Tag Archives: dogs

A Perfect 10!

Today, my boy, Henry, turned 10.   For his birthday, he was gifted with this year’s first real sprinkling of snow, a new bone, and the annual five minutes of humiliation (the time it takes to get the hats on, light the candles, and take some pictures).

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The birthday boy. While I do detect a hint of shame in his demeanor, I’m willing to live with the guilt because he’s too damned cute. Turns out the cat does not like peanut butter… but, he did try to make off with the bone….

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Such focus! (And yes, the floors need refinishing. Until such a time, however, I’m just going to call this look, “It’s not as bad as… a Medieval barn.”)

 

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Apple and peanut butter to celebrate his big day. The natural peanut butter is very runny compared to the ones with sugars. (NB: never give your dogs peanut butter with the artificial sweetener, xylitol…)

 

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A dog and his bone – simple contentment.

 

 

No doubt, this is one of the countless reasons I’m single… but, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Happy Howlowe’en…

After many years of saying I should make costumes for the quadrupeeps, I finally did.  At least for one of them.  

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The chocolate chips are crocheted and sewn on.

Since Sasha was a pup, I thought about how cute it’d be to make her a Hershey bar costume.  A Chocolate Lab as a chocolate bar – how perfect is that?!?!  I kept putting if off.  But her recent health issues reminded me of her impending mortality (more on that in a future post), and that spurred me to action.  Except that the fabric store downtown closed (*groan*), so I’d have to haul ass to a really lame part of town to get some silver fabric to make the foil wrapper.  You can’t do a dog costume half-assed.  Therefore,  I had to use what I had at hand.  Next idea:  a chocolate chip cookie.  With her gorgeous little head as one of the chocolate chips!  

 

Naturally, I had no intention of parading her around town like that – I’m silly, but I’m not retarded.  Besides, the last thing I want is for strangers to stop and talk to me after yet another day spent explaining shit to people that they’ll forget tomorrow and have to come back to me about next week.  And, it turns out, quality canvas and pillow stuffing can end up being rather heavy for an elderly dog to cart about….  

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I’m pretty sure she’d pee on my pillow in retaliation, if she could jump up on the bed… 

The good thing about this rather large and cumbersome ‘costume’ is that it can double as a pillow for the dogs’ heads, or as a snuggler for the cat. It’s kind of a win-win. 

And what did I dress up as today?  I’m glad you asked.  I dressed up as someone who loves her fucking job so much that she wants to die at her desk at 90 instead of winning the lottery and moving into a lighthouse near the ocean – any ocean.  That’s a costume that required a fucking load of effort today, amigos. 

So tonight, it’s sangria and the fear of tomorrow… and, for entertainment, What We Do in the Shadows or Young Frankenstein….

Dog Days of September

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“… should we stay, or should we go now?” The leaves don’t know what to do.

As we near the last few days of September, we also reach the last few hours of what has been an unseasonably sweltering month. Having a heat with humidex value of about 38 degrees celcius has not only the trees confused (to leaf,or not to leaf – that is the question?!?), but it also has my cardigans wondering why I’ve been ignoring them. The thunderstorm this evening should shake Mother Nature back to her senses and return us to our regular 16-23 temps.

 

 

 

While we didn’t have  ‘real’ dog days of summer since it pretty much rained most of July and August, the past several months have had my actual doggies on my mind more than usual.

On June 1, I brought my lil’ Hershey’s Kiss, Sasha, to the vet for her annual vaccines. It was a strange evening at the clinic: it was bustling with people and pets, the vet was late on account of having to assist with an emergency paw amputation, and then there were the orphaned groundhog babies (about 5 weeks old) that were brought in by a rescue service. When they asked me if I wanted to see something really cute, I couldn’t resist… and then, when the vet tried to get me to bring them home with me and care for them until they were a bit older, it took every ounce of willpower to stand firm and say no and return to the raison d’etre of my visit – vaccines. In all the years I’ve had her, Sasha has never once had a reaction to any type of vaccine. This changed.

About half an hour after returning from the clinic, I poured a glass of vino tinto and started preparing supper. Sip sip sip. Suddenly, I noticed her pacing back and forth, like she couldn’t get comfortable. Sip sip. Then she started panting. Sip? Then her forehead transformed into what I can only describe as the forehead of a furry baby dragon – in retrospect, very cute, but at that time, a waving flag that got me tossing the wine in the sink, giving her two Benadryl, and dialling for a cab to take us to (since my clinic was closed by then) the emergency hospital.

