E. coli, or how I got sick when my dog shook cattle-infused water all over me

I like to take Ivy to the dog park. I don’t use the regular one close to home on the weekend. Too many obnoxious dogs and their more obnoxious owners.

I have a not well known dog park to go to on weekends. Sometimes, we are the only ones there. Good thing Ivy finally learned how the “Chuck It” works so she can fly after tennis balls.

At this park, there is a dying Ponderosa pine tree. Heck, with all the water they are using, it’s probably drowning. I know it’s there, but check every time by chucking the tennis ball in the opposite direction so Ivy doesn’t see me.

One day about three weeks ago, by golly, there it was, a gray, stinky pond with a tree in the middle. In she splashed. OK, I thought, I’ll wash her off when we get home.

When Ivy got out of the water, of course she came up to me and shook herself off hard. I was covered by greenish dots smelling suspiciously bovine. We headed for home, she got rinsed off, I put the dirty clothes in the wash, and took a shower.

A few days later, I was nauseous in the morning. I stopped eating. I finally called my GI doc, and got an appointment with his PA. He put me on Peptobismol, and told me to go to the lab and get a stool sample kit. Did you know PB turns your, er, stool black. Totally gross. I thought my colitis was kicking up, but it turned out to be E. coli. Yep, from a bovid. I actually ate cow shit. Eeeewww. I called the facility where the dog park is, and they were shocked, and would look into it. What’s to look into? I’m part Holstein now. I also notified the county health department.

So the treatment really is Pepto, and a magnesium oxide tablet when this turns the other way. I have my book launch coming up in 10 days, a film crew wants to film Ivy at the care center-they are working on permission forms, and I feel like crap. Maybe that’s not such a good word to use.

Ivy, by the way, is just fine, thank you.

Franklin, mine son.

Oy Frank. Mine son. You have been through the ringer; but you still come up purring.

On April 27, I took you to the clinic for euthanasia. You are fifteen years old. You have a Grade III heart murmur, a BUN off the charts indicating your kidneys are on the way out, and you have to breathe extra hard. I initially took you in to Earl’s old clinic because you used to be eighteen pounds, and now you looked like normal weight. You looked horrible.

Yet, when I took you out of the carrier, you looked like the healthiest cat on the planet. Dr. Gaffney looked at me like I was nuts! I could hear her thinking: “Why are you here to put this happy cat to sleep?” So was I! He came out of the carrier  to purr at and bump all the staff, eating snacks, leaving me scratching my head in puzzlement.  She did hear the Grade III murmur where the other vet had called it a Grade II.

We decided then to take a chest film. With a Grade III mitral murmur and dyspnea (difficult breathing), surely we would find something. That film was of the healthiest looking heart and lungs I ever saw. Dr. Gaffney laughed when I told you, “Well, Frank, I guess you aren’t going to die today.” We went home and you ate some kitty fud.

Fast forward to July. We-you three elderly cats and the puppy with their mother were watching TV in the loft upstairs. I had put an empty bowl of ice cream on the flat top of the loft banister to remember to take it downstairs. You do have a bad habit of checking out my feeding dishes, er, bowls. My eye just glanced over to the flat top just in time to see your paws on the top and nothing else. The paws went off, and in a microsecond, I heard a body hit the stairs. I screamed and ran down to find a dead cat. But there you were, alive and crouched on the floor and still. I touched you, and you cried. OMG!

I called the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital and told the woman on the phone I was coming in pronto, and would stay with my cat.

After all the struggles over the years I’ve had with you, Franklin, about getting into a carrier, you walked right in.

I broke all speed records to get you to the hospital.

CSU now has a Patient Liaison. She is wonderful with crazy people, when the resident introduced herself to me as did the new senior student. They only took you away from me to do an exam. You were fine, but I wanted to see a film of your chest and spine. Totally normal.

I took all the paperwork home with  you, now in the pouring rain. Thanks for the hundreds of dollars I spent. All the stuff on the balcony is off, but I can’t keep you off. Has this happened before? How would I know?

Still good ‘ol Charlie Brown, er, Franklin. Charlie Brown was my very first cat. Now, you sleep next to my head, purring and  cuddling all the time. You are an old cat, so is your brother, and so is Matthew, who is seventeen.

