Has it really been two whole years?

I may be in Las Vegas as The Amazing Meeting winds down today, but still I’m a bit sad.

Has it really been two whole years today?

Yes, we have a different dog now, but does the presence of a new friend make you forget a friend who’s died?

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

25 replies on “Has it really been two whole years?”

Sorry. It’s always hard to think about your old friends. It’s a sad dog day around here as close friends and neighbors of ours have come to the conclusion that their dog will probably have to be put down tomorrow. I just walked my dog past their house and had a hard time keeping my composure, and it’s not even my dog that’s ailing! It’s just that when anyone else we know has to go through it, it reminds me about our first dog who died 5 years ago.

Don’t know that I’ve ever commented here before, Orac, though I’m a long-time reader.

It’s three and a half years for me, and I’m still not quite there yet with the new dog thing.

The discrepancy in dog and human lifespans is one of the biggest flaws in the universe’s unintelligent design.

So: there with you.

We have a 3-month old black Lab pup, and we occasionally mistakenly call her “Bessie” after our beloved chocolate Lab who died last summer.

We are enjoying life with the new beast and trying not to compare her with Bessie, who of course had a near-perfect puppyhood and never misbehaved. 😉

It’d be nice to see a photo piece about the new dog in the Orac family.

No, not really. but in time you find you have the good memories left. Otherwise it would go on sucking.

@ D. Bacon #3 – It took us a little over a year after our first dog died to stop mistakenly calling our children “Shasta” from time to time! Shasta wasn’t pretty or smart and once ate a small package of chocolate-flavored Exlax (surprisingly – no ill effects!), but we loved her all the same.

You never forget those friends. I still can tear up thinking about the Siamese we had for years at my parents, and he’s been dead now for 25 years or so…

Hug your wife hard and pat the dog when you get home. No one is ever completely dead until they are forgotten.

*hugs* Grrl and I are both surprised that it’s so long.

I remember trying to donate to Small Dog Rescue, but couldn’t (probably because I wasn’t in the US). Can you set up a Paypal account, or some other way of paying money online, for them?

It is very sad indeed. Pet really do make an impact. I still miss my cats even though it has been years since the last one died.

Like Bob O’H I am also a bit surprised it has been that long though.

Sorry for your loss. Just by coincidence, I looked at pics of my two dogs today and remembered all the good things about them — their smell, the feel of their fur, the shapes of their ears, the visible expressions of joy out on hikes — and got all teary.

Re: Discrepancy in human and dog lifespans. I kinda think the way it is is pretty cool, in that dogs get to live their whole lives enfolded in love. (The lucky ones, anyway.)

Here’s mine:

Ranger the Valiant Warrior

Tito the Mighty Hunter

I have four dogs in my family now, but I never forget the two that came before them. Now that we’ve added a human babe to the mix, I hope that she will always have the love of a dog in her life.

Our eldest dog is a 13 year old Norwegian Elkhound and in very good shape; still active and barking, as a good Elkhound should! Our daughter is 2, and I am hoping that our old man continues living a good life long enough for our daughter to have some real memories of him. He is the source of my screen name, Enkidu. 🙂

My old German Shepherd died the same day my ex-boyfriend and I split up. It was the last in a long string of douche-bag things he did, to break up the same day my best friend died. It was a very emotional break up, but it was NOTHING compared to losing my dog. I am on the west coast in grad school, and my dog was in NC with my parents. I couldn’t be there for him, and that just about killed me. My life was really upside down, but I rescued a border collie puppy about a week later. When we got home, I just hugged her and cried. We’re pretty much inseparable now, and my life has gotten much better since that day.

My border collie will never replace my old friend, but I think that opening up your heart and home to another dog in need honors the memory and connection you shared with your past friends.

Anyway, I know how you feel. I’m going to go hug my dog now.

When my children were growing up, the loss of our family dog was sad, but nothing like you describe so eloquently and sincerely. Maybe because you (apparently) don’t have kids, your dog is even more important to you. It’s lovely that you continue to remember Echo with so much love. The entire Science Blogiverse is with you it seems, so I hope that helps a bit.

P.S. Can you share your wife’s name with us? Not because I’m nosy, it just detracts from a beautiful piece of personal writing to keep reading “my wife”.

Hi all;
A fatal flaw was that they failed to have any representative posts ready to go up when the blog went live.

Had they done so, and had the content been surprisingly acceptable, the reception might have been better.

Instead we get this “Hi! Welcome to ShillBlog!” (crickets) and everyone, quite reasonably, expects the worst.

The post #12 by “evden eve nakiyat” is some very badly placed spam. Hopefully when Orac recovers from TAM it will be deleted.

knotfreak, I think we should just be happy with her name being Mrs. Orac. There is value in anonymity, especially with relatives. Occasionally Orac’s relatives do show up in the comments, signing themselves as “Orac’s mom”, “Orac’s sister”… etc.

It is a beautiful piece of writing. I still think of my past pets.

