Monday, September 21, 2020

The Story of Us

When I walked into the Greenville Humane society puppy room  in March 2005 our eyes met. You were still drowsy from surgery the day before but you didn’t take your eyes off of me. I asked a volunteer to meet you, and she took you out of the crate and let me hold you. I sniffed your head- you smelled like pee- like one of those shitty pet stores at the mall. You curled up in my lap and I knew for sure we needed to be in each others lives. In your first 10 weeks, prior to that day in March when we met, you had a very rough life. I promised that your life would be easy and full of love from that day forward. 

We moved to Mexico not quite a year later. You loved it so much. It was hot and you always found the sunniest place to go lay and soak up the sun. Occasionally you’d come back inside to get water, your fur hot to the touch, but with a huge grin on your face. We had many adventures in Mexico- you enjoyed hanging out at the beach but never really liked swimming. You’d hop on your back legs in the water to avoid swimming. When it came time for me to leave an abusive relationship and leave Mexico, a few good friends offered to watch you until I could return a few months later to bring you with me. 

The 4 months we spent apart were difficult. I got updates on you, but I missed you terribly. The day I returned for you, initially you didn’t recognize me and acted the way you did with strangers- by backing up and being cautious. You were curious though- I could see that you were trying to remember who I was, and after sneaking you a small piece of pork at our friends house, you jumped up on me and started giving me kisses. You remembered. 

We flew to San Francisco a few days later for our new lives. I was worried sick about you on the flights from Cancun to Denver, and eventually onto SFO. The flight attendants were amazing and kept me updated that you were doing just fine. We landed in SFO and you were happy to be done with an extremely long day of travel. We settled into our new lives and began our new adventure. 

It was less than a year later that I took you  to a park to meet L. We had just gone on our first date the day before, and he wanted to meet you. We met at the Los Gatos trail and you jumped up on him, tail wagging, full of happiness. For 99% of dogs out there, I feel like this is an expected response to meeting someone new, but for you this was monumental. You were always fearful of new people, especially men. But when you met L, your eyes locked and you felt comfortable and relaxed. (I knew then, that I needed to be with him forever). 

We went on many adventures in California. Sometimes L would take you across the Bay Bridge - which you absolutely hated- L did too! To pick me up from work. We went to wineries, we went to the huge dog park in alameda, we were inseparable. While at the dog park, I would walk behind some trees- and it was hilarious to see you walk up to men similar in size to L and be excited only to realize it wasn’t him and then continue looking. 

You got the nick name “CB” aka “Churro Bear” from when your dad and I went to a Giants game- there was a vendor yelling “Hey Churro!” And we started saying it to you- and since you were a little bear to us, well Churro Bear it was. 

We went to Chrissy field  multiple times, and honestly we were convinced it was your favorite place in the world.  

Whenever you would dream, and your legs and paws would move, we always said “he must be running around Chrissy Field.”

In January of 2011 we drove across Route 66 to start our new lives in Chicago, and stopped at many of the oddities along the way. After a few days in the car you were so incredibly happy to run around free at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Tx. We also stayed at a Hampton inn. We arrived in chicago in the middle of winter- you weren’t a huge fan unsurprisingly, but we had each other. A huge blizzard hit a few weeks later and you got to play in the snow  seeing you bounce around in the deep snow made me laugh. 

Our time in chicago was great. We would run on the lakefront, and you would chase anything in front of us that moved. We would sprint to the object- a paper bag, or other piece of garbage usually, and then you would give me a “my bad” kind of look. When our eyes met, I always felt that I knew what you were thinking.  We always had fun sprinting after squirrels and garbage. You trained me to be an excellent squirrel spotter- that I would detect them before you, and hold the leash better so it wouldn’t break a finger. 

