ZsaZsa’s Fifth

ZsaZsa’s favorite position

Since we’ve been super busy on the house remodeling it took several days before we were actually able to take ZsaZsa out to celebrate her fifth birthday. She is our baby, the youngest of our girls, so it was really important to celebrate especially this year. She was a rescue who had been kept in the backyard for the first 18 months of her life. She was afraid of everything, wouldn’t touch fabric of any kind and shivered a lot. We bathed her 3 times the first night we got her. She was full of burrs, even between her toes. She was so matted and filthy that we weren’t sure what color she was. She is a designer dog, a Schnoodle (schnauzer and poodle), who was supposed to be hypoallergenic for the child in the home. The child was still allergic so the dog went to the backyard. We used to hear her crying while we watched TV. DH would take her a treat and stick it between the boards in the fence. Sometimes I would cry, too. So sad. Finally, it was going to freeze outside so the people gave her to us.

I was already in love with her because we had babysat once while they were on vacation. It was love at first sight. I would carry her from room to room with me and she’d sit quietly and shiver. Poor little thing.

It took a bit before she came to trust that we wouldn’t holler at her for sitting in our lap or laying on the couch beside us. The turning point was when DH put a little cushion between our bed pillows and placed her there. She shivered and looked at us with big, frightened eyes as we lay down with her and petted her. She never moved the rest of the night. The pillow became hers at night. One morning she wasn’t there when we awoke–she was under the covers between us…and that’s where she sleeps every night now.

She sits on the couch, owns my lap, owns the car and demands we roll the window down so she can put her head into the wind. She chases cars (from her couch inside the car), screams in delight and wants to go everywhere we do. After 18 months of only seeing the inside of a wooden fence, we understand her thoughts. She loves everything and everyone. She bounces vertically when she’s excited so we call her our “bouncy bounce”. She’s such a happy creature and we hope to share her life far into the future. Happy birthday, ZsaZsa!!!!!!

Bunny Wabbit

Zoe, my bunny wabbit, enjoying spring

Spring arrived and is almost over before I’ve had a chance to post. We’re all hanging in there: vaccinated and about to lose the masks, working on health issues and home remodels. I was finally freed from the eye drops for 3 weeks but to my detriment. This week we started them again. Eye pressure went down but swelling went up. Back to the drawing board. I go back to the retina specialist in two weeks.

Rest In Peace, Miss Fancypants

Right before we left home to take her to the vet

This was the last time my “three little black girls” were in the same photo (and, as always, Dusty’s photobombing).  R was taking the photo but I just lost it.  Couldn’t do anything but hold her and cry.  This is her daily medicine schedule board

In April 2017 she was 16 1/2.  She’d had congestive heart failure for a few years but it was being controlled with medication.  Then in November she got a corneal abrasion and she’s been in and out of the ophthalmologist’s office and up to 6 times per day medicating her eyes.  One eye seemed better but the other was still full of calcium deposits.  She was still going, although slowing down a lot.  She slept a lot.  When she walked she’d stumble sometimes.  With her failing eyesight she would walk into the walls and furniture…or us.  But a couple of weeks ago we found out her kidneys were

Last unhurried nap before we left the house

beginning to fail, too.  We treated them with meds and with subcutaneous fluid.  Just like with Buffy and Jolie, we had to stick a needle into Fancy to get extra fluid to flush her kidneys.  It was only 3 times per week then, but it would have escalated to every day then to twice per day.  I wasn’t going to make another sick pin cushion out of an already ill and fading animal.  No more!  So we chose to say goodbye in a humane manner then cremate her so her ashes can be buried in the backyard alongside her other doggie sisters through the years.

Fancy’s last trip to PetSmart

This is how bad she felt, especially while having to wear the cone of shame for her eyes.

Last puppy whip at Starbuck

Alaska Visited Texas This Week?

Zoe says it’s too cold to pee!

At least you’d think it did. It was actually colder on the Texas coast than it was in Alaska at one point. Our little town was hit hard. 80% were without power. Water lines froze up, people were freezing to death with no heat and food was dwindling. Those who had food had no way to cook. No way to wash up. Some pets inadvertently left outside froze to death. People were dying from carbon monoxide poisoning, there was ice on the roads so we couldn’t get any supplies in to help us survive. Yet, the entire town came together. Families took in people who were suffering. Some made food and gave it away. People shared blankets, food, money and comfort. They opened a warming station at one of the schools. Plumbers were repairing frozen lines for free. When the city water thawed, the water quality was low so we had to boil it before using it. So everyone had to have bottled water…but there was none because the trucks couldn’t get through. There was no gasoline because the trucks couldn’t get through. People who were sitting in their cars with the heater running or running a generator for power in their backyards were in dire straits. It was bleak for too long.

