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Archive for August, 2013

Dog memorials

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Today is the second anniversary of Hector’s death.  I never stop thinking about Hector, even though I have three other dogs and many activities to keep me busy.  Hector is always in my heart, and mind. He is everywhere in this house, and at the house at the Cape, and in my car.  He is basically always with me, always watching over me, always by my side.  I never thought this dog we got as “second banana” to pack leader Hobie would wind up being the one who stole my heart, but he did.  I know Gil feels the same way.

(first photo I ever took of Hector, at the farm where he was born)

A month or so after he died, Tori Amos’ album “Night of Hunters” was released, and the lyrics to the song “Carry” pretty much say it all:

You will not ever be forgotten by me,
In the procession of the mighty stars,
Your name is sung and tattooed now on my heart,
Here I will carry, carry, carry you,

This morning, I went over to the spot in the yard that our friend Craig created as a memorial to Hec.  It’s kind of a funny coincidence that Hector died on Craig’s birthday.

After I said a few words (“Hector!  Who pooped on your memorial?!” and “I miss you, buddy, I think about you every day.”) I went back into the house, made an iced coffee, and logged in to the computer wondering if I would post anything about this anniversary.  First thing I saw in my email was this article from Cesarsway Magazine about pet memorials.  There are no coincidences.

Rather than describe the Hector Memorial (which is part of the larger Timba Memorial Park (a.k.a. our back yard!) here are a few pictures, worth a thousand words.

The “headstone” Gil had commissioned for the project

(It sat in the yard for over a year! Oh well.)

Breaking ground on the Hector Memorial

The finished product!  Another beautiful job by Craig and Landscapes, LLC!
Stay tuned for a special reveal on Sept 15th!  An excerpt from my soon-to-be-self-published collection of non-fiction essays about my dogs will appear in Cape Women Online Magazine!

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Just finished reading Shorty Rossi’s auto-biography, and then saw the news that a huge dog-fighting ring was busted up over the weekend.  This is what Shorty (aka Pit Boss) has been fighting for his whole career, he must be thrilled.  But there is still much, much more work to do!  It’s not the breed, (pit bulls) it’s the humans behind them.  Good work law enforcement, the ASPCA and everyone else involved.

A year ago today

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Cooper joined our pack a year ago today!

Here are the highlights of the past year, with our Cooper.

Still recovering from amputation surgery, he proves he’s still got it by hopping into a garden chair

Celebrating his first birthday on the beach in Gloucester 

He can jump up on a bed and share it with a cat, too!

Became fast friends with Hobie

Cooper’s first snow

Mom, that’s BIG snow!

A winter car ride

A stop at Dunkin’ Donuts after a great vet check-up

The love affair between Hobie and Cooper continues

Tori turns 50

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Taking a moment away from animals for one day to celebrate the 50th (gulp!) birthday of my favorite female musician, the mega-talented Tori Amos.

From my 3rd row seats at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre in 2011.
I cried, happy tears!

I always say I am Tori’s “eldest” fan, meaning most of her fan base are now just on the far side of their 30s, on the threshold of pushing 40, while I am three years older than the artist herself.  Nowadays, when I go to her concerts, I don’t feel nearly as out-of-place as I did about 10 years ago when I went to see her at the Tsongas Arena up in Lowell, and all the UMass students were in the audience.  I believe I was the oldest person there.  I stuck out like a sore thumb, but I knew all the lyrics and they didn’t! Hah!  (if you click on that Tsongas Arena link, it’s video of her playing “Little Earthquakes” during the show, the hand-clapping-with-rings you hear at the beginning and end is me … a guy sitting next to us videotaped the whole show.  You can even hear me talking on the tape at various places — embarrassing!)

