Monday, April 30, 2012


Well, we've been at it for several weekends now without any luck.  Pat did not turn up Saturday night and I really didn't hold out much hope for a Sunday night sighting either. My hunch was partially incorrect.

Sunday morning our back yard was filled with bright, dappled sunlight now that the trees in the surrounding yards are in bloom.  The weather was a bit warmer that earlier in the week providing a nice opportunity for Annie to spend time outside.  Annie is a dedicated sunbather so 'Mom' makes sure to put her out early enough for her to enjoy the sunshine without getting sunburned.  She gets freckled during summer with the freckles fading over the winter.

I spread a mat on the porch for Annie to recline and recline she did, soaking up the sun, enjoying the fresh air and surveying the adjoining yards.  Of course, she started her usual routine of going out and coming in which reminded me it's time to dig out my tee shirt with the words:
Agenda for the day
Let dog in
Let dog out
Let dog in
Let dog out
Let dog in
Well, you get the idea and true to form, Annie did just that - cry to come in then after a short time, stand at the back door waiting to be let out.  I never let her in when she cries instead asking her "What do you want?"  Her answer is a bark and then I'll let her in.  You would think after 9 years of this she would just cut to the bark and forget about crying but not Annie.  We go through the same routine every summer and every other season of the year to a lesser degree.

No cats!  Where is everybody?

I'll just chill.

Love that warm sunshine on my face!

Sunday evening while there was still light, Artie put some cut-up strawberries out for Pat. Earlier in the day,   while cleaning strawberries, I remembered Mar-gray's comment about possums liking fruit and the video of a possum eating a strawberry.  I put some aside to use as an enticement.  The security light came on twice but we didn't see anyone in the yard.  It was a little after ten when Annie decided to make her final excursion for the night. Artie went out back with her and discovered the bowl undisturbed but empty!  Pat must have come by.  What am I feeling?  Definitely relief that Pat is OK and a renewed sense of hope that we will get that video footage we both so desperately want.

The stranger didn't come through the yard at all Sunday. No Norwegian Forest Cat; no possum sighting.  Maybe the cat does belong to someone after all.  Maybe the possum is just playin' possum.  We just have to wait and see.  Hopefully next weekend will yield a sighting of both.

A call from the Vet's office pronounced Annie free of any parasites eliminating them as a cause of her stomach issue.  The start of a new week, may it be a quiet one and one that yields answers to all our questions.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


With Annie's medical emergency this week, I have to admit there hasn't been time to keep looking for the possum.  We did some checking Thursday and Friday nights but no luck.

Late Saturday morning, I happened to gaze out the back window at the yard wondering whether or not Pat would come through after sundown.  Annie was on the porch and she started to bark at a cat going through the garden.  The cat wasn't one of our usual group of strays but a grey longhair bushy-tailed stranger.  I was shocked - for a split-second I thought it was Buddy.

Artie mentioned seeing this cat a few weeks back.  I never saw him (or her) before but apparently Artie keeps seeing him in the back, on our block and on the cross-street.  After I corralled Annie, shoving her back inside to stop the racket, the 'stranger' turned and sat at the far end of the garden under the mulberry tree Pat is so fond of climbing.  We looked at each other for a long moment.  I decided to put out a pack of Buddy's food, hurrying in to get one.  When I looked out again, he was gone.

Our new visitor looks like a Norwegian Forest Cat.  I'm sure he's not a feral; I fear someone abandoned him.

From now on I will be on the lookout for Pat at night and the stranger during the day.

You can see the close resemblance between the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon breeds in this You Tube video:

The last cat pictured in this video resembles Buddy.  Such beautiful photos!

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Saturday morning and Annie is sleeping in.  She is much improved, to  my great relief.  We are still preparing bland meals for her and administering medication but she is definitely over the worst of this episode.

I guess it's official.  Uggie, the dog in "The Artist" must be retired because his memoir is due to hit the bookstores  this October.  Yesterday, Simon & Schuster announced the memoir will be published by their imprint Gallery Books.

You remember Uggie and "The Artist", he's an adorable Jack Russell Terrier and the film was nominated for and won Best Film at the 2011 Academy Awards.  Quite a feat for a black and white silent movie.

All I can say is "I can't wait for the book!"  Uggie had a short but memorable career and he worked with some heavy hitters so I wonder what he'll have to say about James Cromwell and Robert Pattinson.

While researching this article, I came across a news piece and video from The Guardian, a British paper. Uggie is interviewed and he expresses his desire to do Shakespeare!  Al Pacino or Kevin Spacey, if either of you are reading this, contact Uggie - he does a mean Richard III!

