Saturday, February 15, 2020

Libertarian Bullshit and Conscience Of A Human Being

Since Max passed away, I avoid giving time to people who conveniently refuse to see a simple morality plus one that is so easy to follow - help avoid animal suffering.

I have seen Max suffer for over 18 months with cancer but yet people don't mind stabbing a pig or cow or chicken or fish. To make it worse - everyone I know (I mean everyone) at some point or other puts on a stupid smile while discussing this simple piece of morality. As J.D Salinger's Holden would say - I could puke every time they smile.

There is one consensus amongst current ethic writings - future generations would look down on us for what we are doing to animals now. I disagree with that point. We have to start looking down on them now.

Michael Huemer lays down this simple piece of morality (plus splendid points to avoid distractions using endless bullshit discussions which never leads anywhere) - The Conscience of a Human Being

My best guess is that the vast majority of human beings are motivated to avoid moral wrongs only when those wrongs either (a) are socially disapproved, or (b) conflict with the dictates of the powerful.

[---]

But the largest and most obvious example of the failure of conscience is one that many libertarians have difficulty seeing at all. It is the treatment we give to members of other sentient species. The most abject cruelty, cruelty that would horrify us if perpetrated against any other human being, scarcely troubles us when it is done to members of another species. Nearly all meat and other animal products available in the market today are produced on factory farms, under conditions that we would not hesitate to call “torture” if any human being were subjected to them. Worldwide, 74 billion animals are slaughtered for our gastronomic pleasure per year, nearly ten times the entire human population. It is a plausible guess that a decade of factory farming causes more total pain and suffering than all the human pain and suffering in history.[3] If non-human pain is even a little bit bad, therefore, the total quantity of suffering must make this among the world’s greatest problems.


Yet many human beings see nothing wrong with this situation and—even after being apprised of the above facts—will feel no compunction as they bite into their next burger. Many others will admit that buying factory farm products is wrong, yet will struggle to find the motivation to actually modify their own behavior in light of this. Why is this? My best guess is that the vast majority of human beings are motivated to avoid moral wrongs only when those wrongs either (a) are socially disapproved, or (b) conflict with the dictates of the powerful.

[---]

If animal cruelty is a problem, what, if anything, ought we to do about it? I do not know the full extent of our duties, either to animals or to other humans. But I know something of our duties; I know the bare minimum that we ought to do. At a minimum, we ought to refrain from inflicting enormous pain and suffering on other beings for the sake of obtaining comparatively small gastronomic pleasures. This is a special case of the general principle that one should not cause extremely bad things to happen in order to obtain small benefits for oneself. This is not a subtle or complicated principle. This is the basic core of morality. If we do not accept that, then I don’t know why we would accept any moral principles at all.

We not only should avoid directly torturing other creatures; we also should not pay other people for such torture. One does not avoid responsibility for a wrong by outsourcing it to others. If, for example, the president hires some soldiers to torture terror suspects, the president is at least as responsible for the torture as the direct torturers. Nor would he escape responsibility if he merely tells the soldiers vaguely to “get some information” from the suspects, while knowing that the soldiers will in fact seek the information through torture. The lesson is that it is wrong to pay another person for a product, when one knows that the other person has produced the product through extremely wrongful behavior and will continue to do so as long as he continues to be paid. Thus, at a bare minimum, a person of conscience must refrain from buying products from factory farms.

We may indeed have stronger duties, both to people and to animals. Perhaps we should not purchase animal products even from humane farms. Perhaps also we must speak out against cruelty and other severe wrongs. I do not focus on such stronger duties here, as there is limited space, and I think it most important to address the most clearly wrongful behavior that almost everyone is doing on a daily basis, particularly when most seem unaware of the wrongness of this behavior.

[---]

I am a committed libertarian. Yet my first commitment is not—nor should yours be—to libertarianism. Our first loyalty, as human beings, must be to the good and the right. Members of other sentient species on the Earth may not possess the same liberty rights as human beings (that is a matter for debate), and thus the ethical treatment of these other creatures may not be addressed in a distinctive way by our political ideology. Their mistreatment may also fall outside the range of what our society presently condemns or punishes. But it most certainly is possible to treat these other creatures wrongly, and when such wrongful treatment occurs on a massive scale, a scale to dwarf any suffering by our own species, that should be a matter of concern to all rational beings, libertarian and non-libertarian alike.


