Category Archives: animals


Yes, people are all different. People, however, have said that dogs only remember things for 45 minutes. Wrongo, moose breath (that’s my brother). Herders remember everything. That ride to work in the Honda 12 years ago? Tradition. Welcome to being herded. That’s our current old Zoe. I’d drop my husband across from work by the bus hut, Zoe would move into the passenger seat and sit like a person and everyone would point and laugh as she looked human. Routine. Don’t worry, I didn’t take her to the conclusion of the Ken Lay/Enron trial.

My first cat, Nathan was a talker. In 13 years I never got in the last word until I held him in my arms and the pink liquid did it’s thing. He was my first. Congestive heart failure combined with pneumonia.

Mick was a gymnast who bedded down with my first dog for a year. He taught himself to fetch crumpled post-it notes thrown over the sofa. He would retrieve and drop the note at my feet. Dogs used to run away from home to see him. He went to live with a Corgi who used to place his entire head in his mouth. They were best buds.

The first of two dogs was Chani. She helped me create off-leash areas in parks across the city. Not ours, sadly, but when she died neighbors bought the city a tree in her honor. It had a way better view than our home!

People have more complex things going on in the brain, on paper, but animals are fascinating as well. They really do have very different personalities. Think about that before you adopt. They’re interviewing you as well. Cheers! Dee


Blog and Blog Again

That is my density (remember the first Back To The Future movie).

Pursuit. Sixteen years ago I met the man with whom I wished to spend the rest of my life.  No, I never told him so! We met all the folks, eloped and will celebrate 15 years married in January, which is also the 14th anniversary of our young, sick pup who we rehabilitated from the shelter. Even systematically took out her hips at age six and nine months because she had the worst hip dysplasia her surgeon had ever seen. As my husband is a physicist his cousin, her surgeon cleaned and kept the first hip bone for our perusal.

Never chase. Be chased. As far as jobs were concerned I just showed up for the interview and they tried to sell me on it.  If it worked, it worked. I did make one error, a woman who took me to a fancy NYC hotel for breakfast and she ended up being the boss from he!!. That was two years of trials but I quit and used the money I’d saved to go to cooking school. A gift from a friend l came later on was a week south of Florence, Italy for another cooking school. Both were the most fun education I’ve ever had.

Always let a dog or cat come to you. They will pursue you and be calmer, happier and desire to be near you. Never pick them up and make them sit on your lap. Do what you are doing, whether knitting or watching an old episode of ER. They want your attention. As John Lennon (if you’re too young, he led a little band called The Beatles) said, I am the Walrus. Shades of Pale from Procol Harum. Pursuit.

My husband said he could not date me, when he was away after a week. It was the dot-bomb era and the board left info on the white board that ended with “fire staff.” Everyone saw it and went home for the weekend to live in agony awaiting the axe. He went to live with his folks for two weeks and came back and his neighbor asked why he returned. He simply said, “her.” Yes, that was me.

Oh, I had to hire and pay for maids to clean his place (string cheese in individual wrappers between the frig and dual-brained computer he built) in his man-cave apartment with the black drapes behind the mail boxes. I also found him/us a place to live 1,000 feet from mine, now called the Barbie House. Yes, I did passively pursue, but mostly through food. His grandmother now says that is looking happy and must be eating well. That is what nearly 20 years has done. He was skinny at the time. We eat healthily but age creeps up. Cheers! Dee

ps We’ve never lived in a man cave. Hey he met me! I need a view, keep our place clean (not me all these years later) and cook for him and do all the paperwork. You wouldn’t even want to know the “rules” of Barbie and how to deal with all the stairs. Leave something to take up and pick it up and put it away. I’ve done 34 steps twice to do your laundry and I live 1,000 feet away! Ok, I did a few of my things too, that was part of the deal. Dee



The Game

I remember the Titans. GCM High. They came with swagger and talent and bravado and beat us my first year as a student.

There are other games, with compatriots, people who treat me with disdain, even my husband and our dog. My dear husband says I’m “sneaky” because I can find my way through small streets to get to the grocery, streets he does not know and that do not involve highway traffic.

My dog says I do not need discipline any more, I just want you to feed me. I turned down two small, new dogs last-minute to take care of for a week because we just got off another volunteer gig and old dog and me are exhausted. Plus hubby is here 24/7 at least for this week. I’ll make mini-quiches or we’ll make pancakes because I just got maple syrup. I prefer grade B as I think it tastes better.

With people and dogs (not cats) it’s all in your head. Read them, know what they want you to do for them and decide whether or not to do what they ask. Then decide how to explain your answer, that is critical and it must be short and specific.

