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February 17, 2011

When to Say When

The first time I heard my toddler curse another driver from the backseat, I realized that our kids learn an awful lot through observation. The key word being "awful." Whether we're driving aggressively, snacking unhealthily, or saying, "No, sorry," to the panhandler outside the market, our progeny are watching. They're listening. They're learning. It's unnerving.

We try to model thoughtful grown-up behavior. We try to embody — or at least convincingly imitate — the people we hope our children will eventually become: Respectful and responsible, courageous and considerate. We're even careful not to gripe (out loud) when our own parents call during dinner, because someday that will be us. We'll be the ones phoning our kids at inopportune times, and by god, they'd better answer with smiles on their faces.

But right now, we're facing a tough grown-up task that's made all the tougher under our kids' searing scrutiny: managing our aging dog's demise.

Jasper is 15, which is a-hundred-and-ancient in dog years. The boys have never lived a day without her.

Once the energy core of the family, she's now a fluffy but matted rug that lies against the front door and can barely be budged when we come and go. She still barks, but it's mostly at us, since her cloudy eyes can't always tell who we are.

She's stone deaf. Her hips slip. She sometimes leaves messes on the floor. And we invest more each month in her pain pills than we do in our boys' college savings.

123 Next >>

Keywords: pet  family dog  mortality  infirmity 


When my own father was suffering from bone marrow cancer, his insurance company refused to spend the $150,000 for a marrow transfusion. I was incensed! Dad said, "You can't blame them, really. I'm not a good long term risk. I have $150,000 and I wouldn't waste it on me."

He always made me laugh and he was always practical.


Mon, Feb 21, 2011

Very touching, Star. Hard stuff. Hope Jasper has a few more good days with the family.
Jim Webb

Mon, Feb 21, 2011

I started reading this column laughing out loud.... really, ACTUALLY!

I ended it with tears in my eyes.

What a gifted writer.

Ray Morgan

Sun, Mar 13, 2011

What a breath of fresh air. when I read your great column,Hooter Staring I had to share with all my buddies. The way you put all the sayings and the way the column flowed was great, keep it up.some of the column writers are so anal and no personality it makes me want to stop reading the paper. But here you come and I loved it.Even tho you dont fill out your bra, its not quanity but quality.And if you were not married I would ask you out to dinner so I could listen to you in person, to bad. Keep it up your great. Tom Bruno Ventura

tom bruno

Mon, May , 21:26:52

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