Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Saying Goodbye to a Great Friend

Good morning from Maine where I'm mourning the loss of my big buddy Max. Max was a wonderful dog who I adopted from Harvest Hills Animal Shelter five years ago when he was two or three years old. We had many wonderful years together and I was looking forward to many more, but it was not to be. Max passed away peacefully on Wednesday afternoon. I like to think that he's now free to run and swim with again with his older brother, Morrison, who passed away just 18 months ago. I'll miss them both and remember them both for the rest of my own days.

As long time readers of this blog know, I'm a huge advocate for adopting not shopping when it comes to pets. Max was a classic case of a second chance dog. Some members of the shelter staff thought he should have been euthanized, but I gave him a chance and he gave me a chance. We ended up having five wonderful years together. Please consider adopting from your local animal shelter. Just like kids, they all deserve multiple chances at a great life.

Finally, a huge thank you to the staff of Bridgton Veterinary Hospital for providing great care for Max until the very end.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Saying Goodbye to My Best Friend

Morrison always loved truck rides.
This is a purely personal post that I'm writing and sharing as a therapeutic exercise for myself. If you're not inclined to reading stories about dogs, skip over this post.

Somewhere around 2008 Denise (my partner at the time) and I started volunteering our Sunday afternoons to walk dogs at Harvest Hills Animal Shelter. We were both dog lovers but agreed that getting a dog of our own wasn't practical at the time. In 2010 Morrison arrived at the shelter. He was an older dog then (somewhere between 8 and 10) and a little stand-offish with strangers. For some reason though, he got attached to me quickly. Older dogs have the hardest time getting adopted out so he was there for months. Every week when Denise and I arrived, he got excited and loved to play fetch in the large (1/2 acre+) pens at the shelter. Finally, after months of seeing Morrison and seeing me have a very hard time leaving him Denise caved and I brought Morrison home to live with us. On that day I posted on Facebook, "after 32 years of waiting, I finally have my own dog!"

As I mentioned, Morrison was an older dog when I adopted him. He was intensely loyal to me, to Denise, and to anyone else that he deemed trustworthy. He was never far from me in my house, in my yard, or anywhere else we went. When we went camping as part of a 10,000 mile roadtrip to Alberta, British Columbia, and Montana Morrison always slept next to me and didn't settle down until he knew that everything was safe. Morrison saw more of North America than many humans I know.

Morrison saw me through the darkest days of my life in 2011 and I can say with near certainty that without him I may not be here today (please, if you're feeling depressed and overwhelmed, ask for help). Morrison celebrated many of the best moments of my life too. He "high fived" me on the day that I figured out that I would earn enough money to leave my full-time position and go out on my own as a consultant/ blogger/ part-time teacher. He was also a very fine judge of character who, in his own way, gave me advice on women I met after Denise and I separated (btw, we're still great friends and she came with me to say goodbye to him yesterday).

Morrison peacefully passed away yesterday. I'm going to miss my best friend terribly.


If you're considering getting a dog of your own, please consider adopting an older dog. The years you have with him or her may be shorter than you like, but the years you do have will be fuller for it.

Thank you to the wonderful staff of Bridgton Veterinary Hospital (Bridgton, Maine) for all of the great patience and care you gave to Morrison over the years, especially this last year as his health declined but his spirits never did. Thank you to my good friend Sara for her advice and support over the last month as Morrison's health declined (Sara, when we met 20+ years ago who knew we'd be counseling each other on things like this). Thank you to all of you who have asked about Morrison over the years. Finally, thank you to Denise who gave me and Morrison more kindness, comfort, and support than I deserved (Morrison deserved it all).

Friday, March 1, 2013

It's Okay to Ask For Help

This is one of the rare times that I am going to step away from writing about technology and education on this blog and take advantage of having a large following to send out a personal message. If you want to skip this post, I understand, but I hope that you don't skip it.

This afternoon I received a phone call from a friend who informed me that one of our friends from college had taken his own life. The details are still fuzzy and the "why" may never be known by anyone other than our deceased friend. On the outside though everything looked "normal." He was a teacher at a small Christian school in Pennsylvania, a youth pastor, had a lovely wife (I was a part of his elaborate marriage proposal on New Year's Eve, 1999) and two young children at home who will now grow up without him.

I wish that I could ask Grant "why?" and remind him that no matter how down and dark you're feeling there is help available and that life will improve. But I can't now. I can, however, share my  story and tell you that it is okay to ask for help because people want to help you. A very small circle of my closest friends know that a couple of years ago I too struggled with the same depth of depression that I'm sure Grant was feeling. That changed on the first Friday of April, 2011 when that morning I walked into my principal's (Ted Moccia) office and with tears welling up told him that I needed help. Ted dropped everything that day to get me the help that I needed. That day my life turned around for the better, but it wouldn't have happened if I didn't ask for help. And believe me, asking for that help was emotionally the hardest thing for this New Englander to do.

I'm not sure how to conclude this post other than to say that whatever you may struggle with, there are people who will help if you ask. And if you don't have any struggles, help those who do.