Thursday, December 26, 2013

Here Are Five Good Reasons Why I Won't Remember 2013 Fondly

Am I the only one who finds that, the older I get, the faster time seems to go by?

It’s nice when that happens at work.  It’s nice when that happens in the weeks and months preceding an eagerly anticipated trip.  But in the grand scheme of things, it bothers me more than it pleases me.  Because, the faster time goes by, the less time there is left.  Yes, I know that’s an unpleasant and somewhat depressing thought.  But, if you’ve been reading my blog on a regular basis, you probably know by now that I’ll never be accused of being a “Pollyanna” type.

But Pollyanna or not, one thing I can tell you for sure is that 2013 cannot end soon enough for me.  This year has brought a lot of unhappiness into my life, and I won’t be even a little bit sorry to see it go.  So, if the time between now and January 1, 2014 flies by quickly, I won’t complain at all.

I know there are lots and lots of people – many of them more directly involved in some of the events I am about to reluctantly revisit below than I actually was – who have had a much tougher year than I have.  But I couldn’t let this year come to a close without remembering some of the significant things that have affected me over the past twelve months. 

So, without further ado, here are the Five Good Reasons Why I Won’t Remember 2013 Fondly.   

Or, to be more blunt, the Five Good Reasons 2013 Sucked.

1.  April 15

On April 15, the city I love and call home was the victim of a terrorist bombing. 

I still can’t even quite believe it really happened.

Monday, April 15 was Patriot’s Day, a holiday commemorating the first shot fired in the American Revolution.  It is only recognized as a holiday here in Massachusetts, and in one other state (Maine?).  The day is celebrated here with a morning Red Sox game at Fenway Park, and the running of the Boston Marathon.  Some businesses are closed.  Mine was open, and I was at work around 3:00, when my cell phone buzzed with “breaking news.”  I looked over at the pop-up, and it said something about an explosion being reported near the finish line.  It didn’t really hit me what they were trying to say until follow-ups started coming in.

Someone had set off two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  By the end of the day, we learned three people had been killed, and several hundred injured.  Some of the injuries were quite serious, involving the loss of limbs.  A neighbor in my building was running that day.  (Thankfully he was okay, as was his family.)  People come here from all over the globe to participate in what is considered one of the premier marathons in the world.  This day is usually one in which our city is celebrated for its history and its beauty.  That two young men with hatred in their hearts could turn the day into a national tragedy both horrified and angered me.  I remember coming home from work, and Mike, seeing the shape I was in, saying, “bad things happen,” in an effort to calm me down and help me get some perspective.  It had the opposite affect.  I just looked at him, and said, “But they DON’T happen HERE,” and started crying.  (Much as I am doing right now, as I type this.)

That “attitude,” if you will, seems to have been the prevailing one around here.   Almost immediately, people everywhere were using the phrase “Boston Strong.”  Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, originally from the Dominican Republic, perhaps said it best when he proclaimed, five days later, at the first Fenway game to be played following the bombings, “This is our fucking city.”  Sure, we were hurt, and we were sad, but God damn it, nobody screws with us.  We pretty much proved that a few days later, when we shut down the entire city until we found the bombers.

Bostonians are nothing if not tough.

2.  April 15 (part two) and May 28

Wasn’t there a movie called “Death Takes a Holiday?”  Maybe not.  Regardless, death most assuredly didn’t take any holidays in 2013.

The world of literature lost Tom Clancy and Elmore Leonard.  The entertainment world lost James Gandolfini and Cory Monteith from “Glee.”  The sports world lost Ken Norton, Earl Weaver and Stan Musial.  The world of science and technology lost Ray Dolby.  The music world lost Ray Manzarek, Faye Hunter, Alvin Lee and Lou Reed. 

The human race at large lost Nelson Mandela.

On a more personal level, we lost two people in our small condo building, one suddenly, and one after a long battle with cancer. 

And a couple of people who were important to me, in different ways and at different times in my life, left this world much, much too soon.

On the same day Boston was being bombed, one of the most talented and criminally under-appreciated musical talents in the history of pop music passed away suddenly in California.  I didn’t learn of Scott Miller’s passing until that Thursday, while checking Facebook as I waited for a train into work.  He was a songwriter of unmatched intelligence, humor and wit.  One of my very first blog entries is a testament to his talent, and you can read it here. 

