Friday, February 23, 2018

Thank you.

Firstly, let me extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has reached out, left comments, voicemails, emails this week. Your support and camaraderie has been been both heartwarming and empowering.

And thank you to those who have given me a vessel to get my opinions across.

A lot of those who have reached out have said thank you. There is no reason for thanks. I thank each and every one of you. I know I have a big mouth, am stubborn and opinionated. These are my attributes - and this is what I can do to make my way and try to make a contribution to those who need it, in a world that is both scary and changing under our feet.

I have said this week that activism these days is a double edged sword - we are both disheartened that we must still have the same conversations and fight for the same things as our sisters and brothers before us, while also feeling hope about the uprising and united voices we now see coming forward.

I feel hopeful that we are now in a time of change, that we are setting the wheels in motion that will finally put an end to what have been cycles and repetitions of age-old debates and battles.

We have finally had enough; it was enough a long time ago.

There is a message here: every action makes a difference, no matter how big or small you might feel it is. There is a butterfly effect of every voice who speaks up, every action that takes a stand and every one of us who puts our fist to the air and says no more.

Your activism, your feminism, might not look like mine and mine might not look like yours - we are unique individuals with our own ways of fighting back.

Some of us march, some wave our flags and yell on the hill, some write, some sing, some sit and make decisions within ourselves that we will change things within our own lives to perpetuate new attitudes - these will all make change.

It all makes a difference.

Our activism is shaped by our our personal colours and experiences. The manifestation of our reactions is a direct result of who we are and what has led us to be who we are.

As we venture into tumultuous times, times of political change where we will all make a difference in this world by stepping up and saying, "Enough," remember that there are uncountable others who stand beside you in stopping the injustices in this world. There are also those who are silent, for their own reasons, and it is our job to give a voice while helping them find their own.

Remember that, despite our differences, we all must work toward a common goal of being good to one another and creating a world that is just and loving.

I will never question your activism, your integrity, your feminism, your reasons. I will stand beside you and be a voice where I can. It is the least I can do.

And in a world filled with hatred, misogyny, violence and so much wrong, know that no act is too small, too large, to make a difference.

Only by saying it is enough will we create change.

And I've never been so hopeful.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Enough.

Okay, hive, it's time to have a chat. I'll keep this to the point. I'm writing too many blog posts about how to be a decent human being this week and, frankly, it's getting on my nerves.

Today, NTV's Heather Gillis sat in court while the asshat who yelled "FHRITP" (that's "fuck her right in the pussy," for those of you who are unaware of the acronym. It originated when two other asshats started a Youtube trend a while ago, apparently. I won't be going to look for the original any time soon).

Heather was interviewing mayor Danny Breen down by good ol' Robin Hood Bay, doing her job, in her workplace, when Justin Penton (OMG SHE USED HIS NAME IT'S A WITCH HUNT...crawl up my hole) stuck his head out of the window of his carpet toting pickup and thought he was being hilarious.

Grow up, b'y.

Today it was deemed this was not a criminal offence. Best kind, Judge, Your Honour. I'm no student of the law, but it seems like the law has not been making friends these days.

Whether or not you agree with me that Justin Penton should be tied in the back yard and shot with a ball of his own shit, think for a minute about your workplace - and your right to feeling comfortable, safe, and to not have to deal with someone making a comment that is both sexually explicit and affects your ability to do your job. This is a job that you have worked hard to get, and work hard every day to do to the best of your ability.

'Magine.

This is enough. I've heard the comments, too. This week I've found myself spitting nails and wanting to burn things (now, before someone jumps on me for being a potential arsonist, I do not mean it literally).

"Take a joke."
"He didn't mean it."
"Lighten up."
"If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen."

What a steaming pile all of that is.

Just this week, as I was sitting in a meeting that was my work place, a man who was not a coworker slid into the seat next to me and whispered:

"I'm some glad I don't work in the office with you."
"Why?"
"Because you would be saying, 'Me too.'"

Now, if you are still residing under the rock that shrouded you from FHRITP, you likely still know the "me too" movement. Me too exposed the massive epidemic of sexual assault. Thousands of strong, powerful women - your mothers, sisters, neighbours, daughters - came forward with stories and their experiences, their lifetimes of sexual assault, or simply used the hashtag to indicate that they, too, had been a victim.

In my workplace, a professional meeting, he felt it was appropriate to crack a joke that insinuated if he worked in close vicinity to me he would sexually assault me.

Right on.

This is not okay.

