Category Archives: Pet

Tricking a Cat

Yes, I did it. I was sent a five-week old cat by my sister, across the country. Surprise! He had fallen seven feet from the loft where he was born and his mother would not feed him. I’d never had a cat before that time and did not know anything about raising a cat.

I learned and ten years later adopted another cat. They did not get along. Imagine run, run, hiss, hiss. Again and again. How about a cabinet being opened and slammed closed 100 times at 4:00 a.m. Yes, it was the cat food cabinet.

For the holidays I bought them a blanket. The young one slept under, the older one over. I stayed for five minutes until they were asleep. Then I went to my desk for work and they thought they were cuddling me and not each other.

That’s one way to trick cats and try to live a normal life. Unless there are dogs that run away from home to visit my cats. Yes, they did. They both loved dogs. My husband is so allergic to cats that I can’t have one. Our old dog loves cats, too.

There may be a video for kittens that they can watch on TV. I had a CRT back then and Mick would sit on top and watch and bat at the squirrels and birds. I’d run it twice and he’d go to sleep, so I could work. To you who adopt the unadoptables from local shelters, THANK YOU! Dee

Beauty Sleep

and hair/fur. I let our dog Zoe dry out, no hair dryers, for at least 24 hours before trying to comb her out with Dee’s Chamber of Horrors. It’s just a zip-top bag with every kind of brush/comb she’ll need. She looks gorgeous, for a mutt! Lifted to our bed every night this THW (the hipless wonder) she goes on the rug underneath at my pillow to make sure I cannot escape….

Now I am advised to wash and place in my hair product while wet and keep combing it until it is dry, and I would have to stay awake all night to do so. It gets frizzy, freaky and flat by the hour and it’s after 4 a.m. If I keep using the round brush to “style” I will have no hair left at all!

Just as Zoe’s fur grows in different patterns over the years I get it. I cannot understand my own hair as it changes by day and weather, neither she nor my husband should have any haircut for Zoe or me that involves “styling.”

Think about it, if it takes, shampoo, conditioner, gel, and 24 hours to dry au naturel just so I don’t need to use a hair dryer it’s not worth it. What will I do with those useless days I’m spent air-drying my hair so it looks terrible? If it rains, it’s going to curl up anyway.

Zoe just wants to be clean and stands by the tub. 24 hours later she’s ready to be combed out and hates that part. I hate waiting because my hair gets frizzy and now never dries.

Let’s work something out, here. Zoe can take my spot on the bed, I’ll curl up on her big bed. Little bed giving herder access to all views is way too small. Or I can just sleep on the sofa.

Within 3 minutes she’ll come in the “office” and sit by my chair. Wrong. Five feet away on the newly-washed white bed and pillow where she can make sure I never make a move without her knowledge.

Sometimes I envy smart dogs because if I want to come back as one once I die, I’d make it Zoe and lie around and sleep all day, chase a mouse or squirrel while on a walk, eat stellar food and get lifted onto the bed to sleep once again. But I would have to be Zoe with me, as my husband would alway forget to get the pet-sitter or feed or walk her unless it is “routine,” for a herder. Plus, I would not wish to meet his new wife. So we both stay, for now, to spoil Zoe.

“Beulah, peel me a grape!” Shhhhh. Don’t tell Zoe about grapes. I’ve raised fruititarians (cat Zoe loved grapefruit) and meatitarians, my dear husband and I love them all. Cheers!Dee

Foxes and Sockses and Boxes

Yes, I still have a few boxes and a lot of moving materials including one large folder with places for moving sheets, inventory, et al. Also one for where we’re moving with space for locations, and papers.

I’ll be ready when we move. I even have new moving tape for the prime dispenser and box cutters, scissors and permanent markers for boxes. Also labels in different colors. One is car, another home/MBR or whatever room, storage and discard. Oh, we’re not moving. I just have all the stuff. Ask me about the “Tuscan Retreat” someday. I got in trouble for that.

First I must say I am not a plant person. I killed two thyme plants and two sage plants this spring. OK, one cilantro is about to be pronounced DOA. Yes, I am a serial plant killer.

They spent forever planting my herb garden downstairs so I had to create my own in three containers indoors. The basil and some cilantro and rosemary are doing well. Yesterday I went to see the community garden and was very pleased that residents are “shopping” there. They tear off the buds, I bring small scissors and as it is such a short growing season, weekly I try to keep the plants from “bolting” too soon.

