Category Archives: Commentary

Das Fressen

Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral.

First comes the feeding, then comes morality. the Three Penny Opera, Berthold Brecht.

A headline in Die Zeit online German newspaper of Februarty 28 reads thus: the war in the Ukraine won’t be finished until Putin is finished.

And the double entendre of mh “finished” was as intentional as the “zum Ende” in German was.)


We see this as a violation of sovereign rights, a blow at a democracy one continent too close to Putins Prison: Russia. There is the thought that he miscalculated the will of the Ukrainians to stay free. He did. quite manifestly.

Does this look and sound like a worried man?

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on as he visits the construction site of the National Space Agency on the premises of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. (Sergei Guneyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

We know he has been planning this for years.

We know he is still KGB first, then President.

We know that we are his strawmen, his less than a russian lying cheating, ruthless exploiting capitalists who are responsible for all the woes that he the Billionaire and Mass Murderer and War Criminal and Mastermind of Crimes against Humanity shoves onto us. And it sticks because we are not holy either.

We know that he has been successful in several wars for which he paid no price at all –memories of Hitler and appeasement.

We know he has threatened the deployment of nuclear weapons if anyone interferes with his plans to take and keep the Ukraine. It is clear: his negotiating position is: give up your liberty and arms.

We wonder whether these sanctions will be enough to stop him from..; doing what?

Broken record: to kill democracy on his borders?


Look at that face again, the smirk of superiority, the look of the cat who got the mouse.

Vladimir Putin is not an idealogue. Political ideology means nothing to him. What is important to him is control so as to make himself in his own mind and in fact if at all possible larger and more powerful than anyone. He thinks that the time for the tyrant autocrat has come and the time for the dithering democrat has gone.

Nothing we have done so far has persuaded him that he is wrong because he is not at the end yet.

Does he give a tinker’s damn about the fate of the people in Ukraine? Yes: about as much as the last murdering megalomanics army, Hitlers boys, came through and devastated wantonly.. Putin is total pragmatism impregnating strategic acumen. He wants what furthers his cause.]

And once more kids in the bleachers: what does he want? Control, dominate, be larger than and eliminate the empire of lies which has made him so utterly …. rich.

Here is what he wants:

  1. access to the black Sea so that the US Navy is blocked there;
  2. tie up the US so that it cannot concentrate its forces and crush him
  3. grain, grain , grain. Ukraine is grain, my friend, BIG GRAIN. And if he owns that, he is Grain King on Earth, his navy is already out on the high seas diddling around in places where we are in the grain game. Because controlling the grain means owning it on the way out, protecting it on the way to our former trade partners, and sinking the few traders we will have left.

and that will keep him Grain King for ever and ever, and ever…

and that will teach China that it pays to join Vlad the Paymaster to run the global economy, sink Taiwan and go to war against a vastly weakened and impoverished USA

He can kill every living human in Ukraine and get all that while we howl about human rights and crimes against humanity and war crimes.

So is this a nutcase who cannot plan his way out of an open barn door? Hardly. We need to take him more seriously than we have any enemy of ours ever,

because there is no bone of other orientation in his calculating KGB computer-brain;

because he thinks he has a right to do whatever he wants: survival of the fittest;

because he is who Luther describes in A Mighty Fortress…

“…our ancient foe, doth seek to work us woe, His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.

Vlad the Destroyer has the jump on us. Sanctions and scoldings and withholdings and constraints will just get him to pull the trigger faster and it could be gas, chemical, viral, nucler or some historically unprecedented mixture, No weapon ever invented has remained unused. Which unused one will he use? Putting our heads in the sand about his baldfaced aggression won’t stop him. Time has come to remove the velvet gloves and hit back as hard and skilled as we can.

any change demands fully taking three steps

1 awareness of what is really happening and it is not just the subjugation of Ukraine whatever the cost to him and us;

2. acceptance: of the facts of life post Party time in the Putin Era, that in one day he transformed it to the Putin Era. All the media talk just confirms it, scolding or not: different strokes for Putin folks. We must not underestimate this enemy. We did in the 1930s and it almost cost us a world war. We must accept that this man has studies all that and made sure he does not make those mistakes. Ever. Period. We must stop thinking that somehow our degrees of moral superiority will carry the day. First they aren’t that great any more and second that is bass-ackwards thought: FIRST comes the feeding, and then comes the morality. Vlad knows that while at times we seem to get them switched in terms of action.