In 2017 we decided you needed a brother. We started our search for “puppy brother” at several animal shelters. Given that you didn’t like most dogs, we knew either a puppy from a shelter or breeder would be our best option (knowing our skill level, time commitments, and breed characteristics that would fit in our family). We met several dogs, one of which was - a 6 month old terrier/border collie mix who was described by the shelter as “rambunctious” and I initially  thought it could  be a good fit (because border collies are high drive so rambunctious didn’t scare me)  until we met it. It was off the wall crazy and didn’t interact with us, and knew it would take intensive training to have a dog with probable  mental issues. And given your disposition, we needed a better fit for our family. I felt somewhat conflicted looking at breeders but we knew to have success in our family, that we needed a dog with a known history, breed characteristics that fit in with our lifestyle,  and sound temperament. 

We brought Ze Pequeno home in June 2017, and you didn’t like him at all (expected). We should have gotten you a large doodle. We would joke that your type was poodles, doodles and lean dogs with long legs- like greyhounds. You’d stretch your neck up when you’d encounter one of those types and act silly. (You hated pugs, frenchies and boxers).  Eventually you warmed up to Ze and it was so awesome to see you playing in the house together. If there were 2 identical toys, and Ze was playing with one of them, you had to have whatever one he had. Not the other. I never thought you’d be BFF’s and snug (although Ze wanted nothing more to cuddle you) but I hoped Ze would give you some extra energy- and I feel he did. 

In February 2019 we noticed the first sign of problem- you pooped in the house after being taken out. At the time, it didn’t seem significant but looking back it was the start of a rapid decline in your health. Your back legs already were experiencing muscle degeneration. So in May, we contacted K9PT to come and help out. Our vet had always recommended PT- but that would have meant taking you across the city Which would have been a burden on you. K9PT made house calls. We saw great improvement in the first session- between stretches and laser therapy it was great to see you not so stiff. We knew your muscles wouldn’t grow back but to have additional mobility would give you a better quality of life. We continued with weekly sessions. You even jumped up on the couch for the first time in a year  after a few sessions!

In June we took you to Milwaukee- we wanted to spend a nice weekend with you without Ze. (Zé enjoyed going to day care a ton anyways.) We met Kim and Steven and their sweet kitties and then went to some breweries in MKE. “Look at the dog in the boots!”  Sometime in early 2019 we had to keep rubber bottom boots on you because you had trouble walking on the wood floors- but also due to you dragging your back legs a bit and wearing your nails down too much.  It was a wonderful weekend with my boys. 

In early August when L was away at a conference you had your first of several episodes where you were unable to get up for days at a time. You’d also refuse any type of food Or water I would offer. I honestly thought when this happened in early August,  that you were going to die. I’ve never cried so hard or for so long in my life. This was the first time that it really hit me that you would not live forever. I slept on the floor next to you. After a few days you were able to walk again (very wobbly) and eat. I was hopeful. 

These episodes happened a few more times- each increasing with frequency, intensity and duration. Each time was more heartbreaking than the first. We brought you to the vet but there was nothing clinically wrong with you. We knew you had dementia - after Francisco from K9PT had mentioned dogs could get it at one of our first sessions. We had bought supplements to help with cognitive issues but it was a gamble if you’d decide to eat them (and we should have started them years earlier). Honestly I was angry that our vet never mentioned the possibility of dementia to us previously - with better care and diets, dogs and cats are living much longer than before and are experiencing more cognitive issues. They just wanted us to come in for more tests when we should have been doing hospice care instead. 

In mid September I called the vet to schedule a “wellness check” to determine your quality of life from an outside perspective. You weren’t eating much, you had to wear a diaper in the house, ans I was going out of my way to buy anything and everything I thought you’d eat- rotisserie chicken, ground beef, liverwurst, while L was getting you 5Guys burgers. By Thursday or Friday of the week, I had called to reschedule the appointment to not be a wellness check but instead to give you the dignity you deserved. 

I took a half day on Friday to spend more time as a family. We got 5Guys burgers and you seemed to be rallying. I snuggled with you as much as you’d let me - and you continued to go after Ze- the only consistent thing you would do despite the dementia. At night, I once again told you the story of us as we looked into each other’s eyes. 

On Saturday morning, I took Ze for a run. I felt guilty that I couldn’t take you after logging thousands of miles with you over the years. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen. 

I took a photo of Ze and a lady approached us asking if we would like her to take a photo of us- usually I would decline (since we are out on the lake all the time) but this time I wanted a pic. 

