Monday, February 23, 2009

The Grass is Always Greener...

This is Komiko. She is fascinated by something that is happening on the other side of the door. What could be so enticing?

Ah. It's Louie and Rolf looking back at the door, convinced that all the GOOD stuff is on Komiko's side.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Snow Pics

My poor laundry.

Rolf making his rounds and checking everything out while Louie looks on from the porch. This photo was taken in November before Louie died at the end of December. Rolf has always been a conscientious worker dog, helping feed the chickens and rabbits and generally getting underfoot no matter what you're doing and no matter what the weather. Louie was more of a supervisor during snowy weather. The ice and snow caked up in the long fur between his foot pads pretty quickly. He liked the snow, but only for quick runs and romps.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sad Pet News

Louie and Rolf. Louie is a Briard and Rolf is a German Shepherd

Haven't posted in a couple of weeks. It's been busy and I've got plenty of photos for the blog, but I didn't really feel like blogging.

We had some friends over on Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago. One of them noticed a funky dark wart-looking thing on Louie's gum. We'd noticed his bottom teeth didn't look quite right, but maybe it was just that they were dirty. We were surprised we hadn't noticed the dark warty thing. Over the next two days, it increased in size at an alarming rate and his teeth were shifting in position daily. By Tuesday we called and made an appointment at the vet, and he squeezed us in on Wednesday. The results were not good - even if the tumor was benign, it was agressive and it was in the bone. That's why his teeth were being pushed out of alignment. The vet took a biopsy and sent it off, but said the outlook was grim.

We cried a lot.

The results came back and Louie has canine oral melanoma. It metastasizes readily, though the lab said this particular type doesn't spread as rapidly as most. We thought we'd have to put him down within a couple of days, because the tumor was growing so fast we didn't think he'd be able to eat much longer.

We cried some more.

The vet told us about an experimental treatment whereby they inject a dog with a virus constructed to match the DNA of the tumor. The dog's immune system fights off the tumorous cells just like it would fight off a cold. But you have to get rid of the tumor first for the treatment to be effective.

My husband talked to an outfit in Ohio that does this stuff all the time. They said that to get rid of the tumor, Louie's lower jaw would have to undergo "radical surgery", removing a significant portion of the bone and perhaps the entire lower jaw. Or we could opt for radiation instead, which would kill the tumor but also all the healthy tissue and his teeth on the bottom front would fall out.

The injections would give him a median life expectancy of less than a year. During that year he'd have to make trips to Ohio from time to time for the injections. And he would still eventually die from the cancer. It likes to spread to the lungs and the lymph nodes.

So we talked it over and cried some more. We decided not to treat the tumor. The surgery wasn't an option, because Louie's quality of life would be so poor afterwards. The radiation was a possibility, but we decided that prolonging his life by a few months and then filling those months with anxiety-ridden road trips, treatments, and overnight stays at the animal hospital were just not worth it. Louie wouldn't understand why he was being subjected to the pain and the scary stuff, and in the end he'd not live much longer anyway.

The vet said just enjoy him, and spoil him, and when it's time, we'll know. So that's what we're doing.

The tumor is still growing but Louie is still eating well. He likes his dry kibble with some Campbell's cream of chicken soup poured on top, please. Or perhaps a generous sprinkling of parmesan. Or rabbit broth.

Louie and Rolf playing

This is a game where Louie feigns indifference and Rolf incites him. It's one of their favorites. Louie has some very playful moments, but he's sleeping more than usual. A lot of that may be due to arthritis rather than the cancer. He gets half an aspirin each morning and each evening, stuck into half a hotdog. He LOVES aspirin time. He tap dances all around the kitchen in anticipation of the delightful treat.

So, that's had me down, as you can imagine. There are dogs, and there are great dogs, and there are dogs that are as much a part of the family as a person. Louie is a family member. So this is a tough time.