I first “met” (no I haven’t really met her) Tori in 1998 when I was flipping the channels on the TV in my living room, wondering what to watch one night when Gil was away in Tobago on one of his months-long trips.  I landed on VH1 and would have kept changing channels, but what I saw on that screen absolutely mesmerized me.  It was the show called “Storytellers” (this link is the entire show that someone was kind enough to post on YouTube).  I believe Storytellers may still be aired in some incarnation, even though the network VH1 itself has become unrecognizable.  But anyway, there was this woman, this creature, playing the piano and singing.  I had heard of Tori before, but I didn’t really know any of her songs.  I became absolutely riveted to the TV and couldn’t take my eyes (and ears) off this incredible musician.  Instantly hooked, I went out and bought all of her CDs the next day and began my obsession, playing them on a portable Sony “Walkman” CD player which was hooked up to the cassette player and cigarette lighter in my car.  Every time I went over a bump, the CD would skip, but I didn’t care.  I wore out these CDs, especially the latest one “Boys For Pele” which still remains my favorite Tori Amos album (other fans would disagree, strongly).

I have since had the good fortune to see Tori in concert six times 🙂  Here’s Tori covering Elton John’s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” at the 2011 Boston show during her classical tour promoting the classical album “Night of Hunters”.  During that show, she toured with a stringed quartet and no band:  (no that is not me yelling “WOOOOO”, thank goodness!).  To demonstrate the diversity of this artist, here’s Tori at the same theatre in Boston, in 2007, during her “American Doll Posse” tour in which she portrayed different characters each night of the show.  This is the character of Pip.  Also, during that tour she had her regular rock band in tow:

Anyone who follows me on Facebook knows about my obsession with Tori.  But I am not alone.  Most of her fan base is a so-called “cult following”, very obsessive bunch.  Like the Grateful Dead back in the day (yes, I had the good fortune to see them live several times), Tori must be seen live.  It is a requirement.  Don’t just listen to a studio album.  You won’t “get” it.  Don’t even listen to a live recording (there are many, I have over 800 Tori “songs” on my iTunes, most of them live recordings of the same songs that go around in bootlegs).  You still won’t “get” it.   See Tori live, either on video or better yet in person.  As with the Dead, no two shows are ever the same, she never plays the same song exactly the same way twice.  She is a brilliant musician, even if the lyrics are sort of controversial and there are swear words…. the show is not-to-be-missed.  But even if you do have the opportunity to see her live, unfortunately, some people still don’t “get” it!

Tori happens to also wear the coolest shoes.

Well, that’s my happy birthday take on Tori turning 50.  I can hear her making up a ditty about herself right now, it’d go something like “I’m fif-tay, fif-tay; Happy birthday to me, I’m fif-tay”

Hobie’s famous!!

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How funny that Dog Fancy decided to use this picture of Hobie that I submitted to them earlier in the summer, for their captioning contest on Facebook!!

Post by

Should you want to see all the photos, here they all are!
Summer Dog Photo Gallery on

Oh, looks like I uploaded a BUNCH of photos to the gallery!  Doh!  I don’t even remember doing this!

Wordless Wednesday – home sweet home

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Three Dog Night!

Cooper and Hobie having a love affair 

Newman, the cat, thrown in for good measure.

Everyone loves Hobie, part two

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The other day was Wordless Wednesday and I decided to post some pictures of all the other animals cuddling with Hobie.  There was nothing wrong with Hobie at the time, I just thought it was cute how many times I had snapped a picture of one of the other pets snuggling or chumming around with him.

That night, or more accurately, the next morning at 5 a.m., Hobie became very ill from what was eventually diagnosed, after a 3-day hospital stay, as “severe gastritis of unknown origin”.  I went home from work early that Thursday night, after getting a call from Gil saying to come home that Hobie was still not well.  I took Hobie across the street to the lake for what I thought could potentially be his last swim.  We sat on the beach together after he poked around in the water for a while, and I took video and photos “just in case”.  Just the two of us sat on the beach, and I said “Don’t die on me, buddy.  I love you.  Please don’t die one me.”  Selfish, I know.  We walked home, and he puked once on the way.  That was enough for me, I called the vet, he said do not pass go, get him to the 24/7 vet right away, don’t call first, just go.  I used to live up by Wachusett Animal Hospital, so I sort of knew the way, but it had been years, and it was dark out, it was an hour away from home, my dog was puking, and I was upset.  I managed to find the place, between tears, after overshooting their road a few times.

