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Posts Tagged ‘Pets’

I stood in my kitchen this past Saturday morning, stirring my coffee and wondering where does one start when packing up 20 + years of life and memories? 
It was early, before 7 a.m. and as I looked down at the floor, I saw the shadow of Max walk by…even the shadow of his tail looked fluffy. “Hi buddy,” I said…and then I remembered. 
I smiled, something that I had not done for several days. 
You see, Max died on Saturday, January 2nd, between 4 and 6 am. 

Max stumbled when he walked in the door after sitting outside on the patio the morning of the 29th of December.  My husband and I exchanged worried looks of concern and immediately drove to the vet; Max was put on an IV, the vet felt a mass in Max’s belly that his technician was going to try and “tap” to determine what it was.   

Wednesday, the vet called to tell us that Max had cancer.  Our doctor wanted to know if we wanted to take Max home and spend some more time with him. 
Of course we did.  The first evening, Max ate a little bit and even sat on Sam’s Bakugan game board and tried to look interested in what Sam was saying.  Max tapped one of the balls with a paw. 

After that he slowed down more each day; he stopped eating and drinking. I started using an eye dropper to give him sips of water.  
How ironic. 
(When Max first arrived home with Hubby nearly 14 years ago, I had to feed Max with an eye dropper because he was so young, he still should have been nursing.) 

We prepared Sam for the fact that Max was not going to get better.  We all took turns holding Max and keeping him warm.  At night, I slept on the couch and kept my hand on him to make sure he knew I was there. 

By New Year’s Day, it was evident that we would be going to the vet’s office the next morning so that a shot could be administered.  The vet had assured us that Max was not in pain, but that death would not come without assistance.  By the evening of January 1st, Max could no longer walk, so I would change the thick towel we kept under him, since he could not get up to use the kitty box. 

Late that evening, he began to whimper every few minutes.  Finally sometime before 2 am, I was able to get him comfortable.  With my head pounding with a migraine, I gave him a kiss, told him we all loved him and I went to lay down in bed for awhile. 

At four in the morning, I went to check on him.  He was warm and he moved one of his cute little paws when I stroked his fur.  At 6:30 a.m. he was gone. 

I know that the phantom images of Max will not continue in our new place, so I am grateful for the vision I had early Saturday morning. 

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I love maps; I studied geography in college, not as part of my career goals, but just because it was interesting. 

When my friend and blogging buddy told me about ClustrMaps and I saw the link info on her site, it looked like fun. 
I like seeing where the people who visit my blog come from.  It makes me feel connected to the world, and chances are I will never visit some of the far flung places in the world that drop by my blog for a visit.  Welcome.  Stay and have a cup of tea while you read.   Someday I hope to get to Europe & stay in a castle, any castle will do.  (I know they are drafty…I will bring a sweater.) We have plans for an Alaskan cruise in 2010….but I’m afraid that my long desired trip to the Holy Land will have to wait.

When I was growing up, my family travelled cross-country…three times…from coast to coast…by car.  When we lived in the east, there were trips to Georgia, Florida and the east coast…New York, New England, Canada and our nation’s capital. 
I was always in charge of the AAA Trip-tick on these adventures.  I read aloud from the appropriate tour book that listed the hotels and points of interest along the way. 

I know what you’re thinking…..”Oh how romantic and fun that must have been!”…..traveling by car, learning about the United States, meeting interesting people…visiting national parks, monuments, historic cities…seeing America up close…Yes, that would have been fun. 
Let me clarify…
I would have enjoyed the maps, the traveling and the history much more, if my father was the kind of person that actually pulled over to enjoy the scenic outlooks that the tour books boasted about. 

Rather, our stops were fast…fill the car up with gas and a potty break for the occupants…including the dog.  Sometimes the stops were just to let the dog out for a quick pee and maybe  a poop.  Teddy got really good at holding it in for…..hours.  She was the only dog I have ever seen who could cross her legs.  Since she also had motion sickness, we had to give her Dramamine.  I still have a vivid memory of her vomiting on the edge of a mountain road on the way to Big Bear, CA.  Poodle puke is not pretty. 
Sad face. 