Cats are a different story. Cheers! Dee


Dogs and Babies

I was offended the other day when a mother with a totally covered up baby in a stroller said she would not ride with me and my old mascot dog Zoe in the elevator. Zoe didn’t care about the mother or stroller at all, and was on a short leash. She still insisted on taking another elevator.

The only stroller Zoe has ever been interested in carried an elderly Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie). She was a pup then and all she knew was that infants cannot do anything for her, look at her, pet her and give her a Cheerio. Strollers have not been interesting since that day and she’s coming up on 14 years early next year.

I used to take care of a wonderful “ray of sunshine” often when this old yellow Lab’s folks were out of town. He was a surgeon and she was a teacher, seven months pregnant. A “onesie” was out of the question for these smart folks.

I gave them a tape to play for the dog with baby sounds like crying, gurgling et al. They had just moved out of the neighborhood to a larger home and hadn’t met their neighbors yet as I brought their dog back after the move.

After I left they played the tape, leaving it on while they took the dog for her first walk in the neighborhood. Because of a loud tape with gurgly sounds and wailing, their neighbors saw them walking their dog, after leaving the “baby” alone in the house. I’m sure that over the years they’ve fixed that situation, and now have two healthy kiddos. Sadly their dog succumbed to disease and old age, as did mine at the time.

When people pick up a toddler or kindergarten-age child, heck, even a small dog to protect them from my 30 lb. Aussie “mascot” they do them a disservice. A young Swedish boy who lives nearby has shrunk from Zoe for years, hiding behind Mom but occasionally venturing forth to pet her hind end. Last weekend my husband told me the boy took her leash and walked her. I believe that is how one gets kids to get involved and appreciate pets, and dogs to learn how to socialize.

I’ve said for over 13 years that anyone could go into Zoe’s food bowl (if they’re fast enough, she’s a chowhound and usually done in a minute) and she would just look at me and ask “Mom, can I have some more?” That is what a good dog does. Dee

Snowflake II, The Wonder Kitty

I was a volunteer trainer of fellow volunteers. I went out and purchased a bean bag cat and had his ear “tipped” by the tippers and showed my volunteers how do deal with an anesthetized feral cat, how to carry and transport them safely into their carriers to wake up and go back and not repopulate the feral community. Stats said that two cats can make 420K cats in seven years. Trap, neuter, release is my chosen path. Plus education so people don’t leave their kittens at a rec center or throw them out a car window behind a fast food place.

The bean bag kitty, Snowflake, had about as much muscle control under anesthesia as the cats did, which was good but it took extra care. Think about picking up a newborn and cradling the head. A newborn child, awake, had much more muscle control than an anesthetized cat. When we married and left town to places that shoot feral cats, I left Snowflake The Elder for the Volunteers.

One day the SFSPCA was there filming the large spay/neuter operation (pun intended) and they liked my volunteer speech using Snowflake. They had me do it over while the volunteers went to work, then I ran to Transport where I was needed. I’ve never seen the film however my butt must be in it somewhere!

A few weeks ago I got a pair of toy kitties on sale from Easter. A white Snowflake II for my office bookshelf as a remembrance, and a grey kitty for the baby downstairs. If he doesn’t like it, perhaps he’ll give it to his blind dog. They’re labeled bean bags but have very few beans in them. Zoe would chew them up and make a mess in an instant so she can’t get to them now!

I tried to get you a photo of the new Snowflake II but new computer, monitor, phone it cannot be done right now. All I can say is that if there is a feral cat spay/neuter program it’s worth a contribution, if not check out your local no-kill shelters. Volunteer! Dee





I’ll Get You, My Pretty

And your little dog, too! Yes that would be the Wicked Witch, Miss Gulch, as Dorothy and Toto, who were sentenced to his demise after he got into Miss Gulch’s flower garden and Dorothy begged Aunty Em and Uncle Henry to save Toto.  Oh, yes, then there was a huge tornado…. spoiler alert! Ok kids, this film was released just a few years ago. Earlier than Star Wars! We used to go to our tech neighbor across the street who had the first color tv in the neighborhood, to see the film turn to color.

Dorothy and Toto journeyed to The Wizard of Oz in 1939. So did Scarlett and Rhett that year in Gone With The Wind. We spent a day watching Gone With The Wind a couple of weeks ago. It was a two-day event. I have seen both several times over the years.

We have a an old little dog, twice the size of Dorothy’s Norwich terrier Toto so we would have to make travel arrangements to Oz by other means than bicycle, balloon or dream, perhaps space travel. Oh, my husband might be with me because as I can get in the Emerald City door by charm, he is the one to quickly decipher the codes to the Emerald City that will let Dorothy, and us, go home.

