• A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. ~ Josh Billings
  • I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~ Gilda Radner

Farewell Maytag, beloved friend

Sad news. Maytag gave up his ninth life yesterday on the highway behind our house. We missed him when he did not come home, and today when I got home from work our neighbor told me she had seen him beside the highway. I retrieved his body from the roadside and we buried him by the pink azalea bushes under the oak tree. Donna put a marker and a rose on his grave. I put a rock. I don’t really know why; it just seemed the thing to do. We stood there a while, and quietly shed a few tears. It was a tender, sad, emotional moment for us.

Ever since that November night in 2008 when I fished him from the washing machine and dried him out, Maytag and I had a special bond. He was like the son (or maybe grandson) that I never had. He was all boy, constantly getting into predicaments and situations and always bringing a smile to my face.  If he was outside when I came home from work, he would hear my squeaky car and come running from wherever he was in the neighborhood to greet me.

He was a great hunter, and he loved to bring his trophies to our doorstep for us to admire.  Always true to his predator nature, he consumed his catches so they never went to waste.  We had a few mice in the house this winter, and of course Maytag proudly did his duty and caught most of them.

Maytag on patrol

Maytag had a regular route through the neighborhood. He would crisscross our quiet street, visiting each house in turn. All the neighbors knew and liked him. He let little two-year-old Cody across the street pet him, and he would catch moles in Mrs. Brooks garden, to her delight. He would work his way down the street to the creek at the bottom of the hill. And although he did not actually swim, he wasn’t shy about poking around the bank like a raccoon, looking for a frog or a snake to bring home and eat.

The most amazing thing Maytag did was accompany us when we walked the dogs. He would hurry up ahead, until he got just far enough. Then he would plop down in our path, roll over on his back, stretch, and wait. Just before we caught up to him he was up and away again. Whenever we passed by the Burch’s house, Maytag made a show of walking along the split-rail fence as if to say “bet you can’t do this!”

Another talent Maytag had was his ability to sleep in the most ridiculous and seemingly uncomfortable positions. He loved to find a sunny spot in the yard, but he especially loved to sleep on Donna’s heating pad when he was inside.

I was a little surprised at how much Maytag’s death affected me. After all, his siblings all went on before him, and I handled each of their passings pretty well. But Maytag was different. Although he was a just a little cat, he had a big heart and a big spirit. He brought us so much joy and laughter.

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Maytag, buddy, we love you and we will miss you very much.

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A MoMo Breakthrough

MoMo

It’s a miracle!  Tonight MoMo actually came to me and let me scratch behind his ears.  We’ve had him for about six weeks now, and he has been afraid of me the entire time.  Whenever he saw me he would run and hide.   He’s always friendly with Donna and the girls, but with me, forget it.  This was really beginning to hurt my feelings :(.

And then the magic moment came tonight.  MoMo just sauntered over and jumped up on the ottoman right in front of me.  Surprized, I gently reached out and gave him a tickle behind the ears.

Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Oh wow!  I was so excited that he finally overcame his fear and trepidation.  I rubbed his head and scratched his ears for about ten minutes.  Then he had enough, I guess, and hopped down and went about his business.

Oh, and just so you know, MoMo seems to have gotten over his problem with inappropriate urination.

Daisy Duke

Boy that sunshine sure feels good

Daisy in the sunshine

When Savannah was 13 she decided she wanted a Chihuahua.  I think the fact that Britney Spears and Paris Hilton each had one was a major factor influencing Savannah’s desire for the breed.  I tried to convince her she wanted a West Highland White instead, and she considered it for a while, but when I discovered how pricey the Westies were I quickly stopped pushing that idea.  So it was decided that she could have a Chihuahua for her 14th birthday.

She found a breeder in Ruby, SC with a litter of three.  When we paid them a visit to see the pups, Savannah instantly picked Daisy, because “she is pretty and her sisters are ugly”.  Her full name is Daisy Duke, because Jessica Simpson had a dog with that name and Savannah really liked it.  We simply call her Daisy most of the time, but sometimes we call her by her nickname, DayDay.

