Baby Boomers: New Families?

Nov 27, 2012 by

Once Randy dies, that’s it.  No more pets.” That’s what my 64-year-old neighbor told me several months ago.  I agreed. Last February I had to put to sleep my Havana Brown feline Carlotta.  It was horrific for me and worse for her soulmate black coal feline Jason.  I vowed that when Jason, who is 17, passes over, that’s it. No more animal companions. I could not get through pet grief again. Also, I have seen what happens too often to pets when their “parent” dies.  Relatives tend to drop them off at the shelter or even let them run loose on the street, despite the legal contract of the will which specified and funded the care instructions. That was that. This summer Randy, an exotic bird, had to be put down because his injury...

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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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Tail-Waggin’ Doggie Bones...

Dec 9, 2011 by

I’m starting a new revolution. From now on, instead of buying “stuff” for friends and family at Christmas, I’m giving gifts to their animals instead. Actually, I rarely buy “stuff” for Christmas gifts. I’m not a shopper by nature, and since I’m a professional artist, I usually offer my sculptural artwork as unique, one-of-a-kind gifts. But after a number of years, I realized my friends and family had only so much room in their homes for all of my art! So two years ago, I started considering gift-giving alternatives without jumping on the Black Friday consumer bandwagon. What could I make that would be useful, as well as thoughtful and fun? Scanning the internet for ideas, I came across a site that offered recipes for homemade dog treats, which sparked an inspiration. People have...

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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 Think Better When I Walk

Oct 5, 2011 by

I’m not sure why this happens but whenever I walk the dogs, my brain works in amazing ways! It seems to be buzzing at warp speed –  the conversations I have with myself are often better than conversations I have with other people! Don’t tell anyone I said that, though. Tom always says he thinks best in the shower – or, otherwise ‘disposed’ – but I think best on long walks, and in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. Both times are inconvenient for capturing the content flowing through my brain, thus making it all a bit useless. I mean – if I can’t act on the great thoughts, what good are they? Mind you, I’m not saving the world, or ending hunger or even choosing the next president. My thoughts...

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March of Loss

Sep 19, 2011 by

“I’m at the vet specialist with Snowball,” I said into the phone, “trying not to think about Snowball.” I’m losing cats in reverse order.  Spot, the youngest, died of heart failure four months ago.  Snowball, the middle cat, has barely eaten since then.  Did you know cats mourn when another cat dies?  I didn’t even know they liked each other.  For 13 years they fought.  Spot bullied Snowball and stole his food.  The wrestled over use of the heated pad and played a fierce game of King of the Cat Condo for the window space.  When Spot died, I tried to show Snowball that he was gone.  Snowball walked on the corpse, as if in triumph. And then he lost half his weight, as if to show that half of himself is missing without...

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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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Resting Spot

Jun 8, 2011 by

Mr. Spot, one of our beloved cats, died on Thursday morning. He died in the way of his choosing; at home, under the bed, where he felt safe.  He hadn’t been able to breathe well for months due to congestive heart failure.  Six months ago, I took him through a labyrinth of stressful veterinary medical procedures to ease his breathing, but two days after, his symptoms returned. We could have done it again.  We could have submitted to another terrifying day of waiting rooms and needles, but how many times until we accept the inevitable? Since the death of my husband in 2008, I have had an uneasy relationship with the medical system anyway.  When they told us Dave had leukemia, his only symptoms were some lethargy and pain in his side.  He checked...

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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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A Soul in Cat’s Clothing

Mar 24, 2011 by

Spot the Cat is not doing well.  Spot is one of three cats who made the journey across the country with me after my husband died.  I call our little family “Bonnie and the Traveling Cats” because we all had to go.  We all had to change. Did you know cats can get heart disease?  Spot has it and it makes his little chest fill up with fluid.  He can’t breathe well.  I watch him try to carry on his normal feline activities while his chest heaves, trying to bring in enough air.  He is uncomfortable.  I can take him to the veterinary internal medicine specialist to have the fluid drained, but it scares him half to death and his chest fills right back up.  He is not getting better. How do I know...

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