Thursday, December 18, 2014

"He's the best dog!"


We all say it. We're scratching the grateful ear of a canine, talking in falsetto about this dog's ranking in the list of all dogs worldwide. It's a silly thing, but almost universal.
My Lovely Bride and I just celebrated thirty-three years together as husband and wife. During this span of years, we have owned 4 dogs - three Shelties and a Rough Collie. The latest addition, Jack (shown above), came to us almost by accident. We have a local breeder, from whom we had gotten our previous Sheltie, Duncan, over a decade earlier. Duncan had been a tough cookie, and I think I was the only one truly saddened when he finally passed. He had no real health issues, got around well, and, other than being mostly deaf and quite nearly blind, was just fine. He was just cranky to most folks, other than me. But, one morning, he didn't stir when The Lovely Bride went into the kitchen - so it goes.
So, a few months after speaking with the breeder (who works at our vet's office) when we took in Duncan's remains, she called and asked if we were still interested in getting a male puppy. I replied yes, without even asking TLB. This pup, I was told, had beautiful markings, a great personality (as best one can tell at six weeks!), and, like all her dogs, a phenomenal pedigree. But, at his first puppy checkup, the vet noted that he had an underbite, so would not be show quality. The breeder was quite upset, because she had mentally already started to "grow him out" for show and breeding. Her loss was our gain.
Jack is, by far, the best pup we've ever had. He's been sleeping in our bed, (as all of our dogs have done) since just a few months old. He has a cautious friendliness to everyone he meets, human or canine. He has a way of sitting underfoot when I talk with friends or repair folks that just warms my heart. He's sitting by my chair as I write this, even though it's a rocker on the front porch. He'd rather be beside me, close enough for an occasional ear skritch, than off by himself, rockers be damned.
He is, it turns out, the Best Dog in the World!



Saturday, December 13, 2014

Crowdfunding

It's not exactly a new thing, but it' still far from mainstream. Sites like KickStarter and IndieGoGo enable normal folks with (what they think is) a great idea the ability to "pitch" it to the whole world, and see if they can get funding to move on to the next step. I've supported several, from those wanting to assist inner-city young women of color to experience the joy of creating a working software project (Black Girls Code) to things as simple as the latest one I've backed, the "Loopy" a multi-tool for your belt loop.

My favorite coffee shop started out as a KickStarter project, and has raised money for a second location that way as well. We've seen several other café's, food truck to diner conversions and such in Durham over the last year or two, in addition to the huge number of shops and businesses that have started, or failed, due to funding.
I encourage anyone who has an interest in funding the future of American commerce and industry to look though these sites and find something that you would love to see flourish. You may just be helping the next Apple or Google. Or you may just feel more a part of your local coffee shop when you walk in and they serve your latte in a mug they keep on the shelf for "Our Founders."