Making the Tough Decision

A friend of mine had to make a tough decision yesterday.

Her dog disappeared overnight and, when she finally found it, it was bleeding and had curled up under an old parked car, presumably to die.

Of course, she rushed it to the vet’s office and had x-rays done.

The results weren’t good — the dog’s back was broken.

She had two options:

1) Send the dog up the road to the nearest veterinary college and let them operate, or

2) Have the dog put to sleep (euthanized) right then.

Not a real good way to end a month, huh?

Choice #1, surgery, didn’t carry any guarantees of success, despite the projected cost of several thousand dollars.

Choice #2 was a permanent solution and would end her dog’s life.

Reluctantly, she picked euthanasia.

As a lifelong dog owner, I feel her pain, and I know it’s going to take a long time for the ache in her heart to heal.

We get so attached to our pets. They gladly become our “babies,” our companions; they follow us around, tongue lolling, eyes bright, ever ready to play, to participate in something fun, to go for a walk or car ride, to lie at our feet and doze while we read or work on our computers.

Who could put a price on such loyalty?

Therefore, when “the time comes” to make the tough decision about when to end their lives, it’s incumbent on those of us who love them to make the kindest, gentlest choice.

They deserve nothing less.

And, while the Bible doesn’t directly address the question of whether pets go to Heaven, I believe they do!

Revelation 19 speaks of Jesus coming from Heaven to earth on a white horse.

So it seems perfectly possible that we will meet up with our beloved pets at the Rainbow Bridge — and what a reunion that will be!

“No Problem” . . . “Here Ya Go”

Time for a little quiz, OK?

1) You’re clerking in a department store when a customer approaches and asks you to help her reach something hanging way up high. You do, she thanks you and you say, “No problem.”


Wrong! Your proper response is simply “You’re welcome.”

Thank you and You’re welcome — they just go together, y’know?

Same thing for flight attendants and waitresses. Customer asks for a refill, you provide it, he thanks you and what do you say?

“No problem.”

No problem? It better not be — that’s your job, isn’t it?

Let’s say it together — “You’re welcome.”

How about this one:

2) You’re a teller at a bank. A customer comes in, deposits a sum of money (doesn’t matter HOW much), and you complete the transaction by handing him a receipt and saying, “Here ya go.”


NO! This time, it’s “Thank you.”

Work with me here.

3) You’re a receptionist at a doctor’s office and you’re on the phone when a patient walks in. You ignore her until you’re finished with your call.


Of course not! Acknowledge her presence with a smile and a nod, complete your call as soon as possible, then apologize to the walk-in for making her wait.

Whatever happened to simple manners?

Who’s training employees these days?

Am I the only person bothered by stuff like this?

Admittedly, I’ve not worked in all of these service-type jobs, but common sense alone tells me it doesn’t cost anything to be nice to those you’re interacting with!

Fellow workers and the boss, to be sure, but especially paying customers, clients, patients, whatever.

C’mon, people, unemployment is pushing 10% nationwide (and in many states it’s 14%). Isn’t that a big enough pool that you don’t have to resort to hiring those who are crass, inept, complaining, and downright rude??

Stacks of stuff

My Favorite Domer was home for Mid-Term Break (what other schools refer to as “Spring Break”) two weeks ago, and I noticed something I’d never noticed before.

He’s a stacker.

By “stacker,” I mean he stacks things — coins, papers, CDs, books, whatever — in little piles all over the rooms he frequents most.

Now obviously this tendency to stack didn’t start overnight. He’s been doing it for many of his nineteen years.

I just never realized it before we got new carpeting.

Whoa, new carpeting?

Yeah, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Back to the stacking.

As a child, MFD stacked Pokemon trading cards, Nintendo game books, Lego boxes, board games.

He even stacked an unseemly number of plush Puffkins in a colored rollaway bin.

He grew, and so did his stacks — certificates from whatever activity he was involved with, textbooks, video games, guitar books.

He’s a hoarder, too, but that’s another story.

You’d think I’d have noticed all those stacks, but I didn’t.

They appeared so gradually that I didn’t realize they were there. Kind of like the story about the frog who doesn’t notice his water is getting hot if you add it a little bit at a time, but he WILL notice if you just dump him into a bucket of hot water!

So, back to the carpet.

We finally decided to yank out the old carpet that was in the house when it was built and replace it with a new version.

It was way time to upgrade.

