Friday, August 31, 2007

My Personality Tests

In filling these things out, I always feel a little narcissistic, but I enjoy them nonetheless.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Use Your Allusion #1: The Sword of Damocles

This is a common allusion made particularly in reference to people in power. This is based more on legend than on mythology.

Damocles was an excessively flattering courtier in the court of Dionysius II, a tyrant in Syracuse, Italy during the 4th century. He praised Dionysius and would exclaim how wonderful it must be to be a man of such wealth and power.

Dionysius offered to switch places with him for a day so that Damocles could experience what it was like to have such power. Damocles gladly jumped at the chance to experience the luxury which he so envied, and he took full advantage of the offer.

At a great banquet, he allowed himself to be pampered like a king. Only after he had finished eating, he happened to gaze up and to see a sharp sword dangling directly above his head by only a single strand of horse hair, but he was unable to move. Immediately, he asked leave of Dionysius, having lost his taste for the food and the fine company.

This allusion is used to make the point that people in power are always under some sort of peril. More broadly, it can refer to any situation that is extremely precarious, or full of impending danger; particularly if the situation can be set off by a delicate trigger.

Can you think of any settings in which you could use this allusion?

A New Routine at Perpetual Timothy

I've become a big fan of some blogs that have regular routine kinds of posts. My personal favorite is Mark Elrod's blog posts entitled "Caption This Friday".

Up to this point, I kind of blog about whatever strikes me as interesting, funny, or important at the moment. But because I know Perpetual Timothy readers are an extremely intelligent crowd, I'm going to provide a weekly service to help us all keep sharp on our wits. I'm going to start a new weekly post entitled "Use Your Allusion" (tipping my hat to the classic Guns 'n Roses albums with similar names).

Each week, I will explain the meaning and proper usage of a literary and/or Biblical allusion. You can throw these babies out in regular conversation and make sure everyone around you knows that you are smart and well-cultured.

I Should So Be Getting Paid For This

I've been an avid blogger for some time now. I've had many friends who have started blogging, then fizzled out, then started, then fizzled, etc. I've remained pretty constant on here. I probably enjoy hearing myself talk too much.

At any rate, I was logging onto Harding's Pipeline to see what's happening in my online course for this semester, and--lo and behold--Harding is paying students to blog about Harding! I hope they give Mark Elrod and David Underwood pay increases, as I know of no one who blogs more about Harding than they do. I wish they would have started this a long time ago. I could use the tuition discount, and I do this anyway.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

In case I ever need to quit my day job...

Markito Mysterio. Run and hide, Chuck Norris. Run and hide.

I'm showing off a souvenir from Mexico.

Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort

Carolina and I just got back from spending an interesting half of our day volunteering with the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort on Allied Drive, here in Nashville. If you are a wealthy person (or not so wealthy), looking for a charity that actually does some good with your donations, I don't think you could do any better than this organization. They have very few paid people on staff. I'd say at least 90% of their work force is people who volunteer.

Generally, they have work days on an as-needed basis, depending on when disasters strike. We were working today to prepare and ship 1,200 boxes to people in the West who have been hit with recent flooding.

We participated in a huge assembly line. I think Carolina and I were the two youngest people there by at least 20 years, but we still had a great time working and visiting with everyone around us. It's really encouraging to see how many good people there are in this world who can work together so well. People were there from all over Tennessee, and I met several who drove down to help from Kentucky. If you could give up part of a day now and then, and you're close to the Nashville area, this is a great way to volunteer your time. They even provide lunch for everyone after the job is done!

On a separate note, several TV crews showed up to get clips of us in action. Fox 17 was there, and so was CBS 5 I think. The interesting thing was that mayoral candidate Bob Clement also showed up. He walked around and shook hands with the men who were in charge. I was hoping to see how anxious he is to "serve" Nashville, but he was primarily interested in eating a Nutty Buddy, which they gave him. So today, I guess he was serving the city of Nashville by helping to keep the ice cream business in operation, though he didn't help us pack up any boxes to be sent to the needy. He seemed like an OK guy, but he's definitely a politician; showing up right after the cameras did.

So far it's been a good day. I got to help get needed supplies to 1,200 different families, and I got to watch the possible Mayor Elect of Nashville eat ice cream while I worked.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Conversations In A Car In Mozambique, Africa

My dad just got home from visiting missionaries in Mozambique, Africa. For any of you Hardingites, the Donelson Church of Christ sponsors Alan and Rachel Howell. My dad really enjoyed his trip, and says that they're doing a great job down there.