I've been told there will be "bloodshed" in a meeting by a man who was spitting in my face, had a fist cocked in my face and called a "cunt" while explaining policy, been asked in a meeting if I was "there to cook dinner," and have had advances made to grab my crotch when I walk by to get a coffee. I have been told a man would "rather go to jail because it would be better than being put under conditions of not being able to see you in the office," and the list goes on.

Here is a newsflash: THIS IS NOT OKAY, B'YS. NOT. OKAY.

Heather Gillis, you, I, everyone who gets up and breathes the damn air in the morning, have a right to go to work, feel safe, do our jobs without wondering if the eyes leering at us are thinking about what they would do to us if alone. We should not have to wonder if they are about to say something that makes us feel like our worth in our workplace is based on our anatomy and looks. We deserve to continue through our days feeling accomplished, not violated.

The misogyny, violence, and just plain juvenile actions of men who, for whatever reason, feel a pump in their own masculinity by making us feel inferior and like sexual objects stops now.

For every person who hears the commentary, reads it, or sees it, and thinks, "It was harmless fun," or, "Take a joke," I guarantee you I can take a joke and make one with the best of them. I am resilient, as I know Heather Gillis is (she is one kickass woman and a damn good reporter). This is not about that.

It is about having respect for other human beings, treating them like humans and not sex toys or something for your viewing or fondling pleasure - and about not being a shitbag.

Grow up.
And if you cannot, keep your little boy commentary inside your own head and pants.

Our little girls, young women, and fellow adult women deserve to exist and live days without this type of bullshit, threats, violence, and the fear that makes us walk to our cars from our workplaces with keys placed strategically between our fingers. We're ready for your jugular. Keep this crap and your pathetic complexes and misogyny out of our workplaces. Let us do our jobs and keep our workplaces safe.

Our little boys, young men, and adult men need to step up and be allies - say it is not okay. We know our allies are out there. We see you, raising your sons to be strong men who build women up and do not trivialize their existence down to something for sex and procreation. We know you're there.

Legal arguments aside, let us do our jobs; be decent people. There is enough going on in the world right now that makes this earth a scary place. The last thing anyone should do is contribute to the negativity and systemic violence in this cesspool we now live each day in.

I'm mad.
You should be, too.

A lot of us work in male dominated workplaces and it has been hard enough to claw our way to where we are, to be taken seriously. We spend every day having to unnecessarily prove ourselves and validate why we are there.

Get up and say this is unacceptable.
Act.

I'm sick of it.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Why we race.

I came here to write a race report. This post is less race report and more commentary on how to be a supportive, decent human being.

This morning's race was both brutal but fun, a great event organized by the city of Mount Pearl and put off by a crew of wonderful volunteers. They braved -20 and a piercing wind chill to make sure we all didn't die, hold us up at the finish, and make sure we weren't squat at intersections. Thank you to each and every one.

On a course that is about 60% uphill and with a brutal headwind, I was more than happy with my result and win. There is, however, something that needs to be said. One comment has taken away from the fun of what was a great event, one where every person should feel wonderful and be able to celebrate their accomplishment.

It is absolutely unacceptable for a race director, while watching athletes cross the finish line, happy and accomplished, well under the 60 minute course time limit, to say, "I don't know why people register for races if they're only going to walk them."

Hearing about this has me seething.

Every person on that course had a right to be there, whether they were hammering out 4 minute kms or finishing last.

Every.
Single.
One.

This type of attitude has no place in the running or fitness communities. These comments are why people are intimidated from taking those first steps, from entering gyms, from going to a fitness class, from lacing up their first pair of sneakers. These comments contribute to our obesity and poor health epidemics.

I remember my first time setting foot in a gym when I was overweight, struggling with poor self confidence, unhealthy and wanted to make a change. It is damn hard and every ounce of support gives you the strength and courage to take one more step toward your goals.

Every person at that start line was there for their own reasons. For some it might be a time goal, for others to complete their first race. Reasons are nobody's business but your own but they should be celebrated. Getting to the start line of any race, let alone in -20 today, is an accomplishment in itself; finishing is the icing on the cake.

Every person at that line today is an athlete. Nobody should care if you ran 100% of the course or walked 100%. You finished, you have the same medal around your neck as the person in first, and the bagels tasted the same.

Encourage your fellow athletes, support the person taking their first steps to being a healthier, stronger them, motivate where you can, simply say, "Great job!" when you see someone working hard. Tell them they look strong!