Yesterday I picked some thyme, sage, parsley and chives for an herb butter I’ll make and perhaps place in an old-fashioned ice cube tray (aluminum with the handle to get the cubes out, oh, you’re too young). The tray was a gift from my mother-in-law. Great gal.

As to socks I used to wear run-of-the-mill bargain-basement socks. Then I started taking care of Sage, the neighbors’ new pup. No way I could flood or dry him out, like the herb, a great dog and I hope he is doing well.

Two roommate gals worked sales for SmartWool and ProBar. Guess what I got for taking good care of Sage? In the beginning I was so concerned about wearing $20 SmartWool socks that I bought $8 Crocs from the sale bin at the outlet store to protect them, until I nearly was electrocuted in the dry mountain climate by touching the thermostat, thrown back into the dishwasher and I fried the control panel. It, and I were immediately fixed.

No more Crocs indoors, I’ve at least 10 pair and wear them outdoors, even winter boots, and leave them on a dog towel inside the “mud room.”

Now I need to wear compression socks, doc says, for circulation. They cost $50 per pair, so I wear SmartWool over them when in the house, after taking off my Crocs at the door. I wear simple clothing and it is amazing to me that every day I’m wearing $70 on my feet without shoes, while cooking and playing with the dog!

Oh, I’ve about ten pair of unopened SmartWool socks and two of unopened compression socks so I’ve years to go. Now I need to find out Crocs sizing as I need a couple more pair. Thanks, neighbors, and Sage. Dee

Yellow and Blue

There was a dear neighbor I’d known for years and even shared care-taking responsibilities for rescuing a lost cat before we got George adopted. Our old dogs were buddies.

She got mad at me for something I didn’t do, and a couple of years went by. One morning her dog dragged her to my door. I petted the dog and my neighbor said hello. Her dog died the next day.

I received a note at my door. Immediately I went out and bought a vase with yellow and blue flowers and delivered it to her. She invited me in and we became friends again.

A month later my old dog passed. I left her a note. She responded with a new vase and different yellow and blue flowers. We’ve lost touch over the years but I like this story for many reasons.

We were, were not, then were friends. We loved our dogs and they loved both of us. Her dog was persistent to get us back together before she died. A month later my dog knew she was dying (died the next day) so brought a huge teddy bear to the Park, a new thing as for ten years she’d always brought a ball to chase, and said goodbye to all the dogs, their owners and all the kids in the tot lot who always called out her name and ran to see her.

Blue and yellow do not signify death to me. They mean life, love, friendship. My husband is en route home and now I buy him flowers every week. He got them for me for 15 years so now everyone laughs at me for buying them for him. I guess most wives don’t do that. Less time meticulously buying flowers for me means more precious time with us. Plus, the gorgeous flower place where I go is half-off on Fridays!

Today I bought yarrow (yellow), blue/purple thistles, a reminder of our time in Scotland and its’ national flower, and yellow alstroemeria. Yellow and blue. Life, love and friendship. Cheers and have a great weekend! We plan to chill out and make a couple of dry aged NY strip steaks. Dee

Routine

Zoe is a herding dog, an Australian Shepherd mix probably with a Border Collie and/or Golden Retriever. I got to see her pack when she was five weeks old and they looked like Aussies. She thrives on routines. First permit me to say that she is an indoor dog who loves frozen raw food and dried food for travel, that she is lifted up to our bed to sleep at night and goes out 4-6 times per day. She is now 88 in people years.

We’ve also our routines, my husband and I, that have changed. Zoe and I were out at 5:30 this fine Saturday morning and husband is sleeping and snoring before nine. I’m wondering what to make for breakfast.

He’s gone during the week so we make do and I eat fruit and yogurt and perhaps some fish (he’s deathly allergic) and Zoe’s routine is similar but she knows Daddy’s gone so goes to extra lengths to protect me. When we’re both at home she just lies where we can’t get away and no-one can get into the front door without her knowing about it and making some noise.

I used to make bacon and eggs and toast with jam, and tea and OJ for breakfast for my husband, not me. Not anymore. My routine took about ten minutes, including the tea. He used to bring me flowers.