Having to bring my 13 year old dog, the canine love of my life, to the hospital on a dark, summer night way up in the woods an hour away from home, and him never having had any operations or any medical procedures of any kind, was so scary and stressful for both of us.  Leaving him there tore my heart to pieces.  I remember leaving him and Hector at the kennel when I went on vacation, all those times, for many years, and I always cried, even though I knew they were in good hands — I was the one with separation anxiety, not them!  I hated leaving him at the hospital the other night; I wondered if he wondered why I left.

Living in the house for three days without Hobie was horrible.  Not only were we sick with worry, but it was just so weird in the house without him there.  He has always been here, during these last 13 years, an ever-present icon of beauty and the glue that held us all together.  Like I said, everyone loves Hobie.  The cats were lost without him, they kept looking for him (ok, maybe Bullet didn’t, but the other two definitely did).

I hate to say it, but I think Charlie Brown felt he had won the battle for pack leader during those three days.  Who am I kidding?! he thinks he’s the pack leader all the time! Shoot, he was even described as the pack leader in his bio on when we first found out about him being the last remaining member of the Kate-Plus-8 litter of puppies!  Cesar Millan says you don’t get the dog you want, you get the one you need.  Hmmm…. I’m still trying to figure out why I need this dog!?

Cooper didn’t exactly seem lost without his friend, Hobie, but I guess he did miss him — when Hobie came home yesterday Cooper went nuts.

So did Cali, the only other lady in the house besides me — she ran up to us when we were walking up the road upon our return.  Like something out of a movie, play violin music, film it in slow-mo, if she could have, she would have had arms outstretched.

Hobie came home last night with a set of medications and instructions as long as Cooper’s missing limb, but he was spunky and seemed as happy to be home as we were to have him here.  The first overnight it seemed iffy, we left him in the kitchen with a baby gate between the easy-to-clean, but cold, kitchen floor and the brand-new carpet that he had already soiled once.  He seemed weak and lethargic.  I tried to lie next to him — he on the cold floor, me on the dog bed.  He sat up, looked at me incredulously, as if to say “REALLY, MOM?”  He stood up, I got off the dog bed, he got on it, he went to sleep.  I moved to the couch.  About 2:30, when I could no longer stand Cooper’s farts (he was on the couch with me) I moved to the bedroom, satisfied that Hobie was well.  He had moved around a lot on that bed, and it reminded me of the night Hector died, which wasn’t easy… a similar bed, a similar situation.  But this morning, the outcome was completely different.  He was well!  He had recovered almost 100% overnight.  He held down his food and water.  He went up and down the deck stairs three times before 10 o’clock.

The people at Wachusett Animal Hospital, and particularly Dr. Funk (ok, the entire week I have had this song stuck in my head — the original, not the Red Hot Chili Peppers cover!  Right. We must see the humor in these situations. The opening line of the song is “The bigger the headache, the bigger the pill, baby; and they call me the big pill” — Ok NOT FUNNY since I had the worst migraine ever all day today).

But seriously, the people at WAH are extraordinary, hard-working, thorough and caring. “Thank you” seems lame, and is hardly enough.  They took such good care of Hobie, they really cared, they didn’t leave out a detail and made no assumptions.  They were in constant touch with me about his condition, and asked my advice and opinion about things.  If we had to go through this experience, thank Dog it was with these folks!

Our family was given a gift this weekend.  The gift of more time with our beloved water-loving, handsome-eyed, senior dog, Hobie.  I plan to savor every moment.  After all, I hear August is the time to Celebrate Senior Pets.