We need to be supporting and lifting each other up, not tearing each other down. New World Fitness will be getting an email from me. The Frosty Festival 5k is not an Olympic qualifier, to the best of my knowledge, and the snarky comments and superiority complexes are better left off the race course and away from the finish line. Personally, I feel more emotional and inspired when watching those finishing their first race, or watching someone reach a personal time goal than watching the same person take home a medal for the 20007436784th time. Those are the truly inspirational people on that course.

Congratulations to everyone who kicked ass today, slogged that shitty stretch up Smallwood, and if you didn't swear your way through the last 3 kms you deserve extra congratulations.

And congratulations to the ladies who had to hear that comment fired in their direction. There is no need. I hope it did not take away from your feeling of accomplishment and want you to know every one of us are damn proud of each of you for kicking ass today. Keep being fabulous.

To answer the race director's question as to why people sign up for races when they walk them? Because they can, Keith, and because they have just as much of a right to be on that course as you, I, any person who has the courage to register and line up.

And because they're damn fine athletes.

Thank you again to the wonderful volunteers for a great event.







Saturday, February 17, 2018

Stronger.

No, this isn't a blog post full of Kanye West lyrics.

Race season is like objects in the rearview mirror - closer than it appears. Due to this fact, there will likely be a few training blogs here, something to keep me both accountable and motivated. I'll likely be tracking progress here as well, so if this bothers you go batter somewhere else.

I know a lot of folks consider the winter the offseason, but there really never is an offseason for me. Between hockey and registering for a scattered race when it pops up, I never really take one. I do not like to lose any momentum and like to push through, despite ice and our lovely Newfoundland climate.

Somehow, some way, I'm feeling pretty good heading into this season. I feel pretty supported right now and have some wonderful people in my life who continue to push me to reach my goals. For all the training in the world, the greatest compliment to the work is support from your circles. It's going to be a solid year.

2018 will mark my third year of training with the nothing-short-of-amazing Tara Postnikoff at HEAL Toronto, and hard work does truly pay off. Tara knows her shit and has pushed me to times and limits I never thought would be possible again.

I never thought that at 36 I would be feeling close to (possibly better, but only the times on the road will tell) than my varsity year. It has been a long, tough road with a lot of miles, sweat and tears, but I am cautiously optimistic. After a 1:46:51 Hypothermic Half in less-than-ideal conditions, and on a tough course, I am hoping for my best year yet.

Today has been one of those days when I have given a lot of thought to what is coming up, had some good training discussions, and have committed to being the best I can be on the ice and on the road (I should probably say in the water as well, but I hate swimming so screw swimming).

The morning started with coffee with my former X-Country coach, the legendary Art Meaney. Art is one of the most important people in my life. He is always honest, full of wonderful advice, knowledge (both in and outside of the running world), and has been there for me through a lot of hard and good times alike. We talk about my work, what he is up to, have political discussions and always wind up back to running. I can always go to Art for advice, a chat, and we try to do coffee once or twice a month in our busy lives. I love that man.

"Let me take a picture of you in that fabulous hat, kid! Tell me about it!"

Coffee with Art always ends with motivation, solid training advice, and always a book to read.


After our chat today I've decided I need to put in a lot of work and be the best athlete I can, both on the ice and on the road. 

This means incorporating strength training and being the strongest I can be. As many of you know, the epidemic of body image issues in sport (for young girls and women, especially) is a topic very close to me. In sport we are role models and we never know who is watching, taking note of us as we skate, run, bike or swim. It is important to set a solid example and I want to do that.

I look no further than a month ago when I was running along Quidi Vidi Road and a little girl, no more than 6, was walking with her dad and looked up with big eyes as I ran by. I slowed back and she started running with me. I said then I hope she keeps it up. I really do.

Every Friday night there are little girls watching our games at Capital Hyundai Arena, watching 10 teams of women from all walks of life skate, compete and have fun. They're watching and taking notes. 

We need to be the best examples for them.


Today I finally did something I have been hesitant to do and, quite frankly, intimidated to do for a while - I joined a gym. Now, do not get me wrong, I have gone to gyms, but mostly to hop on treadmills when conditions are not favourable to outside running. The weight rooms are usually full of grunting guys who smirk and look at us like we are a sideshow. I'm sorry folks, that's been my experience. It is intimidating and, though I never give two flying shits what people think of me, the weight room is not somewhere I am comfortable.

Screw that, now.

I am now making a commitment to myself to be better and stronger. I am not backing down.


