Today we said goodbye to Jake, our 18+ year-old dog. The energetic little doggie who ran up to us near Powderhorn Park nearly 18 years ago had recently become nearly blind and deaf and was eating less and less, causing him to lose quite a bit of weight and become weak. We are fortunate that he was a part of our lives for such a long time. I will miss… seeing his big ears in the kitchen window after riding home from work and opening the back gate to put my bike in the garage; our near daily walks through the neighborhood; feeling his wet nose on my leg to get my attention; hearing his barking at a squirrel or at a dog being walked past our fence; his insistent placing of a toy near me to be thrown and, then, fetched by him; hearing his gentle whimper to wake me and let me know he needs to go out; seeing him run full-tilt across an open field or beach. I’m glad you found us, little doggie.
Seventeen and a half years ago, a scrappy, energetic, light-brown terrier mix with big ears came running up to me and Dan as we were walking home from Jakeeno’s Pizza in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood of Minneapolis. He had no collar and had something sticky matted into the fur on top of his head. But, a group of kids were hanging out nearby, and we wondered if the dog was theirs. We asked them, but they told us he was not theirs and called him “Lucky.” They directed us to a house about a block away where they thought his owners lived. We brought him to the house and saw that there were dishes for food and water on the open porch. The kids must be right: this is his home. But, it had begun to get dark out, and there was no porch light on. We rang the doorbell. No one came. Then, we knocked. Eventually, a woman came to the door. Hi; is this your dog? No, but I see he’s eating my cat’s food again. So, people had seen him around the neighborhood, but nobody knew to whom — if anyone — he belonged. Dan picked him up, and we brought him home to our duplex apartment a couple blocks away. Our upstairs neighbors had a dog, so we asked them for some dog food. They brought down some food and an extra collar they had. He scarfed down the food as if he hadn’t eaten in some time. Over the next couple days, we did some checking around, but no one seemed to be looking for this “lost” dog. Dan brought him to the vet to have him checked out. The vet estimated that he was about 8 months old. We decided to keep him, and we named him Jakeeno — Jake, for short.
Fast forward to today. Jake’s not eating, and we believe his time with us may be short. Last fall, he began eating less. At the time, we were feeding him a dry dog food (Castor and Pollux’ Organix) that he had been eating fine for a few years. Before that, we had almost exclusively fed him Sojourner Farms (or Sojos) — a dog food pre-mix that we mixed with water, veggies and meat. Over time, he had become finicky about the veggies and meat that we added and, so, we switched to the dry food. Until last fall, he seemed to enjoy the dry food and ate it well. A bit after his eating slowed, Dan came home one day to vomit in the dining room and, bringing Jake for a walk, discovered that he had blood in his urine. Dan brought him to the vet. They sent him home with antibiotics for a likely bladder infection, but were even more concerned that his weight was down at least 4 pounds from his normal. So, they also gave us some canned dog food that is specially formulated for easy digestion. Initially, he loved the food, but this also began the cycle of us finding a food that he would eat for a few days and, then, have no interest in it at all. We tried another flavor of the same canned food, and he initially loved it, but eventually rejected it. In mid-December, we were on our way out the door for my graduation ceremony, and Jake hadn’t eaten much that day. I was eating a Clif bar and decided to break off a piece and offer it to Jake. He ate it, so I gave him several more bits. So, for several days, he ate mostly Clif bars. We continued to offer him regular dog food, but he wouldn’t eat it. Christmas came, and Jake’s interest in Clif bars was waning. We were having rice soup on Christmas Eve, and Dan gave a bit to Jake to see if he would like it; he did. So, he had a few “meals” of rice soup and, then, again, rejection. We had some Christmas dinner leftovers and went through the same cycle: love it, wolf it down, eat it for a couple days, reject it. We cycled through variations of chicken, rice, gravy, stuffing, ground beef, tuna, eggs, bread cubes, various soups and others that I’m not remembering at the moment. We continued to periodically offer him some of his dog food — dry or canned, but he wasn’t interested. We started offering him a little bit of what we were eating — of course, avoiding ingredients that are uniquely not good or toxic to dogs: mushrooms, onions, chocolate, etc. He liked and ate a couple pasta dishes that I made, most recently, veggie lasagna. He also became less interested in his treats, so we tried graham crackers, and they had become a good standby until very recently.