From Nuclear Family To Forged Family

A new piece by David Brooks hits the nail.

We are born alone and die alone but it is stranger (who we never met and most likely never ever meet again) would have held us first (a doctor or nurse) and in the end, it would be stranger who will dispose of our body. We lose the sense of this reality and don't give enough importance to these 'strangers' (which could human-animal and non-human-animal) in our life. Tim Urban in his column Tail End gives a more on the face statistics on how much time we spend with family.

The modern chosen-family movement came to prominence in San Francisco in the 1980s among gay men and lesbians, many of whom had become estranged from their biological families and had only one another for support in coping with the trauma of the AIDS crisis. In her book, Families We Choose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship, the anthropologist Kath Weston writes, 
“The families I saw gay men and lesbians creating in the Bay Area tended to have extremely fluid boundaries, not unlike kinship organization among sectors of the African-American, American Indian, and white working class.”

Like their heterosexual counterparts, most gay men and lesbians insisted that family members are people who are “there for you,” people you can count on emotionally and materially. “They take care of me,” said one man, “I take care of them.”

These groups are what Daniel Burns, a political scientist at the University of Dallas, calls “forged families.” Tragedy and suffering have pushed people together in a way that goes deeper than just a convenient living arrangement. They become, as the anthropologists say, “fictive kin.”


Over the past several decades, the decline of the nuclear family has created an epidemic of trauma—millions have been set adrift because what should have been the most loving and secure relationship in their life broke. Slowly, but with increasing frequency, these drifting individuals are coming together to create forged families. These forged families have a feeling of determined commitment. The members of your chosen family are the people who will show up for you no matter what. On Pinterest you can find placards to hang on the kitchen wall where forged families gather: “Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile & who love you no matter what.”

[---]


Two years ago, I started something called Weave: The Social Fabric Project. Weave exists to support and draw attention to people and organizations around the country who are building community. Over time, my colleagues and I have realized that one thing most of the Weavers have in common is this: They provide the kind of care to nonkin that many of us provide only to kin—the kind of support that used to be provided by the extended family.


Lisa Fitzpatrick, who was a health-care executive in New Orleans, is a Weaver. One day she was sitting in the passenger seat of a car when she noticed two young boys, 10 or 11, lifting something heavy. It was a gun. They used it to shoot her in the face. It was a gang-initiation ritual. When she recovered, she realized that she was just collateral damage. The real victims were the young boys who had to shoot somebody to get into a family, their gang.


She quit her job and began working with gang members. She opened her home to young kids who might otherwise join gangs. One Saturday afternoon, 35 kids were hanging around her house. She asked them why they were spending a lovely day at the home of a middle-aged woman. They replied, “You were the first person who ever opened the door.”


Friday, February 14, 2020

A Synesthesia Project by Bernadette Sheridan

As exceptional as we are at remembering visual imagery, we're terrible at remembering other kinds of information, like lists of words or numbers. The point of memory techniques is to take the kinds of memories our brains aren't good at holding on to and transform them into the kind of memories our brains are built for.

-
Josha Foer, Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything



This a brilliant project by Sheridan where you can find the "color" of your name! There are some classifications like days, some numbers, etc. I do associate with colors but not names.

She explains the idea behind the project:

Synesthesia is a rare sensory trait shared by about 4% of the population, and it comes in many forms. People who “see” or associate letters and numbers with specific colors have grapheme-color synesthesia, and it’s the most common form. Other forms of synesthesia involve seeing or feeling musical notes as colors or textures, having visualized representations of time, and in rare cases, even tasting words.

After many years of struggling to describe my synesthesia visually, I created a website called Synesthesia.Me. It features simple geometric portraits of these color combinations. The specific renderings are based on my own unique synesthesia color alphabet. Every synesthete’s color alphabet is unique, although there are certain universal matches for specific letters. For example, red is often cited as a common color for the letter A.


Monday, February 10, 2020

What Is The Secret Of Safe Memories?

Last night I was tired but Neo was jumping all over me - out of the blue, I held him tight so that he cannot move and said, "Neo Locked"!