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Some of these cross country road trips also included my 70-ish year old grandmother.  
While having three generations trapped in a vehicle is great for family togetherness & bonding….one member of our family was not thrilled.  You see, my dog HATED the sound of my grandma’s voice. 
So we had to medicate her during the trips….the dog…not my grandmother.   

Fortunately for Teddy, the Dramamine helped her sleep…again, the dog slept…. not my grandmother.
Oh no!  Grandma did not sleep, maybe briefly doze off perhaps, but never a good long nap…filling the car with peaceful quiet….
Those brief ‘cat naps’ (sorry Teddy) gave Grandma the energy to talk, a lot.  Grandma had opinions to force upon you share; people to gossip talk about…

My grandmother did not approve of the music selections, restaurant choices (she wasn’t paying), conversation topics, or the level of the air conditioning.  She was not afraid of loudly voicing her opinions and Grandma’s opinions were many. 
During her lectures, Teddy would have her head buried in my mom’s armpit, even the Dramamine didn’t help. 
Sometimes she would whimper….(yes, the dog.) 
There were times during the trips that I’m sure my dad wished he could slip her a ‘little something’…in this case…his mother…not the dog.

As far as the music selections, don’t get excited.  We had approximately a dozen 8 Track tapes…remember those?  Montavanni & His Orchestra, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Doc Severinsen (from Tonight Show fame), Nat King Cole….(I heard Mona Lisa so many times that I could probably re-write an arrangement  of it today, myself – from memory.)  Then, there was the very jazzy 8 track tape that came with the car.  I can’t remember all the performers, but every time I hear Carlos Santana’s “Oye como va“, I am transported to a long stretch of deserted highway somewhere in the continental US. 
I actually have the music playing “as we speak”…it’s giving me, my inspiration.

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While Grandma claimed to not like the the uptempo numbers, she kept time by tapping on the passenger window….for miles……(she really liked the Carlos Santana piece.)  Sometimes we could get a smile out of Grandma by singing a chorus of “Sweet Hour of Prayer” along with Tennessee Ernie Ford in Donald Duck voices.  And they call this…talent. 
There were other artists, but I can’t remember the titles now…the tapes have long since been donated to the Smithsonian. 
(Although Manilow’s “Even Now ” 8 track is still around here somewhere.  Notice:  Any snotty anti-Barry Manilow comments will earn you an immediate place of dishonor in the Spam folder.)

During one rather eventful trip, my mom was seated behind my grandmother.  Mom was in the direct line air conditioning for hours;  she had a serious case of bronchitis/pneumonia by the time we reached our destination.  Luckily, hospitals are also listed in the AAA tour books.

I saw the Grand Canyon as a ‘tween.’  My father parked the car, we got out, walked to edge, stared out and took a photo.  I still have the pic of me and Teddy in a photo album…acid free of course.  My dad said “that’s the Grand Canyon.”  We got back in the car.  The little tour had taken away 10 minutes from our valuable drive time. 

Teddy was not without her colorful moments.  Once in Canada after the Olympics in Montreal, a lovely Canadian with a French accent asked if he could pet Teddy.   I did not understand, “Does she bite?  in French….fortunately he moved his hand before she tried to give him a nip.   She was an adorable dog, and the fact that she wore her security ‘blanket’ sweater even in the summer made her even cuter.  I apologized profusely for my dog, I must have had the gene for diplomacy even then.  The gentleman was very kind and accepted my regrets for the behavior of my medicated poodle.  Turned out he was some sort of Canadian diplomat….good thing Teddy did not start an international incident. 

My husband’s traveling experiences were similar to mine. 
His family made approximately 15 trips between CA and the Midwest during his childhood. 
My in-laws had two weeks vacation each year and they did not want to spend all of it driving.  Hubby’s father and mother would take turns at the wheel, stopping only for potty breaks until they reached their destination.  Hubby’s CA grandma would make sandwiches for the trip….
Hubby says they had to hope the food would last and not spoil….luckily Coleman coolers had been invented by then…..