I wanted to recount an experience that my dad had. They were all piled in a car, driving to another town. My dad was in the back seat, in between two Africans, who were constantly chattering in their language.

A lot of people are paranoid when they can't understand what other people are saying. Having learned a small amount of Spanish, I've learned that we need not worry about what they're saying most of the time. In fact, it's a bit arrogant to always assume that people are "talking about me". Nonetheless, when you can't understand any of what is being said right beside you, it can be a little uncomfortable; especially if they start laughing.

Stereotypically, I think we like to imagine people from other cultures talking about noble things. In movies, Chinese men are always droning out about their "honor" or ancestors. Indians are always recounting creation stories about origins of bears, birds, or men. So my dad was obviously wondering what these men could be talking about in the car with foreigners from the United States.

After the two guys beside my dad had talked for a while, Alan spoke up and said, "Would you like to know what these guys are saying?" Dad said, "Sure." Alan recounted what they had been talking about, and their conversation went something like this:

Man 1: This ride is taking a while.

Man 2: Yeah I know!

Man 1: I'm sure glad we didn't bring Kimbe along. He's getting old, and he always needs to stop and pee.

Man 2: I know! He does! Every time we take him anywhere, he always has to stop and pee at least once every hour. It's so annoying!

Man 1: Yeah. It's a good thing we didn't bring him.

Man 2: Yeah. (pauses) Um... now that you mention it, I really need to stop and pee.

Man 1: Actually, so do I!

Man 2: What are we going to do? We can't stop here.

Man 1: I don't know! But I really need to go.

Man 2: Maybe we can stop at the edge of town and I can pee beside the bus stop.

Man 1: You might could, but if you do and an authority sees you, he'll fine you $12.

Man 2: $12! I can't afford that! What am I going to do? I've got to pee!

Man 1: Maybe there will be a business with a public restroom.

Man 2: I don't know of any! What are we going to do? I can't hold it much longer.

Man 1: Let's just try to hold it for now, and we'll figure out what to do when we get there.

Man 2: I'll try, but I don't know if I can!

I don't know if anyone will find that amusing besides me, but I enjoyed it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

What I want most for my Birthday... to see my wife. Lord willing, she'll be home tomorrow. I have missed her terribly these last three weeks.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bringing Justice To the Streets of Nashville, TN

Yesterday, I got to go along as a "rider" with a friend of mine at church named Matt who is a police officer. I showed up with him before his shift began, and went along for everything he did until his shift ended late last night. If you've never done anything like this, it's way better than watching COPS.

I wasn't sure exactly how to go about this post, but I've decided to break it down into some bullet points. I want to mention some of the specific things we dealt with, as well as some things I learned about how the police work.

The evening began with him showing me how to use an extra shot gun that he keeps in the car. It is locked in place in a rack behind our heads, and there is a hidden release button if you need to use it. He has a brand new car with only 900 miles on it, and a lot of the sweetest new gear. I never realized how much time officers spend using these portable tablet PC's. They are logged on the entire time to several different services, keeping an eye on what needs to be taken care of, looking up people's information, and finding directions to places.

Here are some of the things we had to go and take care of:
  • Attempted Burglary - Someone tried to break into a lady's condo between midnight and 6am. Her screen door was pulled loose from the frame, but there were no marks indicating that someone had really tried to enter the main door. So basically, there wasn't much that could be done. At her request, he dusted for fingerprints but got none. When nothing is actually stolen and there isn't a complete forced entry, all the police can really do is file a report.

  • Loud Music Complaint - These kinds of calls are pretty annoying. In the end, I think we were more annoyed than the people who had been complaining about loud music. We had to drive all the way out to the edge of our zone, and of course, there was no loud music and the person who had been complained about was sound asleep, and definitely not bothering anyone.

  • Thief Arrest - At Lowe's, a girl who worked there had been pocketing money from the cash register, and had taken a total of $4,200 over several weeks. They caught her on video. Their loss prevention specialist got her in a back room and got her to confess. He handcuffed her and she had to wait on us to come and get her. We went in with another officer. One thing that was really fun for me the whole night was watching people try and figure out what my role was. I wasn't in uniform or anything, so I didn't appear to be police, but since I was riding with the police and was going everywhere they were going, they assumed I wasn't an average joe citizen. I think a lot of them thought I was some kind of undercover detective.

