Bear, Moostahf and other short takes
Commentary by PAT MURPHY
Only one thing more heartbreaking than hearing or seeing someone
callously abusing or abandoning a dog.
And that is someone who adores his or her dog calling in the
veterinarian to put down an ill animal.
Andrea White still barely holds back tears when talking about Bear, her
big, lovable female mastiff who was so familiar on the trails around town along with
Moostahf, her equally congenial male mastiff.
At 14 years old, Bear could barely withstand the devastating
consequences of several strokes. So, realizing the inevitable, Andrea took Bear to the vet
and eternal sleep.
But theres more.
The morning after, in one of those gestures that confirm dogs are not
only our best friends but supremely human in intuition and feelings, Moostahf sorrowfully
picked up Bears collar, brought it to Andrea who was sitting on the edge of her bed,
dropped the collar, then gently nuzzled his giant nose on Andreas feet, as if to say
in gesture what he couldnt say in words: "I, too, miss Bear."
Even to this day, politicians of different persuasions concede that
Bruce Babbitt was Arizonas best modern-day governor. History in time will have to
judge his place as secretary of the interior.
One reason hes regarded so fondly was his ability to create
consensus when competing interests simply didnt seem willing to agree on anything.
And it was this sort of contentious, unyielding clash of interests that
Babbitt moved to resolve involving competing demands for Arizona groundwater.
Babbitt brought together agriculture, mining, ranching and municipal
interests in his conference room and demanded they stick at it until an agreement was
In time, they did.
A few weeks ago while talking to Babbitt, I asked what new
environmental problem faces the United States, and he promptly said "water."
Whereas arid western states once were plagued by water problems,
Babbitt says its now a problem in traditionally rain-rich areas such as metro
Atlanta, where demand is outpacing supply.
Babbitt pulls no punches about solutions, most not popular: tougher
water conservation measures and, the least palatable of all, placing realistic costs on
Two weeks and a few days more and well know who had it right in
the Great Y2K Doomsday Debate.
If electric power fails, if water pipes run dry, if computers crash, if
food stocks cant be replenished, then the survivalists who made a killing off
predictions that our computerized society would stall will have been right.
But if nothing happens, and life goes on, then the doomsayers will look
silly, like fringe religionists who predict the rapture and being lifted into Heaven, sell
all their earthly belongings, then are left with no rapture and no belongings.
Pat Murphy is the retired publisher of the Arizona Republic and a
former radio commentator.