Tag Archives: animals

Sitting and Waiting

My godmother and aunt died ten years ago. My mother died seven years ago. There is one member of their immediate family to carry on, and she does, day to day.

I’ve told you of a week at hospice with Mom. I want to tell you something else about hospital protocol. The hospice folks were great with Mom. I couldn’t have asked for better care.

When we arrived I was Nathan’s Mom. My indoor cat had gotten out and went to a cat party down the street in my neighbor’s home. He got pneumonia and also had cardiac problems. I brought him in and I was his mom for 13 years since he was five weeks old.

I didn’t know and don’t know how to wipe a laptop except Control C. I stayed up in the lobby all night writing, about him and other things. That laptop was old and not cleaned before giving it away. All I know are the thoughts I had on that uncomfortable bench at four in the morning.

At daylight I was called my name, not Nathan’s Mom. That was a sign that he was headed for euthanasia. A doctor asked to meet me outside to let me cry. But the fact that the hospital no longer called me Nathan’s Mom told me he was no longer an individual, the Burmese cat who never let me get in the last word. Destined for death and I had to make the decision, forthwith.

I held him before, during and after. He sent a peace through my body to let me know he was OK and it was my duty to keep his spirit alive. To this day, I tell people about the wonderful spirit and words he had and how he challenged me every day and I never got in the last word.

Be with your people, your pets, everyone for whom you share a responsibility. Make a casserole for the wife across the street who just lost her husband. Share cookies with the family that just moved in next door.

No-one helped me. I had a network of friends and neighbors and no-one helped me with my mother or my old cat. Luckily my husband was there for Mom, and said at Last Rites “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of her.” And he has.

All I can say is to hang on, remember the good things. look to friends and family and get through it. And don’t worry about getting in the last word. Nathan taught me that. Dee

Kindness and Compassion

While I await my husband’s plane to arrive home (no it is not a private plane) in a few moments I think of the things people do every day to make a day better.

My neighbor took me to the film festival the other day because his wife didn’t feel up to it and asked him to take me.

My husband has been eating restaurant food for weeks so I am cooking his favorite stew.

T, who works for us and always busts my chops, gave me a repreive from keeping me away from my kitchen sink for another 24 hours as he knew my husband was coming home and I needed the sink to make the stew, do dishes, run the dishwasher. He never said anything, nor did I, so I’ll see him on Monday. Or Tuesday. I don’t know.

Every once in a while people suprise us with rare moments of grace and kindness. Savor those moments. Dee

Barriers

I seek to break them. Sometimes I am only allowed to bend them. It took many years to find my voice. I was always told by my mother that I was never good enough, and why would a girlfriend in grade school invite me for a sleepover. Why would any high school friend invite me to a party, or a boy ask me out on a date?

People. I instantly connect. My brain just does it and if someone looks sad I say I love your shirt! Like the tie, where did you get it, my husband would look great in that tie. Sometimes it just snaps them out of a funky mood.

I know my first gay friend, but cannot tell you who he is. Accepting people for who they are is my nature, compounded by my great Aunt Rose who’s husband said if there’s a gay guy within 100 miles they’ll be here. Same with me. My husband’s family would be shocked, my husband knows me and probably likes that the guys I hang out with are gay and no threat to our marriage.

We take in “orphans” at Christmas, neighbors, adults who are single and who are new or have no family or have family far away and have to perform surgery tomorrow morning. It is a lot of work but I get to cook for so many interesting people over the years.

It is always refreshing to hear someone’s story and know where they came from and the life they’ve led.

I grew up in a small village. Dad was the first person in his family to ever go to college. He worked at the college that brought 1,000 students in every year to our village and was sent to get his Masters, then Doctorate. His accomplishments allowed us to leave that village and grow up in a different realm.

If we had not left the village, I’d have a bunch of kids and probably be divorced from a local boy. The world is a scary place, but thanks to Dad I’ve seen a lot of it. He’s getting older, but still protects his kids and grandkids.

Along the way I also met a husband who is my bling, all I have is one band of 18K gold to say we’re solid. No engagement ring. Yes, I’ve a Claddagh. I insisted against an engagement ring our first week of dating because it’s just not fair. He was Republican, I was a Democrat. We’re now Independent. Our neighbor won’t let him register (I agree). Barriers lifted.

Yes, there are still fiesty debates between me and his Fox News Channel father. Husband, brother and MIL all bow out and no-one comes to my defense. Hearty banter. I still have to to take our dog out and he has to take grain and hay to the cattle. Our Zoe stands up on his part of the living room sofa and awaits his return. I think he appreciates all of us. Barriers, I’m no longer called a Yankee and the Civil War is no longer The War of Northern Aggression. I’ve been assimilated, to a point. I love him. No harm, no foul. We never get angry.

