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Posts Tagged ‘pets’

Maya

I break for chipmunks and anything else that crosses my path.  We don’t automatically squish bugs when they enter our home, instead we try to capture them and set them free in the great outdoors.  Sometimes however, spiders and ants simply make bad life decisions.

I don’t like it when I see dead critters such as deer, bear, porcupine, groundhogs, possum, etc on the side of the road.  I was especially upset just recently by a suicidal chipmunk.  Both my wife and I have suddenly applied the brakes several times over the last few days to avoid running over this little guy, always in the same place, it seemed to have a fascination with a particular crack in the road.  His luck ran out, we noticed that somebody ran him over the other day.

In front of our house I discovered a bird nest complete with bird and eggs.  I approached the nest and momma bird flew to a nearby branch and yelled at me.  I walked away and avoided that area, but over the next few days I kept my eye on that nest.  I checked on the eggs when momma wasn’t around, carefully avoided the nest while she was sitting on the eggs.  Yesterday momma bird was suspiciously gone.  I checked the nest, the eggs were gone, no trace.  Something got them either another bird, possibly a snake, who knows?  It’s life in the wild.  But still I couldn’t help but be upset about the ordeal and in my own quiet way I mourned the loss. 

Of course it is different when it is a pet, even when it is not one of my own.

Maya was a great Husky who left us way too early.  Maya had a wonderful human family, human mother T and human sister M.  My wife and I consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have these two people in our lives, to have them as friends.  These are two of the nicest people I have ever met and it was Maya who brought us together.

Human mother T and sister M have had a really rough year, a really rough year.  And through it all they have managed to hold their heads high, handled themselves and their situation with grace, strength and dignity. 

My wife was talking with M on the phone a short while after Maya passed away.  M explained how they have lost pets before but with Maya it was different.  During all the upheaval in their lives Maya was always a constant, always there.  Maya would always crawl into bed and comfort M. 

For the longest time our dog Sequoia simply didn’t get along with other dogs.  Sequoia would growl and lunge and just be keyed up for a fight.  However Sequoia liked Maya the two became fast friends with only the occasional arguments.  Since then Sequoia has gotten along with a few other dogs but none I would call ‘friends’.

So how does one say goodbye?

In Maya’s short time she left her mark, she brought us together, she drove us all a little crazy with her constant yipping.  She made us laugh, she brought us comfort and she brought us friendship.

Maya though your time with us was short the paw print you left on our hearts is deep.  You will never be forgotten.  Rest in peace my friend.  Rest in peace.

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We have six, that’s right, count ‘em, six cats.  Did you know that they get viruses just like people?  Not only that they catch it from one another. 

It started with our 15 year old cat Brianna, or Beezer as I like to call her.  Beezer has always been an inflammatory kitty meaning her body doesn’t seem to like her very much.  She suffers from inflammations it happens on her lips, chin and even her legs once swelled up and I am sure that her insides do the same.  She has a habit of eating and throwing up which is something I never get used too but I have learned to accept.  Beezer also has some sort of allergy problem which makes her itchy, in her later years she has managed to pluck off quite a bit of her fur making her a bald Beezer.

One morning Beezer decided to stop eating.  Yet she still ‘wommited’.  She continued to refuse to eat and still continued to ralph.  We were looking at a 15 year old orange, thinning, bald Beezer.  It was time to make an appointment with the vet. 

At the same time we came to the conclusion that Gumdrop had a urinary tract infection.  She is prone to them.  Lucky for us she started peeing in the shower.  And by shower I mean she positioned her little parts over the drain and peed directly into the drain, more than once!  Usually when a cat doesn’t use the litter box they are trying to tell you something is wrong.  Gumdrop however is hard to read and she really does love to sit in our shower.

While we were going to the vet anyway we made it a double appointment two appointments = twice the fun at twice the price. 

