Friday, February 6, 2015

A Short Separation

While Daisy's teeth on the left are pretty white, Baxter's are a tartar magnet.

  My beagles Daisy and Baxter turned 4 years old last November and they have been in great health. While I’ve loved all my animals and especially my dogs I have a connection to these two unlike any other I’ve ever had. If I were pressed for an explanation I‘d say there was such a void in my life after my great dogs Queenie and Tuffy passed away within weeks of each other in 2009 that I have made sure to enjoy every second with Daisy and Baxter after they came into our lives in Christmas of that year.

  Except for one vacation in 2010 to New Jersey and my annual chess weekends in Okoboji and Jackson, I’ve hung out with Daisy and Baxter every single morning after taking one of our thousands of walks around the neighborhood. They help me eat my morning carrots and hang out and sleep on the couch on either side of me like beagle bookends. Around once a week I’ll brush their teeth. Daisy’s teeth are still pretty white but Baxter’s teeth have accumulated a lot of tartar on them. Queenie had the same problem and as she got older her teeth started to rot and fall out so I decided to make an appointment to the vet to have Baxter’s teeth cleaned.

  The appointment was for this Thursday and as the day approached I was more and more nervous about it. Baxter would have to be knocked out for the vet to clean his teeth. My parents had a dog named Grizzly and when my mom had his teeth cleaned he never woke up from being knocked out. Queenie had her teeth cleaned without incident but the Grizzly incident stuck in the back of my mind. Even so, I know Baxter will have a better life as he ages without a bunch of rotten teeth so despite my nervousness I was fairly comfortable with having his teeth cleaned. Like Pete Carroll’s decision to throw on second down in the last minute of the Super Bowl my decision to get Baxter’s teeth cleaned will be judged by the results not the intentions and I was hoping my result would be better than Carroll’s.

Before he went to the vet Baxter was wondering what was going on and Daisy was confused at being left alone.

  We had our normal morning walk but Baxter couldn’t have any food or water before being knocked out so we took away the water bowl and there was no morning breakfast or carrots for either Daisy or Baxter. They kept on looking at us wondering why they weren’t being fed but after our walk both settled down on the couch next to me and fell asleep.

  At seven Kathy took Baxter to the vet while I fed Daisy. We could have given Daisy food and water before that but figured that Baxter would get upset and I didn’t even have my normal morning carrots. When Kathy put Baxter on his leash to take him to the vet, Daisy realized she wasn’t going with them and started to shriek. Once Kathy and Baxter left I fed Daisy and she calmed down a bit. Kathy came back a half hour later and said Baxter was pretty confused when she left him at the vet while Daisy was sniffing her and looking for Baxter.

  When it was time for Daisy’s 9am walk, she kept looking for Baxter and Kathy had to bring her back after a half block. It only seems weird if you don’t realize that they have been together every single day of their lives. I just worked and tried not to think about Baxter’s absence. At lunch I went with Kathy and Daisy on the noontime walk. Daisy was her chipper self and didn’t look behind her once.

Together again and look at those teeth!

  After our walk Kathy left to hang out with a friend of hers and I spent the afternoon working while Daisy slept on the couch. The phone rang and my heart skipped a beat but it was just a telemarketer. A little after three Kathy was home and Baxter was with her (she picked him up on the way back). Baxter seemed a little unsteady from being knocked out and he can’t eat until Friday morning but he’ll be as good as new after a good night’s sleep. And his teeth look as good as Daisy’s!

  It was a scary day with a happy ending. I flashed back to a few years ago when I lost Queenie and Tuffy but now I appreciate my awesome beagles even more. At some point I’ll have to revisit those dark days and I know it will be awful but I’m thankful it wasn’t today.

   As I indicated last week, I will attempt to build on my successful NFL playoff predictions by picking some occasional NBA weekend games and keep track of my results. I will be placing my mythical bets using the lines as listed on the Yahoo Sports page and as usual for entertainment purposes only and no real money is being wagered.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers
After a lackluster start, the Cavaliers have found their groove and are on an 11 game winning streak since the acquisition of Timofey Mozgov and the return of LeBron James from two weeks of inaction to rest his back and knee. The Pacers are in the midst of an injury plagued non-playoff season but have won three of their last five games. Despite the Cavaliers being on the second game of a back to back I predict they will cover the five point spread to the tune of $100. The Pacers’s closest loss to a playoff team in the last month was a nine point loss to the Hornets on January 17th and they haven’t beaten a team with a winning record since November 24th’s road win vs. Dallas.

Golden State Warriors at Atlanta Hawks
This is a highly anticipated matchup with the only two teams in the league with less than 10 losses. The Warriors have won three straight games by double digits since their stunning upset at the hands of the Utah Jazz last Saturday while the Hawks rebounded from Mondays loss at New Orleans with a nine point win at home against the Wizards. I’ll predict the Warriors will be motivated to prove they are the best team in the league and make a statement game and bet $100 they will easily cover the 1.5 points.

Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics
The Celtics have won two straight games against the moribund Knicks and Nuggets while the 76ers have won three straight home games against non-playoff teams (Nuggets, Pistons, and the Timberwolves) and lost nine straight road games. This game is in Boston but the youthful 76ers have been competitive against their fellow league tail enders of late and I’ll put $100 on them to cover the seven point spread.