Today marks the first (technically the second, but the first in a series of consistency) day of becoming stronger and better. I will likely be posting a fair bit here about progress, race season, and training. It's a large part of who I am and hey, maybe someone might see some of this and it might make a difference.

I know there are a lot of posts, blogs, articles by strong women athletes that have made a huge difference in my life, my training and in my thought processes. I hope to some day do the same for others.

For now, I am buckling down. Today I finished my pre-race fartlek run as per my training program, and hit weights for a solid 45 minutes. My dumbells are puny but the weights will come.



Tomorrow I will run the Frosty Festival 5k (with a stupid cold, so I don't think I'll get the result I am hoping for) and then hit the ice with a team of kickass women, and then another skate with my crew of awesome guys. Sundays are my favourite day.

Here is to the start of a stronger, better me.


And, because life can't be all working out and training, here are a few pics of our hour at the dog park. Sid and Claude are cute, okay? They deserve some online love as well. Life is about balance. 

Be happy.






Thursday, February 15, 2018

Happy birthday, Nan.

My Nan Mouland turned 91 today. She's always been a very wise woman who lost her husband very young, raised 7 kids, countless grandchildren, great grandchildren and neighbourhood kids, and who never remarried. A force, she had a big hand in raising me.

She always tells the story of when I was born, in the storm that would eventually take down the mighty Ocean Ranger, and how the snow was leveled across the tops of the trees in the droke that now sits in front of our house. My grandfather, a hulking giant of a man, sat in his truck behind the plow and waited as they beat through the snow, trying to get to his newest granddaughter. The power was out, mom was warming bottles of milk between her legs.

Nan always tells me of how she ran into our house, bundled me in a blanket and ran me out into the storm. She slid into the truck, uncovered my face and says I just gave a big, "POOF," as I exhaled, green eyes glaring up like, "Woman, get me to the heat, for the love of god." She took me to their house and I stayed there for a while, then.

Look how tiny I was!

With dad on the boat and mom in the plant, every morning mom would carry me from my bed, take me to either one of my nans and lay me on the couch, tuck me in and go to work. When I would wake, I would spend days watching Spiderman and Hercules, informing nan she needed to convince dad to get cable. A girl needed her CHCH cartoons.

Nan would then spend days telling me stories of her growing up, of every animal she ever had (I always wanted to hear about the animals), and she still laughs at how I knew every storybook word for word, so much that if she missed a word I would make her start over.

I'm a perfectionist like that.

She also still talks about going to church and having my bus driver, a member of the church, always telling her about her tangly little saucy granddaughter down in Spillar's Cove who was a creature of habit - racket with her mother over not wanting to dress up or brush her hair, and always showing up in the morning, slapping her lunchbox at him and saying with a sigh, "Here b'y, take that now, I forgot something."

I don't know who he was talking about.

I've been very blessed to have strong role models growing up. Everyone pushed me to focus on education, focus on happiness, and to aim high always, because even if I failed there was a lesson there.

I know that without them I could not have accomplished half of what I have.

For both my grandmother and my father, literacy was paramount. While my grandmother would read her bible and the news every day, my father would conquer novel upon novel and has been a walking trove of history. He still does and is. They both read to me and told me stories, long before I could even comprehend them or what they all meant.

I always read an endless amount of books every week, curled up under a blanket and caught in the worlds created by Stephen King, Arundhati Roy, Jeffrey Archer and others. And I would write - I wrote entire anthologies of poetry, short stories, essays, words that would just pour on to paper or into my Smith Corona typewriter. There are still binders full, somewhere.

Without the nurturing and encouragement of my grandmothers and parents I can say confidently there would not have been plaques and writing awards, recognition, national scholarships, research awards or degrees.

I have not read as much lately. As timely as it is, this week I ordered a pile of books and committed myself to reading again. I've pulled out new finds, old favourites, and have once again tucked under my quilt and am getting lost in Joel Thomas Hynes' world of the troubled Johnny Keough.

I need to get that part of me back.



While my father has always been my greatest role model, the man I have admired and worshiped since I toddled along behind him, dragging crab boxes and chasing him around the yard and wharf, this does not, however, mean I do not also realize the strong women who have raised me and what they have instilled in me.

In my grandmother I have seen a resilient woman, one who tackled hardship, loss, sickness and trials. While she has always been stubborn, she taught me to stick to me guns, to fight, and to persevere.