3, ACT–So what do we do? These ideas seem to have some potentiaol while we build back up, one more nauseating time, for war on all symmetrical and-a-symmetrical fronts:

1 Do not play to his fiddle. Take all risks to keep him reacting.

2, Masquerade and mislead. We did it to Hitler, we can do it to Vlad. Dictators do not double back and ask why did it go wrong? And they know they are never wrong. He has no rearview mirror. Make him turn around a lot and while he is turned, remove one of this tools. Silently. Keep him wondering how we did it. Frustrate him. Make hjim think taht we are more and closer than he had imagined, and shortly our masquerae will become Big Boy Warships.

3 Speak softly and carry the biggest damned stick on earth in very public display keeping it just out of his reach but well within ours.

4. Make sure we own the grain. Sink his Navy if we have to.

5. Make plans for how to handle him throwing nukes at non-Nuke Nato Allies. Keep at work on some today’s equivalent of Britains radar and air defense system in WW2 but with one difference: 0 penetration coming our way and having given him a little nuke demo, assured unilateral total destruction of anything he hides in.

6, File suit in the International Criminal Court for indictments against him and all qualified associated perpetrators, enablers supporters for at least the Crime aainst Humanity of Extermination — of Ukraine or any other ethnic group he has had harmed or have been harmed because he stayed the hand of mercy when de facto acting to keep a people from harm is the sine qua non for civilization.

As Robert Jackson said in Nürnberg, those guilty of such crimes must be puhished to the ful l extent of the law because civilization cannot withstand their repetition. It should be an easy task:

  • Malice aforethought if not in evidence clearly does not need to be proven by the prosecution: it will by the ICC rules be imputed from the actions.
  • And since Nürnberg in international law Crimes Against Humanity are no longer a subset of war crimes, and
  • since Nürnberg Crimes Against Humnity committed in wartime state service for country no longer have that state service as a defense=: perpetrators cannot hide behind orders or their rolesl=.
  • Consistent with that it is also the case that a large net can be case for such crimes because those only acting to further the malicious cause in even small ways are to be held to the same penalty standards as the big wheels.

Make sure it is all widely publicized and that he has a chance even in absentia to offer a defense: keep the moral high ground via due process.

7. watch for his errors: he is far too self satisfied and angry not to make some lollaploozers. Why:? People with his win lose power thiniing nevder ever have all the right facts about strategic impactl It is too costly to tell HRH Mr Right that he not only blew it but also did it naked. It never fails. When they think they are finally in charge and that actually the people whose families he tore apart, whose national pride he trod into the mud that once was their parks and gardens, whose freedoms her ripped from their souls so that his cronies could enrich themelves in any way they wanted, whose sons died in wars of his hate which he started and whose daughters were forced into his brothels and treated like breeding bitches, then speak loudly and use the big stick.

8 Make sure we go off into this having had an unsparing national dialogue of how we fostered him and his evil. No? — Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. To get one step ahead of him and to be open to small shifts in his currents which open big holes for us, we cannot afford our warriors — in other words nowadays all of us –to get consumed with doubt about our honesty and the morality of our causel We CANNOT AFFORD MORAL HESITATION. HE WILL SENSE IT AND USE IT,

9. Every responsible national officer read and do what Richard von Weizsäcker then President of the West German State said in his memorable courageous and very circumspect and complete speech to the Bundestag on May 8 1985, the 4th anniversary of the Allies Ww2 victor- but,not about win/lose at all. Itr was far more important a speedh than a celebration. it was a plea to the soul of the nation abouT How to reconcile guilt for having been part of the disaster of the war ajd Naziism. Copy attached for anyone to taie ad read itt.

