For any of you who've ever lost a pet maybe you can relate to this next story.
Even if this pet is a polar bear.
And he lived in a zoo.
The Central Park Zoo.
When Gus, the bipolar bear died.
They called him bipolar because early on, zoo officials in the city sensed Gus had some issues.
You see, Gus was a little obsessive.
As neurotic in his swimming pen as the frenetic city he called home.
I remember when I first took my kids to see Gus years back, there he was, like a furry, 700-pound Rain Man, frantically and habitually swimming back and forth.
Back and forth, a routine so fast and constant, they started calling Gus mad.
I just told my kids, Gus was in a rush. Things to do, places to go.
Pretty much like the folks who oggled him through the glass.
But a California psychiatrist was brought in to see if maybe Gus, was just depressed.
Maybe just needed some company--female company.
His first companion Lilly seemed to cheer him up, but Gus never abandoned his furious swim, maybe slow it down. But never stop it.
And when Lilly died in 2004.
His next mate Ida didn't do much to alter his routine either.
Gus just continued his figure-eight pattern laps in that tiny pool he called home, hours a day, every day.
And when Ida up and died.
Gus, the bachelor again, seemed to double-drown on those sorrows frantically throwing himself into the predictable constancy of that little pool.
And nothing changed it or Gus; not all the new play toys, or special salmon and peanut butter treats, or mackerel frozen in ice.
Gus kept swimming, some said even swimming from himself.
Over the many years I took my kids to the Central Park Zoo, Gus was always their first stop; maybe because he seemed funny, nutty, very New Yorky.
Like a 700 pound puppy who made even hardened New Yorkers just laugh.
Until this last year or so, when it seemed Gus was losing the spring in his manic lap.
Until Gus just stopped doing those laps.
And zoo officials checked him out.
Only to discover an inoperable tumor, and at the ripe old polar bear age of 27, they put Gus to sleep.
Now, I know there were and are bigger stories this week.
But try telling that to my 10 and 11-year-old boys the next time they rush back to that zoo.
And their favorite crazy, neurotic, but always lovable polar bear is gone.