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  1. Carl,
    As I sit here between smiles and tears after watching Yeager and your friendship and love I am overwhelmed with emotion because I know my best friend is growing older everyday and soon I will only have memories instead of falling asleep with him by my side. He has been by my side for the last 10 years since I adopted him from Friends For Pets. I want to thank you for being so wonderful to him, he obviously adored you and you him. How can you not fall in love with a Weim? My guy is the greatest friend and companion I have ever had. I don’t want to imagine how lost I will feel waking up every morning without him. I will always remember this video and respect you for your dedication to your Yeager.

    • Wow, thank you so much for such a warm and frank response. And one thing I would say – I did think often of Yeager’s death when he was alive and healthy and it always forced me to remember how important the moment was – and is, how the b.s. and the dopey things other people tell us we “need to do” instantly pales when we think of the brief time we have with our pets. So I think that the fact of death of our pets can be used well to enjoy every day of life we share with them. Now I also realize that all the worry and fear I had about the time I called “A.Y.” (After Yeager) was such a dumb human convention – there’s no preparing really, it just comes and depending on what else is going on in our lives can affect our depth and length of grief. Almost like being a sophomore worried about graduation day, you know? These dogs know the deal better than us – they’re so efficient in their wise use of time. I will tell you this though – I never knew how much comments like your own are really sustaining. I appreciate it greatly. Thank you.

  2. I have tears in my eyes. Your mom had told me about this when I saw her in July. What a great tribute to a man’s best friend.

  3. Thank you for this tribute to your dear friend. I just sat and cried as I remembered my weim, Luke, who also came from Friends for Pets! I still have his girl friend, Zara at my feet and am grateful for each moment I have with her yet… my Luke was my deep love.

    Here is a quote I sent out to all of Luke’s friends during his last days… you might like it also.

    Kiss your loved ones tonight. Appreciate that they are here with you. Thank God that you have them.

    Here is my thank you… a poem from one of my favorite Poets – Mary Oliver ( Percy is her mixed breed little dog!).

    I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life

    Love, love, love, says Percy.
    And hurry as fast as you can
    along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.

    Then, go to sleep.
    Give up your body heat, your beating heart.
    Then, trust.

    ~ Mary Oliver ~

    Again, Thank you.
    Andra

    • Andra, I appreciate your willingness to open your own poignant story about Luke. I know now that writing really does help one better understand and process a loss like the one we’ve gone through. It is intense yet oddly so private and silent in a way – since dogs don’t “speak” in a tangible human form and we have to interpret how they respond as they’re leaving us. And the key word, at least I think, in that poem is “trust.” We know what we feel and felt with an animal yet it is also ephemeral and sometimes easy to doubt whether it was “authentic” or just a wishful human interpretation. So it does come down to letting go and trusting it was for real and perhaps, in some different form, it will be again someday.

  4. Your video moved me to tears. It’s great that Yeager lived to the ripe old age of 16 — probably above average for a Weim. Our dog Homer has been gone for several years now, but having grown up with him as a kid I have fond memories of the good times. Hardly a day goes by I don’t think of him still, but just in case, there’s always the photos on my mantle that say, hey, I’m still here.

    • Thanks so much for your reaction to the Yeager video. I do have the world’s largest private collection of images of Yeager…..and I took a camera along almost every time we went out together for even the most mundane events – but I think I probably felt privately that, at least to me, there was nothing mundane about sharing his company. From what you say about Homer – and from what I’ve heard and read from other people, sometimes there are dogs that people never stop thinking about daily, for decades until their own last day. One of those universal truths which I think humans don’t always recognize about each other – but a genuinely shared emotional experience.

  5. My heart’s just broke… I’m so emotional right now… There is no word Carl, in any language, to express my gratitude, to thank you for sharing with us such love, such unconditional love… I truly believe that love is the greatest energy in the universe, that it rules everything. And it never ends. Yeager’s love is all around you, and it always be. And I don’t believe in chance, I mean, Yeager and you didn’t meet by chance, you were meant to each other!
    You see Carl, the very first time I ever heard of you was in an interview on C-SPAN, back in 1996, where you were talking about the great Hillary Rodham Clinton. I got so captivated by your words. The next time I traveled to the U.S. I started purchasing your books, and have never stopped since then. I found out about this blog of yours just two days ago… What a finding! And now I have the delight to realize that, besides being the great author, the great thinker that you are, you are an even greater human being, an amazing human being.
    And let me finish this comment with something that you already know, I’m sure: Yeager is not where he used to be, but he is now wherever your are.
    Your biggest fan in South America, Geraldo.

