Death Never Takes a Holiday

If nature tells us anything about life, it’s that it is plentiful, varied, ingenious, while most often being short, brutal, violent, but mostly just plain strange.

The reality is most things die because something else consumes them. The food chain, from the bottom to the Apex, is a supermarket of death and digestion. Whether you are a single-celled amoeba, a multi-celled plant, a bee, a bird, a snake, a ferret, a coyote, a wolf, a bear, a lion, or a human, something more often than not benefits from your demise.

Even if “natural causes” adorns your death certificate, whatever the natural was still got you and, even if you are committed to the fire, be it on a conveyor belt in a crematorium or a Viking ship burned at sea, the ashes will feed some organic creature regardless of how you got there.

One might consider this a bit of a pessimistic outlook on things. I disagree. I think it shows us that life, at least the biological aspect of it, is a continuous cycle of creation, degeneration, and regeneration.

We humans like to consider our self-awareness evidence of something other than a mere biological reason for life. Cogito Ergo Sum as Descartes once said. We believe ourselves to be the only creature who contemplates the meaning of life, and this proves we are more than another variation of evolution.

I’m not certain our self-awareness is unique among all the living creatures on the planet, let alone the universe.

But back to the realities of the dog-eat-dog, or creature-eat-creature, world.

I came upon an article about a large fish called a Giant Trevally. This fish has developed the ability to hunt seabirds. Not just those placidly floating (marinating) on the surface, but also any bird foolish enough to be flying at a low altitude over the water. Watch here.

Then there is this gem of evolution, Toxoplasma gondi. A parasite that lives in the brain of mice. Here’s the twist, while it thrives in a mouse’s brain, it can only reproduce inside a cat.

So given a mice’s natural inclination to avoid cats, how can this be successful? Simple, the parasite alters the mouse’s brain. The mouse, which would naturally flee from the odor of cat urine, now runs toward the source of the aroma and is promptly consumed.

The parasite, now safely ensconced within the cat, gets all romantic and stuff, breeds away, and is promptly expelled out the other end of the cat where other mice, not yet crazy, consume the delicacy.

And just so you know, this parasite is successful at invading other hosts as well. Some scientists believe as many as three billion humans are hosts for the little bugger. And while it is mostly harmless, it does argue for the obvious deficiency of cats as compared to dogs. And, while the data is incomplete as to its effect on the human brain, it may actually explain the Q-Anon phenomenon and a few other political beliefs.

Think of it this way, almost every day sharks attack, kill, and consume fish which itself had consumed smaller fish which had consumed other living creatures. This pattern is repeated by every living creature on the planet.

Some of these creatures, through no fault of their own or any innate evilness to their existence, seem naturally repulsive. A rattlesnake for instance—snakes being the ultimate victim of religious persecution—instantly strike fear into anyone who encounters one.

Death is, among other things, relative.

Joe Broadmeadow

If one has ever seen a rattlesnake stalk and kill its victim, it can give one shivers. But it is not evil. It is not cruel. It is nature, which is neither cruel nor evil, just deliberate. A rattlesnake killing a mouse—mice seem to be a dangerous niche to occupy on this planet—is similar to a meat packing plant killing a cow and producing steaks. It’s just we humans have found a way to limit our personal exposure to death in the food cycle.

Snakes hunt in the wild, we hunt in supermarkets.

When you think about it—as I sometimes do—it is likely by the simple act of walking you accidently kill ants, spiders, or other crawly things. And you do this every day. There is even a religion, Jainism, whose practitioners go to extreme lengths to avoid killing anything including insects. They tread very carefully.

The existence of death is a necessity of life. Nothing can live unless something else dies, be it a cow, a chicken, a pepper, or a sliced tomato. What was once alive is now digested.

Even death offers a food source. A decaying body of some creature to us may seem grotesque and disgusting. To microbes and ravens it is a buffet of the most succulent kind.

Death is, among other things, relative.

So what can we learn from this? Two points.

First, death may be something we wish to defer as long as possible, but the world is full of the demise of creatures every moment of every day in violent and often bloody encounters.

Second, dogs are clearly superior to cats.

Please take a moment to share my work on social media. Agree or disagree, the more who read this the bigger the opportunity to share with others, and promote meaningful dialog. It would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

JEBWizard Publishing ( is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at or 401-533-3988.

