Friday, November 26, 2021


 Sometimes I leave things hanging in my posts and today I feel the need to clean up a few of those leftovers and post the endings. 

First was a recent post that upset several people and I'll admit that Rob and I were concerned about it at the time. Do you remember Uggo? He was the bald headed Cardinal that was hanging around our feeder. He and his mate Mrs. Uggo had no feathers on their heads. We were told that it was probably an abnormal molt and should resolve itself in time.

Well, you will be happy to know that both Uggo and the Mrs have beautiful red feathers all over their bodies, including their heads. When they first came in they had a bluish tint, but now they look perfectly normal. Mr and Mrs Uggo visit us a couple times a day to check out the feeders and we're very happy for them.

Next we go back a few years. After our terrible experience with crypto Noah was left with colitis. The poor boy had a terrible time and we tried everything to help with his touchy tummy. He took probiotics, which helped a lot, and we made his dogfood for years. We were also told that kefir, a fermented milk, might help. I was willing to try anything that would make Noah feel better, so we searched for a dairy goat farmer in the area and found one a few miles from us.

The farmer was a very nice lady who loved animals and kept her goats in top condition. Once a week we'd drive to her farm to pick up fresh milk for Noah. Here I am on one of our trips being greeted by my favorite goat, Chocolate Cherry. Cherry was very social and loved to come meet us whenever we showed up.
I soon got the knack of making kefir and all the dogs loved it. Rob liked it too on cereal. My goat farmer has moved out of state and we no longer have the need of the milk, but I'm glad we met and that we were able to help Noah.

Next is Mackey. Since she was about three years old Mackey has been experiencing seizures. Her's are abnormal seizures as they last 12 to 15 minutes each. She is conscious during them but can't stand. Her legs paddle, her body stiffens, and she moans and whimpers. She is obviously terrified during them and all we can do is stroke her and talk to her. Afterwards she is tired and wants to sleep in a dark room. Fortunately, her seizures are infrequent I've come to recognize the signs that one is coming on. She gets restless and nervous. A couple times I've managed to ward one off by giving her some valium when I see the early signals.

Now for the good news. Mackey's last seizure was in December 2020. It's been almost a year seizure free. This time last year Norma Jean was having some health problems and I was trying various things to help her. Someone in our Portuguese Water Dog group suggested CBD oil. I was running out of ideas, so I decided to try it. As long as I was giving it to Norma Jean, why not give it to Mackey, too. I think it helped Norma Jean feel better and be more active and I'm pretty sure it's helped with Mackey's seizures.

The next item on my list is Sydney. This dog has been a problem all her life. Even as a young puppy she showed unexpected bursts of aggression, usually toward Mackey. As she got older the surprise attacks came toward the other dogs. She zeroed in on any dog that was old or sick. Either Rob or I were there to grab her and rescue the other dog but she did injure several of them and I have bites on my legs from trying to stop the fights.

Dr B and I have had several long serious conversations about Syd and what was the best way to protect everyone. He did an exam to make sure there was nothing physical causing her outbursts. Combining her behavior with Mackey's history of seizures, Dr B feels pretty sure that their mother had distemper while carrying the pups. Though it didn't kill them, as it often does unborn puppies, it probably caused brain damage in the litter. Syd's comes thru as bursts of unprovoked aggression.

Syd takes Prozac daily and has been confined to the yard and the garage because of her attacks. She has a big pen in the garage with a dog house, pillows and blankets. In nice weather she has the run of the yard as well. When the big dogs were all gone, we thought maybe Syd could come upstairs and live with us and that she and Mackey could get along. It worked well for about a week, then suddenly one evening as we were watching tv, Syd walked over to a sleeping Mackey and attacked her. I grabbed Syd by her back legs and Rob moved Mackey to the porch to examine her. She had a couple of small cuts that we cleaned up. Since then Syd has gone back to the garage to live.

Syd seems perfectly happy in her solitary life. She rearranges her pillows and blankets almost weekly and has a nice collection of dog biscuits that she hides in the blankets. On cold nights she comes into the den to sleep in her crate. I'd prefer to have a dog that interacted more with us, but it is what it is.

