Tom Grady 1959-2016

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This is Gary Grady, Tom’s older brother. I am very sorry to say that Tom died at home September 15.

As he mentioned on this blog, in March of 2015 he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a particularly deadly type of brain cancer. He initially responded well to treatment, experiencing few side effects, but earlier this year the tumor began to grow again and he was hospitalized for a few weeks in July. He kept apologizing for being a burden, saying that he was the youngest and he should be taking care of us. Finally he was placed in home hospice care and after a steady decline he finally simply stopped breathing. Toward the end it was very difficult for him to express himself, but he still got jokes and smiled and laughed.

Tom was a life-long athlete and sports enthusiast who played on the longest-lasting recreational softball team in his area. As a volunteer he officiated at basketball games and coached youth soccer. One of his teams, the Pink Panthers, gained the state championship for girls in their age group, but he emphasized enjoyment and sportsmanship over winning. Once when officiating at a basketball game a young boy who had not scored a point all year had a free throw. The ball went in, but the boy stepped a bit over the line. Determined not to take away his one point, Tom pointed at the scorer’s table and said, “Count it!” This drew angry reactions from the other team and their supporters, but the coach later came to Tom and apologized, saying that after thinking about it he realized that Tom had done the right thing. The boy’s father told Tom, “You made my son’s year.”

Tom was fortunate enough to have his a dream job, becoming a sports and features writer for the Wilmington North Carolina Star-News newspaper. The sports editor wrote an excellent article about Tom you can read here.

Animals, especially pets, and more especially dogs, were his other great passion, and he wrote a column about pets for the newspaper, often arguing against cruelty, as he did for many years on this blog and his Facebook page.

A memorial service for Tom will be held Saturday, October 1, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, on the softball field where he played for many, many years. Details can be found here.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Cancer Log: Thus far, treatment progressing well

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I’ve thought a lot about a means of producing a diary or log of my experience in battling this brain tumor thing I’ve been handed. It is a glioblastoma, which is highly malignant.

I am undergoing radiation and chemo treatments and thus far, three weeks into the treatments,  I am experiencing very, very little to no ill affects.

I had been experiencing approximately a headache per day for awhile – post-surgery. My surgery occurred in early March. At first, I was needing to take a headache pill about once per day. Over the last three weeks, I’ve needed a headache pill on only one occasion.

My reading and writing abilities took a hit due to the tumor and right after the surgery, I struggled to get back to work as a writer. Again, over the last three weeks, my reading and writing have significantly improved.

The most problematic is the hole within my peripheral field of vision, on the left side. This makes it a bit more difficult to type and is still slowing me up on writing a bit.

The improvement in these skills was very welcome. I hope I’ll see more advancement in the weeks and months to come. But the vision hole will likely be more difficult to overcome.

One therapy to improve my reading skills, one that I developed on my own, was reading the newspaper comics page. Sounds strange or comical enough, but it worked. I started doing this around mid-March and at first I struggle to get through each section,

But slowly, I was able to speed up the time it took me to read through it each day. Now, I’m nearly all the way back to normal is this area. At times, I still have to stop for a moment to pick up a word or two.

Why do I think the comics have been more helpful? – Because the fonts vary and it takes a bit more focus to read each strip.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Pack News Wire: The good, the bad and the ugly

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The last week of news has featured some real ugliness and evil and clueless behavior, mixed in with some touching stories of compassion.

Lets start with clueless, mixed with ugly.

New York plea bargain lets animal abuser off the hook

A man in Nichols, NY was offered a plea deal last week, after being charged with several misdemeanor charges and one count of felony aggravated animal cruelty. The Daily Review reports he was charged with “overdriving, torture and failure to provide sustenance; inappropriate shelter for animals; and harboring unlicensed dogs.”

One dog was found dead and frozen to the ground. A necropsy found the dog died of starvation. But despite all of this, the deal will allow the man to walk free, with about a $400 fine and a ban on having animals for 10 years.

How any court system could believe this level of punishment for these crimes is acceptable is beyond reasonable and beyond clueless. In this case and other similar cases, it’s called the Criminal Injustice System.

The Good: Afghan animal shelter reuniting dogs and cats with soldiers

Louise Hastie, a former British soldier , is working with team of Afghanistan citizens to operate the nation’s only official animal shelter, according to a NBC News article.

Over the last six years, the shelter has transported over 400 dogs and cats over to the United States and the United Kingdom where they were adopted by former soldiers.

Continue reading

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Georgia animal shelter filled with homeless pets and too many are dying

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A Georgia animal shelter is overwhelmed with homeless pets and many have and will lose their lives if people don’t wake up in the community.

One county spokesperson interviewed in the report is right when she says this is not an animal problem. It is clearly a people problem.
But when will the people causing this problem in so many areas of the country wise up? Or when will they be held accountable for being one of the key sources of this problem?

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

And some say humans are across the board smarter than animals?

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Humans are supposed to be the most intelligent beings on the planet. But on a fairly regular basis, we see examples of individuals or groups who don’t have the cognitive ability of a slug – much less a higher-order animal.

Today’s example – a Florida man facing multiple charges after being clocked driving 127 miles per hour Saturday night – while drunk – with three small children in the car.

NBC News also reports he faces three counts of cruelty to a child, one count of reckless driving and refusing to submit to a DUI test. You will never hear about an animal doing something as crazy as this.

People like this don’t even have the natural instincts to stay clear of this sort of behavior. What should we call this? – Less than animal smarts? – Not even Slug Smarts? – Are they smarter than a slug? I’ll have to think up a name for this series.

Crappy Cognition?


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

More animal and environmental-related tidbits on Twitter and Facebook

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Don’t forget – I often post extras concerning animals and environmental-related news on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

So look for more information every day on the site of your choice. There’s a lot going on every day on the animal-welfare front and in environmental news.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Trailer: Big Miracle

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This move is definitely on my must-see list. Big Miracle is the true story of a family of whales trapped under a growing area of ocean ice and the community that came together to save them.

It is always fantastic to see acts of compassion as a major theme of any movie, especially in a major motion picture such as this. There are a lot of people who oppose animal welfare who really need to watch this one, including government officials in countries like Japan that are still engaged in torturing and slaughtering whales.