I draw the line at reptiles and birds. We had a pact in our old neighborhood. I’d be called in for dogs and cats, and a friend would be called for birds and reptiles. Erecting barriers, but as it was all volunteer and took a lot of time it made sense to know our strengths and show them.

There are so many people over our lives from other cultures that we need to embrace. I think about Dad’s journey, those of my brother and sisters, my husband’s family. It really is one giant melting pot. As a cook I may liken it to a fondue with a lot of cheeses and dipping ingredients. Don’t get me started.

Think about a person in another country, another faith. Think about them having dinner as a family, with kids who need to do homework after the meal. As people, aren’t we all the same?

The wars our countries fight do not make any sense. They are barriers to us being people with families who just want to live another day. With faith and hope, Dee

Eyes Wide Open

Yes, I got up early and before seven I peeked in to see the dog. I motioned her to come to me and she was looking at me but not seeing me because she was sound asleep, eyes wide open. Freaky.

There are thunderstorms going on but no rain yet, thunder is getting louder by the minute but she wants her beauty sleep!

As I wait for Zoe to come see me to go out then get fed, we said goodbye to a work friend. We’re glad to know him and he’s as old-school as me, writing a note thanking us for all we’ve done. He’s done more for us. He’s an author and I’ll be telling you about his new book. No, not selling it. This is not a monetized site.

Oh, it just started pouring rain. Zoe’s not going to like this but she should have awakened a half-hour ago. Darn. We’re supposed to have thunderstorms all day. She hates involuntary wetness but loves baths. By me, of course with our own system. My husband does 20 minutes of hard bathing. I do five minutes of dog massage. Guess who she loves? We’ll let you hang on that while I wake her and do the “two minute pee.” Here’s to our Best Friends, Dee

Shock and Awe

We moved 1,500 miles away. We stopped at the Grand Hotel Cheyenne WY for the night with our dog. It was interesting and we’ve been back since that time.

The air was very dry. There were brass Native American plates outside of every door. We learned how to get a little shock each time so not to be blitzed when we went to the elevator, which holds perhaps four guests with no luggage.

The awe is that there was this Mrs. something pageant and all these older women had their husbands or boyfriends carrying gowns and suitcases and they each walked ahead with their makeup bag.

We ordered takeout, took the dog out, with several elevator visits shock and awe-worthy and went to sleep. They let us take the dog into the restaurant for breakfast. Her leash was around my chair. They gave her water, so kind. We checked out and our car was loaded out front while we had bacon and eggs. Don’t worry, we had our dog’s food on ice.

It was an interesting, historic room where they allowed us to stay with our pup and we got some local color as well! I’ve told Trip Advisor we’d stay again. Cheers, Dee

Trades

I don’t do that any more. I did about 1,000 pet walks, visits and sleepovers and asked for help once and everyone was busy. My mother was dying in hospice 1,500 miles away, and finally someone came up to the plate and took care of Zoe.

Now people want me to do it here. Free. No reciprocity. No No No!

Emergency care, yes I’ll do it. I’m getting too old for this kind of duty outside of our own dog and have asked folks not to recommend me. I know, that will mean I’ll have to charge through the nose. No, I’m not going that route.

I am a retired consultant with a great husband and hip-less wonder dog nearly 12 years old. Oh, we brought one dog with bone cancer out on a cart to use the local facilities. He died over a year ago and we still place water on his favorite tree. For Wurli as well, a dear neighbor. You might know his owner, the rock god Plush. Dee

Dogs In Town

The rumor is that there will be no more dogs allowed on outdoor patios at restaurants and that no business owner will be allowed to place a water bowl out for dogs outside their door.

An environmental expert for the city just told me:

“The … Health Department does allow dogs in the outdoor patios of restaurants and other places that sell food and have a patio.  We require that the operator/owner of a food establishment ask us for a variance from State Code to  allow for dogs at the outdoor seating area.  Not all food establishment(s, sic) want dogs at their outdoor seating area but that is their choice.”

No word yet from the people I elected.

I think I need to move to Italy. There, even inside the restaurant your dog can stay at your feet or in your arms. Not that I want a Paris Hilton boutique purse dog. It’s enough to “Otis” my 30# hipless wonder to the bed four times a night. No, it’s not glamorous. And heaven forbid she wear silk pajamas. No, don’t even give her the idea. It’s enough to get on her winter coat for severe rain and snow. My husband bought paw mitts for ice but I can’t get her to wear them as I’d just like a fresh dog towel inside for her to sit on, dry her paws and roll around. Woof woof, Dee

Fate

When I went to the grocery store today, without the dog…. Let me go back. I did not have the dog with me because it was too warm for her to stay in the car although she loves “coming with.” I paid for 30 minutes on the meter and got back with 20 left.

The owner of a gorgeous rescued Greyhound came up to me (and let me pet his dog). As a volunteer for rescued Greys for six years it was a treat for me. He told me the city had just banned dogs on outside restaurant patios. Also, that businesses are not allowed to place a water bowl for dogs outside their door.

