Friday, June 13, 2008

A Lot Has Happened In 6 Years

I watched a TV show last night where the lead character woke up after 6 years in a coma. Not only did he have almost perfect recall of what happened before he fell asleep, he also woke up with extra sensory perception, as a part of his brain never tapped into had been somehow stimulated. Although that part made for the main storyline...I was lost in the what happened during the six years he was sleeping sidebar.

And, as you can imagine, a lot happened in 6 years.

He asked his doctor to call his mom, but she had passed away. When he saw his fiance', he learned that she had moved on with her life. As she tried to fill him in on what had been going on in her life, she made a few news event and pop culture references, telling him about a musician he hadn't heard of. She then said "I'll bring you her CD" catching herself with "oh wait, do you know what a CD is?"

I turned off the TV and marveled at the "coincidence" (which I don't believe in) of my watching that program on this particular evening. You see I really don't watch much TV so the timing of my landing on that particular show with that particular storyline wasn't lost on me. It was the eve of the six year anniversary of Phil's death.

I know this sounds crazy but I've laid awake at night and imagined some sci-fi plot that makes it possible that he walk through the door. Maybe he had amnesia or was captured by aliens, who knows...but somehow he walks in and we pick up where we left off. I know a lot has happened in six years, and like the character in the TV show, I know picking up where we left off would be difficult. But still...what would he ask? What would he be amazed about? What would he think about the world, politics, pop culture, today's current crop of country artists? What would he think about me...and his girls?

I thought about how Laura was 10 and Elise 13 when he died. Now almost 17 and 19, he would marvel at the young adults they have grown into. Although technology has progressed, because Phil was always an early adopter,I don't think he'd be too surprised at where we are 6 years later. He had a cell phone before most people did, paid over a thousand for a video camera that now costs a quarter of that, and even sold a guitar or two online before I even heard of eBay. I do think he'd appreciate the digital advances in media, however, and I'm sure we'd have a different (very expensive) TV than I do now! And, this whole social network thing and blogging would be new to him.

As I write this, I realize I don't have one digital photo of Phil, which is why he isn't on any of these pages. I really do need to go to the photo albums and scan some in.

Yeah...a lot has happened in six years, but one thing remains constant. One thing hasn't changed and never will.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Oh, for the love of....Dogs?

It's no secret to those who know me that I love animals... especially dogs. I'm a strong believer that children and animals need our special protection because they have no voice of their own. They enter the world completely full of trust and can be molded and affected completely by those who have the power to do so. And if put into the wrong hands whether through cruelty or ignorance, that power can have horrible consequences.

Fortunately, our society is becoming more aware and less tolerant of abuse against children. Through education and the media, it is more likely that known abuse of a child will be reported now that at any other point in our history. That is less the case for animals.

Some people may notice the dog chained to their neighbor's dog house in the worst cold or the worst heat...and ignore it. Some people believe dogs belong outside. Or that chaining a dog is perfectly acceptable. It's none of their business. Extremists for the cause of animal rights, like extremists of any cause have made some skeptical about getting involved.

As summer approaches, I'm asking you to open your eyes, ears and hearts to the animals around you and be their voice if you spot abuse or neglect.

It isn't acceptable for a dog to be left in a hot car, even if the windows are cracked. It isn't acceptable for a dog to be chained outside with no protection from the elements. If you see a dog chained in the sun, odds are the owner doesn't care enough to keep the water bowl filled either. That animal is suffering and living a tortured life.

Maybe you don't want to get involved. You don't want to be on the bad side of a neighbor who treats his dog that way, right? But there's a lot you can do anonymously. You can call the humane society and make a report so they can investigate. Take down the license number of the car and call the police; or report the car to the customer service center of the store. No one ever has to know it was you that made the call, but you'll feel better.

Last night my dogs were frolicking in my fenced-in yard. I heard a ruckus that sounded like a real dog fight and then a yelp--and I came running. I figured the two "boys" were fighting over a chewy bone again and called them into the house. It was then I saw a large puncture wound on Charlie's left side. The trip to the 24-hour emergency room vet was traumatic. It was heartbreaking to watch him in stress and pain. 8 staples later, we were home, but I found myself lost in thought about "the least among us". Although I don't exactly know how Charlie got his injury, I thought about the many animals who have been purposely abused and injured. Or those ignorant pet owners who may not think they are purposefully causing pain--but they are.

Our radio station, WQMX, has a weekly pet adoption feature on Thursday morning. We have learned of situations that have put most of these homeless animals in their circumstance that most people would find appalling. And in so many cases, there are people who had to have seen something, had to have known. It is our station's goal to not only raise awareness but also find loving homes for these wonderful animals.

If you or someone you know is thinking about getting a pet, before you spend money at the pet store or go to an expensive breeder, visit your local animal shelter or humane society. For a look at some of our featured pets, and for more for information and links to numerous non-profit animal rescue organizations click here:

Note: The 7th annual Pet Expo is at Hardesty Park in West Akron this Saturday June 7th and will feature tons of rescue organizations on location with loveable pets you can take home that day. The Pet Expo is presented by radio stations WQMX, WONE and WAKR.