  6. Very emotional…but as one with a long time love for weimaraners, I understand the closeness, and how when its not there, how much it hurts. I am now part of the Weimaraner Rescue in Charleston, and I love helping these wonderful blessings from God. True companions!
    Thank you for sharing!

    • You certainly do understand and I appreciate it. It’s really odd this sort of loss, since they don’t speak to us verbally yet communicate and that flow, that venue of communication is suddenly cut and gone…the memories and pictures and all that are great but really pale besides the real….well, you know what I mean. And I do seriously appreciate it. I am foster caring and may forever, rather than adopt again but it helps me and helps them for now.

  7. What a beautiful tribute. What a beautiful friendship. You were both so blessed to have one another. Thanks for sharing him with the rest of us. The love you had for one another shows through and it just touches my heart.

    • Boy Lisa, you always make me feel good about the old boy and you call out the truth about it, as far as the truth of what we did feel about each other. And knowing your observations are “trans-species” from cat to dog gives it all the more meaning. Thank you.

  8. Your magnificent tribute to your most beloved Yeager is a treasure to behold! In every way, the video portrays your extraordinary bond and devotion to each other. You were perfectly matched in goodness, and it is the joy of your viewers to observe this beauty.
    Know that I share in your sorrow in his passing. I also join with you and all of his wonderful friends in celebrating Yeager’s remarkable life. He will live on forever in your heart…Hugs to you, Friend!

    • Thank you so much for such generous and sensitive and intuitive reaction – and I am sorry for the delay in posting several recent reader comments and my replies – I am now foster-caring some of the “forgotten” of Yeager’s “cousins” – other Weimaraners at the rescue where I got him but especially those least likely to ever be adopted. The first two were relatively old and despite their health and energy the simple number of age is what so often prevents a dog from ever finding a permanent home and having to live the rest of their lives in a no-kill shelter. The good news is that these two “Paddington” who is 11 and “Wiemy” who is 10 were well-socialized by the experience with me and have both been adopted against the odds. Doing this does somehow also make me feel like I am honoring Yeager – he was quite intelligent and loving and not an hour goes by that I don’t think of him and miss him. Thank you Jan – after getting your book I wrote you a note I also realized I don’t have your address.

      Readers can buy your excellent new book about the similar experience, Last Summer with Oscar: The Adventurous True Story of Love and Courage by Jan Schwartz, Ph.D. It can be purchased on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Summer-Oscar-Jan-Schwartz/dp/0983260125

  9. Hey,

    I saw your video on YouTube a few week ago, and I have to say it made me cry. Today I watched for the second time, and it made me cry again. My family too adopted a weim, she was 5 then. Now she is turning 11. I have been away from her, for school reasons, for three years now, and one,of my biggest gears is that she will die while I am away. She is still in great shape, but one never knows. I never miss an opportunity to talk to her on the phone. It is awesome how she reacts.
    Weims are such amazing dogs. It is impossible to describe them; just having one to get what it is to live with those loving brats. I’m happy for you that you had Yeager in your life, and that he also had you. It is obvious that he had a great life, thanks to you, and I am also sure he changed you and your life for the better.

    Cheers!

