Today I am becoming the meanest Witch of the East!

mean witch

 

Starting today, I am not playing nice anymore!

 

It just hit me this morning, or not really this morning, but last night. Last night, Maia was sick, not really sick, sick, but you know just the regular stuff, trying to throw up. I checked her throat to see if anything was stuck. Nope! We got up, she got some chicken just to see if she were swallowing and keeping the food, and she did. So, breaking news: she slept like a baby for the remaining of the night, and my beautiful brown eyes stayed wide open.

 

I can’t watch TV, because I swear if I hear the word “Ebola” one more time, I’ll be on the verge of a stroke, and I can’t have a stroke with my seven furry kids who need their mom! Reading was not working either, I was far too antsy. So my brain worked, and worked, and worked, and I saw the light!

 

Starting today, I am going to be the meanest witch of the Wild East! Honey and sugar don’t work. Maybe they did at one point, but nobody seems to have a sweet tooth these days!

 

I think the main issue we are having in this country – and I am not judgmental like seeing it from the outside, because I am in the inside. Not only I am part of this country, but it was my choice to live here, and I love this country. But Houston, we have a problem: NOBODY WANTS TO WORK ANYMORE IF IT INVOLVES ANY GREY MATTER’S WORK.

 

Examples….. From the simplest one to some more sophisticated which all ended the same way!

When I moved to this house, the land had been devastated by the previous tenant, badly. Meaning that instead of having 4 acres of beautiful fields, I had rocks and more rocks in many places. It was still a lot of grass to cut, so I tried to hire a lawn company. Right! I contacted SEVEN companies, and they all ran away faster than they came. Why? Because what they wanted was a flat surface with no interferences. They don’t want to spend any time going around rocks or using their brain to anticipate what they had to do.

 

From the lawn I am moving to the idea I had of a website for pet owners in the DC area. I love animals, any kind as long as they have four legs. Humans don’t fall into this category. Angelina Jolie is doing a fabulous job for kids, I am more on the Brigitte Bardot side, even if I don’t agree with her on some stuff, she is still #1 in my book for animals and I like her because she is real and doesn’t give a rat how she looks. People can make fun of her. I don’t care; she is my hero for animals.

 

I had the whole plan for the website, the whole structure, you know like the skeleton, and then the webmaster had to build it. Yeah right, in my wildest dreams again! I started with high school kids.  The only ones who were excited about it were the computer science teachers!

 

From high school kids, I went to college kids, and after placing an ad in the UMD website, I hired a senior student in Computer Science. We agreed on a fee, and I gave him 1/3 upfront. A month later, he graduated, and went back to India with my money and the money of several others, and I stayed empty handed.

 

From there, I went to the 30’s web people. I had an appointment with a highly recommended web gal, and we took an appointment at a Starbucks at Barnes and Noble. I was there at 10 sharp and amazingly they were only women sitting there (note: if you are looking for a guy, that Barnes and Noble was not the right place, just saying!)

 

I patiently waited with my laptop. Half an hour later, I started going around the shop asking if anyone was Maria. Nope! One told me though that she could be Maria if I wanted her to! So at 10:45, I sent an email to “my” Maria who replied a few minutes later: “I am going to be late!” Really Sherlock? “I’ll be there in 45”. Are you kidding me lady? So I emailed her back that she could keep her butt in bed. I need someone reliable! If only I had known.

 

I contacted a company recommended by a friend and they were ready to do the job but for $22,000 which was far more than my budget. Again, if I had only known……

 

Then someone referred me to another company, and I have to say that they got the idea, and did a very good design of it. They got me! They even offered me a payment plan since I was a friend of a friend. Of course, when everything went overboard – I am getting there! – they denied they even offered it to me despite of the emails we exchanged on that topic! I was not asking for it. They proposed it!

 

I was on cloud 9 with these guys….. My dream website was coming to life…. Of course they were a few hiccups like the guy working on it quit and deleted what I had sent him. But I was still very comfortable on my cloud 9!

 

The day came when the website was launched. With my luck, it was also the day where their servers crashed, which also meant that the 5,000 flyers that I had distributed to announce the launching were gone with the wind.

 

I kept my cool; you see if you know me, it takes a lot to make me become the meanest witch of the East! The design of a website is great, but what makes a website successful is that every link is tested and works.

 

That’s where Hell started and when I fell down Cloud 9 and kind of hurt myself in the process by losing my spirit. It’s still kind of MIA but I am working hard those days to get it back.

 

So members could not register, then when that was fixed, the members could not post, then they could not buy the pet deals, then when they were trying to put a picture in the “In memory of” of their passed pet, the last one who posted was giving the same picture to everyone else, and I was spending my time replying to frustrated emails from my members.  It never stopped, like ever…..

 

There is always the point of no return. Mine was when I had an appointment with a dog cruise company to get a deal, and was going to show them the website on my IPad. Website was gone…. Immediately I called the company, and their answer was “Really? You don’t see it in DC! It works fine here!” That little sentence was my point of no return.

 

Are you still with me? Four web guys later, I am confident that one day the website will be done. The last web guy who gave me like all the others the same BS for not doing the job he was hired to do, just went through a reality check and he is working on it….. slowly, very very slowly but I would be very happy if my website is totally done by Easter 2015! That’s how I lost faith in people!

