Mementos of a Dying Dog

MY ANSWERING MACHINE cheerfully invites callers to leave a message for five family members. Four are human and one is our cat. Guess who gets the most messages? The one with the fur — Tonka.

I bring this up because we tend to treat pets like people. My friend has a bunny that sleeps in her bed. A neighbor has a poodle who gets spa treatments seasonally. And a co-worker has a bird that watches television with her.

But what do we do when our pets die? We mourn their loss for awhile — then replace them. Heck. Most of them don’t even get a picture in the family photo album.

Inga Heuser is a local photographer who wants to change that. She’s been offering her services free to folks with seriously ill or elderly pets. She meets many of them on the trails that lace our hills.

“One was a man with a 20-year-old dog. They were such a great match, both very old,” she said of Edward Genser and his dog, Cody. Heuser’s photo captured the love between Genser and Cody, his best friend of two decades. It also made her think about her own special pet growing up.

“I had a bunny and I put all that love into my bunny but had only one single photo,” she lamented. “I regret that.”

How do you honor an animal that has loved you unconditionally? Just talking about your pet doesn’t seem to be enough.

Perhaps the old adage is true; a picture really is worth a thousand words. Inga’s phone number at Veni Vidi Click! is 800-822-1248.

E-MAIL BAG: Reader Chuck Harrison loves Montclair’s new Rite Aid renovation, especially the blood pressure station.

“Ginny, I do realize you are not doing a medical column,” he writes, but goes on to urge both men and women to check their blood pressure regularly. The pharmacy’s health station not only has a free machine but pocket-sized cards for you to record and keep your data.

SAY SI: Michael Fee has a vision. He wants to teach thousands of Bay Area kids how to speak Spanish. The hills father of three runs a company called Lango, which offers innovative Spanish classes in the Rockridge neighborhood.

“We incorporate songs, games, various movement and play activities and a lot of arts and crafts,” he said, adding he’d like to branch out and teach French, Mandarin and other languages too.

ROYAL RIDE: The Royal Grounders bike club is riding for more than just fun these days.

Reader Ron Scravani says it’s doing a 25-mile fundraising ride for Joaquin Miller School on March 25. If you want more information, you can usually find these guys in the mornings at Royal Ground Coffee Shop in Montclair. Or you can e-mail Karen Fee at

HIT-AND-RUN: Hills private eye Mike Spencer has a tough case to crack — his own. Spencer was rear-ended at Shepherd Canyon and Snake a couple of weeks ago, and said the motorist took off without exchanging information. He described the scofflaw as middle-aged, driving a light blue car with a young female passenger. He’s offering a $200 reward for information leading him to the bumper lover. If you have any clues, you can call Spencer at 510 593-3767.


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