7 August, 2011    flow
It’s difficult to believe my last blog entry was Thursday and now it’s only Sunday. And so much has changed. Well, only one thing really, but it’s a big change. I closed Thursday’s post with a paragraph beginning “Max is doing fine” and observed he was “happy to be home but exhausted.” I also mentioned his getting a few calories in. He remained happy to be home, but was never less exhausted. And never able to get any calories in. And never able to sleep and never stopped bleeding. He and I were up all night Thursday evening and into Friday morning. He couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, could barely stand. He could bleed, and he did that a lot, but not much else. His health was going in one direction, and it was going that direction fast. I had him euthanized Friday around lunch time.

It’s been draining. But this has been the first week of ironman training. A sport that is entirely unforgiving of missed training time. So I’ve gotten in all three of my swims this week, all three of my rides, all three of my runs. My effort has been puny but I’ve been moving forward and it helps me eat and sleep.

Last night my friend Larry and I went to see a movie and yesterday evening I heard from two friends who wanted to go to the river in the morning. Plus I’d already planned to go with a third. So I got to go with three other people and three other dogs! Then at the river met my friend Clare and her beautiful dog Zoe! Boy if you were feeling sad or tired or sorry for yourself, it couldn’t stand up long in that environment. This picture was taken when we first got to the river. Zoe is the black dog in the back. She’s Clare’s dog. I think Lucy is the black dog with her back toward the camera in the front. Lucy is Lee and Kara and their family’s dog. I’ve had the great good fortune of dog sitting her this week. Mackey is the black dog behind me. Roux is under my right arm. Pat’s beautiful new dog Luna is the black and white one directly in front of me, and their other excellent new friend Lola is the little brown one. They are an outstanding pair.

Support Group

After we left the river and went home I did a ninety minute “run”, although that is a very flexible use of that verb. I moved forward on my feet under my own power non stop for 90 minutes. And I did not walk every single minute. Next week I’ll pick up the pace a little. This week was about getting it done.

After running I hopped in the shower then Lee and Evelyn and I caught an early show of Harry Potter at the Bowtie. We drove directly to Crossroads for dinner and ice cream. I was the only one who had dinner. They had toasted whole wheat  bagels and cream cheese with scallions, and tomatoes that tasted like they’d been picked around five minutes before they sliced them and put them on the bagel. It was absolutely out of this world. The minute I polished off the first one I went back for another. Then finished the meal off with Bev’s Strawberry Basil Sorbet. I could not wipe the smile off my face. There was a fun band playing and lots of fun people. Lots of very, very small children dancing. Non-stop entertaining. Their dances are all like snowflakes, every one is different, every one is perfect. The best thing, especially when the kids are around maybe three years old, is they’re dancing but they just don’t even know they’re dancing. They think about it maybe as much as we think about breathing. They can’t even stop themselves. They hardly take their eyes off the band too, which is also kind of cool. It is very, very refreshing to watch. Refreshing and rejuvenating and restorative. This weekend started out brutal and just got better and better and better.

We all miss Max. It was bad for Max, bad for me, and Mackey and Roux have felt  awful. Especially Roux, especially yesterday. She just loves Mackey, but she must have enjoyed Max’s calm presence. And it hasn’t even been three months since we lost Ivory. I didn’t expect her to be this upset but it’s been very obvious. I think she likes having big, confident boys around. But hiking at the river was a tonic for her this morning, just as it is for me. She’s already feeling better. We’ll see what happens.

Goodbye old buddy

I can’t properly express my thanks for the support from all of you. It’s better for me than the river, than watching kids dance, better even than eating chocolate. It is a treasure to have friends like mine. I’m looking forward to seeing you all soon!

Have a great week,

Jay and menagerie

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Endurance, Fun, People, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!). Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to flow

  1. Jay, I am so very sorry to hear about Max, what a tough time this has been for you (and the rest of the pack!). He was fortunate to have you as his friend and companion and I know you took excellent care of him. Hey, do you mind if I copy and paste your comment about watching the kids dance? I absolutely love that!!

  2. Evelyn says:

    Grateful to have been part of what evolved into quite a stellar weekend, even with its undercurrent of sadness. I will miss dear Max.

    • Hi Evelyn,
      I was grateful and fortunate to have you and my other friends (four-legged and two-legged) surrounding me for what was certainly a stellar weekend. The undercurrent of sadness was always there but it didn’t take away from the uplifting nature of the weekend. Thanks for joining us! This whole house still misses Max. I’m glad to be getting back to work. Have a great day,


  3. Hi Patti,
    Yes, losing Max has been difficult for all of us. I’m surprised to still see Mackey and Roux a little mopey this morning. It’ll pass. Feel free to copy and paste the comment about the kids dancing. Kids always dance when there are bands at Crossroads, the environment is fantastic. We still need to have lunch! Talk with you soon


  4. Clare M says:

    Oh, Jay! I’m so sorry to here about Max. He was a good friend to you all and will be missed.