It took us about half an hour to get there, but it seemed to be so much longer. When we arrived, I explained all the details to the front desk assistant and he said someone would take care of her right away. By the time they called her over for a weighing, the wine + empty stomach combo was starting to hit me. I was feeling like such a horrible parent that I leaned over to the vet tech and fessed up: “I kinda had some wine before I got here; I wasn’t expecting anything bad to happen since she’s never had a reaction before.” She just kind of smiled at me, in that way that says, “I sure as shit could use a glass of wine right about now, too….” They took her back to see the doctor and then he called me in to see him. He said they gave her a shot of cortisone and wanted to observe her for a while before releasing her. That’s when he shared some interesting information about vaccines. Apparently, given that she was 13, there really was no reason to vaccinate her at all – by that time in her life, she would have acquired enough antibodies to keep her safe for the rest of her days. Also, the more vaccines they get, the more susceptible they are to having a reaction – so he wasn’t surprised that she had never had a reaction before. And then he said something about how, when we vaccinate animals, we don’t give them boosters, we give them the actual vaccine every time – because boosters would be too expensive. This is what causes the problems. At least, that’s what I understood at 11:30 pm, on an empty stomach marinated in Apothic Red, after translating that in my brain from French to English. The end result: no more vaccines for my chocolate chip.

Now, that’s not to say that I’m against vaccines now. BUT, it did prompt me to do some research. And it turns out that: 1) if leptospirosis and rabies are combined, that can cause problems; better to have them a week apart; 2) there’s an annual rabies shot, and there’s a three-year rabies shot; the three-year rabies shot is the one with the higher chances of having a reaction, and it also happens to be the one that my vet uses.

Then it was Henry’s turn. He’s at the age where they recommend doing a geriatric blood profile. Done. Turns out the boy has a thyroid problem. When the vet called me at the office and said that he was probably feeling depressed and lethargic. A sad thought entered my mind: oh no… he’s not clingy because he loves me, he’s clingy because he’s depressed.

So we started him on some thyroid medication. And it turns out that he really does just love me tons. BUT, it turns out that he’s more vocal now. He makes the most adorable sounds when he rushes me to feed him and he basically tells me when he thinks it’s time for us to go to bed.

I wish that could be the end of my ‘trifurcta’ of veterinary experiences this summer, but no.

About a month ago, I took the pups out for their evening walk, and, when they got back in, noticed that there were several drops of blood on the floor by the water bowl. I called each kid over, checked their paws, their gums, the roof of their mouths (sticks can get stuck there) and their gums. Nothing. But when I ran a clean paper towel in their mouth, Sasha’s came back slightly pink. So something was up with her.

I practically put my entire hand down her throat to see if something had gotten stuck at the back of her throat, but I couldn’t feel anything. Then, when she coughed, bits of blood came out. Off to the vet clinic we went.

The vet on-call gave her the once over and told me that he could do x-rays, but that he thought that maybe we could wait and just keep an eye on her overnight. If she was still coughing up blood the next day, x-rays would be the way to go. She was coughing up blood the next morning. I texted my boss and colleague to let them know what was going on and that I would probably not be in at all that day. I make no demands at my office, so when it comes to taking care of my pets, it’s what I’m doing.

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Groggy and droopy-eyed – coming to after her xrays.

The sedative they gave her made her vomit – so I took the opportunity to check for blood. None. That meant that it had to be coming from her lungs. The vet gave her half the dose of what she should take, but it knocked her out completely. As she was recovering and was able to wobble around a bit, I thought it might be good for her to stretch her legs. That’s when the blood started dripping out of her nose. So we set her on the table to have her head/sinuses x-rayed – since they were busy cutting the cojones off of a cat (see below), I donned a lead vest and assisted the vet tech in holding baby girl still.

 

 

 

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Cat Balls and Coffee: you can’t make this shit up. Turns out protocols for male cats are way lax – male dogs, and female cats and dogs, require sterile environments and actual surgery… with male cats, a small cut and tying up whatever those balls were attached to in a knot is all it takes.

 

The following day, I got a call from the vet with the x-ray results, and he asked me: do you or any of your neighbours use rat poison? Except that in French, the words for poison and fish are very similar. So I heard: Do you or any of your neighbours use raw fish? Which doesn’t make sense since the word for ‘raw’ in French is ‘cru’ – but I digress. Damned bilingualism!