About a month ago, Jake began coughing, especially at night. He wasn’t getting much sleep, and neither were Dan and I. Dan brought him in to the vet. They had done several tests when he was there in December. They did several more tests and x-rays. They were not finding anything wrong with him and suggested that we make sure he has plenty of fluids and run a vaporizer in the bedroom. For some time, we had already been keeping a dish of water on both floors of our house. So, he had ready access to water. We ran a vaporizer at night, but he was still coughing at night. I called the vet to let them know this. The other doctor on staff looked at the x-rays and thought there might be congestion in his lungs and that his heart may not be keeping up with things. She prescribed Furosemide. The cough subsided within a couple days and hasn’t returned as we continue to give him the pill each day.
So, fortunately, Jake’s no longer coughing at night, but we continue to struggle to find foods that he will eat. Over the last couple days, he has only had a few bites of foods and the bit of peanut butter we give him with his pill. We continue to bring him for daily walks around the block, but the walks now take much longer. He always loved to stop to sniff along the way, but he has become even more ponderous, sometimes just looking up and staring off. We know that he has, over time, lost much of his hearing and vision and, recently, he seemed to be getting lost in the backyard at night when we let him out. We now usually carry him outside to do his business, especially now that the back yard is so icy. He can still make it up and down the stairs in our house, albeit slowly, but it’s easier to carry him up and down the stairs at night.
Today, he is mostly sleeping. He is still drinking water, so I’ll bring him outside occasionally. And, I keep offering him various food. I had an extra sweet potato, so I boiled and mashed it for him; no go. Dan is working today, so a short time ago, Jake wandered around the house, going upstairs and coming back down, presumably looking for Dan.
Dan and I spent three weeks in Germany this summer, where we visited Berlin, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Cochem and, then, performed with Team Band in Gay Games VIII in Cologne. Team Band performed a field show for the Opening Ceremony as well as a concert during the week of the games. I played percussion for both performances, and Dan was in the color guard for our field show. I would eventually like to blog more about our experiences, but would at least like to post a link to our photos:
So, it was inauguration day. That morning I had breakfast with the LGBA marching band. It was a buffet and tasted great. It was also the final time I was likely to see many of the band members for awhile. After the buffet, Tim and the other band members got on a bus and set off to get through government security and then on their way to marching in the inaugural parade. Meanwhile, I went to the Ballston subway station. There was quite a hullabaloo in the news about over-crowded subway cars and subway platforms that were way over packed. I experienced none of this. I found a subway train that said “not in service” but was picking up people and transporting them. The platform was nearly empty.
Not all was perfect. The subway was still delayed by previous over-packed subways and over-packed platforms. I eventually left the subway one stop after foggy bottom. As I left the station, the streets were FILLED with people. I picked up a hot chocolate from a vendor and headed for the Mall. My initial plan was to go and take pictures of all the monuments with millions of people in front of them. Many streets were barricaded so we were like cattle being forced to go in certain directions. I made it to the mall but swiftly discovered my initial plan would be impossible. There were too many people to even get through to the monuments. I was near the Washington Monument so I took pictures and I could see the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorial and took a few pictures of that. So, I waded in to possibly hear the “swearing in” of Obama. This also seemed nearly impossible. The mall was sectioned off into cattle-like fields so all I could do was “moo” about while seeking a possible view of the Jumbo-tron.
I decided to go see if I could get into the parade. I walked against the teeming multitudes to make it eventually to one of the gates to the parade. This was quite a hike. I made it to 10th and Pennsylvania Ave eventually but before-hand, I waited in the crush of people at the gate for 4 hours. It was TIGHT! Tim called me during the wait and I couldn’t even reach into my pocket to answer the phone. One woman was facing the wrong way while waiting and she explained she hadn’t touched the ground for 10 feet. At one point, I had to go over a concrete barrier to make it further toward the gate in the crush. I stood on it. Some people handed me their cameras so I could take pictures for them. The crush was actually a lot of fun. At one point I saw a bottle of Jack Daniels being passed around in the crowd. It was quickly emptied. A couple of good things about the crush. I was warm. I met the people around me since I was practically “on” them. One woman, I was “on” her back, as she was trying to get over the concrete barrier, turned around. We were face to face about 2 inches apart.
She said “Hi. I don’t think we have been properly introduced. My name is Joy.”
I laughed and said “Hi, my name is Dan.”
We both laughed because we had been almost more than invading each others personal space for quite some time. We were practically kissing. I met many other fun people while in the crush. It was one of the highlights of my day. Eventually, I made it into the parade area. The security was very similar to airport security but I didn’t have to take off my coat or shoes.
The parade was delayed.
