This is the first time I’ve ever written an editorial focused around a dog. Then again, there is always a first for everything. That’s why this space is dedicated, in part, to my family’s beloved dog, Pee-Wee.

In truth, there is a slant here for you, the contractor. Yes, people can learn plenty from dogs. I learned a lot from our dog of nearly 14 years.

If you have not guessed by now, our family companion passed away recently. (Yeah, that animal is still on my mind.) That dog endured so much in 13-plus years — from getting hit by a car two years ago to persevering through hip dysplasia. Pee-Wee always bounced back.

Darn if she did not have to live through our three daughters’ “bird phase” (in which we had four birds in a cage at one point) to their current “cat phase” (as we now have four cats — two Siamese cats, one stray cat, and one mean SOB — flying around the house). Pee-Wee just rolled with the punches and felines. No problem with that dog.

Ironically, it was something she did not see — nor were we able to see — which put her down: cancer. We realized she was slowing down a bit about a month ago, but we just thought that was due to her age. When she became listless, we took her to the vet. Three times. By the time Pee-Wee was finally diagnosed with cancer, it had spread throughout her body.

It was not fun leaving work one recent Tuesday afternoon, knowing it was time to put our family friend to sleep. Permanently. I hope you all do not have to experience this sad event in your lifetime.

I guess it’s all a part of growing and life, but we still miss her.


As I said before, all of us can learn a lot from dogs like Pee-Wee. If a dog were your teacher, you would learn stuff like:

  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
  • When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.
  • Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
  • Take naps and stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp, and play daily.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout…run right back and make friends.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you’re not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • And, most of all, when someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.


    If the above sounds too corny, I’m sorry. In my eyes, all of the above is sound advice. Contractors need to be reminded that there’s more to life than hvac — especially during these busy, dog days of summer.

    Go ahead. Learn from a dog. I learned a lot from Pee-Wee.

    One word of caution, though. Unlike a dog, refrain from going to the bathroom near a residential customer’s outside unit. You just never know. Dateline’s hidden cameras may be rolling.

    Skaer is editor-in-chief. He can be reached at 248-244-6446, 248-362-0317 (fax); (e-mail).

    Publication date: 07/30/2001