Shoe Money Tonight

Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy Birthday :)

My friend dawnstar has a post up about a very important birthday ;).

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The SPCA Experience

ES1 & I have both grown up with dogs. Her parents had a series of Cocker Spaniels, mine had a series of English Springer Spaniels. A house just doesn't seem like a home without a dog running around in it.

We finally decided we'd bite the bullet, head on down to the SPCA's Tonawanda location, and see what they had.

Our problem is simple. We don't mind big dogs, but we don't have a yard big enough for anything too much larger than a cocker. We would have loved to take home that Great Dane they had. Or, even better, we would have loved to adopt one of the Boxers who our neighbors foster at their house. The problem in both cases, however, is lack of space.

When we went to the SPCA a few weeks ago, we were told that small dogs generally go pretty fast. If you want one, you had better come in around opening time on Saturday. The next week we did that.

The SPCA takes great care in adoptions. They refuse to allow anyone to adopt an animal unless they have spent at least 20 minutes, preferably a half hour with them. There is an outdoor area for walks, and two indoor rooms with some furniture for one-on-one time. The indoor room has outdoor furniture which small paws can easily get stuck in, but it is easy to clean.

We met a Beagle/Blue Tick Hound mix named "Dusty." He was cute and had some very nice coloring. We took him into one of the indoor rooms.

He was very docile.

I mean very docile.

No, seriously, he was docile. You could pet him and scratch him. You could pick him up or set him down. You could do whatever you wanted. He would just sit there. In the 1/2 hour we spent with him, he did not pay the slightest amount of attention to us. What was worse, he didn't even respond to his name - not even the slightest hint of recognition. Apparently, his previous owners had kept him outside and paid little attention to him. Unused to human contact, he was simply oblivious to everything. Not a good match for us.

One of the volunteers pointed out that wanting affection was natural, and that any animal would learn to crave it. We, however, did not have the time to teach him love. Someone else, however, apparently did. We did not see him the next week.

The next Saturday, we arrived just before opening. There was a line of about 6 people already. We, however, already had our pre-approval card. We went straight to the kennels.

The first thing we saw was 3 Beagle puppy noses sticking under a door. We're not home long enough to take care of a puppy, however, so we had to leave them be. 2 doors down, however, we found Molly.

Molly was a 2-year old stray tricolor Beagle. She was jumping so high she almost got out of the kennel. We decided to meet her.

We took her into one of the inside rooms. Nicole sat down on the couch, I sat down on the floor. Molly immediately climbed into my lap. It was all over.

On Monday, the SPCA spayed her and installed a microchip in her back (I can usually resist the urge to call her a "borgle") On Tuesday I picked her up.

Included was also a coupon for a free vet trip for her first checkup. All this for a grand total of $135.

I was wondering how she would handle her first night. My question was answered when I went upstairs to brush my teeth, and emerged to find her on the bed waiting for me. She has since spent every night on the bed between us.

Currently, she is sleeping on ES1's lap. For a view of how she's settling in, see here. We couldn't be any happier with the experience we had with the SPCA. I highly recommend trying them out if you're in the market for a quadruped.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Because I'm post call and bored

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Remembering Sean Rooney

This post appears just as it did a year ago today. Updates have been made to fix links. All else will remain untouched.

Note: this post is here as a part of the 2996 Project, a tribute to all the victims of September 11th. Please visit this link for more stories.

Everyone remembers where they were that fateful morning. I was still living with my parents. ES1, then my fiance, had come over as soon as the news broke, so that we could be together. That afternoon, there was in my parents' house, as in many places, a flurry of telephone calls. Everyone was calling everyone else to make sure they were alright.

Our friend AM, who once dated my best friend Pat, called me up. She asked if I had heard anything from Pat's family, since his uncle works in the WTC. I said I hadn't, and proceeded to call his family. I spoke with his mother, who told me a harrowing story.

My best friend's uncle, Sean Rooney, was indeed in the second tower of the WTC. When the first plane hit the first tower, he and his coworkers were told to stay put.

When the second plane hit, they were trapped.