  • Security Alarm - At Save-A-Lot, the alarm went off. They called for the police to go and check it out. The doors at the front and back were all secure. In the end, I think Save-A-Lot may end up in a little trouble. Legally, if your business has an alarm system, you are required to get a sticker every year stating what kind of system it is and that it is current. Along with this, you are required to have a responder for your business who comes every time the alarm sounds. Save-A-Lot didn't have any stickers up, and there responder didn't want to come, so we had to leave them a note telling them to get their act together.

  • Juvenile Delinquent - We went on a call to a situation where a lady's 13-year-old niece was causing lots of problems. It was one of those sad situations where the parents were no good, so the aunt was trying to help out, but didn't have stellar parenting skills herself. The aunt called because the girl constantly shows her attitude, makes messes, and screams at the top of her lungs (according to the aunt). The girl made the aunt sound pretty bad. We went in there and talked with each of them. The girl kept showing some attitude to Matt, so with the Aunt's decision, we cuffed her and took her downtown to the juvenile detention center. We felt pretty bad about the situation because everyone in this situation really needs help. The girl really needed to be in counseling and psychological evaluation a lot worse than she needed to be taken to juvenile hall. At the same time, hopefully now that she is in the juvenile court system they will get her to the people that she needs to be getting help from.

  • Car In Wrong Lane With No Lights On - This was our last stop of the night. There was a car driving up the wrong way of a one-way mall exit with no lights on and a broken brake light. We turned on our lights and swerved around, going after them through the parking lot. You could tell they had seen us and kind of wanted to get away without us finding them. But when we got up on their bumper and he started giving them commands through the speaker, they pulled over. They were acting really nervous. The driver was fairly cooperative, but the passenger was being a punk. Matt ended up searching both of them and then went through every nook and cranny of their car. He was really hoping to find some drugs, because they looked and acted very suspicious. We're convinced the passenger may have had a small quantity on him, but since Matt didn't find any, we let them go with a warning.
Those weren't all of the calls we dealt with, but that is a good sampling. Having gone along and watched all this stuff, and having visited with my friend about it, I wanted to give a few insights that I took away from the experience.
  1. If people would stop calling the police about so many stupid things, our streets would be a lot safer. Matt's goal is to serve at least one warrant every day that he works. Three times during the evening, we would finish a call, and he would start looking up someone who needed to be arrested. We'd have their address and information, and would be en route to go get them...then someone would call with something totally lame. Instead of chasing bad guys, police officers spend enormous amounts of time dealing with things like loud music complaints, people saying "this guy threatened me, then he hopped in his car and rode off, but I just wanted you guys to know about it", and other stuff that the police have no reason to be dealing with. We had to go to a house where some family sold the house, but wasn't finished moving out, and the new owner was being a punk about letting them in to get their stuff. It was a complete waste of time, and if people just practiced the golden rule, they could easily resolve this themselves. The reason we didn't arrest any true criminals last night had a lot to do with people not working out their own petty problems. Warrants do not work like calls. Warrants are done on more of a voluntary basis by the officers, but calls demand priority. Less calls = more warrants served.

  2. Unless something happens to you involving real theft or violence, there isn't much the police can do. One of our longest calls last night involved driving to the middle of nowhere where someone saw a cat get hit by a car that wasn't quite dead. It was dead by the time we got there. In the end, this doesn't even concern the police. After we checked it out, we had to call some other service to come get the body. Along with this, if you get locked out of your car, don't call the police. They used to help break into cars by doing the coat hanger-lock routine, but there's too much liability involved. Your best bet is to call Pop-a-lock, or some company that does that full time. If you tell the police to get you into your car, the only way they will do it is by smashing your window. The police are there to deal with crime, not to handle our little inconveniences (though thankfully, most of them are willing to help out with the little stuff anyway).

  3. I was amazed at the variety of things a policeman encounters. Matt had to go from chasing a speeder, to stopping to help someone broken down on the side of I-40, to counseling a juvenile, to mediating between a home buyer and seller.
Overall, it was really an eye-opening experience. I had a great time, and definitely hope to go and do it again some time. I have gained an entirely new appreciation for what our police forces are doing to keep us safe. They really do work well as a team, and really show an incredible amount of patience for the people they are protecting.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I know you're all wondering what to get me

Ok, so my birthday is coming up on Monday! I know you've all been wondering what you can buy for me, and you've probably been saving up for months to shower me with gifts. In case you needed some ideas, I wanted to make sure you're all quite aware of my wish list. :-)

And even if I don't get everything, I'll know it wasn't because you don't love me.

