Posts Tagged ‘dog’

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Backstop

11/09/2015

Hello again.

A lot has happened since the last entry I wrote here, and much of it involves details I will not go into. Suffice it to say, there have been a lot of issues that I have been facing lately that have made 2015 one of the most difficult years of my life. Without my family, I really don’t know where I’d be.

Back in March, right around my birthday, Cody had a cancer scare that created one of the worst weeks of our lives. Severe hip pain had him in the pet ER two days in a row and subsequently in surgery to remove tissue that was compressing his spine. The doctors were 95% certain he had cancer in his spine and that we would be looking into oncology and chemo. Through a stroke of sheer good fortune, and in one of the most bizarre cases the doctor had ever seen, it turned out to be nothing more than inflammatory tissue that would not threaten Cody at all. This past September, Cody had a mass in his ear, that we previously never noticed, rupture. Cody was forced to have a TECA (total ear canal ablation) and had a rather rough recovery, but, thanks in no small part to his wonderful surgeon, he has returned to himself and despite the ear surgery, is living a normal, happy, goofy life.

Back in June, I had my identity stolen, but thanks to some diligence and proactive notifications, no harm was done. Two accounts were attempted to be opened in my name, fraudulently, and they were snuffed out before anything could go wrong. Still, a stress I didn’t need. Further checks and security have shown that there have been no further attempts to defraud me.

Being a father is still the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done with my life, and watching the Littles grow is nothing short of remarkable. This doesn’t come without fears and trepidation, however. With kindergarten looming on the horizon, my fears of the public school system and Eric’s sojourn into formal education are piqued. While I would love to send him (and Emily) to private school for the entirety of their careers, financially that is a herculean task. We will have to investigate further.

These past few weeks have been hectic, which both kids’ birthdays coming around, parties being thrown, and lots of activities going on. I can’t believe the kids are 5 and 1, now. It blows me away.

This past Friday, MB and I had an evening to go get some dinner ourselves, so we chose a nice restaurant in Monkton called The Manor Tavern. We’ve been there many times before and wanted to go back. Originally we intended to snag a booth in the bar, but all were either taken or reserved, so we relocated to a table in the back dining room. MB started with an amaretto sour, her go-to drink, while I was in a less-than-common mood for a red wine. I was vacillating between the more economical glass-by-glass approach and the indulgent bottle order (which, if ordered, I knew I’d be finishing myself) when common sense and practicality won out over indulgence. I went with two glasses of a pleasant and wonderfully smooth 2013 Amado Sur, an Argentinian Malbec. It seemed to compliment everything it went with, from the hot cheese crab dip we split for an appetizer or the bison osso bucco with squash and potato that I had for my main course. MB’s Maryland crab pasta was good, though slightly spicy for her palette. We skipped dessert that night, already feeling overly full.

While dining, we were regaled with the overtly negative and vitriolic “conversation” from the woman at the table behind us (I put conversation in quotes because there was only one side of the table talking; hardly a conversation in the traditional sense). I hadn’t heard so much concentrated complaining, negativity, and self-righteousness in a while. Nearly everything that came out of her mouth was in some form of complaint, from how long it took for their entrées to be delivered (hardly a long wait, from what we observed), to how “awful men are at planning anything”, to how difficult her life is with her child wanting to go “a concert for some band called White Chapel, awful heavy metal shit.” She appeared to be treating her mom to a nice dinner, and when her mother offered to put some money towards the check, instead graciously declining the offer, the daughter said, “Take me to breakfast sometime soon, for all the shit I’m doing.” They left before we did, and their dinner conversation ended with the daughter berating the mother for not “holding up her end of the conversation” because she wasn’t telling a story to her satisfaction. While this gave us some mild entertainment, we found ourselves bristling at what we overheard and were quite glad when their check was paid and they filed out.