What we didn’t see? There was no crime. There was no looting. There was no fighting among the citizens. There was little blame toward the city government and they came through for us, even though they dragged their feet at the beginning. The first three days there were no wrecks because people stayed off the roads. It made me proud to live here.

The temperature is moderating now. We have good water and plenty of heat. Trucks are arriving to replenish stores. Gasoline supply is increasing. People are repairing frozen and broken pipes, getting food and giving a sigh of relief.

We were some of the fortunate ones. We never lost power, had no lines frozen or broken, were warm and comfortable for the duration. We also did a lot of prep before the weather. We wrapped all our pipes, covered all the plants, brought in the potted plants, saved fresh water in case we lost it, closed off 2 rooms to conserve energy for the network, and decreased our thermostat. We wore extra clothes, wrapped up in blankets and held warm dogs all we could. We actually used less energy this week than we did the week before, so it worked. We’re fortunate not to lose anything when so many around us lost so much. Those whose homes burned lost everything, in some cases even their lives. Last night we even went out for Mexican and margaritas. And today Starbucks was open so Gypsy and Zsa Zsa got a ride in the beautiful sunlight.

Living in a semi-tropical zone where hurricanes are the biggest threat, people never think about living in a deep freeze. And our electrical grid is not designed for these temperatures. A perfect storm of electrical generating plants down for repair, a shortage of natural gas, frozen wind turbines and a massive increase in energy usage to heat homes conspired to wreck the system. We’ve been told that changes will be made so that this never happens again. That remains to be seen, but I do believe some heads will roll over this. We all learned things never known before. People learned about protecting their pipes, conserving energy, sharing and compassion. There was something we all could do to help even if we never made contact with another person. Those that did reach out to others made humanity shine just a little. There’s a lot of smiles out there, a lot of friendly people who are being just a little bit more kind now that the shock of the disaster is almost over. I think a lot of people, myself included, saw another side of the citizens of this city. The people were the strength, not the government. We know who we can trust now. I think I’ll look at things with a slightly different perspective. It’s easy to take things for granted and think people are not nice, but when the chips were down, it was the people who came through for each other. Bravo! I’m so proud of my neighbors in this town. Way to go!

Happy 17th Birthday, Mimi

She made it! We were wondering, with her health history, if she’d even make another birthday. But she surprised us by sailing on by as if it were nothing. Since she is the nervous type we didn’t take her shopping but she had a lovely car ride. We put her in a cute pink dress that says “Happy girls are the prettiest” and took her to Starbucks first for a puppychino. Then, we went to Sonic and got hamburger patties and a cup of ice cream. Of course, she greeted all the servers and inspected every menu. She smelled all the smells, got some strategic barking in, and basked in the breezes from the open window of each stop. She loved it all; I took all kinds of pictures just in case this really is her last birthday.

All else has quieted down a bit. Zoe’s tummy seems to have calmed down and she’s off a lot of the medications. She is on prescription food and takes an arthritis pain medicine, then Pepcid every 12 hours. The culprit we think (and the vet agrees) was the probiotics that were bloating her up. We thought we were helping with prescription probiotics. Learned something new. The vet (new one that didn’t prescribe them) says she has another client who had issues with gas while taking probiotics. She says she doesn’t prescribe them at all. We still think she has a sensitive stomach but it’s far less now. Fingers crossed she will not go back to being so sick. Too bad there’s no prescription for being spoiled rotten.

I’m trying to get myself motivated to sew again. I won’t know if my vision is good enough if I don’t try. It will be months before it’s any better. I’ve got to wean off the eye drops and maintain/reduce the inflammation that remains. I go to the retina specialist again next week so we’ll get an update. I’m going to him monthly now and to the ophthalmologist every three months. So I don’t get as many updates as I once did. I just do my drops and go on with whatever I want to do. I’m so tired of being stuck in the recliner the majority of my time; I’ve got to get more active again; I feel so tired all the time. And discouraged. And old…I had another birthday in January. I’m at the age where I have to subtract to see how old I am. Age has stopped mattering. Once you’re retired and established as such, there aren’t a whole lot of surprises left. LOL

Today the house cleaner and the yard man are here at the same time. We ought to be pretty inside and out after this. I have the girls in the office with me to keep them from being underfoot of the cleaner. If we start having someone come more often we’ll let the girls get used to her. Right now, Mimi is barking (She can’t hear much so she barks a lot. I wonder if it works like sonar.) One is in the dog bed. One is on my lap. One is under my desk. One is wandering around being a blithering idiot and the last one is laying down staring at the door like it will magically open if she barks at it. I love this life!

