I love paws!

I think paws are the cutest thing on the planet. Dog or cat, doesn’t matter.

I love it when Ivy is groomed. As a doodle, she is not given “poodle paws”, where all the toes show. They do a “teddy bear trim” on Ivy so it looks like a hair covered toe-less dog.

What animals do with their paws besides the obvious are just so stinking cute. I’ve been trying Ivy to balance sitting up. We’re not there yet. And, it won’t be “beg.” That is undignified. She is learning to roll over, but we call this sliding, and she does it with the ball-sliding on one side, rolling on to her back, then slide on the other side. No roll over, that, too, is undignified in my opinion. Nothing feels so good to her as sliding on a nice area of grass.

When Ivy is maniacally chasing the launched ball, she is trained to bring it back, turn around like an air plain turning off the runway to go to the jetway, only she turns around and comes to me and lies down. She holds the ball in her paws, and tries to bite off the covering. These are rubber balls, and this cannot be done. She does that to tennis balls.

She has other tricks involving paws, the usual “paw” tricks. No “shake” command for her.

I must confess something I love. Her front pads smell so good! How kinky is that? Not the back paws, we don’t know what they have stepped in. Ivy’s paws (pads) smell better than buttered popcorn. Now I don’t just sit in my chair with the dog on my lap. Ivy is active with her paws, including putting a forelimb around my shoulders as if to say, “Yo, Bud.”

I don’t recommend grabbing your dog to sniff its paws, but next time you trim claws, give it a sniff!

 

Happy 4th birthday, Ivy

Today, September 15, is Ivy’s fourth birthday. We went out back to throw the ball, and she will get a nice walk later when it’s cooler.

What a difference she has made in my life. From being a crazed widow to a happy, singing person, she has done that.

We are quite the therapy dog team. However, Ivy hasn’t been able to work, same as people due to Covid19. She needs me to take her, and where we visit, people aren’t allowed to be there.

So she is content, make that maniacal, to chase the ball from the ‘ChuckIt”. She really is good. She comes back to me with the ball and lies down. One exception: she will keep the ball and paw once on the grass, then slide and roll all over. It’s so cute. I am lucky to have such an obedient dog.

We haven’t been to Tucson due to Covid, and I doubt I will this year. Another spike will come, and to quote Tony Frank, Chancellor of the CSU system: “Mary, it’s going to be a bad winter.”

Other than people who are sick and dying, I have enjoyed the quarantine. I only go to Safeway, Trader Joe’s and Walgreens. Sometimes the bank. And the secret dog park with a trail for me to walk, no toys for Ivy, she just runs and runs. She knows where the water is, and gets soaking wet. The other day, she put the whole side of her face in the water bowl along with a ball she found. Then she paws out the water, and goes running again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

We also have to wish Sissy Cali a happy birthday. She’s Ivy’s sister (littermate, c’mon Mary did you not go to vet school?) They are quite the pair.

Ivy is sleeping on the couch. I occasionally hold a mirror under her nose. Hey wait! I have lots of stethoscopes.

I need to eat, now. Ivy won’t allow me to eat before morning game of fetch. I drew the line at not letting me stretch out. Hips sore in the morning, so we walk later, as I said, when I’m not so sore.

Happy birthday, my little one, many more.

Love, Your Dogmother

Going to give it another go!

Well, folks, after a couple of years, I finally connected with Judy, my writing coach. Yes, I have started writing again.

As far as my first book, Drinking from the Trough, a Veterinarian’s Memoir, I had a great time writing it and learning about the book business from Judy and my publisher, She Writes Press.

I don’t know how many books sold. I do know I have to get into B/N’s face because their store in town has a local author’s site, and an animal site. My book wasn’t there. We have a ‘little mail box’ in our neighborhood. I signed and put my book in, and that’s the last I’ve seen of it. It’s always taken. So I signed another and put it in the little library. It’s out too.

I have some clues as to what I want to write about, but we’ll see what comes up. I have a few ideas, but one is so touchy, two people I told about it said not to write it.