I'll be 27 by the way. YIKES!

My Wish List

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Some skepticism about the value of archeology

I've been wrestling with the value of archeology. For the last couple of years, I subscribed to the Biblical Archeology Review. The magazine had occassionally interesting articles, but most of it read like a broken record.

Someone finds what appears to be an ancient artifact. Skeptics argue that it's counterfeit. Believers argue that it's the real deal. And then they attack each other verbally. Over and over and over with everything that is dug up.

On the one hand, I think it can be incredibly eye opening when you discover an ancient civilization 's remains under ground and can therefore expand your knowledge of their language and culture.

I think what I really wrestle with, though, is when archaeologists will state facts about ancient creatures/peoples/cultures with such certainty, when in fact they could be dead wrong.

For instance, they find a house with a lot of old jar fragments laying around with some weapons made from bone. They might conclude that these people frequently used jars for all sorts of purposes and that their standard weapons for hunting were made from bone. But what if this was completely wrong? What if the bone weapon was left behind at the house when a family moved because the people had much better weapons and "nobody uses bone weapons". What if they left a bunch of jars laying around because they had no use for them?

Not to mention, they typically only dig out a small portion of an area. Can you know everything about a neighborhood by looking in one house? Finding one unusual item can completely throw off a prior theory about what was "normal".

Again, we can make good guesses, but at best, they're just guesses. It disturbs me so much when people will try and make shows to explain exactly what life would have been like around the dinosaurs. Or when people find a fraction of what might be a jaw bone, then recreate an entire skeleton around the jaw bone, as if that's even realistic.

Case in point, in Africa some people found the top half of a skull and part of a jawbone, and are therefore making huge conjectures about what man was like "1.5 million years ago", as if the dating system they're using is even that reliable. What can you know from just the top half of a skull and a jaw bone? I doubt we can know as much as these folks claim we can. I don't get how scientists can attack people of faith, then follow some of these theories. I think it takes less faith to believe the Bible than it does to follow some of these fairy tales they come up with.

One of the most interesting things I've ever read was a short essay from C.S. Lewis where he spoke about his experiences with people reading his own work, then trying to write analysis papers about what Lewis had been thinking about or trying to do when he wrote certain passages. (I retyped the whole thing here) Lewis had read hundreds of critiques of his own writing, and you know how often people were correct in their guesses about why he wrote what he did? NOT ONCE! Not a single time.

I'm ok with people trying to learn about other cultures/nature from archeology, but I have some real reserves about how reliable the hypotheses are.

Just because we find something about one aspect of a culture doesn't mean we know anything about other aspects. Our scientists and archaeologists could use a great deal more humility, in my opinion.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rethinking the 5-Finger Exercise

Last week was intense for me. 5 days of solid class and a 6th day with a big nasty test. I learned a lot about the American Restoration Movement, but I think I learned a lot more about how American history helped to shape our thinking and approach to religion. Not just in the Restoration Movement, but most of the denominations that sprang up in America all have some similar philosophies at their roots. I may blog some on that later, but for now: the 5 Finger Exercise.

In churches of Christ, we are very adamant about having "No Creed But the Bible". In general, I think this is a good thing. No matter how well-written a creed might be, because it is written by men and is meant to summarize key concepts in the Bible, it's always going to be lacking something somewhere. It doesn't bother me that in churches of Christ we don't recite creeds.

At the same time, even if we resist the term "creed", at some point it becomes necessary for Christians to state what they believe in clear, presentable ways. When someone asks you who you think Jesus was, you can't just quote Scripture at them. At some point you have to say, "I believe..."

Even though we don't have a "Creed", the one thing that seems to be repeated more than anything is our "Plan of Salvation"; a.k.a. the Five-Finger Exercise:
1. Hear (Rom. 10:14-17)
2. Believe (Mark 16:16)
3. Repent (Acts 2:38)
4. Confess (Matt. 10:32-33)
5. Be Baptized (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; I Peter 3:21)
And some like to throw in...
6. Live faithfully until death (take THAT, Calvinism!)

Certainly, the plan has come under attack from time to time. Just like anything that is summarized by man, there will be things that are under emphasized. K.C. Moser caught a lot of flack when he pointed out that instead of focusing so much on the "plan" of salvation, we should focus more on the "Man" of salvation.