In other news, Postal the supremely intelligent got herself stuck high in a tree on a steep hillside. We couldn't get to her with a ladder or a tractor. So she stayed up there, and we heard her meowing in the mornings and evenings as we went about our chores, feeding the rabbits and the chickens.

I'd heard that a cat will eventually get itself out of a tree if left to its own devices. It may take three days, but the cat WILL come down.

We heard Postal meowing from that tree for six days, and then no more meows. Six days is a long time to go without water. We feared Darwin had won this round. And then she showed up at mealtime, ravenous. If that cat makes it through the winter it will be a miracle. But for now, she's holding her own.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008


A couple of folks have asked about Postal . Wow, I guess she's about a year old now, if not a year and a couple of weeks. How time flies. She lives outside now, mostly hanging around the equipment shed to sleep and we feed here there. She became an outdoor cat after Meccie's kittens were born. She didn't adjust well, and peed on the beds and pooped under them. That frustrated us. When she peed on my husband while he slept, she became an outside cat.

The mouse population is down, but nowhere near under control. Meccie's kittens should help that. They need to get fixed before they move outside, though.

Postal is REALLY affectionate and sweet. She's super skinny and I worry about her making it through the winter. She has food available to her all the time, but she just doesn't eat much. Sometimes she'll eat a bunch, usually she just picks. She's surprisingly dim, and may have suffered brain damage as a teeny kitten from not having proper nutrition during critical developmental periods. I think she literally forgets to eat. I have to show her where her food dish is fairly often. It's always in the same place, but I think she forgets.


Friday, September 19, 2008

The "Kittens"

The kittens are 4.5 months old now, and just about as big as Meccie, their mama.

Above are Rory and Allie. I mistake Rory for his mom all the time now. Allie is the SOFTest cat EV-vah.

And a sleepy Komiko, the little tortoise child.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cherry Picking

Here's Louie with a haircut, supervising the cherry picking preparation. He's completely shaved except for a mop of hair on his head and a fu manchu beard. Well, technically, a fu manchu is a mustache but I couldn't find out what the beard part is called.

We used to use rickety ladders but now we use the tractor.

We let the kids climb in the loader, then we lift them up and they pick their little hearts out. Rolf is getting in on the action. My husband says we should have named him Visa, because he's EVERYWHERE we want to be.

We have three cherry trees here. This year two were absolutely LOADED and the third had practically nothing on it. Same type, same location. We picked 6 pints our first picking and there will be lots more as they ripen over the next few days... as long as we get to them before the birds and chipmunks!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kittens at Six Weeks

Meccie (MEK-ee) had kittens about six weeks ago. They're fluffy, cute and BUSY! This morning they were all together in a chair in the pantry. They were being extra cute, but a pantry does not make an attractive background so I've tried to edit out some of the noise in these pics.

We think we might call the black one Rorschach, Rory for short. The gray and dark multi-colored ones are both girls, but they haven't revealed their names to us yet. They are playing coy. That's Meccie with her back to me in the lefthand portion of the photo. She's playing coy, too.


Friday, May 09, 2008


Meccie (pronounced MEK-ee) had kittens yesterday! She was VERY agitated yesterday morning. She attacked the dog, stayed underfoot everywhere we went, and was generally acting very weird.

She sat in my lap or my husband's lap until about 2:00 p.m. Around 11:30 or 12:00 you could see she was having contractions. She panted a lot and her ears got really hot.

Her first kitten, the gray one in the bottom left corner, was born about 2:00 p.m. and the black (and orange and white?) one was born about 4:00 p.m. Here she is cleaning up the black (and orange and white?) one. You'll be able to see them better if you click to view a larger image - but even so it's not the greatest photo. Too much black, too much wiggling, too much busy Meccie to see the kittens very well.

By the time we went to bed she'd only had the two, but we could tell there was at least one more kitten in there.

This morning there were three kittens. The last one born looks like it's solid black, just like Meccie.

Here's the black one, less than 24 hours old.


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