Reflections on Rufus

2022/11/27 at 14:45

I’ve had a number of dogs over the course of my adult life, and I loved each one in its own way, but Rufus stands out among them for his gentle ways.

We spent Christmas day, 2008, in San Antonio at Katie’s aunt’s house. Dinner and dessert were over, and several of us were standing in the driveway watching Samuel try out his new skateboard. A big male Golden Retriever trotted up and greeted each of us. We looked for a collar and tags to no avail. We took him in the house and asked Katie’s aunt if she recognized him. She didn’t. At the end of the evening, we had a minor disagreement about whether Katie’s cousin and her husband would take the dog back to their home in East Texas or we would take him home to Pflugerville. We prevailed; I think we were a little pushy about it.

We put ads out for him, but nobody claimed him. We took him to the vet and found out that he was heartworm-positive, which is not uncommon in our area if a dog doesn’t take regular heartworm medication. He became our dog.

Here he is the next day at home with our other Golden at the time, Xena:

And here he is with me at Enchanted Rock on January 1, 2009:

In 2014, I started working for a company that had quarterly Bring-your-dog-to-work days, and Rufus became a familiar face around the office. At one of his visits, he met a coworker who had just arrived in Austin from New Delhi, India. In India, few people have pet dogs and there are many street dogs that you don’t want to get near, so this guy had never actually petted a dog before. With the help of a very good friend who worked with me, this guy spent 30 minutes on the floor of the office petting Rufus. Another coworker was afraid of dogs but Rufus was the only one she would get near. Both of these stories show his gentleness and trustworthiness.

By 2019, Rufus was getting on in years, and the last BYDTW day of that year was pretty rough on him: the relative unfamiliarity of the surroundings, being out all day, having to walk on slick floors in the building lobby and elevator–his hips were getting weak by this point. I told our HR person who administered the BYDTW days that that had probably been his last visit to the office.  She asked me if he could possibly make it one more time and suggested that we make the theme of the next BYDTW day “Rufus Retirement.” I agreed, and everyone at the office and at home was thrilled.

The next BYDTW day was scheduled for late March, 2020, but the pandemic hit, and we all started working from home. Rufus never got his retirement party; one more sacrifice to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rufus developed cancer in his leg in 2020, and after a couple of surgeries to remove it, he died in December of that year. We captured this magnificent portrait of him in the greenbelt behind the house a couple of weeks before his death:

At the next company all-hands meeting after Rufus’ death, the President of the company paid his respects to Rufus and what he had done for the company and its employees:

At some point, the marketing team used that magnificent photo on the company’s “About” page as the symbol for company culture, and though I no longer work for this employer, Rufus’s photo is still there:

 

Mastodon verification post

2022/11/23 at 08:39

As much as you can trust that this web site belongs to me, this post verifies that the following mastodon account belongs to me: https://mastodon.cloud/@tippiedog 

And if you’re on mastodon, please feel free to follow me: https://mastodon.cloud/@tippiedog or @tippiedog@mastodon.cloud

Congratulations, Samuel & Marissa

2022/11/08 at 09:55

 

 

 

New Mexico vacation!

2022/08/21 at 15:04

Taos Pueblo cemeteryKatie and I got away to the mountains of New Mexico for a week! View my curated photo album here

When the Cook Can’t Look

2022/03/05 at 15:18

When the Cook Can't Look by Ralph ReadWhen I was an undergraduate student at UT, I worked for a blind professor, Ralph Read. I’ve blogged about him a few times over the years: here, here, and here. Another thing he did is write a cookbook for the blind. I was thinking about this the other day and realized that I never had my own copy of his cookbook. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I remedied that problem. 

Lt. Reginald Barkley has joined our family

2021/09/13 at 15:31

Lt Reginald BarkleyIn May, we welcomed Lt. Reginald Barkley, a three-year-old male Golden Retriever, into our family. He was, as we call it, a CraigList rescue. His previous person had bought male and female Goldens with the intention of breeding them, but she was in over her head and was selling the male. He had never had vet care, not had heartworm preventative (he was HW negative, thankfully!), had a skin infection and showed signs that he had spent most of his life in a kennel. He can never take the place of Rufus, but he has stolen our hearts already.

Goodbye, Rufus

2020/12/18 at 16:37

RufusOn Christmas day, 2008, we were standing in the driveway of a relative’s house in San Antonio watching Samuel try out his new skateboard when this big, red dog came bounding up to us. We took him home with us and posted ads to find his people, to no avail. He turned out to be heartworm-positive. We treated his heartworm, named him Rufus and made him a part of our family. On December 12, 2020, we had to say goodbye to the bestest boy. You will be missed, Rufus.

Addresses

2020/10/07 at 07:31

This morning I was listening to the episode of the 99% Invisible podcast about addresses. The thesis of the episode is that while addresses are something we generally take for granted, they are actually a relatively new invention. I realized that I had lived in two places where conditions mentioned in the podcast existed.

First, I grew up in a house that didn’t have a street address. Our house was on a named street, and it even had a wooden street sign where it intersected the county road, but I don’t think the street names were official and in any case nobody used them. When we gave someone directions to our house, it was “when you’re coming down the county road, turn on the first street to the right past the water tower. Our house is the first one you come to, on your left.” Our mailing address was “Star Route 1 Box 205” and our mailbox was in a bank of mailboxes about a mile from the house.

Second, the podcast episode mentions how the Hapsburgs undertook an effort to number houses throughout their empire. When I was a high school exchange student in Austria in the 1980s, I lived in the village of Gro├čklein (that name is another story of its own), and the address of my host family was just “Gro├čklein 26” no street name necessary. That numbering most likely dates back to the Hapsburg numbering mentioned in the podcast.

25th anniversary of Windows 95

2020/08/28 at 14:25

Anil Dash reminds us how momentous the launch of Windows 95 was. In 1995, I was working for a company in western New Jersey that developed machine (human language) translation software. Katie and I had a Macintosh SE that we had bought in 1987 or 1988. Not too long after the Windows 95 launch, we went to CompUSA (or a similar store, can’t remember) and bought a new PC with a Pentium chip, and Windows for Workgroups 3.11–which had the TCP/IP stack. We got Internet access via Compuserve at our home in rural New Jersey, and I spent hours every evening the for the next few years exploring the web and teaching myself web-related technologies.

God, I’m old.

Another Mandala-inspired cross stitch project

2020/03/02 at 18:35

Mandala-inspired cross stitch project