Category Archives: pets

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




Thumbs Almost Up

I don’t know that I’ll ever have full feeling in my right thumb from where I cut myself, but it is healing well and the worst thing now is skin loss from bandage adhesives.

It is always a pleasure to write to you and let you know what is going on, in Dee-Ville. Oh, how I hate that term, from a lame French teacher in high school.

At least I can tell old dog Zoe that I once again have opposable thumbs, something she will never have so will depend upon me for dinner until the end. I will be there for her at that time, and she will always have my “thumbs up!” She’s almost 14 years old and we met her at the shelter at five weeks. We’ll get through this but she she is changing and I need to care for her and prepare all of us for her passing.

My husband does not wish to know this or be there. I’ve said we adopted her nearly 14 years ago. We have to decide when she goes and be there for her. You can’t cop out of this one on a business trip and make me do it alone. I’ve done it alone before, several times. For heaven’s sake you’re chosen as a pallbearer at every family funeral. You just don’t want to see them die, and I need to do that.

Zoe is slowing down so much, she is sleeping more that 20 hours per day and has cataracts and is losing her hearing. Have your dog learn basic hand signals that are broad and even with cataracts they can see you and follow to come to you to go out.

I loved my Chani and taught her well. So I did Zoe because we got her as a very young pup and not as an abused and incarcerated dog for two years like Chani. I now prefer teaching a shelter dog pretty much from scratch. Both were/are great dogs.

A photo showed up of Chani with her old friend Sam. Sam was a neighborhood cat that walked in through the gate and slept near Chani for several hours a day out in the courtyard. They enjoyed the sun and the company a few feet away from each other.

I love all my pets, Nathan, Chani, Mickey and Zoe. All but Zoe are gone now, years ago. I’m still thinking there’s another pup in me (my husband can’t deal with cats for allergies) and I’d be willing to train her. Right now I do not wish for Zoe to have to deal with a pup 24/7. She wants to be with us.

As the Stones would say, “you don’t always get what you want,” but we always give her what she needs. Right now it’s not a puppy. Remember what Aretha said about RESPECT. My husband and I respect Zoe. Cheers and take care of your pets! They are family. Dee


Our dog Zoe is not welcome where we’re going. I’ve yet to find a place to take her where I can visit.

She is quite old and very spry for her age. She can even scare a squirrel, but will never catch one. She sleeps on our bed and two of her own, has not been in a crate in at least ten years although she has three. She doesn’t chew our shoes or pee on the carpet.

Even if she is sound asleep on our bed at four in the morning and I get up, she gets up and follows me, as I am food wench and morning walker.

I may or may not have choices. No way she gets a cage and fenced run. She needs her pack and her pack will not be here for a few days. I said she’s getting old. I’m driving 1,500 miles with her for Thanksgiving to meet my husband and his family. She cleans the floor from our three-day cooking marathon. Ooh, she dropped a couple of crumbs!

Open facility may be an option with time-outs for her for sleep. I’d rather she be in a home with a family and perhaps other dogs/cats for companionship.

Yes, our vet gave me recommendations for lodging. My seal of approval is that she doesn’t jump up on me while picking up, and just walks out to my car. If she is not desperate to see us, she had a good time and wants to come home but enjoyed her stay.

Do you know how difficult that situation is to find? She has to go through interviews this week. She has passed temperament tests in five cities but must go through another. She passed in a local establishment but they lied to me twice about keeping her in a cage. She is too old and, my brother said shortly after she was born, “needy” for that. She wants her pack. We are her pack.

I’ve worked with dogs and cats much of my life, as a volunteer in shelters and spay/neuter clinics. I am interviewing them more than they are interviewing me. My first dog raised my second cat for a year, same bed. Dogs used to come and call on Mick and he’d wrestle with our neighbor’s dogs or they’d run away from home to see him through the window and I’d get a call. Is he there? Hold on. Yep. I’ll keep him ’til you get here.