I have completely forgotten about this for years until last night that I used to do the same with Max during his puppyhood. When he wanted to play or go out, I would hold him tight and tease him "Max Locked",  he would make funny noises and try to get out of the hold. Eventually, I would let him win and he would jump all over me again. We used to play this game often but weirdly, I didn't remember about that until last night.

Stephan Hall in 2013, wrote about this ground-breaking research by Daniela Schiller which kind of explains why I forgot about that for years but it came back to me last night.
Schiller, 40, has been in the vanguard of a dramatic reassessment of how human memory works at the most fundamental level. Her current lab group at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, her former colleagues at New York University, and a growing army of like-minded researchers have marshaled a pile of data to argue that we can alter the emotional impact of a memory by adding new information to it or recalling it in a different context. This hypothesis challenges 100 years of neuroscience and overturns cultural touchstones from Marcel Proust to best-selling memoirs. It changes how we think about the permanence of memory and identity, and it suggests radical nonpharmacological approaches to treating pathologies like post-traumatic stress disorder, other fear-based anxiety disorders, and even addictive behaviors.

In a landmark 2010 paper in Nature, Schiller (then a postdoc at New York University) and her NYU colleagues, including Joseph E. LeDoux and Elizabeth A. Phelps, published the results of human experiments indicating that memories are reshaped and rewritten every time we recall an event. And, the research suggested, if mitigating information about a traumatic or unhappy event is introduced within a narrow window of opportunity after its recall—during the few hours it takes for the brain to rebuild the memory in the biological brick and mortar of molecules—the emotional experience of the memory can essentially be rewritten.

“When you affect emotional memory, you don’t affect the content,” Schiller explains. “You still remember perfectly. You just don’t have the emotional memory.”

I think, its established now that memories so precarious and constantly get rewritten but here is the irony regarding the "safest" memories (which is not common knowledge yet).
In Schiller’s view, then, the secret to preserving a memory doesn’t lie in protein synthesis in the synapses or the shuttling of neural traffic from the hippocampus to the exurbs of the brain. Rather, she believes, memory is best preserved in the form of a story that collects, distills, and fixes both the physical and the emotional details of an event. “The only way to freeze a memory,” she says, “is to put it in a story.” Which ultimately brings us back to her father.

When she first told the story about Holocaust Memorial Day at The Moth in 2010, Schiller speculated that the sirens functioned as what psychologists call a “conditioned stimulus”—a sensory cue, very much in the Pavlovian tradition, that triggered a painful memory. And in light of her work on reconsolidated memory, she began to think that by sitting at the kitchen table sipping his coffee, her father was rewriting his painful memories by associating them with a pleasant activity.

But even her personal story about memory, like memory itself, has begun to update itself. Last year, for the first time, Schiller’s father briefly spoke about his teenage years—about the selflessness of his mother and uncle in a time of great deprivation, and most of all about his close relationship with his younger sister, who perished in the Holocaust. Schiller now suspects that her father’s reluctance to recall those traumatic events is a way of protecting and preserving memories so beautiful that he wants never to rewrite them and risk losing their power.
Since then, they’ve reverted to their usual three-word conversations about the Holocaust. “Because they are so precious, these are memories you don’t want to change,” she says. “The safest memories are those you never remember.”

Even if Schiller's theory is partially true, then what happened to me was beautiful!

More than a decade ago, without any conscious effort on my side, the little playtimes I had with Max were tagged as "safe". My guess is because my positive emotions were at its peak, nature knew that was important to me. As the years went by, I "forgot" about it in order to keep the memories "safe" (and avoid being rewritten). It's just crazy to even think how our mind-body loop operates!

I hope, I have tons of memories of Max which I don't remember and I hope, it comes back when I least expect to bring a smile.

P.S:
I didn't remember about this research either but accidentally while searching this blog for Stephen Hall, I found this as well. 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Finding Max in Fluffy

Life is full of surprises; pleasant surprises that happen outside the boundaries of our imagination.

Fluffy came home as a kitten - less than a year old. She grew up for the past 3 years observing Max's mannerisms, habits, happiness, annoyances, pain, suffering and other things which as a human I cannot observe nor comprehend.

Don't get me wrong, Fluffy is a quintessential "free-thinking" cat that people have written about for centuries. But now without Max and in the company of two newbies Graph and Neo, she still follows Max's routine and subtle nuances of his mannerisms.