Friday, April 27, 2012


I didn't post yesterday because there just wasn't any time to fit it in.  As I posted Wednesday, Annie was on the mend, feeling better, acting better, doing better.  Or so I thought. 

Yesterday morning's breakfast was refused and Annie's stomach was making squishing, gurgling noises.  She seemed OK except for the not eating bit.  Artie was home from work so we had plenty of chores planned and we were off to a good start.  It was early afternoon when I sat down to check my emails, do a bit of research online and start my post which never happened.  Artie let Annie out to spend some time in the yard.  She relieved herself and passed quite a bit of blood and mucous and tree leaves?!  Even though she seemed completely fine this wasn't good so we rushed her to the doctor.

At the office, we went through the usual routines of crying at the cats on display for adoption, crying and barking at other dogs, crying for everyone to pet her - in short, she was her usual handful.  Since this was an emergency, we had to take an appointment with whomever was available.  The doctor who did the exam was very nice and she had a vet-in-training observing/assisting her.  Immediately we recognized the vet-in-training and she us.  It was Lauren, who had been a Vet Tech at Hope Vet.  "You guys also have a cat." Lauren said to which we sadly told her "Not anymore, Buddy died a few weeks ago."

Lauren said she was sorry.  She remembered taking care of Buddy when he lost his tail to cancer, filling his prescriptions for his renal failure and that he was a great cat.   Then she said something that made us feel terrific.  She said everyone was amazed that we detected Buddy's cancer when it was so small.  At that moment I felt Artie and I truly did take amazing care of Buddy, giving him much more time than he would have had on his own or with his original family.  But would we do the same for Annie?

Annie was playful but more subdued than during visits past.  She also laid on her side for part of the exam which was totally out of character for her.  No definitive diagnosis.  She was given a rectal exam and a sample taken to check for parasites.  A medicine was prescribed for bacteria, etc.  She was given fluids subQ because she was slightly dehydrated and a bland diet was recommended.

Artie boiled white rice and sweet potatoes then gave Annie a quarter cup of each along with a quarter cup of low fat cottage cheese.  Annie's pill was administered inside a small piece of cheddar cheese to mask the smell and flavor.  We spent the evening monitoring her.

Today she was beyond her old self.  Truly happy and very lovable, Annie has asked more than once to play, going into that place dogs generally go where the play partner turns into an observer as the dog runs and blows off steam.  She had her mini-breakfast and pill on time.  Of course, I keep checking on her from time to time.  We spent time in our back yard together and now I will prepare her another small, bland meal.

I am really trying to keep a lid on my emotions, having Annie sick on the heels of losing Buddy has left my emotions raw.  All I want is a bit of a breather from pet illness - just enough time to heal from my loss and recharge my batteries.  I don't think that's too much to ask.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


It's amazing but Annie is like a different dog today.  She seems never to have had an upset stomach at all.  I'm totally relieved.

We treated her condition with a 24 hour fast and small amounts of water.  After 24 hours had passed, I gave her a small meal of pureed food (about half the size of a regular meal) consisting of boiled chicken, barley and steamed carrots.  She ate that and was satisfied.

Annie was eagerly anticipating her breakfast this morning which was more of the same from the evening before but a regular sized meal this time around.  She ate breakfast without a problem.  Artie gave her a treat this afternoon which she happily devoured then made herself comfortable on my recliner.  As I write, she is still there blissfully enjoying her new status as sole furry occupant of that particular piece of furniture.

Thankfully, this current episode of illness had a quick resolution.  Annie is her wonderful self again and I can go back to enjoying her, watching for the possum and trying to figure out what to do about the stray cats.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Annie gobbled her dinner last night and afterwards had diarrhea.  She had a restless night (and I had a sleepless one) but she seems on the mend today.  I dread springtime because Annie has a nasty habit of eating bits of leaves or whatever else falls from trees. We are generally very good about catching her in time but she's fast and you can't always prevent her from ingesting something that shouldn't be part of her diet.

How do you handle canine stomach issues?  If the dog is uncomfortable, in pain, the diarrhea contains mucous and/or blood, go to the doctor.  You must be aware of torsion bloat - a severe and life-threatening medical condition.  The pet's stomach enlarges with liquid and gas which can cause dehydration and shock.  In such cases, the stomach can twist and surgery is performed to untwist it.  To prevent a recurrence, the stomach is anchored to the abdominal wall.

In such cases of stomach distress, a foreign object can be the culprit.  We once had a dog who swallowed a sock.  He didn't exhibit any symptoms of discomfort but we realized what had happened and took him to emergency right away.  Such objects can sometimes be retrieved by a Veterinarian before moving into the intestines; if not, surgery is needed. 

