Dead Friends

Sunny and Brunhilda, both lost in a short span; '05 was a rotten year. '06 began not much better with the death of faithful Boris. More on these unfortunate events later.

Since the untimely death of his master my nephew Claxton, Sage Long, the big, beautiful doofus of a black labrador had been cared for by my sister and niece. On Friday, March 21, 2002, despite heroic efforts to keep him with us, he died of complications from cancer. I'll post a photo when I get one...

March, 2002: Hank Ferguson died unexpectedly a mere 24 hours after checking in to an emergency room with a sore shoulder. It was the flesh-eating disease and the doctors say the odds of death were something like two in a million. So much for the odds.

2001: "Cowboy Jim" Preston, former consciencious objector, became a licenced firearms instructor (mugged once too often...) and a P.I. who liked to restore Model A Fords...

I first met Jim when I was 12 years old, where we attended junior high school together. He was always more adept at the English language than I was, although I did excel in French, which wasn't quite as useful...

As the years rolled by he became a great influence in my life. At one point he was married to a cousin of mine, but that didn't work out well at all. He tended to work too hard and I got the impression he didn't take enough time to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak.

He remarried and had a daughter, who is growing up straight and normal, which is more than could be said for either Jim or I.

Throughout his life Jim's nickname was the "Marlboro Man", as he always smoked them (I did too, but I quit when I turned 22...). Even knowing of his predicament and after radiation therapy and a brief remission, when he served as Best Man at my wedding, he smoked and smoked. In the end it did him in and that's all there is to it.

Careese Haas, aka Miss Waddlesworth died on April 1, 2000 of acute kidney failure. She was 13 years old.

Careese had dieted herself down to a svelte 29 pounds and we thought all was well. The first sign of trouble was diagnosed as a detatched retina, an untreatable malady which had caused blindness in one eye, but which was unlikely to affect the other one.

Two weeks later, when it became clear that her other eye was failing, we took her to an eye specialist who determined that what was really going on was a build-up of fluid and blood behind both eyes, caused by very high blood pressure. Kidney disease is hard to spot and there was no fear for her life at this point.

A few short hours after the first dose of medication Careese collapsed. We rushed her to the emergency clinic, where it was finally determined that the kidneys were behind it all. In spite of all that could be done, she succumbed this afternoon, just two days after the correct diagnosis.

We'll never forget her barky warning at approaching friends and strangers alike and we will always remember her gentle smile. We loved her very much and we are trying hard to cope with our growing string of family losses.

I fervently pray to the forces that run this universe that this string grows no longer.

It has been said that dogs are people with tails. White Dog Haas, aka W.D., my main squeeze was murdered in June of 1998, just two days before our birthdays, by a student attending UCSB. The startling lack of moral fiber and backbone demonstrated by the perpetrator, a next door "neighbor" who failed to come forward and claim responsibility for this act, has become common amongst students of this institute of higher learning. W.D. was a white rose, who flourished despite the shit surrounding her. But our best efforts to protect her from our deteriorating environment were not good enough and now she is gone. We scraped our shoes free of our despicable next-door inhabitants' sense of a good time and have moved on to greener pastures. With our two remaining dogs we planned to spend the remainder of our lives in another town, surrounded by human beings and trustworthy people with tails.

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