The horrible secret behind Lippazaner shows.

One day, Earl and I went to a traveling Lippazaner show at the Larimer County Fairgrounds. Apparently, there are several groups that travel the nation so people can look at these magnificent horses which were saved during World War II by General George S. Patton.

We watched the magnificent jumps. The highlight of the jumps is the Cabriolet, where the horse jumps high into the air, then kicks his rear feet back. Astounding.

Since we were veterinarians, after the show we went behind the curtain of the arena to see the horses up close. We were promptly yelled at to get out. We explained that we were vets, and just wanted a closer look.

The mood changed immediately.

The head person in charge said they were out of Adequan, a powerful anti-arthritis drug, ridiculously expensive. I said I could get some, and would meet them there the next morning. I bought some at the veterinarian supply store, not a store like PetSmart, but one focusing on medicine and specific supplies.

I bought a box of Adequan with the caveat that I would be allowed to return it. The manager agreed. I went back to The Ranch, the name of the fairground complex in Loveland, and was told to get out by the security guards. When I explained myself, I was allowed to the area where the horses were.

In veterinary medicine, you must have a doctor, client, patient relationship to sell pharmaceuticals. In other words, you have to examine the animal. The head man said he just wanted to buy the stuff because he had some lame performers. I said I brought my horse bag, and would look at the sore animals. No, the man said.

I turned and walked to my car to the swear words of this man because I wouldn’t sell him drugs improperly and risk losing my license. I returned the Adequan to the store.

I got a horrible feeling in my gut. These people were using these magnificent horses daily, lame or not, and pumping them with drugs so they could perform. Then they traveled to the next city. Horses can develop stomach ulcers by daily travel and stress.

I stopped going to circuses long ago. I will not have anything to do with performing elephants. I have such high regard for the elephant. Circus animals are so abused so the companies can make money. Sick.

Thank goodness that now, Ringling Brothers shut down because of complaints by the public on how animals were treated.

There are many other ways to watch an amazing show. Cirque de Soleil uses human performers. These people have the gift of choice. Animals do not.

Please boycott traveling animal shows. My exception is a good rodeo if there is no steer roping, which is incredibly cruel to the steer. Steer roping is only allowed in two states.

Earl and I went to Chicago when my stepmother died. On the Hertz bus was a total cowboy in full Western dress. We asked him where he was going. For the first time ever in Chicago, the Built Ford Tough circuit of bullriding was in town. The rider was Wiley Peterson, 27, already a millionaire.

How are these animals treated? With the utmost care. Earl, I and my vet friend, Ruth, went to look at the stock. The man there pointed to a phenomenal looking bull. “See that bull?” he said. “That’s a million dollar animal.”

These prize animals are cared for with the utmost of patience. You won’t see handlers begging for pain killers. A veterinarian travels with them.

Pease be aware that there is a dark side to animal shows.

Our boy Fletcher

Howdy! Most people like videos of cats doing odd and funny things. Take a look at my regular FB page to see some.

Earl and I had a wonderful cat, long haired orange boy we named Fletcher. The techs who managed the shelter animals in for spays and neuters knew I had lost my beloved Pruney. They were saving this huge six-month kitten from the Cheyenne Humane Society for us. He stuck out his slab paw, and in doing that, captured my heart.

When I brought him home, it turned out that we could do anything with or to Fletcher, and he’d just put up with it. You couldn’t hear him purr, but he never stopped purring. You had to put a finger on his throat to know that. Nothing bothered him, nothing scared him. He was a huge ball of love and laughter.

The funniest thing we ever saw Fletch do was a day when we were sitting on the bed chatting. Do you remember those hair ties that had a plastic ball on each end? You put your hair in a ponytail and put one ball over the other. They were great, and have been in existence for as long as I’ve been alive.

We had an empty large Kleenex box. Fletch went over to check it out on the floor. I dangled a hair tie over the opening, dropped it in the box, and went back to the bed. We watched. Earl and I roared with laughter as Fletcher stuck his whole head into the opening, and came up to a sitting posture with the Kleenex box on his head. OK, no problem.

Except when he went walking in the room. He got as far as a wall and bumped into it. He turned go go in another direction. He did this about three times until he got his head out of the Kleenex box.

I put the hair tie in again. We absolutely could not believe that he would do that again, but by golly, he did. And we two idiot people could do nothing but howl with laughter, tears running down our faces.

After Fletchie got his head out the second time, he was done. He never did that again. Ever. We were so happy to have seen a huge orange cat with a large Kleenex box stuck on his head walking into walls. Fletcher was fine, of course. We would never let anything bad happen to him; but this cat was one taco short of a combination plate, and we adored him for the thirteen years he was with us.