We went to Stans Donuts, because you  loved their donuts almost as much as 5Guys. You enjoyed every bite of the birthday cake donut we got- the same one you would get for your birthday each year. 

After donuts, we walked to the park together. You loved this park- but definitely not as much as you loved Chrissy Field. We took many pictures and laid in the sun before returning home. By this point I was feeling a tremendous amount of grief because you were rallying- you had just walked the furthest you had in a long time without struggling- were we making a mistake?

We took some more pictures at home and then put Ze in his crate and loaded you in the car for the short drive to the vet. When we got to the vets office, they immediately directed us into a room so we wouldn’t not have to wait in the packed waiting room. You walked into the office fearless, which solidified that we were making the right decision- as previously you would have started shaking, panting and protested going in. The Doctor asked us some questions before taking you back to get an IV- again you walked with her without protest- something you’ve never done before. 

We laid you down on the blanket and stroked your fur, and told us how much we loved you and thanked you for being the best boi that we could have ever asked for.  You transitioned to your next adventure in the most peaceful way possible- surrounded by people who loved you. We took a moment with you before saying goodbye forever. I stroked your soft ears and smelled your paws one last time so I wouldn’t forget your signature frito smell. 

Walking out of the vet’s office with only your leash, boots and collar, was nothing short of heartbreaking. We drove home, hugged Ze, and then went to get lunch. 

We had some drinks to toast to your incredible life. We went to another bar for another round to numb the the void of missing you. 

The next day we ran the Fox Valley 20 miler. We dedicated this race to you, our big fox. Post race we went to More brewery and drank a beer aptly named “space boots” which we thought was appropriate for your next adventure.  Coming home was tough- it was the first time I couldn’t put a race medal around your neck. You always looked so proud when I put medals on you. You were my original coach. 

It’s now been one year since you went on to your next adventure, and we joke that you are living it up in the 5Guys in the sky (and going to the Culver’s with Heidi). The last 6 months of your life we were probably 5Guys biggest customers- because it was one of the only things you would consistently eat. 

In the past 366 days, I believe you have sent us many “signs” or at least I’ll attribute them to you. 

From almost stepping on a chipmunk at the fox valley 20, to the “Churro” Bat on our balcony, to koolaid man at the start of the chicago marathon (we used to joke you were koolaid man because you would bust into my bathroom because the door didn’t latch properly, Ohhhh Yeahhhh) - I feel you near us. 

Thank you for being you, Hampton (CB, Churro Bear), and thank you for all the memories you gave us.

How we imagine your life is currently:

Hampton 🌈 : January 15, 2005 - September 21, 2019 

Monday, August 17, 2020

The Happiest Day (in 155 days)

Yesterday, we woke up and just like any other Sunday, I hopped onto the trainer. I completed a race in Zwift and then walked to the grocery store to pick up food for the week. 

When I returned home, the lobby to our condo was flooded.  A valve was leaking/in need of emergency repair and consequently, we were now without running water as of 9am with no estimate on when it would return. 

We decided that after working out that we would ride our bikes to go get brunch- something we have spoken about for a while but had not done yet. 

We decided to go to Marz. At only 4 miles from us, it was a good test ride to see how cycling in the city would work.  

They have a huge spaced out patio. I was able to wash my hands with water and it felt so great. I knew I washed my hands a lot, but now that I couldn’t at home, I realized I wash my hands more than I thought. 

Ordering is contactless- pay through the app, and when your food/drinks are ready, they call your name to come pick up your order. Must wear a mask while not at your table. Safety is king here. 

We ordered spam musubi to share. Always so so good. 

I got Kitsune Dreamer to drink. It had a fox on it which reminded me of CB. 

We both got Loco Moco for lunch. It was so out of this world good. 

I even bought a plant from inflorescence. I had bought a plant from them 6 months ago and it was thriving, and I felt it needed a friend. I couldn’t resist the pothos planted in the newly released “Talking To Plants” ipa can. 

We checked our emails for updates on the water, and since nothing had changed, we decided to cycle to Whiner beer. 

We got Monsieur Monster and Bleu Tub. Both very good and refreshing while outside. 

