Grace’s great love

Reunited and it feels so good…Grace and her couch

Reunited and it feels so good…Grace and her couch

We were out of town for a couple days (looking for a new place to live) and, when we came back, our springer spaniel, Grace, was positively giddy to be home. She danced and spun, and panted with absolute, perfect joy. I rarely see her so full of happiness. She’s “meh” about food and downright grumpy about Otis. She loves affection, but gets violent if she feels it’s being taken away too suddenly. (She’ll scratch your face if you try to quit petting her early.) She’d rather not be pet at all than tolerate substandard pets. But, one thing fills her heart with love.

The couch.

Grace is becoming part of the couch. She sleeps there from the time we get up in the morning (she has a bed upstairs with us) to the time we call her back upstairs for bed at night. She’ll literally leave her upstairs bed in the morning and go straight for the couch. I have to tug on her to get her outside to go to the bathroom. Grace and the couch are apart only during meals, bathroom breaks, and walks. It’s a love unlike any other. Occasionally, she’ll lower herself to sleep on the love seat, but it’s never by choice. That is her couch, she only lets the rest of us sit on it once in a while.

Grace and the couch had their touching reunion Sunday night and Monday I tried to take her for a walk. Apparently, it was too soon. She couldn’t leave the couch again. She walked about a block before deciding she needed to be near the couch, so I had to take her home. She immediately climbed onto the couch.

It’s a Hepburn-Bogart situation. I love the romance.

I’m hoping to lure her away for a walk tomorrow morning, but after an absence of several days, I suspect her heart really did grow fonder. It may be tough to pry her away. I’d be a monster to even try.

More sleep, please

Last night, I went to bed at 7:45. I aligned my fortress of pillows at 7:43, slipped down my eye mask at 7:44, and was surely out by 7:45.

It may have been the best thing I’ve ever done. I may do it again tonight.

Big things have been happening lately. It’s likely we’re moving very soon, which is a giant pain in my substantial butt. With four dogs, finding a rental home is a challenge. People hear that we have four dogs and run for the hills…or try to charge us a $300 nonrefundable pet fee per dog, which is outrageous. Charging a fee only encourages bad behavior; I’d want to get my money’s worth, dammit.

To prepare for the move, Ben and I will be in purge mode for the next couple weeks. I also suspect I’ll be in panic mode at varying times, as the reality of moving sinks in. I’d rather have a colonoscopy every day for a month than move, but, without that option, I guess I’ll have to shut up and pack.

“It’s just another day, do-do-do-do-dooo. It’s just another daaaay!,” I’ll sing as I shimmy and pack with joy.

If you need me, I’ll be sleeping.


Snailed to the wall

A happy snail family

A happy snail family

There was an early morning tragedy at my house today.

For several weeks, snails have been murdering my plants at night, but I’m surprisingly okay with it. My plants are delicious. Snails gotta do what snails gotta do, right?

So, every day, I sort through the leaves, pulling the snails off and rehoming them. On lazy days, I chuck them over my fence into my neighbor’s yard. On ambitious days, I put them in a cup and escort them to another location, which is also in my neighbor’s yard. (My neighbors moved out, so no one cares if there may be a growing snail infestation.)

This morning, as I was watering my plants, preparing for the snail roundup, I heard an awful crunch underfoot. A very large and particularly juicy snail didn’t make it.

Sadly, this is not the first snail tragedy in my side yard. Sometimes, when I chuck them over the fence, they don’t actually make it over the fence. Sometimes they hit the fence. With a horrible crunch.

I choose to believe those snails went to the snail hospital and experienced a full recovery.

Incidentally, I have a terrible track record with chucking things over the fence. Whenever I clean up dog poop in the back yard, I clear the fence maybe 50 percent of the time. I’d say 25 percent hit the fence and another 25 perfect fall off the shovel before launch. It’s only a matter of time before a damp plop of stinky poo drops right onto my head mid-fling. This is why I leave the bulk of the poop-chucking to my husband, who is incredible at it. If there were a medal for flinging poop, he’d win the gold. He should lead seminars.

Did I mention praise is an incredible motivator for husbands?

Rest in Peace, Juicy Snail on the Second Step. May there be primroses in heaven.


Otis is home

Back home and happy

Back home and happy

The world’s most expensive rescue dog is now home and happy, after two days of treatment for trash-induced pancreatitis.

He’s bubbly and snuggly, and completely irresistible, which is good considering how much his garbage buffet cost to treat. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

He’ll be on two different antibiotics (in addition to his normal drug regimen of two seizure pills and one thyroid pill every morning and night) for a week, and a prescription diet for the next two months to repair his damaged pancreas and digestive system. The little fluffball is a walking (okay, waddling) medical miracle.

We’re also on strict orders to get him to a healthier weight. He’s at 26 pounds and the vet wants him down to 22. When we first got him, he was on a prescription diet food that helped him drop a couple pounds, but he regained it when we put him on regular food. Even though he gets a really small amount of food, he gained back all the weight he lost and we’re now back at square one.

I feel his pain. (“Diets are the worst,” I lament as I choke down my homemade vegan tomato soup and try to ignore the Easter candy in my office.)

On the bright side…

• We discovered Otis looks awesome in hot pink. He will surely have some gender-bending hot pink sweaters in his wardrobe this winter. I love that boy in pink!