Puppies, dogs go, ours is old and healthy at over 13 years. She is a treasure to our lives and hearts. She was kind enough to mentor a nearly three month-old pup for a weekend. I call Zoe the Dowager Princess of Dogs. All I can say was that the pup was a handful.

I am exhausted, but she’s a smart gal and given the right direction she will find her own way. This was an unusual case of two professionals getting a young pup and leaving it alone. I tried to help but only had a weekend and couldn’t help with behavior problems as I’ve been ill and have a bit of blood loss from bites and possibly tetanus to deal with. I still love dogs, just had to take care of that little pup who reminded me of my volunteer days with feral cats and my mind may say, today, I’m too old for another pup. That’s sad. Dee

ps Toto was an inspiration to me for how to adopt from a shelter and have a kind companion, so was Dorothy who saved so many people.  We might adopt an older dog later on with {I cannot say the word without) my old girl. With the pup, I dealt with household involuntary or voluntary gastric enterprises. Not me. Angry, scared, unsocialized with other dogs and people (only the young pup, mine is a mascot around here), our pets need help. Not $250 per night to stay with my pet for six hours and then give her two brief walks per day. I want care, and we don’t even spend that much for our hotel and drive half-way throughout the country to see his parents at his childhood home.

I spent years working to establish leash-free areas for dogs in one city and around the nation. I will not let pet-sitters rob us blind. $250 per night? I used to do it for about $35 back in the day and it included an overnight, 24/7 in my home and at least four walks. Two years later Zoe dragged me across the street to look at back of someone, it was the guy who walked her two years before and they just wanted to say hello. Back then, in our current town, it was $85 per night. Now it’s $250.

Right now pet sitter companies are acting like they own the world, but of the cost of service and profits means their walkers only make a small fraction of the proceeds because the boss takes it all without ever handling a leash.

Service is what I do. I am a volunteer that has been lucky to be with our dog Zoe for over 13 years. She is to me what Toto was to Dorothy in 1939, as things don’t change too much except calling them my dog or best friend. Oh, Zoe just said go through shelter adoption interviews, pay the $75 and spend the rest on hip surgery – you’ll find out more about that in a couple of months. Smart gal.

It is interesting that we spent $75 to adopt our dog and now it costs $250 per day to take care of her as she ages and we do not put her on a plane for her health. She is very healthy and takes no medication, only eats good food and has lots of love.

My husband and Zoe and family are stand-up folks. Mother-in-law is upset when our Zoe doesn’t visit for our big Thanksgiving as we make a lot of dishes and dance around her kitchen together knowing timing and our territories. Oh, Zoe eats the crumbs from the floor, leading to less vacuuming. Once welcomed only in a goat pen (I refused to visit) she sleeps on our bed while visiting and stands on the sofa to greet my father-in-law when he returns from feeding cattle.

I did meet Margaret Hamilton on probably her final speaking tour. I was 19. She was not scary at all! I came to greet her as staff, and of course mentioned her as The Wicked Witch of the West and that this is one of my favorite films. We’re off to see the wizard… Dee




No, old dog Zoe and I didn’t see it, but we sure smelled it and headed home right away. The “Parking Nazi “saw us and put down the window. So glad we have underground paid parking spots as she tows every vehicle she sees on the street! She said she smelled it and wanted to know where the critter was.

We never saw it. The dog or bunny or whatever it “got” today was gone as well. This was five a.m. We were skunked and everything has gone through a wash. After all, we were skunked!

I told Parking Nazi to have a good day. We’re OK now.

We’ve a pup staying with us over the weekend, mishap with vacation hotel. Perhaps not, as they get to vacation and I get to stay home with our dogs, who get along.  Little one came up on my lap and stayed there, holding my right arm hostage while I petted her with my left. Our old Zoe went nuts showing off her toy skills and embarrassing me throughout the visit.

The couple does not wish to leave their dog but who better than Aunt Dee? Zoe’s beta and would never hurt anything, except perhaps a mouse or baby squirrel or bunny. No, she’s not allowed, and loves dogs and even cats. And people.

My husband is upset today that Zoe is more enthusiastic to see her dog food delivery guy than him, and he’s the “fun guy.” I’m the food wench and disciplinarian. As Scarlett O’Hara said, “tomorrow is another day.”

Husband has been here a week, for a change writing a book, and M only delivers for a few minutes every other week so M takes precedence in Zoe’s mind. Absence makes the heart grow fonder? With husbands, yes. Dogs, no. Our dog wants to be close, observe and herd and monitor without being too close. Not a lap dog. Cheers and pick up after your dog, Dee


Get Dee!

