Premiere Reminder Day

Sunday was Bashert’s birthday.  Birthdays are a big thing for her, since many of the other popular holidays throughout the year were not celebrated by her family.  Birthdays were fun, but not earth shattering events for my family.  As I’ve noted before, I can be kind of dense about some things, so its taken me a few years to realize the importance of the day.

I have a hard time being super creative in a celebratory way.  Most of that talent lies with Bashert.  She once had me invite all the people and then decorate my parent’s home for my own surprise birthday party.

I’ve only been able to surprise her a couple of times during our 15 years.

When she turned 40, I gave her a gift a day forty days out from her birthday.  Each gift was accompanied by a short poem to hint at what the gift was to be.  I gave her all manner of stuffs – from a secret message painted on the ceiling (glow in the dark paint) to lip balm to a surprise visit from her sister (who came bearing chocolate cake!).  That was challenging, but fun.

This year, she received her most of her birthday a little early. The first part was a little bit selfish on my part.  She was so totally frustrated with her iPad I dropping her from the internet and I was so totally frustrated hearing the sighs, that I packed up Yoda and part of our tax return and went straight to the Apple store.  We came home with a laptop.  Surprise! No more sighs from either of us.

I had not planned anything specific for her actual birthday.  We were to be out of town Friday and Saturday for Passover at her sister’s place.  And then it happened.  I was in the back room working on my term paper (which I should be doing now) Friday night and I could hear them discussing dogs.

I had internet connection and ding! went my email.  Seems Bashert’s sister, Miriam had found a couple of dachshund puppies offered on Craigslist in our area. I snuck a look and said for those faces, I could try again.  The next day started an email exchange that ended up with a meeting to take place on Sunday.

Once we saw the little thing, there was no doubt he would be coming home with us.  If the other people who had driven all the way from North Carolina had decided against his sister, I believe we would have taken her too.

So, enter Moses, a nine week old, long haired, mini dachshund.  He is a beautiful black and tan and full of personality.  He won’t be much over 10 lbs once fully grown and he has stolen our hearts.  Well, most of our hearts.  The cats aren’t too happy with the new addition, yet.

The older ones haven’t gotten over adding in Ruthie the 3-legged kitten and Ruthie is a little put out about not being the baby anymore.  The pain of the lost dogs still haunts us, but as with all blended families, it just takes time.

We’ll get there.


Happy Birthday, Bashert!

Adieu, Shit Dog.

Our Doobie, My Shit Dog

Here I sit a quivering mess and the day is not going to get any better.  Today is the day we say goodbye to Shit Dog.  The bladder cancer has finally gotten the better of him.  He was supposed to be gone before August, but in grand Shit Dog fashion he held on just to prove a point.

He’s gotten a bit chubby over the last couple of months or so because we have been saying what the heck let him eat it – he won’t be around much longer.  Leftover pancakes, roast trimmings, rice, french fries, pizza crust, chocolate cookies – about the only thing he turned his nose up to was veggies.  He would eat them with resentment when Elisheva was alive, but then that was a competition.

We knew something was up last week.  He refused a piece of biscuit.  He also hasn’t touched the bag of dog food that’s been sitting out in the open for four days.  Bashert had to hold her hand in front of his nose on Sunday for him to know she had some chocolate.  And if Shit Dog is anything, he’s a pureblooded chocoholic.

Our cat Winnie came over to lie with him this weekend.  She doesn’t do that.  He hates having his space invaded, particularly by one of the cats and they know it.  Bashert thinks Winnie was saying goodbye.  She did that just before Elisheva died, too.

We have a checkered past, Shit Dog and I.  I alluded to some of it in an entry back in July.  So it’s kind of ironic that he and I should be spending the day alone together.

He’s lying in his corner, atop his mass of appropriated blankets and pillows – he started out with one assigned blanket and dog pillow, now he has three of our bed blankets and two of our sofa pillows added – snoring away, past caring that he’s leaking urine all over himself.

I sit staring at him futilely trying to remain stoic, watching his occasional labored breath and seeing that he can no longer curl up into his tight little ball because of discomfort.  I let him out a moment ago and he peed on my foot not being able to control himself (at least I’m going to believe that – one last challenge there, eh boy?).

I know that what we are doing is right for him, but it is tremendously difficult.

Damn you, Shit Dog.  Doobie…you’re breaking my heart.

Suckers or how we just ended up with a three-legged cat

We’ve always maintained special relationships with our various vet’s offices over the years.  They have provide excellent medical services for our menagerie of pets and we have been gullible enough to take the oddities that show up in their offices.

Shit Dog came from a vet’s office, as did our late, neurotic lab/dachshund Elisheva.

Our latest addition to the family came through the modern marketing marvel, FaceBook.

Pictures had been posted on Thursday or Friday of this week of a kitten that had been brought in to our vet that week.  I tend to be a curmudgeon toward pictures of cute animals, but something about this one caught my eye even though I didn’t look that closely.  I didn’t even read the captions.