Coming this December from JEBWizard Publishing

Written by Steve and Dr. Dru Pollinger, VMD with Helayne Rosenblum

Cover Design by Jeff Slater, Slater Creative LLC.


every sound you hear could be something trying to kill you.


being alone in the dark—cold, hungry, without shelter yet better off than the place where you suffered unimaginable torment.


having to fight for every moment of your survival.


For Dexter, that was the life he led for many months. Alone, often starving, without shelter, afraid of any contact with people. He bore the scars of unimaginable abuse. Yet, the only thing that could save him were the same beings who caused him such agony—people. And he feared them even more than the predators he avoided daily.

Enter Steve Pollinger and his wife, Dr. Dru Pollinger, VMD, a resourceful veterinarian.

Learning about Dexter’s circumstances, they devised a plan to rescue this beautiful dog And that is exactly what they did. Come along on a journey from the darkness of an abused dog’s seemingly hopeless situation to his resurrection.

An unforgettable journey of hope in an often-uncaring world. This story will restore your faith in the fundamental goodness within people.

I Am Dexter is the culmination of the Pollinger’s long experience in treating animals brought to bear in a most touching recovery story of a wonderful dog named Dexter.

Assisted by Helayne Rosenblum, the Pollingers weave a wonderful story—-told from not only their perspective but from Dexter’s as well through their intimate understanding of animal behavior—of the rescue, rehabilitation, and restoration of Dexter to a healthy, happy member of the Pollinger pack.

This story will restore your faith in the fundamental goodness within people.

Praise for I Am Dexter

..magnificent—a true love story. I want to reread tomorrow again. It’s a love story on so many levels. It was emotional for me as I could also relate to Dexter. I was orphaned at age 12. Not abused, just abandoned. It was hard to read about the pool concrete incident. Hard to get that picture out of my head… magnificent writing.

Cheryl – Financial Controller PVCA Solar, California

Available soon in Print and eBook versions on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and everywhere books are sold. Contact the publisher for pre-release copies and special group rates for book clubs or other organizations.

JEBWizard Publishing


A Life Well-Lived, in Perspective

Recently, we faced the reality of the tenuous and temporary nature of life. Ralph, our daughter’s fifteen-year-old Yorkie, began acting strange. Shaking and lethargic, we faced the real possibility that his time was drawing to an end and a decision would need be made.

As we all gathered around, each taking turns holding him and trying to hold back tears, the memories of his life with us came pouring out. He’s been part of our life since my daughter was in high school, soon she is to be a mother. Ralph is part of the very texture of our life. No one wanted to let him go, but we also knew no one wanted him to live his last moments in agony. Strange how we see the kindness and necessity of this with dogs but not people.

While he didn’t seem to be in pain, it was obvious he couldn’t walk well and began to shiver despite the blankets wrapped around him. We decided to see how the night went and reassess things in the morning.

It was not a restful night as more and more memories swirled up out of the past and played in my mind.

I am an early riser, as is my daughter. By 6:30 or so I could no longer wait so I sent a message. What I heard back was what I had dreaded all night, Ralphie was no better and they were taking him to the hospital. This was the same hospital where my daughter and son-in-law had taken Max when he suffered an unexpected medical emergency.

Max never came home.

When Max, Ralph’s companion Yorkie with whom he shared a love/hate relationship depending on the mood of the day, died,  I wrote how his death impacted us.

When I read my daughter’s message, I asked them to stop by before they went to the hospital for one last goodbye. But they had already left and she didn’t see the message.  So I woke my wife and we waited in silence for them to let us know what was happening.

Then, we got the call, and the emotions engulfed me.

Turned out it was a muscle bruise that was the cause of his problem and with the help of some IV meds and a prescription for anti-inflammatories, he’d be fine. HIs days of two mile walks were over, but his days were not.

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

Mark Twain, in a letter to the editor after a newspaper inadvertently published his obituary

Now I know someday the result of that call will be different, but that is not today. Yet it also occurred to me that now is the time to write about what dogs like Ralph mean to us. How they become family members in full standing and with all the rights and privileges thereof. Talk of these things now while they are still among us.

In Max’s case, we were away and never got to say goodbye but I now know it doesn’t matter because of all the times I got to say hello to him and Ralph as they romped through our lives. Those are the moments that matter and those are the moments we need embrace.

Hellos always outshine goodbyes.

Statistically speaking, Ralph may not have 10 years left but then again neither may I.  When it appeared his time had come, the feeling of sadness was overwhelming.  It occurred to me I liked him better than most people.

A lot better.

Now I have a different perspective on the course of life with dogs.