Happy 8th Birthday, Zoe

Yep, all 4 pounds of her turned 8 years old Wednesday. She’s been such a sweet little baby doll all these years. She had so many health issues when we first got her that we weren’t sure she’d make it through the first week, but look at her now! We took her to PetSmart shopping and everyone (customers and staff) had to ooh and aah about her. The lady from the grooming salon came out to see her. She said she was “perfect”! I agreed! Children had to hold her. Everyone stopped to talk to her. It was a good birthday.

She is still having tummy issues and we’re still trying different combinations of food and medications to see if we can pinpoint the cause. She is good all day but after dinner on some days she bloats up and has gas pains. She’s just miserable. We’ve tried increasing the amount of meals, changed to prescription food, probiotics, stool softeners, gas meds, acid meds, and motility meds. She is now exactly where she started 3 or 4 months ago. I think it’s motility-related but something else is affecting her digestion. I keep remembering how I felt when I had ulcers; belly problems are no picnic!

Other than that we’re hanging in there. Mimi got shots yesterday and a change in medication. Gypsy and ZsaZsa go the first of February. My vision has stabilized; still doing 2 drops 4 times per day, which is a pain but manageable. He tried to start weaning me off them but I reacted immediately so I’m back to 4 times per day. He says he’ll get me off of them eventually. I’m hoping he’s right.

We Survived 2020

We’re settling into a new routine with the canine aspect of the family. They’re all shifting focus, growing and learning that things can operate in a different way than when Dusty was here running the show. We miss him terribly but I’ve stopped crying daily; I’m down to about 4 times a week now. Zoe is still having tummy issues and we’re very worried about her. She’s on a lot of medicines and they seem to control it most of the time but we have no reason for her being this way with her digestion. She’ll turn 8 years old on January 20th; I hope we get to keep her for a long, long time. Mimi will be 17 on January 30, so what does that tell you? We’re on borrowed time already. We’re trying to spend some quality time with her while we can. She has almost no hearing left; her eyesight is failing and now she’s beginning to exhibit some dementia (self diagnosed) symptoms. She’s still eating but in weird ways. She gets a bite then runs off. Then she comes back for another bite, however, that may be after she goes for a walk in the backyard or walked around the living room. The other dogs try to eat her food when she leaves her bowl which causes us stress because we have to shoo them away and protect her food. She is still eating and maintaining her weight but we’ve started feeding her bigger amounts per meal. Time will tell, I suppose.

Khandi has found out that since the little Dusty Tyrant is not ruling Mom’s lap, she can get up there and cuddle in the blanket. ZsaZsa is always under the blanket and Zoe is usually on top of it but there’s room for more now. ZsaZsa has stopped looking before she gets in my lap. Dusty used to nip her nose if she got too big for her britches. He always thought I belonged exclusively to him and he could make the laws about occupancy of my lap. I corrected him about it but some things were not learned perfectly. He was a sweet little tyrant; I miss him terribly. Gypsy, who left our laps years ago (she’s very jealous and conceited; she doesn’t walk, she struts with head held aloft LOL) has begun to allot some time to our laps. It does no good to call HER; she comes when SHE wants to and not before. She has always been different, even as a puppy. She was born in the middle of our bed, the runt of three. Her mom, Lita (Lolita), was a cinnamon-colored deer-head Chihuahua who had been abandoned. She was beautiful, looked like velvet and acted like she owned everything and everyone. Her baby daughter is a different color (she is black/white like her daddy) but the same disposition. But we love on her every time she lets us and that has become every day now. Who knew?

So that is our canine pack now: 5 opinionated, spoiled, aging girls (3 Chihuahuas, 1 chiweenie and a schnoodle (Schnauzer and poodle designer dog), all rescued, all precious, all with their own personalities, foibles and idiosyncrasies…just like us.

Rest in Peace, Dusty Man

Every morning of his 11 year life Dusty was up when I got up and running around the house, happy as a clam. Then he would get in my lap and sleep under the blanket until I got ready to get dressed and start my day. Yesterday morning, I got up as normal and went about my morning routine: take my pills, put Zoe out to potty, feed and medicate her, then sit in my recliner to receive the dogs as they come to say good morning. All as usual except Dusty didn’t come running into the living room for attention. I assumed he was sleeping in; the house was quiet and DH was still asleep.

But Dusty never came to say good morning. I opened the door and looked in the back yard but he wasn’t there. He didn’t answer to my calls. I started toward the garage to check there as DH responded to my query from the bedroom. He got up and went into my office/sewing room to check the dog bed, met me coming down the hall and told me to go sit down; Dusty wouldn’t be coming. What? Dusty was wrapped up in his blanket in his bed but he was no longer alive. I couldn’t believe it!. He hadn’t been sick or acting any differently the night before. He was happy and energetic and loving, the same as any other day of his life. And then he went to sleep and didn’t wake up. Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!