As a kitten, she used to get angry and annoyed watching Max get to go out with me and not her. But slowly, we made an unspoken deal that she can stay within the patio if she promises not to jump outside. She has kept her promise to date - I can trust her to stay in the patio even if I go inside. This unspoken trust is also, I think she learned from Max.

She wants me to hold and kiss her before each meal, she comes to the door when I get home, she follows me while I change to get her treats, she knows its time to go out (to the patio) when I put a cigarette between my ear gap, playing hide n seek, following me to the bed and I think, the onus is on me to observe more as time goes by. It goes without saying, all these mannerisms

Weirdly, during his final weeks, Max refused to eat and had to hand feed him. Since he wasn't mobile much, he would happily eat his meal while I told him stories of Fluffy's naughtiness. Looking back now, I think, there was an invisible bond between them which I cannot comprehend.

It's a beautiful miracle, in reality, unfolding in front of my eyes, a little cat version of Max now filling his big shoes every day.

Who would have thought a small cat would have so much similarity with Max when there is Neo, who not only is the same species as Max but also the same breed.

In Mexican tradition, they believe that everyone dies three deaths.
  • The first death is when our bodies cease to function; when our hearts no longer beat of their own accord, when our gaze no longer has depth or weight, when space we occupy slowly loses its meaning. - I was there with Max when it happened and there was nothing I could to stop it.
  • The second death comes when the body is lowered into the ground, returned to mother earth, out of sight. - After kissing his nose, toes and all over for one last time, I left his body with the caretaker of the cremation center. I hugged him and asked him to take care of him well. That was the last time I ever saw him. 
  • The third death, the most definitive death, is when there is no one left alive to remember us. - The biggest part of his final death will come not when I die but when Fluffy will be gone. I say this because nature has given her a better range of senses and emotions to observe Max better in 3 years than I did in 13 plus years. I cannot prove it but I think it is true. Nature has cursed us to make up shit when none exists while other animals are blessed to see things as they are. 
My emotions and rationale of seeing Max in Fluffy end here. Not for once, I planned to see Fluffy as a surrogate for Max nor I want to do that in the future. It just happened to be a pleasant surprise.

Fluffy is unique and she is just Fluffy the cat as she is. I am still learning so much from her as I did with Max. It is so easy to learn from dogs since we co-evolved for thousands of years but cats open up a new spectrum of frequencies and dimensions which we never knew existed. 

In her brilliant book How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer, Sarah Backwell captured the essence of what made Montaigne - Montaigne.
"Perhaps some of the credit for Montaigne's last answer should therefore go to his cat - a specific sixteenth century individual, who had a rather pleasant life on a country estate with a doting master and not to much competition for his attention. She was the one who, by wanting to play with Montaigne at an inconvenient moment, reminded him what what is was to be alive. They looked at each other, and just for moment, he leaped across the gap in order to see himself through her eyes. Out of that moment - and countless others like it - came his whole philosophy."
I am so grateful and blessed to relate and comprehend what that means. When I look in Fluffy's eyes, I do get a constant reminder of what is to be alive. I want to leap across the gap, not for just a moment but repeatedly as long as I live. In each leap, I see something new and learn something new. And that keeps me going in this life without Max.




Friday, February 7, 2020

Best Movie Scene - Operation Dinner Out

Taleb popularized the phrase "fuck you money" and especially in this capitalist-driven world, there is a lot of truth to it.  But most of the profound changes in the world happened because very few people had the courage to say "fuck you" without any money or power.

We all know names like Rosa Parks and Gandhi but every generation had few good unknown people who stood up for what is right. This has nothing to do with fighting wars or being a soldier. What matters most is standing up in everyday life for what is right so that nothing bad can grow into a monster in the future (which in turn causes future wars and terrors). These unknown faces have eradicated badness in its nascent stages.  The world is still livable and a good place because of the courage and sacrifice of these unknown faces.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