Finally, Norma Jean. It's been almost a year since my special girl died and I've been unable to post about it till now. NJ had a few things going on. She had arthritic changes expected in a fourteen year old dog, but there were some bad things going on too. For several years we'd been aware of a neurological problem that was affecting her face. It didn't seem to cause her any stress, so we just watched it and gave her some supplements to keep her feeling well.

Early in 2020 NJ developed a cough and we did some chest xrays. Her lungs showed some thready growths that we treated and they seemed to be responding slowly to treatment. Then her bloodwork came back and the diagnosis was leukemia. I knew she was slowing down and that our time was coming to an end but she was happy and silly and I was determined to keep my girl as long as possible.

Then on Christmas day last year as I was getting her settled for bed, I thought I noticed a slight difference in the sound of her breathing. I listened for it all the next day and although it wasn't constant, it was there.  She was definitely having some breathing problems. For awhile she would breath normally, then she would gasp. As the day went by the gasping became more frequent. I knew it was time. When I called the vet, he said to bring her in immediately. The walk from the car to the exam room had her gasping and we all knew what it meant. Rob and Dr B and I all held her as she took her last breaths. We all felt the urge to reminisce about her life and her sweet silliness. I miss that girl more than I can express.

So there's my year end wrap-up.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thanksgiving Memories

 Everyone who has a dog has a Thanksgiving story to tell. Some are sweet, some are funny, some are horror stories and some are embarrassing. I have a couple in the last category.

I'll start with one from a few years ago that some of you might remember. We were having a few friends over for Thanksgiving dinner that day. Rob took the twenty something pound turkey out of the oven and set it on the counter to cool while I was buzzing around the kitchen preparing other edibles. The guests, fortunately, hadn't arrived yet. Several, maybe all the Porties were in the kitchen watching me and hoping something would hit the floor. I was at the sink peeling potatoes when Samba ran past me heading for the stairs. She was carrying the cooked turkey and her pups were right behind her.
I let out a yell, chased after her and retrieved the turkey. It seemed none the worse for the experience, just a little banged up. I didn't hesitate. I rinsed it off, Rob carved it up and we served it to our friends, who still have never heard this story. Sorry about that.

The other turkey tale dates back to the mid sixties. I had a dog, Zelda, who was from my first litter of pups. Her mom was a small shepherd and her dad was a Cocker Spaniel. She was a super dog and we had great times together.  We lived in a small village and Zelda was frequently let outside to explore. Most days she ran thru the fields behind our house to a farm creek where she loved to swim. Then she would come home and spend the day inside.

Zelda loved to bring me presents. Among her offerings were several squirrels, rabbits, a skunk and a face full of porcupine quills. A couple times she came home with lingerie.  She seemed to be attracted to clothes flapping in the breeze on clotheslines  in the neighborhood. She brought home a slip, a nightgown and a bra before we convinced her to stop. We had no way of knowing where she found her silky prizes and as a teenager I wasn't about to go door to door asking if anyone was missing their undies, so I disposed of them. Cowardly, I know.

Then one year it was the day before Thanksgiving and Zelda brought home her big score. First I must explain that in the sixties we were more relaxed about some things, for better or worse. The food police were almost non-existent. People set food in the windows or on the porches to cool or warm or whatever. In this case someone had set their frozen turkey on their porch to finish defrosting.

This particular day Zelda had gone out in the morning and a few hours later when I went to call her she was coming down the sidewalk dragging a half frozen turkey. She was so happy to offer her special prize to me and I was mortified. Where had she found it and who was going to soon be missing their turkey? What should I do? 

You guessed it, I disposed of the turkey. I couldn't go looking for the owner and offer them their somewhat dirty, scraped up bird and I was a kid and couldn't just go buy another. So the turkey theft stayed between Zelda and me till I married Rob and told him about it. Now you all know and if any of you were my neighbors in 1963 and your turkey went missing, I sincerely apologize.

So those are my most embarrassing Thanksgiving dog stories, Now it's your turn.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021


 Remember these two?

Well, today is their birthday.
Sydney and Mackey are nine years old today. 