 

The website is the perfect example how everyone takes a job, but they can’t do the job, and have an uncanny way of blaming it on you! Is there a class they teach here like “Work escape 101” or “how to learn the 1,000 reasons you can give to your client for not doing the job”? My last guy that I will keep because I am too exhausted to look for someone else gave me every excuse in the book. The only one he did not give me was that the dog ate his computer, most likely because he doesn’t have a dog.

 

But the thing is, I have hundreds of examples:  from the accountant I hired to do the financial part of a business plan for my new venture, and who took a template and put numbers really out of his bottom, not even realistic number but made me pay the high price for his crap.

 

To my vet (I have 7 dogs and 3 cats: I am probably his BEST client, okay?). September is the checkup month for my dogs and I realized that he took blood from my youngest ones but just for the heartworm test, not for the full CBC count. I did not realize that on the spot. Therefore, what do little me has to do again? To go back with my four mutts to have the freaking blood tests done. How can you do a checkup without checking out the blood? How could he have not known, knowing me for over 12 years, that I am not there to save a buck but there to keep my pack healthy?

 

I am tired people, tired of having to do your job when I hire you to do that specific job! And that’s my point, today, I realized – after a long sleepless night – that nobody gives a rat about a job well done, and we do not need any ISIS to destroy ourselves. We are doing it pretty well just by ourselves.

 

So, starting today, I won’t be sugar coating anything anymore. I started my day by saying: “you are fired” to the lawn company that I had finally found. I was wondering why my little solar lights were disappearing along the path to my house, and shame on me, I was accusing my little wild critters like the raccoons, and kept buying more lamps! I am probably the best Target customer for those little lamps! Guess what? This morning, I was in my dining room and was just looking by the window when I saw my lawn guy going over one of my little lamps, picking it up and throwing it in the bushes. I went outside, and behind the bushes I found all my little murdered lamps. That’s how I started my morning by telling him: “You are fired.” Yes I am screwing myself in the process because either I need to clone myself or I need to delegate…. I think I am going to go with the cloning thing. It seems less complicated.

 

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He never skipped a meal in his life but…..

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For a few months now, I have been silent. My fingers were frozen, and my brain was not doing much better! I was and am still cyber stalked by an ex member of Zeus Corner. He insulted me, threatened me, cyber stalked me up to the point that I could not write anymore, cringing at the thought that he was going to read it, and the thought of it dirtied my writings before they were even written.

This morning again, I had two of his sick emails waiting for me, and suddenly he became irrelevant. The first thing I love to see in the morning is the wet noses of my dogs, and that’s what I was meant to talk about. So, I am back and feel darn good about it.

So, no more talks about that non sense. The sun is shining. It’s a beautiful morning, and my beautiful pack is surrounding me while Cat Stevens is singing just for me!

When you don’t see a friend for a while, you suddenly might not have much to talk about because there is SO much to talk about, and you don’t know where to start. It happened with some of my friends who are still living in Europe. With you, my readers, this is not that complicated and I will have to start with Jackson. His eyes remind me of Zeus, my Zeus who was carrying his life in his eyes, and I do believe that some of Zeus is in Jack. The difference between the two: Zeus was abused, starved and yes he was a thief, but he had excuses, so many. I don’t think he ever took a meal for granted despite of the fact that we were together for almost ten years. Jack, on the other hand, never missed a meal in his life since he was born. I know, I know. I have been by his side for the whole ride since his birth.

Jack grew on me, and sometimes we have eerie moments together when he is taking over my feet as a pillow or give me that look while having his head on my lap the way Zeus did. No, I am not senile, but yes sometimes, I call him Zeus.

With those eyes.....

With those eyes…..

A few weeks ago, I received a package of Ammonil for Maia. This is a medication to lower the Ph in her urine.  I did not open the package right away and just put the box on my coffee maker. And you know how it is, since I am not a coffee drinker, I forgot about it for a few days, and it started to be part of the environment. For me…. Not for Jackson!

Was he not mentally challenged enough that evening? I don’t know. I went to my bedroom, and he is usually there before me. I called him. Nothing! I knew right away that he was up to no good but I did not expect it to be that bad. I found him in the living room (only room with carpet: he likes his comfort!), with the box ripped, the plastic bottle broken, and the 200 pills missing. I mean they were not totally missing since he has thrown up all over the place. I called the Animal Poison Center (I have a lifetime membership with them, or so it seems!), packed Jack and drove to the emergency hospital.

There was not much information on overdose of that stuff with dogs. I found as well as the internist another lab who swallowed 500 pills of the same stuff. You see Jackson, you won’t be in the book of the records for that one. Another one did better than you! The dog survived…..

Jackson stayed two long days at the emergency with fluids. When I went to see him the day after, he broke my heart: his back was arched, his tail between his legs. Where was my fiery boy? That stuff could cause neurological problems and nobody really knew what will happen. I went to visit him during visitation times, called the emergency in the middle of the night to see how he was doing like any parent would.

Taking him everywhere was not the solution!

Taking him everywhere was not the solution!