Did I mention that a few days before my wife found some rice at the base of Floyd’s tail?  Only it wasn’t rice it was a segment of a tape worm.  So Floyd was already being medicated for that but at least we now know who ate the mouse.  A few weeks ago we found a mouse kidney in our shower.  It could have been a liver but in the grand scheme of things does it matter?  I know what you are thinking, we have a high traffic shower!

Sunday evening another cat, fifteen year old ‘goat guts’ Deirdre stopped eating.  When Deirdre stops eating I know that the earth is off its axis.  She also started upchucking.  Gumdrop at this point was looking good and using the litter box again.  Perhaps she is just lazy and was in the shower already when she needed to pee.  So we replaced Gumdrop with ‘goat guts’ Deirdre.   Beezer however was starting to eat again and was looking a little better but we don’t take any chances with Beezer. 

Our vet confirmed that we had a virus. Seeing as Beezer is on the mend we did nothing.  Ole’ goat guts got a shot to help prevent further retching.  Despite the meds she still continued to hurl.

After we got home from the vets Gumdrop started to go downhill.  We have never seen Gumdrop  blow chunks.  She seriously doesn’t like it.  She pukes then runs around the room like she is possessed.  If she didn’t look like fretful porcupine it would be rather funny, okay it is funny but you have to feel bad for her.

I also learned this week that it is hard to sleep when your cats are sick.  Not just because we are worried but because our cats sleep with us, sometimes in the bed so we have to keep one ear open to listen for the sound of a cat starting to heave.   So far we have only had to change the sheets once at a rather ungodly hour.

Thankfully Brianna seems to be over it.  Deirdre while not a happy camper is starting to move in a more positive direction.  Gumdrop too seemed to take a more positive turn this morning.  Perhaps tonight sleep will come.

Of course there is still Katie, Trouble and Floyd to go.

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Sequoia

In the early days, those that came before the magic store my father was in the fruits and vegetable business.  It was an import export business he inherited from his father.

We had an attached garage.  I was in the basement (where eventually the magic shop would go) and I heard the garage door go up.  Just as I got to the end of the short hallway my father came through the door with a husky puppy in his arms.  I believe my father got Misty from a farmer with whom he did business.

I am probably not the one to tell this story, I was very young at the time and I don’t remember everything as clearly as others might.  But alas it has been hinted, more than once, that I should write about Misty, so here we are.

1971:  for those of you taking your socks off trying to do the math, I was six.

Misty was a typical looking black and white husky.  She had one blue eye and one brown.  Like most huskies, Misty was trouble.   My folks started off trying to paper train her.  They covered the entire basement floor in newspaper and put the puppy in the basement.   Misty found a spot where the corners of the newspaper overlapped, she spread them apart and pooped directly on the floor.  That alone should be a lesson to anyone thinking about getting a husky, they are really smart and will try anything to undermine what you want them to do. 

My mother tells the story of the time Misty was getting a treat and as my mother tried to take the treat back Misty growled and bared her puppy teeth.  While cute at the time my mother realized that in a year or so that may not be so cute.  I don’t know how my mother corrected the behavior, but she (Misty, not my mother) never growled at me.

Every day I would walk Misty while waiting for the carpool to take me to school.  By walk I mean I would stand outside on the lawn with the dog and when the car came my mother would take the leash.  For those of you who are un-aware huskies are really strong dogs and it just so happens they really like to pull.  One day the car arrived to take me to school and Misty simply jumped into the car dragging me along chaos insued.  One adult in the driver’s seat a few kids in the back and a rambunctious husky puppy jumping all over everything.  The next day it was decided that it would be best not to have the dog out when the carpool arrived.  That  decision was in vain as the next day the car never arrived.   For years after I thought Misty was a magic dog, no Misty, no carpool.  If only it were that simple!

Back in the early 70’s we used to get snow!  And I mean snow.  That year it was so deep we had trouble opening the door, we had to shove Misty out of a second story window so she could go out for her walk.

