Saturday, May 31, 2014


Orphée had his say Thursday about all the TLC Annie received during her illnesses and the little guy is right. Posting in Orphée's voice was a fun way to point out one very important rule, never lavish too much attention, praise, treats or toys on one pet over the other (or others).

We try our best to feed both Annie and Orphée at the same time although I must admit Orph's bowl goes down first just to get him out from under my feet. They get treats together, hugs together and massages together. When it's time for grooming Annie is taken care of first immediately followed by Orphée.

If it's time for Annie to play one of us will do that while the other keeps Orphée occupied by holding and petting him. When he plays Annie gets cuddled. About the only thing we do with just Annie is go for walks because Orphée has decided inside is the place to be. He positions himself by the front window where he has a great view of the steps to greet the returning walkers.

Remember, pets can get jealous or depressed if they feel neglected. Always be mindful of this; it will go a long way to keeping your furry family members happy!

I think I'll take a snooze on Mom's bed after writing such a great post!

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Before Mom settles down to write her new post, I wanted to let everyone know how I feel about all the attention my sister Annie gets because she's got all these medical problems.

Don't get me wrong, Mom and Artie treat me very well. When Louie and his family moved away I made the rounds of the neighborhood to scope out new food opportunities. When I saw Mom or Artie serving dinner every day, their front porch became the go to place for a good solid meal. Never in my wildest dreams did I think they'd take me in or give me a permanent home.

I knew about the dog; heard her barking all the time; could see her from the window. Boy was I scared of her! All that racket and bouncing around; I'd had my full of that just navigating the streets every day. My number one priority was to make her the lowest member of this new clowder I was picked to join. It didn't work. Mom doesn't put up with my jockeying for position; she defends Annie every time.

Right after my rescue from a life on the streets, Annie had cancer surgery. Mom and Artie ran around cooking, feeding, changing dressings, checking the incision and dispensing medicines. Yours truly got breakfast and dinner and not much else.

No sooner did that drama end when the next one started. The house was in an uproar because everyone thought I hit Annie in her eye injuring her. She was blinking, holding her eye shut and the white of her eye was red and tearing. I told them it wasn't me but I guess they don't understand cat talk. Off they all went to emergency leaving me alone for hours. That was OK; for once the house was quiet. They found out I didn't touch her but she had eye problems so now it was eye surgery, eye drops, medicines along with six months' regular doctor visits.

Right on the heels of that drama winding down (either my heels or Annie's - take your pick) Annie became fussy about eating finally stopping almost completely. Mom would chase me away from her dish; she didn't realize I was just interested in smelling it. I'd never eat that stuff Mom cooks in a million years!

Back to the doctor to find out what was wrong now. The new diagnosis? Tooth problems and yet another surgery entailing two extractions, cutting off excess gum and repairing the gum over a tooth. Mom spent more time dispensing pills, feeding by hand or spoon. Things are quieting down again but who knows what will happen next.

I don't like being number four in my family's hierarchy but I'm learning to live with it; it's not such a bad deal after all. I've learned to share the bed and chairs with Annie but the ladder-back chair by the window is mine exclusively - so is Mom's lap when she sits in the recliner and Artie's lap at bed time.

Thanks for listening to me gripe!

Resting with my blankets on Mom's bed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Richard and Robert Sherman's delightful lyric, 'a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down', from the movie Mary Poppins doesn't exactly describe the experience of getting Annie to take her medicine. It does describe the subterfuge used to get her to take her pills.

Pill Pockets generally work unless the smell factor of the medication in question is high. If Annie can sniff it out she won't eat the treat. This happens all the time with antibiotics. I can only conclude the antibiotic stinkiness factor is high. Peanut butter worked until the industry lowered the hardness factor. When peanut butter was so thick it ripped bread during the spreading process that was the perfect consistency for hiding pills. The more spreadable peanut butter on the market today works with pieces of pills so small that a lick of the treat will be sufficient for Annie to consume it at once. If the pill is too large you need more peanut butter around it; the dog licks and viola, the peanut butter is gone but the pill is still on the plate!  Enter cream cheese; guaranteed to entice Annie every time.

Whatever you use, the best way to dispense pills is by following the steps outlined here:

Step 1:  Assemble your tools (plate, butter knife, pill cutter), cream cheese and medications.

What you will need.