Other medical conditions that cause stomach distress?  Gastritis - acute and chronic. Fasting for 24 hours after diarrhea (or vomiting) is recommended; then offer small amounts of bland foods such as cooked, lean chicken and boiled white rice.  Never withhold water but make sure there are small amounts of fresh, clean water available at all times.  Drinking excessively can aggravate an already irritated stomach.  There are homeopathic remedies to administer; you will find them in Dr. Pitcairn's book.

I just checked on Annie.  She is much better and sleeping soundly.  You can be sure I will be keeping a close eye on her for the remainder of the day.  Now I have to go boil some chicken then I'll be ready at the 24 hour mark to start offering small meals.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Our block has always had a stray problem.  Over the years, there have been a proportion of our neighbors who let their house cats out to roam during the day and some that lock them out all night.  Not at all a good idea.  Add to that the fact that most of the felines concerned weren't spayed or neutered and you get the picture.  Round it out with one more fact - the irresponsible cat owners who moved away and left their felines or, as in Buddy's case, decided to throw them out for whatever reason.

Just to digress, Buddy was tossed out (literally) by one of our neighbors and in almost 11 years of co-habitation, I could never figure out why.  Buddy never bit or scratched any of us.  If Annie annoyed him, he would smack her muzzle with his paw - claws in!  If you accidently hurt him in any way he would complain by meowing at you.  He never scratched the furniture, just his scratching post or sometimes the rug.  If you told him to stop pulling on the rug he listened.  He spit/hissed only twice in all that time. Once at me, the first time I picked him up and I deserved it because I wasn't handling him correctly.  And once, during his illness, after the Vet Tech gave him an enema.  The Tech handed him back to me and he voiced his disgust with the entire proceedings with that particular verbal outcry.

For many years, I've wanted to take control of the stray/feral cat situation but did not have the time especially after Buddy's diagnosis and the progression of his illness.  With spring and longer daylight here, I'm contemplating how best to go about this.  We're tired of finding the occasional dead kitten in the yard knowing those kittens need not be born to live a short time in such terrible conditions.

I'm researching traps and as time permits, I need to decide if I will trap, neuter/spay and release to control this problem or try to get the cats accepted by a rescue group.  Not knowing much about any of this means I'm in for quite a bit of research.  If anyone reading this particular post has any information I would find helpful, please leave a comment.  Any suggestions are most welcome.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


OK. I really hate having to post this but no Pat Friday night.  The backyard light came on but once, I rushed to the back window just in time to see the back end of a cat exiting my porch.  I checked the yard from time to time since we receive some light from our next door neighbor's kitchen which gives our yard enough visibility to see movement.  Pat did not show up in this dimly lit darkness.  I gave up.

Has he changed his schedule?  Did he decide to change his route?  Worse yet, did we frighten him off with our attention or was he injured or killed?  Who ever thought I'd be anxious to see an Opossum.  I wish Pat  the possum would turn up just so I know he's OK.

Saturday night was more of the same except no one showed up at all.  Not Pat; not the cats.  My guess is the rain kept everyone undercover.  It's now Sunday afternoon, dreary and rainy which the meteorologists have predicted for overnight.  As far as Pat showing up in this weather, I believe Sunday night will be more of the same.

It's been a few weeks since we lost Buddy and I see definite changes in Annie.  She is calmer, happier, less tense.  I guess Buddy's condition took its toll on all of us in varying ways.  Annie is more responsive to our attention and she wags her tail more.  We have more time to give her now that we're not handling an array of medicines (injectable and otherwise), IV bags and special meals; trying to keep it all on a daily schedule.  It's great to see her enjoying her interaction with us; no more slinking off to hide in another room.  No more coaxing to get her to eat a meal; no more turning her nose up at treats.  And best of all - her paw is almost completely healed.

Since we've had a few unseasonably warm days, I gave her a bath.  It takes a bit of coaxing to get her into the tub but ultimately she enjoys it.  Annie was so happy afterwards that she ran deliriously around the house first with her towel then several of her toys until she totally exhausted herself.  Such exuberance has not been exhibited by her in a very long time.  I'm relieved to see my sweet little girl returning to her adorable self.  

Friday, April 20, 2012


Well, Thursday night is the 'unofficial' start of the weekend (more or less) and this Thursday night wasn't successful in terms of catching a glimpse of Pat Possumwaithe.

If Pat trekked through our yard, we weren't aware of it.  I had theatre tickets with friends so the task of keeping a lookout for Pat fell to my brother Artie.  Our little group enjoyed the play (The Columnist), dinner and each others' company.  When I arrived home, Artie mentioned there had been some stray cats through the yard over the course of the evening but not Pat.  