Upon his passing, a rather odd, and strangely wonderful, thing started to happen.  The Facebook group for his fans, all of us mourning his loss in our own ways, started to bond in a way I don’t think I could have ever predicted.  Friendships began.  A former band mate and lifelong friend started a fund for the future education of Scott’s young daughters.  (Here.)  His friends, band mates from a 30+ year career, and even his widow shared, and continue to share, stories, memories and photographs with his fans.  It’s still going strong, and it’s really been something pretty extraordinary to witness.  I’m decidedly Agnostic, but it’s hard for me not to believe that Scott has had a hand in this whole thing.

About six weeks after Scott Miller’s death, Steven Paul Perry passed away, after a long battle with cancer.  If Scott wasn’t well known in the musical world, Steven may have been even less so.   But he was an amazingly talented guitarist, and over the course of his career he played with the likes of Orchestra Luna with Rick Berlin and John Hiatt.

Steven was the younger brother of one of my high school friends, and he was also my first boyfriend.  He was a sweet and kind person, and, as I said, very talented.   My heart goes out to his parents, who were always very kind to me, and who I was very close to when I was younger.  They never would have dreamed back then that they would some day have to bury their youngest child, something no one should ever have to do.

There are a lot of YouTube videos of Steven’s work.  This one includes not only an interview, but also an appearance on the Tonight Show.

3.  October 15

As a woman, I’ve always dreaded my annual mammogram.  But, as a woman, I’ve always faithfully endured them.  I know how valuable they can be.  But until this year, it hadn’t really hit home just how important they actually are, and how effectively they can, and do, save lives.

Leslie is my best friend.  We’ve known each other for over 30 years, shared so many good and bad times I can’t even count them.  We’re more like sisters than friends.  We have so many memories and “in” jokes, it’s almost ridiculous.

In August, Leslie got called back for more tests after her annual mammogram.  This, in and of itself, is not unusual.  It’s happened to me before, and it’s happened to her more than once.  Still, she was convinced that this time it was bad.  And, after an ultrasound and resulting biopsy, she got the word.

You know.  That word.  Cancer.

She called me right after she heard, on a Monday afternoon, around 4:00.  And, Leslie being who she is, she called me back about two hours later, to make sure I was okay.  Yes, she was calling me to make sure I was okay.  That’s the kind of person she is.

The doctors felt they had caught the cancer very early, and that a lumpectomy would be sufficient to get all of it.  Leslie wasn’t having any of that.  She opted for a double mastectomy. 

She had her surgery at Mount Auburn Hospital on Tuesday, October 15, and was discharged the next day.  She was exhausted and in pain, but she was alive, and even laughing.

I can’t really think too hard about all the “what ifs” here.  What if she hadn’t had her annual mammogram?  What if she hadn’t followed up immediately with the ultrasound and biopsy?  What if she hadn’t opted for the double mastectomy?  (The post-surgery biopsy on the tissue from the breast without any tumors showed that tumors would likely have developed within a year or two.)   

If I think about it too hard, it starts to hit me how easily I could have lost my best friend, instead of having a celebratory dinner with her at her favorite restaurant after she started to feel better.

Leslie’s back at work now, and we just had our annual holiday lunch with my sister on Thursday afternoon.  I had a few gifts for her.  Most of them were very different than the usual gifts I get for her.  They have a lot more meaning now.  And so does just being able to have lunch with her.

4.  December 17

I had actually written my year-end blog last Monday night.  Something told me not to post it yet.  It was almost as though I felt like, if I posted it, something else would happen.

So I didn’t post it.

And something else happened anyway.

Last month, I wrote a blog about pets.  (You can read it here.)  In it, I talked about my beautiful, sweet rescue Golden Retriever, Suzie.  Last year, my husband also wrote a moving blog about Suzie (here).  As you can probably tell from reading what we wrote, Suzie was a pretty awesome dog.

You’ll no doubt notice I said “was.”

Last Tuesday morning, I said goodbye to Mike like I always do.  I think I reminded him not to forget to take Suzie to daycare.  She’d been going to a very nice daycare near his office on occasion.  She loved it there.  They loved her.

Around 8:00, my phone at work rang.  It was Mike.  He sounded…odd.  He told me I needed to go home, and when I asked what was up, he told me that, just after he’d left the daycare, they called him.  Suzie had collapsed as she ran to the other end of the room.  She died while they were on the phone with him.

He returned to the daycare immediately.  He hadn’t gone more than a mile or two before getting the call.  They, of course, felt terrible.  Nothing like this had ever happened there before.  One of the staff insisted on taking her in his van, and following Mike to our vet’s office, which is a good 15 miles away from there.  Mike says he doesn’t even remember how he got there.  He was in rough shape.