The old carpet had lasted 40 years — yeah, even the flooring guys had a tough time believing that! — but it had one major problem.

It was 100 percent cotton, meaning that, if you sat down on it, you stood up looking like you’d rolled in fur!

Everybody blamed my Sheltie; turns out, it wasn’t his fault at all.

Take that, all you blamers!

The new carpet, besides being a different color, is a new material. You can sit — heck, you can roll from one room to another! — without fear of fur.

The vacuum cleaner loves it, and so do we.

But something happens when you’re forced to clean your living spaces all at once. You notice things you never noticed before.

Things like stacks.

Tit for Tat?

I’m feeling a bit “put-out” today.

I did a favor for someone — at considerable personal cost, I might add — yet the favor went unacknowledged.

Un-thanked, too.

Do we live in such impersonal, selfish times that we can’t expect to receive gratitude (at least) for favors rendered??

Here’s what happened.

More than a month ago, someone asked me to read something they’d written and make some comments.

A critique, if you will.

“Be harsh,” they said. “Hit me between the eyes. I can take it.”


Turns out, they didn’t mean it.

Oh, they wanted me to read all right. But they didn’t want to hear my honest comments.

No, they only wanted someone to stroke their ego.

I don’t roll like that.

You ask for my opinion and you get it.

Sure, I’ll try to soft-pedal so you don’t feel like you’ve been tossed into a berry patch, but don’t bother asking for my thoughts if you’re not prepared to hear them!

What is it about creative people who think they’re above criticism? I’ve heard from too many writers who refuse to join a writers’ group because the others there “only want people to praise what they’ve written and dissolve into tears at anything negative.”

How do writers expect to improve their craft by only hearing the good stuff?

And how many agents and publishers want to work with someone that delicate?

I realize I’m partly to blame for not charging for proofing in the first place.

Some people make a real living at proofreading/critiquing, and doing a “favor” like this took time from my own writing, web design, and even my personal life.

So I’m not real happy about the experience and reluctant to repeat it.

I can only conclude this person was born in a barn or something.

I mean, if someone does me a favor, I make it a point to say “Thank you.”

I might bristle at their criticism.

I might not take their suggestions.

But I acknowledge their efforts and affirm their right to have an opinion.

Shouldn’t I be entitled the same courtesy?

Shades of deja vu

Back in mid-January, McNeil Consumer Healthcare voluntarily recalled some of its over-the-counter Tylenol products after consumers noticed a “moldy, musty, or mildew-like odor” that became associated with “temporary and non-serious gastrointestinal events.”

Something like 70 people had nausea, diarrhea, stomach upsets, vomiting, and all that.

The company attributed the odor to a chemical sometimes applied to wood pallets that transport and store the packaging materials in a Puerto Rican plant.

Really? Today was the first I’d heard of it.

Admittedly, I don’t watch much TV but I do read the papers and the Interwebs, and I didn’t sleep through the last two months.

So I did some research.

A massive earthquake hit Haiti just about that same time.

News rightly focused on that story.

But another Tylenol recall was news too, wasn’t it?

For the past several weeks, I’ve been trying to buy some Tylenol regular strength tablets, but I couldn’t find any.

You’d have thought I’d have been suspicious.

You’d have been wrong.

All I thought was that the shelf stockers were doing a poor job!

This morning, I cornered a not-too-busy pharmacist and learned why.


While this recall isn’t as serious as the 1982 version (when seven people in the Chicago area died after taking Tylenol laced with cyanide), it’s still frightening.

I mean, c’mon, who wants to get sick from something that’s supposed to help you?

But it’s interesting from a marketing point-of-view.

Decades ago, the company took only six days to pull 31 million bottles of Tylenol from store shelves. The move cost $100 million and threatened to ruin the company’s reputation.

People commended it as proof of corporate responsibility.

Tamper-evident packaging came into regular use, and the company fought back to regain the public trust.

Contrast then with now.

The first complaints came in in early 2008 yet it was last November before the company recalled anything — and then, it was only the arthritis pain medication with a red easy-open cap.

A month later, McNeil recalled more arthritis pain medication, finally expanding the recall to a broad variety of its OTC products.

The pharmacist I spoke to said it was doubtful the products would return to the shelves any time soon.

I hope he’s wrong. Tylenol is a good product, especially for those of us who can’t tolerate ibuprofen.

And I’m sorry, but the store brand just doesn’t work as well.