10. Do what the Brits did when it looked too too much like they were cornered and could not possibLy win: have a national day of prayer. But instruct everyone that the prayer has to be only for knowledge of Gods will and the power to carry it out. No other way will work as any other request is based ipso facto on the egos decision of what is best (for itself invariably). After all it was the ego violating Gods moral script for the world that brought about this calamity to begin with.

It is the manner of prayer best suited and clearly proven to work to show the downtrodden, confused, hopeless, desperate and broken on the shards of their own shattered pride the way to safe action again. It is the way alcoholics at the jumping off place have learned to let to and let Godl. Ask them. Their contact info is usually right at the top of the A’s in the phone book. They have been using that manner of prayerwith high rates of success ever since the early 1903s and a previous time of despair and defeat. Proof that the other way does not work: German Wehrmacht belts had a buckle on which was embeded: Gott mit Uns, God With Us. You can easily ascertain from the outcome of WW2 for Germany then how well that steel prayer worked.

Do it that recovery program way and only that simple straightforward way! Leave the big stuff. the reestablishment of morality to the guidance of God. The great German poet+statesman+novelist+top level government advisor+lawyer+international celebrity Johann Wolfgang von Goethe put it this way:

I believe that we bear in ourselves a spark of that eternal light that must be gleaming in the ground of all being,
and which our weak senses can only suspect from afar. To make this spark in us into flame
and thus to make real the divine in ourselves,
is our highest duty.

This is not about religion! This is about keeping the light of that divine spark burning in Europe, now, today. We must fight, it is necessary. But Putin can do that too. Only we in this struggle can act as Goethe suggested. Is it not Putin who seeks to kill that spark of the divine: it cannot coexist with him. Do his actions even remotely suggest any concern for The Light? And is that Light not what makes civilization possible: other orientation, unconditional positive regard for the other accepting the duty to act to prevent harm? Has the darkness of a Putin ever created a democratic state and is democracy, the only political philosophy that is learned and thus adult, the only hope for us?

What about the struggling, self sacrificing Ukrainians: who cannot feel that divine spark in their courage, refusal to accept Putin’s dark future, coming from afar back to their land in mortal danger to help each other? Who cannot discern that divine spark, the part of the divine in each person of good will, glowing as they stand for what’s right?

In God we trust: it is said that accepting the duty to love and defend that is the hardest challenge anyone of us will ever face. Whatever Higher Power in which you believe, it is merely a bush league pinch hitter if he-she-they-it does not demand of us that we grow, does not challenge us.

We are being challenged right now. Will we accept that call to grow? Will we open our minds to the path that a Higher Consciousness might show us? Vlad is all ego. When has that won anything lasting for anyone? Is it not time that we began to develop a higher consciousness?

The Brits had National Prayer Days when it appeared that they were finished. You can tell by the outcome of that war against men with God With Us on their belt buckles how well that beltbuckle God worked for them.

If you rail at this, then at least let the rest of us go that way. Judge by the results. And ask yourself: have our unaided minds kept us out of Putin’s grasp?

Let go and let God. That is not religion, it is just common sense.

Believe me, I have friends who live that way and I have seen it clearly. That simple practice is the foundation of a way of life that works in all situations. I;ve watched these cherished friends deal with financial woes, homelessness, fatal diseases, involuntary uprootings, death of loved ones and they, all recovered but not cured alcoholics, managed with a grace and beauty and strength that I just do not see much elsewhere. Lets use the tools that we have: it works if you work it.

Vlad thinks the feeding is the end, that life is all about hoarding. Hitler thought it was all about some mythical notion of strength and, like vlad, the survival of the greediest. In the end, even the cynical Brecht knew it, although most certainly he saw that famous dictum as being about the Fressen. Only as part one: dann kommt die Moral. Vlad does also.

We know what to do, we have turned our armies around in impossibly short times and won before. Our penalties for Vlad’s evil are starting to show their teeth. We are at the beginning of the beginning, but we have Vlad checking behind himself now. It is our one cent’s worth: in God we trust. Live it. Peace. Paneintale

Here is the link to the complete speech by Richard von Weizsäcker,. German Federal President, May 8,1985 to the Bundestag.

Want less but still get the critical points? Here are excerpts:

a two step national recovery program from samuel adams

A two step national recovery program based on Samuel Adams.