Oh, and yes, he made a fine kitty burrito when we wrapped him in a blanket and he just stayed put.

My dog is in love with a couch!

I sit here writing, and watch Ivy lying full out on my uncle’s old couch made new by expensive reupholstering two years ago.

Gone are the days of the fluffy doodle jumping up to watch TV sitting on my lap or next to me in the recliner.

My huskies were never allowed on furniture because they shed a lot. But my Goldendoodle does not, and they are not like huskies, who can be alone  for a long time. Doodles won’t spend hours out in the dog pen. They do their business to come back to their humans.

But my Ivy abandoning me for a couch?

I initially trained her to get on beds gently for her therapy dog training (put off by the fractured hip). Now, she just jumps on the couch like she owns it. I guess she does. I do have her sit and call for her to jump on the bed.

I was getting used to TV with a dog comforter. Cowboy Joe does that as he did before we got Ivy.

Happy Holidays!

Urine in the office

I went into my office yesterday to get something my writing coach, Judy, needed. I shooed the brothers, Cowboy Joe and Frank, out of the office. I type in my chair, so I don’t have to crutch back and forth.

This morning, I got up to let the dog out, and I heard frantic meowing upstairs. Matthew had gotten stuck in the office. I close the door because I don’t want the cats in there. Bad idea.

Of course, Matthew, 16, can’t go all night without urinating. He has chronic renal failure, and gallons of stinky cat urine is a part of it.

You can imagine the smell. You can understand I couldn’t go in because I was in stocking feet. Somewhere in there is a pile of kitty turds, I’m sure. Since I can’t vacuum or anything, I took a can of Resolve carpet cleaner, stood at the doorway, and sprayed the entire carpet. Poor Kayla, she has no idea of what she is in for next Monday, my biweekly cleaning day.

Slapstick on the couch

I had a great day today (All things considered, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?). I had a lot of errands, got the Mercedes exercised, Jiffy Lubed, and tires filled with the green stuff. I was surprised it ran. I hadn’t driven it much because the Subaru is the dog mobile. After I had the Benz serviced, I drove up into the foothills east of Horsetooth Reservoir. That short drive in a really fast car always makes me happy.

I started PT on the arm I broke last Feb. After using crutches for the day, it is killer. My fabulous physical therapist, Maud, knocked the pain out of the park. She ended the session by putting kinesiology tape on my shoulder. What is wrong, and was during fracture recovery was the head of the biceps tendon. Oy. I have to remember when I shower before our next appointment that the tape has to come off when you are soaking wet, or you skin comes off with the tape.

I got home to a sleepy Ivy. I wondered where her dog walker was. It was getting dark. Duh, Mary, read your email. Lee from Rover.com, had been there while I was gone, fed Ivy and the cats, and changed the litter boxes.

Ivy is so chill, she loves the couch, especially that I put one of those ten buck blankets on it to protect last year’s new upholstery. What the hell about a no shed dog sleeping on the couch. That wonderful couch, inherited from my Uncle Tom, is sixty years old. Jeez, I’ll be dead when that couch falls apart.

So Ivy was dead to the world, stretched out on the couch and blanket, smiling in her deep sleep. She got up into sternal position, and turned around to face the back of the couch. As I was typing something else, I noticed her back was hanging over the edge. I went back to typing when I heard a wump! Yep, she had fallen to the floor. She looked so embarrassed, I started laughing. She is now sleeping on the floor.

Doodles make you smile every day.

Some dog owners are really dumb

As I was pulling into the alley that goes to my garage today, a woman walking her dog stopped at a fire hydrant on my neighbor’s lawn.

I said, “Do you live in this house (I knew she didn’t,) and when she answered no, I told her that there is no dog peeing allowed on private property in this neighborhood, in fact, there are signs all over that say this, as well as keeping dogs leashed.

This woman, educated, I’m sure, replied that since there was a fire hydrant on the lawn, it was city property. No, the city has an easement to put the hydrant there.

Dogs off leash fry my brain cells. There is a couple with two Cavalier King Charles spaniels, beautiful and friendly dogs, that the gentleman insists that one can stay off leash. We live next to a huge natural area, a prairie that has never been disturbed. A hawk, eagle or owl looking for a meal, could swoop up one of these little dogs for a tasty treat, leaving these people grieving.

I’ve written several emails to the HOA, who send out email blasts about the littlest things. I’ve been ignored.

I had a yellow lawn, and put two signs up. There are still yellow spots in the grass. Oh well, ignore the rules and common sense.

