Tag Archives: Daisy May

Pushing up Daisy

August 16, 2013, Friday. 7:00 pm.

The vet said Daisy is going downhill fast. That was maybe three weeks ago. She said Daisy might make it until the end of summer and we should understand that we are now in end-of-life care. I didn’t believe her. Daisy and I, we’ve been taking walks in the morning, she’s been all tail-waggy and engaged. She hangs out with us on the patio in the evenings, she jumps on the bed to sleep with us at night, she makes sure we are always all where we’re supposed to be (even the cats). She is happy, not ready to go. I gave her ’til the end of the year.

She’s only bones and fur, now, and the fur is falling out fast. I worried about how we’d keep her comfortable once the cool weather started. We’re clever, though; we’d come up with something to make our bag-of-bones puppy warm enough in the winter.

This week, she’s stopped eating. Not full-out stopped but it’s a battle to get anything down her. I’m resorting to all sorts of tricks. Cat food, peanut butter, cheese…whatever it takes to get a few bites in her. Each day, she eats less. Today, she had a handful of frosted mini-wheats and nothing more.

We took a walk this morning but she didn’t want to go far. Her tail wagged the whole time but she was quick to lead us home where she went up to the bedroom and curled up in her spot. I left for work. When I came back, she didn’t run to greet me. She was on the bed, waiting.

Now she only wants to go outside if she absolutely has to pee, no longer caring to hang out in the yard because the cats and I are out there. She wants to be in her spot by my side of the bed or up on the bed, itself.

She’s all bones. Bones and fur that’s falling out. But she still wags her tail when I say her name.

August 17th, Saturday. 3:00 pm

We just finished burying Daisy May in the backyard. The vet showed up a little after 2:00 pm and Daisy made her last stand – she jumped up, trotted her best trot, and barked. Then she went back to bed and collapsed.

My parents came by this morning to say goodbye. That made her happy; she loved them. They loved her, too. Gabe and I, Toki and Evie, we were all there when the vet put the magic death potion into her paw. We all watched her, petted her, made sure she knew she wasn’t alone and that she was so very loved.

Next spring, we will plant flowers on her. Daisies. She can push them up from below.

Are you having fun, Daisy?


Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds

An unexpected guest

I haven’t been getting much sleep lately for a variety of reasons, some of them unknown even to me. I had a plan, though: Gabe was away, I was going to go home, do my chores, then relax and get to sleep early. That’s how I came to be sitting in bed at 9:30 on a Tuesday night, reading a book and winding down for the day when something flew up the stairs, into my room, past my head, followed closely by two speeding cats. I looked over to see Toki and Evie attentively staring at the window next to me. I followed their Serious gazes to a wild bird that was perched on the sill, watching me, looking worried.

It was like this. I'm reading, thing whizzes by, cats follow.

It was like this. I’m reading, thing whizzes by, cats follow.


Sighing, I crept out of bed, told the cats their game was over, then calmly walked to the laundry basket, dumped out the dirty clothes and tried to trap the bird. It sort of worked but I couldn’t get a seal around both the window frame and the blinds so the bird squirmed out and flew to the shelves.

This is not as easy as I'd hoped.

This is not as easy as I’d hoped.

The cats, their eyes still large and psychotic, leapt to the bed and watched our feathered new friend with malice-aforethought. I quickly got the basket around the bird again and slid it from the shelf to the wall but didn’t have anything big enough to create a sixth side for this make-do cage. I could, however, get the bird to the bathroom door, which I did via more soft sliding.

Scooooootching the bird to the bathroom door.

Scooooootching the bird to the bathroom door.

I opened the door, kicked at the cats to keep them out, then did this amazing magic trick that resulted with me-n-the-bird in the bathroom (it’s like “Clue” only I’m no General Mustard) and the cats stuck in the bedroom.
T&E were yowling and reaching under the door, begging for their toy back, the one they’d undoubtedly brought in sometime during the afternoon and left for dead which actually means it was Evie because Toki would have eaten its brains. I planned to use Door #2 to make our escape but, first, I had to catch the bird.

Now...to just catch the bird again. *sigh*

Now…to just catch the bird again. *sigh*

Situation: I’ve got a outdoor bird flying around the bathroom at 9:45 pm. 