Now I use one vase (asters and accents/fillers last week) and clean it and buy him flowers every week. Friday, half price Friday, but at another spot I found him some wonderful tulips, cut them down and arranged them. For much of our lives together he’s bought me flowers. Now, as he arrives home late Friday night I get them for him. The routine has changed and everyone who rings me up sales-wise compliments me not just on my choices, but the fact that I buy flowers for my husband. I’m guessing most women don’t do that.

So, there is routine and breaking routine. I like both. Our Zoe loves routine. My husband gets to change it at will, sleeping ’til noon and when I’ve a full normal breakfast for him arranged will ask for oatmeal with milk and fruit. I roll with the punches. Over the past year this non-cook has asked to learn how to make pancakes and fresh pasta. He must be looking for a new wife!

Yesterday I ran into a neighbor with a gorgeous dog we’ve taken care of for a few weeks. Our dogs get along great together (another change in routine). There’s a four month-old pup of that wonderful breed available that makes me salivate but Zoe is the only dog in my life for now except when L moves in for a week or two. They’re two peas in a pod.

She’s sending me a link to the pup. I can’t do this. It’s against routine. Dee

Strange Dream

Yesterday I was awake from 4 a.m. to nearly 11 p.m. The dog was sick (for whatever reason, it only happens once a year) and I gave her two baths, once a rinse then a bath. Laundry ensues, of course.

Today I had a nightmare about taking her out, calling out for my husband (who is out of town). Anyway, I awakened mid-dream not knowing where I was, what time it was and where is my husband? And where’s our dog?

UBD. That’s code for Under-Bed Dog. She now goes underneath the bed by my pillow to get out of the sun and get her beauty sleep while making sure I can’t leave the house without her knowledge. Yes, she is a herder.

I was so worried about her yesterday as she felt bad. She got no dinner so her tummy would resolve itself. Zoe scarfed down a dog food breakfast this morning and is sleeping on the carpet next to my desk.

Zoe is a good thing in our lives. She’s spoiled rotten but won’t sit on a lap or be petted. She just wants what my English teacher Aunt always said, being “by.” She needs to know where we (especially me the food wench) are without being near enough to touch us. I don’t know if I could ever have a “lap dog” after this. My first dog was 89 lbs. when she died. She was not a lap dog or a herder, she retrieved stuffed toys and balls, knew the sound of guests’ cars and would search her toy basket frantically for the right stuffed animal with which to greet the guest.

Will it be Clifford the Big Red Dog? Or a tiger or kitty or lobster. She never left the house without a ball, but one day she brought a huge teddy bear (flea market sale, fifty cents) to to the park. She was saying goodbye without my knowledge, and she died the next day. That bear is in my closet with her ashes in it under a red felt heart with lace and beading from a dear friend. Zoe crushes stuffed animals, tears them apart in a minute and gets the squeaker out. The stuffing is all over the place, of course. For 12 years she’s had an indestructible “precious.”

Chani was a challenge at first because she was abused but in the end everyone loved her. No dog would ever have Zoe’s unique, friendly personality. Even though we’ve had 12 years with her when she does something bad I always say “we’re going to bring you back to the pound” and I never mean it and she knows that. Yes, she’s stolen a pound of prime steak off the cutting board on the counter, and croissants from the top of the stove.

Guess what? I laughed, as we had to have her hips removed due to severe hip dysplasia and she grew her own. Two years later she could reach the counter and stove and steal our food. Now she’s over 12 years old and I have to “Otis” her to the bed at night. She can walk a good while but her front end is much stronger than the back. I’ve had a good life, great husband and over the years we still have Zoe but I had Chani, Nathan and Mickey (cats) and I like to think we all made each others’ lives better.

That was before Mick learned from my sister’s cat how to open and slam the kitchen cabinet 400 times to get me to make him breakfast in the middle of the night, or Nate sat his 14 lbs. directly on my bladder to make me go downstairs and feed him. Ah, well, it’s been a wonderful life. Dee

ps People we know want to get a dog. I think they lead great lives with long days and great profiles and potential. They didn’t ask about breed, I did. Then they asked me to pet-sit on a regular basis. That’s not a good sign. At a seminar years ago a new dog owner asked why his dog didn’t like him when he “only” put him in a crate for 12 hours straight per day. The trainer said “you don’t deserve a dog.” In another case he also said, famously, “a back yard dog is a dog without a home.”

