I've had a lot of dogs of many different physical types, but each has come loaded with the same daunting reminder: the countdown clock I can’t help but hear ticking away inside of them. I suppose I come with one of those, too, if I care to confront reality. Denial may be easier on the nerves, but the actuaries don’t lie. Your average American these days lasts 78.8 years. My average large purebred lasts about 8. Meaning over the course of a lifetime, I’ll bid farewell many more times than they will.
Recently, I had to say goodbye to Moses, 145 lbs of beautiful Bernese mountain dog, the closest I’ve ever come to sharing my house with a black bear. We acquired him as a rescue—the family who’d owned him couldn’t handle his ursine qualities. And I doubted my own capabilities at first, when he jumped on the couch, snapping menacingly if we tried to remove him. Or when he treed my son up a magnolia after ripping off his shirt. Forced to lay down the law, I smacked Moses in the face with a magazine—nothing thick that would hurt him, just a harmless Weekly Standard. But he never tried to eat my children again, and we were brothers ever after.
The most affectionate dog I’ve ever known, he’d swat me with his paw when I hadn’t sufficiently reciprocated. He’d greet me by nudging his cinder-block head under my crotch, lifting me off the ground, and tunneling through my legs as though going through a canine car wash. He’d fish by my side, standing in water up to his undercarriage, licking largemouth and bluegill for good luck before I returned them to tell confused tales to their fish kin. The end came without warning. One day we were walking routinely along a bank of the Chesapeake Bay. Four days later, a secret cancer had crippled him. As the doc loaded his needle with the final solution, there were distrustful eyes and growls and miserable yelps. The dog didn’t seem to care for it much, either.
I kissed Moses’ snout, promising I’d come find him on the other side. Then went home and held some flies that a good friend had tied from his fur—long-forgotten Maine streamers and Royal Wulffs and Grey Ghosts fashioned from his tricolor clippings. Even opening the care package some months earlier, I was gnawed by how quickly our present becomes our past, knowing I’d be holding these flies long after I could hold the dog that they came from.
I did what I always do after losing a dog—I got a new one as quickly as possible. My wife sometimes looks askance at this practice, as I so ruthlessly try to replace the irreplaceable. I assure her that if she goes before I do, there’ll be a tasteful mourning period before I hit christianmingle.com. But as the vet’s hollow sympathy card read, “It takes a long time to grow an old friend.” So I figure I’d better get moving. Or as the writer Sydney Lea framed it when recounting each of his gun dogs, “I also recognize that if one of those adored dogs had in fact lived as long as I have, there’d be only the one to adore. Death is the mother of beauty, as poet Wallace Stevens put it.”
Now I have Solomon, a regal Great Pyrenees with melancholy elephant-eyes. The rescue service found him abandoned in the rain in a Dollar Store parking lot, burrs caking his polar-bear coat, as he tried to enter the car of whoever would have him. (And we pretend dogs are the animals.) They don’t know how old he is, which might be a blessing. If I can’t determine when his clock started, maybe I won’t worry so much about when it’ll stop.
On our second outing, I let Solomon off the leash on a boardwalk at a riverside park. He looked back at me with you-don’t-own-me-white-man defiance, then jumped off the boardwalk, taking me on a mile-long chase through sucking mud and dead cattails, until he swam a creek and disappeared. Hours later, after vainly calling him, I slogged back through the marsh to my car, cursing God that I was down two dogs in one month. Until, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Solomon reappear like a stealthy, mud-splattered ghost, nonchalantly sniffing a stalk of chickweed, as if to say, “Relax, I’ll be here for a while.”
Re-leashing him, I tried to play as cool as he was. But I’ve never been happier to see a creature. For Solomon wasn’t the only one in need of rescue.
Obama administration officials have been effusive in their praise for late Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz who died last week at the age of 90. Now comes word that chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E.
Anyone reading this knows where he was on September 11, 2001. A diminishing number remember where they were on January 30, 1965—the day we said farewell to Winston Churchill. (He died fifty years ago, January 24, 1965.)
The death of Sir Winston Churchill, 50 years ago last week, reminds The Scrapbook that, while a half-century is a very long time, Churchill’s lifetime is closer to us than we suspect. Indeed, in the words William Faulkner gave to Gavin Stevens in Requiem for a Nun, “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.”
If I sported a hairpiece, I’d be wearing it at half-mast right about now, upon hearing that the world just grew a little less interesting. For the most colorful man who ever inhabited Congress, former Ohio Democratic Rep. James A .
The attempts of defenders of Obamacare to rouse the American people in favor of the doomed monstrosity have become more desperate and bizarre. The most recent example is taking place in Florida, where the sudden death of a young uninsured woman is being cited as an indictment of the Republican-controlled state legislature for refusing to approve the Medicaid expansion so generously being offered by the feds. If the woman in question had access to federally-mandated Medicaid, they argue, she would of course have gone in for preventative screening which would have revealed her cardiac abnormality and somehow saved her life. Once again, heartless Republicans are causing the death of innocents.
In 2012, Democrats ran a well-coordinated campaign to demonize and distort pro-life candidates as anti-woman misogynists hell-bent on taking away birth control. The Republican response to this line of attack consisted mostly of pivoting away to focus on “jobs” and the “economy.” With rare exceptions, instead of responding, GOP candidates were unwilling to answer the attacks head-on.
Echoing a report issued last month from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Ezra Klein says that the projections of significant adverse selection in the Obamacare exchange pools are vastly overblown. Indeed, Klein even claims that “the risk of a ‘death spiral’ is over.” But a closer look at Klein’s reasoning—laid out in an eleven-point blog post—should leave readers unconvinced.
One August afternoon in 1999, my parents and I drove to a farm in Leesburg, Virginia, to look at a litter of Jack Russell Terrier puppies we’d seen advertised. As soon as we arrived at the breeder’s house, we were confronted by Bunny, the long-legged mother of the pups. She was jumping in place, and for the entire time we visited, she never stopped jumping, up to three feet in the air. We should have known what we were in for.
It must be one of those inversions of this age of the media that the issues raised by the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia have faded into the background, while the main attention has been drawn to the screening of this story by the liberal media. But even more curious has been screening that has taken place within the conservative media: Dr.
A new investigative video shows a Washington, D.C.-based abortion doctor admitting that if a baby is born alive in his clinic after a failed abortion attempt he would let the baby suffocate on fluid in the child's throat or lungs.