It fluttered around for awhile then landed on top of the linen closet. Of course. Because that’s what birds do. That meant I needed to fetch the stepstool and even that didn’t help because I couldn’t really see up there, but I could point my camera, which I’d also retrieved.

Meet Towhee. Towhee likes to hang out with the birds which are sometimes rubber duckies. Also, Towhee likes to pose for the camera because he’s kind of a ham.

The camera is shiny and the bird was intrigued so started hamming it up. Seriously, bird? You’re beat-up and tail-busted and you’re posing for pictures? This is how you’re going to spend your evening in captivity?

Towhee on rubber duck

Wow. Towhee’s got a good sense of humor. This is actually pretty funny.
And, yes, I know it’s dusty up there. That’s 6+ feet off the ground. I can’t reach up there and I don’t care if it’s clean or not. Don’t judge me or, if you do, come over and clean it for me and then shut up about it.

I shooed it off the linen closet and it fluttered to the ground then ran to the corner between the door and the tub and BAM! There’s Toki’s little paw, groping and hoping. I smacked his hand, put the laundry basket gently over the fugitive and urged it onto the rug, then slowly turned the basket right side up so that the bird had to walk from the rug to the basket side to the basket bottom and the rug became a lid.

Problem solved. Except for Toki who is trying to grab the rug and pull Towhee back out under the door to play with. And eat.

Towhee is not worried…much.

Once the bird was secure, I opened Door #2, ran downstairs to open the back door then ran back upstairs and grabbed the basket and we all – the bird in the basket,  Daisy, and I – walked out into the night. I uncovered the basket and the bird…it did nothing. It wasn’t stunned any more but it also wasn’t leaving. It just sat in my laundry basket, staring at me. I said kind things to it, told it I hope it had learned a valuable lesson, gently encouraged it to try its wings and then finally gave the basket a small shake and yelled, “GO, ALREADY!” The bird hopped, skipped, and flew away from me and out into the night air where it promptly smacked into the side of the shed then slid down into the raspberry canes. I rolled my eyes, hoped the skunk wasn’t around, and watched it hop around the side of the shed, climb a tree and sit there. I bid it farewell, wished it luck, and went back inside.
Poor bird.
Poor me.
Poor cats.
Daisy thought it was all good fun, though.

All's well that ends well. Or so says that dead English dude.

All’s well that ends well. Or so says that dead English dude.


Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds

House of the Dying Dog

Gabe never got to have a pet as a kid because he was abused. Obviously.  As a result, he’s always wanted dogs, lots of big dogs. After we bought our house, we decided it was time to add to our family. We started out small with Toki and Evie but after awhile, he started making noise about getting a dog and his need for a canine companion was made greater when the neighbors got a ridiculously cute and fluffy Great Pyrenees puppy, the runt of the litter. Her name was Cassidy Jasmine. I called her CJ. Gabe tried to steal her and she obliged by regularly digging under the fence and squeezing through the hole to play at our house.

When Cassidy was almost 2-years-old, sad things happened to our neighbors and they had to move away. The worst part was that they couldn’t take Cassidy with so asked if she could live with us since she had grown up next door and it wouldn’t be a big change in her life.  We were pretty sure we could afford her so we accepted. Gabe re-named her Kassidy (because the K is far more impressive than a C) and we had a dog of our own! Kassidy did well with us as long as she was at home or in the car. We found out quickly, though, that she didn’t like to go on walks; she was shy and unsure of other people, other dogs, new situations. We took her to Pet Smart once and found out that she didn’t walk on slippery floors, no tile, no laminate, not even wood. It was carpet or earth for her.

Kassidy enjoying a lovely summer afternoon far away from hard, slippy surfaces.

Kassidy enjoying a lovely summer afternoon far away from hard, slippy surfaces.

One night, she got sprayed between the eyes, point-blank, by a skunk and that is why we found out she was sick. She started pooping blood and vomiting shortly thereafter so we took her to the vet who thought she’d contracted leptospirosis from said skunk. Guess what? It’s highly contagious and can be spread to humans so Kass was quarantined at the vet’s which was awful since she hated being away from home. They ran tests and found it wasn’t leptospirosis; it was Addison’s disease. Her adrenal glands had never been up to par and slowly fell apart each time we took her on a new adventure. We were killing our dog by doing things people do with dogs. Of course, we felt terrible and had many realizations in hindsight. Getting sprayed had simply been the last stressful straw and her kidneys that had been taking the brunt of her adrenal failure, failed, themselves.