And she taught me how to take my lumps when I'm wrong, chasing me up from the beaches with a bow swinging behind me because no matter how many times she told me to stay away from the anger of the ocean there was always something that drew me there.

She is 91 now. Every Christmas we never know if it is the last one where we will all go watch her open gifts, eat ju jubes and chips, carry on and laugh as only the Mouland girls can do (we're all a time and the sense of humour cannot be understated).

She has raised three generations of strong-willed, loud, powerful women and men, boys and girls (she's raised some deadly hockey players, b'ys), all who carry a lot of her traits - from her big smile, to her booming voice when she preaches, and her constant drive to ensure you always make a big place in this world and make yourself known.

Before I hung up today, I asked her, "So, what's your wisdom for this year, grandmudder b'y?" She replied with her usual soft sigh:

"There are a lot of unhappy people in this world. Just try to not be unhappy."

I will, Nan. And I will try to display every quality that you have taught me, instilled in me and all of the strengths that being the grandchild of such a powerhouse have given me.

Happy birthday, Pearl. Here's to many more.





Sunday, February 11, 2018

Little Nightmares





After a couple of solid days with Sleepwalkers on repeat, and a week that has been trying, emotional, and just damn hard, I think it is fair to say that "Little Nightmares" might be one of those jams that shows up at just the right time.

Have a listen.


"I know you know I know that there's something that's worth holding on to
In spite of the burned out scene and the aging pains and the quiet little monsters
And you know I know you know that I feel the same, I feel just like you do
When I hear you say sometimes there's something pure about growing up lonesome

All my life I was the quiet kind
I just kept to myself and my dreaming
And all my life I just tried to survive
I'm not trying to shut you out

And she says, "I just wanna live, and if I get the chance then I would wanna live again,"
But I get this nightmare where you leave me on my own
All I want is to let you know but my words get lost and haunt the back of my throat
And little nightmares, keep telling me you'll go
Keep telling me you'll go

I see you shake and shake and shake and shake and I wanna reach out now
Because there must be a brighter light there's a simple life that gets past these breakdowns
And you know that I know you know that I crash the same in tiny little pieces
You gotta know that I'm on your side and there's something gold about someone you can bleed on

All my life I was the killing kind
I was cool as the cold stormy weather
All my life I just tried to survive
I'm not trying to shut you out

And she says, "I just wanna live, and if I get the chance then I would wanna live again,"
But I get this nightmare where you leave me on my own
All I want is to let you know but my words get lost and haunt the back of my throat
And little nightmares, keep telling me you'll go
Keep telling me you'll go

Don't you know there's an ocean of hope underneath the grey sky where you're dreaming?
And it's so hard to know which lonely hand you should hold
You can hold me until you don't want me
We can cry together through the bad dreams
Through the nightmare that is the waiting and...

And she says, "I just wanna live, and if I get the chance then I would wanna live again,"
But I get this nightmare where you leave me on my own
And all I want is to let you know but my words get lost and haunt the back of my throat
Wild horses couldn't drag me away
From you baby
And she says, "I just wanna live, and if we get the chance I would wanna live again,"
But I get this nightmare where you leave me on my own
Where you leave me on my own."

Friday, February 9, 2018

Sleepwalkers

It's release day for Brian Fallon's new album "Sleepwalkers."

Go.
Listen.
It is incredible.
And real.

"She said, "Tonight, my love, I declare this war for your falling from grace with me,"
While Neptune rolled out a carpet made of gold for the mermaids he drowned in the sea.
It's been a long time since I kept any pictures,
And it's been a long night, I don't know where to find her.

And maybe we believed in very, very foolish things,
Maybe these songs kept us breathing another tomorrow.
And we were always very sure we were never gonna change the world,
I never held any grudges or kept any pictures."


Monday, February 5, 2018

Sid the Kid

There are a lot of things I could write about on a day like today. But I looked at the calendar and realized today is the anniversary of one of the best decisions I have ever made - today is Sid's gotcha day.

Apologies for how photo heavy this is at the end but he's cute.

Anyone who has known me at all knows that Sid is my constant companion. An 80 lb lump of grumpy who sighs at me constantly, snores like a freight train and sheds enough to make a pack of dogs. A big beagle/lab cross who I fought to get but, as I reiterate, nothing worth having comes easy.