His family would always begin their journeys late at night or in the wee morning hours…to get through the desert while it was cool. 
Of course this meant the first leg of the trip was in the dark….making it difficult to see the beautiful scenery. 
There were often conversations like the following –
“Hey Kids!  Here’s Yosemite….But Dad, it’s 3 am – it’s kinda dark!” 
“Oh look!  That was an indian reservation!…Really? Where?” 
It’s a wonder when we were growing up that neither one of us had whiplash from watching the scenery zoom past. 

Hubby is willing to share some personal anecdotes of travelling with his family: 
One trip all the children had coloring books.  They kept the new crayons in a coffee can…never put a coffee can filled with crayons in the back window of an Oldsmobile on a hot August morning…..

There was the time in Arizona….on a indian reservation…surprisingly enough during daylight hours…when Father-in-law bought fireworks.  “FIL” thought he was purchasing the tiny ‘lady fingers’ fireworks, when what he actually bought were full fledged firecrackers.  “FIL” thought it would be funny to light one off in the car…..I mean, light a firework in the car…don’t EVEN get me started on personal emissions.  After the blast rocked the station wagon, I’m surprised they all didn’t lose their hearing.  Could this be why sometimes Hubby says “Huh?” when I ask him a question?   

…Then there was the time that the brakes went out on the Oldsmobile, coming down out of Loveland Pass in Colorado…wheee…Rocky Mountain Higgggggggggh!  My mother-in-law nearly had a nervous breakdown from the joy ride down the mountain road. 

I don’t think I can tell you what happened in Yosemite…I’ll check to see if there’s a statute of limitations on flowers before my next post on Clustr Maps.  So – between hubby and I, we’d seen lots of the country by car…at 60 – 70  miles an hour or whatever….speed that our fathers could get by with…the speed limit allowed…often in the dark.

Coming in Part II – Stories from the Road when you take the time to stop and “Smell (Don’t pick) the Flowers!”

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This was originally entitled “Gaslighting: Doggy style. 2008_05_29-bertha7921

I was going to be able to use this great line:  “No, this is not going to be about sex.  Mind out of the gutter, please.”  But I thought if I had one more post about Gaslighting, my audience was probably going to go screaming off into the night. 

Really, this is going to be about being gaslighted by two canines. Specifically a Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Treeing Walker Coon Hound.  While I can’t cite specifics re: the abuses from the N;
I can tell the you about two dogs that made my life miserable for 45 minutes while on vacation. I do like dogs, but I’m sorry, cats are never this cruel. 

We were on vacation in the Emerald City; actually on an island, but close enough for this tale.  We had spent 3 wonderful weeks in the Pacific Northwest.  My husband and older sons returned home; leaving myself and our youngest son to follow a few days later.

I had carefully packed two memory cards for my camera in my carry on luggage.  I put them in a Ziploc bag with a few other small soft items.  I knew exactly where they were.  After three weeks I was re-packing, getting ready to go home.  I hate re-packing.  How is it that you can never get the same suitcase to close as easily as you did on the way up?  It’s like an old TV show where the heroine tries to wiggle into a girdle. 

One evening before we left, our friends and I were going to swap photos.  I had filled one memory card, with about 700 photos.  I sat down with my friend and we went through photos from our joint vacation the previous summer. There were close to 500 photos; I decided it would be easier to down load all of the photos from his lap top.  “Go get your memory cards,” he said.  I went into one of the guest rooms that my husband and I share when we visit……….

Moose and Petunia are very curious dogs.  (Hey, I didn’t name them, the kids did.)  The moment we arrived with our luggage they were in the guest room.  Sniffing the suitcases….”Hey, I smell cat!”  Climbing on the bed and laying on the comforter…”Hey, we’ll sleep with you guys tonight…”  It took five minutes to move 80 and 65 pounds of dog from the room. 

Early in the trip, the 1/2 pound of fudge from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, “disappeared” plastic wrapping and all.  Our friends never did find any ‘remnants.’  After that we were always careful to close the bedroom door so that we did not have a raid from any furry commandos.

……My carry on bag was sitting on the bed right where I had left it…except the door was ajar.  I reached in to get the Ziploc bag with the memory cards; the bag was gone.  I went back out to the main level….where could I have left it?  I retraced my steps, 4 or 5 times.  I looked in the bag again.  My friend called me from the living room…”Are you going to bring the memory card?”  The dogs were strangely absent. 