It had a happy ending with him coming back home two days later. He was back to normal. I was not. I could not manage to leave him at home, so scared that he was going to find something to do that I did not think about. I finally just put him in a crate: keeping him safe as well as my mind!

Because of what he did, I looked up the info of that Ammonil stuff, also called under another name Methio-Form. The only ingredient in it is DL-Methionine, and I realized that even without swallowing drastically 200 pills, that stuff was not as harmless as I was told. My mistake: I usually research everything which goes into their stomach. I did not this time.

I also found out that another way to lower the Ph is to give vitamin C to them. My vet was not aware of it, so I took Maia to see a holistic vet who confirmed it. Within two weeks of the Vitamin C intake, Maia’s Ph went back to a normal level which had not been in years despite of the increasing dosage of Ammonil she was taking.  I have those cute little strips to test her every other day, as well as Lola who had the same issues. Let me tell you, urine collection in girls is not fun. Going after them early morning with a ladle and being able to get it when they squat is always a challenge but I am a work in progress for it!

I also discovered all the other virtues of the vitamin C for dogs. As always do not medicate your dog with anything without talking to your vet, but Vitamin C is now routinely prescribed by holistic veterinarians for a number of reasons:

-          On older dogs with arthritis: vitamin C helps maintaining the health of collagen, and therefore appears to be helpful for slowing down joint disease, hip dysplasia, and some spinal disorders.

-          Some veterinarians suggest Vitamin C before and after vaccination,

-          It’s also good as for us for healthy teeth and gums,

-          Stress.

Jackson and his Frisbee: a never ending love story

Jackson and his Frisbee: a never ending love story

Jackson is looking at me right now expectantly. Is it time yet for playtime? Yes, we will always have playtime no matter what. Dogs don’t stop playing because they get older, they get old because we stop playing with them. It won’t happen with my crew! Let’s grab that Frisbee and I promise you Jackson, I will try not to send it on the roof of the house!

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A gentle dog….

maia1

In January of 2006, I was driving on a small country road in the Poolesville area in Maryland. I was not really in a good mood, dealing with an antique shop in Poolesville which was going down the drain. Anyway, just after a curve, a big sign hit me with its words: “Labrador Retrievers puppies for sale.” Which insane person could put a sign by a curve inviting people to buy a pup like that, without screening, without anything?

STA70413

At that time, I had Zeus, my heart dog, a black lab, Lola, a yellow lab, who was 8 months old, and Pouch, our Golden Retriever. I stopped. It was a gray day, and the forecast was for some snow the next day. It was a long driveway lost in huge trees, and I mean long, maybe half of a mile, maybe more. The place was beautiful. The house was like an oasis in the middle of woods, suddenly green pastures, and that yellow house in the middle. It was my kind of place, the place where you don’t see neighbors! An older lady opened the door, smiling, and the shadow of a man disappeared in the background. She directed me to the garage where the pups were. I was not planning to get a puppy, Ms. Lola being quite handful to say the least, probably the worst puppy I have ever met, so what got into me to drive into that house, to walk into that garage and to see those black puppies looking at me with their beautiful loving eyes? The garage was cold, that I remember. I sat down on the concrete, she opened the gate of the playpen, and right away a little ball of black fur with amber eyes jumped on me. Even if I had wanted to let her go, she would not have let me. I became hers in a second. She chose me, and no, I was not planning to have a larger family, but I would never have been able to let Maia go. It was going to snow the next day. The garage was as cold as the little pups eyes were warm and loving. I realized afterward, driving back home, that since the second she came to me, I never let her go. I could not. But who could put a sign like that “Labrador Retrievers puppies for sale”?  Certainly not an animal lover, just a dollar lover. No questions asked, a written check, and I was let go with that lovely puppy in my arms. No questions asked;  nothing…. She let me go with one of her puppies. She let me go without even asking a single question.  So, let me introduce you to her. Her name is Maia, and she is the most beautiful Labrador retriever that I had ever seen. Zeus was in love with her  the minute he saw her, and I am not kidding. Maia is perfect. In the six and half years that we have been living together, Maia never had “an accident”, right Lola? Maia was two months old when she came home, and I cannot remember anything she could have done wrong, not one thing? She was the proper puppy, the proper teenager, the proper grown up dog. She is polite, tender, and gentle, doesn’t try to cut off your fingers when you give her a treat, and after all these years, she still smells like Cheerios, she never lost her puppy smell.

In the dogs’ world, she is the perfect one. In the Labrador retriever’s world, she is not. Maia doesn’t retrieve, but she is smart. When I throw a ball, and Lola is with her, Maia waits to see where the ball will go, and grabs it before Lola, but once, the ball is hers, she loses interest in it, and just drops it wherever she is. Of course, sometimes if Lola is far too anxious to get the ball, Maia might just do a ballet around the yard with the ball in her mouth, but you can see that she really doesn’t care about it; she just wants to get it first! Then she is done.