We also rented a county house.  Misty used to help us dig our snow forts.  And I have a very vague memory of Misty pulling us around on a sled. 

Years later, in elementary school a teacher asked us to write about our earliest memory.  I remember lots of stuff, I just am horrible with dates and when it comes to my early memories I never know what happened exactly when.  But I remember writing that my earliest memory was when my father brought Misty home.  Even then I knew that was not my earliest memory but it is one of my favorites.   The same teacher asked us to write about our favorite memory.  I wrote the exact same thing.   My favorite memory is when my father brought Misty home.  That same teacher asked us to write about our saddest memory.  I wrote, “my saddest day was when Misty left our home”

It turns out my eldest sister was allergic to fur and feathers.  The allergy was so severe the only option was to give Misty up.  My father says he put two advertisements in the paper one for the dog one for my sister, the dog got the first response.  We are reasonably sure he was joking about the advertisements. Reasonably!

One thing was certain.  Everyone loved Misty.  The kids on the block, even the other dogs on the block, Princess, a samoyed that lived down the street was one of her best dog friends.  I’m pretty sure the girl down the block who used to babysit only did so because of Misty.

When Misty finally found a new home I used to have horrible dreams, in this particular recurring dream Misty was simply hiding somewhere, playing a game.  I’d wake up in the middle of the night and look under my bed I’d sneak out of my room and it was only when I got to the living room did the reality of it sink back in.  Misty was no longer there.   In another dream my friend down the block had found her and was holding her for me.  Boy was I disappointed when I woke up.  Later that day my friend was outside on our walkway, (we all used to gather there and play CHAMP, a game with a ball).  I couldn’t get past my dream even though I knew it was a dream.  He must have thought I was nuts when I asked him if he had Misty.  But I had to ask. 

My mother took it the hardest.  My mother was the one who looked after Misty the most.  You can barely mention Misty’s name without my bringing my mother close to tears.  Lucky for us Sequoia doesn’t resemble Misty and doesn’t bring out that reaction. 

Maya, Sequoia’s only dog friend is a black and white husky.  Not too long ago my folks were in town and we had a few friends over including Maya and her family.  Sure enough there was a tear or two shed when Maya walked up onto the lawn.

Years later, whenever the conversation of pets surfaced my mother would say no, because she is the one that ends up looking after them not us.  So no, we could not have pets.  Years later we learned the truth.  My mother would not let us look after Misty, she knew we had to give her up and she didn’t want us to get any more attached then we already were.  My mother was trying to spare us what she eventually had to endure, because that is what mothers do.

When my wife and I first decided to keep Sequoia I knew I had to call home and tell my folks.

Me; “Hello mom, we rescued a husky and decided to keep her”

Long pause

Mom: “They die you know”

As I watch Sequoia getting older, and I see her slowing down, I hear those words, I hear them every time I see Sequoia struggling to leap into the car, or ever so slowly get down from the couch, yes there are times we have to give them up, yes they get older, yes they die, and no, it is not fair!

Brian and Misty, 1971

 

 

Brother, Father, Misty, Me,

 

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I don’t eat blue food.

My dog begs and does tricks for a chunk of cheddar cheese every morning.  She won’t touch it at night because it is morning cheese.

                I like rainy days, but I hate being in the rain.

Sequoia will not tolerate anyone blowing on her, yet she gets in the car and all she wants to do is stick her face out the window nose to the wind.  As a responsible pet owner, I beg you only to do this at slow speeds, it is not funny when dogs get hit in the head with flying rocks.

                I don’t eat organ meat of any sort

We purchased some knuckle bones for Sequoia, she would not even lick at them until we covered them in BBQ sauce and put them on the grill.

                I won’t eat spaghetti in public.

Sequoia will go into Petco and beg for treats, (and get them from the staff) yet if we purchase any of those treats and bring them home she won’t eat them.  It does not matter that she loved them in the store because those are Petco treats.

