Monday, June 24, 2013


How does one manage to do that? I mean squeeze double what needs to be done into the amount of time at hand. I wish I knew.

With warmer weather here, Annie spends a good part of the day going in and out between the house and the back yard.  Already her tummy freckles are showing as she spends her mornings sunning herself. On the other hand, there's Orphée grappling with the dilemma of whether or not to venture outside once again. It's funny but he never wanted to come into the house. He would gaze in the front door but never quite venture too far. When he finally moved to the hallway, he designated my apartment off-limits and never looked back. To the outside that is. Now that he is part of the family, staking claim to his personal areas for food, water and play he's adapted very nicely to apartment living. Orphée will walk to the back door, crouch down, put his nose to the crack and smell the fresh air. After a few minutes he does an about face then runs off.

Another ritual he's developed is to follow me to the front door. Inevitably he gets underfoot; I have to be extra careful not to step on him and if I go out he lies down against the door until I come back. This isn't a jail-break as you might think because Orphée will look at me then scurry back into the apartment once he's satisfied I'm not heading back out again.

He's taken to lying around in main traffic areas, the end result is Annie is constantly doing an about face to stay out of his way. They now share my bed but still aren't to the point where they've become snuggle buddies. Unquestionably, Annie is still very wary of Orphée. Observing this reticence on her part to walk past him, I was determined to discover why. It didn't take long to get my answer.

Defending one's territory and food is a big deal in the wild - a primary issue of survival. Orphée chases Annie if she comes near his food and water. My big 40 pound dog runs from him like a scared rabbit! Artie has taken to refereeing all such incidents and we are seeing a bit of progress but all of this has blown away any house schedule we've had. All I know is no matter what's going on I'm needlessly interrupted.

Now if I could just invent a 48-hour day. If only...

Two excellent reasons for a 48-hour day.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Wednesday was an extremely busy day for us. Annie had her 3-month visit with Dr. Cohen, her Oncologist at VERG and her annual checkup at Hope Vet. Yes, it definitely was a busy day.

The Oncologist was happy to see Annie. Her sweet disposition makes Annie a favorite wherever she goes. She also is very well-behaved in the examining room.  Loving all the attention, she even holds still for temperature taking and rectal exams. 

Two other doctors saw her along with the Oncologist. A complete physical was done; we were questioned thoroughly about her activity level, appetite, behavior and our observations of the various lumps. Then the team of doctors took Annie for a series of x-rays. Fifteen minutes later Annie was back with us. Now began the wait for the results.

Anxiety levels were running high concerning this exam.  Six months have passed since the second operation and both of us were sweating this one out. The 15 minute wait seemed like an eternity. Dr. Cohen returned and with a big smile gave us the news we were hoping for - everything looked fine. No tumors were apparent on the x-rays; Annie's lungs and other organs were OK.  What a sense of relief Artie and I felt as we reviewed the x-rays with the doctor. We made the next 3-month appointment then headed off to Annie's second appointment.

Two appointments in one day is such a departure from our daily routine and our girl loved her adventure. VERG and Hope Vet are in walking distance from each other. The day was clear, bright and cool so we took advantage of the weather and walked to the second appointment.

Annie was in dog heaven! A long walk on new streets with many new and interesting smells, what more could she ask for? She sniffed along, walking excitedly, enjoying it all. Her second appointment went well. We dropped the ball on her heart-worm medications so blood work had to be done. She had her rabies shot and our excursion was finished - all except for the trip home.

It seemed as if we arrived home with a completely different dog. Annie is the soul of simplicity at heart, not needing much to make her happy. A change of scenery and a different route to walk produced a Zen-like tranquility in her that lasted into the next day. And the human members of our family were grateful for the good news.  We can focus on the next quarter with confidence in Annie's ability to be a survivor with the help of her family and doctors.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I'm a fan of Anderson Cooper and an occasional watcher of his talk show. Artie saw adorable little Chris P. Bacon with Anderson yesterday then urged me to google the little piglet which I did and promptly fell in love!

What an adorable little guy! And one lucky little porker! Chris P. was born with malformed legs that do not function. He has a set of handicapped wheels to help him on his journey through life. Chris also has his own website, blog, Facebook and Pintrest pages. And he's on Twitter as well as YouTube.

Called to euthanize the little guy because of his deformity, Dr. Len Lucero adopted him instead. This is a great human (?) interest story or pig story. Anyway you look at it Chris P. Bacon was lucky to cross paths with Dr. Lucero. And Chris P.'s just too adorable for words!

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Today is the first day of June. In this household that means three months have passed; it's time to take Annie for her quarterly checkup with her Oncologist. I am very apprehensive. Her cancer diagnosis is forever on my mind; I know there is always the possibility of a re-occurrence of her cancer but I do my best to remain positive.

We have established a firm routine for Annie's care. Artie and I check her lumps twice a week; we discuss what we find, which ones look and feel the same which ones are larger, do they feel loose within the skin or anchored in place. Thankfully, nothing alarming has occurred this past quarter leading me to expect a good exam with a positive outcome.

Meanwhile, I continue to home cook meals and treats for her. Over the years we've eliminated use of pet shampoos, flea/tick medications and toxic cleaning materials from our environment (better for all members of our family) in favor of a more holistic approach to pet care along with Eastern and Western modalities as well as a simpler approach to living.

Of course, I never forget my littlest cancer survivor, Buddy who lost his tail to skin cancer. Buddy survived five and a half years after his surgery doing quite well even during his almost three year battle with renal failure.

Next week I will call to set up Annie's appointment.  In the meantime, Annie continues on doing what dogs do best - playing, relaxing, giving and receiving unconditional love. What a life!