- Margaret Mead
One needs to constantly hone their practical wisdom in order to say fuck you without fuck you money. In Reclaiming Virtue, John Bradshaw wrote:
Practical wisdom is the ability to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason.
In one of my favorite books (but lesser-known) Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience, Stephen Hall quotes Adam Smith:
In a lovely evocation of that timeless fork in the road between material and spiritual well-being, he spoke of two different roads - one of "proud ambition and ostentatious avidity," the other of "humble modestly and equitable justice" - that await our choice. 
Two different models, two different pictures, are held out to us, according to which fashion our own character and behavior; the one more gaudy and glittering in its coloring; the other more correct and exquisitely beautiful in its outline: the one forcing itself upon the notice of every wandering eye; the other attracting the attention of scare any body but most studious and careful observer.  
They are the wise and the virtuous chiefly, a select, though, I am afraid, but a small party, who are the real and steady admirers of wisdom and virtue. The great mob of mankind are the admirers and worshipers, and, what may seem more extraordinary, most frequently the disinterested admirers and worshipers, of wealth and greatness.
In the movie Spy Games, Robert Redford on his last day at CIA spends every penny he has to rescue Brad Pitt while the bureaucrats at CIA refuse to do so.

His goodbye salute with flair while exiting Langley gates always reminded me that one can live and say fuck you without any fuck you money if one has the right moral code for doing the right thing. And Redford makes it look so much easy, fun and stylish.



Technology gets better everyday. That's fine. But most of the time all you need is a stick of gum, a pocket knife and a smile.
- Nathan Muir (Robert Redford's character)

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Cost of Cancer Kills Before Cancer Does

Today Feb, 4th is World Cancer Day; couple of articles on how cancer financially ruins families.

A Cancer Patient Stole Groceries Worth $109.63. She Was Sentenced to 10 Months:

The lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, John Fetterman, said the punishment was overly harsh and offered to personally repay the grocery store.

The Financial Toxicity of Illness:

The links between cancer regimens or outcomes and economic ruin do not constrict only the elderly. Young adults with cancer have two to five times higher rates of bankruptcy than seniors, many of whom can depend on Medicare and Social Security. Most of the parents of kids with cancer experience work disruptions because of the need to accompany their children to lengthy treatments; about 15 percent quit their jobs or are laid off. Pediatric patients who live in poverty tend to relapse more often than well-off kids: housing instability, poor nutrition and unavailable transportation take a toll.

A cluster of insured patients suffers the acute or sub-chronic monetary injuries of cancer treatments because of the astronomical price of new protocols. The first CAR T-Cell immunotherapy drug was priced at about $475,000 for a one-time treatment. Enasidenib for acute myeloid leukemia costs about $25,000 a month. 


This is the reality of how we treat humans in the most powerful country in the world. Now, one can imagine what happens to dogs and other animals. Yes, they kill them. These people enjoy their puppy-hood, adulthood and use them for their "joy" but when the times comes to take care of them in their old age, they use euphemisms to justify their killing.

Of-course there are lot of outliers. I am grateful that I was able to treat Max during his worst times but not many families aren't that fortunate.

Max's oncologist Dr. Ann K Jeglum was awarded the veterinarian of the country in 2015; she gave one thing no one has ever able to give me - more time with Max. I am forever grateful to her and her team (Lisa, Kathy, Kim and others) who loved Max and helped him ease his pain.

There are a lot of outlier families who can use financial help for the treatment of their dogs and cats. 

If you can afford it, please donate to:

Write check to VCORF (Veterinary Comparative Oncology Research Foundation)
Mailing Address:
VCORF
739 E. Nields Street
West Chester, PA 19382

Their website is https://www.vosrc.net/

You can add a note:  "In the memory of Max Sundaresan" and/or "To Give Beauty More Chance".

Please understand this donation is not only to help families who cannot afford cancer treatment for their loved ones but also would help fund cancer research which would benefit "humans" as well.
Dr. Jeglum holds a patent for Melanoma Vaccine.

If anyone is wondering - everything and whatever little I have, will be donated to VCORF fund when I am gone.

Thank you for your help.

Your donations will reflect on that "unselfish impulses" of humanity and would make Reinhold Niebhur smile.
  
The measure of our rationality determines the degree of vividness with which we appreciate the needs of other life, the extent to which we become conscious of the real character of our own motives and impulses, the ability to harmonize conflicting impulses in our own life and in society, and the capacity to choose adequate means for approved ends.

Human beings are endowed by nature with both selfish and unselfish impulses.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Is There Grandeur In This View Of Life?

