Fagan’s Den

I watched the little dog come off the bus in his owners arms.  The dog was little mutt about 15 pounds with black fur and a cute little face.  The owner – a scruffy looking guy about forty or so – put the dog down,  unhooked his leash, and called him to follow as he walked up the street.  But the little guy wouldn’t follow; he stood and stared at his owner. I was standing in an office in San Francisco looking out the window of the second floor almost on top of the dog and his owner.  I thought of Kali back home enjoying the afternoon sun or sleeping somewhere in the house.

In my professional life I’m a business operations consultant fortunate to work mostly from my home office periodically going to client sites for meetings and business reviews.  I have a new client in San Francisco so I’ve been at their offices from time t time over the past several weeks.  Yesterday, I stood up to stretch towards the end of a long meeting and looked out the window to see the owner and little dog disembark from the city bus.

What struck me as funny was my keen interest in the dog and my waning interest in the meeting.

My client’s offices are very eclectic and really something to see; a mix wood, open ceilings, surrounded by art, offices, open meeting space, and elevated conference rooms with glass walls and large concrete posts from the original structure,  Located South of Market in the thick of a growing software and high-tech hub like most parts of The City it’s crowded, filled with traffic, and bustling with an array of activity.

As the meeting went on behind me I continued to stare out the window looking down at the owner calling his little dog to follow and the little dog not moving.  My first thought was why in the world would the owner take off the dog’s leash on the curb of this incredibly busy intersection.  Was this the reason the dog wouldn’t follow?  Was he petrified of all the cars, people, and movement he was experiencing as his little paws hit the ground?  Probably not.  He seemed relaxed and seemed very used to the environment.  He was probably more comfortable on the street than this blogger, a suburban dweller,  would be while walking the two or three blocks back to the parking garage.

The scruffy owner, with packages in his arms, continued to call the dog to follow.  I watched him call, point up the street, and try to coax the little guy to come along. But the dog stayed put.  At one point the dog stretched pushing his front paws down and his butt up in the air as if to say, “You go on ahead, I’ll just hang back here for a while”.  This went on for a minute or so and I began to think that maybe this guy wasn’t the owner.  But he had the dog on a leash as they got off the bus.  Maybe this guy goes around the city rescuing little strays from an even busier section of San Francisco and brings them here to safety.  Maybe he was like Fagan of Oliver Twist and this little dog was The Artful Dodger loosening up to go pick some wallets and return later to Fagan’s Den.  Maybe I should get back to the meeting….

So as I stood there watching the owner finally relents, takes the few steps back to the dog, picks him up and continues walking up the street with the little guy safely in his arms.  I turned back to the meeting and laughed to myself because I realized I had a big smile on my face.  I was amused because I realized that at that moment in time I was far more interested in the little dog than the meeting and I was totally OK with that.  I like my work.  And being self-employed I like to have work.  Work is a good thing when the word “retirement” is not present in my vocabulary or anywhere in my near future.

So there I stood in this very cool conference room with glass walls suspended above the street level in the middle of the universe, surrounded by high-tech and a booming economy, with very smart people behind me talking in business-speak about the project we are working on.  Pretty cool place to be on a Wednesday afternoon and getting paid for it.  For that I am grateful.

But at that moment it was much more important to me that the little pup was in his owners arms and, at least for now as they walked out of my sight line, was safe.

Safe and on his way back home with Fagan’s to meet up with Oliver and the other pups in the den.


I hope I shall have the honor of your intimate acquaintance. – Fagan, from Oliver Twist

Seasons Of Love

12 Months, 52 weeks, 365 Days, 525,600 Minutes.  They all add up to one year. And what a year it’s been!

Exactly a year ago at this time we were anxiously awaiting our Golden Kali who was on a plane with 23 other rescues heading to America from Taiwan.  It had been about two months since we saw pictures of dogs “coming soon” on the Rescued Love From Taiwan Facebook page.   We immediately called the local rescue group organizer to express our interest in Kali.  I’m a fatalist and I believe this match was meant to be.

The picture that instantly won our hearts!

The picture that instantly won our hearts!

Our love affair with Kali started the moment we saw that photo and here I am a year later reflecting on the anticipation, the greeting at the airport, the first few days home, how Kali and I instantly bonded and how she immediately became part of our family as soon as her paws hit the ground at SFO.

This past week I’ve thought about how to “celebrate” her one year anniversary.  I’ve thought about making a huge deal with guests, a gaggle of gifts, and a doggie appropriate cake of some sort.  I also thought about doing absolutely nothing because, after all Kali is a dog and yesterday or last year have no context for her.  I thought about doing a photo retrospective here on her blog but I had a hard time selecting just 10 or 12 photos of the dozens and dozens I’ve taken since she arrived.  I even had a crazy idea of getting a tiara or party hat and taking some photos.  But that’s not my style and although Kali would have complied it’s not really her style either.

So what to do, right?  I mean Kali doesn’t care but I do. This is kind of a big deal for me. One year, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days.  And then it became clear.

Rent was a rock musical written by Jonathan Larson that premiered on Broadway in the mid-90’s.  The production won critical acclaim and among many awards won a Tony for best musical.  The story line of Rent centers around young Bohemians struggling to survive in New York City’s East Village.  It’s a great show, with great music, and a compelling story that endears one to the struggles of the characters.  But there is one song that transcends the story line and that I believe has context and relevancy to wherever or whoever you are.  Rich or poor, young or old, struggling or successful.