Our vet did a short exam, and didn’t see anything unusual.  He said dogs very rarely have heart attacks, and that his best guess was maybe an aneurysm.  I guess it’s some comfort to know it wasn’t anything we could possibly have noticed.  I guess it’s also some comfort to know she didn’t suffer.  But my sweet dog is gone, and finding comfort in anything right now is difficult.  (Mike wrote a short piece about her passing the other day - it's right here.)

I feel as though someone has cut a huge piece out of my heart.  It’s hard to describe, unless you’ve owned and loved a pet.  I know the pain will ease over time, and I know we might even find another dog to love.  But I also know I will miss her for the rest of my life.

5.  The Small Stuff, and the Not-so-Small Stuff

There were a lot of other lousy things that went on this year. 

People close to me continued to suffer the debilitating effects of Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease.   A close friend took a serious fall and broke her collarbone over the summer.  My husband had issues with his hip, back and neck.  I have friends who have lost people close to them, and friends who have watched their loved ones go through serious health crises. Even yours truly, who has been heard to boast at times about her sometimes ridiculously good health, suffered from both conjunctivitis and shingles.  While both were annoying, luckily, both also ended up being very mild cases.   Still, offhand, I can’t recall a less healthy year for both myself, and for those close to me.

I turned 60 this year, and that one was tough.  It sort of symbolizes the change from “middle age” to…whatever it is that comes next.  The wrinkles are looking a little less like “laugh lines.”  The back pain is a little more frequent. I sometimes find myself repeating stories I’ve already told.

Still, I’m in better shape now than I was at 50, and maybe even at 40.  I exercise several times a week, and walk at least a mile a day, usually more.  I’m still the one who gets up on a ladder to change the smoke detector batteries and the light bulbs.  And I think I’ve missed two, maybe three, days from work due to illness in the past five years.

I started wearing hearing aids this fall.  If you think that’s no big deal, then you apparently have not yet started to feel the hand of time on the back of your neck.  Trust me, I am smart enough to know I should count my blessings.  And I have quite a few of them.  A good job, a good home, a wonderful husband, a sister I adore, and friends who I love. 

But finally giving in to the advice of my husband and friends, and getting fitted for hearing aids, was tough.  Yeah, they’re “hard to see.”  I get that.  But if you look hard enough, you can see them.  That telltale plastic wire is a dead giveaway. 

But guess what?  I do hear better now.  We no longer have the television volume at a level that was becoming painful for Mike.  I no longer smile and nod at someone rather than asking them for the third time to repeat what they’ve just said.  And the best thing?  My Audiologist told me himself that the type of hearing loss I have is genetic, and has nothing to do with the loud rock music I’ve happily listened to for over 45 years.  To celebrate, I’ve asked for an iPod Nano for Christmas. 

So I guess, all in all, things could be worse.  I’m happy and healthy.  My marriage is as
strong today as it was the day we said “I do.”  Two weeks before my 60th birthday, I rode in a helicopter over an Alaskan glacier, and took a trip on a dog sled.  I’ve met some great people this year, both at work and outside of work.  I finally got to Vancouver, where our good friends live, and I saw why they love it there so much.  I saw the “Big Star” documentary, after having contributed towards its production via Kickstarter.  (It’s great, see it.)  I started writing a blog, and found that I really enjoy it.

And best of all, I still have my best friend and partner in crime around, and will for a long, long time.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Here Are Five Good Reasons Why "Lola" is Still the Greatest Pop Song of All Time

I was ten years old when the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.  The only reason I was watching was because my mother, who I guess would have been 33 at the time (funny how she seemed “old” to me back then), had been hearing about them and was curious to see what they were all about.  So, the three of us (her, me, and my younger sister) sat down that Sunday night and watched, along with almost everyone else in the country, as the world was changed forever. 

I remember she loved them, and found them adorable, while my sister Patty and I immediately wrinkled our noses and started giggling about how awful their long hair was.  (Three weeks later, we were both in love with Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, so go figure.)

For the next six months or so, the Beatles pretty much ruled my life.  My classmates and I made life miserable for our bus driver, as we regaled her on a daily basis with fascinating details such as George’s birthday, Ringo’s favorite color, the name of John’s childhood pet, and Paul’s height and weight.  Patty and I even cut out small photos of their faces from the pages of Tiger Beat magazine and taped them over the faces of all of our Ken dolls.  There was no way our Barbies were going to date boring old Ken(s), not with the Beatles so readily available.