Step 2:  If the pills are large cut them with the pill cutter.

Step 3:  Cut cream cheese into bite size pieces (one piece for each pill).

Step 4:  Place one pill piece in the center of each piece of cream cheese without touching the edges of the cream cheese with your fingers or the pill.

Step 5: Wash your hands thoroughly before continuing. This will prevent the transfer of the medicine smell to the outside of the cream cheese wrapping. Cut additional pieces of cream cheese to cover each pill then press the edges down firmly to seal.

Step 6: Serve to one very happy patient!

Thanks Mom for the great treats!

Monday, May 19, 2014


Day three and Annie is improving steadily. The swelling has receded noticeably and Annie is resting comfortably but her interest in food was a bit off so I had a hard time getting her to eat her two meals. Not so with her pills because they were buried deep within her all-time favorite - cream cheese.

Dr. Young called to discuss the issue with Annie's spleen. We will do a needle biopsy when Annie goes in for her post-surgery visit. No mass is visible which I guess is a good sign and the changed appearance of the spleen might be age-related.

Right now I cannot obsess about this development. Annie's recovery and happiness are my main focus until the next crises whenever and whatever it will be.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Day two brought marked improvement in Annie's behavior. Alert with more energy and steadier on her feet, she showed a bit more interest in food. Her muzzle was so swollen Artie remarked at her resemblance to Spuds MacKenzie from the old Bud Light beer commercials.

Meals for the next three weeks will be soft food mixed with some canned pumpkin and yogurt to prevent diarrhea. I'm hoping to have her back on her regular diet after the post-surgery checkup. By evening Annie wanted to go for her walk and showed more interest in food. My guess is we are on the road to recovery.

The morning after surgery.

You can see the swelling on the left side of the photo.

Mid-afternoon and the swelling is more pronounced.

Evening and the swelling has reached an all-time high.

In a deep sleep in spite of it all.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


One magical day back in High School I was introduced to Robert Benchley unfortunately not in person but to his writing. I have been a dyed-in-the-wool fan of his writing and acting abilities ever since. I always knew one day I would find myself living my very own version of The Tooth, The Whole Tooth and Nothing But the Tooth Benchley's famous essay on going to the dentist. I never knew it would involve Annie's dental visit. Believe me the visit was nowhere as amusing as the essay.

The day passed very slowly for both Artie and myself. It just proves how much we are attached to Annie; we missed her terribly. All day long I worried about her. If her x-rays would be clear, if her sonogram would turn up any medical issues, would she tolerate the anesthesia as well as in the past?

A phone call from Hope Veterinary Clinic confirmed she went through her surgery without incident. Her x-rays were clear but her spleen appeared mottled on the sonogram necessitating a discussion and a need to decide on next steps. Artie and I were quite upset with this new development. The unspoken word - cancer - was on both our minds.

Our little girl was very groggy when we arrived at the office to take her home. Dr. Horvat, the dental surgeon, spent quite a bit of time with us going over what he found and what was done. Apparently Annie had two bad molars; both were extracted. One looked perfectly fine outside but the root was dead most likely from some sort of mouth trauma. The other tooth was good but the inside gum was eroded to the point where the root was exposed necessitating the removal of the tooth. The overgrown gum was a case of Gingival Hyperplasia and that was scaled back. Her upper right canine had recession of the gum but Dr. Horvat was able to repair it by cleaning the area then suturing the gum together thus closing the gap.

We headed home with our little girlie, three different medicines and instructions on how to care for her until her follow-up visit in three weeks' time. While we waited for car service, she spied a young husky and always one to make friends tried but couldn't muster up the energy to stand up. She opted for howling instead letting out a bloodcurdling, snout pointed in the air howl that seemed to go on forever bringing a smile to my face, scaring the daylights out of my brother, causing some giggles from the other pet parents and thoroughly annoying one old guy sitting in the far corner of the waiting room.

She ate very little, spent most of the evening sleeping and gave us a very hard time when taking her pills. I will pick this narrative up in subsequent posts. There is much to say concerning canine (and feline) dental health as well as more to Annie's recovery story.

Finally home.

Annie's IV bandage ready for removal.

Asleep for the night.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


It's that time of year again; time to do battle against the scourge of pets - fleas. After Annie recovers from her dental surgery she will be given a nice bath and I will put her topical flea medication between her shoulder blades.

