Thursday, June 30, 2016


I hardly ever blog anymore.  Even my beloved Bug Safari blog has lain dormant for almost a year and a half!  But things happen, life changes things, and some things fall to obscurity while new things rise to prominence.  Blah blah blah.

My grandma died today, at the very ripe old age of 98.  And in spite of her longevity, for most of my life, I thought of her as being much younger.  Not mistakenly so, because I always knew how old she really was.  But just that her spirit was always youthful.  She was intelligent, busy, gregarious.  And she was actually about 20 years younger than my other grandma, and she had a son, my uncle Marty, the same age as me.  (There's a trippy notion for you.  Mother and daughter both pregnant at the same time!  That's gotta be weird!)

Anyway, between my 2 grandmas, as a kid, I always felt closer to my other grandma (my dad's mom.  We called her Granny)  Maybe there was some subliminal level of discord between my mom and her mom, and there was a ripple effect.  Maybe she was just busy raising her own kid while I was a kid.  I don't know.  I am touched by her passing, but not with grief.  Maybe with nostalgia.  For the loss of time, and not being mindful that family connections can be forged, or forfeited, and it was up to me to choose which way I wanted that to go.

Here is one of the last photos I have of her, from a few months ago.  With my mom on the left.

And here is one of my favorite photos with her and Grandpa, from 1972.  

We were celebrating my 16th birthday.  Grandma's age:  55.  I am currently 59.  That is mind blowing for me.  To be, in this instant, older than she was at that instant.  (Also, look at my hair!  That will never happen again!)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Goodbye, Max

We were never more than just a waystation for Max. I could feel that from the beginning. As the weeks went by, I was finally able to get him eating better, but even so, his temperament got worse and worse. It almost seemed like he just couldn't bring himself to love us, because he knew he had somewhere else to be, and he growled and snapped at everyone, even me. And he continued to lose weight, so I know the cancer was overtaking him. We released him last Sunday. I hope his spirit has reunited with his daddy, out in the Universe.

(No, Foxy doesn't miss him. She tolerated (and largely ignored him) for the most part, until he started getting testy and growly, at which point she would go after him, almost as if she were trying to protect us.)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Max: a dog's life, for now

So in the past month-plus that we've had Max, we've learned that he wasn't just sad.  He is sick.  Max has cancer.  And he really did only weigh 59 lbs.  He now weighs, maybe, 54 lbs.  Underneath that shaggy coat is one bony old man.  His appetite is very poor.  I have to coax and cajole him to eat almost every meal.

Max will live out the rest of his life with us.  We have no idea how much time he still has.  And since we also have very little idea of what his life was like before he came to us, we are trying to just let him be a regular dog, while he still can.  So here he is, doing regular dog stuff:

    Proudly showing off where he dug a hole under the planter.

Laying on a dog bed, for once.  He actually prefers to sleep on the ground, just like Foxy.

Squeezing into tight spaces for a nap.  In this case, he's wedged himself behind my chair.

Chewin' on a stick.

He has a couple of spots in the ivy that he's turned into "nests" for himself.

Here he is with Foxy.  They get along very well most of the time. They are not buddy-buddy, though. Most of the time, Max is low key and quiet, and Foxy likes that just fine. But when Max gets excited and starts barking, she doesn't like that so much, and she wants to remind him that she is the boss.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

To heal a dog with a broken spirit

First of all, it's not Foxy, so don't worry about her.

It's the new guy.  His name is Max.

See, I always wanted to have 2 dogs again.  I would have liked to find a bonded pair.  But what I ended up with was Foxy, so in looking for another dog, I had to keep her dominant bitchiness in mind, plus her high prey drive.  What I thought would be best for her would be a larger, older, submissive gentleman.  And I was kind of looking, but not seriously looking, but still looking just the same, when this older gentleman's photo was posted on Facebook.

He sort of resembled Foxy, I thought.  He was listed as a Golden Retriever/Chow mix.  His owner had died, and he was living by himself in the backyard, where a neighbor was looking in on him and feeding him.  Sad. He had had a doggie companion, and 2 cats in the house.  They were rescued.  Max was not.  He remained alone in his backyard. I don't know for how long.