When we first brought Daisy home we were very concerned how she and Jingles would get along.  Jingles is very aggressive with other dogs (and also to male humans, by the way).  We introduced them carefully, and slowly allowed them to get used to each other, and in time they became great friends.

Daisy is very well socialized for a Chihuahua.  Savannah took her along almost everywhere she went that first year.  She had a “dog purse” and would sneak Daisy into stores, movies, and even restaurants.

Daisy is also very well traveled.  She has been all over the state of South Carolina, from the beach to the mountains, and from the North Carolina border to the Georgia state line.

Here are some of the highlights of Daisy’s life:

  1. She jumped into a swimming pool and discovered she hates to touch water.
  2. She was nearly carried off by a Red-tailed hawk.
  3. She lived in Taylors, SC when Savannah was a junior in high school there.
  4. She developed gum disease and had most of her front teeth removed.
  5. There is no number 5. (Daisy is not as adventurous as Jingles!)

Next up: the story of Milo and Mitzie

Pollen update

The wonderful thunderstorm last night did the trick!  The morning dawned bright and clean, with everything covered in sparkling raindrops.  The thick yellow dust of pollen that has covered everything for the past two weeks was  washed away.

During the storm last night there was a very loud thunderclap that seemed to happen directly over the house. It startled the humans, and really freaked out the cats. The dogs, however, scarcely even noticed. I found that odd, and would have thought their responses would have been exactly the opposite.

Oh well, what do I know?

Pet Microchips Cause Cancer?

x-ray of a microchip implanted in pet

I saw this alarming article today:

Dogs suffer cancer after ID chipping

The article describes some instances where dogs implanted with microchips have developed tumors at or near the implant site.  From the article:

That’s the question owners are asking after highly aggressive tumors developed around the microchip implants of two dogs, killing one and leaving the other terminally ill.  The owners – and pathology and autopsy reports – suggest a link between the chips and formation of fast-growing cancers.
A 5-year-old bullmastiff named Seamus died last month after developing a hemangio-sarcoma – a malignant form of cancer that can kill even humans in three to six months, explains privacy expert, syndicated radio host and best-selling author Dr. Katherine Albrecht.  Albrecht, an outspoken opponent of implantable microchips, has been contacted by pet owners after their animals experienced what they believe to be side effects from the procedure.
According to a pathology report, Seamus’ tumor appeared between his shoulder blades last year, and by September a “large mass” had grown with the potential to spread to his lungs, liver and spleen.  Seamus underwent emergency surgery, and doctors extracted a 4-pound, 3-ounce tumor from the dog.

It goes on to detail the case of a Yorkie that developed cancer between the shoulder blades where a chip was implanted.

While this article takes an alarmist tone,  and the “expert” cited obviously has an anti-microchip agenda,  it still concerns me a bit.   Not for my own dogs, because they do not have chips.  (I suspect that no shelter within 50 miles of our little town has even heard of microchips.)   However, I wonder if others might be unknowingly exposing their dogs to a cancer risk.

I suppose that it comes down to this:  pet owners should have the best information available to enable them to make an informed decision weighing the risks of the microchips against the benefits of possible recovery if the pet is lost.

What do you think about this?  Do any of you have any experience with pet microchips?  The comments section awaits your wisdom.

Oh, and just so you know, my dogs have collars with attached nameplates with contact information.  We may not have microchip scanners around here, but most of the local population can read and use a phone.

Click here for an excellent article about what information to put on a nameplate collar.

She decided to adopt us after all

Bit-Bit is her name; it stuck.  We weren’t sure she would stick around, but in the end she decided to make us her family.  She is still a little skittish, but she will let us handle her and she purrs like a motorboat!  She still will not come into the house voluntarily, but she comes to the back door and stares inside as if she is seriously thinking about crossing over that threshold.  As time goes by we hope she will become as comfortable with us as the others are.
And now, for your viewing pleasure, a closer look at little Bit-Bit.

Bit-Bit

Bit-Bit3

Bit-Bit4

Is she cute, or what???