I remember when I told Dr. Kainer, my anatomy professor, that I decided to go into feline practice. His comment? “That’s good. It’s hard to kill a cat.”

Overkill at the spa

Well, Ivy finally got into the spa yesterday. April could’t do her last week, because she was scheduled for a “fluff and buff” and Ivy was clearly a 34 # mat. I picked her up four hours later, and boy did that dog look skinny! April had to take the clippers down to the skin. As per usual, she left the ears and tail intact.

The butt goes up

Well now I’ve seen everything. I came in the house after mailing Betty White a letter asking her to please write a back cover blurb for my book. We are both involved with Morris Animal Foundation, but at 96, I think she is focusing more on the Los Angeles Zoo and saving sea otters.

Ivy was on the stairs, with her front paws on the lower step, and sitting one step up. She knew I wanted to get by, so instead of turning around and going up, or going down by me, she put her weight on the front paws and hitched her butt up the stairs. She did this until she got to the top.

I think I’ve seen it all now.

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.

Blue jeans, a new phone, and a clean, fluffy dog

 

Freedom!

Yesterday, Ivy had an an appointment for a “fluff and buff” with her personal groomer, April, the owner of Spa 4 Paws. This was the second time I’ve driven, but the first time I put jeans on. I was using warm up pants, as I had a vicious blister from the bandage over my surgery site that when discovered, and tape removed, erupted like Mount Vesuvius. It was so gnarly looking, I went to the ER thinking it was an ulcer, MRSA, or flesh-eating monsters. Being able to wear jeans is wonderful! I have pockets, comfort, and don’t look or feel like a patient from the hip lagoon.

I live geographically the farthest away from the spa the drive it is worth it. April is the best at grooming doodles, and she is the only one in town who still does cats. Poor Frank is due for a grooming, but I can’t manage a cat carrier now with an 18# Mr. Kitty inside), I decided to do some banking, and go to Verizon while Ivy was relaxing with a chai and the morning paper while she was having a mani-pedi. I keep my phone in my left back pocket. When I hit the deck on the 27th of last month, the phone looked cracked, and people told me they couldn’t hear me well.

These phone contracts last for two years. The last time I bought a new phone was in 2014, so I was overdue. Why can’t Verizon, who puts our a lot of junk email just tell me it was time for a new phone? I chose an iPhone 8, a plain cover, a cover for the face of the phone, and bundled with a new type of charger that stays plugged in. Sell, sell, sell, that’s all they do at Verizon. When you get home, you just put the phone on top of it and it charges. Cool. I looked this morning at the phone, and it was still only half charged. Then I realized it was upside down. Oops!

The stores no longer set your phone up for you, so you have to go into the abyss of the    1-800 numbers. The young man at the store, yes, another Skippy, gave me the number of a place that keeps offering you deals. So I went to the black hole of  411, and got a real operator, who gave me the correct number.

A nice woman at Verizon helped me set the phone up-1.5 hours. The phone is sitting on the charging pad, now charging properly.

The Verizon store, which moved from its old location to the new, refurbished and still empty mall, is still a snake pit of people who don’t care. I got there when employees were coming in. Because I am on crutches, I asked if I could come in and sit down. “Oh no, that would violate our security policies.” Like I’m going to steal something chained to the wall and run away with orthopedic hardware flying away. So I stood in the wind until the store opened, 10 minutes later. I asked for some water, and was told there was a fountain in the back of the store. “Do you have any cups to bring me some water?” “Oh no, we don’t.” Hey lady! Go to Costco and buy nine million cups for a buck and give the temporarily handicapped some water.

When I escaped the dungeons of Verizon, I figured Ivy would be ready to be picked up. My old cell was disabled except for 911, so the spa couldn’t call me. Ivy was ready, a shampoo-smelling, clean and fluffy dog. April was proud that she had a bandana that matched the colors of my dog.

We got home, and Ivy went to sleep, and I had lunch after the Incredibly Long Phone Call to Set Up the Phone. I figured I deserved some reading time, so I started Joe Biden’s new book, Promise Me, Dad. It’s a good read. A normal day for a person who is not normal at the moment.

 

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”