In my younger years I did a lot of volunteering at local animal shelters, and spent one day a month, for six years, helping to spay/neuter 2,500 feral cats.

The transport coordinator was happier with personing the ER van than dealing with volunteers so I set up my systems. After many years they re-named Dee’s Kitty Wake-Up List with a better title, finally. We had cleaners of traps, transporters, breathers who learned to use Dee’s Kitty Wake-Up List to make sure they were napping and not still under anesthesia, and of course the all-important ER. All shots and fluids came from there. I once had to resuscitate a young kitten for two hours using acupressure. It scared the heck out of me thinking that he could die. He lived. I called out his number and a volunteer ran to get his carrier and he was awake.

I made a few jokes in my volunteer training each month, and SFSPCA asked me for a re-do and filmed it. What do you do if an anesthetized cat starts peeing on you? Reach out your arms! The video was me with Snowflake The Wonder Kitty (a white bean bag kitty that I bought for training that had about as much muscle control as our anesthetized patients, and I had “tipping” do his ear). Snowflake is how I taught them how to load the sleeping patients into their carriers. I’ve still never seen the film.

No-one wants to carry around a 15 lb. feral cat, AWAKE. Heavens, I’ve seen cute feral kittens at eight weeks run around inside a crate like banshees!

Get Dee! Have her take this one to Surgery. It has tapeworms and needs a Dr’s order for Droncit! Another has ringworm. Get Dee! Another has mange. Get Dee! Before he wakes up. As we were in a warm climate I never wore surgical gloves.

I was so worn out after 8-9 hours that at first I let my dog and two cats sniff me. I was told never to do that, to get undressed before coming into the house and wash my clothing immediately. Two problems way back then. I had a carport and neighbors may have had a problem with my stripping outdoors. Second, I had no washer/dryer so just put them in a plastic bag until I could get to the laundromat. I did shower first thing.

Oh well, at least you know I was the “go to” gal. My volunteers loved me and while the organization wasn’t big on thank you’s, I was. Most of our events were in the back parking lot of vet clinics. Our team set up tents and handmade benches, by innovative volunteers, on which to set the carriers, and provided towels for each carrier. Every feral had two identical numbers that needed to be matched. Their caretakers would get up at three in the morning and one regularly caught more than thirty per month!

I would wait until after our setup and before Surgery was ready to go then peruse the strip mall and see if there was any food. “What’s going on back there?” I told them we have 174 cats today. Inevitably they paraded out with free water, donuts, sodas, whatever they had on hand when I told them we were all volunteers. A go-to gal indeed.

No more kitties. I don’t live there anymore and anywhere else I go they shoot feral cats. They do not reduce the population by spay/neuter. My husband is deathly allergic to cats, and fish, so I’ve lost both. Ah, well, no good deed goes unpunished. Volunteer! Dee

Inspiration and Aspirations

Never mind perspiration. I awakened thinking I was late on a Sunday to take her out. Turns out the sun was bright and it was 5:30 in the morning and I awakened her.

If I were to opine, I’d say that when her eyes first opened as a pup she realized she was living in squalor. She knew she was a mutt, and wanted to get out of there pronto. Luckily the folks that allowed her to have worms, coccidia et al dumped her litter at the local shelter. Neither I nor my husband ever grew up in those conditions but we understand them and are grateful for shelters who take care of needy animals.

We were married a year and “settled in” as much as a software guy can be coming off the dot-bomb era so decided to get a dog. We met Zoe and were smitten. She was taken. We saw other dogs but liked “Camilla.” They called the next morning, said the hold was released and that she was ours. She was so excited coming home in that cardboard box she jumped right out!

I threw the box in the back seat and she relished sitting on my lap and driving in the car (windows closed, of course, AC on). Oh this was the second shelter to nudge nudge. wink wink change the name. We were down to a list of five. After 20 years of volunteering with shelters and also helping spay/neuter over 2,500 feral cats we settled on a name. Zoe, Greek for “life.” It has suited her all these years as she is the happiest dog I’ve ever met.

Her aspirations were realized. A good family and new/no hips. Yes, by the time she was four months old, at under 20 lbs. she had the worst hips her surgeon had ever seen. I did two weeks of research and we got her in to Val the Vet at six and nine-months of age for two FNHO’s, femoral head and neck ostectomies, they took out her hips. Back then they didn’t have titanium hips for smaller dogs so she had to grow her own hips and that she did. We walked her, my husband had her sneak into the pool for water therapy and she just took it on, life as usual.

