My trademark iris

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Goodbye, Briley

On Christmas Eve, fourteen years ago, some cold-hearted, sorry excuse of a man tossed a 6 month old puppy out of his truck, onto the median of Briley Parkway and drove off. My brother happened to see it happen and quickly stopped and grabbed the puppy and took him to my parents' house. This little guy was appropriately named Briley. He looked like a miniature golden retriever, was very scared and shy. He was terrified of the broom and of men in uniforms. He seemed to be content and loved to chase tennis balls in the backyard. He stayed with my parents for 4 years, until my mother passed away in 2000. I took him home with me when my father sold the house.

Briley adapted well to becoming an indoor dog after spending 4 years outdoors. Of course, he needed a bath if he was going to stay inside. He quickly learned that baths made him feel good, so he would hop into the bathtub for me. After he was dried and brushed, he went to the cabinet where his treats were. He always knew when he had been good.

He was my constant companion. He followed me around the house, standing guard at night at the foot of the bed. He watched from the deck as I cut the grass. He loved walking around the block and pranced with his chest out and head held high. He was so grateful and happy.

Four years ago we noticed he was slowing down a bit and sleeping a lot more. My husband brought home a stray 6 month old American pit bull puppy that had showed up at his workplace. Briley was intrigued, and quickly decided he wanted to impress this little girl. He showed Gremlin the ropes and they became fast friends. They were always together, exploring the backyard, napping on the deck, play wrestling. She was just what he needed to perk him up and get him moving again. Age finally caught up with him this past year.

Almost deaf, going blind, arthritis so bad he could no longer navigate stairs, Briley was struggling to do anything. He tried so hard, and it was hard to watch. For all the love and companionship he gave us, we owed him a peaceful, dignified end. It would be selfish to allow him to get worse, maybe suffer pain. My heart is broken, but my sweet little guy is at peace. It was the last thing I could do for him.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bobtail Babies!

It's been a year since I began volunteering with New Leash On Life and helping take care of the cats up for adoption at PetSmart in Providence Place. I've even adopted Sabrina, a beautiful black cat.

One of the other volunteers recently found a pregnant female cat and her 6 kittens abandoned on the side of a busy road. They came right up to her so she took them home. She took them to the vet, had them check out and all have been spayed and neutered. The kittens are 5 months old and all but one have bobtails. The mother is also a bobtail. I am fostering 2, actually 1 because I'm keeping Bubby, the grey/black tabby. Dawn (who found the kittens) and I are being picky about who gets these little guys. There will be no charge for them, but they must be kept indoors.

Bubby and Milo, who is white with a grey striped patch on his head, have been here for a week and a half and are just adorable. No trouble at all, they are very well mannered. I took them for their booster shot yesterday and both weigh 6 pounds. I may end up keeping Milo if he's not adopted soon. UPDATE: I'm keeping Milo too, and his new name is Bunny!

I have to wonder what kind of a person would abandon a cat and kittens beside a busy road. Do they sleep at night?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Briley, the old guy.

Briley is getting old. He is 14 years old. He had a close call this past week. I thought he had a stroke because he couldn't get up and kept leaning to the left. I had to help him walk by holding him up with a towel under his midsection. He has always stayed near me and was still trying to follow me around in the house. His eyes jerked back and forth all the time and his head swayed even when he was laying down. I took him to the vet yesterday expecting to be told it was time to put him to sleep. I had tried to tell myself I had to let him go.

Briley is still with us today. The vet asked if he was still eating and relieving himself, and said we ought to give the old guy a chance. Briley is suffering from vestibular syndrome, which is a common ailment in old dogs. Dr. McCormick said it's like being on a carnival ride, spinning round and round, without stopping. We're trying him on medication for 5 days.

This morning, Briley's eyes are not jerking back and forth. He is still wobbly and needs to be carried down the steps. I had to hold him up with the towel while he peed. He stood on his own while he ate and got up to get a drink of water by himself. Right now, he is in his usual spot beside me. He is able to lay down comfortably and actually sleep.

I am grateful that Briley is still here. Making the decision to euthanize a beloved pet is one I hope I never have to make again. Briley had a rough start in life. He was rescued by my brother as a six month old puppy tossed from a truck on a busy highway. My parents had him for 4 years, until my mother passed away. I brought Briley home with me and he went from being an outside dog to living indoors. He made the transition very easily.