This is how we kill dogs.

This is how we kill dogs.

More killing of the dog. At least she had fun while we were inadvertently murdering her.

More killing of the dog. At least she had fun while we were inadvertently murdering her.

She lasted only a few months after that. She had to visit the vet three more times and each time, the vet told us to say our goodbyes but twice, she called us the next day and told us to come get her; she’d survived the night and could go home. The girl had fighting spirit; she just wanted to be with her family. That third time, though, she didn’t come back to us. Toki was devastated, they’d always been close, and Gabe said he couldn’t face having another dog. In my pragmatic way, I felt we weren’t suited for another dog, anyhow. Gabe had lost his job plus he’d been awful at keeping the dog poop picked up. We needed to mature a bit before we would be able to do that again.

This was after the second trip back from the vet. She was so small and weak but she really REALLY wanted to be home so she lived through the night and came back home with us.

This was after the second trip back from the vet. She was so small and weak but she really REALLY wanted to be home so she lived through the night and came back home with us.

Fast forward to last year. One of our big-hearted couple-friends had lost two dogs in a relatively short time span. They still had two dogs left – Daisy and Abby, both rescue dogs who hated each other – but decided to try to fill the hole by getting a puppy. While he’s an adorable little monster and was able to rearrange the remaining pack to his liking, Daisy was miserable. She already hated Abby and now there was this new punk on the block. She grew despondent and spent most of her time sullenly guarding her food bowl.

Because our friends are good, caring people, they realized something had to give. They also remembered that we freaking LOVED Daisy so they told us that if we were interested, they would let us give her the single-dog home she wanted. She was good with cats, she’s on the medium-small side so would fit in the house with no problems and she’s cuter than anything. While we couldn’t really afford a dog, it killed us to think of her suffering, miserable and full of emotional trauma because her food bowl might be attacked at any minute. We said we wanted her and she came to live with us last September.

"Please, sir, may I have more?"

“Please, sir, may I have more?”

Daisy May is a sweetheart and I am awfully glad she became part of our family. She and Evie are best buds, they have their girl time together, but otherwise, she’s sort of shy and is ridiculously submissive. Her first week with us was hard; she jumped at everything and her tail was always between her legs. She eventually became more confident and comfortable and that’s when we decided it was time for her first vet visit. The vet told us her shyness, submissive attitude, and unsure behavior may be a result of having been neglected as a puppy and that it was a lucky thing that our friends had rescued her. While none of us had any real information on her, we’d figured she was about 7-years-old but the vet said she was an older dog, probably 10+ based on her teeth and blood and whatever else the vet was looking at. Then she told us that Daisy was in renal failure and her kidneys were more than 75% shut down. My first response was, “Are you KIDDING me? What are we, dog killers?” It turns out we’re not, we just find the dying dogs somehow.

This probably isn't good for her, all the nature and hiking and stress. We know that...NOW.

This probably isn’t good for her, all the nature and hiking and stress. We know that…NOW.

Daisy’s on specially medicated dog food that smells like dirty, sweaty, old testicles. It’s pretty gross. We have to watch what we feed her; she can’t have too much protein or salt so no fancy food or table scraps. We have to fill her saddlebags with kidney juice every 10 days which means we’ve got a bag o’ liquid medicine that we inject under the skin around her hips or shoulders 3 times a month. She hates it but it’s supposed to help her body do all the things that her kidneys can’t. If we’re lucky and she continues to react well to all this treatment, we could have her for another year and a half which would have been her expected lifespan anyhow. The kidney juice really does help, too; she gets lethargic around day 8 and her appetite fades but for several days after the injection, she’s bright-eyed, happy to go for walks and she eats well. She has many more good days than bad on this regimen and we’re doing as much as we can to make her life fun and full of love. We learned with Kassidy that there’s no use in getting frustrated or sad or pissed off over vet bills. The important thing is that Daisy has the best end of her life as possible.

As long as there are treats, she'll stick around.

As long as there are treats, she’ll stick around.