Zoe is a trouper. All these years later she is kind of a mascot in our community and all the kids call out “Look, it’s Zoe!!!” My name is irrelevant. She is so kind and gentle to people, little ones, other dogs, even cats. She does have a forever home and has since she turned six weeks old. She is an inspiration to me for the light she gives others, and an aspiration as to what one can do with no hips.

I’ve had two dogs. The first was abused by a Deputy Sheriff, terrified of men in uniform, men with a cap, men in general and all children. I cured her of that in a month. Well, until my Navy neighbor came out in his dress whites. I just said “Chani, it’s Chris!” and she ran up to him and luckily didn’t get any yellow fur on his uniform. He usually wore a tee-shirt and camo shorts to work. She had never seen uniform or lid.

Zoe was to be raised from the day she turned six weeks old, a little puff ball, to now, with love and training and knowing she would be with us for the rest of her life. We’re family. We have inspiration, aspirations and have shared some perspiration to get there.

I like to think our little family has harmony. My brother just says Zoe is needy. Well, she has her own sign language (stare language) and sometimes he and usually I, know what she wants or needs. Out? Need “Precious” that is her only toy?

There was a terrible story yesterday about a tremendously malnourished, frightened and probably abused dog. She looks like my Chani before rehabilitation. Now with a foster family, I hope she gets the food and care she needs to find her own forever home. I know we saved Zoe, as in Texas rather than have two hip surgeries many would have put a bullet in her head. She chose well. Zoe has taught us too, and made a lot of friends. I will be with her, holding her, until the last moment of her life. Right now she’s happy and healthy.

Zoe was offered a mowed goat pen first time in Texas 13 years ago, so I asked my husband to go without us. Then his dad scrubbed an old dog crate and put it in my husband’s old room. Zoe walked in and out in a few seconds and wanted the bed. Now she stands on the sofa on “grandpa’s spot” and watches him come home from feeding the cattle. As she ages I do not wish to fly her anymore. If I’m driving, she has her own setup in back with 4″ orthopedic bed…and she still loves the car. When we fly in “grandma” is always upset that Zoe is missing, even bought her a matching stocking to ours last year because “she’s family.” We do up to five days of cooking and need someone to pick up crumbs. That would be Zoe. Here’s to the dogs in our lives! Dee

Water and Dr. Dog

Two days ago we received a notice on the elevator that our water was being shut off by the city. Then an email saying “Please plan your day accordingly.”

I’ve been through a Cat 5 hurricane, blogging it. 149 of 150 lofts were damaged. Ours was not. My husband and dog slept through the night, clueless while I watched trees sway side to side in 80 mph winds and the Bayou rise 25 feet.

Saying to a young mother that she will be without water and to “plan accordingly” is city-speak for we don’t care about you and are not going to give you a hurricane plan sheet about a water shutoff to families with young children and retirees. They don’t give any plans for conserving water to use during the days in question. I don’t trust the city to do the work, get it done in time and it may be days without water and people will die.

We have a hurricane kit and have already delivered an empty six-gallon water vessel for our neighbors to fill and to do what I will do in a few hours. Fill tubs, pitchers, and one sink with soapy water. Six gallon hard plastic tub is filled and sitting in the shower to be used for washing hands and dishes. Water flowers and plants. Use pitchers to get tub water to place in tank to flush toilet when needed.

It’s two hours before I have to get up to finish preparations. I don’t want any more “they’re doing this, not us” going on. The management company doesn’t care that we pay a premium to live here. We live with basketball stars, baseball stars, TV news personalities and hockey elites and I enjoy sports and see players on a regular basis. It’s “hey, how’s it going? Can I pet your dog?” Not me. Him.

Yes, everyone asks this of our old dog Zoe. Look! It’s Zoe! I don’t ask who they are. If they’re tall and skinny I ask how it is to be a linebacker. It’s a joke.

We’ll all be without water today and I’ve tried to get the City and our residents covered in terms of conserving water for daily use for the outage. No one will respond. There are no instructions. Today I help folks with water, tomorrow it’s baby food and blind dogs.

I talked to a dog maven yesterday about the blind neighbor dog. He gave me pointers and asked for a report. He charges for consultations but did not charge me. I’ve been interviewed on his radio show before and he remembered me from over 20 years ago. He asked me questions and one had two bad answers. I chose the best then offered a third option, to give the dog a chance. I passed. He is a brilliant man and has helped me not only with my dogs, but through that training volunteers to care for spay/neuter feral cats, dealing with kids, families and work. Don’t tell him, it’ll go to his Mensa head! Cheers! Dee