When the time comes, there will be no reason to say goodbye because I will have embraced every one of these remaining moments of hello. That’s the thing about dogs, every day they are with you are good days except the last one.

You can’t say that about people.

When a dog like Ralph or Max pass on, it is always sad. When some people do the same, it is a relief. It’s why dogs are so endearing to us and why I will make sure I enjoy each of those remaining moments with Ralph and all the others I hold dear.

This could never happen with a cat.


JEBWizard Publishing ( is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at or 401-533-3988.

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Do Dogs Remember Christmas Past?

Each Christmas for the past few years, our daughter’s dogs have been our surrogate children allowing us to indulge in buying toys. What I have always wondered, seeing the way one of them, Seamus—a rescue mutt of complicated genetic heritage—reacts to our placing their Christmas Stocking is, does he remember?

Of course the dogs have their own stocking, otherwise this wouldn’t be much of a story.

What I find intriguing is the way Seamus will exhibit such excitement over the stocking, sniffing at it, tail wagging enough to create a mild breeze, and taking up a position to keep a sharp eye for the moment he gets to see the contents.

Does he remember past Christmases? I know dogs react to routine and the familiar. I know he recognizes those of us who are around all the time, offering him food, water, snacks, and playtime, but does he have memories within of past moments such as Christmas?

Could it be those jerky, uncontrolled movements when he sleeps are not dreams of chasing rabbits or squirrels but memories of soft cuddly toys that squeak (or perhaps in Seamus’s mind, scream) whenever he plays with them? I don’t think he’s ever seen a Sugarplum, but could he have visions in his head?

As I watched him this Christmas, it was clear he knew something inside that stocking was for him; he knew it would be something he would love, and he fairly burst with anticipation as he waited for the slightest signal that the time had arrived to reveal the contents.

Seamus with (one of) his new toys on his new bed

Was it the memory of past Christmases replaying through his canine brain? Was it the glory of those past moments when toys upon toys and snacks upon snacks emerged for his snorting and sniffing approval? Was the almost childlike anticipation on his face because he remembered the wonders of Christmas Past?

I don’t know if I will ever understand what he thinks, but, until next year when our grandson arrives and new memories are created, the dogs have served as a reminder of a simple appreciation of the spirit of giving for Christmas.

I know full well I could put old toys inside that stocking and the dog would still quiver in anticipation. I know this because, I believe, he remembers the thrill of Christmas mornings and all those moments of being loved. And most importantly, he reminds us that it’s not what you get that matters but that someone cared enough to give you a present that’s important.

It creates memories.


JEBWizard Publishing ( is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

Life’s Lessons From a Four-Legged Refugee

Or How to Enjoy Life by just Being Alive (some old pieces I thought I would share once again)

SEamus 1

This is Seamus. Technically speaking, Seamus is a refugee, rescued by the compassion of several unknown Americans and welcomed into my daughter’s home. These Americans, of unknown political bent, ethnic heritage, or religious faith or lack thereof, saved Seamus and one other dog from a litter of seven. Five died. Seamus and his sibling (in parts unknown) survived through the kindness and care of ordinary Americans. It is an example of the best of America and reflects our natural inclination to human kindness.

The regal bearing of Seamus is unmistakable. While applying zoological classifications would say differently, there can be no mistaking the similarity between Seamus basking in the sun as he surveyed his kingdom and these other two creatures surveying theirs.

lions1This lion picture went with a story of lions attacking and eating three poachers in a nature preserve so I can’t be sure if it is just the warmth of the sun they are enjoying or the post-dinner satisfaction of poacher du jour. In any case, the sun is either the primary comforting factor or a contributory one to their post-meal digestion.

Seamus also has an attitude of accepting everyone as they are (after a thorough sniff.) While wary of new people, once he takes their measure they are as welcome as those he’s known for years.

Except for birds, squirrels, and other similar creatures. They are demons that must be pursued relentlessly.

We can all learn something from Seamus.

Never rush through life without taking a moment to bask in the sun.

Never miss a chance to meet someone new and share a moment of time.

Never pass up an opportunity to chase a ball, explore the woods, enjoy a meal, or lean against someone you love and just be.

A dog is not just man’s best friend, he can be our best reminder to live our lives with compassion, concern for our fellow creatures, and to focus on the good in the world; not wall yourself in out of fear.

By accident of birth, Seamus could have been left to the fate of an uncertain life but for the kindness and compassion of Americans who gave him refuge.

Seamus returns that kindness every day in the pleasure he brings by just being a part of our lives. Sometimes taking a chance and letting someone into your life, as opposed living in fear of the unfamiliar, is the right thing to do.