I kept watch for awhile but didn't have any more success than Artie.  We will keep watch again tonight.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I'm sure anyone who checked out my blog discovered the virtual fish swimming in their virtual pond.  And I'm sure everyone who saw them knew it was my tribute to Buddy.

My Zen Cat was one of many nicknames we had for him.  A great sense of calm or hip cool always emanated from him.  He was laid back, totally unaffected by the crazy world around him.  A calming meow would bring me back to my senses and remind me to slow down and put life back into perspective.

At the Doctor's office, Buddy would just lie on the examining table watching Annie's excited reaction to everyone with an aloof stare.  Buddy always remained in his resting position quietly submitting to whatever the examination brought.  If some procedure was not to his liking a solitary meow was his way of letting you know he was displeased.

At home, Buddy frequently positioned himself on a chair or off to the side to watch Annie run around with one of her toys or get chased.  The result was Buddy frequently looked like a slightly disinterested spectator at a tennis match - his head going from one side to the other, his face remaining expressionless.  Of course, this was the same tactic he used whenever we couldn't find him.  One thing I knew for sure, he was somewhere out of sight, enjoying the mad dash and frantic calls until the game was over because he was sighted.

He had the capacity to lie quietly on your chest or next to you all the while staring at your face until he fell asleep.  Many a morning I awoke to Buddy, his head pillowed on my arm, looking at me, quietly waiting for me to begin my day.  

The most indelible image of my Zen cat?  When he first came to live with us, I had a small fish tank near my mother's favorite chair.  There were many articles on the calming effect of fish and I thought my Mom would enjoy the variety of a tank.  As it turned out, the fish tank became a family favorite.  We all loved watching the fish and feeling the calming effects of their aquatic world but none more so that Buddy.

He would sit next to the tank but it wasn't the same as with other cats.  Buddy loved watching the fish but he never attempted to catch any.  No lunging or hunting mode for Buddy.  Just sitting quietly, enjoying the fish, and after awhile, going about whatever it is cats do.

So, enjoy the fish.  Move the mouse pointer around - they will follow you.  Click on the mouse to feed them.   And enjoy them; Buddy did.  My Zen Cat, I miss him.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Annie finished her round of antibiotics today.  The 'lick granuloma' on her back paw is healing up nicely.  She isn't licking and chewing it as much as before Buddy died.  Could this be an indication of stress as the main factor for her developing this 'hot' area?  It is my deepest wish that this is so.

We will wait 2 more weeks then go for a follow up visit at Hope Vet.  I'm sure she will be completely healed by then.  In the meantime, I need to collect my thoughts on her upcoming dental surgery and formulate questions.  

Artie and I have to face the fact that at age 9 and of a medium-size breed, Annie is 56 years old and 'middle aged' (if you follow the chart on WebMD).  If she were human, her age would entitle her to membership in AARP.  She is on the cusp of old age.  I fervently hope her health will hold out, that the changes I made to her diet will give her more time and better quality-of-life to that time.  

And only time will tell.  

Monday, April 16, 2012


As I mentioned in a previous blog, Pat was a no show Saturday.  The vegetables were still untouched by Sunday morning.  My next plan is to add the vegetables to the compost bin and try some kind of overripe fruit next - or possibly advocados for Pat's next trek which should be this coming weekend.

A bit more research gave me some additional insight into Opossum behavior.  They are solitary and even talking to one would be stressful instead of soothing for the opossum which is what Artie has been doing all along, talking to Pat as he snaps his photos.  Also, I discovered why my yard is so attractive - the pile of dried leaves occupies a corner.  Pat feels protected and is using this area for a toilet.  How wonderful to know I probably have a collection of possum poop in my backyard!

General consensus?  The Weekend Possum Watch was a total failure; Pat did not show up Sunday evening either.  He probably had enough of Annie barking at him, the camera flashing in his face and backyard lights going on and off.  We will have to be more furtive in our attempts to get video when Pat comes back; if he comes back.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I just came across an interesting article concerning dogs on the Titanic.  Most of us don't think about this but it would stand to reason since many rich and famous people were on Titanic's doomed maiden voyage there would be a number of family pets along as well. 

Following the theme of the human/dog bond and dogs as family members, Widener College, Chester, Pennsylvania, has included canine survivors and victims of Titanic's sinking as part of their exhibit honoring Titanic's passengers from Philadelphia families.

The link below will give you more information about the dogs:

Wikipedia is a good place to read about Titanic:

Some canine passengers on Titanic's maiden voyage.
RMS Titanic (courtesy Wikipedia)


Pat Possumwaithe was a no show Saturday night.  I started watching from our back door and windows around 7PM hoping he would show up while there was still some daylight.  All the yards were quiet; the vegetables untouched.