1  Heed the Wisdom for our Republic from Samuel Adams:

  • “The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.” 
  • “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
  • “No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.” 
  • “It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
  • “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote…that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”

2.  Accept An Invitation from Samuel Adams to his Tories but befitting our Trumpers

  • If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.” 

Good or bad, thinking makes it so.

A graduate of the southern Michigan high school I attended recently found a copy of the school’s 1926 yearbook in aThrift Shop in South Carolina. When he told the owner of the shop that he wanted to send it to his and my home town’s Historical Society up there, the owner of the Thrift Shop gave it to him for free.

It contains many hand written thoughts from 1926. The Historical Society published a few of them in the newsletter I get every month. Ofthe ones in the newsletter, three spoke to me — (the Society preserved punctuation, spelling and sentence construction):

“Love is great, love is mighty, I only wish your night shirt

Was next to my nighty. Now don’t get excited or be misled,

I mean on the clothes line and not in the bed.”

“A good thing to remember a better thing to do -is to belong

To the construction gang and not to the wrecking crew.”

“Remember the word “American” ends in I can!”

Those are the sorts of thoughts and they innocently clever style that I heard and learned as describing being an American in my formative years, 1941-1951. They re-awaken and refresh me like a cool wind on a hot, muggy, air-polluted day. They are like pretty flowers growing in an opening you had not seen before in a dark forest.

Nothing in the world is good or bad, but thinking makes it so. (Shakespeare). How might we indeed bring good light into our current,national-cultural bad, narcissistic darkness if we had retained the abilities, values and simple clean morality of that long gone era! Where indeed have all the beautiful flowers of American thinking gone?

Carpe Diem and Memento Mori

I walk with Roxy each day in the local municipal Cemetery.

It started out because anywhere else, our self absorbed fellow citizens walk with their dogs off leash.. And the do it wherever they please. I suspect that many of them really get a kick out of scoffing at the leash laws right in front of all the signs that say, All dogs on leash all the time.

It is tempting to skewer that behavior with the long thorns of acidic sarcasm and wicked wit. Let me just dismiss that path by saying that we are merely seeing another manifestation of the heads in the sand, I’m entitled Unites States of Narcissism. It is our culture now.

i was struck by the quiet in the cemetery. Expecting to be put off by being around dead people, I was surprised. No smell of rot. No hands reaching up out of the grave to grab Roxy and pull her, screaming, back down undergroud. No apparitions being exhaled like thin smoke by the grave. Not a thing from Hollywood at all. Just quiet and grey stones in varying stages of wear stuck at tottering angles, like uneven teeth in an old man’s mouth, On brown grass. Gothic trees reaching with concentration camp limbs silently to something we cannot see, lording their powerful shadowed presences over us lesser mortals.


Nancy had found this place after having been frightened by dogs off lead while walking Roxy also. She had urged me to go, but I was reluctant. Why?

We had made a memorial to our three beloved German Shepherds Zora, Bruno and Kaiser. All three died in our house on the mountain with us right by their sides. I took to heart what Butch, our deceased Schutzhund trainer had said was his moral commitment to his GSDs: he would make certain that the last thing any one of them saw on this earth was his loving face. Amen. Me too.

We had found a cross shaped piece of wood, the day after Bruno died, on a spot in the woods where he loved to lie. More than coincidence, random chance?  I stained it, found rocks and spray painted them gold, and made a little memorial mound on that spot. I loved to go there, sit on the bench I’d made of cinderblocks and boards, remember them while loving the beauty of the woods and feeling, still achingly sorrowful for their absence, grateful for their lives.

On the last night we were in that house, a really perfect cool clear night on last March 29-30, we took the urns with their ashes, and spread them in our woods memorial chapel.  I read a farewell passage and prayer we had written for the occasion. We did the same at all their favorite outdoor spots.

That was supposed to have tied off the loose ends of grief. It did not. It did not because it was aimed,ever so subtly, at relieving me, at least, of my grieving for them — which I still am doing and most likely will do until the day when I die too. I had not gotten the message.

