Category Archives: the boys

Still Grieving

Back in January, shortly after his 15th birthday, we found out my little dog, Griffin was sick.

I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much.

We knew he wasn’t feeling well. And we knew, at 15 he was quite old. We knew once he turned 13 or so that pretty much any day could be his last.  In fact, our last big vacation with him, up to Mendocino, we said we knew that that would be the last one he’d go on with us.

Happy Birthday Griffin

So we made the most of that trip. And we made sure that any trip we took without him, we always had someone staying back at the apartment with him.

morphine makes it better

goodbyes are never easy

Almost two months, to the day, we found out that his brother, Charlie was also sick.

Sweet CharlieFor some reason, there weren’t as many tears. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t as sad. I think it was honestly easier to say good-bye to him since were weren’t dealing with emergency room visits. And again, we saw how skinny he was getting. We weren’t really surprised.

Here’s one of the sweet shots I got of Charlie before we took him in to the vet. I love this photo.
Saying Goodbye to Charlie

Here’s a photo we took a couple days before we said good-bye to Griffin. We knew once he started letting the cat snuggle that he must not have been feeling well. But at the same time, this is such an adorable photo. It really shows how close they were. Where one went, the other went.
Griffin and CharlieNow, months later, we’re both still grieving. But things are getting easier.

And we’re starting to talk about getting some new, fuzzy little ones. Not today. Not tomorrow. But soon.


I Hate Fleas!

They say that it only takes 10,000 hours before you are an “expert” at something…anything.  Well, I’m beginning to think that I may be well on the road to becoming a flea expert.  And not by choice!

For the past three months or so, we’ve been dealing with fleas.  We really didn’t think it was all that much of a “problem” since they weren’t bothering us or the cat.  Basically, it was just one or two on the dog.  For three months.

So first we decided to go natural and picked up some Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Spray.  This stuff basically uses clove and peppermint oils to kill the fleas.  And it works great.  At killing the fleas. Unfortunately, it doesn’t tackle the eggs or the rest of the n0t-quite-fleas-yet buggers.  And sadly for my little guy, it’s pretty potent stuff for his tender belly and it leaves him rashy (but their Hot Spot spray helps with that).  Really, I can’t recommend this stuff enough, but unfortunately in our house, it wasn’t enough.

From there we moved onto the Frontline Plus.  But for some odd reason, that didn’t seem to work as well as it had in the past.  We were actually starting to wonder if we maybe got a bad batch.

About this time, we were considering bombing the house.  But in order to do that, we all would have to leave…including the cat.  So we were calling around to see if anyone did daycare boarding.  We then called the vet to find out if his shots were updated so we could board.  It was at this time that they told us that because we didn’t treat the cat with Frontline at the same time as the dob, the fleas still had someone to feed off.  So off we go to the vet to get some Frontline for the fuzzy one.

So now we have both boys covered with Frontline, and we’re regularly spraying the dog and the room with the Vet’s Best spray.  Still, we’re not really seeing and end in sight.  Until a couple people start mentioning getting Diatomaceous Earth powder to sprinkle around the house.

We took the powder and sprinkled it behind the couch (in the dog’s favorite lounging place), in the dog bed, and on his pillow in the office.  We also sprinkled him directly a time or two.  We still want to sprinkle the couch, but we’re going for baby steps as this stuff isn’t safe to be inhaled directly (and wearing one of those mask thingies is kinda freaky in a claustrophobia sort of way).

I must say, we’re finally seeing an end in sight.  I know the vet said we’d still be dealing with fleas over the next three months as the fleas in their various lifespan become adults.  But it’s better than it was a few weeks ago.

And now, when we find a flea on us, or the dog, we pluck that sucker up and drop it in a cup of peppermint and clove oil water.  Instant death!

Crazy Cat Lady Aside…

Apparently, you can take the elementary school teacher out of the classroom for over 10 years, but you can’t take the classroom out of the teacher…

Setting the Scene: I’m at the sink washing dishes.  I just finished putting the chili together and had given the boys some of the grease from the ground beef.

From over the sink, I yell out the cat: “are you finished there Charlie?  Can you bring your tray to me?”

From the husband in living room: “what did you ask him to bring you?”

Me, still washing dishes: “his tray, why?”

The husband, chuckling to himself: “tray? you mean the bowl?”

Me: “yeah, his bowl. That’s what I said.”

Moral: I guess after years of asking the kids to pick up their trays so we can move on after lunch in the cafeteria, I apparently still think everyone (more importantly, my cat) eats their meals off of a tray…sigh.

That and well, I must be well on my way to becoming a crazy cat lady as I’m fully expecting my cat to walk his dirty dish right on over to me when he’s done…let alone talking to him like he’s human.

The Little Guy is Finally On the Mend

It’s times like when I’m dealing with a sick dog that I remind myself of two things that I’m extremely grateful for: 1) that I’m not a mother and don’t have to take care of an infant or sick or teething kids and 2) that I work from home and don’t have to go to an office at a particular time.