I am in awe about how people have lived during this quarantine, the lies on TV, and lack of things to do. I have been crazy busy. I am trying to get my orthopedic remnants pain-free, and am down to just the one hip, not replaced, hurting, and my right thumb.

Ivy has also been grounded from her therapy dog work, too. We have been walking twice a day, throwing her “Chuck-It” ball, and keeping her training up. She still plays the Lotto, Megamillions and Powerball so she can support me in my declining years.

I still take precautions. Plus our governor ordered masks inside places of business along with social distancing. One of my ortho docs said we are in a small area of safety. I always have a Cubs mask around my neck ready to put on in an instant.

I am so sorry for the people who were ill, and of course those who died. One of the victims was the mayor of my home town of Highland Park, Illinois. Ray Geraci was 91. Med staff wanted to  put him on a ventilator. Ray said, no, he had lived a good life for a long time, and to give it to a younger person. Then he died.

Do not be fooled by hopes of a COVID19 vaccine before the election, they take years to develop. One fatal illness in cats is called FIP, or feline infectious peritonitis. There is a wet form and a dry form. The wet form is easy to diagnose. Pulling some bright yellow fluid from the abdomen is diagnostic. For the lab test, there are problems. You see, FIP is a corona virus, and to test for it is iffy because other corona viruses, like the gastroenteral corona viridae, can show false positives.

The reason there is no virus for the common cold is because of how fast this rhinovirus mutates. The flu shot is a little more accurate, but it’s still a shot in the dark (pun not intended).

So I stay in working. Ivy loves to chase her ball out back behind the garages, usually before I can get my breakfast. We go to the dog park that has a walking trail, is right near the runway for the airport, and Ivy doesn’t need toys. She runs like a maniac. She is so fast. Being outside is a Godsend. Our neighborhood is quiet and friendly. I think I prefer behind the house. I always ask any neighbors out if this is okay, and they say it’s fine.

My house got painted a few weeks ago-it’s lovely. Please whack me upside the head with a ball pean hammer if I have to apply again for the HOA to approve, and also if I have to interview painters.

That’s it for now. I have a Zoom Parks and Rec. board meeting at 5:15. Last month, I absolutely screwed it up, and went to watch TV. Judy and I met by zoom, and our board secretary sent me idiot-proof instructions. Let us pray……

 

Dog surgery 101

I was clean to go to the dog hospital
My cancer-fighting face.

Hello, this is Ivy here. I had my dog surgery yesterday. It wasn’t bad-everyone was so nice. But Mom had left! Would I ever see her again? Oh well, they love me at the dog hospital because I am sooooo pretty.

I already had blood work, so all they had to do was the procedure. I was taken back to the work area. I got a peek at the room where I was going to be. The nice women who work in the back put a thing called a catheter in my arm, and started a bag of some liquid going into ME!

Next was the night night drug. Ahhhhhh. I was gone. I only remember waking up and I was whining. I don’t whine!

So here is what was done to me after I was asleep: I had a tube in my throat so gas would keep me asleep. My right hind leg was shaved and cleaned, and I guess I was taken into that scary-looking room with the huge light fixture.

The doctor made a cut, incision it’s called, around the tumor on my leg. It didn’t take very long to cut it out and label the edges for the pathologist to check margins to see if they are clean. I don’t understand all this stuff, but Mom explained it.

Mom picked me up a couple of hours later. I was pretty loopy, and those people put the “cone of shame” on my neck. Mom hates those, so she took it off, and to stop me from biting the staples in my skin, put some stuff called bitter apple around the staples.

I slept all day yesterday. I looked so comfy that Mom decided to sleep with me on her bed. And here came Frank.

Today, I can run a little, but am stopped from doing that, and I am not ‘3-legged lame.’ I still love to sleep on the patio. The new house we are moving into has a smaller patio, and Mom talked to a man who is going to build me a dog pen. The new house is not what something called an HOA says it should be, so she had to get plans into the HOA.

I have to be still until the staples come out, so I’ll just chill, and watch Downton Abbey, my fave. Gosh, I wish the theater would let me in to see the movie. Guess I’ll wait until Mom gets the DVD.