The cemetery is not colorful, and the plastic flowers or wilted real ones just emphasize by contrast the grey, colorless ness of a whole bunch of old and new graves. It is clear to me that there will always be loose ends, that I could well be one of those headstones one day, and at 76, not too far off.   My memorial spot back up on the mountain– well, it was not an acceptance of life on life’s terms.  And that was a well meant mistake, an act of American pretend.  It was a way to hang on.  You cannot hang onto anything gone from this world, it’s like trying to grab and hold a chunk of The Present.

What’s left? For me what’s left is the realization that this life, which seems so hard and sturdy with its atoms and molecules and thumbs that hurt when hit with my hammer, is just an illusion.  When you cannot stop the show and cannot hold onto the present, how can it be otherwise?  A glorious, beautiful, super ultra high definition movie which we crate as we act out our roles.    A moving feast.  What a theater, what a chance to grow!

So: Memento mori–remember that I too must die.  And I’ve discovered that in doing that, I find much much more of rich joy in that ephemeral elusive thing we call the present.  Heavens, today is a great day to die on!  I now know that native American wisdom to be a statement of gratitude for reality, not a morbid preoccupation with Holllywood’s contorted view of death and dying.

Thank heavens for my cemetery walks.  I have my beloved Roxy with me, sometimes my dear, patient, loving and long suffering Nancy —  and being there above ground provesI’ve got one more day on which to enjoy the abundance of God’s earth. Carpe diem and memento mori.

Titan-o-man, so grand: farewell our friend

I keep beating myself up with self-recriminations.  Why didn’t I read the signals clearly and get help for Titanoman earlier?

It began after we gave him a bit too little food with his morning Augmentin on Wednesday.  He walking into another space from his bowls and vomited.  He repeated vomiting until it was dry heaves in the vet’s office in the early afternoon. An exam, more blood drawn and a hypothesis:  his stomach was upset by the powerful anti-biotic.

But he needed to calm things down so that he could continue the Augmentin, the supplement which protects the liver, the prednisone and if he had any pain, the combo of Tramadol and Gabapentin.  He needed all that to keep the lymphoma at bay and keep his blood count normal.  He needed all that with this his third chemo protocol, the “rescue” chemotherapy, to give him maybe another two to six months, outside, to live.

And on Wednesday he refused to take any medications or eat any food after the regurgitation spasms.  He had been given a shot of Cerenia and it helped with nausea, but something else was going on: not eating and hobbling on the left rear leg.  The vet said take him home and let’s see if the Augmentin’s absence and the anti nausea med does the trick.

It didn’t.

By mid afternoon he was having troubles getting up and walking.  We were at wits’ end about what to do until we found that our former vet here in our new hometown offered home care!  Unbelievable.  Nobody offers home care any more as a routine part of a medical or vet medical practice.  But she does. And she did.

He verdict was:  probably his spine.  Lets give him Gabapentin by mouth, Prednisocw by mouth, more Cerenia and then morphine just to be sure.  And if he cannot or will not get up after the morphine wears off around 11 PM, then tomorrow we will have to end his agony and life:  euthanasia.

His morphine rest was restless.  He really did not sleep, he just vegetated and began panting in earnest.   OK, that could just be sensitivity to morphine. We will know after 11 PM what the score is.  (Come on buddy, you can do it, God, come on, don’t let this wonderful friend down, don’t make Nancy suffer what I suffered when you couldn’t help us save Kaiser from hermangiosarcoma that windy night out on our deck April 2 last year. Please, please, please…)

He stood by himself twice between 11 PM and 3 am today.  By 3 am he could not stand unless we hoisted him in the Help ‘Em Up Harness which Bruno had and which the vet and vet tech had helped us get onto him. Otherwise he was struggling with episodes of heavy paying and open mouth breathing while on his side in the hall, struggling to try to move himself, failing back into exhaustion and not getting up.