    • Dear Thomaz – Nothing on my website is more meaningful than when people leave remarks about Yeager. Thank you so much for yours. It’s just over nine months since I last saw him and I still miss him deeply, tremendously. When I’m half-asleep I so often think of him, not really as a dog, not as a human, but as this wise presence, this silent, kind, loving warm presence. Odd to say, his silent company provided me with the most uplifting feeling I’ve ever had sustained so long. I would also say that having faced his inevitable loss and dealt with it as it was slowly occurring, I was left with no guilt or remorse for what I didn’t do or what I did do. I was just left with grief, which as natural as it is, is certainly a lot “purer” and healthy a feeling than guilt or remorse. I’ve never given so entirely to a being, everything was sacrificed for him – but it wasn’t even a sacrifice, even though it was a choice. It felt more like an honor. I felt like he was something like a Buddha, he had so much wisdom and practicality to him; I found elements of his life and his choices even instructional for me, as a human. Starting this past October, I began to find a degree of that again, though differently and not quite as entirely, by foster-caring other Weimaraners from Friends for Pets, the southern California Weimaraner rescue, where I first met Yeager. The first two I fostercared were apparently socialized by their time with me and have both since been adopted – one is ten, the other is eleven. That’s a fantastic feeling of being of help. The one I’ve currently been fostercaring – and just dropped off – reminds me so much of Yeager but was so badly neglected and, we surmise, abused a bit as well – he is full of fear. Hopefully, the long stretches with me, when I can take him, will help in his being adopted too at some point. I’m not ready in any way to adopt again, but at least fostercaring is helping them and helping me. It’s so funny what you say about fear of losing your family Weim – I was that way too, once Yeager turned 11 because everything I read said 12 was their life expectancy – but Yeager’s life was 25 percent outliving his life expectancy and he lived into his 16th year. I think my vigilance in his care, especially when he turned 11 and I began to fear his dying had the paradoxical effect of helpiung him live as long as he did for a 90 pound weimaraner – so take heart in that, and keep up those phonecalls to him! Good luck and thanks so much for writing.

    • Carl,Missed this post, but just read your current post on Hillary Clinton’s metohr. I’m reading Gore Vidal’s last memoir Point to Point Navigation and just did a search to see if you had written about him. 50 years ago I played the visitor in a summer stock production of his A Visit to a Small Planet; that, first brought him to my attention.In the images you have chosen that features cheerleaders and Are those Three Mile Island nuclear towers? Anyway, the little photo of white church and barn is of Waits River, Vermont. My first three years of school were in the one-room school to which I walked, in all seasons and weather and, it was up-hill in both directions!Did you want to talk to me?Tomorrow, I’m John Quincy Adams in A Spirit Unconquerable! for the DAR.Somebody’s got to do it!JimCooke

  10. Dogs are lessons in theology. They know so much more about us than we can ever know about God. They understand our essence far more than our complexities. Practically, they need us more than we need them, but that makes them all the more loveable. Does God see us that way?

    For me, faith is the hope that the love we share with our beloved dogs suggests the infinite love God has for each of us. I’ve had three English Springer Spaniels (one, now deceased) and each has been a great teacher along the way.

  11. I found this because I was searching for something to help me dealing with my 16 1/2 old Coton de Tulear. She has always been my heart dog but now that she is so old I needed help in dealing with my frustration and helplessness. Thank you for your story about Yeager. I know now as I always have that this is about their dignity and life not about me. I love her so much and it breaks my heart to see the dementia and decline. I will always be there for her till whenever. You have renewed my hope that I am doing what is right for her.

    • Linda – You have renewed my hope that I did the right thing by writing those articles. I can’t begin to tell you the depth of satisfaction and value I feel when I receive a response like your own – because the whole reason I wrote about Yeager’s decline and loss was that there is NOTHING out there about this – only about cute puppies. But puppies – if they and we are lucky – become very old dogs. And while you say I affirmed your feelings, you already have the right gut instinct when you mention “their dignity and life not about me.” It ends up being such a sadly brief period in our own timelines and it is so much more fully appreciated and remembered when we can be entirely present and attentive every minute without having even loved ones second-guessing our decision to caretake them to the end. I , again, am thankful to you for writing and knowing that these articles can be of genuine help. You have no idea how much that means to me. Thank you.

  12. For the last three years I have featured a Facebook Video Wall on the rescue pages showing mainly dog videos. I have rescued for over 20 years now – all “hands on” work with the exception of the last three which I use the computer to network homeless shelter dogs. I spent 12 years doing street stray rescue in Huntington Beach, CA and another seven years working in a rescue. I am up in Chico helping my mother who is very ill but will be returning to my home in Huntington Beach later on. These videos reach over a 1,000 people and I sit and view one right after another every night looking for only the best ones which show stories of a dog/dogs who gets brought into a family where it is loved and spoiled the rest of his/her life and has deep bonds with the family members. Since we see so much cruelty and sadness all day long on the rescue pages it is important to show the rescuers that there still are wonderful people taking good loving care of the animals we spend our lives trying to protect. Your video which I found yesterday is one. I was deeply touched and will feature it for the next month. It is rare for me to find a video made by a man about his relationship and bond with his dog. I was thrilled when I found yours and even more thrilled when I watched it. It is a beautiful beautiful story.