The first time I took her swimming with Lola, Lola had already jumped into the water and was waiting for the bumper to be thrown while Maia, slowly put a paw in the water, and looked at me with dismay like telling me: “this is WET!” But how could she resist competing with Lola for the bumper?  Awkwardly, she swam, awkwardly it was. Maia doesn’t have Lola’s easiness in the water. She kind of looks like if she is in an armchair and paddles with her front legs. Water is not her element, but since Maia is extremely smart, she realized that she really did not need to get into that cold wet stuff to get the bumper. She just let Lola do the job, and then as soon as Lola lands on the bank of the creek, Maia gets the bumper out of Lola’s mouth in a second. Not fair for Lola, I totally agree with you, that’s why I have special time for Lola, but these two grew up together, and like two sisters,  argue a lot, but at the same time, can’t live without each other.

Maia was the only one who could make Zeus feel better when there was a thunderstorm, and when Zeus was put to sleep on that dreadful morning when he could not breeze, Maia mourned, and mourned, and mourned. She stopped eating, and was on her couch, her eyes lost somewhere, and waiting for Zeus who never came back.

IMG_0523

Maia is starting to have some white on her face  - hello, why can’t I get hair dye for her? – and I take the white. Do I have any choice anyway? But Maia, young or old, will always be the most gentle and proper dog I have ever lived with. So, I guess, you just had the privilege of meeting Maia! And yes, it is a privilege.

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I am pro-breeder, so what?

STA71939

I had a “Dominique” moment last week, when I received one too many emails telling me to adopt a rescue dog, and trying to give me a guilt trip if I chose to get a puppy from a breeder.  Since when breeder became a bad word? I am against PUPPY MILLS, BUT I AM PRO BREEDER. Seeing it another way is just plain wrong.

What is a breeder? And I know a few. First, let me get something out of my system right here: if they wanted to become rich, they would have chosen another venue! A breeder story starts with a love story between a human and a specific breed.  The story of a puppy mill owner starts with a love for the dollar sign and a total disregard for the breed , any breed.

When you buy that “finished product”: the perfect puppy, it’s like looking at the ocean, you just see the ocean foam, but there is a world underneath. 

Great puppies became great, far before they were conceived. Both Sire and Dam need constant care – physical and mental – screening for genetic issues, pre-breeding health tests, exercise, and great food. The work which is behind that finished product, that perfect puppy, who  looks at you with those beautiful eyes, is work made out of pure love for these animals. It’s a work that never ends, like raising kids! Training, competitions, worries….  Good puppies come from good parents. A stressed dog might not even be fertile. With the breeding come the numerous visits to the vets, the preparation of the whelping box, the sleepless nights when the pups are born, the visits to the vet before they are ready to go to a new home, and the screening of the new “parents”.

I know what I am talking about, because four years ago, I bred my amazing Labrador Retriever, Lola, with the most amazing dog ever: Honor. Honor is the K9 version of George Clooney as well as being a champion in retrieving. I was not even sure that I would pass the screening to breed Lola with Honor. And no, it was not just a container of sperm and then nothing. The owner or the mom of Honor was so patient with me, answering questions, concerns. I don’t know how she did not lose patience with me. She was there all the way. She is so much part of the family now, that I always send her updates on the pups. The pups are now over 4 years old, still with me, and I just couldn’t let them go with strangers, but that’s another story. Fortunately, I had only 5. I spent sleepless nights; as a matter of fact I did not have a full night of sleep for over a year. And I had only ONE litter!

Therefore, the guilt trip that a lot of rescue organizations try to send to people is wrong. What if we give people the guilt trip because they want to have their own kids instead of adopting? Then you can send those hundreds of emails telling them that there are orphans all over the world, and that it’s just wrong to make a new baby. What would they say to you? MIND YOUR FREAKING OWN BUSINESS! And they would be right. Not everyone is Angelina Jolie, and she did make a few kids on her own anyway.

Let’s just stop that guilt trip, and consider that everyone has a right to make the decision which is right for them?

I rescued some dogs, I bought some, Lola had some puppies, and what I do is not your darn business!

I will never sponsor any puppy mill or pet store selling puppies. There should be more regulations and that’s what we should be fighting about, but let’s stop associating breeder with the bad guys. Breeders are a great breed in themselves, and instead of sending them to hell, we should thank them for being there, and for caring about a breed, and trying to improve it.

In a few words: mind your own business. I am refusing your guilt trip. It was my right to have children grown in my own uterus, and this is my right to get a puppy from a great breeder and raise him or her (OK, I prefer boys, even though I have more girls than guys these days!)

Do you get me?

 

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The Ball Keeper

72

I am getting worse than my mother! When she watches the news, she listened to the first few words and makes up the rest of the story by herself. In my case, your Honor, I just don’t read the whole titles: for instance, this morning, I was working in the darn yard again which is invaded by those small tiny flies which bug me more than the big ones, hold on though, we haven’t been through the cicada season yet!

Anyway, I went back home to get some anti-bugs spray. Went to my bathroom, grabbed the spray where in big letters I see repellent – I was even amazed at being so good for once to have put that spray where it belonged -. I sprayed my legs, my arms, and was going to go after the neck when I noticed the remaining of the tile “Silicone repellent for leather and suede”. No wonder I thought I smelled like my Ugg boots! For your information, the bug repellent is MIA. So I am sure that if it rains, my skin won’t even get wet but these small flies are attacking me by hundreds.