He called his wife, Beverly Eckert. They spent some time talking. Finally, he told her that it was time to say goodbye.

A few seconds later, she heard an explosion, followed by a whoosh. Suddenly, the line went dead.

She turned to her television to see her worst fears confirmed.

A few days later, a memorial service was held at Pat's parents' house in East Aurora. Many stories were told. I spoke with some of his family members to get a few more. Here are a handful, which may perhaps shed some light on this man's life.

Sean Rooney was not a man to waste time. Sean Rooney was not shy. He loved people, he was very outgoing, and he always had one question on his mind: "What can I do to help?"

In the winter of 2000, Sean & his wife drove in from Connecticut to visit. Pat's parents noticed a large object on top of their car. It seems that the last time they were in town, Sean had decided that their bathroom needed a new vanity. He secretly took measurements. Upon his return to Connecticut he proceeded to build one. He then installed it, along with some new tiling. It was called a Christmas present.

He was one of the last true Jacks-of-all-trades. He was known on sight at his local Home Depot. At his own home, their dining room holds a gorgeous table which he built. Every cabinet in their kitchen was installed by him.

His talents also extended to cooking as well. He did all the cooking. One Thanksgiving he made a Turkey dinner for 17 people. Nobody ever turned down one of his meals.

His interests also included golf. Golf was, however, apparently about the only thing he wasn't good at. Nonetheless, he enjoyed it immensely. One day, on a trip to Nantucket, he and Pat's father hit the course. No more than 4 or 5 holes were played before a thick fog rolled in. Sean decided that the course diagram on the scorecards should be accurate enough for navigational purposes. As long as they stayed on the green, they could simply follow the path in the dew to find their balls. They used this method to play the next 4 holes before finally giving up.

One couldn't say enough about his generosity. A friend of his, who lived near him in Connecticut, took a job in New York City. His new abode did not have room for any of his furniture, leaving him with nothing. Sean took his outdoor furniture, which was padded for comfort, and one day drove in and said "here."

Above all, he never dismissed anyone. Not even the person who bagged his groceries escaped his attention. Everyone was treated as a person who was worthy of personal contact. No person was overlooked.

One day, Pat's parents were on a visit to Sean & Beverly's home in Connecticut. Outside the local supermarket, a street person was pushing a cart full of cans. He hit the curb, overturning the cart, as well as himself. His cans rolled out into the middle of traffic. Without hesitation, Sean stepped out into traffic. With one hand, he held the traffic back. With the other, he helped the others load the cans back into the man's cart.

Most of all, through the memorial service and speaking with his family, I saw the love. I saw the love that he had for his family, friends, and human beings in general. I felt the love that he inspired in all those who knew him. Most of all, I felt myself to be a lesser person for never having known him.

Today, his name lives on. With the help of the Jesuits, Sean's family established a scholarship at Canisius High School, which was Sean's alma mater, as well as Pat's and my own. This scholarship goes to an incoming freshman who either graduated from the Catholic Academy of West Buffalo, or lives on the West Side of Buffalo.

This scholarship was dedicated at a ceremony in his honor. It turned out that Sean's high school friend, Tom Fontana, who had watched the entire event from his home in New Jersey, wanted to help out. He brought along a movie he had just completed, Judas, and it was screened at the event. Also at the event, the first student was given the scholarship. This student had fled with his family from Rwanda in 1995. His parents were from different warring tribes. He was the ideal first recipient.

Sean Rooney's legacy continues to touch the lives of those who knew him, and many who never knew him. He was a great man, whose life was cut short by blind hatred. His memory and legacy, however, will live on long after those who murdered him are forgotten. Standing in contrast to those who hate, is the memory of a man who knew only love. Decades from now, when the names of the violent are confined to grade school textbooks, his legacy will touch the hearts and lives of many deserving young students in the hallowed halls of Canisius. Even then, those who knew him will remember a man of infinite kindness, infinite generosity, and infinite love. Today, let us all take a moment to remember Sean Rooney. He was what we all aspire to be.

A tribute video of him is posted here.

Updated 8/16/07 to correct image links.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

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