 We're celebrating with frozen yogurt cups. Yum!
Doesn't seem possible, does it?

Monday, November 22, 2021

Old Friends And New

We know that friends can take many forms. Friends don't have to be other people as our dogs and cats have all proven. But, can a plant be a friend?

Forty five years ago (yes I am that old) I had surgery. While I was recovering a friend brought me a spindly little Christmas cactus in a 4inch pot. It didn't have a flower and didn't look like it ever would amount to much, but I replanted it in a pretty pot and found it a bright window. I remembered to water it weekly and it started to grow. It outgrew several pots and continued to grow. It pushed out flowers starting in October and continuing thru May and at times was completely covered in bright red flowers. 

 It moved with me from Central New York to Pennsylvania and to Maryland. When we moved to Missouri it shared the back of the Trooper with six birds and three dogs. That was quite a trip thru snowstorms and ice storms, but we all made it and the cactus found a cool bright place to live in the dining room beside the birds.That cactus went thru lots of life events with me. It witnessed good times and bad times. If it could talk it would have plenty to say. It just sat there in it's spot and when the right time came it flowered. It was something I could depend on. Does that qualify it as a friend?

Last year I commented to Rob that the cactus wasn't putting out as many flowers as it had in the past. It only had about six flowers all season and they were small. Also it's branches were getting thick and woody. Over the summer the heavy branches began breaking. It was starting to look really sad and that made me feel sad. A couple times I thought about ending it's life but I kept putting it off. Finally I told Rob that I thought my cactus was finished but that I couldn't bring myself to get rid of it. He agreed that it didn't look healthy. One morning last month I got up and the cactus was gone. Rob had taken care of it. I didn't ask what he had done or where he had put it. I didn't want the details.

I felt like I had lost an old friend. I felt depressed for a couple weeks and felt close to tears a few times. Is that silly? I don't know. I considered that cactus an old friend that was dependable. Why wouldn't I feel sad?

So what did I do? I looked around at local garden shops but there were no Christmas cactus yet. Then I discovered that Amazon delivers live plants and they had Christmas cactus. I ordered two and waited anxiously for them to arrive. They came in perfect condition and have taken up residence in the same window that the big old girl lived in. I had no idea what color blooms they would have, but I do now. Over the past month one of the new little plants got two buds.  

Over the last week they have been opening.

Today I woke up to two perfect pink flowers.

So now I have a couple new friends to share my days with. Don't you love a happy ending?

Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Three Little Piggies Plus Two

A year ago besides having a baby raccoon hanging around we had nightly visits from three opossums. We called them  Hoover, Shark and Dustbuster because they cleaned up everything in sight. Then suddenly they all disappeared and we missed them. Not only were they fun to watch but opossums are great guests to have around. While they were here we had no mice trying to get into the house and the tick population was way lower than other years.  An opossum can eat around 5000 ticks and that means fewer ticks to feast on the dogs. I looked it up and found that opossums are nomadic and the little group that we saw had probably moved on.

This summer I found no ticks on the dogs and only used the flea and tick treatment once all summer, so I believed that there were opossums in the area. One night last month Rob put out the kibble for the raccoons. When I looked out the window about an hour later there was a tiny little opossum baby sitting on the platter eating kibble. I was so happy to see him.

Then a few night later there were two medium sized opossums eating together. One has a light gray and white splotchy coat and the other was very dark gray. While they were eating a big pink piggy nose poked out of the hedge and they were joined by a very large, quite heavy blonde colored opossum. She was a much different color than any of the others that we'd seen. I checked online and there were no pictures of blonde opossums, but there she was. So I started calling her Marilyn. The others ate from the bowls for awhile, then climbed the rail to check out the feeder, but Marilyn doesn't climb. I think she's a little too heavy to feel comfortable climbing.

The baby comes early every evening, before the raccoons can bother her, and eats from the bird feeder. Splotchy and the darker one come most evenings. Marilyn only shows up now and then but stays for quite awhile when she's here. Last week a new opossum showed up. She's a light gray but instead of the usual stark white face, she has a soft gray face. She's actually pretty, for an opossum who tend to look like a cross between a rat and a pig.

