rolling
the site of the vet clinic makes me sick to my stomach
not hollow like the sadness I have
just sick... I do not feel well with the way things were handled
not well in any way at all
the slate exterior makes the clinic look not like a decco building made of cement
it looks like a big tombstone

I roll around the corner and find another spot
closer.... not entirely out of view... the passing itself did its damage
what was I going to do?
avoid that part of town for the rest of my life?
there are more memories from that city block then this weekend

it was painful just the same

the trip into best buy was also painful
only in a basic parent and grumpy child sort of way
there were no kid's walkie talkies
not at best buy
not at radio shack
the boys each wanted something
daddy played hardball
we went for walkie talkies
it was walkie talkies or nothing
kids are so quick to grab the first thing off the shelf and start in with the daddy buy me this

it is amazing
they get fixated

the kids demaned enough attention that I could not dwell on the proximity of the animal hospital

two average images

not to dwell on the negative

what could have been done
what should have been done

try not to over think the last days of Roscoe's life
just trying to accept things

trying not to think about Roscoe's last day
and the notion of just one more day

the rainbow bridge seems like a nice place
the one more day is an option that is also a painful option
as I have not written about his last days or his first day gone
as I am still trying to digest the pain and the reailty of those moments

one thing that I am kicking myself about talking about and not following through with would have to be a dog portrait

one of my neighbors is a photographer
I really like her artsy stuff
I really like her portraits

I am going to stop blogging
the feeling in my stomach is not nice
my breathing is not a pleasure
the thought of not having the portraits taken is not what is making me sad
the notion that Roscoe is not around to have his picture taken is what is making me sad

my wine is gone
I am sad
best I spend my time healing while sleeping
rather than working my fingers raw and getting myself all worked up on the Internet

my photos are included
as I think that I occassionally get a good picture of a cyclist
I seldom get a good picture of my dogs or my kids
guess I am too busy in the action to be back taking photos of it


the notion of a locket for my wife is going through my head
I am thinking of going to Tiffany's for a necklace
there are some other places I am going to go to as well
maybe some of the asian or tibetian jewelry places have something that would work for my wife's tastes and my needs

would more than likely put the ashes inside and then super glue things shut
thinking I will go for both ear rings and a necklace... not matching
try and cover two styles to give her options of what it could be worn with and how frequently

my wife has a classic look
I think I may be able to find something that works

already regretting not getting the plaster imprint of Roscoe's paw
I have memories
maybe I would have like to caress the imprint of his paw

I did ask for a clipping of his hair
I laughed and I cried when I made this request
as I admitted to the sales woman at the cremetorium that I am certain that a quick brush under the couch would give me plenty of his hair
she laughed and told me that she still has dogs from her not so recently deceased black lab blowing about her house

oh... maybe something more bohemian than the tiffany product
as I am not sure if they will hit the buzzer to unlock the door to let me in
I have a friend who is a dog owner who works at the family business that sells latino folk art, clothing, and jewelry
she would definitely have some ideas
talked with a friend who owns a dog boutique today
I want some jewelry
not dog or cremation specific
locket with the potential for carrying some ashes

will read the rainbow bridge again

the rainbow bridge was mentioned in this article
the rainbow bridge according to wikipedia

it is a nice idea

where does mischief send someone?

my intention is to get this out

my intention here is to get this stuff out
to give me a chance to grieve
but... I am not sure if it is what I need to do
I think I need to go to a bar and get drunk with some friends
they can get embarressed when I cry violently in public

at work I have cried too many times
as much as I try to avoid it
I can not control it

there was a moment where I was climbing under someone's desk
a work related task
my task in this situation was to fasten their computer to the desk with a combination lock and cable that is made for this task
I presented the situation by telling the user that I needed to put his computer on a leash
he laughed and said notto worry as he liked leashes
as I edged my way on my back head first like a mechanic getting under a car
the tears started
the tears were contained to last as long as the process
crawled out from under the desk composed

once out from under the desk I said my small talk goodbyes
with a glance at the laptop on the desktop I saw a lone photo of a yellow lab
immediately I thought of my dog from childhood, charlie
charlie was a yellow lab
was able to escape without bawling
I had already bawled uncontrolably with some other co-working friends
trying to avoid it

the next day
today I am running about the office doing my thing
across the office this same leash liking guy gives me a basic "what's up?"
rather than nodding and giving the requisite, "nothing." I answer, "I will tell ya later"
it was not that I was actually going to tell him later
it was just something I said

then later that day this guy was out getting a cigarette
he gets out for a lot of cigarettes
if I smoked I would go out for lots of cigarettes too.... luckily I do not smoke
rather than the nod and short yet sincere hello exchange I stop and I go ahead with what I had not realized was the answer to the morning's "what's up?"