(Come on bud, you can do this!  You just need a little rest and you’ll rebound.  After all your blood tests just 5 days ago were all totally normal and your lymph nodes all right sized.  If you’d only just eat a little, just drink a little more water.  Should we try to get you to an Emergency Vet?  Don’t know if we can lift you into the back of the car.  But I think you want to be in the car, which is your safe haven and favorite place. Right?  How abou some sign of agreement? But if I get you into the car, am I doing this just so that I’ll feel better or is it really going to serve you?  I’m so rightly strung that I think I;ll bust.)

At 3 we realize that we need help, even if it is for a euthanasia. (Large, hard lump in my throat, nerves screaming, mind whirling, fatigue pushing me hard but not overtaking me). The Emergency Vet Hospital 15 minutes away says get him here. We haul and hoist him into the Outback “trunk” area on top of an old, soft deep comforter.  He smiles  the car is one of his homes.  He is safe.  By 4:30 we are there.

This loss is especially hard for Nancy: Titan was one of the greatest loves of her life. She and he were, are and always will be one. that is a once in a lifetime inimitable gift. Precisely that, however, insures that she will feel even more sharply the aching emptiness of the hole beside snd inside herself where he used to be, while the healing process of grief takes its course.

As for me, as I write I am quietly rehearsing my habitual though basec on his being nesrby: “come here bud, lets play tug the ball”. In that very instant Inrealize with a feeling of almost nauseating bottomless falling, that his physical being cannot do that any more.

Then I’m knocked down by the very big disaster for me, on older fellow who found his only effective cure for lifelong very severe ADHD in the companionship not just of dogs, but especially and powerfully with trained GSDs. The big knock down is realization.that for the first time in 17 years there is no GSD awaiting us at home when we return is daunting. It ties up my gut in fear.

Ut at least helping him with his dying we got right in the end. We are so very very glad that he died while in the hospital; we took him there because we could not handle his struggle by ourselves. And we wanted him and his body to be treated with the utmost care and dignity.

Things got so unbearably painful for him and us that night. We filled God’s inbox with prayers, petitions, even outright commands in less than civil language. With just an bour left for him, We achieved that at nearby Western Carolina Regional Animal and Emergency just in time.

We are so utterly grateful for the unconditional love he brought us — just as Bruno,Zora and Kaiser did. We are grateful to German Shepherd Rescue and Adoption of NC for having brought Titan and Kaiser to us. Our GSD companions have lined our lived for 18 years with safety, steadiness, solace and sweetly intelligent companionship.

Titan came to us on the 19th of April, 2013 via Connie from German Shepherd Rescue and Adoption, a group of some of the most loving and tough people I’ve ever known.  It takes a lot to have to face a dog whom some dead-souled human starved, intimidated, kicked in 3 ribs and knocked out a tooth while scarring his muzzle and psyche — all before dumping in the woods to die? Is that love exceeded anywhere?

That’s what happened to Titan and the context in which he had lived when I fist met him at GSRA’s Adoption Event in March, 2013 in Cary.


We know who did it from what he feared when he came to us:  a slim person, wearing dark shoes or especially boots, jeans or especially cargo pants and a baseball cap,.  We think this person,  if such a lowlife can deserve the appellation of human implied in the word person, must have been a male:  titan was terrified of me, cowering, baring fangs, growling at first.  We think he was protected by a woman–he had no fear of any woman who is comfortable around him.  And in some way the back seat or utility area in the back ofd an SUV type vehicle was his safe haven:  even dying, one hour before his body gave out, you could see the realization and joy at being in the back of our Outback–regardless of going to his final vet visit.

He became noticeably more agitated at the vet hospital.  It was hard to draw blood because it was thickening inside his veins.  He began to breath with his mouth wide open, tongue hanging out, long, loose, pink in color but dry as a bone and oozing a sweet-rotten smelling green nd black gelatinous goo which had to be wiped from his lip:   dehydrated saliva.  He was alternately restless and almost senseless.

The vet was in a hurry to get his blood tested.  Maybe there was something that could still be done.

(My God, is he dying right before our eyes?  He isn’t even whimpering.  Don’t worry bud, we’ve got you covered, we won’t let you suffer :  dammitallanyway, the signs of all this were evident 5 hours ago at home, my God, my God, my God it was my need to keep him around and then to be his savior that made him suffer needlessly.)

