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The Tale of the Eye

It seems that around my house when it rains, it pours … at least when it comes to animal issues and vet visits.

This past week — after already dealing with yet another Cooper-stomach episode — I found myself dealing with a squint-eyed cat.

I have come across the issue from time to time with Lilly, who has a tendency to develop allergies in her eyes. But this squint-eyed cat issue erupted in Zoey, the little girl who is already prone to asthma issues. I tried to watch her for a bit, hoping it would clear up by itself, before realizing that the area around her eye was starting to swell.

Of course, the realization came on a Saturday.

When her regular vet is open only for minor vet visits and couldn’t take the little girl.

So, I bundled her up and took her to the closest open vet clinic.

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Needless to say, she wasn’t happy about it. She had to be pulled out of the crate, turned her back to me and leveled a killer glare at the vet tech — all unusual acts for the little girl and clear signs she didn’t feel well.

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After a thorough exam and a couple of tests, the vet prescribed antibiotic drops and sent us home.

At first, I thought they were working. The swelling around her eye seemed to subside and she grew a bit more active. Of course, on the flip side, she suddenly became very cranky and decided that she needed to attack Izzy for no clear reason.

As each day passed, I contemplated whether I should bring her back to the vet.

Thankfully, her regular vet is wonderful and called to check in on her, even though she hadn’t seen the little girl over the weekend. After a little talk, we agreed that I would call back in a couple of days if she was still squinting at all.

Within a couple of days, I bundled her up in the carrier and had her headed back to the vet. While the swelling wasn’t quite as pronounced, her body was clearly still off. My sweet little girl was irritable and angry and didn’t seem interested in any of her normal antics. Even at the vet’s office, which she normally likes to explore with wild abandon, she could barely muster a mild interest in the shelves on the wall before settling in the sink and drifting off to sleep while we waited for the vet to arrive.

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What the vet discovered was that while the eye had looked better for a short period, a deeper infection was clearly setting in. She was running a temperature and the swelling around her eye was even more pronounced.

So, after a second thorough examine in a week, we traipsed home with two additional prescriptions and instructions to keep administering the antibiotic eye drops. Coupled with the two prescriptions she already has for asthma, she is now on more medicine than Cooper is. At least for a short time.

The good news is that the medicine seems to be working. After only three doses of the oral antibiotic she received, she has already returned to her normal, happy self and she is squinting a whole lot less.

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Here’s to a fully recovered Zoey.

November Ice

I will admit it. When it comes to dealing with weather, I am a wimp.

Or, rather, I am just very, very stuck in my ways.

A native Oregonian, I am used to the ebb and flow of the seasons. In fact, I have come to celebrate them: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

But 2014 has decided to send us — as well as most of the rest of the country — for a loop. Last night, we were buried under ice that blanketed us all day. We don’t normally get this much ice in November. This time of year is generally dedicated to planting bulbs in mild temperatures and cleaning gardens for the coming winter, when the weather really turns nasty.

We aren’t used to such bad weather so early.

Still, there is beauty to find among the ice, which offers a good distraction from the frigid cold.

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Cold Winter’s Night: Protecting Those Who Can’t Protect Themselves

Dearest neighbors:

I try to understand others. I really do. I want to see everyone’s side of a story. Despite this, I have to say you suck.


Well, let me start by asking, “On this evening, when we are supposed to have our first storm of the winter and the wind chill has already dropped the temperature below freezing, do you know where your cat is?”

No? Well, I do. She’s on my front porch — as always. Since the first cold night, she has been on my front porch, under the protective cover of its roof and tucked within the little cat house I bought to give her a safe place to sleep. It’s the same place that I keep insulated against the cold with blankets and towels from my own house, so that a cat I don’t even own can stay warm during the coldest nights.

In the past 24 hours, when it has been so cold that the water I keep on the front porch for her has frozen over, she has only left the little house when I have stepped outside to make sure she is OK. Tonight, when I opened the door, she cried as she emerged from the house, clearly understanding that the freezing temperature was going to drop even lower. I could see she was torn because she wanted in my house, but she also knew that I have cats of my own who wouldn’t welcome her.