And it's true, Jesus' name is not mentioned in our 5 steps. I think we would probably contend that Jesus is meant to be at the center, because he is the one to whom we listen, in whom we believe, whom we confess, in whom we are baptized, and for whom we live. Even so, if this plan is the depth of our Christian knowledge, then Jesus is significant only as the one who got this plan of salvation in place. Unless we follow up with good Bible study, we miss out on the role that Christ should have in our lives, not to mention the Holy Spirit.

I have no problem with any of the "plan" that we typically use, but it is vital that we continue to teach our people after they have been baptized into Christ. These 5 Steps alone might work in getting us into Christ, but they alone do not provide the nourishment that our souls need to grow.

I learned some interesting stuff this week, though, about the 5 steps. For one, they originate with Walter Scott, someone who was Alexander Campbell's right-hand man. But what I find more interesting is that they were not originally the same 5 steps that we typically refer to.

Walter Scott's original 5 Finger Exercise went like this:
1. Faith
2. Repentance
3. Baptism
4. Remission of Sins
5. Holy Spirit & Eternal Life

(And yes, I see that he really put in 2 on step five. I guess we're trying to keep it all on one hand)

There are some things I really like about Scott's original plan. My teacher, Dr. Edward Robinson, pointed out that in the 5 Steps we use now, the emphasis is more on what WE do. I can see how some people would conclude that our view promotes a works-based salvation, if all they've seen of our teaching is the 5 Steps.

But look at these original ones. Faith is something we do. Repentance is something that we do. But three of the steps here are actions of God!

Baptism is an act of submission where in truth, God is acting. It is not a work that you can't baptize yourself! Also, Scott emphasizes the remission of sins, which is what God does when we're baptized. And then there is his Holy Spirit & Eternal life step. Again, nothing that we do here.

I like the fact that Scott's 5 "Steps" doesn't even lend itself well to speaking in terms of "steps" because so much of it involves the actions of God. Rather than it being "Here's 5 things that you have to do to be saved", it is "Here are 5 things you should understand about how a person is saved."

At least, that's how I perceive it.

I'm not really advocating that we should revert to his original 5 Finger Exercise. I'm also not arguing that the present one is better than the former. To me, this is all a reminder that when we try to reduce the Word of God to formulas or creeds, there is always going to be room to improve what we've summarized because something will get left out. In churches today, I'm convinced we've got to strive for more Biblical literacy among our members. When people are only taught part of the Word of God, it only leads to more division; often with both of the disagreeing parties having huge gaps in their theological understanding.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Scary People On My Blog

Some time soon I need to put another list on here of ways that people link to and find my blog. There are some interesting things that they search for, but I had a real different one today:

Someone from Kuwait found my blog because they searched for "Show me some original pictures of Satan".


Body By...

I think this shirt is awesome. Of all T-shirts--though it's very crass and insensitive--my favorite was when I saw a really overweight guy in Rose Bud wearing a shirt that said "I conquered Anorexia."

Monday, August 06, 2007


There are two quotations I wanted to share:

1. Mark Twain said of the Book of Mormon, it is "Chloroform in Print"

2. Lucy Smith, mother of Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism was disturbed about which denomination to join. She said, "If I join no church, then all will say I am of the world. But if I join some one of the denominations, then the rest say I'm in error!" Eventually, she found a minister to baptize her as an individual Christian, not connected to any congregation.

I just wanted to record those two things so that I don't forget them.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Tarter Sauce To The Ear

One of my youth group kids, Cody, sent me a picture from camp. On Thursday of camp, we have "Messy Day" where I organize a few activities involving really disgusting stuff. Probably the grossest thing this year was "Condiment Twister". I got 4 Twister games, taped them together, then on the 4 colors I put Ketchup (red), Mustard (yellow), Green Beans (green), and Grape Jelly (blue/purple). It was pretty nasty.

The kids had complained to me about previous years involving peanut butter and Crisco in their hair. I found a cool website called RecFX that sells all kinds of stuff to use for group activities. (The finger rocket things are a blast). I bought all 4 kinds of Yuck, and it turned out wonderfully. Some of it looked like sludge that I dyed black so it looked like caviar. Some of it was more like applesauce, some like jello, and some like snot (which we dyed the appropriate neon-green color).

