Lost a Good Friend

TullyThe last few days have been very rough. Tully, one of our dogs, suddenly became sick on Monday while I was out of town.

On Tuesday, Dana took her to the vet. She continued to get worse. Today, we made the difficult decision to euthanize her.

Like most people, I’m very attached to our dogs. The dogs were the first pets we got as a couple, and the first pets I got as an adult. (Dana had our cat Chopper before we met.)

Dana and I had been talking about getting a dog for quite sometime. But the decision came at the end of the first Daily Show after September 11, 2001. That Daily Show was very moving and cathartic. It ended with the following Moment of Zen:

Dana and I had been in a rut when we saw the show. My grandmother had died shortly before 9/11. Instead of newlywed bliss, we were depressed. Once John Stewart pulled the puppy from under the desk, we looked at each and knew we had to get a dog. It seemed like the perfect way to bring joy back into our lives.

Tully as MunchThe big obstacle was Dana’s allergy to dogs. After that Daily Show, she decided to get allergy tests and see what could be done.

Her allergy tests showed that see was allergic to 23 of the 24 allergens they tested. The one she wasn’t allergic to: dogs.

By the time I got home that night, Dana had seen a person with a puppy, found out where the puppies were being sold, and put a deposit on Tully. When we went to pick up Tully, Sheriff fell asleep on my foot and before we knew it, we came home with two dogs.

We felt it was providence when we found out that they had been born on September 10th.


Both Sheriff and Tully have been a big part of our lives. Before we had Katie, they were our kids in every sense. When we fell in love with the Oregon Coast, it was because we learned how much fun it was to watch our dogs play in the sand. We loved it so much that we eventually bought a house on the coast and made it a pet friendly vacation rental.

Our friends and family loved our dogs, but Tully was considered the real treat. She was the sweetest dog and the hardest for people to get close to at first. Many guests spent evenings trying to coax her into letting them pet her. She was extremely gentle with Katie, and the dogs have made such an impression on Katie that she tries to bark and howl like them.

I remember most the way that Tully would greet me when I came home from work. She’d excitedly follow me into the office, execute a big stretch and then hop around until I petted her and rubbed her belly.

Tully, Sheriff and I spent hours play fighting. She’d come over to me. I’d whisper “get ’em” in her ear, and the game was on. We always tag-teamed on Sheriff, but he never minded the challenge.

Tully was still a fairly young dog. She would have been 7 years old in September. She seemed completely healthy the last time I saw her. It’s quite a shock.

She developed a sudden autoimmune problem. Her immune system was attacking her red blood cells. We did every treatment that we could and none of it was working. We took a few moments today to say goodbye before making one of the toughest decisions we’ve had to make.

I really miss her. I’m so grateful that she was a part of our lives. She was a good friend.

New Adventure

Smart Optimizer

One of the bigger problems I see in the performance space is that a lot of the value of current content management systems and blogging tools is the ability to add widgets or plugins from a lot of different places. These plugins often do not provide compressed and cacheable versions of their content.

In order to get more people to adopt the methods of creating faster web pages, we need to make it easier for them to do so while still a making it easy for them to adhere to performance guidelines. Basically, make it possible for them to eat cat and lose weight at the same time.

I’ve spent part of last evening looking for plugins for WordPress that will find any javascript or css files, combine them into a single file, minify and gzip them, and then set far future expires headers. I’ve got a dream plugin in mind and none of them are quite living up to my fantasy.

One solution that comes close to being my dream is a piece of software called Smart Optimizer. Smart Optimizer used to be called JSmart. It was a project that hadn’t had any updates since July 7, 2006 until two weeks ago when the project was revitalized and the name changed.

Smart Optimizer will:

  • Set up rewrite rules to intercept any calls to css or js files
  • Minify, gzip any css or js files
  • Creates static files on the server for css and js that are gzipped and set for caching
  • Concatenate css or js files into a single file

It’s an interesting tool that I don’t think a lot of people know of. Take a look.