• The vet gave me a free can of wet dog food. After paying his second-day hospital bill and forking over extra money for his new medicines and a bag of fancypants dry food, the vet informed me Otis can no longer take his pills with a blob of peanut butter. Immediately after my head hit the counter in despair, she slipped me a can of the prescription wet food. They didn’t get me for another $5. I’m counting it as a win.

• Otis is okay and his shaved knees are adorable. (They shaved part of his legs for the IV.)

Here’s to a quiet weekend and no further Otis dramas. I need a break!

A brief Otis update

Otis having a rest

Otis having a rest

As I mentioned yesterday, Otis enjoyed a trash buffet on Friday and was suffering some ill effects (namely barfing and diarrhea). Last night, after a 24 hour fast to clear his system (the second since Friday), he got a home cooked meal of boiled chicken and rice, but it did little to improve his mood. By this morning, our little guy was not terribly motivated to do much of anything. When he refused his chicken and rice breakfast, I knew it was serious. Otis does not refuse food. Ever.

So, I brought him to the vet first thing. Turns out he has pancreatitis, which basically means his pancreas was so stressed by his garbage feast that it’s pumped out enough juices to start digesting itself and his other organs. This is not good news. Otis is really, really sick.

He’s spending today hooked up to IV fluids and hardcore meds, including pain meds since pancreatitis is a miserable condition. I’ll take him home tonight, but he’s barred from any food or drink. I’ll bring him back to the vet in the morning for another day of fluids and meds. Hopefully, this treatment will flush out his system, knock out the infection, and set his little organs back to right.

Poor little Oat Man.

We’re so grateful we caught this in time. Pancreatitis is fatal and treatment must be early to be effective. This morning, Otis’ white blood cell count was three times normal. That’s two brushes with death in one month for the fluffy white dog. I just hope he gets well enough to take a part-time job over the summer. It will take years for him to pay us back with just his allowance.

Moving forward, we’re going to have to be even more careful of his diet. Pancreatitis can recur or become chronic, so it’s gonna be low-fat everything from here out. And the trash is finding a new home.

Otis Barfwatch 2014

Otis at the vet

Otis at the vet

I came home Friday to a house full of garbage.

Unfortunately, there was significantly less garbage than there should have been since Otis availed himself of the garbage buffet. He was bloated, swollen, and full of what I can only speculate. I know there were skins and bones from at least four chicken thighs, a few pizza crusts stripped of toppings, the butt from a head of Romaine lettuce, and probably a dozen eggshells, of which I only recovered about three.

My high-maintenance dog, the one with epilepsy and thyroid problems, now had a gut full of garbage. All we could do was wait.

The barfing and diarrhea started Saturday. After pooping four times and barfing six, he seemed fine. He was running around full of energy, and chuffing to be fed after 24 hours of forced abstinence from food. I fed him dinner Saturday, then breakfast and dinner Sunday.

Unfortunately for my carpet (and gag reflex), he wasn’t quite finished.

Without warning, in the final minutes of last night’s Mad Men, Otis began barfing semi-digested food all over the carpet. I cleaned it up, then sat with him for a while, thinking it was over. After all, he didn’t get much food and it seemed like a whole lot of it came up. We went to bed about midnight.

At 3 a.m., my white wonder-barfer started getting restless. I jumped out of bed and took him to the bathroom, where he barfed again. There was no pep in his step. He was actually pretty miserable.

So, here we are again with a sick doggie, running on almost no sleep, worrying about what he might be doing at home alone. He didn’t have breakfast this morning and tonight I’ll make him some boiled chicken and rice in hopes of calming his poor tummy. If he can’t keep it down tonight, we’ll be back at the vet tomorrow.

This dog is giving me an ulcer. Ug.

‘Tired of Nothing Blue’

If doing a car commercial didn’t make Bob Dylan turn over in his yet-t0-be-turned-0ver grave, this might. A song I’d been singing for years as “Tired of Nothing Blue” is actually “Tangled Up in Blue.” I admit my version made almost no sense, but it’s Bob Dylan. Tired of nothing blue actually makes more sense.

The funny thing is that I’ve heard people reference the song “Tangled Up in Blue” and never made the connection. I thought it was a song I’d never heard before, not the “Tired of Nothing Blue” I’d been crooning to myself for years.

This discovery should come as no surprise, however. I get lyrics wrong all the time.

Here are some classics.

• For years, I thought Billy Squier’s “In the Dark” was actually a song about Canada. “Caa-na-daaa” I’d sing loudly, never realizing it wasn’t an ode to our northern neighbors.

• If it were up to me, Journey’s “Loving Touching Squeezing” would start “You make me weak, I’m on a diet.” Unfortunately, the real line is less interesting, but much more dramatic. Steve Perry wails, “You make me weak and wanna die.”

Toto’s “Africa” never made sense to me. What did it matter what 100 men on Mars could never do? Wasn’t it a song about Africa? The line is actually about 100 men or more. They’re not on Mars. Unfortunately.

• Speaking of otherworldly adventures, I thought Elton John’s “Rocketman” was burning out his shoes and hair alone. Rather, he was burning out his fuse up there alone. I always wondered how he burned his shoes and hair while in a spacesuit.

This is just a sampling of the lyrics I’ve consistently mangled over the years. If I think of more, I’ll add them to the list. Also, please post your goof-ups. Misheard lyrics are infinitely more interesting than the real ones.

Happy Sunday!