The first time I laid eyes on Maybelle she was behind bars, in a kennel between the two dogs I’d come to see at the Humane Society. They were big German Shepherd-mixes. One was mostly black and impressive, and the other was about as striking a dog as I’ve ever seen — yellow like a lab, but with the profile of a Shepherd. And between them was a little 45-pound cattle dog mix with oversized ears that stuck out at a strange angle from her head. While the other dogs jumped and barked, she leaned up against the bars of her kennel and waited for someone to give her a scratch.Continue reading
Twelve years ago a sassy little orange cat forced her way into my friend’s apartment and refused to leave. After a brief flirtation with trying to be a cat person, she gave up and I adopted the feline. I named her Ruby (technically Rubia–because she was blonde). I was 23, and living with two roommates. The Red Sox won the World Series that year, and America re-elected George W. Bush (which is pertinent because I stole a bunch of “Bush Country” balloons from the Republican headquarters I had to cover on election night, then blew them up and left them all over the house to freak out my roommate–Ruby promptly popped a bunch and ate one, which she threw up on the way to the vet).
Today, I had to say goodbye. Continue reading
This project wasn’t technically on my To Do List, but I thought it deserved a William Morris shout out. A couple of months ago I embarked on a mission to keep my dog from eating cat food. It hasn’t been easy. Those of you with both canine and feline housemates know that there is nothing tastier to a dog than a bowl of ash-filled cat food. But it isn’t good for them, and it often results in your dog waking you in the wee hours of the morning to take her outside for an emergency potty break. And because one of my cats needs to gain weight (I know…who has that problem?) I can’t have the dog sneaking in and eating her food out from under her. For everyone’s sake, I had to get creative.
I am, to put it mildly, an “animal person.” As I write this, one of my cats is asleep on my desk beside my laptop, and my dog is asleep at my feet. I find them endlessly fascinating. As someone deeply devoted to rescue, I often find myself in heated discussions with people who think breeders are the best (or only) option. This is a pretty common divide among dog people. Amy Schumer knows this.
For me, though, it’s not even really about rescue vs. breeders (though buying a dog is not an option in my book). I find breeding for the sake of it to be downright unethical. It leads to unhealthy dogs, even when they conform to so-called “breed standards.” Even “responsible breeders” are often producing dogs that are inherently less healthy simply for being a good specimen of its breed. Continue reading
and I wrote about it for Dogster. Check it out.
It’s over. Just get me a ratty cardigan and take away my comb, because despite living with the world’s cutest dog I think I’ve finally gone and crossed over into Cat Lady territory.
It all started with Ruby’s gallstones. I didn’t want to have to hunt her down just to force a pill down her throat, so I started keeping both cats inside. And for about a thousand different reasons, I decided to keep them inside even after I stopped having to torture her with medications multiple times a day. Those reasons are boring, so I’ll skip over them, but suffice it to say that having two cats who really want to go outside but can’t can be pretty annoying. So I decided to resurrect an old dream of mine and make an outdoor enclosure thanks, in part, to Pinterest — and with lots of help from my boyfriend.
dsMy cat is sick. It’s a long story that starts with an emergency trip to the vet the day before I left for vacation, and ends…well…it hasn’t ended yet. As it turns out she has stones in her pancreatic and bile ducts. This is very unusual, and could be caused by a range of things from infection (not a big deal) to liver cancer (very big deal). The only way to know for sure what is causing these stones is an expensive and invasive surgery.
I am conflicted, to say the least.
There are meds that can break up the stones, but she reacted badly to them. She had gotten much better on antibiotics, and when the Ursodiol was introduced, she stopped eating again and had loose stools. We quickly discontinued the meds. She’s back to feeling good on her meds, but the stones will continue to present a problem as long as they are in there. They could move and cause other problems and pain. They could also continue to get infected, wreaking havoc every few weeks or months. And of course, we still don’t know what caused them in the first place so there may be underlying issues. Continue reading
A few years ago one of my cats came down with a urinary tract infection. The first sign of this unpleasant feline problem is an excessive amount of litter tracked around the house from the constant in and out of the litter box. Then you start to notice the poor cat actually going in and out of the box. And then, and this is the weird part, you’ll find them trying to pee in sinks and tubs (or at least my cat did) and wonder, “How does a cat know what a drain is?” And eventually you get to the vet and they tell you that, in the case of male cats, UTI’s can be extremely dangerous if they develop crystals in their urine–the crystals can lead to a blockage.
It’s been a long time but I recently went through the experience again, and over the years I’ve learned a lot about the problems so I thought I’d share my extensive knowledge. This is one of the more frustrating (and annoying) health issues to deal with and I know I wish I’d had all this information 4 years ago.
Originally my cat was put on a prescription food, which was super expensive and had pretty crappy ingredients. So after a few years I decided to do some homework and found out that giving your cat the crappiest wet food is better than giving them the most expensive dry food, at least when it comes to UTI’s. It’s all about the moisture content. Continue reading
I made this video a couple weeks ago after Maybelle experienced another one of her weird late-night “episodes.” Today I brought the video to the vet with us, but we still aren’t sure what’s going on. I’m supposed to keep a log of these episodes, which are pretty infrequent (once every three months or so). My vet — who I love — had one other suggestion for me. If we determine that she’s not having small seizures — or can’t figure out what’s going on — that perhaps we should see an “animal communicator.” Apparently she’s got a couple she trusts and now I just kind of want to go anyway…
Anyway, has anyone ever seen something like this? It fits some of the “small seizure” criteria, but I’m still kind of hoping for ghosts.
If you’ve got HBO, be sure not to miss this documentary.
Recently there was a New York Times article about how 20-somethings are using their parents’ HBO Go passwords to watch Girls. I’d recommend finding an HBO Go password of your own to watch One Nation Under Dog.
I will warn you though, it’s thoroughly heartbreaking.
I cried, a lot.
It’s the “Betrayal” section of the documentary that really gets to you. I’m a little surprised I didn’t actually vomit.
One by one, workers in a a rural shelter carry one perfectly lovely dog after another into a big metal bin. They’re packed in so tightly they can barely move. Then they’re gassed — you can hear them crying. Once they’re dead, the bin is opened up, a litter of puppies is put in on top of them and the process is repeated. Then a garbage truck shows up and dumps the bin full of dogs into the back…
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People keep telling me my dog looks like Mad Max’s dog. Turns out she kind of does. At least I know we can survive in a post-apocalyptic world.