                When I moved to Pennsylvania I brought along my cat Kaliban.  She passed away a few years ago but I think of her often.

If you say ‘Kaliban’ in Sequoia’s presence she throws her head back and howls I like to think that Sequoia is also missing Kaliban and is singing to her.

                I may be hairy

Sequoia is a hairy beast.

                I’m lazy and sedentary

Sequoia, very un-husky like is also quite sedentary.  She does not destroy the furniture; she has every toy we have ever given her.  Every morning just before I open her door, I say, quite loudly, “Release the Kraken” almost every morning she comes out stretching and yawning, makes it about two steps past her door and lays down again.

                While I spent most of my life demonstrating magic tricks, I don’t like to be the center of attention.

When Sequoia enters a room, she makes sure everyone knows she is in the building.

                I’m not overly fond of people.

Sequoia positively hates other dogs, they are the enemy!  However, every Friday in August at 6pm, Wiscoy has its annual Ice cream social for dogs. She spends a great deal of time growling at the other dogs, yet she loves the event.

                I don’t like ketchup

We like to call Sequoia our Sequoiamatic, give her a plate and she will clean it like new that is unless there is ketchup, she thinks it is evil.

                I’m possessive

 Sequoia doesn’t like other animals touching her stuff of course ‘her stuff’ is everything in her line of sight. 

               I’ve heard it said that pets and their owners rub off on one another. 

I believe this to be true, all my clothes are covered in Husky hair.

                I snore on occasion.

Sequoia is a snoring fool.

                 Everybody who comes in contact with Sequoia always tells me how beautiful she is.

Never has anybody told Sequoia how beautiful I am.

                 My wife tells me that sometimes I don’t listen.

If you don’t have food, Sequoia is not the best listener either.

                Sometimes Sequoia doesn’t know when to stop whining.

Sometimes I don’t know when to stop typing.

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saving time

Our dog, Sequoia has epilepsy, for years we managed to keep it under control through diet. Not long ago we had to resort to medication. The first type made her absolutely insane. Switching her medication was not as easy as it sounds because she had to be on her old medication at full dose and at the same time be on her new medication at full dose. At this point not only was she insane dog, she was insane dopey dog. She did not have a lot of muscle control in her back-end and was tripping over her own back legs. Her medication made her incredibly thirsty, her thirst combined with her loss of muscle control meant she could not hold her pee through the night, much to her dismay there were a few nights she couldn’t hold her poop either. It didn’t seem to matter what time I checked on her or how many times I would take her out by morning time I would be cleaning up pee.  In retrospect I think she may have done it on purpose, payback for making her feel like crap.  Unknown to her however I’d rather clean up after her than not have her around and I re-assured myself that there must be a light at the end of the tunnel.   So I’m not sure who had the last laugh.

Finally we were able to stop giving her the original medication and she is doing better, only the occasional accident and has not pooped in her room at all.  And praise the Lord and pass the bourbon she is so much calmer than she was.  Not only that, at the 5:30am walk it was very quick, she wouldn’t even have to poop, she would quickly pee and want back into the house, I would feed her and then take her out again when we left for work, at which time she would finish her business.

A few days ago I started to think about daylight savings.  Would Sequoia be able to handle that extra hour?  I came up with a plan.  I would ease into it over a two-day period.  I usually get up at 5:30am and take her out.  I figured that on Saturday I would get up at 6 and if that went well on Sunday I would get up at the new 5:30.  For those of you who are a little more astute, you may already see the flaw in my plan.  For the rest of us here is the problem.  We were supposed to turn the clocks back on Saturday night not Sunday.  So when I looked at my clock at 5:30am, that’s right it was only 4:30.  I was patient and waited till my clock said 6am and I took her out.  Of course it was only 5am so the reality of the situation was that I was going the wrong way.  You may be thinking, so what? You went to bed at the same time so the amount of hours never changed, no big deal, just start over the following day.  There is yet another twist in the road. 