This was announced by a couple of radio announcers stationed near me. They would eventually announce general facts about each marching band or float or “presentation” as they went by. Then the parade started. There were many people and I was warm again from the crush trying to be able to see Obama as he went by. First there were a couple of VIPs in cars which we barely saw. We knew the new President was coming eventually. I said to another person waiting near me. We will know when he is coming by the screams of the crowd. That is how it happened too. We heard the crowd roaring and then “saw” him. The crowd all stood on their tip-toes and put their cameras and cellphones in the air for a picture. I really didn’t see him, I put my camera up, snapped 3 pictures in what I thought was his general direction. I lucked out. After he and Michelle and the Bidens passed. About 7/10ths of the crowd left. It was cold.
The parade was very good. Each marching band started playing their tunes near where I was standing and I almost got to hear each one. I took pictures but it soon became too dark to take good pictures so I waited for the LGBA Marching Band to come by. After about 3 to 4 hours, I saw them. It was dark by then. I tried to take pictures. I couldn’t. They were just as good if not better than many of the other Marching Bands.
“YEEEAAA!!” I yelled. I even screamed “CAN YOU HEAR ME??”
One band member said later that she could.
After that, I was cold enough to want to leave so I quickly got on the subway and back to the last stop on the Orange Line heading West.
There I waited for awhile so Tim could come and pick me up. We then went with several other band members to dinner and drinks at Champs.
What a great day.
Cheers to all and Congratulations LGBA Marching Band for marching in your first inaugural parade.
Open letter to LGBA Band-members who marched in the inauguration parade:
(Sung to the tune of Rudolph the Rednose -Reindeer)
You know music and marching, instructions and Lisa.
bullhorns and cold feet, sore muscles and warm tents.
BUT DO YOU RECAAALLLLL…..
ANY BACKROUND DISASTERS AT AAALLLL.
I am one of your Band Aides.
Tryin’ to make ends meeeeet.
trying to find the suuuggaaar
so every drop of coffee is sweet.
Is there per-chance hot water?
Anyone seen trash bags?
I can’t find any tables
and the LGBA sign’s in need.
Running my muscles sore so you
won’t fall into pot holes.
Jackie we know you are great
won’t you please give me a break.
Making lines in the car lot
with little more than hope and care.
If you remember your lost lunch salads…
They’re still in the church Fridgidaaaiiiirrre.
Dan here with an update on all the background stuff you DIDN’T and WEREN’T SUPPOSED to see.
Scene 1: Photo limitations. Sunday afternoon and Tim and I had just entered the parking lot.
Of course, it is now time to begin the photo-fest. Someone hands me a camera.
Snap,Snap,Snap…oh, by the way, don’t take photos of ANYTHING nearby other than a plain parking lot and a street with little of interest on it.
We are SURROUNDED..almost..by really cool buildings.
As a Band Aide, it eventually becomes my job to tell everyone coming into the parking lot where they can’t take pictures.
Scene 2: The minister is blocked in. Okay, now to the consolidation of cars in the parking lot. Okay. The lot is now packed tight. Oh gosh, the minister just pulled up and told me his car is one of the first ones parked..and behind another car which needs to be moved.
You all probably remember my shout about someones car needing to be moved (by the way, notice that without a bullhorn, I have a voice that “naturally carries” 🙂 Okay, car moved.
Scene 3: Woe in the parking lot. The Band-Aides now got the job of making lines on the parking lot every 10 meters….with chalk we can’t find. Tape. Rope. aaaannnd The Drum-major mace which was exactly 3 feet long according to the 11 inch piece of paper we used to measure it. Of course, once all of the band members lined up, we knew our work was in vain. You were going to head out and march the grounds.
Scene 4: Cue the broken LGBA sign. The pole in it snapped. Some of us head out to Home Depot for 12ft of conduit pipe, which would be cut into 3 pieces.
Scene 5: Band members marching, Band Aides on the run. Must…..run….to….every possible pot hole you may trip on or into. We point, stand in, make faces at these holes so you notice them (and us, some of us adore attention) during your 28 inch stride and concentration.
Actually, all this was a lot of fun so don’t get me wrong…
The next day was MORE fun.
Scene 6: Coffee deficit. First thing the next day, we waited outside for awhile and got in the church late. OH YEAH, the coffee took 1/2 hour to percolate…Hot water took less time. Eventually things started heating up. Good cookies though….
Scene 7: Recycling and trash issues. Next on the agenda was breaking down boxes and taking out the trash and dealing with recycling…what? NO recycling?…eventually we found out they did recycle but the boxes still made it to the dumpster. We filled the dumpster twice and more.
Some of us went to pick up lunch.
Scene 8: Lunchroom set up. We had 4 tables with 12 seats to a table. Hmmmm, 48 table seats….177 people. DISASTER READY TO HAPPEN. At the last minute, I fOUND TABLES!!! Fantastic! Disaster averted..almost.