    Harry Potter? Awesome! P is going to see it the 13th with some friends.
    The kids dancing must have been amazing to watch. You described it beautifully.
    Lots of love for you and the dogs!

  5. Hi Clare,
    Yes, it was very sad about Max. Very painful all the way around. I have excellent vets and excellent dogs but as you know, sometimes nothing can be done.

    I’m glad P is going to get to see Harry Potter. It was, very, very exciting. Scary too! She’ll have a great time.

    It was so sweet watching those kids dance. A fantastic way to end the week.

    Lots of love to you and your sisters and your mom and dad and all your dogs! And cats and chickens and horses! Have a great week,



  6. Jenny Marwitz says:

    So sorry to hear about Max. I know that had to be terrible. I’m really glad the rest of the weekend picked up…

    • Hi Jenny,
      And thanks for the note. There is no good way to lose a dog. I was fortunate to have him when I did.

      And the rest of the weekend certainly improved as it went along, thank goodness. Great way to wrap it up at Crossroads. And of course I had to come home and walk my OTHER dogs before I went to bed! Having other dogs to take care of is a great way to keep you from sitting around too much. Thanks again for the note and have a great day,


  7. Denice Ekey says:

    OH MY Jay…so sorry about Max …and so soon after Ivory…but hope it is some comfort to know they are together again. Take care

    • Hi Denice,
      And thanks for the note. Yes, it’s bad losing a second dog after just a few months. Max was a good, good boy, and he helped a lot of people, not least me. Hopefully I’ve got five years or more before I have to deal with this again. Fortunately Mackey and Roux are exuberant and full of life and they get me out for plenty of great walks.

      Have a great day,


  8. Anne says:

    Hi jay. So sorry about your latest doggie.

    I lost my very best friend july 7th. Ruptured
    Aneursym. Jody Schefer. 41 years. Got clean and sober

    I Had surgery the 15th to repair
    Rotator cuff. Bike accident june 26th.

    I know you’ve had
    your fill, too. Lots of love to you.

    • Hi Anne,
      It’s always wonderful to hear from you.

      I am so sorry about your friend Jody. That must be awful for you.

      I hope your shoulder is healing well. Funny how all the other stuff puts that in perspective, isn’t it?

      Isn’t it about time for us to have lunch? I’ll give you a call. Thanks for getting in touch and have a great day,



  9. Betsy says:

    What a difficult time for you and Roux and Mackey. Max was such a fine dog; he will be missed.

    • Hi Betsy,
      Great to hear from you. We’re all so sorry Max is gone. Since May the size of our little “pack” is cut in half! Roux is very nervous around the house – very noticeably – and Mackey is very nervous on walks. I’m surprised they’re both this anxious this far along. Neither Mackey or Roux are very stoic, and both Max and Ivory were the very height of stoicism. M and R are taking a while to settle down. I think it’ll take a few more hikes at PP! Soon enough. We look forward to seeing you and Baxter soon. Have a great day,

      Jay and Mackey and Roux

  10. Barbara Mann says:

    Jay– How very sad to hear of your loss of Max. What a tough few months for you and your human and furry family. Am thinking of you, my friend.


    • Hi Barbara,
      It’s always so nice to hear from you. I hope you’re doing well! We’ll have to talk. It has been a difficult few months. It’s troubling to see my furry family so off-balance. They’re a good bunch, though. It won’t be long before they adjust to the “new normal.” They’re eating well and enthusiastic on their walks, so I’m confident their balance will return. Have a great day and I’ll talk with you soon,


      PS The cats are of course sanguine about the whole thing!

  11. Shirley says:

    Lynda and I were walking our dogs at PP this morning and Betsy told us your sad news about Max. I cannot even imagine how you must feel. I was confused when Betsy said that as I had seen you Sunday morning and could have sworn I had seen Max so I was embarrassed that I had no clue what you must have been feeling. Having lost two pets this spring myself, I know how empty a household feels when some of its denizens disappear. Ivory is probably pretty happy to have Max up there to romp with. Best wishes and much love to Roux and Mackey — their lack of stoicism only shows their extreme sensitivity to the sadness in this world.


  12. Hi Shirley,
    And thanks for the note. When you saw me Sunday morning I was fortunately surrounded by a very large pack. Perhaps you mistook one of them for Max. I had Mackey, Roux, my neighbor’s dog Lucy, my friend’s dogs Lola and Luna, I was even with Clare and Zoe for a short while. The pack was in constant swirl; it was difficult to see who was who. Regarding canine stoicism (or lack thereof), Ivory was at once the most stoic and sensitive being I’ve ever known. I think Roux and Mackey’s lack of stoicism shows their callow and exuberant youth! They’re fun to have around. And currently gazing at me in an extremely non-stoic fashion and casting meaningful glances at their leashes! Time for a walk. Have a great day and I’ll see you at the river soon,


  13. Pingback: Counting down… | NEWFAZE

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