A lot of places demand training. Zoe knows what to do from Pup 101, even hand signals from me, and sometimes chooses not to do what is asked of her. I want this old girl cared for and given time to sleep, as she does not do so with other dogs. She forgets to sleep, eliminate, even drink water. She’s grandma, taking care of everyone else.

I’m going away for a long weekend and give this much attention to the old girl who left our bed and is a few feet away from me on one of her beds that gives her a view that will not allow me to go anywhere without her knowledge. All hail the herders. Dee

Found Causes

Yes, most people specialize in lost causes. I do those then find others. I’m getting old and arthritic so won’t be doing a lot of physical work like planting trees or taking care of dogs at shelters. Or helping spay/neuter feral cats. I have to write on their behalf. What may be lost, is now found.

The pen is mightier than the sword, as it was said in a play about Cardinal Richelieu of France. He was a nasty guy but his quote may be prescient.

I find medium-sized issues, smaller ones then sometimes a big one. If it resonates with my heart, ethics, persona, sense of decency I’ll do it. My husband hates when I get a bee in my bonnet, so to speak.

Perhaps he has to walk two blocks for a burrito. He works long hours and does much for the world that no-one will ever see. The least I can do is use my love for him and our world, and my talent to do the same in a different way. He would say Hello World. I do as well. Dee


My dogs never lie. I’ve always kept them on a schedule but they always told me when they needed to go out and it was not to try to kill a squirrel. Not that it wasn’t always on their minds, but after 25 years of dog ownership my dogs have never bagged an SQ. Yes, that’s what we have to call them these days. As is the only ball our dog will ever have, indestructible, a “spherical device.”

Hey, our brains are bigger! Let us use these brains. I like to think we’ve built up enough trust that they just tell us what they need and we figure it out and do it. Sometimes it’s unclear whether they want the ball or to go out to do #1. Other times they may eat something icky/dead from the sidewalk and vomit on our bed. No problem. Six loads of wash here and one at our friends up the street in a huge washer, the down comforter, with a pair of my Crocs to fluff before folding.

Our Zoe never lies. If she needs to go out, she needs to go out. I jump into appropriate clothing for the weather and go asap. Cats lie. I didn’t scratch the other cat, I’m just sitting here minding my manners and licking my paws! “I saw you do that, Mick”. I’m not paying attention to you, Mom, you only feed me and clean my litter box. I never did anything wrong so bring out my dinner or I’ll keep slamming the kitchen cabinet doors at 4:00 a.m. and pooping just outside the box. Cats blackmail.

My children have been four, two cats, two dogs to raise all from shelters, one cat in need of a private rescue. Each one was taken seriously, and individually. Oh, what stories I could tell. I do know that our dog Zoe is a truthful gal and loves us as we love her.

My husband recently replaced a card of mine with one with her picture. Not the best picture, looks like ASPCA and living in a yard with snow and no water and no dog house. Zoe lives indoors, sleeps on our bed and eats frozen raw lamb, rabbit, venison or duck. Our Zoe does go out for 5-6 walks per day. We interact with people and other dogs and that’s good.

When she was a pup my father-in-law said young Zoe could come for Thanksgiving, he’d clean the leaves out of a goat pen for her. I told my new husband I was staying home with our dog. F-I-L found and cleaned old dog crate and put it in my husband’s old room. They ran a dairy and now a ranch. They’ve no indoor dogs.

Zoe never used the crate, slept on our bed. Now she stands on F-I-L’s sofa space and watches out for him coming in from hauling hay or grain or taking out our nephew. Grandpa J pretends he doesn’t like Zoe but she loves him and he knows it.

I can’t have indoor cats (love them) because my husband is allergic to them. I can have dogs if they’re bathed often, which I do. Our Zoe is at the door awaiting my husband from a business meeting. She misses us, but me most because I feed her and walk her. My husband is the “fun guy” so she loves seeing him and she hates to see him leave for work with a suitcase for a week or two. That’s how it goes. Dee

Our Girl Zoe

We got her, already spayed, at six weeks of age. She’ll be twelve years in January. As we traveled we’ve had her stay with friends, with sleepover caretakers, and at the vet.