    I brought nine dogs up here to Chico this year from the southern high-kill shelters in CA. – starting at 6 months old and the oldest being 18 years. Two of the seniors have passed,- two I re-homed and I now have five. I have already started my video stories about each one as I know how precious they will keep becoming as each year passes. I also want to add that I was happy to see that you purchased his cart from Eddie’s Wheels as I am a senior advocate and believe that Eddie makes the best engineered carts for dogs where all the support does not rest on the shoulder area.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful boy with us. He will bring many smiles to the faces of our hard working rescuers. And thank you too for continuing to support the work to continue rescuing homeless Weimaraner’s. Your short film on Yaeger will rank among my favorites which include JUST ONE DOG about Stanley the pit bull and a beautiful tribute to Xena who was found as a puppy on a island by a sailing couple and spent the most idyllic life sailing the seas with them. But let me also add that every tribute to every dog is a gem in its own right due to the fact that they loved their dog so much that they sat down and put together their fondest moments and memories and shared them with the world. It is a true testament to the deep love they had for their dog.

    • Dear Margene – I am so full of happy shock and honored, seriously, to have come onto the radar of someone as dedicated as yourself – really in the front lines there of the effort to help dogs and all animals be given the dignity and respect they have as a natural right – at least I believe so. I am currently foster-caring Weims when I can afford the time – it is a tricky point just now for me but life is so seismically improved when a dog is willing to share time with me. I am really flattered to have you honor me and Yeager by disseminating the video tribute. What a different human I would be now, how flatter my life would have been had I never been really blessed to be matched with him by Diane Monahan, director of Friends For Pets. Even though I made that video, it was really Yeager who directed it, led the narrative. It is no insult to my supportive family and my friends to say that Yeager was the being who taught me more about human life and how to live and even some sense of the “secret” natural world of his which we live in but so often neglect to notice. It is ten months now since he’s gone. I still have severe patches of grief, but mostly I just miss his wisdom, his humor and sense of what was right. He continued to become intelligent until the day he died. Some nights I almost thought he was like an 11 year old in a Pluto the Dog outfit. Those eyes. I really long to see him and then in a snap, remember I never will. So then I try and call up so many moments that, when they were happening, I made a point to impress into my mental library. And with some slight meditation, I can call him up. And, of course, all one needs to do is visit the pound or the shelter and one’s wish is to have all the resources with the snap of a finger to be able to adopt four dogs, to try and help as many as possible. So, right now the foster-caring and intermittent fundraising is my own small way of helping. But life without a dog…they’re almost like water. I must meet one, any one being walked and so forth, at least once a day to sustain a sense of full joy. Thank you so much for your comments and please use the video any way that is helpful. And I will also say, I think that men are sometimes even more intense about their dogs than women are – but perhaps it is similar to what was once said of President Kennedy. “The problem was not that he felt too little – it is that he felt too much.” And you win my fullest respect for your full plate – all of it a form of giving. Cheers, Carl

  13. Dear Mr. Anthony, Thank you for this wonderful tribute to Yeager. I stumbled upon it while researching the “Help me up Harness” for our own senior collie. We are facing the increasing signs of immobility, complicated by an old gunshot wound incurred years before we rescued him. I now feel encouraged to step into these senior doggy years with more hope and knowledge thanks to you. On a sidebar, as I researched your wonderful and interesting website, I became quite convinced I met you on an airplane, I believe last year. I am a flight attendant and work LAX transcons out of IAD. I think you were a kind enough passenger to switch seats for a family? We chatted for a bit in the galley and you mentioned you did historical reasearch on First Ladies after I’d asked . I remember what a nice person you were! So thank you very much! For all you do!