it was a good feeling to share the experience without crying
it was a first
I had come close
but this time I did it
there may have been sad eyes
maybe a well of tears
but pretty well contained

it was a nice exchange
even if we do not know each other well
it was a good connection
the dog owner kinship

even if we are not friends... not even work place friends.... we are still members of the same tribe
it is important that we all take care of our own
he helped by saying some nice words

although his reference to liking leashes had nothing to do with dogs

everything is different.... even taking out the trash

everything has changed
just as it changed my life to have these dogs enter my life
it will also change my life to have them exit
everything has changed

every step around the house
every future step of my life

tonight I went to take out some recycling ... just some papers, bottles, and cans
sure the pick up was this morning
but... sometimes things go out when they go out
so tonight I took the recycling out to an empty can

the normal routine would be that I go out through the kitchen, out the back deck, then into the alley
the normal routine would be to check for the dogs on the ground floor and invite them out back for a pee and some fresh air
tonight the routine changed
tonight I checked for Brutus and Brutus alone
he was downstairs and he joined me in the alley

his behavior was pretty much the same
he either tries to move ahead of me and squeeze through the gate like a cat
or he stands back in a sort of skidish hesitancy as I open the iron gate that opens into the tight space between a tall cement wall and the garage
as per usual he came out behind me and sniffed about
not so much in need of urination

it was interesting
although his behavior was same
the experience was completely different

Roscoe would have waited patiently as I opened the gate a few steps behind
well. he would try and lead and I would have to usher him back
then roscoe exited right before my invite or my command
neck, head, and ears would raise as he looked one way then the next
sometimes he would make a quick few steps in anticipation
maybe in an effort to shake something out of the brush
then he would search
if there was a hint of movement his steps would accelerate

depending on my focus and my tasks he would get caught verbally before the lunge or let go after the action had already been started
the cats always got away
I always was close behind in case they did not get away or got cornered

but that did not happen tonight
brutus did as brutus usually does
sure he chases the occassional cat
but he was not always on the lookout like Roscoe may have been

tomorrow I may tell the story different
as these dogs are each over eight years old
over that eight years their lives have gone through stages and evolution
the removal of roscoe from the world is part of brutus' continueing evolution

crying... I am doing a great deal of crying

it has been a few days...
the crying continues
it comes in waves
the waves are shorter and a tad less frequent

by night time I am starting to feel a little better
a tad more in control
I fear that tomorrow will be like GROUNDHOG DAY and I will be starting the uncontrolable crying all over again

not sure if this is appropriate work behavior
I would rather use days off for trips to the mountains or even the beach
not for sitting at home with a box of tissues, stuffing my face with bon bons as I watch the tube

death of a dog is a sad story

2 x 2 is 4
four times two is eight
eight times two is sixteen
sixteen times two is sixty-four

and the cycle continues

bells of

I am not credited on that page as the designer
instead my mentor who guided me on that project was credited alone

in lebanese blonde he played sitar
he also played sitar at my wedding
he never played with bells of... although I would think that those musical minds could jam
he was a good friend of roscoe and brutus' and he is a good friend of mine

lawrence of bells of lost a dog earlier this year
today I called him to see if he could help me with my misery

reflecting on my past encounters with friend's who had lost a pet

with the passing of my dog roscoe come all sorts of insights and all sorts of reflections
one idea that has been passing through my brain is the long list of people I have encountered in my life who had lost a pet
I play through in my mind all the times I tried to say the right thing at that hurtful time

somehow I thought that I had an idea what they were going through
I had no idea what they were going through
in hindsight
I hope that my words did not offend them
in so many ways I would wish that my words helped them
but in actuality
I would settle for thinking that my words did not offend them

beyond that....
I hope that I was able to listen
less said
more listening
great advice for us all in life
advice to live by in times when dealing with others and their grief

beautiful dogs...

monday afternoon, the day of Roscoe's death I took a long walk at lunch
I stumbled about the city with my eyes full of tears
not stumbling like a fool into traffic
yet soberly stumbling about the sidewalks just the same
although I was not hungry... that did not stop me from eating

as I approached the entrance for Explorer's Hall at National Geographic I saw some sculptures of some wolves howling at the moon in front of the offices of Defenders of Wildlife

I crossed the street as I was drawn in by the gray metal forms
before I knew it I was holding and caressing each solo statue of each lone wolf
the flow of tears rushed down my already red and moist face as my heart howled at the moon with them

in hindsight.... I glad I was not arrested

that statue is of Balto in Central Park
Roscoe was a dog... not a wolf
but you knew that

rainbow bridge... corny but beautiful

here is a little piece about rainbow bridge
shared with me from chris and kelly
I am deducing that it was submitted by chris
I could be wrong...
I think that is chris standing by the wooden tree stump sculpture of the wolves

chris and kelly's blog
and a valuable list or scrabble players

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

as it turns out Rainbow Bridge is a poem often shared between pet owners during their time of grief
it was still a meaningful read that gave my wife and I some tears accompanied by smiles
I have no right to complain... I did not write the Scrabble Tips!
it was nice of Chris and Kelly to share those words with us

their blog is choc full of life
their dog is clearly part of their family as well

an article on


coping with pet loss

I am sad....

last night I went to bed feeling a bit better
this morning I woke to the same hollow feeling