I am sorry for your loss. I also lost a pet to cancer two years ago, my cat Texas in September 08. I know about the feelings of guilt for not finding the lump too. He had a lump almost golfball sized under his chin- but due to its asymmetrical shape and location near his jawline we didn’t notice it. He started sneezing (which was apparently only partially related to the cancer- he had feline herpesvirus which apparently went into overdrive due to the stress of the cancer) and I will never forget taking him to the vet for a “cold” only to have the vet ask us if we’d noticed the lump. When I asked if it was anything to worry about, she got evasive but the look on her face said a million words.
I also know about the uneaten ears of corn feeling. The day after he died I thought I heard his familiar scratching at the bedroom door- and realized it couldn’t be him and I’d never hear it again.
I am sorry for your loss Orac. May you have many happy memories with the new dog.

My dog, nicknamed “the perfect dog” was a rescued yellow lab. He was my son’s constant companion for 14 years until he died of old age and cancer. We bawled for weeks after having him put to sleep. I did not want another dog. After a month, my son and I agreed that it was just too quiet around the house without the pitter patter of paws, we adopted another rescue dog, another lab, this time a black one. Puck is not Rocky, their personalities could hardly be more different, but we love him. Rocky’s ashes are on the shelf near the front door. It has been 3 years and I still cry. My son is a talented poet and wrote an eloquent poem about the loss of our beloved family member, and has performed it at poetry venues to appreciative applause.

To answer your question, briefly, no. We have always had cats, and I remember all of them fondly. You do get beyond the acute grief, but a part of them always remains with you. It does help, though, to have other critters to share life with…I’d love to see a pic of your new dog!

I have lost several dogs over the years, but I think the one we miss the most is Ridley. My son adopted him from the local animal shelter as a puppy. He seemed healthy enough and we got him all the usual shots, but when he was about 5 months old, he got very sick. We took him to the vet, he was treated including a couple rounds of antibiotics, but just didn’t get better. After a few days he was so weak and couldn’t eat that we had to accept the inevitable and get him put to sleep.

Still, we miss him. He was a sweet puppy although who knows what he would have been like when he got old enough and big enough to really play with our older, bigger dogs?!

I uploaded a few pictures of him on FLICKR:

I still like the one with him lapping milk from the bowl.

We used the one with the ears sticking out while he was sitting on the couch to make a dog tag for our son as a Christmas present.

Since I have only been following this blog for a year (or so) I hadn’t read this story.

I’m so sorry for your loss, Orac. The story of Echo is very touching, thank you for sharing.

The pain of losing a loved one never goes away, we just learn to live around it.

Orac and Ms.O.: I’m so sorry for your loss and I hope for your continued happiness with your new dog, Bailey.Because more than 5 years have passed, I can feel somewhat “philosophical” (less emotional) about my Sam,an intelligent, ancient cat I lost: at the time, following a 6 month period where I treated him with daily sub-Q fluids, I was beside myself. His illness and death evoked reverberations of earlier, human, losses I have experienced, most particularly,that of my father which had occured about 3 years previously.Fortunately, we were not hit with a terrorist attack** the week of Sam’s death, as we were when my father died, and I *was* able to replace my cat.**(my father died a few days after 9/11- my worst week ever- and my mother a few days before the 1993 attack on the WTC-the personal being like a parenthesis surrounding the public tragedy.Still, I view this happenstance as material for poetry, not superstition.)

Echo looks so much like my own dog Boomer, who I lost several years ago. I have three other dogs now, but none have captured my heart like Boomer did (though I do love them all).

I lost my rabbit back in 2008 on Holloween (I had to skip the rabbit carnage part for that very reason.)
He was an adorable, sweet, crazy guy who I loved so much even when he annoyed me by trying to steal chocolate, sneak into my room as soon as I opened the door, and when he destroyed his cubes and coroplast cage because he wanted to be a free-range rabbit.
He was a great friend, loved to do happy bunny dances all over the house and he was bigger than a small dog.

Also Echo was adorable.

It was an incredibly written piece of work. It was very powerful. Having just recently lost my own best furry friend – a 2 year old rabbit named Charlie – it really impacted me. I’ve just gone, and am still going through, so much of what you described.

I’m so sorry for your loss. For everyone’s losses. I hope more who have lost beloved pets and cuddly companions come across this. I know I’ll make a point of directing any I meet to that two year old post.

When my girlfriend and I decided I should move in with her,she didn’t realize what she was in for.Along with me came my 18 year old Jack Russell.I had rescued Rudy from a shelter a couple of years earlier.Stacey was not instantly a “dog person” but the bond between them grew.Rudy began to have health problems and Stacey was there for him unconditionally. A Jack with congestive heart failure and kidney problems can be a handful to say the least. Jack Russells are not a breed to give up easily, but the end did come and Stacey was devastated. Now a few years later we have another Jack..and a Chihuahua…and a Dachshund.. and a Border/Cattle dog mix. A picture of Rudy is displayed prominently in our home along with a picture of Stacey and the four dogs Rudy helped save.The group picture has a caption that reads- Rudy’s Enduring Legacy. Rudy transformed Stacey and our home.

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