Saturday was a very busy day. We had an appointment at the house, then I had a haircut. MB and the kids came with me and we grabbed a small bite to eat before heading back home before Eric went to a birthday party that evening. The party was fun for everyone, but we were all completely beat when we got home. Sunday was more of the same, as Eric had another birthday party, and not long after that, we all headed to Columbia to exchange a pair of Eric’s shoes (damaged in wearing, even trade) and grab some dinner. It was a successful day, if not still tiring.

Back to the grind of the week, with more to come. Until then, my friends.

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A Comfort

01/10/2012

Cody was an unhappy pup last night. I heard him whimpering from his bed around 11:30pm, so I went over to check on him. Nothing seemed to be the matter but it was obvious he wasn’t feeling too well. When I knelt down to cuddle him, he rested his head on my shoulder and began licking at my arm. I figured his stomach might have been bothering him because he was also licking his lips a lot, so I gave him a Pepcid to see if it would settle him. I decided if the pup wasn’t feeling up to snuff, it would be alright if he slept on the bed for a night, so I invited Cody up to lay next to me while I slept. He was definitely pleased with the idea, though after about 2 hours, he decided, “to hell with this,” and got down and went back to bed. He wasn’t whimpering anymore, so either being near me settled him or the Pepcid did the trick. Either way, I was glad to be able to be there for my pooch when he needed me.

Cody has time and time again proved what a special dog he is. We got him from Fallston Animal Rescue back in March of 2008. He had been abandoned by his former family and left at a kill shelter. The good people at FARM saved him from that terrible fate on the date of his schedule euthanization and we were lucky enough to find and adopt him. He was 11 months old when we got him and he has been such a wonderful member of the family since, always happy to see us, expressing love and compassion and regularly enjoying life. We have seen him through two massive knee surgeries (one on each knee) to repair a degenerative joint with which he was born. On both knees they repaired a torn ACL, torn meniscus and osteoarthritis while simultaneously performing an osteotomy that corrected and leveled off his tibial plateau (the angle at which his knee sits on his lower leg bone). These surgeries not only corrected his issues, but freed him of pain from which is was likely suffering for the entirety of his life. Not long after the second surgery site healed, Cody was behaving like the dog he had never been, playing and jumping and having fun, able to use his rear legs in ways he was never able to before. He has built up more muscle since then and as a result is up to a meaty and healthy 90 pounds.

His disposition with Eric is a sight to behold. He seems to know that Eric is a little person, not able to protect himself or handle the strength that MB or I can, and Cody lessens his grip, lowers his play level and respects Eric’s space when he is around. In his toddler meanderings, Eric will of course trip over Cody, attempt to pet him a little too rambunctiously or, and we are trying to teach him to put a stop to this, attempt to whack poor Cody in the head with his toys. Through it all, Cody doesn’t react, but instead looks at Eric with this sort of longing stare that says, “Kid, no matter what you do to me, I’ve got your back.” He’s been that way since the day they met, when Eric was only 5 days old. Cody took one look, one sniff and parked himself at his feet, as close as possible without covering him, protecting him. Whenever Eric cried, Cody was at the bassinet, attempting to peer over the side to make sure his “little brother” was alright. Theirs is a friendship that will last a lifetime.

Empathy is a trait often found in dogs, and Cody is no exception. He has a way of knowing when we are down or sick and does his best to convey comfort and care in such an unbridled, real way that your heart can’t help but feel warmed. He will lay with us, rest his head against us or just come closer for contact when he feels we need it. Our moods can directly affect his, as well; if we are nervous or agitated, he will pick up on it and feel that way as well. When we are happy, he is more relaxed and laid back.

I often describe Cody as our “dark shedding companion,” a monicker that earned quite a big laugh from MB the first time I said it. In a more detailed manner, I describe Cody as a son, a brother and best friend all in one loyal package. I can’t imagine a dog more suited for us, for our family, than that lovable, tall, lanky, goofy and affectionate black lab mix that will undoubtedly be attacking my legs when I come through the door later tonight.

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