I might deserve to be attacked by all these flies, because when I bought my lawn mower last year, again, I read one word:  propelled, except that in front of the propelled was “not self”, so I have to push the darn lawn mower on over two acres, and no it’s not flat, ok? I deserve it! I should stop being in a rush all the time!

Zeus Corner, my new venture, is getting born now, little by little, and it took over 11 months of work and several useless webmasters before I found the right one,  to reach that point. The pregnancy of a mare if I am not mistaken! So, yes, now I am a bit scared but excited.  If my 30 years or more experience with dogs, cats, and other critters can help others, then Zeus Corner will have a meaning. So stay tuned for its launching date, most likely it will be in June.

I have six panting mutts next to me. It’s kind of hot, and they played Frisbee or ball according to their preferences, and are now cooling down! Of course, Jackson is still outside, and every now and then, he is barking to let me know that he would not mind a few more Frisbee throws. Dream on buddy! Did I mention anywhere that I love that boy so so much?  In French, there is a saying when something had a real meaning for you; you say it was a “white stone in your life”. I had a few white stones mostly with black labs! Jet, the first lab who entered my life, and to get his ashes when I split up with the douche-bag who was his owner, I had to trade in my kitchen table and the sideboard. Then, came Zeus, the love of my life, and now Jackson is trying to mark his territory, meaning little old me!

Play time is fun. I start with Lola in the front yard, because I trust Lola. She will never ever disobey me. Then, while she is recovering with her front paws in their bowl of water, I get Jack out while sequestering – so DC like! – the others in my office. Jack is a trip by himself. He shakes from his paws to his face when he sees his beloved Frisbee. Unlike others, he waits until the Frisbee is thrown to go after, and then after he retrieves it, he is like the winner in a horse show and does a parade all over the yard, jumping, and keeping his precious Frisbee in his mouth! Ten minutes later, he goes straight to the door to get some well-deserved water. The fight at that point is to get the Frisbee out of his mouth before he buries his whole face in the water plus a few paws.

I got them a new toy today, a big strong ball orange and blue. Immediately, when Jack saw it, it was love at first sight. I threw the ball and there he went galloping all over the yard like a Mustang! The others came out, and noticed the new toy…. It just registered into Jack’s mind like “Over my dead” body, they won’t get it!”, and here is my Jack furiously digging a hole by the house despite of my screams – I thought we already went through the fact that the Potomac Metro Station won’t start in my backyard! – but Jack, oblivious of my screaming,  put his ball at the bottom and started to cover it with leaves.  Yes, I know, I still have leaves in the yard. No good excuse… Wait a minute…. Last Fall, I had a leaves allergy. That’s a good one!

Jack is looking at me like “it’s our secret right? You won’t tell them?”  And he slowly goes away from the hidden ball, nonchalantly lies down in the grass, seemingly enjoying the sunshine on his shiny coat, but I can see it in his eyes: he is protecting his ball, and almost looks like his sister when she is in squirrel or birds mood, and lies down in the grass, waiting for a suicidal critter. Jack found a new goal in life: he is the ball keeper!

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Going to the zoo

Tomorrow I am going to the zoo. I hate zoos. Always did. I always felt that by losing their freedom and their anonymity, these animals become freaks.  But I need to see elephants. They always made me keep my balance, recenter myself. I will go straight to them, and just absorb them. Elephants give me peace, and since I cannot jump into a plane to experience free and wild elephants,  I am going to the zoo. So, I guess, I am wrong, and zoos do have a reason to be. Do you know that in the wild some elephants now are born without tusks? How pathetic is it? To survive, Nature made them born crippled? Greed no more…. Ivory no more…. Tomorrow I will get my “elephants” fix.

March is always a hard month to live by. This year even more…. I always say that pups should come with a big sign “Will bring so much joy in your life, but one day will break up your heart.” I should also wear a sign “Warning: cool to have as a friend as long as you don’t mind painless sudden death.”  My three best friends all died the same way: in their sleep, their heart stopped beating. Age doesn’t matter: 34, 56, 37. Not picky. I have one girlfriend left and not sure yet what I should do with her. Should I dump her to save her? You know what, that’s a good question!

Yesterday, my brother told me that he messed up his life. But that’s because he just doesn’t get it. Life is not only about companionship. Life is like a diamond with so many facets. You can screw up one of two, there are plenty left!  Maybe flaws should be considered as beautiful as perfection.  My diamond is not perfect, so what? Are you going to sue me? Relationships are not perfect. I am done with the Lovey dovey ones. I swear you can stick a fork in me. I am done. The last straw was from Facebook….. An ex-boyfriend who dumped me some twelve years ago because he could not incorporate in my life like if I were some kind of mayonnaise (by the way, I make my own mayo with egg yolk, mustard and olive oil!), suddenly found me on Facebook, and two marriages later wanted to have an extra marital affair with me twelve years later? Suddenly he cannot live without me? Breaking news sweetie: I can live without you!

Jackson is sleeping on my feet as I type this trying to make me forget that I spent $ 46.00 on him yesterday when he got loose in a pet store for 1 minute and managed to steal cookies and swallow them at the speed of the light. He reminded me so much of my late Zeus who could swallow anything in a second if he ever thought that I was going to get it from him.  The only difference Jackson Darling was that Zeus was abused, Zeus was starved before he came into my life, when there was not one day in your life where you skipped a meal you since you were born, so yes, snuggle with my feet as much as you want, Mom is still pissed!