 

Quid Pro Quo

I liken it to what goes around, comes around. Usually it’s a negative version as for years I’ve given without asking for anything and they’ve taken and when my mother was in hospice care no-one I had helped over the years would take care of my dog for the first time. They were all too busy. Four years of me taking care of everyone and when I asked once I was told no by all. That’s telling. I never “volunteered” for them again.

No-one ever paid me for this, it was supposed to be a barter system but it did not work in my favor. In a new city I’ve volunteered occasionally but was leery of what was to come.

We’ve two towers here and we lived in one with corporate furniture for three months and got to know our neighbors while we searched neighborhoods. Of course you know our old dog Zoe by now. We moved to the other tower with a view. Yesterday, a new neighbor’s brother questioned how we knew each other so well over a week. Answer was we knew each other years ago.

Last week they became our neighbors in South Tower. Their dog was scared and I knew he and Zoe got along so I took him in for a few hours. The next day my eye was bleeding so she insisted on taking me to the ER and stayed with me a while. I made her go home and took a taxi back because she had boxes to unpack. When I arrived home my dog was making herself at home over there so I took her out and we went to bed.

A week later I had eye surgery (today) and after resting a while they were moving the rest of their things in. I took their dog for another few hours. She took care of me and my eye. I took care of their dog, who is blind. Quid pro quo. Oh, I got them tulips as a welcome gift before all this happened.

There are good things and good people. They just need to be found. My friend M was kind to take me to surgery and back and she and her brother are going to come over for some delicious dinner and a bottle of private estate Tuscan wine I got for my birthday a few months ago.

I helped take care of their dog as he was dying. I’d walked him occasionally for a couple of years then we helped to lift him. He died at home. Now I take a cup of water, walk out to the park and pour it on a favorite tree of Jake and my friend Wurli. Now Jake’s “aunt” took me to the doc today. That’s how it goes. There’s no money involved. It’s heart, and if you don’t have it I won’t help you. Cheers! Dee

Kindness

Our Swedish neighbor moved out last month kitty corner, he will be missed. He taught me how to make Kottsbullar, Swedish Meatballs, lent me his dad for art and horticultural pursuits, and I taught him true Pedernales Texas Chili (no beans). He left before our “final exams” which is when I would have made his dish and he made mine. Hopefully we’ll see him and his gal someday soon as they’re still in town. I think there’s a wedding coming up. He was a player but found the one.

Zoe has monitored our floor as the only dog for years. Now there’s a Labradoodle “pup” who weighed in yesterday at 2X Zoe’s weight. No worries. He doesn’t care about Zoe, just wants to jump up on “Aunt Dee” and lick my face.

As of last night there’s a new dog, sounded big, loud bark for a long time. I arranged with the pup’s parents to ask for all the dogs to meet and work things out. That will happen on neutral ground.

This morning I met the newest kitty corner neighbor and I knew her years ago from across the way. I know her dog. She agreed to meet and I said that Zoe was 85 in “people years” so would be retiring as hall monitor and crossing guard. It’s between the other two to see who protects us. Of course Zoe will “snoopervise.”

Everything happens for a reason! Who knows where we’ll be in the next few months? Zoe and I do lay claim to two of our neighbor’s grandkids now 8 and 10 who play a lot of soccer now in their home state. They visit a few times a year and stand by our front door and just whisper “Zoe” until she runs to see them. As they grow, Zoe will be a faint memory.

I brought a mason jar to the flower store today and bought a few yellow tulips and mini-daisies in a box with welcome card and purple wrapping. My next door neighbor, a retired architect, asked who might have left that by the door, given the barking dog last night, who was just upset at moving and change and owner leaving to keep moving. Plus I’ve had him for a couple of hours, half the time sitting in front of his new door telling him stories of moving and happy endings. Now they bark every few minutes at every sound they hear.

We took care of B yesterday evening for a few hours. B is blind. Zoe has no hips. What a pair. Everything is new to him but he’s really smart and found his way everywhere. Then he got scared so I let him lead me to their home while they were away, moving, and I made up stories about a dog and a new home with good folks who are moving so took their dog to a safe place. They’ll be home soon. After three different versions of the story (no scary stuff) he relaxed went down and I knew he’d be OK.