She loves driving with us in my car with her orthopedic bed but some distances are too far to drive and she can’t fly anymore, according to me.

Zoe had bad hips and needed them excised at six and nine months of age then underogo therapy, which my husband and I did. Yes, he did sneak her into a pool for water exercises every night. She grew her own hips from cartilage.

As I see most dogs don’t live beyond 13 years I’m scared of her turning twelve. She passed her ten year senior blood panel and aced it. I was told by her hip surgeon in another state to skip a year and do it again at 12. That’s coming up.

I’ve euthanized two of my very ill older pets. Helped a neighbor with another, very sad, a pup with Parvo. I don’t know that my husband can handle this as he loves her too much. So do I, but I know my responsibility is her and if she lives five years more it will be up to me to decide. If her quality of life diminishes it is up to me and I’ll be there to supervise and hold her. Why? That’s my job.

Kids want chicks and bunnies for Easter. What happens to them? What happens to a pup you buy a kid for Christmas? Parents. And the chicks and bunnies die. The dog is yours for 13 years when the kids are through college and don’t want them anymore except for a pat on the head when they pass through.

We love our Zoe. My husband is a big guy who is always called in to help carry caskets, but he doesn’t want to be there when his loved one dies. Especially when I call “the shot.” To veterinarians everywhere, thank you for allowing us to work with you to make a wise decision that our pet does not need to suffer. Dee

Heirloom carrots

Last night I made a potato salad with a variety of colors. Tonight I smell roasting heirloom carrots.

I’ve more tomatoes to make a corn and tomato salad with perhaps some blistered Hatch chili and a balsamic vinaigrette. Oh, and our local Italian specialty store has these fantastic sun-dried tomatoes that I put in the corn salad, corn is raw and just sliced off the cob. Summer at its best.

Tonight it’s brats on the grill. No potatoes. We’ll have the tomato/corn salad and roasted heirloom carrots. Even with thunder, lightning and rain outside we’ll still grill. In the Rockies, my husband used to shovel his way to the grill all winter. Down coat, furred Cossack hat, gloves, good to go.

* * *

Oh, the dogs are doing great together, ours and our neighbor’s visitor. They’re playing and teaching each other bad things. My dog is nearly 12 years old. Little one is nearing two. Guess who’s learned more bad habits to teach. Sorry!

Little one free-feeds at home. Not here. I introduced the “special sauce” and she eats in ten minutes. Zoe eats the same amount in one minute and tries to poach our guest’s food. I place her in another room and with the “special sauce” our guest eats in about ten minutes.

What is that sauce, you ask? Chicken broth. When our Zoe was a pup she wasn’t drinking water or getting enough fluids so I’d add a tablespoon (a splash) of chicken broth to her dinner and she ate it up like crazy.

Yesterday I went wild and instead of boxed chicken broth I made a roasted chicken and saved the juices. They had a lovely dinner tonight with homemade broth and are sleeping near each other in the living room. All is quiet chez Dee. Hope you’re having a great evening also. Dee

The Girls

We’ve a loaner dog for another week and things change every day. They’re in my kitchen and that’s verboten. Guest L took over our bed last night and Zoe slept underneath, despite my husband’s efforts to put them a few feet from each other.

Zoe needs attention now, but there are three dog beds in the living room plus a huge sofa and so they trade.

I think I’m too old to do this with two dogs. A friend of mine, sure you heard of Jake who died over a year ago, I just got a photo of a new pup from Jake’s family line. He is so cute. I try to stop by Jake’s favorite tree in the park every day.