Please click the links below to share.

Just a Dog…

(A repost from 2 years ago.  People die all the time and I rarely think of them, but Max I remember quite often with a smile and a tear)

He was just a dog…

His official AKC registered name is Maximus Gluteus but we knew him as Max.

He died the other day, taken all too soon in an unexpected way. He seemed as full of life on his last day as when we first saw him a mere nine years ago.

Max arrived at the cargo facility at Logan airport from his birth state of Kansas. Wrapped in a kennel big enough for a Pitbull, he looked like an undersized rat.

We had found him online and brought him to be a companion for our other Yorkie, Ralph.

He exceeded all expectations becoming not just a companion to Ralph, but a true member of the family.

This memorial is not meant to be sad, although the sadness has enveloped us since he passed away, but to celebrate all he gave of his life to brighten ours.

He was just a dog…

He brought a joy of living to wherever he was. His life was full of experiences and fun.

He traveled on planes, becoming a Florida dog for a time

He climbed hills in Connecticut and mountains in New Hampshire

He chased seagulls on the beach, squirrels in the backyard, and hunted any creature that dare invade HIS home. Make no mistake, wherever he lived was his home.

He had a sense of humor.

A door accidentally left open gave him the chance the snatch an onion from the closet. Eating what he wanted and leaving the rest for my daughter to find when she returned from work.

Several days later, he pretended there was something in the same closet. Scratching and pawing at the door. My daughter opened it, expecting to find a mouse. Max dashed in, grabbed another onion and hightailed it under a table, out of reach. Enjoying his snack.

He never cared much for toys, unlike Ralph who hoarded them. Max did take delight occasionally taking one of Ralph’s toys and running away with it. He would find a place in the sun, put the toy down at his paws, and dare Ralph to try to take it back.

Made Ralph crazy.

Max had his faults. He had no social skills with other dogs. He would attack anything. It was more fury and show then teeth but it could be embarrassing.

This also showed he had no fear. He was a five-pound bundle of fur, barely the size of a rabbit, with the heart of a lion.

If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I can picture Max as a lion. Poised on rock, mane flying in the breeze, roaring to scare everything around him.

Max would love that.

He was just a dog…whose passing made me cry. Yet knowing him, laughing at him, or just holding and petting him made every tear worth it.

I will miss him as long as I live. The sadness of his passing will fade, his memory and joy for life will not.

He was just a dog…Max


My Weekend as a Dog

(A guest post by Seamus)

Contrary to what a cursory look at my physical appearance would suggest, I am not a dog.  I am a fully articulate sentient lifeform with deep emotional needs and expectations from my staff.

His Royal Majesty, Seamus Angus McTavish

Just my name alone, Seamus Angus McTavish Broadmeadow-Walkup, invokes visions of royalty and noble bearing.

Despite my humble beginnings under a porch in the south, my intelligence and charm led me to the Kingdom of Cranston, where I established my court.

For some inexplicable reason, my regular staff, consisting of a pleasant-smelling female and a, shall we say, inconsistently aromatic male, occasionally disappear for days at a time and are replaced with two inferior beings who insist on me and my associate, Sir Ralph, being treated like dogs.

We have just survived such an episode.

I find this insulting.

Sir Ralph

I know I speak for my associate, whom they address as Ralph instead of the more correct Your Royal Highness, that he is insulted as well. My daily identification of him, through my refined sense of smell, by examining both ends and the appendage underneath, marks him “smells like Alpo mixed with carpet and a hint of sweat” and attests to his royal lineage.

Therefore, Sir Ralph and I wish to list our grievances at the hands of these ruffians and charlatans who are of apparently inferior upbringing.

They, contrary to our routine practice, do not allow us to sleep on the bed. We are forced like common farm animals to sleep on the floor. Their one concession is a small insufficiently luxurious dog pillow (oh the shame) that would barely suit a barnyard animal such as a pig or a cat.

They do not allow us to occupy our usual position on the couch to watch our TV shows. I particularly enjoy National Geographic when I can growl at the beasts.

They do not immediately respond to my requests to be let outside. My responsibilities demand I examine my kingdom on a regular basis, sometimes ten or fifteen times an hour. I am forced to wait at the door, sometimes for as long as 10 seconds, before they even bother to notice me.

And yet they often ignore me, making unintelligent sounds that are some inferior form of communication.

And while I am on that subject, would it be too much to ask that the replacement staff understand our language? It is quite simple. There are four forms of our sophisticated language that even these creatures should be able to understand.