If I hadn’t felt like I had stepped back in time, standing my office, hunting for something that the N had taken, I might thought to see where the dogs were. Instead I kept searching the main floor of the house.  My friends joined in the hunt.  They both assured me that the dogs would have never taken a Ziploc bag from my bedroom.  My girlfriend started wondering, out loud, whether I had actually brought it with me on vacation. I had that horrible panicked feeling of thinking: Did I really bring the memory cards?  Am I imagining this?  I  was having flash backs to when the N was gaslighting me on a daily basis.  I had that same off centered feeling. 

I should have paid more attention to the dogs as they nonchalantly sat on the living room floor.  Petunia had THE most guilty look on her face.  She’d look at me and then look away.  To those of you who have dogs, you know “the look.”

After 45 minutes, it seemed like longer, of walking through the house, running my hands through my hair, looking under everything…we found about 30 dog bones or portions of them…my friend took the flashlight and went out into the darkness.  I stood on the porch, not wanting to commune with the raccoons, skunks and other furry woodland creatures.  “Is this it?” he called.  He found the bag at the edge of the wetlands.  Yes, the Ziploc bag that carefully held 2 2 GB memory cards the size of my thumbnail, was returned to the kitchen for inspection.  The cards were fine.  They were still in their individual cases.  I can’t say the same for the Ziploc bag or the tea bags; they were quite spitty.  Sorry Petunia, it wasn’t more fudge. 

Moose couldn’t look me in the eye, and went to his kennel.  Petunia was found upstairs in our friend’s bedroom, hiding under the covers.  The next day, I surprised Petunia by coming into the room from another direction, she took one look at me, and her back legs couldn’t move fast enough. She raced out the doggie door and ‘hid’ outside under the tire swing.

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When I got home and started unpacking, the cats were very curious.  They kept sniffing the luggage, mouths open, with disgusted looks on their furry faces.  “Ewwwww!  Have you been around a Dog?!”  “How could you!!  Traitor!!!!”  I took another dirty load of laundry to the washer; when I returned to the family room, the cats were standing over something white on the floor.  It was a dog bone.  I guess Moose and Petunia were trying to apologize.

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I spent my evening being the manicurist for a furry diva.  I’ve trimmed 18 razor sharp, kitty toe nails; and I still have flesh on 99% of my body.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  I had nothing else to do…I’m waiting for the season premiere of CSI. 

Actually, the real reason is because AJ (the re-in”cat”ion) of Boots, managed to step in a puddle of pine tree sap in our back yard.  She was leaping all over the sidewalk, shaking her paw, trying to lick it off.  While she was making the most awful faces, I silently had to ask my self, “AJ, you lick your bottom, and you’re making faces like that over pine tree sap?” 

Have you ever tried to get pine sap out of a furry cat paw? As a public service – Here is the step by step procedure, if you ever find yourself in a similar predicament.

First, enlist your unsuspecting spouse to hold the cat in question.  Wrap the cat in a towel that you wouldn’t mind seeing shredded.  That beach towel you got as a wedding gift years ago, buried in the back of the linen closet, next to the raffia wall hanging covered with silk flowers should do nicely. 

Once the sticky little ball of fur with teeth is firmly in hubby’s grasp, you’ve got to start getting the sticky sap off.  What to use?  Don’t use the embroidered washcloths from Great Aunt Myrtle, she might come to visit one day.  Try a diaper wipe.  You will need several.  I swear by Huggies diaper wipes.  They get out practically anything.  No more diapers in our house, but I still have wipes. 

Now that the paw is wet, the cat is annoyed and your spouse is a bit on edge, what are you going to use to breakdown the sticky stuff the rest of the way?  How about Vaseline Petroleum Jelly?  After consulting the “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cat Care” manual, start rubbing Vaseline into the paw pads and fur. (It works on gum too, but that’s a story for another time.)  

If you speak in a French accent as you describe the “kitty spa experience” it lightens the mood, a little.  Hubby is breaking into a sweat, as he struggles with 8 pounds of cat that feels more like 80.  To the cat your ‘accent’ only sounds like, “Blah, blah, cat.”  In any case, you will be getting the ‘evil eye’ from both the husband and the cat. 