Scene 9: Doesn’t anyone like potato salad? Okay, you all remember me going around and asking if anyone wanted the extra potato salad some people didn’t want. Next I knew, I was handed MORE…AND MORE. Then add cole-slaw. I had a few takers for macaroni salad..which I handed them double the amount they asked for. A few wanted some cole-slaw as well.
I eventually just left 25 containers of mostly potato salads in the fridge in the church. It is probably still there.:)
Scene 10: Trash Mountain. Lunch had barely started and some had just finished their lunch, and the trash was a mountain. There was a secondary bag which was also full. The upstairs trash was nearly full. Ummm, are their any more trashbags anywhere……..no. Oh yeah, to consolidate and condense the trash, I eventually sat some of the bags so they would be compact enough to tie shut.
Then one of us Band Aides found more trash bags but they were smaller. She held open these bags for you…Thank you, Thank you, I don’t know your name but Thank you.
Scene 11: Mystery of the dumpster. IT’S GONE!!! Lunch is now over. There are bags and bags of trash. We go out with them to the dumpster…and it is gone! Okay, the front security gate will take it and the dumpster magically reappears later.
Scene 12: Cue the broken LGBA sign…AGAIN! Oh yeah. It sags at the joints because of the cold. The sign must be rigidly straight (unlike the rest of us). So on to Homo Depot.
Scene 13: Hell to Home Depot. That’s right. We went to a Home Depot that required us to cross Washington DC proper. Right in the middle of the city. About 2 hours later, we were back.
At least we cured the sign issue. One pole with another pole that fits into it. No chance of a break or a bend.
Scene 14: A bus named Frigidaire. Yep, no heat on the bus from Fairfax to the morning breakfast. As a Band Aide, I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with this one.
That’s it from a Band Aides point of view. I actually had a really fantastic time being a Band Aide. It was all a lot of fun! These instances were far from unpleasant. They made the trip.
I was glad that few to none of you even knew any of this happened. You were all great! Thank you to my fellow Band Aides!
My next blog will be about me making it to both the Mall and the Parade.
Ian Harwood, a member of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, who marched with LGBA in the Inaugural Parade, is one of three people featured in a Life/Style Television special. It’s pretty cool, and can be viewed in four parts at: http://lxtv.com/
Originally uploaded by TimDan2.
I’ve posted photos from our D.C. trip here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/timdan2/sets/72157612898762791/
People we see on the interstates heading away from D.C. and at wayside rests who are obviously returning home from the Inauguration (evidenced by bumper stickers, various state license plates, “Obama” window markings and T-shirts) are still beaming! The bright, sunny, snowless suburbs of D.C. give way to the snow-covered Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania as we head toward Pittsburgh. We’re still talking and thinking about our inauguration experiences. Marching in the inauguration parade was awesome in and of itself, but a big part of what made it so was the fact that it was done with a wonderful, wonderful group of people! We meet a few more folks from the various GLBT bands around the country at each event in which we participate, and they all are genuinely nice people that are fun to perform with and hang out with.
Dan and I woke up at 5 am on Tuesday morning, took showers, got dressed for the big day and went down to the hotel lobby to gather with the other LGBA folks who stayed at the Fairfax hotel. The bus that would take us to breakfast was ready to be loaded — well, kind of ready; the heat didn’t work, and the temperature was in the teens. But, plans already were in place to use this bus just to get to breakfast in Ballston and, then, switch to a replacement that would meet us there. So, we loaded the percussion and sousaphones into the undercarriage of the bus and traveled to Ballston. LGBA organized an excellent buffet breakfast for us. After breakfast everyone who would be marching in the parade boarded the buses. Dan took the Metro into D.C. to be on the Mall for the swearing in ceremonies and, then, on Pennsylvania Avenue for the parade. He’ll have to share his experience that day in a separate blog.
This was truly a day of moving, then waiting, over and over — not too exciting, but here’s how it unfolded. Our four buses traveled to the Pentagon on nearly traffic-free roads; we were heading toward an area where all the roads were closed, so there was little need to be traveling where we were. Once at the Pentagon, we waited in our buses for a couple hours, listening on the radio to the swearing-in ceremony happening just across the Potomac. We received direction to move to the security screening area, and the buses brought us there. At the screening area, we unloaded everything off of the buses, placing drums and sousaphones on wheeled carts to go through separate screening. I carried my drum harness and day pack with drum sticks, lyre, flip folder with music, water bottle and extra layers of clothing into the screening tent. My harness and day pack were hand inspected, and I walked through the metal detector with no problems. Exiting the screening tent, we were given hot chocolate and a box lunch with a sandwich, apple and cookie. We were now in the “clean” area.