And by the way, the cats are on a diet! Yes, that’s darn right. My ex vet told me that they were not overweight, and just big cats. Maybe so, but when they start screaming bloody hell in the middle of the night because they cannot jump over the gate to go to their room, I thing that yes, Houston we have a problem.  The big food bowl is gone, and now they get ¾ of a cup each daily and they are not happy, like if I care????  I want the best for you Sweeties….. I want you to be able to bug the mutts forever, so losing weight is the goal!

I do have to acknowledge that my Jackson is pretty cute though…. A friend of mine, psychologist, always tried to convince me that the older we get, the tougher we get. So, I guess that I still must be the exception, because there are always exceptions, right? I have no clue how I will manage when the mutts start to drop dead on me when they get older. I cannot imagine Max, my baby, becoming white and old. I just can’t. I also know that this ride is an exceptional one that I will never experience it again, so yes, I am taking the time to enjoy it, and to go through it with as little regrets as possible.  George is still around though, I almost feel like “Donkeyskin”, the fairy tale. It almost seems like I am carrying George with me, and my steps are heavier because of him. He never went away. Is it him? Is it me? I don’t know, but tomorrow I am going to the zoo to see the elephants.

 

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Spring in Muttstown

 

 

 

As I always say – sometimes it makes feel as old as Tom Hanks in the Green Mile, I never understood the blabbering about Spring in DC. THERE IS NO SPRING IN DC! If we are very lucky, we might have a week of it, but most of the time we drastically go from winter to summer. Of course, this year I am right again! But go explain to the mutts – the black ones – that from one day to another, I cannot take them in the truck because it’s too hot. They don’t get it, so they go from every musical note they can imagine. I still wonder how the nearby bridge did not collapse with their howling and screaming!

This weekend, I have a photographer coming to take a picture of the mutts and me for the new website! Can’t say I am really looking forward to it. Never liked to be photographed, but no choice here! Therefore, I am working on the backyard in order for it to look half decent. The blooming trees are going to help a lot, but I added mulch – yuck – and some flowers in my Jack Daniels barrel. And I have breaking news for everyone – like Nancy Grace loves to say –: the deer are not as destructive as the mutts. I repeat, just to be sure that everyone gets it: the mutts are MORE DESTRUCTIVE than the deer. I came back with some flowers, put them on the deck, and went to work on my barrel. I turned back, and most of the flowers had disappeared, and here are the mutts, each of them with flowers in their freaking mouths – running around the yard. Are you kidding me? They did a great job, beheading a lot of my daisies, etc…. I tell you, the death penalty still exists in my yard, not called the French guillotine here though! I even saw a shy doe looking at them with horror! It could have been her breakfast!

Then, this week brought the news that the Emergency Hospital where I was taking the mutts when there was an emergency was closing, ok not closing, I change that again: it’s closing since the staff and the vets are out too, and it has been bought by someone that I despise, so my peace of mind is now gone. I just don’t like changes! That’s why I like Key West or Captiva Island in Florida: it’s too small to ever be able to change much. So mutts read the freaking memo: NO EMERGENCIES AT NIGHT OR ON WEEKENDS OR ON HOLIDAYS! Capisce? Yeah, yeah, they are all sleeping in my office or most of them. Jackson – he has to know that he is one of my favorite – is sleeping on my feet like I needed that with 90 degrees outside? It is weird though with Jackson. More and more, it seems like Zeus infused some of his personality into Jack. Jack used to be so independent. Now, I cannot move my small toe without him checking me out. First, it scared me. I thought “Wow, he is so glued to my skin that maybe he knows I am going to drop dead one of these days”, but for the time being I am here, so I guess he is just clingier. When he comes with me in the truck now, he has to grab my right arm with his paw, and we hanging there like two idiots paw in hand! I did put some limits though: I do not want him on my lap when I am in my recliner watching TV or reading. Yes, George did it on a daily basis, but it was George, and he was a good 10 lbs. lighter than Jack, and yes it makes a difference. But the thing I really love about Jack is when we go for a walk the two of us, no other dog has ever done that, and it’s the cutest thing ever as long as I don’t wear white. We usually walk along the C&O Canal, and maybe every 100 feet or so, he comes back to me like he suddenly remembered that I was at the other hand of the leash and gives me a hug! Then, he goes back to his power walk, then another hug, and another one….. Do you get the picture?  He is also the one who talks all the time, walking or in the truck, he can’t stop talking, not barking talking. And then, he has a great sense of humor. Just earlier, he was trying to get into the garage with me to go for a ride, and I got mad at him for trying, and I told him “Jackson, back. No way” then since the words did not seem to register with him, I got mad and told him “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you understand English when I had spoken everything before in French?  He looked at me like “Seriously? Are you for real?” This is my Jack. Then, when we go to bed, which is more like Noah’s Ark than a real bed, he snuggles with me, and pushes any book or Ipad out of the way if I even had the thought that I wanted to read without first scratching his ears. Kids you read them stories to put them to sleep. Jack? I have to scratch his ears, and soon he will be snoring, and bothering Charlie the cat who sleeps on the pillow next to me and has that look in his eyes like “How vile can they be?” and stretches as much as he can to show that the pillow is his, no mutts allowed on it!