I remember when Ivy was an 8# pup. On the first morning I had her, we went out at dawn for a walk (puppies get up early.) I heard an owl. As we walked along, it hooted again. I turned back and looked, and it was on my next-door neighbor’s roof. I clutched. Fortunately, the great horned owl flew off to the south. Ivy was safe. At least with a leash, I could have pulled her away.

Pet rules are important. They are not to be ignored.

 

Ivy, Want a Stick?

One way to get Ivy to leave me and a guest alone is to say those words. Ivy’s favorite chew toys are Bully Sticks. I would never do rawhide again, as one of my huskies, Keli, nearly choked to death.

Bully sticks practically dissolve when chewed, they taste good to the dog, and they keep them busy when I am trying to unsolved the mysteries of “The Cloud”

The Ghost Dog

I’ve been training Ivy to get on the bed in a way that will be OK when she’s certified as a therapy dog.

She sleeps in her crate, but awakens around 6am. I put her out, and go back to sleep until she barks, once, to come in. Then it’s time for training to be on the bed. Instead of just leaping up, she has to sit, wait for me to get back to bed, and the command, “up!” She is very dainty, goes to the foot of the bed. I say “head down” and she does it.

So, I got up to use the bathroom with Ivy at the foot of the bed. I turned around after washing my  hands, and wouldn’t you know, she’s up against the pillows. She did the same thing on the couch. Silent as a mouse.

She’s going to be a great therapy dog because “doodles make you smile every day.”

Rubber ducky, you’re the one…

You make bath time lots of fun. Rubber ducky, I’m awfully fond of you, do, do, do, do, do!

The great joy while waiting to see if the publisher of my choice will accept my book, before I start searching for another, is that for work, I have only to keep up my social media writing such as this blog entry.

I can read, and highly recommend the last two books I have been reading: Tell Me That This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson-a laugh out loud book that takes a few chapters, well about a quarter of the book really, before you find out it’s wicked funny. Before I start her next book, I am reading Senator Al Franken’s book: Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. This book is funny also, because Franken was a comedian for so long, that he can’t help but see some of the senate idiocy from a humorous point of view. It’s pretty up to date with regard to what’s going on in DC.

I also cherish my time with Ivy. We went to the dog park this morning, and a boxer attacked her. The boxer, a service dog for her human’s mother, serves as a “balance dog” for the mom’s MS. The dogs worked it out, and more doodles arrived, so it was a doodle Woodstock with a boxer thrown in the mix.

I had left a message for my groomer, April, whose shop is closed Mondays. I got a call back from Heather, Frank’s stylist, and she says she does doodles as well. I guess there’s quite a bit of knowledge to have to properly style a doodle. Ivy already has an appointment for the day of her Canine Good Citizen test, but I wanted another one. I can give her a shower, but doing her coat is another thing. She is rather like a giant mat right now with two eyes, a nose, and a smiling mouth. Heather said she could take Ivy next Monday, the third of July, when the shop, Spa 4 Paws, is usually closed. She didn’t want to get behind because of the 4th, and she would be there Monday. We will come up with some sort of plan to style Ivy. Too short, and she’s too poodly. Too long, and she is a giant mass of matted hair. She looks like a fat sheep, but if you hold her hair in on her sides, you get half a sheep in appearance.

Ivy has gotten used to the choke chain, although she nearly killed me today running me to the door of my friends’ house.

Because she did such a crappy job during CGC class last Tuesday at Home Depot, even though she was perfect two days earlier, I pondered taking her to drop-in obedience this evening. Then, I decided to save a few bucks and just go back to Home Depot. It was cooler there, anyway, and we are expecting mid-90’s tomorrow.

Anytime I take my dog where only people should be, I ask permission. Even though all of  Canine Learning Center classes use Home Depot for “off campus” practice, I still ask. The checker I asked was a wild woman with bright eyes, and clearly a person happy with her job and the people she helps. I asked her if she would like to pet Ivy while I held her collar. The woman went nuts on me and told Ivy, “You go crazy, girlfriend, be wild, have fun.” Ivy laughed her head off as she did what she was told. Yes, dogs laugh-hard. They also can text, “LOL,” but that’s for another time.

Ivy and I practiced healing and shopping, stays, turns, the whole megillah. I found that in a mostly empty store with long aisles, I could put Ivy on a stay, sit or down, walk well away, and wait. She was perfect, and when finally called, did her usual jump in the air, run to me at top speed, and jump to a sit. Then she “finishes” when told, which means going behind my back to return to heel position sitting down for a nice treat.