Keep you posted on the pathology report.

Love,

Ivy

 

Animals grieve

I wanted to write a post about Cowboy Joe’s death July 15, but this is the first time I can type with some decency. I’m writing more now that a splint is on the hand with the thumb fracture (Bennett’s fracture if you are a medicine geek like me.)

I’ve posted about C.J.’s euthanasia. I always euthanize my own pets, even my horses. All I could do this time with my casted arms was have Dr. Thomas insert the needle into the catheter in my anesthetized Joe’s vein, and I pushed the plunger, delivering the solution into his body. It is my way of honoring my pets to do it myself. In my book, Drinking from the Trough, I discuss this more.

Between the time Cowboy was anesthetized, and being given the last shot, I was given time alone with him. Of course, the waterfall of tears fell. I talked to him the entire time, alive and dead.

Nancy was with me to drive, carry the carrier, 11 # lighter than before CJ got sick. She was in the room when he went to the Rainbow Bridge.

As is my nature, I worried about Franklin, CJ’s littermate. They were close brothers. Not one to anthropomophize animals, I do know the horror of losing a sister. Frank has cuddled close for the last month; I leave the bed unmade so he can sleep against the pillow; he talks more; and most interesting to me, started lying on the table in the TV loft where his brother hung out with the rest of us. Frank even kicked off the table one of the Longhorn cattle coasters I bought at Texas Tech just as Joe used to do.

Frank has Ivy, whom he loves, and vice versa. Ivy gives him kisses. Frank, almost 16, looks good, but has a significant heart murmur. I was going to put Joe to sleep when I go to Arizona this coming December, but he didn’t stay comfortable that long. I wonder about Franklin, but all things considered, he’s doing fine, stealing my pens and yelling about this, prompting Ivy to run and get it. Ivy used to chew them to oblivion, but now she brings them to me.

Will Frank be able to be driven to Arizona at the end of the year with a stop in NM to visit Ivy’s sister, Cali, and her family? I can’t predict, but I’ll do right by him, count on it. My squishy, cuddling, purring Frank will get all the attention I can give him to get him through his grief all the way to his own end run.

Frank blogging
Frank blogging

Cowboy Joe Carlson

December 2003-July 15, 2019

May your memory be a blessing

 

The snake in the street

 

It was a warm summer day, and I had been out and about running errands. As I turned the corner to go home, I spied a garter snake in the middle of the street. The snake in the street was as pretty as all garter snakes are—thin, green, red, and shiny with a little yellow. They’re common in my neighborhood; my favorite sighting was one slinking around the juniper bushes beside our house.

Something was not right about Mr. Snake in the Street. He wasn’t slinking anywhere, despite the hot sunshine and even hotter black asphalt.

Snakes are poikilothermic, or cold-blooded. Their body temperature changes with the environment around them, and if that environment is too hot or too cold, they’ll die. It’s not just the temperature extremes themselves that are dangerous; if you feed your pet snake when its body is too cold, it can’t digest the food. The undigested food rots, which kills the snake.

In the case of Mr. Snake in the Street, the asphalt was hot enough to literally cook him. If he stayed there too long, he’d die of hyperthermia.

He moved his head feebly as I watched through the car window. I noticed blood spatter on his head, so I figured he’d had an unfortunate encounter with a car.

I’m a veterinarian, and in my feline-exclusive veterinary practice, I dedicated my work and life to making the world better for cats. My in-home cat clinic was a converted one-car garage, licensed by the city solely for the care of cats.

A snake is not a cat, but that never stopped me from providing compassionate care when it was needed. I grieve for all animals that suffer, whether they’re pets or animals in the wild. I’d never refuse to treat a sick animal in an emergency situation—not only would that go against my own beliefs, but it goes against the Veterinarian’s Oath, too.

When I became a vet, I swore an oath, similar to human medicine’s Hippocratic Oath. The first part of the Veterinarian’s Oath is, “I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering. . .” I couldn’t protect the snake’s health, but I could relieve his suffering.