It’s good to be me.

And it’s even better to know that my little guy is feeling better.

As I mentioned the other day, we had some rough patches over these past couple of days; blood in his vomit, diarrhea, not eating or drinking, shallow breathing, total lethargy.  But after IV and love from his brother, Charlie (seen here lying completely on top of him – typically, this is unacceptable according to Griffin) Monday and some subcutaneous fluid treatment yesterday, he woke today like a brand new boy.

He inhaled his breakfast.  He’s been drinking water again.  He’s taking his medicine and keeping everything down. He’s barking at the mail man and the meter reader.  And better yet…he’s playing with his favorite squeaky toy and asking me to throw it (which I won’t do yet – but I will “hide” it under a blanket so he can go “find” it).  And he’s full of stinky breathed, doggie kisses.

Today is a good, good day.

And worth nothing…I absolutely love my vet clinic (Animal Medical Center in Van Nuys) and their doctors.  Any doctor – pet or human – that actually follows up with phone calls and stays late to make sure you’re taken care of is an angel in my book and worth recommending to any and everyone.

Poor Pupster He Has a Doggie Flu

I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a dog flu.  Let alone that it behaves pretty much the same way the flu works in us humans…diarrhea, vomiting, discomfort, lack of hunger, etc.

Our little guy has always had a sensitive stomach.  It wasn’t uncommon on any give day for him to eat his food and throw it all back up a couple minutes later.  And late night bouts with diarrhea, also not uncommon (TMI, I know).

So this time around, we didn’t think too much of things at first. It was only the fact that he threw up multiple times throughout the day and night, and then spent the entire day in the same spot all day.  He never even got up to drink water.

Today, we took him to the vet.  He seemed better this morning, even seemed happy to go outside (he didn’t know he was going to the vet, I’m sure).  Right before we went to head out, he threw up (nothing because he hadn’t eaten) and there was blood.  All the more reason to get him into the vet as soon as possible.

Well, I’m happy to report that after $500+ and 6 or so hours getting hydrated through IV, he’s doing much better.  Basically, he had a flu-like thing. He came home, ate a little and then settled in snug as a bug in his doggie bed.


With luck (and love) he’ll make it through the night without any incident.  If that’s the case he goes back into the vet tomorrow to get his IV port removed.  If he gets sick again and throws up the little he ate, then it’s back in for more IV work.

Of course, I have to first make sure he doesn’t rip the damn port out first.  He’s already started pulling off the snazzy yellow bandage.  Luckily I had some no-stick bandage and wrapped some more.  But I’ve no doubt that he’ll try again tonight while we’re all sleeping.

We shall see.  I’m just glad it’s something quite mellow and nothing to really worry about.

My House is a Mess

And it’s freaking me out. Seriously.


I’m currently working on the holiday gift guides for ConstantChatter.  That means, I have a LOT of boxes, envelopes, folders, papers and packing peanuts coming into this house.  And like last year, it seems that I’m just stacking the sample products on top of other sample products.  Which really means I just have boxes filled with other boxes and envelopes and papers and stray packaging peanuts.

Add to that my husbands standard mess (socks, ticket stubs, guitars and guitar paraphernalia, CDs, magazines, work crap that I’m afraid to touch in case it’s important, etc.) and well, we’ve got ourselves a bit of a giant mess.

It might not have been too bad if the landlords hadn’t also decided that this is the perfect time to manure the yard.  And just the right time for that cat to do some massive shedding.

Yes, we’re a mess I tell ya!  And I’m still working on the gift guides, so I’m still a few days away from being able to do anything about it.

The sad part is that we decided that this semester, a portion of my UCLA money would go towards getting a cleaning lady.  Thing is, before I can even consider getting a cleaning lady, I need to actually clear the piles of clutter (or in the bedroom, clothes) off of everything or I’ll just be wasting the money.

Next year I’m starting those damn gift guides in September!

Pasadena Humane Society Needs Your Help

pasadena humane

You may not have heard, but once again, there are massive fires going on in our neck of the woods. And let me tell you, its pretty nasty out there. Many of the local pets are temporarily being housed at the Pasadena Humane Society over on Raymond.

I read in the LA Times that they needed some food and litter, so I headed out to Smart & Final and made a run. While there, they thanked me profusely for the litter (and the food) and then started talking amongst themselves about what they still needed.

They’re in desperate need for the following:

  • cat litter
  • timothy hay
  • bird food
  • rabbit food
  • pee pads
  • towels

So please, do what you can. They’ll take whatever you can offer. They’re crazy busy and those little critters can’t take care of themselves.

For those of you that would like to help out, but aren’t local, you can make a donation to the Pasadena Humane Society here.

When the Cat Escapes

So I had planned to write about my Remote Area Medical experience from Tuesday. You know, it was their last day and all that so I thought it would be worth writing about.

Then the cat escaped.  Twice.  Argh!

