A familiar face and a kind heart


Some things, you cannot replace.

Before you replace anything, it needs to exist. A Friendship is a special beast within the realm of Relationships. Friendships aren’t are easy. Trust me, real friendships are easy. They do, however, evolve like anything else. It’s a two-way street.

I’m tackling this topic in an upcoming series in Rainbow Brown.

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Listen deeply for your truth


If a tree falls in the forest

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t talk to myself. I still do, and quite often. There are only two things I do more frequently – breathe and blink.

It’s not uncommon for me to shock myself by what flies out of my mouth. Sometimes it’s offensive or completely inappropriate. Sometimes, I walk around my house inventing, reliving, or rewriting entire conversations. Sometimes I say things I would never say in the presence of others – besides my dog.

She’s always lurking nearby. She hears everything. One of my worst nightmares is waking up one day to learn that she understands and speaks perfect English and inked a book deal. Luckily, dogs take everything to the grave better than anyone.

Kids, on the other hand, can become writers.

Two pillars of strength

I was an only child and the first born grandchild on both sides of my family. I realize not everybody is fortunate to have these remarkable figures in their lives. I will always be grateful for they time I had with my grandparents, particularly my grandmothers. Mine are pictured below, above me and my mom.

Grandma Libbey (top left) passed in 2011, on my 37th birthday. Grandma Garrod (top right) passed in April, 2013. They were instrumental in planting the seeds in my head of compassion, understanding, acceptance, humility, and love before experiencing the craziness I would soon encounter.

I was five when my parents divorced. I lived with my dad and he married my step-mother when I was nine. I was 13 when my first half-brother was born.

I was my first best friend

I’m still my mother’s only child. The boy I was outside my house was different than the boy inside, accompanied mainly by his toys and imagination.

It was in first grade when I knew I didn’t feel a way toward girls that was expected. I was different and I knew it. I liked boys. I never felt bad because my feelings were natural and real. That’s when I began keeping secrets.

Early on, I mastered the art of deflection. I learned to adapt to situations, but I’ve never been a convincing liar.

I never wanted to be a convincing liar. I lied enough to others for 20 years about how I felt. However, I cannot and never will lie to myself.

That’s why I say – be your own best friend and listen to what you have to say.

There’s no point in lying to yourself

You’re the only one who knows your truth. One of life’s greatest rewards is having a friend who understands you and isn’t afraid to bring you down a notch or two. You can’t be that friend to anybody else until you’re that friend to yourself.

You learned to write for a reason

Writing your thoughts on paper is one of the most effective ways to have a meaningful conversation between you and yourself – especially if you talk to yourself. If you can read it, you can talk yourself through it. You don’t have to keep it. Burn it when you’re done. The goal is to give yourself the candid advice you’d give anyone else.

Always ask yourself, “Why?”

One of the hardest things to do is change your mind. It can be a process and it can take years. It depends how stubborn you can be and it’s not always easy to question whoever’s responsible for you thinking the way you do.

All I can say to that is listen to your inner voice. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you think a certain way because someone told you how to think. There’s nothing wrong with questioning what you’ve been told to believe.

Just remember

Your life is what you make it. It’s a gift that someone else can easily rip away from you. It’s an opportunity to know your true self. It’s your responsibility to make sure you’re driving. Pick the battles you’re willing to see through a new lens. You might like what you see. You might not. At least you can sleep every night comforted by the fact that you tried.

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Pets and the Responsibility of Euthanasia


A tie that binds every pet lover.

Most pet owners face the decision to euthanize at some point. Situations vary, but all require two things. Deciding and coping.

It’s an uncomfortable topic, but it’s one of the most important moments we experience with our best friends.

It’s a moment we all become stronger.

The pictures herein are from friends who’ve lost their loyal companions.


I’m inspired by their strength and remarkable stories. Thank you all for allowing me to include photos of your little angels.

Anticipation and excitement.

In 1999, my then-partner and I brought our first puppy home.

We both grew up with dogs. We understood the responsibilities of owning one, but never had our own.

We were prepared for Denver’s arrival well before we picked him up. We setup his crate, bought the necessities, and mouthfuls of toys. We hopped in the car; five hours later, Denver was home.

All in until the end.

I expected to outlive Denver. Most owners do, but in the beginning, I wasn’t thinking about the end. That day was so far away. I had plenty of time…look! Puppy!

I hit snooze.

Two years later, Marco arrived. Another puppy!



We knew they would impact our lives, but didn’t realize how deeply. After they settled in, we finally understood the heartbreak that came with them.

Denver was 12 when we put him down. Marco was 14.

I’m awake now.

Having been through it twice, here’s what I can tell you about euthanasia and pet loss:

Saying goodbye will never be easy – Both were equally hard. I was – and always will be – present. Even Marco was in the room when Denver passed. That wasn’t the plan, but it was special. That’s another story.


The responsibility was mine – At times, I wished someone would tell me what to do. Procedures, surgeries, scans, tests, medication, chemo, euthanize – your vet will advise you. Ultimately, it’s your call.

You can be thrown a curveball – Hidden ailments aren’t always diagnosed when there are no symptoms. In these cases, you may be faced with a decision within days or, sadly, hours.


When deciding, put them first – With Denver we wondered, ‘too soon?’ With Marco we wondered, ‘too late?’ Health issue or age, you will know when it’s time. You’ll see it in their eyes. They will tell you. Decide, don’t look back, and don’t beat yourself up.

“It’s okay to let them go on a high note.” – Denver’s vet of 12 years said this. She helped us realize it was okay to let him go before we had no choice. He didn’t look sick. Regardless, his seizures were bad, more frequent, and he’d been on medication for 18 months. He was a different dog.

Make memories until the end  It’s your turn to be there for them. Comfort them with your voice and touch. Don’t leave anything left unsaid as if they understand every word.


Allow yourself to grieve – I felt the void. I cried a lot. One minute, I’d be fine and fully breakdown the next. Triggers were all around me, but they weren’t. I rode waves of emotions until they simmered.

Keep their memory alive – August 30 is Denver’s day. February 17 is Marco’s day. Anniversaries aside, they’re always in my heart. I reflect with those who knew them. Eventually, the tears became laughter and smiles.


I wouldn’t change a thing  I think about them everyday and the memories they helped me create. They experienced life with me in ways nobody has. Our souls are connected forever.

Coping and time.

Pets and death is an unfortunate reality. It’s a moment you will carry for the rest of your life.

Over time, my emotions evolved. They hit hard, subsided, and occur less spontaneously. It was a painful lesson and I’m emerging more grateful than ever.


The inevitable question.

People asked me, “Will you get another puppy?” I kept asking myself, “Was it worth it?” Dogless, I saw the whole picture. Unequivocally, my answer is yes.

That’s when the new adventure began.

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