I kept checking during the evening but for an occasional tripping of the security light by the cats, I never saw Pat.

This poses one of two possibilities:
  1. Pat didn't make the rounds of our yards Saturday night.
  2. Pat didn't trip my security light thus managing to go about his usual business in relative obscurity.

It's Sunday, April 14th, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.  I'm listening to the memorial broadcast on QXR, the classical station as I blog.  Titanic has been a fascination of  mine long before Jim Cameron and his blockbuster movie.  Why am I fascinated by Titanic?  It's part of New York City history.  Titanic was scheduled to dock here.  Three days after the disaster, its survivors did.  It's part of Brooklyn history with survivors interred and memorials to those who perished at Green-Wood Cemetery.

So, I'll listen to the broadcast and go about my day then tonight, I'll take up my possum watch with high hopes of better Sunday night results than Saturday.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Pat showed up Friday night.  I think the treks through all our backyards are probably on a nightly basis.  Artie and I were busy doing what everyone does during a typical evening, dealing with supper dishes and putting the kitchen in order, preparing for Saturday, when Annie quietly entered the kitchen.  This is her usual routine and it signals her last nightly outing needs.

The security light wasn't on so we figured the yard was empty and Artie let Annie on the back porch.  No sooner was she out and the barking started.  Artie saw Pat in the garden. Pat wasn't waiting around to figure out what was happening; he was off  in a flash, waddling for the mulberry tree.  Up an into the Y shaped branches he went.

We put out some cat food - the strays all showed up and demolished the offering.  Next, we decided to try some vegetables; no one touched that, including Pat.  As of this morning, the vegetables were still out there hanging out in their container looking forlorn and definitely untouched.

If the vegetables don't entice, I'll try fruit next.  We're determined to get some video footage of this possum and figure out his schedule as well.  It appears the visits are nightly somewhere between 7:30 and 10:30PM.  We now know he doesn't always trip the security light.  We'll see what happens later this evening.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Well, it's Friday the 13th and all's good in my world.  In fact, I've always considered Friday 13th a decent day for me; no better or worse than any other.  So obviously I'm not a Triskaidekaphobic (that's someone with a number 13 phobia) but even I'm wondering about the black cat that showed up among the strays congregating for a free meal Thursday evening.  We had a large number of strays (I say strays but know they are mostly ferals born in neighboring yards) that recently whittled down to two or three.

When Artie put out Buddy's cat food yesterday, two grey-striped tabbies, one brown-grey striped tabby, one grey tuxedo and a totally black cat showed up to chow down.  A bit of a surprise to me because the tabbies and tuxedo were all born in surrounding yards but not this black cat.  We sometimes saw a black tuxedo with a splash of white on the lower forehead and between the eyes.  He looked like someone flicked a paintbrush with white paint at him and got him smack in the middle of his face.  We haven't seen him in a while.

I wonder where the black cat came from?  Does he belong to someone who's letting him out?  I never advocate letting a family cat out for any reason.  Buddy had a collapsible mesh cage I put him in when he wanted to hang out on the back porch and get a bit of sunlight and fresh air. Of course, I'd check on him every 15 minutes plus he never stayed out without Annie.  She kept the transients from visiting him.

My mind is made up.  As of this evening I will be on the lookout for Pat Possumwaithe. My curiosity has been peaked by his regular appearances and I'm determined to figure out his routine and, if possible, where he comes from and ultimately where he's living. Mar-gray included the following YouTube video with her comment.  Apparently possums like fruit and the possum in the video is getting his fruit fix.

Now that Buddy's gone and our entire little family is intrigued with the possum, we have a quite unexpected successor with 4 paws and 1 tail to round out our 8 paws and 2 tails.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Pat was back tonight.  I happened to glance out the back door around 7:30 to check on Annie when I saw Pat Possumwaithe climbing the chain link fence separating my next-door neighbor's yard from the connecting yard.  Artie went out to take some more photos but Pat perched on the fence and after getting a good look at Artie promptly turned his/her derriere in our direction.  And there the possum remained.

Artie put out some leftover cat food hoping to entice him into our yard but the strays showed up and demolished the meal.  A second pack of cat food was served up but the cats polished that off as well.  I prepared a large plate of cat food, water and tuna which Artie put out.  The last we saw, Pat was still on the fence but turned in our general direction and the cats were working on the additional food.

By this time it was dark.  Every time the security light came on I ran to the window to check but no possum just one of the cats.  Needless to say we were disappointed.  We hoped to get some video footage of Pat to post to the blog.

