Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Day After and the Day Before

We somehow made it through our first day back at work without Tyler yesterday.

There was no shortage of tears, stories, moments of disbelief and questions as too how we all move forward without the smiling face, laughter, and whirlwind of the kid who made the place we all work at fun to be a part of.

Losing one person always leaves ripples on the others around. It is a soft, powerful, empty place that we all share now. The immensity of loss that someone was taken so quickly, and tragically. The knowing that there are friends around us suffering ad struggling to make sense of a death that is beyond any of our collective abilities to reason.

For myself and Joe it is a desperate attempt to be strong for those we love who are feeling unable to return to work and to stay in the place that Tyler's presence embodies. For others they can get caught up in the routine-ness of the day to day activities of trying to take care of the pets left in our care.

We are jostled back into the freshness of the reality of our loss by the intermittent arrival of more flowers. A fragrant reminder of the community wanting to try to help ease our pain, and be a part of our healing. It is nothing that anything other than time can heal.

We are closing the clinic early tomorrow. It is supposed to be the the beginning of the holiday weekend, but for everyone I know and care about it is the final day for us to see Tyler and the day we all come together to say our final goodbyes.

This clinic is the place of so many lives intertwined with so many others. We have celebrated weddings, babies, and now the loss of our youngest family member. It is the place where people cry, see miracles happen, and remind us everyday how short, fleeting, and precious life is.

I sat quietly with my three kitties, my three doggies, and my immense mountain of grief this morning and watched the sun rise and the sky turn from red to pink to orange and thought about how grateful I am to have lived this life I was given. Each blessed day, each pet I got to meet, greet, love, help live, help die, and all of the lives I have been lucky enough to share in some small way. For Tyler I can only say that I know my life is stronger, richer, deeper, and inspired from knowing you. I will carry your smile with me and within the hearts of every soul that JVC touches in an effort to be true to your spirit.

How else do I try to move on from a loss that seems impossible to understand?

Tomorrow is Tyler's funeral, and another day for us all to be grateful and do great things even if it is simply in the eyes of the tiniest kittens purr, or the largest dogs tail wag.

It is truly a great man who can leave behind a legacy that ominous from those few years.

Joe and I went to work yesterday to try to help our staff get through what was a very very difficult day.

Our plan was very simple; to tell each person at JVC that we love them, we are there for them, and that we will get through this, and everything else we are ever faced with together.

Tyler's news coverage;




Monday, November 19, 2012


It was a very hard day at work.

Today was the first day without our dear Tyler. It was the first Monday without hearing him racing up the stairs. Zipping through the halls delivering food, water, blankets and supplies to the long term and short term clinic residents.

Tyler was our kennel manager.

He came to us 1 year fresh out of high school. He wasn't sure that college was the right fit for him and he wasn't sure about what the "rest of his life" was going to be. But he knew he wanted to stay close to home, and he knew he loved his dogs. So he thought that working with them might be a good place to start. He was right in knowing what he was good at. He was a natural around the animals and he was a man beyond his 21 years.

He was always the smiling face, the boisterous laugh, and the vigor of youth and determination to make every corner of his workspace orderly, clean, and homey for our patients.

There wasn't ever a single Monday where I didn't have to force him to eat his lunchtime sandwich by 4 pm and remind him that his shift had ended 2 hours ago. He wouldn't leave until he knew every pet in is kennel had been fed, walked, and gotten a clean fresh bed. He had an unparalleled sense of responsibility seeded on his deep concern for the pets welfare. They came first and he cared for them like they were his own personal pets.

We have a very large fenced in yard for the boarding dogs to get exercise in. But you would often see Tyler walking them out to the pond on a leash instead. He loved to treat the dogs to individual walks. No matter how rushed he was to get everything done and kept in order he still found time to take the dogs for their own solo walk.

