Time, as measured in dog years

Aline Gery, Head of School
I cried when our dog Stella died, now almost four years ago.
My husband and I took her to the vet, knowing she would be “taken out of her misery,” “put down,” -- given a shot that would cause her to die. I expected to be relieved. Instead, I wept.
The vet put us in a small room with Stella, not one of the examining rooms, but a windowless room with a couple of small rugs, a table with a cozy lamp (no cold fluorescent ceiling lights here), two comfortable-ish chairs. I was choking from lack of air or abundance of emotion, I am not sure which.  
“Aw, Stella-bella. It’s okay.” We scratched her gray-white chin. Over the years we had brought her here, always against her will, her nails would slip and scratch on the tile floors. We couldn’t get her to stay on the scale to weigh her; the vets could not clip her nails without sedating her; the biscuits in the jar on the receptionist’s counter provided not even momentary calm.
This day that we brought her to die, she had pretty much given up. A young woman came in the small room and asked us if we were ready. She said she would take her “to the back.” I guess we nodded, because that’s what she did. We were left with Stella’s collar, her dog license attached, and leash. Without a word, my husband followed me out of that little room, through the tile-floored reception area and out to the car. I was sobbing. A wreck.
The tears were about Stella, yes, but they were really for the fifteen years of having her in our family: the years from when she was a puppy to when she was just an old dog. We got her when my stepchildren Matt and Kate were 8 and 11 years old. When she died, they were no longer living with us, and James and Jackson made our family six.
The tears were about coming home to Stella covered in feathers having chewed up a down pillow, Matt loping down the beach with Stella (once), Kate and me poking around the pet store, Matt and Kate making a box for Stella’s discarded toys so we could save them as she grew. It was about using the kids’ gardening tools (green shovel and blue rake) to clean up after the dog, Grammy Barb sneaking treats to her, worrying that the boys could not have play dates at our house because Stella might scare their friends, Stella sleeping soundly on the couch beside a swaddled Jackson, getting a notice at our door that a neighbor complained about the dog’s non-stop barking. Those 15 years –those wonderful and challenging years. Poof.
We have another dog now, inherited from a family in Arlington who rescued him from Alabama. James is 17, Jackson almost 14. Three years have already passed with our “new” dog, and if we have him for 15 years…do the math. Poof.
Happy New Year!

Message from the Town of Lexington:

1st Annual Lexington MLK Day of Service - Come take part in a unique and special activity!

For 20 years the town has commemorated this national holiday with an annual gathering, presentation and event that highlights the history and work of Dr. King. This year, Lexington will hold its 1st Annual MLK Day of Service, honoring the memory of Dr. King by committing our community to serving those less fortunate.  MLK Day of Service will take place on Monday, January 20, 2014.
Lexington MLK Day will begin with the traditional Unity Walk from the Battle Green to Cary Hall, significant for celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s March on Washington in 1963. The Unity Walk will commence at 11am. Presentations will then be made by a few citizens of Lexington who have done much to support the cause of community-building in our town, followed by a performance by the Harrington Elementary School Chorus. 
From Cary Hall, volunteers will then split into several groups assigned to participate in a number of community-building and social support activities to improve the lives of those less fortunate.  The volunteering programs include:
Community Day at the Waltham YMCA.  Director Jack Fucci, a Lexington resident, will open the club to homeless and low-income families from Waltham and Lexington with sports, activities, games and food and drink.  Lexington volunteers will support YMCA staff in running the events for the participants from 1-3:30pm
Lunch with seniors in the Senior Villages in Lexington (Countryside, Greeley, Vynebrooke).  Vounteers will serve lunch and engage in conversation with seniors to reflect on the life and lessons from Dr. King’s work.  Lunches will run between 12-2pm.
Card-making for veterans, hospitalized citizens and homeless.  Valentine’s Day cards will be made and delivered to veterans, disabled, hospitalized youths.  Program runs in Cary Hall and open to volunteers from 12-3:30pm
Goods donations collected, organized and delivered for homeless families.  Any and all participants are welcome to support families from no/low-income via contributions of children’s books, toys, diapers, gift cards for groceries, clothing, medicine, etc.  Donations will be delivered to COMPASS For Kids, a non-profit organization successfully serving the needs of homeless families for many years
We also can use photographers to record the great community service work going on that day! 
We are in need of volunteers for these programs and are excited by the outpouring of interest to date.  If you are interested in taking part in a first of its kind event to serve the community, please register online for volunteering at http://vols.pt/hvRvKD or contact Sam Zales, event organizer at szales@gmail.com
MLK Day of Service wraps up at 4pm with a re-grouping for all volunteers at Cary Hall to reflect on the learning from the day, with information sharing on a broad set of philanthropic organizations to support locally, so that participants turn the 1st Annual Day of Service into an ongoing commitment to serve those less fortunate.
Lexington Montessori School | 130 Pleasant Street | Lexington, MA 02421