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Patrick Kinahan

Patrick Kinahan: The day football failed to matter for one family

By Patrick Kinahan, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Jan 8th, 2020 @ 10:14am



SALT LAKE CITY — Over a sports radio career spanning almost 20 years, I’ve done thousands of shows touching on virtually every topic imaginable.

The single most difficult came last week, on the day preceding that evening’s game between Utah and Texas in the Alamo Bowl. Whatever happened on the football field couldn’t have mattered less.

On that New Year’s Eve morning, instead of working with the same co-host I’ve had all these years, travel schedules to staff the bowl game dictated that I do a solo show. Far from ideal, given the roles both of us have on the show, this situation arises occasionally and is manageable in the short term.

For an entirely personal reason, which some may view was stupid or trivial, the ending time at 10 a.m. couldn’t come soon enough. For the first time ever, my dream job seemed liked drudgery during those few hours.

You see, earlier on that day my dog died. Holed up in a hotel in San Antonio, I got the news barely into the show.

Only the day before the dog veered from his usual playful self. Hours later, in the middle of the night at an emergency facility, there was no choice but to cease his misery.

Like all those in similar circumstances can fully understand, it was time to grieve. It still is, one week later. Probably will be next month and the month after that and so on.

This one stings bad.

And this is coming from a non-dog lover, one who never really could bond with animals and, frankly, didn’t comprehend all the emotions that went into such relationships. It all seemed so silly, getting inseparably connected to something with such a short life span.

Why invite the inevitable heartbreak? From an ignorant point of view, it was laughable.

Guess who’s crying now?

It’s trite to say this dog was special, even if he was. Truth is, most animal lovers feel the exact same way about their pets.


During the patient’s treatment — which included multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation — and recovery, the dog played nearly as vital a role as the doctors, nurses and medicine. In sickness and in health, for every moment, the dog was there.

Maybe it was the circumstances involving the reason to get the dog that makes it different. Ten years ago, in an attempt to strengthen a family unit that was in trouble, I gave in and consented to bring a puppy into our home.

The thought was to create a better connection between parents and their teenage children. It sort of worked, but along the way the real reason surfaced.

Less than three years later, one of the family members was diagnosed with cancer, the kind that was potentially fatal. Here’s where all the current heartbreak was worth it.

During the patient’s treatment — which included multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation — and recovery, the dog played nearly as vital a role as the doctors, nurses and medicine. In sickness and in health, for every moment, the dog was there.

Literally, the dog was there. It didn’t matter — in bed, on the couch, face down in the bathroom — the dog never strayed more than one foot away. Most often, it was body-to-body contact.

From my perspective, the loyalty was absolutely amazing. Same goes the other way, the love between human and animal.

The next six years increased the intensity and frequency of the memories that are now all we have left. They will last a lifetime.

Last year, the tables turned and the dog was diagnosed with cancer that required major surgery with no promises. Given only another six months to live, he lasted a full year in great health.

He’s gone ahead now, galloping freely on an empty field of grass somewhere over the horizon. Thanks for all you’ve taught us, our sweet Bentley, we love you.

Patrick Kinahan

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