Note to self…buy a fresh jar of Vaseline, since no one will want to use it after a kitty paw has been repeatedly dipped in the jar….

Time to get off the excess Vaseline.  Back to the diaper wipes.  By this time AJ has given up.  She sits motionless in her bath towel dungeon; and doesn’t make a peep while her paw gets a final rinse in baby shampoo & warm water.  The paw in question gets dried off with her terry cloth prison.  She’s survived her spa experience; with a heavy sign of disgust, she flies down the hallway, not to be seen for hours.  Hubby dries the beads of sweat off his forehead.  He leans over, kisses the wife and says, “Next time, we let the pine sap wear off!”

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My first cat was a beautiful tortoise shell named Boots. Boots had adopted us shortly after we were married.  We were with her while she recovered from being shot by, (pardon me) an idiot with a pellet gun.  To show her gratitude, she stuck by my husband’s side while he was on his journey through cancer treatments. 

Toward the end of his “detour,” “a bump in the road,” she would accompany my husband back and forth to the bathroom during his bouts of vomiting and dry heaves, as the last round of chemo drugs went through his system.  Sometimes she would sit quietly outside the door, sometimes she would go and sit next to him in the bathroom.  She would wait for him to wash his face, sometimes even watching him from the counter top.  She would escort him back to bed, jumping up gently beside him, always laying next to his left calf like a little bundled up “turkey.”  I felt like she wanted to say to him, “Can I get you anything?” before she settled down for another 20 minute nap. 

When chemo ended, Desert Storm began.  She was his couch buddy.  He recovered from the poison of cancer therapy by being an “Arm Chair General” of Shock and Awe.  Most of the time Boots would lay next to him, sometimes performing “kitty paw massage” on an arm, leg or whatever was available.  When something important was happening, she would sit up at attention, her ears swiveling back and forth while she listened to him explain the latest news from the front lines.

She waited in the window at home for us, while we waited for news from the oncologist.  I could swear she was smiling when we walked in the front door, somehow she already knew the good news. 

Many years later, we knew that she had reached the time when we had to make a decision for her.  She was in pain and could not eat.  We gathered around her as she slipped away.  It was horribly painful, but we wouldn’t have let her go in any other way.  It was only right to be by her side.

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     I have long been of the opinion that dust “is a protective coating.”  You can also write a quick note to a loved one, or a phone number, if no paper is available when you take that pesky phone call.  As Martha Stewart says, “it’s a good thing….” Yes, I know she never meant to include dust. 

    We have finally come out of the Stone Age and entered the Modern Era in our home.  We’ve gone wireless, with fiber optics.  (Those two things may not even go together, I am the first to admit that I am technically challenged as you will later learn in a post yet to be released.)  We were scheduled for service that took ALL day.  I figured that the technician would plug in a couple of things and we’d be set.  After he had been working for about an hour, he started sneezing.  I was afraid that he was allergic to the cats. Hmm no, it was the dust.  It was pretty embarrassing the amount of dust and ‘calico mouse’ cat toys that were behind and underneath the wall unit.  In my defense, let me say that this is a MASSIVE wall unit. 

     Our technician, I’ll call him Joe, had to run out for a missing piece of equipment.  Personally, I think he was going to find some Benadryl.  The moment his truck left the driveway, I yelled, “Somebody grab the vacuum!!” Before ‘Joe’ returned, there wasn’t a missing cat toy or spec of dust to be found in my house, the carpet looked brand new.  The underwear and socks behind our son’s bedroom door were even gone.  All of our cats’ playthings were neatly tucked in their toy basket.  Our gray and yellow cat sat next to it, awaiting Joe’s return. 

     Joe was able to finish without incident or sneeze, and even found it amusing that the cat sat nearby as he worked, watching.  She does the same thing with our plumber, and I could swear that if the plumber asked her, she’d hand him a wrench. 

     Now we have Internet in the time it takes to breathe, a total of 22 assorted cat toys were found and returned to the fold, and I won’t have to dust for say…at least 6 months…or until the next workman arrives.  I will be forever grateful that there will be no dust in Heaven.

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