The other ones are not that needy, and everyone will find his or her spot on my bed like parts of a perfect puzzle which will break into pieces by 5 am. I do have to recognize one thing: the mutts are not into slobbering kisses, just snuggling, except Maia, but Maia being my perfect Maia, her kisses are as light as a butterfly.

 

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Just one time!

 

 

 

Last night, Lola woke me up, standing by my bed with her ball in her mouth, panting in my face, and her eyes saying “Come on Mom, I can’t sleep…. Just one time, please…..” It was 2:15 am, and looking at her eyes, I smiled, got up, took my flash light, and the two of us went outside to play ball. The remaining mutts were sound asleep and oblivious of their Mom’s insomnia! Our only spectators were some incredulous deer looking at each other and wondering if we were for real.

Of course, it was not one. I know my Lola…. The “one only” was just to get my sorry butt out of bed but I knew and she knew that it was going to be more than just one! Still fresh in my memory the tribute the mutt’s Grandmother gave to her late dog, Gavel.  When I learned he was sick again with cancer, I thought, I wished that once, just once, if there was any miracle, it should be for Gavel who went through so much with a big grin on his beautiful face.  So Lola and I played ball for Lola, but we played for Gavel as well, who is now pain free over the rainbow. And Lola, being Lola, it was always “one more Mom, one more!”

March sucks! The weather sucks, and the only good thing about March is the Mutts’ birthday. When I say “mutts”, I hope that everyone knows by now that it’s just a gentle nickname for my bunch but that they have the most amazing background and pedigree, and that they are in fact pure and perfect Labrador Retrievers.

 

 

My Mutts turned 4 on March 21st! So, I guess they are now out of puppyhood on the paper! Of course, it was a bitter sweet birthday since one of them was missing, but I could not not have a birthday present for him as well, my George, my beautiful,  beautiful boy with always a big grin on his face. We put his picture on the table, next to the chickens, the toys, and the cream of wheat cake!

 

 

Of course, despite of everything, Jackson managed to get a bite at the cream of wheat before everyone else, and Sophie, being Sophie; she managed to get two toys: hers and George’s. She looked at me with them in her mouth…. Funny she had picked the two squirrels ones, I wonder if there is a message there from Sophie the Hunter!

My blog suffered from neglect in the past few months, and yes I received emails wondering where I had disappeared. I am around, but my fingers were frozen, or should I say my brain was numbed. I am the one who usually gets up in the morning with so many sentences already formed in my brain that my fingers sometimes are not fast enough. These months, every time I wrote, it was so painful, like overdue homework that I must have a dozen or more of unfinished articles. My heart was not in it. For the first time in my life, I could not let go of one of my dogs. I lost many furry companions but George’s death left me raw and numb.

Don’t get me wrong. I am enjoying every minute of the Mutts ‘life yes, even at 2:15 am, but with blurry eyes. I did not get cataract surgery today, just a clear mind, and it’s now time to move on. Zeus’Corner is going to come to life pretty soon, and for all the George, Zeus, Pouch, and Gavel in the world, I want to be there, and help!

Mutts, Mommy is home!

Dominique

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Living with a Diva!

 

Since Zoe’s TPLO surgery, she blossomed into a Diva. She took over my office, since she is not supposed to jump onto anything, and Zoe being Zoe, she has always managed until now to be more in the air than on our good old planet. She perfected the art of jumping in the air, four legs up. Of course, sometimes, the landing is not the one she had expected, but she always looked more like a doe than a dog. Now that the reality hit her, and that she needs to be on the ground with no sofas around, she decided she could be more demanding on everything. She screams at my door, that I will need to repaint since she also perfected the art of scratching the wood with her nails, I come. What does Zoe want? It varies. Yes, sometimes, it’s the obvious and she needs to go out to do her business, but it could be a various range of reasons. What is going to be? Request # 6?  Tummy scratched? Yes indeed if I open the door and find her on her back, her four legs up, request # 6 is the one. Or is it Request # 9 which is “I want play sit and stay with those green beans I like!” Keep in mind that these requests can happen at any time of the day or night! Zoe is demanding! Am I creating a monster right now?

For over the first two years of their life, I lost my sleep, and never managed to get more than two or three hours in a row since the mutts wanted to go out to do their business at any time. My under eyes bags have their names written all over. My vet used to tell me “let them scream!” Yeah, right! So my options were: “stay awake and let them scream”, or “get up, put them out, and go back to sleep”. I chose # 2 anytime of the night because you see, if I let them scream long enough, then the screams/barking becomes howling, and they know it, once they howl I am there in a split second. Are they spoiled? Yes! Do I regret anything? Nope! Not a thing. Just a small token to pay in comparison of what they brought into my life: joy, love, happiness.