I'm sure Pat is coming around every evening but I need to be on the alert to prove myself correct.  So far he's been a weekly visitor showing up on a regular basis - 2 Fridays, 2 Saturdays and 1 Thursday.  I wonder if he'll show up tomorrow night.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


The weather was a bit dreary today when my brother and I set out to run errands.  This wasn't a day I was looking forward to since one of our errands was picking up Buddy's ashes.

We took care of a few items on our list then stopped for a meal.  Finally it was time to go to Hope Vet.  Everyone was as nice as always but a bit subdued knowing why we were there. Buddy's ashes were given to us in a small heavy paper tote bag with the name of the crematory and a black ribbon marked 'Beloved Pet'.  Inside was a white cardboard box labeled with the crematory's name and information.  There was also a plastic bag containing another item but I'll get to that later.

Next, we needed to finish Annie's errands.  I needed to get some items to make her Healthy Powder so our first stop was The Herb Shoppe located right next to Hope Vet for Kelp powder.  Lauren was behind the counter as usual with a smile and always helpful.  I needed 8 ounces of kelp but there was only a small quantity available which Lauren packed up and gave to me with a promise more would be in by Friday for us to purchase.

Our final stop for Annie's needs was The Vitamin Shoppe.  We were in luck, the store was running a 'Mix and Match' sale.  I needed Lecithin (which was on sale) and Nutritional Yeast (which was not).  We purchased 2 containers of Lecithin - one at full price and the second at 50% off and the largest container of Nutritional Yeast in the store.  It was time to head home.

The feeling was somber indeed when it came time to unpack the paper tote containing Buddy's ashes.  I removed an envelope containing Buddy's Cremation Certificate and the cardboard container from the tote.  When opened, the container revealed gold tissue paper.  I lifted the tissue paper out and began to unwrap it.  Inside was a small metal container of moss green with a pretty floral decoration.  Buddy's remains.

We had gathered our little family together before we started.  Artie and I just looked at each other then he showed the metal container to Annie.  We told her Buddy was gone now.  She smelled the container and her ears went down.  We know she finally understood.

We placed Buddy's ashes on a side table in the living room.  A few hours later, Artie spied Annie standing on the couch, leaning over the table to smell the container.

The other item in the tote?  It was a clay disc containing Buddy's paw print.  The wonderful medical family at Hope Vet made that print for us and it means so much to us.  After Buddy died, Artie was upset that he hadn't thought to make a paw print before Buddy became very ill.  Now he wouldn't have the chance to do so.  Both of us were very touched by the sensitivity and thoughtfulness conveyed by this gesture.  Our pets are the world to us and while including them as members of the family is becoming more accepted, there are still quite a few people who would consider us 'crazy cat people' and 'dopey dog people'.

The ceramic paw print was an acknowledgement of what we had gone through and that the journey was shared not only by Buddy's family but by his medical family as well.  Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to everyone who took such good care of Buddy.  All of you helped to make our journey easier.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Today was a busy day - I played catch up.  Did laundry, paid bills, straightened up the house, read magazines and worked on the computer.  Most importantly, I spent quality time with Annie.  It was a beautiful day with cool temperature, a nice breeze and plenty of sunshine.  We went for a long walk and spent time in the backyard.

I received a call from Hope Vet this afternoon around the time we put Buddy to sleep last Monday.  A Vet Tech called to let us know Buddy's ashes are ready to be picked up. I didn't mention that we had him cremated.  It seems so odd; one week since he died.  I still look for him.  The house is too quiet.  Annie is somewhat better but she will need more time to adjust to being the only four-legged member of the family.

Annie had blood work done last Monday so we could start her heart-worm medication.  We called for the results and to let them know we will pick Buddy's ashes up in a day or so.

Artie just caught Annie licking her paw again.  I purchased Grannick's Bitter Apple to spray on the irritated paw. Grannick's works on the same principle as that stuff you paint on kid's nails to keep them from biting the nails and cuticles. You use it to prevent biting, chewing or excessive licking of fur and hot spots.

I'm concerned.  Annie is halfway through a 14 day round of antibiotics.  Once she's done, we will bring her in for a dental scaling, the removal of a tab and a biopsy of this spot she keeps licking.  There is a small possibility the area is cancerous.  If so, there is the additional possibility it metastasized, something I cannot contemplate at this point in time.


Sunday, April 8, 2012


Buddy's absence is very disorienting.  The house is so quiet; he's not here constantly chattering on about everything.  Sometimes I catch myself listening for his bell.  I miss the licks on my nose and cheeks, how he would pull my face into his with his paws, how he would grunt and purr while I cradled him in my arms.  I miss his presence in my life. Thankfully, I still have Annie with me or his loss would be totally unbearable.

