On the morning of May 1st, 2024, my best friend (roommate, partner, and shadow) passed away. Samson was a rescue dog, that we got back in December of 2016. From the beginning, he was a dog on his own terms. He gravitated to food as if it was his last meal. He groomed himself, as if he was a cat. Outside in the yard, he barked at anyone who would dare come close to his property. The Mark Twain school kids knew him well. The younger kids would like to see him, while the older kids enjoyed teasing him. In general Samson was a grumpy old dog with a strong bark that would scare other dog owners. However, when I would let him out of the yard, he did not bark or care if anyone was nearby. He just sniffed his trees and then would come back inside.

During the past 12 months, his hip had given out and he had trouble walking. At this point, he could no longer climb stairs. No one knew how old Samson was, since he came from the Iowa City shelter. The previous night, he had eaten his favorite food of all, McDonald’s French Fries and slept until mid-morning. He woke up and went outside. He had trouble standing up. After coming back in side, he had trouble breathing and went back to his bed. Shortly after he passed away.


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Man’s Best Friend

“His name is Butters. He is a mud dog, that is why they call him Old Mud Dog Butters. He sometimes thinks he is a snow dog, but he is not a snow dog, he is just a mud dog.” It seems like a long time ago, but less than three years ago, Katryn brought home a yellow looking puppy in a cage.

It was her first real dog. She and the two boys had begged me for a dog, and I had refused them for as long as I could remember, but eventually they decided to get one regardless of my objections. On a Saturday morning in the Spring, Katryn had her puppy. It was a yellow lab retriever, which could barely run, and who like most puppies still made a mess all the time. In the yard, the boys wondered what to name him. Apparently the puppy was a gift from a girlfriend to her boyfriend, and the situation ended up that the man no longer wanted either of them, so the girl ended up giving the puppy away to anyone who could take him. So this free dog of sorts looked kind of dumb to me, and names like Max and Rover are just too common and did not feel right. I ended up suggesting the name “Butters”, after my favorite South Park character. The boys did not object and so here was our new puppy, Butters.

Today, Butters weighs around 90 pounds and is a full size dog. He has taken over the house and is mostly an inside dog. Labs are working dogs, but Butters does not work. He mostly sleeps all day and begs for food the rest of the time. He is not much of a barking dog either, he mostly barks to complain but never barks or growls at people. He hates to be alone and rather wants the company of people. He is the perfect family dog and gets along great with our youngest boy, who is currently less than two years old.

Although it is Katryn’s dog, Butters spends most of his time with me. He eagerly awaits my return from work every day and meets me at the stairs. He is always happy to see me. I take him on walks around the neighborhood and wrestle with him. In the evenings he sleeps in my room and jumps on top of the bed to claim his spot. Butters is a good companion. He complains very little, likes my company, and always forgives my personal failings.

Old School Is Back!

In my lifetime I have had many names. From Jr, to Pancho, to Cisco, to Olaguez, to my old school high school name, Goose, to my online names: Player, Old School, Burrito Luv, and Muffman. Sometime around the NBA Playoffs season, I get this feeling of being younger and stronger than I really am and that’s when my “Player” mentality kicks in and I find myself at the local basketball court trying to make some jumpshots. 36 made shots later I crawl back home and deal with the pains and aches of basketball and think man, how the hell does Gary Payton and Sam Cassell do it? They are my age and they still manage to play somehow. This weekend I took on both boys, the 10 year old is now five feet tall and the six year old really can’t play yet. Regardless, the older boy has strong hands and shoulders and he has gotten stronger from last year and can now start to push out in the post. I guess I’m going to have to be more like Old School than Player now on the court with him. It is strange to be a father and have one son trying to please you all the time and the other trying to beat you all the time. I’m not sure what the third one will be like, but I hope he is on my side.