Once I copped on, the first thought was: is there a blood test and how fast can we get this get done? Turns out that the rat poison that is often used is an anti-coagulant, and there are anticoagulation tests. Let me just say this here: while I’m not a fan of street/sewer rats and I would lose my shit if ever confronted by one, having ANY animal bleed out is a cruelty beyond any redemption. I can’t fathom how anyone could think that a slow death by hemorrhaging is okay for anything that has a pulse.

I was told to wait and check her gums for paleness and/or petechiae. Wait? What??? Why are we going to WAIT? Apparently, they can easily and quickly remedy the situation with Vitamin K. So, given that he did go to school for this, I trusted him. I picked up a prescription for prednisone and she was better with about two days. Definitely not poison.

The follow-up x-rays were taken last week and the results were mixed – while there was far less inflammation, there did seem to be fluid in her lungs. And I can hear it sometimes when she’s walking – it’s like when someone has a bit of a cold and their breathing sounds a bit ‘wet’. So, tomorrow morning, I’m bringing her in for an ultrasound, and they’ll remove the excess fluid with a needle or whatever and send it off for testing. I’m hoping that it’ll just be a bacterial infection and a week on antibiotics will have her right as rain again. Because the alternative, cancer, is not something I want to think about.

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I’m a Loser, Baby… #765,986 in a Never-Ending Series…

Dear Friends, Strangers of the Internet:

 

While walking the pups by the tennis courts after work just now, this guy in a wheelchair almost ran us over.  Henry’s afraid of all kinds of wheels (bikes, skateboards, scooters, and apparently, wheelchairs) so when he visibly pulled away from the guy, he asked me if Henry had something against handicapped people.  At first I was like, no no no, it’s just the chair, on account of the wheels.  “And what about that one?” he pointed to Sasha.  No, she’s cool with everything and everyone.  Sasha sashayed over to him and started licking him.  “Her breath really stinks!  Does she eat shit?”  he asked.  What?  “Does.  She.  Eat.  Shit?”  Uhm… she hasn’t done that in a while, I said.  “Oh… well they do that, you know?” he said.  Yes, I said, I know.

He asked for their names and I told him.  “You gave them human names… do you have actual children?” he asked.  No.  “Oh,” he said, “do you live with someone?”  Not anymore, I said.  “Well, single women who don’t have children usually give human names to their dogs to make up for the fact that they don’t have real children….”  I’m sure someone’s doing a psychological study about that right now, I said.  “Well, whatever… have a nice evening,” he said as he rolled away.  You, too, I said.

And as I turned around to gather the leashes to continue my walk, there was a man on the other side of the fence, in one of the courts, and he said, “Hi.”  Completely stunned, I managed a surprised, “Hi.”  “Sorry you saw that,” he said, as he was folding his pants, “…my striptease just now….”  I was at a loss for words… first the wheelchair bound guy with the subtle mental challenges talking about dog poop, then this really cute guy at the tennis courts… the juxtaposition was too great.   I was caught off guard.  Cute guys never talk to me.  So all my brain could muster was, “well, at least I didn’t have to pay…”  And he gave me a weird look.

And THAT dear friends, strangers of the internet, is why I am still single.  Because not only was that a thoroughly lame response, but it made me sound like I pay men to take their clothes off…. *sigh*

 

 

 

 

 

 

CTRL + N (Open New Window)

 

Good-bye 2016… don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out!   

Despite the fact that I have had many thousands of thoughts I’ve wanted to purge over the last several months, the act of committing them to words seemed laborious and pointless. How does one recount the trauma of dealing with contractors without reaching for the bourbon?  How can one convey the irrational urge to punch people in the throat without sounding like you haven’t been taking your meds?  How does one bitch about pain without making it sound like a suicide note?  You don’t.   

That said, there were some truly profound shifts in perspective I experienced these past several months.

The first and most significant was that something I thought would make me happy, actually makes me quite unhappy – and arguably crazy.    These things are confusing and exhausting, and they are masters of disguise, initially appearing as humble and sincere, but inevitably metamorphosizing into sociopathic cads deserving of further study by PhD candidates in Psychology.  They are commonly known as “Men I Seem to Attract”.  For a while there, I was attracting a few incompatible men (thanks, internet dating circus), and then, after deleting my account and going it old school, I wasn’t attracting any AT ALL. Imagine the sound of paralyzed crickets, that’s how quiet things got.  