The good thing about this yucky stuff is that it is neither petroleum-based nor sugar-based. That means it washes off really easily...and it did. I was very pleased with it. We started off with more organized activities which progressed to pure chaos, involving shaving cream-filled tube socks for smacking each other.

Unknown to me, one of the staff people brought along a Sam's-sized container of old tartar sauce which he left sitting in the sun in the back of his truck all week. At the right moment during the festivities, I was pushed out to the middle of the tarp and they tartar-sauced my head. It smelled disgusting, though a lot of people told me they were starting to get a craving for fish.

Since I got this new, upgraded picture of myself with the tartar sauce on my head, I thought I would put it on here. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Happy Birthday, Carolina!

Today is Carolina's birthday. I'm sorry that I can't be with her, as she is in Mexico visiting her dad, but I hope she has a great day. Feel free to send her an e-mail or drop her a message on Facebook.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What finally happened to Dora

Several weeks ago, we finally did something with Dora.

On several occasions, I have lamented on my blog her persistent health problems. She wasn't so sick that she would die early on her own, but she wasn't ever healthy enough to be really happy. It all comes down to some kind of severe ear allergies that she has. It has led to blood pocket buildups in her ears (think water balloons), and a lot of general discomfort.

Carolina and I have agonized over her for the last year and 1/2 or so. We never could get in agreement on what was best. One of us would want to put her to sleep, but the other would want to keep trying. Periodically, we would reverse stances. Somehow, we ended up bringing her along to Nashville.

Here in Old Hickory, she didn't have a good life. Carolina wouldn't walk her without me going along. I've been working close to 70 hrs/week getting all the major events together this summer, and haven't had time to walk her or give her attention. In Searcy, even though we were sometimes busy, there was a big window at our back door so she could see what was going on. Here in Nashville, she was isolated in the backyard. No window in and nothing to do. We felt sorry for her, but really didn't have the time to do anything about it.

Her ears continued to be bad, and I had gotten so frustrated with trying new medications and paying huge vet bills with no results. I could no longer justify spending money on a dog we didn't even have time for. Finally, Carolina and I managed to agree on what to do, so I called up the vet to make an appointment to have her put to sleep.

We went to the vets office after snapping some last pictures (see above) and they took us to the back room. The vet's assistant came and saw her first, then went to the back where I heard some whispering.

Then the vet came out and took a look at her and got seemingly perturbed. Our conversation went something like this:

VET: No! She does not need to be put to sleep. I didn't go through ___ years of vet school so I could just put animals to sleep. There are other options we haven't tried! There is allergy testing, there are allergy shots, there is another dog food, there is........(on and on)

ME: (interrupting) I know there are other options, but will YOU pay for them? I'm tired of having to chase her around the yard to put more stuff in her ears that she hates. No to mention that nothing so far has made any difference.

VET: The allergy testing only runs about $250-$300, and the shots are not that expensive...

ME: If you want to come to my house once a week and give her the shots, you're welcome to do it, but I just simply cannot keep doing this. I've tried and tried for two years now, and where she is, she really doesn't have a good life. We cannot keep doing this.

VET: Well, instead of putting her to sleep, would you be willing to let me help try and find her a home?

ME: Could you? I've tried calling friends and relatives and I've advertised, and NO ONE will take a sick dog. But if you know of anyone, I'd love for her to live in a better home.
So what I discovered is that when you try and force an animal lover's trigger finger, it arouses all their compassion. In the end, though the vet thinks I'm a bad person, we found an option that we're happy with. We paid the $85 cost (euthanasia + pet cemetery) and this lady is going to try and find Dora a new home. If they can't, then they'll put Dora to sleep (and this lady even said "I would take her home myself before I would dream of putting her to sleep").

Dora is a wonderful dog with a great disposition. I really hope she finds a home with some rich people who have loads of free time. We were sorry to see her go, but I think we did what was best for her. Her life wasn't good as it was, and I simply could not justify spending everything in our emergency savings to try and make a sick dog more comfortable. It just wasn't best for our family.

We made that decision just before we left for church camp, and we're convinced it was the right one. I really worried that we would have depression and be miserable every time we looked in the back yard and she wasn't there. In reality, we just feel relief. She really had been a huge burden on us--emotionally, temporally, and relationally--and our life has been less stressful without her. We love her, but it wasn't what's best for either of us if we decided to keep her.

So in case you were wondering, that's what happened with Dora.