So how do they do with the raccoons? Well, Shorty raccoon usually shows up early. One evening she was eating from the bird feeder when Baby opossum showed up. She also prefers the feeder. She walked up to the feeder but Shorty ignored her, so she came up behind and bit Shorty's tail. Shorty took off and now if she sees one of the opossums she runs away. Big Red is so big that the opossums all avoid  her, but Gabby and the opossums seem to get along together and will even share a bowl of kibble without hissing or fighting.

It's nice to know that we're still under the protection of a hungry group of piggy faced opossums. They more than pay for their feed, unlike the rowdy raccoons who just like to get into trouble.

Friday, November 19, 2021

The Three Stooges

 You may remember that all last year we kept track of a little raccoon that we called Rocket J. We put out food each evening and she came every single night to eat and to watch us watching her. Earlier this summer she brought her three babies to the feeder. There was one big baby that was really into eating and the other two usually stood in the feeder watching us thru the kitchen window.

Well, several months have passed since our introduction and things have changed. Rocket rarely comes around anymore, but her three little bundles of joy come by every evening to see what's on the menu. They are no longer tiny little creatures that resemble kittens. They are now grown raccoons and each looks different and has an unique personality. Let me introduce you.

First is Shorty. She was the smallest of the babies and is still the smallest. As you might guess from her name, she's short. She also has a short tail, like her mother. Shorty is usually the first visitor each evening. She's afraid of almost everything and will run into the hedge at the first sound or movement. She will occasionally stick around to eat when one of her siblings shows up, but if both the others appear, Shorty usually calls it an evening. 

We set out a blue dog bowl and a clay platter with kibble. We also put kibble in the open bird feeder. Shorty loves the blue dog bowl and will sit with it between her legs and scoop kibble into her mouth with her front feet. When she finishes, she'll often check out the feeder. She's becoming more relaxed with the idea of us watching her and if not threatened by another animal, will spend quite a bit of time with us. She also likes to climb onto a chair and sit there observing the street. Twice she's stretched out for a nap on the lower shelf of the porch table. 

The middle sized baby is now known as Gabby. She is a very different looking raccoon. She has what I can only describe as white mutton chop whiskers which make her face about twice the size of the others.

 She has white fluffy fur on her chest and four white feet. When I first saw her I thought of Gabby Hayes, so Gabby she is. Gabby shows up most nights with one of her siblings. She is our neatest raccoon as she goes all around the porch picking up any spilled kibble or bird seed. She sticks her long fingers between the slats of the porch floor to recover any pieces that are stuck. There's never a mess when Gabby gets finished eating.

The third member of the group is Big Red. Big Red, as you've probably guessed, is the biggest. She is also unique in that the second stripe on her tail is double width and is a bright reddish gold color. She also has a short streak of reddish gold on top of her head. Red is the only raccoon that doesn't eat with her hands. Instead she sticks her head into the bowl and eats like a dog.

Gabby and Red are both good eaters. Unfortunately, they are both fat. They've gotten so fat that they can no longer run between the posts in the deck railing. There is one area where they can get through if they turn sideways and squeeze. It's funny to watch, but I sure hope they don't get stuck.

We've had a lot of fun watching these babes grow up but I really do hope they don't all decide to bring their babies to visit us next year.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

To Blog Or Not To Blog

 I've been away from the blog for a couple of months. Without my Porties to offer up adventures and cute pictures, I didn't know if I should continue blogging or to sign off. I've been giving it a lot of thought and have decided to continue blogging. 

When I first started this blog many years ago I used it mainly as a journal to document my days and remind myself of events that had special meaning to me. For the first several months I had no readers and that didn't bother me, at least not too much. Finally I joined Dogs On Thursday and met loads of other bloggers with similar interests. 

DOT is long gone and many, maybe most, of the other bloggers have dropped out of Blogville, but I made some special internet friends and I treasure them. 

So, my blog has changed. There isn't as much dog content as I would like, but there are other things going on that deserve to be written about. 

 Get ready ........  I'M BACK !!