Having been single and celibate for more than a year now, I spent the first chunk of that time wondering what was wrong with me, why nobody would chat me up.  I was feeling ugly, fat, old, dorky, unwanted.  Granted, I am all of those things, so that doesn’t help.   But this is where things got interesting: I came to realize that what I mistook for the feeling of being lonely, was, in fact, peace… emotional peace.   That’s when the feeling of misplaced sadness became one of calm and contentment.  I realized that I did NOT like the feeling of being ‘in love’ (or even just being attracted to someone) because my interpretation of being in love has been skewed my entire life.  Anxiety and pining are, like me first thing in the morning,  horrible things.  I don’t like wondering if I’m going to get a call or where things are going.  I hate the excitement of it all.  It’s disruptive and delusional.  It takes control of my senses and makes me a slave to my feelings.  I hate it.  I like this new feeling and, quite frankly, I am afraid of losing this tranquility.  

 

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Handsome Henry

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My Jellicle Cat – seriously the cutest, sweetest cat on the planet

It turns out I’m not lonely at all.  Not only do I have three awesome little animals that fill my life with companionship and inspire me to be a better person and hone in on what’s important, but I don’t like being surrounded by too many people.  Everybody bandies about the term ‘introvert’ these days – like the mason jar, it’s just another thing appropriated by hipsters.  But very few of those people can truly relate to the energy-zapping, soul-crushing experience of over-exposure to ‘people’.  That’s not to say that I’m anti-social or hate people – I just prefer to be by myself.  That’s when I feel most at peace.  Having my dog Henry fall asleep with his head on my chest as he’s looking at me is more fulfilling than most encounters I’ve ever had with people.

 

Could I just be psychologically justifying this so that I don’t feel unworthy of love and attention?  I guess anything is possible; however, I’ve done that before and I was fully aware that I was doing it.  I really wish I was one of those people who was clueless about my motivations, I’d probably sleep better.  But I’m not.  The feeling was completely different when I was lying to myself and others, there was bitterness and resentment.   The feeling I have now is: safe.  I feel emotionally safe and stable.  I yearn no more.  To me, that’s freedom.

The second thing that had a great impact on me this past year was reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the sequel, Spark Joy, and the parody, The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck.  Now, some of you might be rolling your eyes at the mere thought of the konmari method and how it’s a bunch of hoopla, but I’m here to tell you that the shift from deciding what to throw away, and what to keep because it makes you feel good, was HUGE for me.  The jerk I wasted 9 years of my life with only kept practical things and would rant and rave about how much stuff I had; sometimes, I would throw things out simply to appease him.  But those impractical things were things that made me happy, so I would be left feeling anxious and sad.  I would panic at not knowing what to get rid of, and then get rid of the wrong things.  If he had had it his way, there would have been no trace of ‘me’ in the house.  But that’s another mentally exhausting story that I would rather not get into.  Suffice it to say that when people roll their eyes at battered women for staying in abusive relationships, I do understand them, the psychology behind the dismantling of The Self.   It’s not easy.  It’ll be five years this February since I was ‘liberated’ from that toxic arrangement, but I still have bizarre dreams about him.  Just last night, I had a dream that he stormed my house with a crowd of his cronies  and wanted me to pay for his new girlfriend’s income tax and that he was getting lawyers and would take my dogs away from me.   The subconscious is one fucked up realm, amigos.  But I digress…

I had started the process last summer, but was then sidetracked by water infiltration in my upstairs windows, the terrible decision to have all windows changed, and a non-stop stream of work and expectations thrust upon me.  Not to mention trying to catch a lost Husky, finding a dying blackbird on my front step, and, then there was the pain and general malaise that medications control, yet do not eradicate.  I was depleted.   But psychologically, I was ready for this purge.  

Being a somewhat sensitive person, I really like the idea of seeing how an object makes you feel and letting go of those that make you feel ‘heavy’ and keeping those that make you feel happy.   I’ve been notorious for keeping things for sentimental reasons – someone gave or made me something, and throwing that thing away was like rejecting that person. I really did feel sad for the lamp when I saw this commercial:

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I started with clothes, as is recommended.  I still kept some ‘meh’ items because they fit, and if I got rid of everything, I’d be wearing a dollarama tarp to the office :/  I’m not brave enough to post photos of the before and after, so just imagine a bunch of useless clothing being pared down to a semi-manageable amount of clothing, which I will, no doubt have to redo because I don’t think I was fully committed to the process.  

Next: books.  That was tough.  I’ve always loved books; a passion I inherited from my father.  My first memory of holding a book was watching my parents read, as I sat in the hallway holding one of my father’s books, mimicking him, pretending to read – I didn’t know it at the time, but the book was upside down.   I still have the last book my father was reading before he died, a spy novel by Len Deighton, with a piece of toilet paper as a bookmark.   Relax people, it was clean.  