Happy, Angry, Hungry, and Need to find an inanimate object to mark my territory.

Even this basic communication understanding eludes our jailers.

But, there is hope. The trained staff has returned from the mysterious portal that swallows them, and all is back to normal. Sir Ralph and I live in the hope that we will not be forced to endure another term of imprisonment with these inferior beings, but we know it is inevitable.

We hoped, over time, they would learn to be more appropriately attentive to our needs. But, I fear they are untrainable.

(Idiot) Signs of the Apocalyse

We live along the Blackstone Valley Bike Path in Rhode Island. It is one of the nicest places to walk along the Blackstone River and catch glimpses of an ever-changing variety of birds and animals.

biodegradable-pet-waste-bagsUnfortunately,  intellectually challenged versions of the world’s most dangerous animal also frequent the path. They are easy to spot as they are always accompanied by dogs.

Now, before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, I am a dog person. Most rational humans are. Cats are not my idea of a good companion. However, cats are innocent here.

Apparently, these two-legged morons are the perfect example of why we have what appear to be unnecessary and demeaning warning labels on things. For example, warnings that packing peanuts (those appetizing white plastic pellets) are not for human consumption.  Good thing we have that one because I am often overcome with a desire for a nice bowl of packing peanuts.

Or, warnings on a stove that “surface may be hot.” If the surface “may” be hot, why would you buy the stove?

But I digress. What both irritates and confuses me is how these defective humans apparently cannot understand the purpose of dog waste bags.

The bike path is littered with bags designed to pick up and DISPOSE of dog waste. But these prime examples of how nature sometimes takes a genetic bad turn fail to understand this.

They dutifully follow their dogs, waiting for the inevitable Alpo evacuation. Ever notice how what goes in the front of the dog bears a strong resemblance to what comes out the other end?  It’s not so much as they eat the food as it takes a subway tunnel through the dog and reappears at the other end.

Anyway, after the dog does his thing, be it the direct stop and go or the circle, circle, sniff, sniff, circle, circle, sniff, circle, sniff, circle, sniff, target acquired and fire method of eliminating their Kibbles and Bits, their handlers spring into action.

They insert their hand into the waste bag, approach the pile (upwind I hope), envelop the dollop in the bag, spin and seal, then LEAVE IT ON THE PATH.

What the Covfefe, as the President would say.

I mean if you will not follow through with the full steps of disposal (which illustrates the consequences of a lack of instructions on the bag) then leave the poop ‘au naturel’ and let nature take over where your intellect fails.

Think of this next time you see a shitbag on the bike path. Tell him (or her) to read the instructions. Better yet, take their dog and give them a cat. They’re not fit to care for a sentient creature.

Dogs May Be Smarter than Humans

Whenever I buy something new, I am always amused by the instructions or warnings. In particular, the universal stick figure illustrations that attempt to transcend language differences.

My personal favorite is the warnings on the desiccant pack included with most electronics. Their purpose is to absorb moisture. The warning, ominous and serious, says, “Not for Human Consumption.”


In all my life I never once considered having them for dinner. Not once. Yet, there are the warnings.

I used to be insulted that someone thought them necessary. Now, however, I see a need for them on what would seem a self-explanatory use of an item.

Dog waste bags, in the proper English. Dog shit bags in the vernacular.

You would think no explanation or instructions are necessary.

You would be wrong.

I walk the bike path in Albion almost every day. And almost every day the bike path is littered with used, yet improperly disposed of, dog waste bags.

Adownloadpparently, the concept is too complex for most.

It would seem simple.

Buy the bags, attach the convenient dispenser to the dog leash, take dog for a walk, observe (discreetly so as not to give performance anxiety) as the dog dispenses the processed Alpo, Purina, or recently consumed trash, pick up said pile of waste with the bag, spin vigorously to secure, tie in a knot, and then, here is where the instructions are necessary, DISPOSE OF IT.

Do not toss to the side of the bike path.

Do not leave them behind.


For the love of all that is good, if you’re gonna leave it behind, why would you entomb a biodegradable item in a non-biodegradable plastic coffin?

The shit would be gone in a few days, the bag will be here until the end of time. It will confuse future alien archeologists. Imagine that discussion. “They bagged what? No way.”

One wonders if there is any hope for America. It’s hard to be optimistic when you realize some of these simpletons vote. People who cannot figure out that disposing of the waste bag is a critical part of the process probably shouldn’t be allowed out without supervision.