One of my all-time favorite lines which constantly reminds me of my insignificance is the last paragraph of Darwin's Origin of Species:
"It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms.
Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."
If I translate Darwin's lines into my current state of mind:
Darwin is saying there is beauty in Max passing away. Is it really?

These past few days, while going for small walks with Neo, I saw the same people who looked at Max with pitiful eyes just a few weeks ago, now look at Neo with a sparkle in their eyes. Unconsciously our brains biased towards sensing grandeur in this view of life.

I pretend to be that "impartial spectator" of Adam Smith and observe things as "it is" as they unfold while walking with Neo. Few of those people immediately subsided their sparkle when they looked at my eyes. Maybe, they sensed me missing Max. No matter how hard we try, one cannot be an impartial spectator; the observer affects the observed.   

We are creatures living at a micro-level of this grandeur. We are part of this beauty and terror.  We are incapable of being an impartial spectator and observe while living inside it. The only truth we comprehend is that there is no beauty nor terror anywhere else in the universe as we know. It is just a vast empty space for eternity.

If I translate Darwin's lines again with this perspective:
Max came from a lineage of a single-cell organism and I happened to come from the same lineage. Then after millions of years, we evolved into a different mixture of complex cells and then thousands of years later, against all odds we found each other and spend our lives together. Then one day, last month Max was gone. In a brief time, I will be gone too. All this was just one micro-level story that unfolded for just an infinitesimal time. Trillions of such stories had unfolded before and trillions are unfolding now and trillions will unfold in the future.

I have to admit that Darwin was right although I miss Max. There is indeed grandeur in this view of life since this is the "only" view of life we know in the entire space and time. One thing we can do is work towards eliminating terror and start giving beauty more chance.

In the end, I think one can find one's significance hidden in the phrase - "dependent on each other in so complex a manner". I found mine.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Morality, Complex Systems and AI!

Bruce Stering says it brilliantly what I wanted to say for the past few years!

These are the people who think philosophy is some abstract paragraphs in old books and never understood that this whole enterprise was designed as a simple guide to help people to live a good life (beyond themselves). We are living in a classic halo effect - designing a deep reinforcement algorithm (which they never do) doesn't make one capable of being entrepreneurs for morality.

So I don’t mind the moralizing about AI. I even enjoy it as metaphysical game, but I do have one caveat about this activity, something that genuinely bothers me. The practitioners of AI are not up-front about the genuine allure of their enterprise, which is all about the old-school Steve-Jobsian charisma of denting the universe while becoming insanely great. Nobody does AI for our moral betterment; everybody does it to feel transcendent.

AI activists are not everyday brogrammers churning out grocery-code. These are visionary zealots driven by powerful urges they seem unwilling to confront. If you want to impress me with your moral authority, gaze first within your own soul.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

$6M Super Bowl Ad To Thank The Vet Who Saved His Dog From Cancer

I will write more about Max's cancer, his myriad of treatments and his oncologist later but this is heartwarming news - I am not alone!

Max was almost 14 years but this dog Scout is only 7 years old. I am happy for Scout and his dad David who refused to give up based on some mindless survival probability.

Max was given 8 weeks but he went to survive for almost 2 years.  We are so used to putting dogs down so quickly just because its an inconvenience. We need to stop using these euphemisms and instead use the word "kill". Maybe, that would stop a lot of mindless killing.



His dog was given a month to live. But the owner, who couldn't accept that prognosis, is now thanking the veterinary clinic that saved his beloved pet by taking out a $6 million Super Bowl ad.

David MacNeil's 7-year-old golden retriever, Scout, collapsed in summer 2019, and a veterinarian told him the dog had cancer and one month to live, according to NBC Madison, Wisconsin affiliate WMTV.

"There he was in this little room, standing in the corner... and he's wagging his tail at me. I'm like, 'I'm not putting that dog down. There's just absolutely no way," said MacNeil, who is the founder and CEO of WeatherTech, an car accessories company.

He took Scout, who serves as his company's unofficial mascot, to the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine.

The dog had a one percent chance of survival, but doctors at the veterinary school treated Scout with aggressive chemotherapy and radiation that nearly eradicated his tumor.

MacNeil was so grateful he took out the ad, a 30-second spot called "Lucky Dog" that opens with Scout running on the beach and tells the story of his survival.

The spot encourages viewers to donate to the veterinary school's research.