Tanner Update

First of all, I hope everyone had a very happy holiday, full of all the wonderful things you deserve!  And thank you for all the well wishes for Tanner. I am sure he appreciates them, or would if he could read, and I know I do! 

Tanner, I am happy to report, is once again home where he belongs (I picked him at the clinic yesterday afternoon after I got back in town from the Christmas holiday, and he was quite happy to see me, and ecstatic to be going home.  Tucker & Phoebe were happy to see him again, and he them, but, as I expected, Olivia & Finn were less thrilled.  As anyone who has multiple cats knows, they are never all that excited when one of their housemates comes back smelling like hospital.  Finn got over it in about five minutes, but Olivia, true to form, was still milking it even as I left for work this morning.  She refused dinner last night and breakfast this morning, and is, in short, throwing the hissy fit to end all hissy fits.  If past experience is anything to go by, I expect her to carry on this way for at least a few more days.  Oh, well.  

More importantly, Tanner is all but fully recovered.  He is hating his prescription canned food, as am I, but will be on it at least until I can get him in to our holistic vet to discuss other options, probably a week or two.  He was not eating well at all at the vet clinic, so was on mirtazapine to boost his appetite.  It worked a little bit, but not spectacularly so.  However, he's eating well since he's been home, even though he is clearly disgusted by what I'm serving him.  We'll go back for a recheck in two weeks.  For now I'm about 99% reassured, but still remaining watchful as this was a potentially really serious issue that, fortunately, we caught in the very early stages.

Fingers crossed that he continues to do well! 


Worried about my boy today ...

Tanner seemed "off" this morning, not his usual self, so I decided to run him over to our wonderful vet's office before work.  Turns out it was a very good thing I did, as his bladder was about half full of urine and he had a partial urethral obstruction, which is one of the symptoms of FLUTD.  This is one of those tricky things that affect male cats, but it's usually most common in boy kitties who are overweight and who eat a dry diet, which Tanner is not and does not. 

About five years ago, during a routine urinalysis at one of his yearly checkups, Tanner had some pre-crystals, (he was eating premium canned food at the time) and for a brief time he was put on a canned prescription diet for same.  It was shortly thereafter that I decided to switch everyone to a raw diet, and since then he has been completely fine, with no evidence of crystals whatsoever.  So this was a very unwanted and unexpected surprise, and it made for a very long and nerve-wracking day, during which I had to leave Tanner at the vet's so that he could be sedated and a catheter inserted to drain his bladder.  I visited him at lunchtime, though, and other than being a bit glassy-eyed from the meds, he seemed in decent shape.  He was happy to see me, and purred up a storm during our fifteen minute visit.  He's got an IV of saline in to hydrate him and flush out his kidneys, and a cone of shame on to keep him from messing with the IV.  He looks extremely pathetic, but Dr. C. assures me that he's doing well, but unfortunately because of the Christmas holiday and the fact that the cats had been scheduled to be looked after by a teen-aged friend of the family, he'll probably have to stay at the vet's until Wednesday morning, which just about breaks my heart, but I also know I wouldn't be able to enjoy my long weekend/Christmas holiday if I was worried about Tanner obstructing again and someone watching over him who may not recognize the signs and get him to the vet right away.  So as much as I hate the idea, I think it's best that he stays where he is until after Christmas.  

He'll be on the prescription canned food again until at least then, and then after the first of the year I'm going to schedule an appointment with our holistic practitioner, to see if there is anything she can suggest either instead of or in addition to this prescription food, to keep him from obstructing again.  Which, I'll be honest, I'm pretty worried about, as once it happens once it is likely to happen again, somewhat like bloat in dogs.  Fortunately, Tanner doesn't have stones, what he has is called a urethral plug, which is a partially solid cylindrical mass of minerals. For this reason, it is our vet's opinion that the underlying cause is very possibly the tap water, so we'll be switching either to a different kind of filter, or going to bottled water.  