Briley has been my guardian and companion for the last 10 years. He has always protected me from male strangers, but loves women. He sleeps in his bed near my bed. He has always been eager to please and seems so grateful for the attention. Wherever I go, he is shadowing me. I will never be ready to let him go, but when it is his time, I hope he goes peacefully in his sleep.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Bluebird House

We've always had bluebirds passing through the neighborhood. I've seen them waiting on the phone lines to fly down and catch insects stirred up by lawn mowers. Last year we put up a bluebird house at the back of the property line. We mounted the cedar house on an aluminum fence post to keep squirrels from climbing it. The only thing that tried to nest in it was the house sparrows. I did see a bluebird go inside, but no nest.

This spring I cleaned out the trash the sparrows brought in almost daily, until last week. I opened the nest box and noticed a neat nest constructed of pine needles from my garden. I kept my eye out to see what kind of bird was building this nest and soon saw a bluebird with a mouthful of pine needles lighting on the box. Another quickly lit on the top of the nest box. They are fiercely guarding their nest. A bluejay lit on the top and was attacked by the bluebird pair.

As I sat on the deck watching the pair yesterday, one dove from the oak tree to hover directly in front of me. I noticed a big caterpillar on the railing and moved it a little farther away from me. The bluebird came back and grabbed the caterpillar.

Just now I saw her fly into the next box with pine needles and now he is standing guard on top of the box. I hope they succeed!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Welcome Sabrina!

Yesterday I adopted Sabrina at PetSmart. She is a small, solid black cat. Sabrina had been at PetSmart for over a month and had been there even before Miss Kitty got sick and had to be put to sleep. We have always had more than one cat, at one time we had four.

Sabrina is a different cat now that she's here. She was so happy checking out the rec room and laundry room yesterday. She has the whole couch to herself and has lots of room to roam around. Even a window ledge to sit on and watch the birds outside. She will get to come upstairs in a few days after she has had time to acclimate. I am introducing her to Randy slowly. He's not pleased with me right now.

I got a nice email from the lady who had rescued Sabrina last year. It seems Sabrina's owner had left her at the apartment complex when they moved. She didn't get along with her rescuer's cat, so they took her to the New Leash On Life shelter where she ended up at PetSmart. I think I'm lucky to have found her.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Goodbye, Miss Kitty

Today has been a terrible day. I had to have my beautiful grey tuxedo cat, Miss Kitty, put to sleep this afternoon. She has been sick since last week when she suddenly stopped eating. I took her to the vet last Friday and she was already jaundiced - the inside of her ears and mouth were yellow. She was being tube fed but she was anemic and her liver was failing. After talking with the veterinarian this morning, we decided that she wasn't going to recover. I spent some time with her and held her, she even managed to purr for me. But she could barely hold her head up. I know I did the right thing, but I still feel awful.

Miss Kitty was my diva cat. She was picky about who touched her and you always had to let her smell your hand first. She had the prettiest, slender "girl" feet. She had been abandoned by her owners, who moved off and left her when she was barely a year old. She chose us and I could not resist those gold eyes looking up at me begging for food. She lived like a princess the 10 years we had her. Rest in peace, my pretty girl.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Gift for Gremlin

A few years ago we rescued a stray female American Pit Bull Terrier puppy. She was about 5 months old at the time and was starving. She has turned out to be one of the greatest dogs we have ever had and loves everybody. She gets along with our old retriever mix, Briley and both the cats. We have spoiled her rotten.

Last week I bought her a pink leopard print nylon martingale collar. It's a little more girly than the black martingale she's been wearing. I got it today and it is really nicely made and should withstand her strength when she walks with me. The collar was made by Big Doggy Bling and you can get all kinds of collars in a wide variety of designs.

Gremlin loves her girly new collar!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

The year 2010 is upon us. A new year and a new decade. I'll happily put the last decade behind me. About the only good things that came out of it were Duane & Nita getting married, Greg got his life together and got married. We welcomed Amber into the family. I reunited with a childhood friend and I met several glass artists online that have become great friends. One personal triumph was quitting smoking.

I lost my mother and mother-in-law within 3 months of each other in 2000. My last grandparent passed away. I saw another side to some relatives and didn't want to see anymore. I learned to accept things for what they are, I can't help someone that doesn't want help.

Making resolutions usually don't work for me. So I'm just going to continue to take care of myself physically and mentally. I can do that and hope that this decade will be much better than the last.