Back at our place he laid down on Zoe’s bed and slept a bit. When his folks came to pick him up he disappeared. Where was he? Our place. Zoe was out being petted, of course. Zoe THW (the hip-less wonderdog) learned not to prance around waving her only toy at a blind dog, and took care of him as Grandma all night, even though he was home. B learned a bit of trust of a person and dog he knew years ago and new environments.

Of course it was me who gave the flowers. Turns out she’s an old neighbor from across the way. Other than hearing “I love you” from my husband or my dad, certainly the kindest thing I’ve heard today, from my old neighbor of several years, is “I knew it had to be from you, you’re the nicest person I know.” So we’re getting money back from the feds and three states, but these compliments are worth a fortune.  Cheers! D&Z

Friendly Reminders

In college I was living in an apartment with a bunch of gals. I read that using water one used in which to blanch vegetables was good for plants, so I cooled some asparagus water and watered all our plants. The place smelled like urine for weeks and I was relieved of plant duty. Yes, I was still allowed to cook, even asparagus.

From pet books I learned that wheat grass was a good thing for cats to gnaw on. I bought soft wheat seeds every week, sprouted them and left them around the house.

Then I thought I’d share, got more seeds and put a planter outside where every dog from the neighborhood came to visit, as a gift. A week later the neighbors showed up and asked me to get rid of the plant outside. Their dogs were doing #2 like crazy! Yes, it was good for them but their folks didn’t want anything to do with it. Oh, well, I still kept growing it indoors on the windowsill for my cats.

In an unrelated story I had a gallon bag of catnip at the top of my closet. I had a triple sisal cat scratch post they don’t make anymore. that would never tip over and every few weeks I’d put a bit of catnip (a type of mint) on each side and they’d claw and go mad then sleep. Sleep was the good part as they got enough exercise to do so and I could go back to work without them fighting.

I was helping to spay/neuter feral cats and someone donated a 55 gallon drum of catnip and zip-top bags. Yeah, I got some of that and then driving back to town wondered what would happen if I was stopped by the police, or if they came to my home and searched my closet. If that happened I should have asked them to smoke it. If they went crazy, they would have been part feline! Dee

Pizza, Twinkies, Chocolate Milk

I was an athlete in high school. Captain of the gymnastic team for both years until I graduated with a small scholarship. All the “lunch ladies” knew me and I greeted them daily. Above was my meal of choice.

A slice of pizza, package of Twinkies and a pint of chocolate milk. There was a juke box in the cafeteria and we used to listen to The Beach Boys. At home I bought and listened to Beatles, Bob Dylan, Three Dog Night, Dave Mason, Bad Company, Joan Baez and others.

In college they promised gymnastics and never delivered. There, in the caf, I ate chocolate cereal with chocolate milk for breakfast until I moved to the apartments and cooked for many others. Only dinner, no chocolate. I should have learned how to make a proper mole. Perhaps all these years later I’d have it right, but not right enough to serve Chef Rick Bayless.

Baking is a non-starter for me. My mother and sisters always excelled at that area of expertise. I chose cooking. Of course I make a berry trifle that guests love and certain ones ask for every New Years’ Day, and have kids over to make graham cracker/vanilla yogurt/berry parfaits for their family. I also have kids over for pizza parties and the dough is done but they have to roll it out and have pre-made toppings to consider and before bedtime they must make their own dough to put in their own bowl and place in their frig to roll out tomorrow. Bread pudding, I can do that. Mincemeat tarts.

I do love cooking, probably for over fifty years. I peeled carrots when I was eight and placed them in ice water in the frig. They curled up. What a great science experiment! Papa was there that summer. We called him “summer Santa” because I think he bought me and my sister roller skates that year, the kind you clip on over your sneakers. Mind you, we lived on a highway via a 1/4 mile dirt road and we were not allowed to use them in the house. Oh, because I made them, he called them “suicide carrots” as he did anything else I tried.

Neighbors had an old dog, Tory, who used to come visit. He wasn’t allowed indoors but I’d feed him. It took him a day to come down the 1/4 mile drive, he’d stay for six days then walk back. On our childhood adventures with our neighbors I’d tell them Tory was with us and it was OK with them, they knew.

I was never a horse lady, but am the dog lady and have been since I was six months old. And I’m a cook and planning meals for this weekend. Dee