I parked my car in the drive and pulled on gloves, planning to retrieve the snake and euthanize him. By the time I reached him, he had already died. I gently laid him in the tall grass by the drainage ditch, where nature would take care of the rest.

Injured and dying snakes aren’t the only wild critters I’ve treated. As a volunteer at the Tucson Wildlife Center, I had plenty of opportunities to care for different species.

One of the most common looked like a domestic kitten. Good Samaritans would find what they thought was an abandoned kitten and bring it to their local veterinarian for help. But these kittens weren’t domestic or abandoned; they were bobcat kittens.

Vets are required to have a special license to treat wild animals, so the usual procedure was for the regular vet to examine the bobcat kitten, insert a needle to hydrate it with subcutaneous fluids, and, if the kitten was healthy enough, feed it Kitten Milk Replacer. Then the vet called the Tucson Wildlife Center to make arrangements to transfer the kitten, where it would be cared for by a wildlife specialist until it could be released back into the wild.

My favorite animals at the wildlife center were the Great Horned Owl chicks. Many weren’t injured; they’d just fallen out of their nest. A helpful human passing by had found them and brought them to the center. I took great pleasure in feeding these youngsters. I wore thick gloves and held a piece of mouse with long-nosed forceps. I swear those chicks looked at me with pure hate—they wanted another owl feeding them, not this weird creature with the forceps—but they snatched the food and gulped it down.

When the wildlife vet declared that the chick was ready to return to nature, a volunteer or staff member headed into the desert, found any occupied Great Horned Owl nest, propped a ladder next to the tree, climbed up, and dropped the owlet into the nest. Great Horned Owls are excellent parents and, although their nests are sloppy and a fall hazard for owlets, the adults accept babies that aren’t their own and will raise them until they can fly.

Back home in Colorado, my cat clinic occasionally hosted non-cat pets, too.

A mother and daughter waited in the exam room with the daughter’s pet rat. The rat’s name was Jennifer. She was soft and brown, just your basic rat that could be a pet, snake food, or a research subject.

Rats make excellent pets, but I must confess they are one of the few animals that give me the willies. They’re kind and friendly, but there’s something about that bald, scaly tail with sparse hair that makes me cringe. I also do not care for the yellow gnawing incisors or the malodorous droppings.

It didn’t matter whether or not I disliked rats in general or Jennifer in particular. Jennifer’s people were worried about her, didn’t know where else to go, and I had a job to do. I took a deep breath and forced myself to relax so I could listen to what they had to say. When they finished, I knew what the problem was, even without examining Jennifer.

I turned Jennifer on her back, revealing the swelling on her abdomen that her owners had noticed: a mammary carcinoma (breast cancer). The mass was leaking reddish serous fluid, lending more credence to my diagnosis.

The treatment for breast cancer in rats begins with a lateral chest radiograph to see if the cancer has metastasized to the lungs. If it has, it’s game over for the rat; pulmonary metastatic breast cancer is fatal. If it hasn’t, treatment is a mastectomy. That may have a good outcome, but it’s expensive. The average life span of a pet rat is about two years, and Jennifer was well into her second year already.

After discussing these options, Mom and daughter decided to take Jennifer home to enjoy as much time as she had left. As always, I offered euthanasia at no cost for when the time came. I only charged for this service if it was a first time client bringing in the patient specifically for euthanasia.

I never saw Jennifer or her people again—I suspect she died peacefully in her sleep—but I was glad I could help, even though Jennifer was not a cat.

During the years I ran my cat clinic, I was also teaching junior high school science. My fellow science teacher, Chuck, had a class rat named Scruphy. Although the junior high didn’t allow classroom pets any more, Scruphy had been in Chuck’s room for several years, and the school administration was unaware of her existence. Scruphy’s history was exactly like Jennifer’s, but Scruphy was ready to be put to sleep.

Chuck asked if I would handle Scruphy’s euthanasia. Despite fretting that someone would find out that I was bringing a syringe filled with pentobarbital (an ingredient in the lethal injection cocktail used for executions) into a junior high school, I agreed.