My fondest memory of him was watching him stroll down to the pond with Lobo, our solid stocky brutish Staffie bull terrier. Tyler with his lanky skinny carefree stroll and Lobo with his choppy stiff gait. Tyler arms swaying and Lobo tail wagging. As mis-matched as they were they were a perfect pair. Lobo had been starved and then dumped at the shelter to be put down. He hated almost everyone but he followed Tyler without reserve or hesitation.

Tyler was killed in his car, which he loved as much as his dogs, on Saturday evening.

It has been a devastating blow to us all. We are in disbelief that tragedy can strike so fast and hurt so much.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Modern Dog Fall 2012

I have decided to spoil myself a little and get subscriptions to all of my favorite dog magazines. (Truth be told, I justified it as "research" and promised to bring each copy to the clinic reception area magazine rack after i read them).

In the current issue of Modern Dog magazine I found a bunch of interesting articles.

I wanted to share some of them with you.

On page 14, "Eye Love" article about Ann Sachs eyewear line. Where super stylish (right up my alley!), eyewear is sold with ALL profits going to rescue dogs. "The Pixie Project" is named after company president Ann Sach's rescue dog.

Also check out www.Lawofthepaw.org. A website to help raise awareness about the importance of spaying, neutering, and adopting. (Huh, sounds like my blog!). They, like me, and my partners at www.NoKillHarford.org, are trying to get us to the point where we are a no kill nation. Where every pet who needs a home will have a home...

BUT my favorite part of this months issue is the "Survey Says" section.
I will summarize it;

92% would accept a job with lesser pay to bring their dog to work.

97% celebrate their dog's birthday.

78% of dogs sleep in their owners bed.

96% think dogs experience emotions similar to humans feel, such as grief, guilt, anxiety, and love.

92% think the formal standards for purebred dogs should be changed to focus on health rather than appearance.

85% of people pick up after their dog, even if no one is watching,

71% think ear-cropping abd tail-docking should be illegal in North America.

88% would dump their significant other if he/she didn't like their dog.

84% think their dog is a better housemate than their partner.

This survey was done by the magazine and polled from the magazines readers. I am so happy to see that so many dedicated owners are out there!

And that my devotion to my pets (dogs and cats and pig) is just as strong as the readers of this incredibly inspiring magazine!

To read more you can find them at www.moderndogmagazine.com


Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Day

 In our non-stop effort to forge ahead, scramble to invent, utilize and further integrate technology into smaller and smaller jean pockets we often forget where we have come from and where most of the rest of the world still exists.                  
We forget that it wasn’t but a few decades ago that technology was a black and white tv, and a corded 5 pound phone that each family had to share.
When I think back to those days I wonder how I ever got through without my iphone? Can you imagine traveling and not being reachable? Or going a whole day without email? Or even existing without texting?
In most places of the world this is still their reality. It seems that as technology pushes us further and further into the future it widens the gap between our fellow countries and societies.
I am lucky enough to have traveled much of the world. Places where time has slowed to a pace that seems to keep it suspended in the mid-twentieth century. Places where public services are non-existent and people live simple more solitary lives. To get to school they have to drive themselves, to get garbage out of the living space you have to burn it yourself or live with it as a yard surface. Many of these societies have no place to adequately take care of the most fragile of their citizens. Children and animals are the most vulnerable and often are the last ones to receive care, even at the most basic levels.
There are so many wonderful things about living in the USA. One of our most precious liberties is our freedom. We are able to decide our own day to day life, our own destiny, and who will be our voice on a local, state, and national level. These elected officials speak for us, look after us, and are held accountable by us. It is the closest thing to complete democracy and the freest place on our planet.
For me voting is one of the acts of being a US citizen that I am most proud of and most grateful for. I, like everyone else, have very personal reasons that I choose each candidate who gets my check on the ballot box next to their name.
I don’t decide based on age, gender, or party color. I decide based on who I think will take the best care of my fellow citizens and how I think they will be taken care of. I try to decide based on who will care the most for those who are most vulnerable. Our future is always in our hands. Let your voice be heard and help shape the destiny of your and our collective futures.
I hope to see you all next to me in the voting line come this Tuesday.