Let’s start with the basics, the adorable little guy below came with the husband (the pupster, came with me – luckily they co-exist wonderfully).  When he lived with my hubs, he had a temporary kitty door that led out to the deck.  He never expressed any interest in jumping down and exploring further, so all was good.  From time to time, he’d run out the front door and roll around on the stoop a bit.

How Much is That Charlie in The Window?

Once he moved in with me (and the pupster) he lost that outdoor privilege.  Not because he was bad or anything, but because we don’t really have a safe space for him. So basically, he’s an indoor cat.  He will from time to time run out the front door or escape out the back if the screen door isn’t latched. Typically, he doesn’t go far and just rolls around on the sidewalk or visits the flower beds in hopes of finding critters and bugs.

Yesterday, I left to run some errands.  Turns out, the dog lead got caught in the door and the door didn’t close tightly.  I had my hands full with the dry cleaning, so I never noticed it didn’t click shut.

Fast foward about and hour and a half…

I come home and see the door is open just a crack.  Turns out the dog’s collar blocked the door from opening any wider.  While the pupster couldn’t escape (much to his dismay), the cat could squeeze through.

And squeeze he did.

I didn’t find him anywhere inside (or at first glance outside).  After running through our tiny apartment, checking all the known hiding spaces, crying out his name, I open the front door and there he is, crying to come back inside.

Since we’d been to the vet earlier, and he was a bit traumatized, I thought this was the end.

It wasn’t.

Later in the day, I put the babygate up at the front door to bring in some of the cooler evening air.  While I was reading on the couch, I heard the mastermind cat, trying to escape yet again.  But I stopped it.  Until he realized I was in the back office working on the computer and he stealthily escaped again. I found him outside on the front stoop just sitting.  Of course, I insisted he come in right that instant and I shut the door.

A couple hours later, I’m cooking dinner and I realize the screen door is open.  Open as in, someone snuck out.  Again.  There he was, just rolling around the sidewalk meowing up a storm, as if saying “look at me mom!”

The hubs gets home later and poof! again, the cat bolted out before he could even walk in the door.  And yes, he’s been known to do this from time to time. Argh!

I don’t know what’s going on here. Maybe it’s all payback for taking him in the car to the vet – he didn’t mind the actual shots, just being forced into the carrier and the actual car ride. Either way, I’ve had enough.  No more unauthorized outside visits.  My heart can’t take it.

So I ask you, what’s a gal to do?  Aside from making sure all doors are fully and completely shut from now on.  Do you have an escape artist cat?  What do you do?

My Dog is Refusing to Eat

No, not because he’s not feeling well.  Not because he’s not hungry. He’ll go to his bowl and nibble on some kibble when the mood strikes.  But he won’t actually take the time to EAT his food.  He’s going on his second round of two days without eating (just nibbling).

It seems he’s refusing to eat because he’s fallen in love with a sample of some dehydrated food from The Honest Kitchen.  So much so that when he hears the rustle of the sample bag he comes running. The good news…it’s all good for you stuff.  And in theory, I believe it costs less than his current Natural Balance kibble (which the cat loves to eat).

So today I broke down and picked up a box.  I figure I’ll mix it up with his kibble so he wouldn’t be eating just soft food. Thing is, this could come back to bite me in the ass when we’re traveling and he’s with us or when we board him.  Then again, just having to add water to some dehydrated food might not be so difficult when traveling.

Of course, now I’m scared to have the cat try their dehydrated food.  He yells at me enough when I feed him his wet food.

Things Don’t Always Go as Planned

You know what they say about best laid plans and all that. Well, actually I don’t recall what they say specifically, but I know they say something about it. And whatever it is, I’m sure it’s not good.

Today I had planned to spend the entire day working on my sponsorship proposals so I could start getting those out.  And I have a sample resume to mock up for our students tomorrow.  I also told my friend that I would help to prep some KLEAN products for the upcoming event this weekend.  While it may not seem like much, it pretty much guaranteed a full day (especially with the sponsorship proposal).

griffin_blanketInstead…I spent the day dealing with the pupster.  He’s been very lethargic and showing signs that he may have hurt his back again.  So I had to schedule an emergency (of sorts) visit to his wonderful vet, Dr. Pilch.  He’s so good, we actually drive all the way out to Van Nuys to see him.  So of course, there’s traffic to deal with around 9:00Am this morning.

They didn’t have an early appointment available, so they asked me to drop him off and pick him up later.  That of course means that the visit takes twice as long.  All is good.  As long as they can see him and get him back on his steroids, I’m fine.  Turns out, because of the lethargy and the nausea and the lack of appetite for anything but grass, he also wanted to run a blood work up.

He’s back home now and finally relaxing.  They gave him a shot of prednisone so he’s feeling no pain (which of course means he thinks he’s fine and can run around and jump up and down on the furniture).  I have to call back tomorrow for the results from the blood test, but the doc feels that it’s just his back.

Needless to say, it’s now 4:30 and I barely managed to get any of my proposal done.  So yeah, those best laid plans and all that.