I say that to Nancy.  She says remember we did not think we could lift him into the car. (Yeah, I forgot, it took us one hour to move him basically two car lengths with the Help ‘Em Up harness and then every ounce of strength we two oldsters could muster to heft him, feeling like a burlap potato sack filled with lead potatoes, into the rear.  Oh thank you God;, he looks so peaceful here.  He seems to be smiling, and the panting is far less severe.  He’s safe and we did it!)

The vet had sprinted with the blood to the testing area at about 5:15 am.  He’d given T an injection of painkiller to slow the stress on the heart and lungs.  Nancy was talking to him – T – and turned to do something at the counter in the exam room. I was sitting a bit away and behind where Nancy was standing.  The instant she turned away, he raised his head, looking for a split second up towards the corner ceiling in the room to his front and left.  He had not been able to raise his head or even react for hours now.  And now suddenly he sits up?

But that’s not even the  half of what I saw and cannot explain.

Just before Nancy had turned around, I had noticed that, lying there on his side, panting,  those deep, large brown eyes had begun to shine a glazedgolden brown .  Suddenly the great bear head raises up, just as if he were at home and had heard something outside that was not supposed to have been there:  high alert.  It was as if he’d seen something beyond that room.  But his alert was suddenly ecstatic.  We all know what our dog looks like when he is overjoyed to see someone he loves.  Those golden brown eyes the instant he showed his joy glowed molten gold.And then, the golden light just stopped and he slumped slowly, head first and neck curved, as he’d been doing when tired from exertion all night to his right.  My eyes went instantly to his abdomen:  the lifting and falling of life was gone.  He was dead.

I had seen something that we just do not get to see on this earth.  Please don’t ask me to prove it — you were not there, I was.  It overwhelmed me, I knew biblical awe in a flash, but my mind was kicking on my thoughts saying, tell her, tell her.  God I did not want to tell her that but I did.  She screamed for the vet — but more  for her loss, and he came running.  No heartbeat.  Just a very very handsome boy lying there, eyes open but with a gentle far away stare, those large black coal nugget eyes that always had had that polish and questioning look, were dull and blank..

I am editing this on October 23.  My oh my how that hole in my life still aches, how that empty hall still hangs dark with shadows of his suffering and last nights struggle.  I’d do anything to get him — and Kaiser, and bruno and Zora — back.  But I digress.

The blood tests showed that his kidneys had failed.  We were right in deciding not to do resuscitation.

So it would not have made one iota of difference whether we had gone there earlier or not.  He was on his way out all during those two days.  He was trying to tell us that by not eating.  He was trying to get, not to the hospital, but back into the car. At least just about his last experience was a 15  minute car ride.  He wanted to leave from his safe place.

Of course now we are enduing the wrenching and lurching agony of separation, parting with no debrief afterwards.  We are doing all the phases of grief.  But they say that the brain remains active for a period after the heart stops.  I am so utterly grateful that that night shift vet gave us 10 minutes with him and then promised dignified and caring treatment of his body.  Indeed when he came back, he sat down in front of T, told him how handsome he was, and  stroked his head, neck, legs and sides.  But in those 10 minutes, when I now believe his true eternal self had made those eyes glow and was still gently hanging on to this world, he heard, saw, felt and knew a love song enough to break the bonds of death itself.

The miracle was that we wound up doing it all just right.  Or more accurately: we were guided by him to take all the right actions at all the right times.

We are devoted to German Shepherds and after a pause to grieve and reorient ourselves, not only want to bring more into our lives.  We feel strongly that we must do that, that it is our lot in this life to provide a home and a good life for GSDs misunderstood as “aggressive”, rejected,  dumped, abandoned, beaten, starved and worst of all, ignored. We owe it to Bruno, Zora, Kaiser, Titan.  Having our hand out for them is our responsibility.

Thank God he chose Nancy for his earthly commitment.  Thank God that we had the honor and sublime joy of having been his companions for four years.  Thank God that we gave him in return the best life we could.  Thank you Titan for having given me just a quick glimpse of whatever it is that animates all life.  Thank God for Titan and German Shepherds.