We waited briefly in this area outside while waiting for our empty buses to go through their own security screening. After the buses were screened, they moved to an area where we re-loaded our equipment and re-boarded the buses. We waited on the buses in a large parking lot — still on the Pentagon premises — and ate our lunch. After some time, we began making our way out of the lot. We needed to have what they called “100 percent accountability,” meaning the number of people on our buses as we left the Pentagon area needed to match exactly the number they were given earlier. After an initial miscount, our numbers matched, and we were allowed to proceed across the Potomac, behind the Lincoln Memorial, past the tidal basin with a view of the Jefferson Memorial, past the Washington Monument and the crowds on the mall, and finally to the Ellipse in front of the White House, where warming tents were set up to hold bands as they waited to be called for step-off. We waited in the tents for a bit, moved out to the field to line up, go over some last-minute signals and play some warm-ups — of the wind instruments, that is; we would have needed to run a couple laps of the Ellipse to truly warm ourselves. Then, we moved onto the roadway composing the Ellipse and got into our formation. After running through some of the drum cadence and a couple songs, we noticed that some of the bands were moving back into the warming tents and wondered what was going on. After a couple minutes, we also received word that the parade was delayed and directions to return to the warming tents. We seemed to be in the tents for only about a half-hour before moving back out onto the Ellipse roadway to line up. Then, we moved out — yea!!
We walked as a unit up Constitution Avenue to 7th Street, where we took a left, stepped off to the drum cadence and, then, took another left onto Pennsylvania Avenue. We were on our way toward the White House! It was dark by this time, and the parade route was not very well lit. I’m so glad that I memorized my music! Also, I think, because of the delay and the cold weather, the crowds along the parade route were rather sparse by this time.
I was concerned that my fingers would be cold, which would result in less stick control. So, I kept my hands in my jacket pockets with my hand warmers until shortly before we stepped off. Initially, my fingers were cold, and stick control wasn’t the best. But since I play percussion, I was playing constantly, with the drum cadence alternating with our five songs, and my fingers quickly warmed after about a block. I was good to go!
My partner, Dan, was along the route — at 10th and Pennsylvania — and, normally, if I could hear anyone, it would be him. But, my focus on marching and playing combined with the darkness along the route prevented me from seeing or hearing him; I knew he was there cheering us on!
Continuing along Pennsylvania Avenue, we took a right turn onto 15th Street. At some point either just before or just after taking a left onto Pennsylvania Avenue north of the White House, we stopped playing both the drum cadence and songs, and marched along silently to drum clicks. I could see the bright lights ahead and the reviewing booth ahead on our left. The Howard University Marching Band was finishing its number in front of the booth. We were still in the darkness, but the bright lights shining in our direction cast an outline of light around my fellow band members ahead of me and also emphasized their warm breath rising into the cold air. Our drum majors gave us the signal to restart the drum cadence, and we happily complied with the single strike of the snare drum and bass drum, the continuing sixteenth notes on the high pitched tom, and the driving build-up to the start of the actual cadence. Marching to the drum cadence, we approached the reviewing booth containing the Obamas and the Bidens, among others, and were given the signal for the roll off. The band, snapping their horns to their mouths on the second “bum bum,” of the roll off launched into the oh-so-familiar march of Sousa’s, The Washington Post March. Keeping my head facing straight ahead, I was able to see President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with my peripheral vision; they were both waving and smiling. We finished playing the march and went back into the cadence; we did it!!
We played a couple more songs before we received direction to return to marching to drum clicks. We marched and, then, just walked back to our buses, which brought us (Bus 1) back to our hotel in Fairfax, Virginia. Most band members staying in Fairfax went to Chammps in the mall across from our hotel for food, drinks and sharing of parade experiences.
Here is, first, a video with clips from our first rehearsal (last Sunday, 1/18/2009) and, second, an article about our (LGBA’s) participation in the parade.
The Lesbian and Gay Band Association marched in President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Parade, and I was a part of it! It was an amazing experience!
Dan and I are now home; we got back to the Twin Cities yesterday afternoon. I have lots to post but need to get cleaned up at home and caught up at work first. Here are a few links to some video clips of our rehearsals and the actual parade. I’m sure there are others out there by now, but I haven’t had a chance to check out others; these were sent to me by my brother, Joel. So I’m just pasting them in here. Thanks, Joel!
good piece on the band, a good shot of Tim and the band practicing
interviews, practice, a shot of Tim
the camera that many of the national TV stations used, a shot of Tim as they marched by Obama