In the early morning quiet at the back of the science department workroom, I euthanized Scruphy. With no way to find a vein in a rat, I injected the deadly solution into the liver. Immediately after, I ran outside and hid the syringe in my car.

Next, I did a partial necropsy on Scruphy, excising the tumor from her chest wall. Chuck and I laid Scruphy’s remains on a cart, placed the huge tumor mass next to her body for size comparison, and covered everything with a moist towel. Throughout the day, we asked our kids if they wanted to see cancer in a rat. It was entirely up to them; we wouldn’t force them to look, and we certainly wouldn’t risk traumatizing them.

I was amazed that most kids did want to see the specimens, which meant I had to toss my planned lesson for the day. We had a study hall day instead, while my students waited their turn to see a real-life example of cancer.

Mr. Snake in the Street, the bobcat kits and owl chicks, Jennifer, and Scruphy all needed relief of their suffering, including veterinary care. I felt fortunate to be there, because even though I’d chosen to practice on one species—cats—I was able to fulfill my promise to “practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.” In those moments, there is never a question of shouldI help another species; there is only the commitment to help the animal in the best way possible.

Ivy’s promise

I ruffled my fingers through Ivy’s mop-headed curls, my face close to hers. “Such a good dog,” I gushed. “You’re the bestest dog in the whole world.” As Ivy wriggled, overflowing with happy puppy energy, a wave of guilt washed through me, leaving behind a familiar ache.

It wasn’t Ivy’s fault. She’s an adorable ball of beautiful fur. From the very beginning, it was obvious that she was smart, loving, and loyal. She was the first puppy I’d raised by myself, and I was (and am) sloppy in love with her.

Ivy came into my life eight years after my husband Earl died. Over the 27 years of our marriage, we’d raised and loved two dogs, both huskies. Keli was our first. Fourteen years later, about a year before Keli died, we added Tipper. Tipper lived a long time too, and died ten days before Earl did.

What do you do when you lose the best dogs of all time, then years later, adopt a fuzzy little puppy who is also the best dog of all time? Is it disloyal to the huskies to tell the newcomer that she’s the greatest dog in the world?

There are some who would pooh-pooh these feelings of disloyalty and my worry that I was betraying my beloved Keli and Tipper. “The dog doesn’t know,” they’d point out. True enough, but just because Ivy doesn’t know the sorrow I still carry doesn’t mean I don’t feel the ache of that loss.

At first, I thought I could stay loyal to the memory of the huskies if I told Ivy that she’s the “greatest dog born in this century,” but that didn’t ring true. It was like telling her, “You’re the best—but oh, wait, I had these two huskies, and you’re not the same—but don’t worry, you’re also a good dog.” Things would get tangled in my head, too. I’d say, “What a good husky,” or call her Tipper.

I slowly began to understand that this was less about grief and more about comparison. What are the parameters by which we compare our pets, and our love for them? Should we compare them?

As Ivy’s first birthday approached, the answer finally emerged: there is no comparison, and there should be none. I didn’t need to let my love of Tipper and Keli go. I didn’t need to qualify my joy for Ivy. All three dogs in their times were the greatest dog of all time. From now on, no comparing one dog to another, no trying to gauge my love to prove it was equally deep for each.

I sat Ivy down and looked into her big round eyes. I told her how much I loved the huskies, and that I’d never forget them or the things we’d done together that made sharing my life with them so much fun.

“These memories are for remembering, not comparing,” I told her. “I promise to never compare you to them. I promise to not add ‘born in the twenty-first century’ when I say you’re the best dog.”

I’ve kept my promise. The ache is still there, but it’s softer, thanks to the memories of Keli’s and Tipper’s love and antics, combined with—not compared to—the new memories Ivy and I have been making for almost three years.

A wonderful life

Something told me that day, October 4, 2001,  to go to the Humane Society.

Our new cleaning lady was starting that day, and I didn’t want to walk in when she was working. So I thought I would go look at the animals. I didn’t need one. We had Tipper the Wonder Husky, and Alexander, the twenty-pound cat.