On the weekends, unless we have something planned I will get up at the usual 5:30am let the dog do her business feed the dog and cats and go back to sleep.  We may not get up again till 10:00am.  Which is exactly what happened this particular time.  The difference was my wife figured out my time mistake when I got back into bed which was at 6:20am which was really 5:20am.  At this time we adjusted the clock to the correct time and went blissfully back to sleep. We finally left the bedroom around 10am.  As I opened the bedroom door I realized my second mistake of the new timezone.  The dog had eaten earlier than usual and we were up later than usual.  I opened up her bedroom door and there sat a very forlorn looking dog who had pooped on the floor.  

I’m thinking she got over her incident as she got to go to Petco today and is currently fast asleep on the sofa.  Having made two mistakes so quickly in the new timezone leaves me a little leary about what the rest of the winter brings.

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Brushin’ Husky

Who would have ever thought that getting a 60 pound wooly coated 10-year-old Husky a bath would be such an ordeal.  For years we had a regular groomer, twice a year Sequoia would go to this groomer at great expense and come back a clean, if not a little hoarse (yes she would howl the entire time).  However, the last time we went to make an appointment her groomer told us she was booked for the year.  Who the heck schedules a dog grooming session a year in advance?  So, it was time to find another solution.  We found another highly recommended groomer, but when we started asking around we heard some stories we didn’t like. Twice we heard that this groomer ended up shaving a dog without the owner’s permission.  Nope, not going there.

We decided we would try the ‘do-it-yourself’ dog wash.  However it was expensive, you were limited to 10 minute intervals and any way you approach it, it was going to be a lot of work.  It takes a groomer a good 3 hours minimum to wash, brush and dry Sequoia.  I dreaded the ordeal.

Nine years ago we took her to Petco where they did a horrible job.  We think they were afraid of her so they cut some corners.  But it had been nine years, and we have heard both good and bad things.  We found ourselves in Petco one Friday without the dog and we decided to check out the grooming service. We  asked our questions and gave them the scoop on Sequoia. We told them straight up what they were up against, a ten-year old, really strong, really dominant husky who was not afraid to get mouthy.   She was rescued from an abusive home and not socialized well and does not get along with other dogs.  She is really sweet but does not like to be fussed over and she cries when we leave her in a strange places (except when we left her with my sisters mother-in-law where she did beautifully, or so we were told). 

We got a goodish vibe, we met the groomer who takes care of the more challenging dogs and she seemed pretty confident.  We an appointment for Sunday at noon.   Saturday evening we decided to get a head start and brush her out as best we could.  Kind of like cleaning your home before the cleaning service people arrive.  And true to form we decided to clip her nails even though it was included in the cost.  We have a fool-proof method of achieving this event, I pin her down while my wife does the deed.  (I am pretty sure my parents will have something to say about this). Soon it was time to leave, I’m sure we were more nervous than Sequoia or the groomer.  When we left her at Petco we looked in the window where they trying to put her in the cage.  The groomer had Sequoia by the collar and Sequoia was doing the stubborn thing, meaning she was twisting around in her collar grabbing at the groomers hand while heading in any direction but the cage.  They got her in, we left the store. 

Three hours later my phone rings:

“Hello this is so-and-so from Petco, Sequoia is ready to go home, please pick her up.”

We got a full report from her groomer who looked a little beat up.  Sequoia it seems, can be quite the handful.  She escaped once and ran around the kennels like a crazy dog.  She took to the bath okay but she really didn’t like to be brushed.  Much to the groomers credit she did her best and told us quite frankly that she just couldn’t brush her out as well as she would have liked.   We assured her this wasn’t a problem, we could brush her out in small periods over time.  It was the bathing that was the problem for us.  I’m guessing Sequoia was not the hooligan she could have been as when we left the groomer gave me a slip of paper with the recommended time to get her groomed again complete with a 10% off coupon with her next visit.

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