Anyway, last evening, Zoe was half asleep when I tried to make her go outside. It was raining, She just stopped at the door, looked at me like “Are you kidding? It’s wet!”, and decided to go right back to her bed in my office. Sure enough, at 2:30 am, Diva Zoe decided she needed to pee, but when you are a Diva you have to be picky where you pee. It has to be the right spot. So here I am with a flash light, being dragged all over the yard by Zoe until she finally managed to find the right spot. Just at that precise minute, all the mutts crossed the yard in front of me going after something, a shadow the size of a big raccoon that did not stop to say hello to me!

When we finally got up this morning, they ate their breakfast as usual, then while counting the supplements they have, fish oil, Cosequin for Zoe, Lola and Maia, and cranberry pills for Maia, I got the cream cheese out, and started the distribution of the caps. Where was Sophie? Sophie knows the pack order, and she was still on the couch playing with a wet toy and growling at anyone coming close. The wet toy was actually a dead squirrel. Screaming bloody hell, I took the squirrel out, and no, it won’t have a ceremony the way we were doing it when my daughters were little and we were giving eulogy to every single dead squirrel killed in front of our house. When I came back, what could I have expected from Jackson? He swallowed all the supplements, and went on his couch with the cream cheese.

I love those mutts to death, but I was so ready to murder someone this morning. I, then, called my vet to ask her if Sophie could have caught any disease, and she started to ask me if the squirrel was still warm? Are you kidding me? I knew she was right but still. It’s early in the morning, I did not even have my cup of tea yet, and you want me to touch that thing? Yes, yes, yes, the darn thing was still warm!

Sophie, I love you. I love our energy, your mischievous attitude, your beautiful intelligent eyes, your happy tails, I love all of you girl, but next time…. Can you just go after your stuffed toys instead the live ones, pleaaaase? I don’t want to have PETA knocking at my door!

Jack…. I have nothing to say to you. I am still offended by your vile actions this morning, and one day, just one day in your life, Jackson, give me a freaking break!

Your Mom, Dominique

 

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Barbara’s smile….

I miss Barbara…..

This morning, it just hit me how much I miss her. I still remember the last time I saw her at her office. I was in the lobby, and I saw her coming towards us, Maia and me, a huge smile on her face.  There are smiles and smiles; this one was in her eyes as well. Last time I saw her alive. She was supposed to come for dinner a few days later. She never made it.

Today, I know she would be the only one to get me. We were not clones, but very similar when it was regarding our pets. I forgot to mention that she was the dermatologist for my mutts first, then later on, she became a friend.

I remember one time; we were talking in her office and crying our hearts out while she was telling me that one of her beloved dogs was put to sleep. Her husband came in and had a look of panic when he saw tears running down our cheeks, and she said: “I was talking about “his” passing.” The look on his face was precious even through my tears like trying to find any possible exit from a place where he did not want to be, like if we were aliens.  He was not much into dogs, he was just married to a dogs person….. I realized that after Barb left us.

It’s just moments I remember with Barb, always linked to our beloved four legged buddies! One time, one of hers escaped and she took her bicycle and went through her neighborhood screaming his name, and concluded that the neighbors must have thought she was crazy, like she cared….. And her husband replied: “Don’t worry, they already knew you are crazy.”

She got me, and I got her, and today she would have understood my sadness mixed with love, and laughter. Three months ago today, on a Tuesday, George was put to sleep, and sometimes like this morning, I swear the darn dog is still around. While I was giving the mutts their vitamins, I realized I took one too many and I could almost see George jumping on the counter to get his. He was always the last one to get it because he knew that he was going to get more cream cheese….. I think about all the walks we did not take, all the bumpers I did not throw…. I also wonder if he did not know in his own way that he was not going to be around that long, and that’s why he was so clingy. He never missed an occasion of sitting on my lap, or greeting me with his big smile. Did he know something I did not?

Today is also Maia’s birthday, and we celebrated it with a long walk along the canal with her girlfriend Lola. It was such a lovely and warm morning that they were allowed to go swimming in the canal. Maia has always been more of a follower regarding water, but still, they had fun, and of course, the last dip that Lola took was in the mud, so I went back to the truck with black and chocolate labs!

So, yes it is a bitter sweet day. Tonight, it will be roasted chicken night for Maia’s birthday as well as like every 4th of every month to remember George and his favorite dish. Most people would shake their heads thinking there is something wrong with me. That’s why I miss Barb today. She is probably the only one who did not need words to make me feel understood.

Barb was also the only one that I trusted 100 % for anything related to animals. Yes, she was a vet, but as a dogs Mom, she had taken before all the decisions that I took or will take, and her opinions were free of the dollar sign. She just did not care. She always wanted to do what was the best for them, not for her or for me, and I followed her path, because it was mine as well.

She had a way with animals that no other vets I met ever had or even were close to. She was treating them as living beings, it did not matter for her that they had four legs and a tail! There was no inferiority or superiority, just differences… I never have heard her doing puppy talk or kitty talk with them.

My last vivid vision of her is in her exam room with Maia. She was talking to me and Maia must have felt neglected because suddenly she lifted her paw to grab Barb’s arm and attention. The smile she had at that minute was one I put in a box, and I will always open the box carefully, in order not to let it escape: it was a moving smile made of love, care, fondness, tenderness with a tiny bit of surprise.

Today, I greedily open Barb’s smile box to warm up my day. It was the only medication that helped me going through the day.

Dominique

 

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