Two more men came up to me and told me the same story. Why? Kindred spirit? Again, I was not with my dog. They urged me to take action. I’ve tried to find the new law, have emailed the Commissioner and our Alderman to find out the truth about what’s happening in our district.

What I’ve said is that we have a couple months of summer, one each spring and fall and the rest is winter. People bike (cycles and Harleys), run, walk dogs and eat outdoors at restaurants with their dogs. There is a very slim window for us to do so. For our city, county or state to deny this to its tax paying, law-abiding, voting responsible dog owners does not make sense.

My dinner was beautiful sea scallops sauteed on the stove, with room temp marble potatoes and asparagus from yesterday. Yum. I made my own fresh bread crumbs from a brioche roll and dinner was delicious. Cheers! Dee

Toes

They’re essential. I broke my fourth toe the other day on the wooden post that sits up our sofa. I think I broke a few bones but do not want even an air cast because that would be useless. Ice packs and a bit of OTC pain reliever has brought it from a sharp pain to a dull ache but stepping on it is problematic.

Don’t worry, Zoe’s going out as my husband is home for a week or two and she loves going out with him.

Not much cooking going on but before the swelling I did make some nice St. Louis style ribs with a rub and sauce. I then placed the remaining three ribs in the oven yesterday in foil, in a dish for about 40 minutes while cooking par-boiled potatoes and making a salad. That’s the least I could do. Today we had frozen pizza for dinner. It was good.

I wanted to talk about doing things and being unable to do things as I get older. This is definitely one of my five-year “klutz weeks” where I injure myself in mysterious ways. It was certainly not my intention to break my little toe.

Years ago I was a long-term volunteer at an animal shelter every Friday. I awakened one morning and could not move my neck. After seeing the doc I found that I had a congenital malfunction since pre-birth so was given drugs and a neck collar and told not to go volunteer with the dogs and cats.

When I got home I called the volunteer coordinator and told her I would not be able to resume my regular duties for a few weeks but if it’s OK I’d like to sit in her kennel with Chani because she needs me. Chani had been abused by an officer for a year then left in the shelter for another. We started there the same day and became close. We just sat with my neck brace, and talked. Soon a fellow volunteer turned staffer told me they had a meeting about her and as one of the first no-kill shelters put off a decision to euthanize for a week.

Apparently she presented a danger to men (especially in uniform) and children, who used to throw rocks at her over the fence. That was in her file. The next day I adopted her and took her home for ten years where she learned to love me, me jumping over her instead of kicking her, every child and even men in uniform. The neighborhood donated a tree to the city in her memory and I can see it on Google.earth. It is doing well and has a great view!

Change is the theme. My first kitten was flown across country by my brother at my sister’s request. Burmese mix, a talker. He was five weeks old and didn’t know how to drink water. I gave him milk and it was so hot (no A/C) that it curdled while I was at work. He watched PBS and the nature channel at night which were the only channels available while we tried to wire the city.

Nathan became a really cool cat. He was named for Kevin Kline’s character in Sophie’s Choice and the hot dog empire. He learned to walk on a leash and love my dog and never let me get the last word until the very last moment.

I like to learn something new every day, also to give back. Passion, compassion, Dee

Battle

Every day, Battle Fur. Zoe has an undercoat with which I could have made several nice sweaters over the years but I do not have a loom and can’t knit anything anymore. I only did golf club covers because they were mittens without a thumb. Petit point went somewhat further and I made some interesting gifts.

Our guest for the past couple of weeks was an American Silken Windhound. Gorgeous coat and I didn’t think she had an undercoat until strange grey tufts came up from Zoe’s bed, which she laid on many times. She went home the other day and now grey tufts of undercoat are coming up all over the place!

I think she wanted to leave some of her with us. Good guests do that. Fur, OK. I got a bite today from a teething pup. I didn’t know it until I went to our door and noticed blood coming from my wrist. I lent them a frozen peanut butter-filled Kong (black is nearly indestructible) and we already gave them a puppet designed for teething so the pup will not eat hands. He’s an Old English Sheepdog and if they train him, he’ll be a great dog. Tendencies are good, just teething and in pain. Frozen stuff will help him get through this. I’m OK.

Another trick. Take clean old athletic socks, dip them in chicken broth and wring them out. Leave them wrung and place in a plastic bag and freeze. That may help with teething. Bad side is that he may always want to eat your socks.

Yes, I trained as a chef, am a good cook and the dog lady. Why can’t I work in a professional kitchen? I’m stubborn, talented, do not speak fluent Spanish, will not get minimum wage for maximum effort or buy and clean my uniforms, will not get tattoos all over my body, plus I’m too old. I cook for my husband, his grandmother knows he eats well, and we feed the dog frozen raw duck, venison, and more. Perhaps frozen wabbit, all with carrots and blueberries. Cheers, Dee