It’s a hard and horrible thing, being the House of the Dying Dog, but there are so many friends out there who need just that, a place to finish out their days and even though we swear our next dog will be the picture of health, I suspect that won’t be the case. Everyone has a calling and I think we have found ours. It’s a painful job but it’s also a good job.

This post is in memory of Kassidy who died on May 19th, 2010, and is dedicated to Daisy May who makes us laugh with her funny little faces and her bouncy ways. We love you little monsters! And a big shout out to Kathleen who held our hands and sent care packages when Kass was on her way out.


Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds

People like me are why gun control measures exist

It was like this:  I was exhausted, so tired that my eyes ached even when they were shut. All I wanted was sleep. Instead, at 11:30 pm, we were up looking for some sort of wrist brace for Gabe’s hurt hand (I don’t know what he did. He doesn’t, either) In addition, Daisy May has been suffering discomfort brought on by her failing kidneys (I’m assuming) so was drinking more than usual all night long and was restless, displaying anxiety behaviors. I should have been sound asleep and was being kept from it by my husband and my dog and it made me resent them both.

After locating a wrist brace, Gabe took a pain pill and fell asleep. Daisy calmed down and fell asleep. I listened to the nighttime noises and finally drifted into dreamland, myself. All was well with the world. Then Gabe thunderclapped with a snore that probably measured on the Richter scale and I was startled back to wakefulness. It was a little after 2:00 am. The alarm clock would go off in four hours so I panicked. I had to sleep fast only it wasn’t going to happen because Gabe magically produced an invisible bullhorn, put the speaking end to his lips, the horn end to my ear and deafened me with the power of his staccato snore/ts. My agitation woke Daisy and she promptly resumed her pacing and drinking, something I thought about doing, as well. Filled with unplumbed depths of hatred toward my fellow bedroommates, I went downstairs to the couch where the cats were thrilled to show me their new acrobatic routine which I endured for half an hour before I escaped to my little room where there is a little bed and I thought I could have a little rest. Unfortunately, the cats saw where I’d gone and wanted to join me (my little room is their favorite room) so began dismantling the house in order to get the walls to remove themselves from the closed door so that they may also enter the little room to commence playtime. After awhile, I just went back to my own bed.

Sometimes, in the wee 3 o’clockish hours of the morning, frustrated spouses lie next to their loudly-snoring husbands, listening to the dog anxiously licking her paws, and knowing that the cats are about to renew their assault on the door in the hope of breaking it down, and they, the spouses, think about getting up, putting on a robe, and driving to Wal-Mart in order to purchase a firearm so they can violently murder their horribly loud and disrespectful families (stabbing takes too long and has a lower success rate)

Thank you, legislation, for keeping my family safe from my heinous intent, for understanding that sometimes insanity hits hard at terrible moments and unsolutions become only solutions. Although I hate my family today for depriving me of an entire night’s worth of sleep again, I realize, now, that killing them would not have been the answer. Obviously, the logical conclusion to this problem is to fake my death, run away to another country, and live someplace where I am allowed to shut my eyes at bedtime and not open them again until morning has broken. Also, duct tape may become my new best friend, as will the cellar. Is it illegal to tape a man to a dog who is taped up with two cats and throw them under the house for eight hours in order to get a decent night’s rest? Because it shouldn’t be.


Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds

I just realized how difficult retirement will be

I live with the belief that I will retire in the next 20 years; it is a great hope of mine. I’ve heard that a lot of people retire and then just die because they have no purpose left in life. That is not going to happen to me. Gabe and I have a whole list of things we want to do when I no longer have to work. It’s a long list and after the past week, I worry we will never get to it.

I took the first week of the New Year off  (highly recommended, by the way) and had hoped to take down Indoor Christmas on the 1st. Usually, I like to leave it all up for awhile but the house has been non-stop decorated for one holiday after another since October 1st and I was 100% ready to have it all back to normal. After Christmas was packed away, we were going to clean like crazy. I figured that would take me to the 3rd and then I could tackle my list things I wanted to accomplish after the house was clean and put to rights:


It’s not a long list. There are no difficult items. I had a week to do this. Why didn’t I get it all done?