So as I think about Kali’s one year anniversary and how best to celebrate I decided to  just having another day of love like the previous 365 or if you prefer to break it down in a smaller measurement, then 525, 600 minutes.    Because, after all, how do you measure a year in the life?

From Rent’s “Season Of Love”

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments, so dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love

Seasons of love


Celebrations Abound

Wow – it’s been almost three weeks since my last post.  It’s been a bit of a whirlwind during that time with professional demands greatly increased and my son’s wedding which took place last weekend.  So, great problems to have and while I’m am certainly not complaining I miss writing and reading with my blogging community.

Kali has been very patient during this busy period receiving much less attention from me, missed walks, and some extended periods staying home in the back yard on her own.  She doesn’t have separation anxiety and by all accounts settles down and probably mostly sleeps when we are out, but she sure is glad to see us when we arrive back home after being away for several hours.  And while it’s been hectic with lots of family in and out and increased activities at the homestead Kali took all that in stride and was a gracious canine host.  She met dozens of new people and charmed each and every one of them giving them an appropriate amount of attention when they first arrived at the house but then moved on to a comfortable spot to sleep or just observe the activity.

The night before the wedding we hosted the rehearsal dinner that included not only the wedding party but all out of town family members from both sides as well as close friends.  I was very proud of Kali who was very respectful of everyone even though there was a lot of food, great smells from the”taco truck” caterers, and “sympathetic” guests.  During the event Kali stayed by my side most of the time well aware that people food was off limits but the biscuits in my pocket would flow into her mouth if she behaved.  And of course she did.

But then there was the wedding day.  The wedding day did not include Kali even though I had (only half jokingly) pitched the idea to my son that Kali as Flower Girl could pull Smokey, as Ring Bearer, in a wagon with the rings hanging on a ribbon from Smokey’s mouth.

The prototype I pitched to my son.  Smokey would have been sitting in the wagon with the rings.

The prototype I pitched to my son. Smokey would have been sitting in the wagon with the rings.

I think Kali could have handled this and would have loved to have been part of our family’s special day!

So now the wedding is behind us, family has gone home, and Holly, Kali, and I once again have the house to ourselves.  Ahh… nice. Work will remain hectic so Kali will have less Dad time but more Mom time since Holly is off work for the summer.

But wait there’s more… Sunday marks one year of Kali arriving in America and joining our pack  How cool is that?  A wedding last week and an anniversary this coming week.

Celebrations abound.

My son Michael and his bride Katie at their wedding

My son Michael and his bride Katie at their wedding

Kali NOT at the wedding and pondering wagons.

Kali NOT at the wedding and pondering wagons and what could have been.

Baby Pictures

I was looking at some pictures of Kali when she was a puppy…..

No I wasn’t.  How could I?  Kali rescued me when she was about five years old.  Five years old is far from a puppy even for a Golden.  I can only imagine what she looked like as a puppy.   I can only surmise that certain traits she exhibits now would have been evident in some subtle way as a puppy.  With my children, now adults, I observe expressions or body language that I can directly relate to them when they were toddlers.  I have a wonderful picture of my oldest smiling at his bride during their “first dance” at their wedding reception.  It was the same smile – exactly the same smile – he had when I came home from the hospital after my daughter was born and told him he had a baby sister.

I’ve always been one to reminisce about the old days, to look at old photos, and to watch the family videos.  Videos – what are those?!?  🙂   It’s gratifying to see my adult children grown up and be able to relate words, expressions, and personality traits to them as young children or infants.

I love Kali as much as my kids.  Now don’t try to give me one of those crazy scenarios where Lois Lane was going to be dropped from a helicopter and Jimmy Olsen was half way around the world with a gun to his head and “if you were Superman who would you save?”  I do love Kali as much as my kids and yes, on one hand there can’t be the comparison between your child and your dog.  On the other hand, Superman would save both Lois and Jimmy without having to justify who he would have saved first.  And I too would find a way to save both Kali and my kids if they were in danger at the same time half a world apart.  Do I digress?  Maybe…

(I think) my point was that I have a plethora of photos of my kids at every age and stage of their lives.  If I want to see Jonathan at 6 months old, no problem.  If I want to see Jessi at 4 months – pull out the album or call up some scanned photos on my computer.  And if I want to see some pictures of Kali as a pup?  No-can-do.

So as happy as it makes me to have been rescued by Kali when she was five it makes me a little sad to not know her fully story and past.  I wish I could recall in my mind or see a photo and recognize the same expression or body language in a similar situation when she was a pup.

So while I think I will always be rescued versus “born”, if that makes sense in the context of this post and rescued pets, I do think it would be so cool, and I am envious of those of you who have known your dogs since puppy-hood, to have the photos, the memories, and the whole story.

I know where Kali was a year ago.  She was in Taiwan almost ready to fly to America and rescue me.  But I don’t know where she was two years ago or three years ago.  Was she happy?  Was she safe.  Did she get separated somehow from a great family by accident.  Was she used and abused and thrown out with the trash?  I don’t know.  But what I do know is that as I sit on the patio and write this post Kali lies at my feet tuckered out after a long walk on a hot day.  I know she’s safe and loved.   She know’s she safe and loved.

And for Kali that’s way better than a box full of pictures.