I'd also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that if you have a nagging suspicion that something might be wrong with one of the fur-people in your life, do yourself, and them, a favor, and get it checked out.  I felt a little ridiculous calling the vet's office this morning to let them know I was on my way in with Tanner, because of course they wanted to know what was wrong, and I really couldn't tell them. He wasn't off his food (he ate breakfast and dinner as normal yesterday and was on his way to the kitchen for breakfast this morning when I noticed that he didn't seem to be moving "right"), he wasn't crying or acting sick, he just seemed "off" to me, and so I took him in.  This meant that we caught what could have been a very serious, even life threatening, problem in the very early stages, and he is, paws crossed, going to be just fine.  

Point is, they can't tell us what's wrong, they can't tell us if something hurts, or they just don't feel "right."  We have to know them well enough to know what's normal for them and what isn't, and looking back on it, I should have known something wasn't right when Tanner insisted on sleeping next to me all night long, which he never does unless it's really cold out and he wants under the blankets.  Knowing what I know now, I honestly believe that he was trying to tell me  something was wrong in the only way he knew how.  

Anyway ... for now the news is good - he's no longer blocked, and is resting comfortably.  He probably even has a good buzz going.  But I am worried about the possible long term implications of this, and I'd appreciate any good thoughts you could send his way.  


Love One Another

It's really that simple ... 

Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the innocent victims of Sandy Hook, and to the entire community of Newtown, Connecticut that is struggling with the shock and grief of such a senseless tragedy.  There just are not words.  


See Beautiful

We are pleased to be joining the See Beautiful blog hop today, along with Sugar the Golden Retriever who is generously donating $1.00 to See Beautiful's non-profit of the month, St. Anne's Center - Lantern House PET AREA for everyone who joins the blog hop today.  Isn't she awesome?

I've learned a lot of lessons from my animal companions over the years ... 

Lessons in loving passionately and wholeheartedly even when you know the heartbreak of loss is waiting, unseen but keenly felt, down the road ...

Lessons in patience, when trying to communicate in a loving way with creatures who don't speak your language ...

Lessons in the joy that is yours when, through that patience, you forge a close and loving relationship, and a shared language, with another creature ...

Lessons in tolerance, when blending together animals of different species, personalities, and life histories into a harmonious family unit ...

And perhaps most of all, lessons in being aware that the many precious moments we share with them are, when strung together, the individual pearls in a luminous necklace of memories that help to in some small part sustain us when they have gone on ahead ... 
As one of my personal heroes, Ferris Bueller, was wont to say, "Life moves pretty fast ... if you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." 

Our animal friends are masters in the art of never forgetting to stop and look around.  They can spend 30 minutes intensely sniffing a single blade of grass.  When they feel the sun warm on their heads, they never fail to raise their heads skyward, schedules and deadlines be damned ... the better to soak in the blessed, healing warmth.  They love passionately and unreservedly, with no thought for any day of reckoning or loss that may be waiting somewhere beyond the horizon.  That may well be because they aren't capable of the foreknowledge of death, but I choose to believe that it's also because they would rather focus on sucking every possible drop of joy and beauty out of the present than on pointlessly worrying about the future.  
For these reasons and so many others, the two dogs and three cats I am so privileged to share my life with are beautiful beyond all words to me, and it never fails to amaze me that one of the reasons I'm so lucky to have them is because the beauty I see in them, that is all too obvious to me each and every day, was somehow not recognized by others.  Which is those people's loss, whoever and wherever they might be, and my inestimable gain.  
So this post is for Tucker, for Olivia, for Tanner, and Phoebe, and Finn ... 
My sweet and beautiful friends, thank you from the bottom of my heart for enriching my life each and every day with the beauty of your love, companionship, and abiding affection.  I can't imagine what I could have done to deserve it, but I am forever grateful, and although I know you will never read these words, I hope you somehow feel my love for you all, as I feel yours for me.  I believe that you do.  


Murray Update

So Murray has been with me (as my office pet, as if Tucker & Phoebe, who accompany me to the office on most workdays don't count, which of course they do) for a little over a month and a half, and honestly, this is not so much an update as it is an announcement that despite my inexperience with creatures of the finned variety, Murray is still kicking, er swimming, and appears to be thriving, not that I really have any idea.  I admit to being a bit nervous in the beginning, despite all reports at how hardy bettas are, that I would care for him properly, and the first week or so I would experience a moment of apprehension as I entered my office, fearing the worst and always so relieved to find him alive and well.  