Well, guess what?
The Goodwill stuff only got packed up because I did laundry and had to put it away and needed space. I did manage to finish And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading In the Fast Lane For My Own Dirt Road  by Margaret Roach  and felt good about that, but everything else? Didn’t even touch it. And you know why? Because as we cleaned, all these other things that needed doing kept popping up.

I emptied the china cabinet, dusted and oiled it, cleaned the contents, then put it all back and found that I am missing 3 little garden party cups.


The cups in the foreground? There should be 12. I can only find 9. My heart hurts over this.

I know the set was whole when I moved in, but I don’t know if I put all the pieces in the cabinet, or not. That necessitated a trip to the Underhouse (like an undercroft only different because we don’t live in a medieval dwelling) to see if there was still a box of fancy dishes down there. I didn’t find one. Since the shed is a disaster zone, I couldn’t look out there but I don’t put things like that in the shed. After an hour of searching, I had to give up and just cry. This particular set is important to me and I hate knowing I’ve lost some of it.

Gabe got us a new bird feeder to replace the one that met with a horrible demise in a recent bear attack. It was taking up space on the living room floor so I had to fill and hang it and, in the process, was mugged for my birdseed by the local gang. Little bastards.


That deer that’s looking at the seed on the ground? It just came right up. I marched off to get the dog who then barked these bullies straight out of the yard. Good job, Daisy May!

The amaryllis my mom gave me – it came as a bulb in a box – four years ago finally bloomed for the first time so I had to take a LOT of pictures of it. Every day. And I had to tell it how happy I was that it was finally able to show off and that it was stunning. That sort of cut into my cleaning and sorting time.


It’s so pretty! I want to stare at it for hours like I’m some sort of creep. I don’t think it would mind, though. That’s why I have a lot of plants. They don’t care if I’m creepy. At least, I don’t think they do.

We celebrated Toki&Evie’s 5th birthday on January 3rd. We sang to them and gave them birthday food (Fancy Feast, something they NEVER get any other time of year) and presents (new treats and new stuffed mice) It was a good birthday for them but I can’t believe they’re five. That has nothing to do with cleaning, really, but it deserves mention because Evie told me to put it in here.


Five years old! He’s so big!


Also five…and apparently none too thrilled about it. Well, she sure changed her tune when we popped that Fancy Feast lid.

And once we were finally finished after FOUR DAYS!!! (seriously? how dirty are we?), we sat down and discussed the problems and gaps we’d found and what do to about them. This lead to a discussion of things that need to change. Here are some of the things we’ll be doing differently:
-The little tabletop water fountain I’ve got in the dining area will be used more often; I’ve had it running since I put it back out and it’s been a pleasant background noise. Also, I like to think the water that is surely evaporating from it is good for all the plants nearby. Win/win.
-We will plan meals. We ate well and on-time the entire week despite being horrendously busy getting dust and cobwebs in our nose holes. It wasn’t hard – the eating responsibly thing, not the dust in the nose-holes thing (though that wasn’t hard, either). If we can do it while on a mission to restore tidiness to our home, we can do it in a normal week.
-We are taking back the kitchen table! It’s not a parking lot, it’s a place to eat. No more gnawing food mindlessly on the couch in front of the TV and no more messy table top. We both want to lose weight and I have a feeling this will help (it’s far too easy to sit on the couch and just continue shoving food in our faces while we watch an entire season of some TV show or another on DVD)
-We are going to clean up after ourselves immediately. We’ll just clean as we go, all day every day, and then I won’t have to clean the house on weekends and we can do fun things, instead!

These sound like resolutions, but they’re not. They are the things we need to do because we are grown-ups managing our own household, because we care about our health and well-being and about our marriage. So…we’re just going to do them, new year or not.

Come Saturday, I was exhausted. So was Gabe. We sat around all day and read. It was glorious but I felt a twinge of guilt because I hadn’t done anything else on my list and I knew I wouldn’t because Sunday was devoted to meal planning, grocery shopping, and getting ready for Monday.
That’s when I realized how hard retirement will be and I wondered if we would ever get to our Things To Do When We Retire list. Maybe that’s the real reason people just up and die after retiring; it’s disheartening to know that you thought you were done working only to find you are just beginning. I think I’d rather some eternal rest, too, than a retirement full of finishing unfinished crap.


Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, My Phenomenal Fake Life