In April 2009 I lost my first best friend. No, Caesar wasn't my first dog - there had been Miko and Zack before him - but Caesar was my dog, my heart dog if you will, a 16 month old 100 lb boxer I drove to St. John's to pick up from a family who couldn't give him the time he required. I knew I could, and over 10.5 years we were inseparable. Long drives, runs, hikes, and when I moved away to go to school I would call and tell him I was on my way home. He would wait on the landing in the garage until he heard me pull up. He would tackle me through the door every weekend until dad called one day to tell me cancer was taking him away and he went without me by his side. I've never forgiven myself for that. I've taken solace in knowing dad was there.



In 2010 I was ready for another. It was my birthday and, as those close to me know, I don't do well with birthdays. It was a snowstorm, I was sitting in my apartment reading the Telegram alone, and saw an ad from the SPCA advertising a black lab puppy. I hopped in my little Cobalt and drove in a snow storm to meet a little black ball of terror I knew would never work in my apartment. As I was leaving the volunteer asked me if I would like to see the adult dogs. Of course I would.

I went downstairs into a mass of kennels - a husky with a sign on her door saying she was unsocialized, a big black lab whose owner had passed away, a white mutt who stared at me disinterested. Then the volunteer opened a kennel door and said, "This guy is a good buddy."

Out strolled what I knew was not an adult dog. He was introduced to me as a 3-4 year old beagle named "Dreyfus" who had been living under someone's steps on Bell Island. The kind lady who was feeding him brought him in but her dogs kept beating him up, so she had to turn him in. This is a trademark of Sid - a big heart but a big pansy who now has a history of being beaten up by other dogs. It's one of his quirks.

Dreyfus stuck his chin under my neck, snuggled into my shoulder and I knew he was my dog.

Easy, right? Wrong.

I came back the next day with my then-boyfriend, took the pup for a walk and he tried to hop in the trunk when I went to get my mitts.

"What are you waiting for, woman? Take me home!"

I went back to the shelter and filled out the application. It was a Friday. 2 days processing, they said. I called on Monday, nothing had been processed.

I called on Tuesday, still not processed.

I called on Wednesday and the volunteers were rude, telling me when it was processed they would call and to not call back.

I called again and spoke to the same young man who had opened the gate and introduced us. He whispered into the phone, "Your application was rejected when you put it in. They said your building doesn't allow dogs."

I was furious. I called Helen, the building manager, and she assured me she had not received any call. Had she received a call she would have approved it. "Dwan, there are 6 dogs in that building. I know you. I have zero concerns."

I called the SPCA back. I was told the true story - over the weekend they had released him to a trial family who returned him and said he was "impossible to house train." I was then lied to again - "Beagle Paws have agreed to take him so he will have a good life."

Unbeknownst to the SPCA, a friend of mine happened to be the best friend of one of the great women who puts her heart and soul into Beagle Paws. He reached out and was told they had not agreed to take a dog from the SPCA. It was news to them. She assured him should a file come across her desk she would call me immediately.

On Friday I received a call: "I've just gotten a call that we need to get him out or his time is up. Are you ready for your dog?"

I scrambled out and got everything together. Within an hour a lanky, excited pup bounced through my door and my heart. We've been inseparable ever since.

I named him Sid. He wasn't a Dreyfus. And no, he isn't named for Crosby because I'm a fan girl. While I struggled to find a name for him we were watching a Pens-Wings game that went to a shootout and I yelled that I would name the dog after whoever scored and ended the madness.

His name was almost Henrik.

He wasn't 3-4 years old - he was 9 months max.
He wasn't impossible to housetrain - he had a severe UTI and kidney infection.
He wasn't some throw away - he was my dog.

And since that day in 2010, Sid has been my furry confidante, a piece of who I am, my best friend.

Over the past 8 years there have been surgeries for accidents and lumps, strolls, moves, break ups, life changes, ups, downs, tears shed into his fur, late night conversations where he always listens (sometimes sighs because that's what he does), singalongs in the car, dog park days, a little brother who he tolerates and I think he secretly adores, movie nights and hockey games.

He's a Sabres fan, unfortunately. You see, back when he was a puppy he was laid up for a pulled muscle and the only thing that perked him up was Ryan Miller on TV. He even has the jersey.

I almost forgot his gotcha day today. My mind is occupied and I haven't been feeling well. In true Sid fashion he has been snuggled up, my little furnace and furry shoulder. He didn't even remind me!

So, happy gotcha day, Sid the kid.

Your face is grey now, your knee doesn't let you run or chase me anymore, and I hate the fact that you're getting older. Everyone always says, "Beagles live forever!" and I keep hoping they're right.

Here's to many more years of grumpy Sid.