The truth is ... Murray doesn't do much.  His world is not large ... just however much water his 8 x 6 x 4  tank holds - I think about a gallon.  Yet he does what he does with apparent enthusiasm, and I quite enjoy watching him swim around and am very happy to have him sharing space on my desk.  He does just fine on weekends, and with the help of a little dissolvable fish cake, also made it just fine through the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend all on his own.  

I don't know if I can go so far as to say I love Murray ... it's hard to bond too strongly with a creature who inhabits a whole other element ... but I do like him a lot and I'm glad to have him around.  He's quite a soothing presence in a rather stressful environment and sometimes just watching him cruise around his tank is enough to relax me if I am getting worked up about something.  One thing's for sure ... a Betta is a heck of a lot cheaper than Xanax.

If you are in need of calming yourself, I prescribe this short video of Murray being Murray.

You're welcome! 


Work It, Girl!

As has been pretty well-documented on this blog, there are not many dogs, be it a breed or an individual dog, that I don't love, or at least like a lot.  There are a few breeds that leave me feeling a little lukewarm, although I won't name them here lest I unintentionally offend someone.  Point is - big or small, short coated or long coated, scruffy or sleek ... I heart dogs.  Almost universally so.  And there are a few that I heart big-time ... and yet, much as I love them, wouldn't necessarily want to live with one.  Beagles are one of these breeds.  Every time I see one I melt ... those big, soulful brown eyes, that happily wagging white-tipped tail, those big, velvety-soft ears!  Squee!  I mean, come on ... who doesn't love Snoopy?  My grandparents had a Beagle, and my best friend J has had three in succession over the twenty years we've been friends.  I have loved them all, even though, on balance, Beagles would not be a breed I would choose to live with.  I can't really explain why, I just know that as much as I love them, I prefer to love them at someone else's house.  

J's current Beagle, Stella, is perhaps my favorite.  And she, like almost every Beagle I have ever known, will shamelessly try to manipulate you into giving her whatever she happens to want at the moment (a bite of your food, ALL of your food, some belly rubs, etc.).  Stella's favorite tool in her arsenal of manipulation is to fix you with her big brown eyes and just WILL you to capitulate.  This girl knows how to work it.  Observe ... 

I am lying here so nicely at your feet.  Don't you want to rub my belly?

I NEED belly rubs!  Do you see how SAD AND PATHETIC I look because you are not giving me any belly rubs?  I am almost about to CRY!  Even though I am not a Basenji and can't REALLY cry, I am crying on the inside.  Trust me.

You are still not petting me?  You just might be the meanest person I've ever met.  How about I give you a kiss?


Puppy Love

Over Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to meet Z, a gorgeous ten week old Akita pup.  I was visiting my best friend J (and also her husband, J, and son, J ... yep, lots of J's in that house, and they are three of my favorite people in the world, so it's always great to get to see them, which isn't as often as I would like since they live four hours away.)  

Almost as soon as I walked in the door, she said "Hey, do you want to go see the neighbor's new puppy?"  Um ... is the Pope Catholic?  And so, after I finished smooching J's fur children (including her Beagle, Stella and dilute calico polydactyl kitty, Sydney - who you might have seen if you follow us on Instagram), we headed out to go see baby Z.

I have always loved Akitas ... they are certainly not a dog for everyone, but this particular family is knowledgeable and passionate about the breed, and had recently lost their previous Akita, C., so it was  incredibly heartwarming to see how much joy little Z. was bringing to their home.  I had never met these particular neighbors of J's before, but as often happens, a shared love of dogs made it seem like the most natural thing in the world to sit around on a stranger's living room floor and coo puppy silliness to baby Z.  As I happened to have my camera with me, I snapped a few pictures, and while most of them were not very good, (Z. was a bundle of puppy energy, and I tend to do a lot better in instances where my subjects are relatively still due to my ineptitude behind the camera) there were a few that came out decently.  Not being one to keep all that puppy adorableness to myself, I thought  I would share those with you.  Too bad the puppy breath doesn't translate ... 

 * As a side note, I am not a fan of "choke" collars, particularly on puppies, but I didn't feel it was my place to say anything in this case.