And where are you? You haven’t bothered to come look for her. You haven’t even taken the simple step of opening your front door and calling for her. How do I know this? Because my house is literally a stone’s throw from yours. I also know if I go to you and ask you about your cat, you will make a lame attempt to come get her and then decide that it’s all too much effort. And how do I know this? Because we have been down this road before the last two winters.

So tonight, before I go to bed, I will scoop up your cat from my front porch and carry her into my laundry room, which has already been set up for her to sleep in for the night. As I do, I will be cursing you the entire time. I know I shouldn’t — after all, it’s not very charitable or understanding of me — but I won’t be able to help myself. You accepted this little animal into your life, pledging to house it and protect it, and you don’t care about her.

I do.

I care.

I can’t help it.

I believe that how you protect those who can’t protect themselves — children, pets, the dead — defines your humanity. If you can’t accept the responsibility, don’t accept the pet.

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My neighbor’s cat, who also kept me company Halloween evening, when her family was too busy having a party to wonder where she was.

Day o’ the Dead

Halloween turned out to be pretty uneventful …

I worked a little. Submitted a lot of invoices. Ran a couple of errands. Finally, I took the dog for a walk.

In full costume.

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He really wasn’t all that pleased with me … and he let me know it.

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My response was, “Candy Gram.”

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He didn’t get it. So, I said, “Land Shark.”

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That seemed to pique his interest, but I still don’t think he felt like it made up for the indignation of being forced to wear a costume among the general public.

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I, on the other hand, loved the view of the late afternoon … but the beauty didn’t hold. Right at 5 p.m. — just in time for trick or treaters — the heavens opened up and it started to pour. While the rain continued through the evening, we did manage a great sunset …

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And children slowly made their way out to beg for a little candy. Thankfully, the neighbor’s cat decided to keep me company on the front porch while I waited …

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She may not be part of my brood, but she was a welcome part of my Halloween evening.

Now, onto November …

Happy Early Halloween

Since we are only a couple of days away from All Hallows’ Eve, I figured it was time to share the third and final Halloween costume that I forced Cooper to endure this year. I still don’t think it’s as good — or as appropriate — as his devil costume, but it still makes me happy.

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And before anyone reports me for doggy abuse, trust me when I say that this is pretty much the only option I have to “shame” my dog. You know all of those doggy shaming photos where the pup looks completely remorseful for something he or she has done?

Yeah, that’s never been Cooper. Ever since he came into my life, he has always gleefully owned everything he’s done.

Praise him? His tail happily wags as he prances around the room.

Scold him? His tail wags even faster as he runs away to show everyone what he has just done.

This, right here, is the only time he ever slows down enough to feel any sort of shame.

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With one week to go until Halloween, I figured I should post another set of pictures of Cooper in one of his Halloween costumes. This one made me laugh (they all do, really). After all, he could easily find himself in this very situation in my house.

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Yep, that’s supposed to be a black cat on his back.

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It was hard to take photos of him with it because it kept shifting on his back.

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He may not have been amused, but I was. Thankfully, he’s turned into a fairly patient dog …

The Love of Old and Young

I have always been fascinated by how older cats will take younger ones under their proverbial wing.

First, I watched it with Cole and Lilly. While Cole always kept the little one in line, there was a sweetness between them that was indescribable.

Now, I have watched the same type of mentorship evolve between Gus and Colby.

While Gus is not the oldest in the house, he is only a year behind Izzy. And he has far more patience than his older sister.

So, today, I wasn’t all that surprised when Gus tried to teach Colby, the baby of the house, about his love of plastic army men toys.

At first, I wasn’t sure she would get it (all pics taken with iPhone — sorry!).


He really worked to show her the beauty of the toys …


And she paid close attention … somewhat.


Finally, she understood the joy Gus was trying to teach her. And it was good.


Then, this afternoon, Gus reminded Colby of the joy of boxes … much to my dismay.


The box contained the new water fountain that I wanted to set up in place of Cooper’s normal water bowl. Why did I need it? Because Colby decided that she enjoyed pawing the water in the bowl until it was empty and the floor around the bowl was soaked. While she finds it fascinating to empty an entire bowl with just one paw, my hardwood floors have not taken it well.

Although Gus was not about to let me open the larger box, I did manage to get a smaller box full of filters opened.

And then, Colby decided that the box was hers …




I don’t understand why cats are so fascinated with boxes — even those truly too small to be comfortable — but if it makes them happy, I will keep them around.