I walked around the cat area just to see what was there. I had no intention of getting a buddy for Kitty Al. He definitely was not an alpha cat, and although the largest cat we ever had, he was always the most mild mannered . I got him because when I returned home after a year of practice in a Falls Church VA, clinic, Fletcher, our long-haired orange boy, started pooping on the guest bed. After Fletch died, Al needed a buddy.

There, in a cage was a short-haired orange kitten, three months old. Already neutered. Ready for a forever home. Would he get one?

Yep.

Short hair? I hadn’t had  a short haired cat since high school. But he was also an orange tabby. Orange boys are special. I have found orange females not that nice, but to me, orange boys had it all, love and kindness, polite (well mostly), and bravery. I brought him home, and he became in love with Tipper, and nursed on Al’s toe.

How about a name? Oh yeah, he needs a name. Humane societies give them names so you will give them a closer look and take them home. My orange boy was called “Pumpkin” because it was October 4th, almost Halloween. Cowboy Joe and brother Franklin were Chip and Dale. Please.

I tend to give pets people names. I can only remember one beagle from childhood that I named Panhandle. Don’t ask me why; I was a kid.

Although I  was not instantly in love with this orange tabby and white cutie, I took him home.

So what name would work? Dunno. As I’ve said to clients, they will tell you their names in a week or so. And so he did.

I had an unusual ninth grader in my biology class that year. Matthew was inquisitive, knew everything to know about the Titanic, liked antiques, and reading, but didn’t learn biology. A social kid, we talked often. I like to talk to students, just chatting about anything but school work. Matthew. Matthew. Although it was really coincidental, and not on purpose, the tiny kitten told me his name was to be Matthew.

And so it was for the next eighteen years.

I came home with my Goldendoodle, Ivy, last Sunday from a trip to my second home in Tucson for five weeks, and staying with new friends that had Ivy’s sister, Cali. What a fabulous 3 days we had after a nice, but short visit in New Mexico.

I left the three cats home with my next door neighbors, Sharon and Phyllis to care for them. When I left, Matt was fine, a specimen of good health and proper nutrition.

When you see something every day, you don’t notice subtle changes. At first, Matt looked fine. Later in the day, I noticed him crouching, looking toward me with totally dilated eyes, and he had huge lump on the right side of his upper jaw. It took me a nanosecond to know he had a cancer of the jaw, and he was blind. His heart was going at Kentucky Derby speed.

Matthew got around OK, but was slow, a little wobbly, and took a long time to lie down on his special throne, a brown cat pillow with a leopard-print border.

Since it was Sunday and not an emergency, I made several (only needed one, really,) calls to the clinic that Earl and I originally designed. He slept all night with us on the bed. I don’t think he urinated. He was dehydrated, but wouldn’t drink or eat.

I wanted at least one x-ray to say we had done an examination, which we did. The x-ray was a dead giveaway. A tumor right where we thought it was. Dr. Michelle Thomas and I knew it was also in the brain, probably in the area of the optic chiasm, where the optic nerves cross; and some of the fibers cross over to the other side of the brain to pass through two nuclei, one for each side, the Edinger-Westfall nuclei for us neuro geeks.

Blindness can come from  an eye problem, an optic nerve problem, a crossover problem, a nuclear problem, or a tumor of the part of the brain called the occipital lobe.

All staff knew I would not leave Matthew for any part of the euthanasia. The techs gently gave him a shot of anesthesia, and I stayed with him, holding him until I laid him on the table, and smoothed his fur and kissed his face.

The techs came back in to insert a catheter into sleeping Matt’s cephalic (arm) vein, and gave us some more time together even though he was sleeping under anesthesia.

Dr. Thomas came in with the euthanasia solution, and handed me the syringe, and another syringe to flush the catheter in his forelimb after the euthanasia solution was all in. Matthew was peacefully released.