    • Yes! I do remember meeting and speaking with you, and enjoying it so much. Thank you for your thoughtful response – and don’t even blink about doing what you are doing to help your collie. I am certain that you know all too well if and when your collie is in pain and when it is a discomfort that can be alleviated and when he is still enjoying the process of living. When a dog senses you are really with them, as part of a pack, a team so to speak, and can help them here and there through some mechanical or technical details it encourages them and lets them continue to keep their focus on their own big, daily picture. And thank you for writing – and please do sign up for future articles – thanks for writing Carolyn. Cheers.

  14. Carl – My name is Suzanne, and I live in San Antonio, Texas. I stumbled across your video today while looking at recent Weim videos on youtube during my lunch break at work. I was emotional from the moment it began. What a sweet, loving boy Yeager was. I love how beautifully you captures your lives together in photos and video clips. I, too, have been blessed to share my life with several Weims. I just love their tremendous personalities and beautiful souls. My oldest (Bishop) is beginning to show signs of aging, and I fear the day he passes. Not only for my own selfish reasons of loneliness but also what my life will be like without him. He has been with me through some of the toughest times, and he has never waivered. I worry for his little brother (Bogey) and how he will adjust to a life without him either. I suspect his heart will be broken for the rest of his life. I believe animals mourn as we mourn. My youngest is a rescue (Kobe), and he is the most adoring, loving creature I have ever encountered. I believe he came into my life for a reason. My prayer is that we will all comfort each other when that sad day comes….the day when Bishop is no longer with our family.

    Your tribute video to Yeager reminds me to enjoy every moment – to love each other every day….all the way. While I am sad experiencing your loss through Yeager’s memories, I appreciate you sharing him with us. What a wonderful companion. I am sure you miss him terribly.

    Sincerely,
    Suzanne

    • Dear Suzanne – So much of what you say are just the words I would use. When you write “beautiful souls” I think that crystallizes Yeager for me and why almost 11 months after he’s gone I still miss his presence intensely – especially since I work in solitude in my home office and he was a daily, hourly companion for so many years. I think one of the many coded lessons they teach us is to genuinely use each day as a new one and use it entirely, every hour, and that’s what keeps them living ‘in the moment’ rather than thinking too far ahead. I tried to follow Yeager’s example on that and so many things, but I remember in his last weeks thinking – he’s not wasting an hour worried about being gone, he’s using every hour now. You are very wise to have more than one – and even though any loss is hard for any species of companion, how much luckier you that you’ll have one another’s company. But in a larger sense, all people like us have each other – even though one doesn’t personally know another, we know what this curious experience of loss with a dog is like – since they can’t speak, yet effectively communicate to us, it is like we share a secret language with them, and when they are gone, the language is lost. However, one person going through that can relate and support another – I remind myself that whatever tough patches one goes through at any given period, there is a certainty that elsewhere on the globe there are at least 1000 or more others experiencing the exact same situation at the exact same time. And really, in a sense, once I had completed the video tribute to Yeager it was really made for others like yourself. I watch those of other people’s tributes to their dog companions and it reminds me I am never really alone in that loss. I hope that helps. And I really, seriously appreciate your writing. Thank you.

  15. I’ve just seen the “Yeager Memorial Days June 1-3″ tag. So touching. What a wonderful homage!

  16. Carl, my beloved friend. I just watched your video about Yeager and was sobbing within 30 seconds. You gave Yeager a rarified life of love, devotion and freedom. Adopting a six year old dog was a noble act. So many people prefer puppies while older dogs linger in pounds and shelters. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. It must have been extraordinarily painful for you. I wish I had words of comfort – and only one saying comes to mind at this moment: “Grief is the price we pay for love.” You were loved by Yeager and that was truly a gift for you both. Bruce and I are in the same period of caring from an elderly dog. Our beloved Shih Tzu, Chloe, will soon be 17 years old. She has been a world-travelling and constant companion to us since she was four months old. She has all manner of health problems, as would be expected of a dog this old, and we are taking extraordinary measures to ensure that she has the best quality of life she can. She regularly receives acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, energy and light therapy and a special meat-only diet. She has little appetite and sometimes we have to put 10 things down to try to get her to eat. Its the least we can do for a canine who has been like a child to us. I have been sick for 14 years and Chloe has been my constant companion in my bed for that entire time. I don’t know what I would have done without her. We know she cannot possibly live much longer but each day we make the most of the gift of her love and companionship. I would love to hear from you, as it has been way too long! Much love, Suz Robson Tobin

    • Suzy – how incredible and welcome and appreciative I was to receive your surprise message. Most of all, I am sorry and sad to hear about Chloe who I remember meeting shortly after she first came into your life. Its been a year and a half since Yeager died and I still miss him every single day.