Wednesday and Thursday were taken up with a visit to the dentist, errands and trying to cheer Annie up.  By Thursday, she was starting to come out of her depression - somewhat.  By the time we were ready for bed, my brother and I felt Annie had perked up a bit.  And then it happened.  At 3 o'clock in the morning, I came awake with my heart in my throat.  Annie had let out 3 unearthly howls in her sleep.

My brother's room is at the other end of the house but in no time he was up and at my bedside.  Annie was still asleep.  He spoke to her and Annie's eyes opened but Artie said she didn't look fully awake.  We each mumbled some soothing words to her then went back to bed.

Both of us spent our Friday thinking about what had happened.  Discussing the incident that evening, we figured she dreamt of Buddy, calling out to him in her sleep.  It was damned eerie.  Dogs left alone will bark or howl to call their family members to them. Annie's part Beagle and although she doesn't howl, being an incessant barker, we are convinced she was calling Buddy.

The backyard security light was getting a workout Friday night.  Around 9PM it came on yet again so I decided to check and there was the possum making his way across my backyard.

Artie grabbed the camera and shot another series of photos but he wasn't feeling well so the pictures weren't up to his usual standards.  I guess the possum will be a regular visitor from now on.  This makes a total of 2 Saturday nights and 2 Friday nights we've seen him. We were hopeful he would return again Saturday evening but he didn't show up.  I guess he comes through once a week.

After much discussion, we decided to name him Pat Possumwaite.  Pat being a good, solid non-gender specific first name (we really don't know if the possum is a he or a she) and Possumwaite after one of our favorite actors, Pete Postlethwaite from The Usual Suspects.

It's now Sunday evening and a very long weekend is over.  I hope everyone had a Happy Easter and a Happy Passover.






Saturday, April 7, 2012


Monday we were home from Hope Vet about an hour before Annie realized Buddy didn't come back with us.  She had a panicked look on her face as she searched around for him. Once it sank in that Buddy was gone, she became depressed.  

We were all depressed Tuesday and I was hoping the Davy Jones Memorial Concert at B.B. Kings that evening would at least help us forget our loss for a time and honor Davy.  I was concerned about Annie because she would be all alone for the first time that evening. We had the tickets before Buddy took a turn for the worse.  The best I could do was make a fuss over her all day long.  When it was time to leave, I left a light on and set my radio to the classical station so she would have soft music and calm voices.

We joined a group of our friends and we had a great time having a meal together, catching up and reminiscing.  MC'd by Bruce Morrow, the evening was really nice with Davy's band, friends and two of his daughters, Talia and Annabel, there to honor him. There were clips from concerts, Broadway performances, guest appearances on television variety shows and sitcoms and excerpts from The Monkees TV show.  Monkees' band-mates and life-long friends Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork came to reminisce and perform as did Deana Martin, another life-long friend who guest-starred on their show.

Imagine my surprise when it was announced that a fund was to be established to assist Davy's horses.  Anyone who knows anything about Davy Jones knows he intended to be a jockey before he landed a part in Oliver and ultimately became a Monkee.  What most people don't know is Davy was involved in saving horses destined to be put down - all types of horses not just race horses.

At the time of his death, Davy had 16 horses and horses generally live to around 30 years of age which translates into a lot of commitment in terms of time and upkeep.  My brother and I talked with Annabel about  putting this information on the blog.  She told us all the necessary information was on the cards that were handed out.

If you are a fan of Davy Jones, The Monkees, horses or animals in general, check out The Davy Jones Equine Memorial Fund and watch for the launch of  Don't let Davy's dream die with him.  Here's a copy of the information cards Annabel mentioned:

Friday, April 6, 2012


I know I promised to continue this narrative yesterday but I just couldn't bring myself to do so; this is the hardest post I've had to write.  Here are the events that transpired after we made our decision.  

Dr. Young and Dr. Klein partnered in Buddy's care and Monday was Dr. Klein's day in the office.  We called to make the appointment.  Not 10 minutes after our initial call, the phone rang.  It was Dr. Young.  She happened to be at the office for a meeting, checked the daily calendar and saw we were on it.  We talked a while about what was happening with Buddy. Dr. Young was very supportive, telling us we did a great job caring for Buddy and had been 'spot-on' with all our decisions.  Afterwards, my brother and I felt more at peace with 'letting him go'.

The remainder of the morning was spent with Buddy and Annie.  Finally, it was time to leave for our appointment.  This is Brooklyn and nothing ever goes smoothly.  Because of difficulties getting car service, we arrived for our appointment late.  When Buddy was first diagnosed as 'terminal', we discussed our wish to have Annie present if we needed to euthanize Buddy.  We all agreed it would help her to know he was finally gone.