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

one more day

lisa and I are sad
a great part of our sadness is our feeling that this all came without a warning
there was nothing that gave us any hint that we needed to start our goodbyes
we were not prepared to say goodbye

roscoe was happy and healthy
he was very active... super active

yet, we still each wish that we just had one more day
one more day to have him and to hold him
to try and thank him for all the pleasure that he brought to our world

then after some reflection
I come to realize that our basic everyday with our dogs would be beyond the goals of your average dog owner's effort to give their dog a perfect day on their last day

rosoce and brutus were walked leashless in the woods, these dogs were at our feet and at our side, these dogs got swim in Rock Creek a few times each week all year round, then get to swim several times a week in a swimming pool several times a week all summer, the hikes both urban and country, then there were parties, road trips, and camping trips.

roscoe lived a full life full of activity, action, and love

as much as I wish that I had one last dady with Roscoe
I feel pretty good about the life I gave him and the life he gave me
roscoe was a good dog and a good friend

(for mother's day we got a babysitter and hiked the dogs for a few hours at Old Angler's Inn)
brutus will still get to live this same active lifestyle

insight into death

no one knows what I am going through
even if they went through this before
they have only an idea of what I am going through
I do not expect them to fully understand

to experience empathy... actual empathy
that would be too much of a drain on our emotions
so instead
we try to say the right thing

people are all trying to say the right thing

I am feeling guilty for all the times I thought that I was saying the right thing
there is no right thing
maybe it is best to say nothing
okay.... as long as you are sincere... whatever you say is great
but... it is usually a little off base

but the intentions are enough to make it all appreciated

I got a few nice emails and phone calls
most people are careful and say very little
each of those efforts were appreciated

Lev and Lodi

Roscoe, Brutus, and I used to hike the trails of Rock Creek Park nearly everyday
many of these hikes were shared with Lev and his dog Lodi
no matter the weather
we were out in the woods with the dogs
Lodi did not like many dogs... but he loved Roscoe and Brutus
Lev did not like many people... but he put up with me

I spoke with Lev in Alaska this morning
had to call someone that I knew would understand my pain
called him the other day after dropping Roscoe off at the hospital
with the time differences and him being at work it was not a good time
left a message after Roscoe's finality was final
Lev called me back this morning while I rode around Haines Point on my fixed gear
I took the call on the move

it was good to talk with an old friend
sorry that it takes something like this for me to reach out to someone
it was good to have someone who knew me, my dogs, and my love for my dogs
Lev was very understanding
Lev is also very attached to his dog

an image from the fall...

Roscoe and Brutus
Brutus in black with a blue colar
Roscoe in gray and black with a red colar

the sadness has returned
the flashing back makes me feel better
the present time brings me great pain

it has only been a day and a half since the death of Roscoe
the would is still fresh

that image is from last fall on the Melvin Hazen trail
a small wooded trail in the District of Columbia, within the awesome urban park of Rock Creek Park

I need to mix in some more flashbacks
as I am here to avoid pain
not to wallow in it

some history...

roughly 8 and a half years ago my wife and I were just boyfriend and girlfriend
we were living together and serious enough to take our relationship to the next level
we decided to get a dog
actually... we decided to get two dogs

it was an interesting process
a process a lot like looking for a new apartment or a new house
there is a great deal of pleasure in the fantasy
but , there also a great deal of real life hassle

an aside
this blog is already lightening my load
I am breathing easier
the memory is softening the emotions on my face

in the early stages of our search we looking for a specific mix
there was even some effort to get some friends to breed their dogs
the only issue... no friends would mix breeds
so we searched through the standard avenues...

there were Saturday morning trips to the shelters, there were various rescue events, pet stores had gatherings... it was a process
a process that was frustrating at times
so few of the providers were willing to meet our simple basic set of desires
2 dogs
both male
preferably brothers

we got turned away by all sorts of rescue units
for some reason they did not think we should have puppies, two dogs, or dogs at all
there was one visit where we were very close to getting some previously used and seriously abuse puppies...
but I refused to visit the dogs a second time
knowing if I visited them a second time that I would take them home
and I knew that dogs are tough enough from a standard baseline
to have to work to get a dog to normalcy before training them seemed like more work that I was prepared to handle

then it happened
one weekend there was an ad in the paper
shepard retriever mix
first set of shots
one hundred dollars
with a little information
maybe some punctation

so lisa and I drove out of the city deep into western maryland
we followed the directions that took us to a destination that may be similar to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm

there were vast open skies
red barns with tall silos
seas of green and small rolling mountains in the distance

we parked the car and meandered towards a barn where we could see some activity

once in the barn it was a wonderful scene of 16 fluffy puppies chasing around a number of fluffy young lambs

it was a long time ago
but I recall that there were a so many puppies that it was hard to keep track
I had a list of "puppy tests" I had seen on the Internet
but threw that aside and started to play with all the little fur balls
I made my choice of which puppy I wanted then lost track
lisa too made an educated selection... then lost perspective
we ended up grabbing two dogs
a small black one with white on his chest that we named Brutus
a very odd grayish one with strange hyena like markings that we named Roscoe

we drove home
taking the dogs away from their farm home to the city
their new home