Jake’s owner/dad and his sister are close by, after Zoe’s dear friend goes home we’ll host a dinner. The current dogs may be competitive with each other but can sleep well and walk well together. They’re sisters for good or bad. I’d tell you about but you’d never remember “Sisters” as sung by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in White Christmas with Dee in our home harmonizing along, cheers! I don’t even know if the dogs could handle that! Dee


I called Congressman Jeff Denham’s office and was put on hold several times. Then I was referred to the DC office, a paid call, and placed on hold several more times. I said I was looking to help allow pets on trains.

In the end Evan told me it was unethical to speak to anyone outside their district in Modesto, CA. Hey, I’m writing a blog and they’ve already spoken to the Huffington Post and heaven knows how many lobbyists from outside the district. It’s August, they’re manning the office and would rather be on vacation than at work and don’t want to do any, I get it.

I am a former legislative analyst, bill writer and lobbyist and this is plain BS. Oh, Sen. Cohen’s office just had an answering machine, no-one on watch. Years ago when I was a lobbyist and everyone was on vacation, all our members and staff, I’d try to leave at 4:58 to catch the 5:03 train home every Friday. Of course the boss called at 4:55 as I was putting on my sneakers and asked to speak to everyone. She was on vacation the entire summer but harangued us because she could. I was a lobbyist doing paperwork while the legislature was out of session.

Anyway. I didn’t like the parameters of the Rail Act that provided a lot of money for Boston to D.C. and nothing for the rest of the country. Two years ago we spent $250 for someone to stay here with our dog and paid for a roomette on Amtrak through Chicago to Texas. It was supposed to be 24 hours, ended up 36 and we had to have family pick us up at an alternate destination. There were buses involved.

But if we had the cabin with en-suite bath we’d love to have our dog with us, outside of her crate. She’s only about 32 lbs. and won’t fit under an airplane seat. See, her grandma in Texas likes her there for Thanksgiving. We cook for days now. Last year it was 4.5 days, and our Zoe cleans crumbs we leave behind, accidentally of course, during our routines. It’s become a dance.

She makes cakes, potato rolls, brisket, iced tea for 50 and many other dishes. I’m known for spicy almonds and cashews, brussels sprout and cauliflower gratin, spinach balls and mincemeat tarts. Of course we do more than that.

It would be nice to be able to take a train, with a cabin with en suite bath with our dog in the cabin, getting out for a few moments at each stop, and getting there on time with no backward movement for a couple of hours and buses. I think Congress errs when it eliminates Chicago from its funding perspective and tries to help dog owners but makes them crated and baggage.

Does Congress ever wonder why so many airline passengers fake assistant dog status? It’s $149.99 and includes a doctor’s note for an Emotional Assistance Dog. I could probably fake that on Amtrak but will not do so.

If you allowed pets even just into rooms and roomettes Amtrak may get a following from paid travelers instead of feeding from the public trough. Dee

ps I know that on the southern routes passenger trains are required to go to sidings while freight trains pass. You have not only dismissed dogs, you’ve dismissed people. American citizens trying to visit relatives for the holiday.

The Evil Twin

Zoe has routines, as a herding dog. Yes, she herds me with a load of laundry, and watches my every move.

She needs Otis-ing (I’m the elevator) to the bed at night then she jumps down and goes UBD (under-bed dog) for a while then whines to get back up. She has no hips so I’m OK with awakening to meet that need.

At about 4:00 am she goes UBD because even if the shades are down, she needs her beauty sleep. She looks better than both of us, together, and she’s 80 in people years.

She has an undercoat and someone leaves fur underneath the bed. That is her evil twin Chloe. Chloe leaves a mess of fur underneath that is tough to vacuum. If I ever meet her I’ll have to give her a talking-to. Texas-style. The fact that I’ve never seen her or walked or fed her is unimaginable. All I do is remove Chloe’s fur from under the bed. Zoe knows nothing about this so please don’t tell about her evil twin. I don’t think they’ve ever met. It must be why she’s so gorgeous, all that beauty sleep. Cheers, Dee