We lost Bandit January 5th to a brain tumor—complete surprise out of the blue!!!! Then, Dusty left us in another complete surprise situation. As DH said, it was the best way to go if it’s your time; just go to sleep and don’t wake up. But the survivors always wish they could have said goodbye, or “I love you” one more time. I hate that the last time I felt his warmth was after his heart had stopped beating. I hate that I’ll never get to cuddle him again or have him lick my face or feel his warm body sleeping in my lap. When we took him to the vet this morning for cremation it was the last time we’d see his beautiful face, the last time we took him to the vet, and the first time he’d never come back home to us happy and excited.

We are devastated! The female canines are very quiet, as is usual when one of the pack leaves us. Dusty was our last male. He was a force to be reckoned with, a joy to be around, 5 1/2 pounds of happy optimism. He filled every room with happiness and excitement. They even loved him at his vet’s office. Loss of his big personality has left a huge hole in our lives so we won’t be normal for a while; our world has ground to a halt. All we can do is love these little girls as much as possible until we all heal inside.

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Peepers and Puppers

The top photo was two weeks ago. Bottom is yesterday. The swelling inside my eyeball is still coming down. I don’t have to go back to the retina specialist for a month. I started going every day, then every other day, then once a week, then every two weeks. This is the first time to wait for a month. I think that’s pretty damned cool!!!!!!!!!!! Still on two steroid drops four times per day but he says if the improvement continues he’ll start working me off them. My vision is at 20-60 and we don’t know if it’ll get better or not. Before my cataract surgery in August the surgeon told me they’d get me as close to 20-20 as possible. Four days later I was completely blind in that eye. Five months later and I’m still trying to get my vision back and I no longer go to that first doctor; in fact, he has resigned from the practice. I wonder if he messed up more patients than me.

This is what the right eyeball looks like inside. This is where I’m trying to get now.

Still working on getting Zoe’s digestion back to normal. Poor baby has had a lot of issues the past couple of months. We’ve changed food, put her on probiotics, 3 stomach medicines and now oils. Currently she is doing great; I hope she continues. She’s only at 3.5 pounds so it doesn’t take much for her to lose ground. The vet said not to let her lose any more weight.

Mimi is failing bit by bit. She will be 17 years old next month. She’s getting grayer, weaker. Her hearing is gone, eyesight dimmer and dementia shows its face occasionally. She has spells with her breathing where we’ve wondered if she’ll survive the hour. Still she comes to us for attention, gives back love and licks, and cuddles closer and closer. We carry her, cuddle back, whisper sweet nothings in her ears, take her on car rides, give her treats, and whatever else we can think of…or she can.

All our fur babies are aging; some more than others. (But so are we.) We know we can’t keep them forever, and, at times, think it’ll be better when we don’t have such a large pack to deal with in our advancing years. But I don’t want to hurry up the process. Each of them are their own dogs. Each has their own idiosyncrasies, foibles, personalities, auras. They’re all loved immensely, cared for distinctly and extremely, spoiled to the nth degree, and are parts of this family. This week we celebrated three of their birthdays; we were behind. Khandi’s birthday was December 4th, Dusty was October 1st, Gypsy was August 18th. So we made 2 trips to Petsmart, one ride down Seawall Blvd., trips through the Starbucks drive through, and ordered more toys from Chewy. I don’t know who had the best time: them or us??? It’s been a good week for all. Even in the midst of buying medications and going in for doctor visits and testing, there was fun to be had. That’s the excellent part of having pets. No matter what happens their love is unconditional.

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Getting My Life Back

Today was Khandi’s first visit with the new vet. Now they all have been registered locally. All have been healthy lately except Zoe—again. She’s having digestive issues again and has lost 2 more ounces (she only weighs 3.6 pounds). Took her back to the last vet who treated her belly and they’ve put her back on probiotics and have gotten rid of the diarrhea. She’s still having cramping after dinner so we’re still working on fine-tuning her treatment. Otherwise, we have one dental and 3 flu shots for our canine babes, then we’re finished for another year. Even after everything that’s happened in our lives this year we’ve managed to keep up with the furbabies.

My eyes are definitely better than they were two weeks ago. I go back to the retina specialist this week and I have new glasses ordered (for both eyes!) so help is near.

I have started back decorating our new (to us) house and am able to drive, cook a little, clean a little and do laundry. I’m fully functional on the computer and looking forward to getting back to sewing when I get the new glasses. Yay!!!!!!!!

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