Eventually it was time to return home. Our return trip was just as uneventful as the trip to the breweries. 

12 miles of cycling for the day (and first ride outside in a long long time. Felt nice to be able to coast since that’s not an option in Zwift 🙃)

We got home to no water and took Ze for a walk. 

Around 4:30 the water returned and we quickly got cleaned off. Hot water. Water in general never felt so good. 

With the return of the water, I started meal prepping. 
First was a white bean, tomato, cucumber salad for lunch at work. 

Next up was dinner- purple smashed potatoes with lemon and parsley. 

And one pot chicken with red onions, apples, garlic, thyme, dill, and apple cider vinegar.  (Potato And chicken  recipes from “Eat Race Win.”)

Cycling to the breweries and  cooking at home made me feel so happy. This was the happiest I’ve felt in a long long time.  Or more precisely, 155 days- since shelter in place/covid phases started. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Life 5.4.20 - 5.10.20


Been in the office 2x now. L drove me again due to crap weather. I hope to take a bike next time if the weather is more agreeable. 

The one highlight of having to go to the office is being able to go to Whole Foods on my lunch break. They are doing a great job at making sure the store is not over crowded and have also made aisles one way- which I didn’t notice until I was checking out. I don’t generally shop in the middle of grocery stores- but occasionally I get some pasta, chips or other non perishable stuff, so it’s a nice feature. Everyone had on face coverings which was great. 

Ze is happy and lives a very easy life. I put his racquet balls into the volcano and in true millennial fashion, started whining when he couldn’t get them out. 

He sulked by the volcano for a while and then took a nap because being pissy takes effort. 


Zé ordered takeout for us Friday night. 

We’ve been cooking during the week and ordering out a few times on the weekends.  Highlights from this week- a rhubarb pie from Marz, bbq from Marz, pasta from firehouse and egg sando post run from spoke n bird. 

We also enjoyed some Big Mich Michelada. 

Since we weren’t at MBCC, I used the glass to drink my evil twin seltzer. 

We made pizza Sunday night. A prosciutto, fig Jam pizza and pepperoni & ham pizza. Both came out great. I really enjoy making pizza at home- the dough is scratch made from my sourdough starter and I love putting new combos together. 


I hit my goal of cycling 100 miles and was happy to run more this week than most of the preceding weeks. 

We are 10% across the state of Tennessee right now and expect to finish before August 31. We count our running miles as well as our walking miles for this as 5 miles a day running will break us both. 

We are getting creative with our running routes. 

It was nice to run with L a few times too. The weather was a bit chilly, but perfect for running. Last week we were wearing tank tops. 

More fun loops 

I’m still shocked at the selfishness of people who don’t wear a face covering while outside. We encounter enough people while running or walking that we leave our coverings on the entire time. The amount of people who feel above wearing a covering is so gross. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. 

I completed my first virtual Ironman event last week- a 3km run, 40km bike, 10km run. It was fun to run with L and Ze for this challenge. 

Goals for this week: 
• complete the Ironman Virtual Race 7
• complete organized strength work 
• continue to gradually increase running miles + speed work 


Incompetence sums it up again nicely. Seeing other countries with leaders who give a damn about the people makes me want to move elsewhere. USA is basically a 3rd world country (with a white picket fence American “dream” facade). You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. We don’t have universal healthcare, we don’t have paid family leave, we don’t have free education. I don’t understand why people think this is acceptable. Current status: raging dumpster fire. 

I also found This Article Very interesting. 

Basically there are 2 pieces to how pandemics end- when the actual sickness is eradicated and when people’s fear of it goes away. 


8:30pm singalong is still happening. It brings some smiles after long days. 

I feel quite bummed we weren’t in Copenhagen and Stockholm this past week. I’ve looked forward to this trip for the past 6 years- and to not be there is sad. I always feel renewed and inspired when I return- inspired to be better- to cook better food, to live more simply. To not have this reset is gnawing at me. 

MRC copenhagen x chicago 

Until then, I’ll just start making food out of my cook books and continue reading blogs about the places I want to go. 

Food from cafe baryl 2018, Copenhagen.