Cats in the Gap (A Memorial Essay)...

Jul 31, 2012 by

It’s 93 degrees and the sun is relentless.  It’s hard to dig in the dry Colorado dirt, but I’ve done this before.  I know I’ll need the rubber mallet and a tent stake to pry out the rocks.  I’ll need the square shovel to shave down the sides, making room for the box, and the big shovel to carry out the loosened dirt. The sharp shovel cuts through the tree roots, and I feel every blow and break.  The roots, sheathed in red, scream a painful mess of color into the soil.  I don’t know which tree I’ve severed, lilac, elm or fir, but I know how it feels. We called Snowball the Last Cat Standing.  He lived the longest of the three and a full year from the time of the first cat’s...

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Gluten-Free Dog Treats

Dec 16, 2011 by

Last week, I shared a yummy recipe for homemade Bacon Doggie Biscuits. Since “gluten-free” is becoming popular as people adopt healthier eating habits, I wanted to also share a low-fat, gluten-free alternative for people who want their dogs to eat healthy, too! I must warn you, however, that dogs are no different than the rest of us. They have a taste for treats that are a bit more decadent than this one, so if you offer them one of these “good-for-you” snacks, they just might look up at you as if to say, “Where’s the Beef?” One little dog named Spencer, who’s a rather finicky eater, was clearly not interested in these new-fangled dog bones. His owner, a journalist from an area newspaper who had written an article on my dog-biscuit endeavors, told me...

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Angel Kitty

Oct 10, 2011 by

It seems as though sometimes we sustain losses in chains.  Spot died in May, then Snowball got sick and just as he got better, Kitty got sick. I’ve never seen my feisty little cat so weak.  She would stand over the water bowl, staring at the water and muster all her strength to make a soft, desperate sound.  It was the same sound she made when I greeted her on Sunday.  I had been out of town for a few days and was shocked at how quickly she had gotten so sick. Last week she was stealing Snowball’s food and insistently displacing my computer in my lap.  We had an “argument” last Thursday about who was going to sleep in the middle of the bed (an argument she won).  Kitty had stopped eating on...

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I Love Lucy

Aug 17, 2011 by

Just nine months ago, I adopted a cute cockapoo. I named her Lucy.  I must admit though my husband was definitely reluctant. Excuses like “you’re never home” rang true, but the reality was I was home quite a bit, just not when he was home! What is interesting is that although couples may vehemently disagree on most topics, they usually both soften in manner and tone to agree that the dog, cat, bird or horse is great. What happens between people and their pets that accounts for this emotional outpouring of love? Funny, if there is any criticism, it is the verbalized wish to receive the kind of love and attention the pet is getting. “I only wish she was as affectionate with me as with our dog!” “You should hear him speak to...

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My Grand Pup, The Model

Aug 10, 2011 by

I often write about my wonderful daughter Erika.  She is a Hospice Social Worker in Bellingham, Washington, and has been happily married for 3 years to a man she met on Match.com. She is beautiful, smart and funny and absolutely dotty about her two Chihuahuas, Ginger and Lulu.  They make her laugh and she admits she loves them to distraction and makes no excuses about it. Ginger, my first grand pup, led the wedding processional in my garden 3 years ago. Dressed in fetching pink organza with a flower on her back, she pranced down the garden steps, her matching pink leash held high by one of Erika’s friends. She set the tone for the whole affair and everybody agreed it captured the lightness and love that permeated the whole event.  My daughter declared...

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Remembering Newhart

May 2, 2011 by

I love reading about the pets whose presence in our lives combined companionship with guidance, silliness with responsibility. And when they die, we miss them, mourn them and tell stories about them. My dog Newhart came into our lives as a Guide Dog Puppy which my teenage daughter raised as her 4H project.  He quickly revealed himself to be an extraordinary spirit garbed as a Golden Retriever. Even the other parents of kids who were raising guide dog puppies admitted that Newhart was different. He was smart and goofy, totally tuned to whoever was with him, and a love magnet beyond any I’ve encountered since. We were good 4H members, following the rules that allowed puppies to develop the right social skills without spoiling them in ways that would hinder their later life of...

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What Do Cats Dream Of?

Mar 15, 2011 by

This elderly little cat has lived with me since I was 25, before I was married.  To everyone’s surprise, she has outlived my husband and now she is a thin, gray creature with a touch of kitty dementia.  This is the cat who comforted him on the night before his death in the hospital, the one who played “home” with us in that tiny ICU cubicle.  This is the cat who was present when he died. Dave loved her and her image graces our shared headstone. That same image is tattooed on my left foot, a memorial to him, to her and to the life we shared.  I count my blessings that she is still with me, though I know she is in the winter of her life.  She snuggles under my arm now,...

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