(By the way, I feel I need to mention at this point that, in all the years since that time, I have retained in my often-fuzzy memory the birthdays of all four Beatles.  I married a devoted Paul McCartney fan.  Every June 18, I say to him, “hey, you know what today is, don’t you?”  And every June 18, he says, “no, what?”!!)

As the so-called “British Invasion” continued, I started to branch out and listen to several of the other bands of that era.  I recall liking the Dave Clark Five and Herman’s Hermits well enough, but preferred the bluesy singing of Eric Burdon of the Animals, and the brilliant guitar theatrics of Beck, Hendrix and Clapton.  I also really liked the Kinks, whose lead singer and songwriter, Ray Davies, was already making wry social commentary into hit singles (remember “A Well-Respected Man?”).

As time marched on, I began listening to a lot of different music.  I remember at various times being “into” James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Buffalo Springfield (especially Neil Young, and I am still a fan).  Janis Joplin, who died two days before my seventeenth birthday, became one of my idols not just for her amazing voice, but also for the fact that she’d grown up an outsider – just like me.

Meanwhile, Ray Davies and the Kinks continued to make great music, but with somewhat less success than before.  Davies became enamored of “concept” albums.  The general record-buying public did not, despite such great songs as “Sunny Afternoon,” “Shangri-La” and “Waterloo Sunset.”

In 1970, the Kinks released a single from their latest album.  The song was called “Lola,” and it reached #9 on the Billboard charts.  To this day, how a song like “Lola” could have possibly been a bona fide hit single blows my mind. 

Which brings us to the topic of today’s blog post.  Not long after its release, “Lola” became my favorite song.  Through the years, it’s held on to the top spot in my heart, despite some serious contenders.  Admittedly, there are songs I love that are more beautiful (“You and Your Sister” by Chris Bell immediately comes to mind) and songs I love that have a better melody (pretty much any of Todd Rundgren’s early stuff, not to mention a number of Davies’ other songs).  There are even songs I love that are just as clever (click here to read my blog post on “Amplifier”).  But, so far at least, nothing has quite been able to replace “Lola” in that top spot for me.

So, if I may, allow me to present Five Good Reasons Why “Lola” is Still the Greatest Pop Song of All Time.

1.  The Song is About...What??!!??

There’s really no getting around it.  The song is about a young man whose first sexual encounter may - or may not - be with a transvestite.  The lyrics more or less leave it open to interpretation.  Still, not exactly the sort of thing a lot of rock and roll songs are written about even now…and certainly not in 1970.

And it’s not like Lola is a particularly convincing woman, either.  To wit:

“Well I'm not dumb, but I can't understand
Why she walked like a woman but talked like a man.”

2.  The Vocal Performance

One of the things I’ve always loved about Ray Davies is the fact that he sings rock’n’roll songs, but, unlike most English rockers, he doesn’t particularly try to disguise his accent when he sings, and in “Lola” he definitely makes this work to his advantage.

After the brief, but instantly recognizable, guitar intro, Ray begins the narrative in his trademark English accent:

I met her in a club down in old Soho,
where you drink champagne
and it tastes just like Coca Cola,
C-O-L-A, cola,”

And he never really shakes the accent, even in the rollicking choruses.  It gives the song the needed innocence that probably got it played on AM radio stations all over the country without any real issues.

3.  The Whole Coca Cola Thing

The U.S. version of the song mentions Coca Cola by name, as quoted above.  However, because the BBC had a policy against product placement, they insisted Davies change the words for British radio.   The English version substitutes the phrase “cherry cola.”  Which, to be fair, still rhymes nicely with “Lola.”

For some reason (probably the fact that I have a lifelong Coca Cola addiction), I’ve always gotten a huge kick out of that.

4.  The Simplicity of the Musical Accompaniment

With lyrics that assault your senses and ignite your imagination from beginning to end, the fact that “Lola” has such a straightforward guitar/bass/drums musical backing works beautifully.  There’s no need for anything fancy, the words are what matters here.  The Davies brothers realized that, and I thank them for it.

In fact, the backing track is very similar to another of my favorite Kinks songs, “Apeman.”  In that one, the simple music is once again matched up with witty, clever lyrics, and, once again, it works perfectly in the context of the song.