Orphée will be given a dry bath after I research natural dry shampoo ingredients and his topical medicine will be applied.  I know in the past I've spoken against using such medicines but my commitment to caring for a feral colony has caused me to rethink my methods of combating fleas.  In short, my household became a war zone with constant re-infestation. 

The ferals use the porch for food, drink, shelter and lounging the end result is fleas find it easy to hitch a ride inside on anyone coming inside. I still do all that I did before, diligent vacuuming, combing Annie and Orphée but using the topical medication did make a big difference last summer.

My suggestions to everyone facing summer with pets:
  • Purchase only topical medication prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Make sure to follow all instructions exactly as written.
  • Observe your pets for any reactions and contact your veterinarian with any concerns.
Do all this and have a happy fun-filled, flea-free spring and summer!

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Just when I thought life was uneventful, Annie became particularly finicky about food. She's always been a bit of a picky eater but I've never had her refuse all food. Her finicky behavior is unpredictable too. Annie will eat well for a day or two then sit in front of her food bowl staring at it as if she were being punished.

We thought we had the issue solved when she was given anti-nausea medicine for an upset stomach and reluctance to eat the beginning of April. After that doctor visit, the medicine and a change of diet her eating improved. Now it appears we are back to square one.

We paid another visit to the doctor earlier this week in which we completely covered what's been going on since the last visit - all the unusual food behavior and the fact that otherwise Annie is acting completely normal.  Dr. Young reviewed Annie's blood and urine work with us.  We were surprised and thrilled to learn all her values are perfect.  Each one falls within that value's mid-range. Dr. Young said she liked to believe this is because of the home cooking/raw diet we feed Annie.

Instead of attempting to explain what goes on at mealtimes, Artie videotaped the two meals Annie had previous to our office visit. After looking at the footage then examining and interacting with Annie Dr. Young felt her issue is dental in nature. Arthur and I were hoping this was the problem. Annie's gum is receding over one of her upper canines and the area is a bit red. She also doesn't want anyone touching her in that area. The other dental issue is an area of gum overgrowth which also causes discomfort. Any wonder why she's not eating well.

I've been hand and/or spoon feeding her basically we're doing anything that will work. Annie is scheduled for dental surgery this Wednesday pending results of x-rays and an ultrasound. We're hoping the dental work will correct the problem and we can settle down to an uneventful summer after we take Orphée in for his checkup and microchip implantation.

Relaxing, totally oblivious to what she's putting her parents through.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


With spring weather finally arriving, my friend Terri and I are planning our first lunch-in-the-park get together for the year.  We pick a date and time, meet and pick up lunch at Whole Foods then proceed to Union Square Park to eat and chat and watch the world go by.

There is plenty to talk about - rescue news, our pets, City Critters, Neighborhood Cats, Broadway Barks, publishing - the list is endless. As always, I'm looking forward to it, hoping we have a good weather along with a great time.

Terri is as active as ever with City Critters a great organization doing rescue and adoption work in NYC. Please check their website:

The number one post on my list of Top Ten Posts is the one I wrote about Nino the Hero Cat. You may recall Nino alerted tenants to a fire in their building. I have it on good word (from Terri) and I'm very happy to report our feline hero was adopted by his foster parent. Nino, just another New York roomie sharing an apartment in the heart of City!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Anyone checking this blog on a regular basis knows I've not been as diligent in posting as in times past. It's not easy to post every day when you are following a strictly defined criteria. You've realized by now that I've been thinking about this quite a bit.

First I needed a break; needed to step back take a breather and decide where to go from here. My direction hasn't solidified yet but I will be expanding what I write about without abandoning my mission of documenting the care of chronically ill pets.

There will be more tips and cost-saving measures included as I continue. If anyone has any suggestions or comments about what would be of interest to them by all means let me know!

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Home Alone is one of my favorite Christmas movies. There's just something about kids and pets that gets my attention every time!

This video came to me from several sources: two friends and "The Have You Seen These Videos" email I receive regularly from You Tube. Well all my sources were right I did find this one interesting. In fact, I thought it was a hoot and couldn't resist the urge to feature it on the blog. What I find so appealing about this clip is the dog's antics totally mirror what we refer to as Annie's Wiggly Dance which thankfully is regularly performed in our living room not on any of the beds. 

Enjoy this version of Home Alone with a decidedly canine slant.