It was still early to go home, so I called Diane from the car (all handless) and said Ivy had a present for Logan, the little Yorkie who needed re-homing due to a move up in the mountains where he would have been a great meal for a roving eagle. The toy, a fuzzy yellow duck that quacks when bitten, was a great hit with Logan and Ivy. Sol, Diane and Darell’s little poodle, not so much. Sol, pronounced “Soul,” has taken possession of Logan, and just watched.

Ivy also had fun running in the yard. We do not have a back yard, so she ran like a little maniac on the grass, diving into its fragrant softness. I spied a circular sprinkler on the lawn, and asked Diane if she would turn it on. OMG! My doodle went nuts! She ran circles around it, getting wet, drank from it, and spent a long time getting soaked. I doubt the grass got watered at all. The three of us humans drank iced tea and watched all three dogs doing maniacal canine deeds. I think Ivy took the prize for “the dog that will never be allowed inside Diane’s house again.” At this time, she is still outside. We left for home via a gate out of the yard instead of going through the house. That dog was dripping wet. All that hair I was worried about had disappeared into droplets of sopping curls. I put her directly outside, where she fell asleep in the delightful summer evening. She just now barked, once, so I went down to put her to bed. Her hair is mostly dry, so I’ll spend tomorrow trying to brush it out. At least it will look clean for class tomorrow night if we can stay away from the dog park.

 

 

Dances with Kittens

Have you ever looked closely at a veterinarian’s hands and arms? If you have, you would see tiny lines of scars on them, a memory of the cats that have scratched them. I myself have plenty.

I have two scars that I actually cherish. When Cowboy Joe was coming out of anesthesia, he was a little goofy, and raked the back of my wrist with his back claws. There are two long, thin scars, memories of a strung-out kitten. It’s a memory from a cat I dearly love, so I am happy to look at them. At the time it happened, 2004, I was not amused. Since my cat was loopy, I understood.

The other scar I treasure was put in place by Pruney, the cat of my life. While living at home with my mom after college, I decided that Pruney, an inside/outside cat, should wear a collar. Many cats wear collars just fine. Pruney-not so much. She managed to get the collar stuck in her open mouth, and when I got her off the window screen where she hung onto dear life, she raked the same wrist with her two canine teeth. After over 40 years, I can still see the reminder that not all cats can wear collars. The last cat I tried a collar on was Kitty Alexander, our 20-pound tuxedo, who promptly got hung up on a door hinge. I had to unhook him. Now, I know how collars should fit on animals. No mistakes there. It’s part of what I teach my clients. These were just two freak accidents, and since Pruney was my last outdoor cat, there really is no need for collars on my cats. And a heads up to our humane society, I don’t license them, either, when they get their rabies vaccinations. Bad Mary.

In practice, my favorite part of well kitten visits is to educate people about how to care for their cats properly. The most important part of this lesson is, “How Not to be Killed by Your Kitten.” You see, people like to have Kitty chase their fingers across the room, or wave their hand back and forth on the carpet. It’s so much fun to see him get so riled up he can’t think, and runs around the room like he’s possessed. Bad idea. Kitty gets the idea that, 1. It’s OK to bite the finger when he catches it, which is instinctual, and 2. It’s OK that human body parts make great chew toys. They are not. NEVER use hands to play with your cat or kitten. Instead, have a toy or string that they cat catch and play with. For strings and similar items, be sure to put them away when you are finished playing, as the strings could be swallowed by an unsupervised cat and wind up stuck in his intestines and will have to be surgically removed.

The same play rules are true with human feet, except Kitty will add hiding for pouncing on and biting the feet. If you like being attacked by an unseen ball of fur, by all means, go for the foot fetish. It can, however, be very painful in the sensitive area of the top of the foot. Picture Tiger lying in wait until you come home from work, looking at the mail when, WHAM! You are attacked from below-a direct hit to the ankle.

Also be that cats like to climb things, like the drapes. Bad Kitty. This behavior is reinforced by thinking it’s cute for Kitty to climb up your pants with his razor sharp claws.

So what to do if your cat is the Kamikaze who actually gets to you even after you stop playing with hands and feet? First, don’t physically discipline an animal, ever. The cat is only acting on its instinct of preditory behavior. Second, you have only three seconds to react until the devious act is out of Kitty’s mind. Fill an empty soda can with small rocks, and have it ready to shake at Kitty when he is bad. Making a hissing noise is cat talk for “Look out, I’m going to get YOU”! You can also turn and walk away, play time is over, period. Be strong, even if he wants to start playing with you again. Nope-game over.

What’s more fun than playing with a kitten? Nothing! But be aware of safe ways to play with your little furball so no one, you or Kitty develop bad behaviors and gets hurt.