5.  That Line

The main reason I fell so hard for “Lola,” and have stayed resolutely in love ever since, is the complete and total brilliance, wit, and just plain genius of its most famous line.

“Well I'm not the world's most masculine man,
but I know what I am, and I'm glad I'm a man,
and so is Lola.”

I’ve written in this blog before about my affection for lyrical word play, double meanings in songs, and the like.  This, to me, is the apex, the crowning moment of pop song writing, the “it” moment.

It just might be the single greatest song lyric line ever written.

Yes, I know, there have been many, many great lines written in many, many great songs over the years.  Most of them are a whole lot more serious and more earthshattering than this one.  But, as far as I’m concerned, none of them come close to it.

So, what exactly is he saying?  Is he saying that he’s glad he’s a man, and Lola is also glad?  Or is he saying, as seems to be the general consensus, that he’s a man – and that Lola is also a man?

I’ve actually read a number of interpretations, and I think the beauty of the whole thing is that the question is left unanswered in the song.  It can mean whatever you want it to mean.  I’m quite certain this was done purposely by Davies, and to me it is sheer genius.

So, kudos to all the songwriters over the years who’ve written gorgeous love songs, or heartbreaking songs about lost love.  For me, even after all this time, it’s still all about a young boy being seduced in a London bar by a rather manly transvestite named Lola.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Here Are Five Good Reasons Why Everyone Needs a Pet

I am one of those annoying “animal people.”  You know, the ones who get all upset when a news story comes on involving a dog suffering, but can sit there and eat a brownie while watching a story about a grisly murder. 

But there are valid reasons for this emotional response to animals.  And the most obvious one is this: animals are, by and large, just plain better than people.  Period.

Seriously, when was the last time you heard about a cat walking into a school, a post office, a…litter box (?)...and shooting a bunch of other cats?  When was the last time you heard a dog use a racial epithet?  Ever seen a hamster bully another hamster?  I think you get my drift.

I’ve had pets pretty much my whole life.  I can’t really imagine ever not having at least one. 

I always tell Mike I knew he was the one for me when Dominique, my elderly, cranky cat, didn’t hiss at him when he came over.  Mike had always been a dog person, but when Dominique passed away a few years later, he cried just like I did. 

He even let me grieve for a few weeks before bringing up the subject of getting a dog – which I was dead set against.  Right up until the moment we brought Brady home.  (This was in 1993, so, no, he wasn’t named after Tom.)  Brady was an 8-week-old Golden Retriever puppy.  And Brady transformed me into a dog lover.  We had already gotten another cat, a 12-week-old Maine Coon named Wendy, who was so smart, we felt like we were her inferiors in every way (and she wholeheartedly agreed).  The two became instant friends and partners in crime.  They even developed a tag team approach to their mischief.  One day I came home from work to find all of the magnets off of the fridge, and several chewed beyond recognition.  It became clear later on that Wendy had gotten up on top of the fridge, swatted the magnets off, and Brady had taken over from there.  Teamwork.

Sadly, we lost both of them early on, within eight months of each other, each to a different form of cancer.  I still miss them, and I still miss Dominique.

And now, we have Gigi, an extremely sweet 14-year-old rescue cat with more issues than Newsweek (she’s been in kidney failure for about a year and a half now, and I administer subcutaneous fluids several times a week; she also has Inflammatory Bowel Disease, high blood pressure, a missing front tooth, and more neuroses than I can even attempt to catalogue here) and Suzie.  Suzie is an 11½-year-old Golden Retriever rescue.  We adopted her ( - a fantastic organization) at 10 months of age, following surgery to repair two luxated patella (meaning, her kneecaps were messed up at birth).  She is an absolutely awesome dog, and it makes me sick just to think of the two families that gave up on her before we were lucky enough to get her.  She is very smart, very pushy, and very charming.  When we moved from a house to a condo a few years ago, I was worried about how she would adapt.  How she adapted was that, within 48 hours, she acted as though she’d always taken an elevator, and within 72 hours, she was the most popular dog in the building (alas, another Golden moved in last year, so she has to share that honor now, and she does so selflessly).  Gigi amazed me even more.  At the house, she had spent most of her time in the “formal” living room, happily distancing herself from all of us.  Now, she walks around the condo as if she owns it.  She loves sitting by the full-length windows, looking out at the Boston skyline.

Both of these wonderful creatures remind me every day that I am merely human.