      All the care and love you are giving Chloe will absolutely make you and Bruce very proud at some point with the knowledge that you literally did everything to help her enjoy LIVING as she wants to, even while everyone else may be perceiving her as DYING. Now that Suzy – that is the greatest possible respect for them as beings we can give them. And yet – here is something unexpected to add to your perfect characterization of grief as “the price we pay for love.” When it is just two and not three in your home, you will be entirely free of that horrible burden which I’ve heard about from many people who didn’t do as we have done and acted against their instincts: you will experience zero guilt or regret. It is extraordinary feeling to come out of this experience without any guilt or regret; grief yes, but none of the darker emotions so often tied to this experience.

      I was even talking about what that period of eight months before he died did for me – in a good way, because it really affirmed several things which permanently changed my thinking and perception of Nature and life itself – forever changed it. I am actually writing a book about it because it was a period when I made the conscious choice to put everything else aside and give him my entire and sole focus. The attention and care made a huge difference.

      I also kept myself honest by bringing Yeager in every other week or so towards the end to affirm that he was, in fact, not in any pain – and that was my “firewall” so to speak – as long as he was not in pain, and still wanting to get out for his long Weimaraner walks, I was not going to euthanize him – and that really, really helped me in the long run.

      And the second thing I did exactly as you are doing, was to focus my attention on the value of the time left with him – even though it meant not always working, and certainly never socializing or even being away from the house.

      Those are specific actions which you are taking which, in the long run, will mitigate the pain of this period and give it a certain unexpected sort of….hmm, I’m not sure how to pinpoint it but words like “golden” “soothing” “assuring” come to mind. For so long I had no dreams, no ability conjure Yeager up in my mind – I have had only two and I came away from both incidents with some intangible sense of some “presence,” some very intelligent and much wiser being’s presence – and I realized it was exactly the same sense I had when falling asleep with him on the bed – the presence of a “dog,” per se, became more abstract and less defined by what type of being he was and more about – I just grasp for words to try to accurately describe this and for a guy who talks a lot and writes a lot, I can’t grasp it, precisely. But now, even when I dream that he has wandered off and I am searching for him, I am left with that indescribable sense of “thoroughness.” So that is another unexpected yet fantastic gift you will surely also be given in the long run, when it is just two of you – as a direct result of the daily commitment you are now making.

      Ultimately, caring for an elderly dog (or any being) who is in that phase of simultaneously living-and-dying is but a brief chapter in the longer story of a human life – but by being as “present” and “conscious” and focused as you are right now will prove to broaden and deepen your own understanding of Nature and perception of living forever. The potential for such a change is to be found in the simple loving devotion we give back to these beings who are famous for their ability for intense devotion to us. In a way, Chloe’s devotion to you during your invalidism was a way of teaching you to provide her with the same when the time came that she needed it. I think there’s so much more which humans can learn from dogs if we listen and observe quietly and closely.

      And you have no idea how much I appreciate your kind words about the Yeager video. Someday I will tell you just what making it involved. All my love to you and Bruce.

  17. What an amazing story…I don’t seem to be able to stop crying…to say that I am so incredibly sorry for your loss does not seem adequate…can’t imagine what it must have been like for you to lose him…and what an incredible chapter of your life has come to a close. I can only say that I am looking forward anxiously to share the book you are writing about that phase.

    You are incredible.

    • Dear Art – I had responded to your thoughtful comment left last week via my android but it clearly didn’t post. Sorry about that. I would say that I think all people who force themselves to face the truth about their elderly dogs…..whether it means the dog is living in pain and euthanasia for them will be an act of love or whether it means the dog is disabled but has no pain and that they merely need help to maintain their healthy lifestyle but not being killed unnecessarily – are all incredible. And I also recognize that not everyone has options or choices in these matters. Most of all, I want to thank you for the encouragement on Very Old Dog, the book about that period – it is finished in first draft and I’m not doing a second draft and hoping to find a publisher. So your words came at an opportune time for me. Thank you.

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