The staff did what I always did in practice, pay the bill first, not to be sure to get the bucks up front; but make it easy to just leave after whatever time you want to spend with your pet. They also asked me what I wanted done with his body. Note: I have written about euthanasia in my book, Drinking from the Trough: A Veterinarian’s Memoir. Cremation, save ashes was my choice. I picked the ashes up yesterday. The pretty box is in a safe but not noticeable place. I will take them to Arizona next fall and scatter them in my garden.

My cousin, Gail, and I reminisced about some of Matthew’s antics and how he would always talk on the phone if I was using a strong business-like voice, and how he was the head of my family. The details are in the book.

Matt, my golden boy, you were definitely top cat in the house no matter who were your buddies: Alexander, or brothers Cowboy Joe and Frank. You knew how to be a good cat right from the start of our relationship of nearly eighteen years. And you also won an award at your passing: You lived the longest life of any cat I ever had, even Pruney.

I’ll see you at the Rainbow Bridge, my love. Love from me, your cat-mother, and everyone who knew you. Peace.

Matthew Fletcher Carlson

2001-2019

May your memory be a blessing.

So much for the clean dog

Well, Ivy made it through last week until today. Then I took her to the dog park. Yes, THAT dog park, where I did a header and skinned my nose and knees.

Honestly, this dog will chase the ball launched from the dog ball launcher until she fell down in heat stroke if I let her. She had a great time playing with a husky until he and his owner left. Then we had the place to ourselves.

An update on the townhome: I had garage remotes fixed, put in a keypad, had the vanity (80’s) painted, and removed the twisted poles where there is now a spacious looking place to put dog boxes. Things dry fast around here.

Ivy loves the patio and chasing her ball. Thing is, I can’t just leave her out there-coyotes would have a lovely lunch of Goldendoodle. Not on my watch.

While I was gone, I meant to set the thermostat to be cooler. It was 85 in the house when we got back. Darwin’s Law I guess.

Happy Passover and Easter!

Wow, what a busy week. Highlights are that right now I’m in Scottsdale at my cousins’ house. Ellen (my first cuz John’s wife) is preparing Passover Seder for 30. The real first night was yesterday, but Ellen does it on Saturday so people can get up here.

I got here yesterday so I could stop in at bookstores for meet and greets. I got two done in Tucson a couple of weeks ago, and three here. I couldn’t find the other two. I went so far out, I thought I was in Mongolia. I stopped for a slice of pizza, and the server wrote me a map that perfectly got me back to John and Ellen’s. I’m done with that. I do have GPS on my care-brought the Subaru because Ivy was invited too-and map app on my phone with a car phone charger was a little better, but there was no voice telling me where to go. It just showed where I was supposed to end up. Oh well. The important bookstore I was supposed to sign the books they bought only had three, and I was fifty miles away. Sorry.

Ivy and Lucy, her new cousin, got off to a rough start. Ivy is so not an alpha dog, and Lucy went after her. No bites. But when John came home, and he saw her do this to Ivy, it was like the heavens opened up and a monster lightning bolt hit that dog. After taking Ivy out three times last night, Lucy didn’t do anything. They are true cousins now.

I walked Ivy this morning, trying to stay out of Ellen’s way-she likes to work alone, and will ask if she needs something. 100 degrees in the morning.

So I have an ‘office’ that used to be Doug’s (younger son) bedroom, and am sleeping in older brother Greg’s room minus the two snakes. There are in here with me. John came home early to help out, and he has the fourth bedroom office, hence I was given a table and chair, wifi codes, and here I sit, pining for dinner. No lunch today! Breakfast was good,  but that’s it until dinner.

Thursday, Cyndi, her husband, and her daughter came to my wonderfully comfy townhome. They have Cali, Ivy’s sister. I well remember socializing that litter. If Cyndi is home when I go through New Mexico, we will stay with them and see Cali (short for California where Cyndi is from.) Maegan loves horses, and rides weekly in a special needs riding club. They had the time, so we drove over to the Randall’s ranch, where our horses live. She also got to see the sheep and goats next door, and we walked down to see the other horses. My sister’s two and my horse are kept up near the really neat ranch house.

A good time indeed.