Princess Suzie
Princess Gigi

(My husband, who writes a great blog, wrote about Suzie last year.  You can find it here: )

There are so many reasons we humans need our beloved pets that it’s hard to limit it to only five.  But I didn’t name this blog “Untold Reasons Why…” now, did I?  So here goes.

1.  There Are Actual Health Benefits to Owning a Pet

Ever heard of any supposed health benefits to being around another human?  Well, other than the theory that married people statistically live longer than unmarried people, that is.  (Though I’ve heard more than one person suggest that it only FEELS as though they’re living longer…)

In researching this subject, I’ve seen studies that indicate that Alzheimer patients suffer from less anxiety when there is an animal in the room with them.  It’s generally accepted now that so-called “therapy dogs” who visit nursing homes have a favorable effect on the residents.  AIDS patients have been found to be less likely to suffer from depression if they have a pet.  Heart attack patients with pets tend to survive longer than those without them.  These things are hard to argue with. (

Ever heard of a fellow human causing you less anxiety?  Hell, no.  It’s usually the other way around!

2.  Pets Are Chick Magnets (Especially Dogs)

For God’s sake, there’s even a Facebook page dedicated to the subject!

Be honest, ladies.  You’re walking through the park, and two different guys are coming from the opposite direction, both equally attractive.  One of them is walking along by himself, maybe listening to music on his headset, or reading emails on his iPhone.  The other is walking a big, goofy Golden Doodle on a leash.  Which one are you going to strike up a conversation with?  I rest my case.

3.  You’re Never Lonely

My husband travels for business.  He’s not gone every month, but he’s away several times a year.  If I didn’t have my two girls to keep me company, I’m not sure how I’d cope.  But I do, and it makes all the difference in the world.  Sure, I have to get up at 4:30 when he’s away, so I can walk Suzie to the park before I leave for work.  But when I walk in the front door at night, and Suzie’s there, so excited to see me you’d think I had a side of beef in my bag, I forget about that 4:30 walk pretty quickly. 

When I was single, Dominique and I spent many a Saturday evening on the couch together, sharing some Hagen Daz and commiserating about my lackluster love life.

And trust me when I tell you, when you’re feeling down and just need a good cry, there’s nothing like dog licks to wash away those tears.  (This is where the dog vs. cat argument can get tricky.  A cat is more likely to be, like, “Oh Jesus, she’s crying AGAIN?  I think I’ll vomit all over her new shoes.  That’ll give her something to cry about.”)

4.  You Will Exercise More, Whether You Like It or Not

Dogs can’t walk themselves, not even the smart ones.  Plus, there are leash laws.  Sure, after a long day at work, all you really want to do is cuddle up on the couch with a bag of chips and the remote.  But you can’t, not if you have a dog who needs to go out.  So you take out the leash, grab your keys and some doggie bags, and the two of you head out.  And you know what?  By the time you get back, you actually feel more relaxed, and less stressed, than you would if you had just sat and scarfed down that bag of chips.  Trust me, I wouldn’t lie to you.  Especially about potato chips.

(Cats, ferrets, and other small non-canine pets require care, too.  No, you don’t have to walk them.  But you do have to clean their litter boxes.  And that requires a fair amount of bending and stretching.)

5.  You Will Laugh More, Whether You Like It or Not

Animals are funny.  There’s no getting around it.  And unless you have absolutely no sense of humor whatsoever (and if that’s the case, boy have you wandered onto the wrong blog), they make you laugh, sometimes hysterically, sometimes just gently chuckling. 

You’ve all seen the billion or so videos on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.  The cats swinging from drapes, the dogs endlessly chasing their tails.  Hell, I think I’ve watched that video of the dog asking about the maple bacon at least five hundred times.  And I still laugh my head off every single time. 

There are untold numbers of “dog shaming” photos around now, where the poor dog wears a confessional sign around his neck.  “I pooped on my mom’s new dress,” or “I woke up the entire neighborhood at 3:00 AM because a car went by the house.”  They all make me laugh.  And apparently I am not alone, since there is now an entire website ( devoted to these photos.  

Oh, dear...

I think the task of coming up with five reasons NOT to have pets would have to be way more challenging than this one.  The one reason I hear most often is that it hurts too much when you lose them.  And, yeah, it does hurt.  It definitely does.  I’ve been through it enough times to know. 

But the love and joy they provide throughout their lives more than makes up for the pain of saying goodbye.  That old saying is true.  “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Plus, there are few things better than the feeling you get knowing you've given a dog or cat a really wonderful life, after others had given up on them.