"Life... is a series of dogs," George Carlin’s hippy-dippy take on the measure of existence never failed to bring a smile to my day; I would think back on all the dogs in my own life and realize Carlin was correct: from Buttons (my dad’s Boston Terrier) to Blondie and Iodine, Sybil – given to me as a Christmas present by Melody in college and whom later learned to call my mother ‘mom’ - Sybil, not Melody - and that dog I found in the gutter on a snowy Saturday morning outside a pancake house in Baltimore who didn’t seem to need a name but stayed just the same and then with my wife, Nancy, there was Missy and Valentino, Beau and Duncan – still here twenty years later and counting and the street dog who didn’t make it, and along with Nicky, Max and Blondie II whom we found and then whose real family found us and now George...counting fingers...that’s fourteen I think, but you can do the math.



Now, I’m not gonna tell you how old I am, it’s not that I’m sensitive about things like that... I just don’t think it’s dignified, but at fourteen dogs with oh... let’s say an average life span of seven years and accounting for multiple overlapping residencies and tossing out the briefest and longest stay, because I heard somewhere that somehow that smooths the bell graph I have pretty much always been, as the saying goes, laying about with dogs.

I expect this intemperate behavior will persist for some time despite what my mother-in-law says and that is what brings me to George, George the dog not George the comic.

Nancy (see list above) you see found George while I was away at a symposium on Veterinary Hospice Care at UC Davis. Logically it should have been I that brought a dog home from California considering that I was immersed in the fur flung world of veterinarians, vet techs, rescuers, pet alternative therapists and one very energizing pet cemetery advocate...but no, Nancy found George on line at Humane Society Pinellas and as my jet lag meter was pinned to the top of the scale we wound up bringing George home to For Paws.

George appeals to me however because in dog years he’s almost the same age as me so we have something in common. George likes to sleep, I like to sleep, George drools – well I’ll skip that, we both could use reiki and I’m thinking of booking him for a session with my chiropractor. We both like to pace, he when he’s confused and I when I’m on deadline with an article - pretty much the same reason.

We found out that George’s owner gave him up because he could no longer provide the care that George needs; you see they both were homeless and George was falling behind. I know this I suppose not because I was ever homeless but because George is a little bit blind and a little bit crippled and follows me everywhere. In the homeless world you have to keep up.

I hope we have George for many years, we need him to be our nose and ears (George has great tall, standup ears that must have been a comfort to his companion while they lived in the streets); we need George to remind us that a street is nowhere to live for dog or a man for that matter, and, "Life is (after all)... a series of dogs."