Sick as a dog

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It’s pretty weird that I posted all those pictures of Hobie last night.  He was perfectly fine when I did it, it was just a subject to use for Wordless Wednesday.  Well, overnight last night, he became really sick and vomited and had diarrhea all over our brand-new wall-to-wall carpeting.  It took me a while to figure out what could have made him so sick (to complicate matters, Charlie Brown also vomited once last night).  But little pieces of plastic cat food container are coming out, so I guess he got hold of one somehow.  We are pretty diligent about throwing the cat food containers away where they can’t get at them, but I suppose a cat could have bapped one off the counter or something.  Anyway, he is now outside sleeping in the yard, and not doing badly, but also not doing great.  Just metza-metza (sp??).

I’m quite freaked out as this is almost the two-year anniversary of Hector’s sudden death under similar but different circumstances.  It took me almost two years to figure out that Hector had a bad head injury that he had sustained in a fall down the stairs in June of that year (2011).  He had a seizure immediately following the fall, and then had many seizures for the two months after that, until he died on August 28th, the day Hurricane Irene hit this area.

We were supposed to go to the Cape today, but our dog association meeting got cancelled, so I cancelled the trip.  Good thing, as there is no way I would have left Hobie in Spencer in this condition (nor would I have made him travel).  That, too, is reminiscent of the passing of Hector… we did a quick, two-day trip to the Cape and I always felt bad that the very rushed and somewhat stressful (we turned right around because of the hurricane) trip had escalated his illness and subsequent demise.

Hobie is in good hands this afternoon, as I head off to work — the cleaning woman/pet sitter is on her way, she cleans on Thursdays.  Poor thing has to shampoo all the carpet!

Wordless Wednesday – everyone loves Hobie

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Have YOU ever tried to brush a cat’s teeth?

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Dental care for dogs and cats runs the gamut from conventional tooth brushing with a specially-designed brush and meat-flavored toothpaste, to chewy dental treats known to get lodged in a pet’s digestive tract, to those funny little rubbery things you put on your finger that remind me of (ok, I’m showing my age!) the “rubber fingers” we used to use in the office to flip through piles of paper!  

Along comes Entirely Pets, and their suggestion that we try C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews for Dogsand C.E.T. Chews for Cats.  Yeah, really, for cats!  This post is sponsored by, by the way.  Known as the leading provider of online pet supplies and non-prescription pet medications, they’ve been around since 1999, and I can see why — safe and secure web site, low prices, and free shipping for orders topping $85.

Back to the C.E.T. chews.  The beefhide dog chews are flat or slightly rolled, about the size of a playing card each, maybe slightly bigger.  The bag says (in English and en Français!) that they’re for veterinary use only, so that was a little puzzling to me, at first glance. 

The cat chews look like Combos — the human hollow pretzel snack stuffed with cheese!

I gave each of the dogs one oral hygiene chew. Hobie, as always, was first (Charlie Brown likes to get a little aggressive with Hobie, so Charlie is last on the totem pole).  Hobie took the treat into his mouth without sniffing it, realized he’d never tasted THIS before. It seemed as if he was not going to eat it, but then he started chomping away.  Cooper and Charlie both acted pretty much the same way, but a little more hesitant.

The cats had absolutely no interest in the cat chews.  First, I tried to give it to Newman.  He sniffed at it and walked away.  Next was Cali. She took a sniff at it, and then a swat with her paw, got up, and left.  I didn’t even try giving one to Tux.

The next day, I tried again at supper time.  The three dogs each grabbed their chew and ran outside where they proceeded to devour them in the back yard in record time. They are DOGS, after all!

I had read on that the chews are water-soluble, so for the cat chews I ran tap water over one and mashed it up between my finger and thumb (by the way, the manufacturer suggests that humans wash their hands after handling the product, and I did).  I put it in the cat dish for Newman.  He licked at it, but then started to walk away.  I mashed it some, then put it back in the dish.  Newman went back and gobbled the whole thing down in a few short seconds.  He made handy work of that!  

This post was written on behalf of BlogPaws Pet Blogger Network and, I received a product for review as well as compensation for my time. Like all reviews on this Blog all thoughts and comments about the product are my own.

A dog named mini-Cooper is brought to you by Tripawds.