2016: A Dog-Gone Great Year!

One way I perceive the passage of time during my marriage is by “dog”.

The early years: For the first 12 years, we didn’t have a dog.

The school-age years: As our older child reached first grade, we moved to Sewickley, PA (15 miles west of Pittsburgh). Shortly after settling-in, we got our first dog, Bear, a lovable mutt. She was the joy of our kids’ lives for seven years in Sewickley, followed by eight years in Naperville, IL. She went into kidney failure and had to be put down just about the time my younger child finished high school.

The empty-nest years: My daughter decided to attend Ohio University, and my wife’s parents lived in Mariemont. As the dot-com bubble started bursting, I took a job at P&G and we moved to Cincinnati as empty-nesters. Soon afterward, I came home from work to find that I was suddenly the proud owner of a pure-bred border collie! Winnie became the joy of my life, playing ball and catching frisbees for hours on end. Shorty after turning 15, organs suddenly began to fail; in less than 48 hours, we had to put her down (peacefully, it seemed). That was in late January of 2016.

2016: The good news was that we were suddenly free to move about the country, which we proceeded to do. We spend almost three week in Florida in February in our Casita trailer, biking and sea kayaking. In April we spent a week with our son and his girlfriend at a resort condo in North Topsail Beach, NC. We canoed the Buffalo River for five days in May with friends. I took several kayak-camping weekend trips with the Hoosier Canoe & Kayak Club. We led a group of 10 sea kayakers to Acadia National Park in August, with eight of us continuing on to the 100 Wild Islands in Nova Scotia, camping on islands for five nights. In September, took our Casita to Curt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming to visit with my wife’s family, and then went to Utah for two weeks, camping at four national parks. Overall, I slept on the ground 26 nights – way more than ever before!

The Alfie years: By December, we decided we wanted another dog. I had started volunteering one day a week at Save the Animals Foundation, near where we live. My wife Jen started searching for a small dog that would travel well. She found an eight-month-old Chihuahua-mix rescue dog at Luv Fur Mutts, a no-kill dog foster organization. Alfie is a male, very affectionate and bursting with energy. We adopted him in the closing days of 2016. He is a welcome companion on this journey.

doug-and-alfie-2

Snuggling with Alfie, who loves to be warm!

Health Update: I met with my oncologist last Friday. I’ll meet with my radiologist tomorrow. I’ll get my PET Scan Friday. The radiologist supposedly needs 7-10 business days to prepare for my first treatment. So, it looks like that will be February 28th at the earliest. So, we’re hoping to head for Anastasia State Park in Florida on Monday, for a least one of the two weeks we planned to camp there (second week at Fort Clinch State Park). I believe the R&R there will be much more beneficial than brooding here!

Update on my petition to Ivanka Trump: 43 signatures so far. Please consider signing, and/or asking your friends to sign. This is the best method I can think of to get President Trump to stop denying that climate-change is real, and is caused by us burning fossil fuels!

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