When I rifled through my books, I had no compunction about getting rid of specific books I purchased because my 9-year-jerk had convinced me that ‘twas not that he was a lying, cheating, sanctimonious piece of shit, but rather that I was insane and needed ‘help’.  At the time, a psychiatrist actually kicked me out of his office because I was wasting his time, so he was pretty much gaslighting me.  I then held my other books, whether read or not, and asked myself how I felt as I held them.  If I didn’t feel comoforted, or excited or any other positive feeling, out it went.  I had asked around if anyone wanted them for book sales, but nobody did.  So, yesterday, FOUR bags of books went to the recycling.  And instead of thinking about it as a waste, I thought about those books as being on a journey to becoming a new book, or copy paper.  Or toilet paper.   I haven’t done the basement, yet, though.   I know you’re supposed to do them all in one shot, in one place… but I just don’t have the energy or sometimes even the strength in my arms to gather all this shit together, so I’ll be doing a modified version of the konmari method.  The main concept is the same: spark joy.  

I haven’t started any of the other categories yet, I’ll save that for the new year.  But I did start purging ‘people’ who no longer sparked joy in my life.   NO MAS!  That’s where the book, The Live Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck, came in – I initially got it for a laugh, but it’s quite insightful.  I only have so many fucks in my fuck budget and I’m saving them for people and things that matter.  I don’t want drama or duplicity, and I don’t need people pointing out how negative I can be, or that I swear too fucking much, or that I’m being socially unacceptable… all that flattery will just get to my head, and I think humility is my best quality.  

Also gone: my facebook account – completely, not just ‘deactivated’.  I had thought about it for a while, but it wasn’t until I saw the episode ‘Nosedive’ on Black Mirror that I thought, yeah, that’s what it’s become, what we’ve become.  That was on Hallowe’en, and I haven’t missed it at all.  I keep in touch with a few people either by gmail or by text, and that’s about it.  Despite the decrease in frequency, the exchanges are deliberate and genuine.   I’m good with that.

 

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My beautiful girl… my heart bursts with love when I look at her

The whole purpose of getting myself organized and getting rid of ‘things’ is so that I can have the energy to devote myself to what brings me joy.  I don’t want to waste time organizing or cleaning or whatever; I want to focus on my dogs and cat and being as present as I can be with them, because I don’t know how much longer I’ll be lucky enough to have their loving souls in my life.   I want to free up space in my head to write utter bullshit and start drawing again – do creative things. Essentially, I want to be able to escape… and the only way to do that is to remove the physical things that remind me of life outside my inner sanctum, where unhappiness and bullshit are ubiquitous….  

*** Happy New Year, World Wide Web…***

 

A License to Pee


The other day, some crabby old bitch with too much time on her hands started banging on her bay  window because Henry lifted his leg on the tree on her front lawn.  I wanted to give her the international sign for “get a fucking life!”, commonly known as The Finger, but I realized that I hadn’t picked up the dogs’ licenses for this year yet, so I contained myself.  Instead, I pretended like I didn’t know where the noise was coming from.  The more she banged, the more I just looked around me and everywhere else but at her front window.  She was incensed.  

Now, before y’all get horrified and say that it’s her property and her tree and how my Henry’s urine was vandalizing her property,  let me clarify how property ownership works here:  you might own your house, you might be responsible for mowing every inch of your lawn right up to the sidewalk and picking up the leaves of the tree on that lawn… but that tree, and approximately four feet of the land from the sidewalk onto your lawn belongs to the city.    


license-4And that, dear reader, is the main reason I get an annual doggie license for my poopers. Although it’s also contributing to the upkeep of dog parks, my strongest incentive for getting them is that I am giving my dogs a License to Pee – and poop (which I dutifully pick up, I might add) on municipal land.   So when some crotchety old cunt gets all uppity with me, and I have the time and inclination, I can irritate the shit out of her by simply smiling, let her make an ass out of herself by yelling at me, and then calmly point out that, “my dogs are licensed and are within their rights to pee and poop on municipal property, which, incidentally, runs just past the huge tree.”  BOOM!  Nothing shuts a miserable cunt up like cold, hard facts.  

So today, I shall walk my  beasts past that petty woman’s house with their shiny new tags jingling from their collars and feel satisfied with my $50 investment – such a small price to pay for pees of mind.  

‘Cause you gotta fight for their right, to POTTY…