In our family we can never deal with one medical issue at a time - we had noticed the open sore on Annie's hind paw was back.  It had started to heal after we originally saw it.  Then, sometime during February, we saw it had returned.  It appeared to be healing but now it was worse.  We decided to have Annie examined first knowing we would be too upset to deal with any other issues after letting go of Buddy.

Annie loves everyone at Hope Vet but she is particularly attached to Dr. Young and absolutely crazy about Dr. Klein.  During her exam, Annie showered Dr. Klein with kisses and, without prompting, ran through her entire repertoire of tricks for him because he had treats.  Diagnosis: most likely a lick granuloma BUT a biopsy was recommended to make sure it isn't cancer.  Annie is getting tartar on her teeth and she has a tab growing on one leg.  She also has what appear to be some very small fatty tumors.  We will keep checking the tumors for increase in size.  In the meantime, Annie is taking a round of antibiotic for her paw.  Next month, she will go for a dental scaling, biopsy (which entails a removal of some tissue and some stitches) and removal of the tab.

All during Annie's exam, Buddy rested quietly first in my brother's arms then mine.  Now it was time, so we all moved from the examining room to an office with a couch and some chairs.

Dr. Klein explained the process to us, told us what to expect and when we were ready he began.  Two injections of medicines to relax Buddy.  Sometimes the initial meds are enough to stop the heart so we needed to watch Buddy's breathing.  His breathing became more even but it didn't stop.  After a time, a Vet Tech opened a line in Buddy's front paw.  Dr. Klein removed Buddy's collar and gave it to us.  Three more injections followed - a medicine to put Buddy into a deep sleep, some water to clear the line and finally the medicine that would stop his heart.

The first two injections were administered.  We waited  and Buddy did go into a very deep sleep.  Dr. Klein asked us if we were ready for him to administer the final shot.  We were; he did and after a short time, Buddy stopped breathing.

Dr. Klein told us to stay as long as we wanted then he left us alone with Buddy.  We tried to get Annie to focus on him but she wouldn't smell him or stay near him.  All she did was stand by the door and cry.  After we finished saying our goodbyes to Buddy, we took Annie and left.

We stepped out into the bright sunshine of an unseasonably warm day.  It struck me how we always have beautiful days when we have to let our pets go.  It is a reminder that life goes on except from now on it will just be me, my brother and Annie.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012


The weekend brought a rapid deterioration in Buddy's condition.  He became very picky, refusing most of his favored foods and eating very little of the ones he would accept.  I spent Saturday and Sunday offering him all different food choices with the end result being I managed to get 1 oz. of food in him each day.

Liquids were another story - he drank large amounts of water but smaller than usual amounts of milk and clam broth.  Complete loss of the use of his hind legs happened early Saturday.  By Sunday night he was losing his upper body strength. I had to hold him under his front shoulder so he could right himself.  If he wanted you he would softly meow, wait a bit and meow again if you hadn't arrived to do what he wanted.  If Buddy was awake his head would turn in my direction so he could keep an eye on me as I went about my day's chores.

The weekend was a blur of offering food and drink, medicating, assisting him with toileting, moving him from place to place, turning his body so he didn't lie in one position too long and checking him when he slept.

When Buddy was diagnosed, Dr. Young told us we would know it was time to say goodbye when Buddy stopped eating and giving kisses.  He ate a bit Sunday night and gave my brother one kiss before we turned in for the night.

Monday morning he wouldn't eat anything and the kisses stopped.  His upper body strength was gone.  He drank a little but he wasn't meowing and he seemed very tired. We knew it was time.

I will continue this post tomorrow.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Our Buddy is gone. I hoped to start this particular post by saying Buddy went to sleep yesterday and never woke up but that was not to be.

We made the decision to euthanize Buddy today.

Buddy was with us a little bit more than 10 years.  We can't count the 2 or 3 years he spent visiting us in our backyard before he was thrown out by his previous owner.

My relationship with Buddy didn't start until he moved in with us.  Up until then I'd never held a cat.  My interactions with felines were definitely minimal - an occasional pat on the head or a few words.  A cat lover I wasn't.  How could I ever know how much one little cat would change that.  I've truly lost my best Buddy.

I won't be posting tomorrow.  After today I need a break.  Posts will start again on Wednesday when I will write about today's events in more detail.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


It's Sunday and I need to devote all my time to Buddy's care.  He's winding down. 

I'm posting this YouTube video I found on MSN instead.  A very heartbreaking story but uplifting at the end. 

What is wrong with people?  Are we losing our humanity?  This is a sad commentary on the state of our nation.  "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi

We should take Gandhi's quote to heart.