I decided I wanted this dog.

Yesterday, he came to us.  It's hard to judge size of a dog in a photo, I realized.  I mean, I figured he would be bigger than Foxy.  But I was not expecting the hulking bear of a dog that Max is in person.  He's huge, shaggy and unkempt.  A mountain dog. (he is from a nearby mountain community)  He had clearly spent some time living outside.  And his spirit seemed to be broken.

And why wouldn't it be?  His whole world was turned upside down.  Everything familiar was taken away from him.  And then he was given a bunch of shots, which left him feeling even more out of sorts.  Oh, and brought to a house with strange people and a strange dog.

His first day with us, he mostly just slept.  And when he was awake, he didn't really seem to want to get to know us, or have us pet him very much.  If you approached him or touched him the wrong way, he would snarl.  He didn't even want to eat.

This morning, I made some chicken and rice to mix with his food, and he ate.  He still wanted to sleep a lot, but sometime this afternoon, he began to perk up a little. He is beginning to realize that we are friendly. Sometimes he will approach head on, and we can pet his head.  Other times, he wants to sit next to, but facing away from us, so we can pet him down the back of his neck and shoulders.

I have been very careful (too careful, my family will say) to keep Max and Foxy from getting too close too soon.  This afternoon, I finally let them be loose in the yard and in the house, nobody on a leash, nobody in a crate.  There have been no skirmishes yet, but I have been watching them narrowly, especially Foxy, who seems to be getting a bit more jealous as Max slowly begins to be more interactive.

I'm a little scared of him, because he's so big, and still a little snarly under certain circumstances, some of which I might not be fully aware of yet.  I'm bracing myself for a vet appointment that reveals something amiss in his back legs or hips.  And certainly we will find that his weight is not 59 like it says on the paperwork he came with, but 79, and then some.

But hope that, while he is in our care, he can feel love and trust again.  He can be a happy dog.  Already, we are seeing him slowly opening up, like a flower coaxed into bloom with a little TLC.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


You knew this would happen, right?  We adopted her.  I tried for 2 months to help find Foxy a " forever home".  And by the end of those 2 months, I felt like I was betraying her every time I made her go to an "adoption event", because I knew she already felt at home here with us. 

 I kind of fought it at first, the idea of keeping her.  I would not have chosen, on my own, a dog who was already 8 years old, and had long, "high maintenance" fur.  But once it became clear that she had bonded with us, I could not bear to give her up.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dog update!

I haven't exactly been keeping her a secret, but I've had this dog for 2 months already, and haven't blogged about her. She is our dog pro-tem. A foster dog named Foxy.

  Foxy She is a Chow Chow mix, about 8 years old.

  Our new foster dog
She is beautiful. Her hair is soft and fluffy. Definitely the fluffiest dog I've ever had.

Have you ever seen a dog who matched a hardwood floor so well? This is a dog who quickly made herself at home, and now acts as if she is ours. Or we are hers.

She is well behaved in the house, and doesn't mind hanging out in the back yard for a couple of hours while contractors are busy inside and I need her to be out of the way. (yes, remodeling again. more on that later..) Boomie and Marley would never dream of spending time outside if we were not out there with them.

Foxy has learned to tolerate the pair of little yappy dogs that live behind us.

She loves to go for walks around the block with me.

She politely refuses the fruit and veggie snacks that our labs would have begged for and snarfed down. She would rather have meaty, cheesy treats, thank you, and no snarfing. She takes her treats gently and chews them! The labs didn't chew. They just inhaled.

We can't get her into a doggie bed. Her previous foster mom warned me about this. We've tried 3, in various places. She's just not interested. Just give her a patch of floor.


Foxy is available for adoption through Barks of Love Animal Rescue, and she has a page Petfinder.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Hee hee! This made me giggle

The Pillsbury Dough Boy goes through airport security.

Now I want biscuits. :P