We found out later that a good samaritan turned her in to the vet’s office after finding the injured, three month old in the street.  The samaritan couldn’t keep the kitten due to some unusual living circumstances, but managed to scrape together some funds to help pay for the surgery the little girl would require.  I think that is the definition of samaritan, isn’t it?

We weren’t looking for an addition, we have three cats and Shit Dog still.  Opportunities had come up before, but I just didn’t want to take on yet another animal.  We lost our cat Shai a couple of years ago, Elisheva this year and our cat Boaz and Shit Dog are on the short list now.  It’s tough to think new when the old are in such shape and the younger two are a bit onery (Southern for slightly ill-tempered).

But on Saturday when Bashert asked if I had seen the photo, I caved.  I said let’s go ahead and call to see if she’s been placed yet.  In our house that means we’ve adopted another one.

What I didn’t realize is that the surgery that the kitten had gone through was to remove her right front leg.  She suffered extensive nerve damage to the leg through what we hope was accidental means.  While Bashert was talking to the receptionist, I took another look at the three photos posted.  Sure enough, the poor thing had lost her leg all the way up, including her shoulder.  At that point any doubt was gone.  Suckers through and through.  She would be ours.

We went straight over to the vet’s to meet her.

On the way over we were already bouncing names around.

The tech brought her in a room for us to visit.  Bashert and I instructed Yoda to sit quietly and let her come to us.  Given that sitting still is a challenge as yet unmet by Yoda, we didn’t know how it was going to work.

Hesitant only at first, the little girl dove right into our hands, purring and insisting we give her love.  She didn’t flinch or run from Yoda’s excited vibrations.  She leapt up to the seat next to Bashert and cuddled into her lap.  She claimed us.

I was surprised when they said we could take her home that day.  The stitches looked ominous to me and she was still on twice daily pain meds.  I worried that in her fresh post surgery state, she wouldn’t be in any shape to be introduced to our resident beasts.

There was no need to worry.  This little girl can hold her own.  Our three full grown cats, 14 and 9 years old respectively, are walking on egg shells.  There’s been lots of hissy fits, but mostly they are avoiding each other.  I give them about two weeks and they will build up a tolerance for each other, that or split the house into their respective territories.  They’ll work it out.

Shit Dog has made his business to get close, but I think only because this is the only other animal in the house that is smaller than he – we have large cats.

We took about two hours last night to come up with a suitable name, at least the one we will call her according to T.S. Eliot.  We narrowed it down to four possibilities and then had Yoda pull one of those out of a hat.  We thought that an equitable solution since we all had our favorites of the four.

Her name is Ruthie.

Resilient, faithful, kind and good, friend and companion to Naomi, wife to Boaz and great-grandmother to King David.  I think the hat chose wisely.

Welcome to the menagerie Ruthie.




You Know Who

Winnie the couch potato

Fat Pooh


Shit Dog

We have a little, brown dog.  He’s mostly white now, but originally he was brown.

He came into our lives in 1998. Our little black dog picked him out as a companion.

He was still a puppy and had been hit by a car, crushing the top part of his right femur and squishing his back paw.  The former owners dumped him at the vet’s office.

He has no ball in that hip joint and his foot looks like Wile E. Coyote’s after a run in with a steam roller.

He was still recovering when we took him home.  We lied to the vet’s office stating that we had fixed up a fenced in area behind our town home.  They weren’t going to let us take him without a fenced area. Ha.

We used to cart him around in a baby stroller because he couldn’t keep up on long walks.  We made the news a couple of times because of it.

His proper name is Dubone.  The family calls him Doobie.  It means teddy bear in Hebrew – honestly, look it up.  Once at a blessing of the animals ceremony, the priest (I know we’re Jewish) got confused and he was consecrated as Debbie.

I refer to him mainly as, Shit Dog.

Shit Dog was a perfect sidekick for our neurotic and reticent Elisheva.  We would walk them on a double leash and he would force her to go meet new people.  She, too had spent a great deal of her early life in a vet’s office.

He was cute as a button, with his forehead wrinkles and playful nature.  He was incredibly smart, but he also had a dark side.

This dark side made him do things that weren’t so nice.

He would leave ‘gifts’ in our bedroom draped with articles of my clothing.  He chewed out all the little buttons on top of my collection of baseball caps.  He chewed holes in my bras and ate a British published, but out-of-print, book that I had borrowed.  (That was fun to try and replace.) He ate my shoes.

One would think I did something to deserve this treatment, but no.  I was simply the chosen one.

We tried crating him, but he ate the crate – literally.  Chewed a hole straight through the side, leaving behind in strips the shirt we had put in there for cushioning.

He revealed a predilection for chocolate.  Yes, we were well aware that chocolate and dogs do not go together, however no one told the Shit Dog.

He has consumed in one sitting enough chocolate to kill a golden retriever. He had his stomach worked on for that one.  The vet’s personnel couldn’t get over the fact that he would eat the charcoal right out of their hands.  He’s done the same thing again and again.  We gave up taking him to the vet for it, he just burps, passes gas and goes on his merry way – sheepish, but happy.

Shit Dog also showed a love for garbage, the riper the better.  To this day we have to keep the garbage bag up on the counter so that he cannot get into it, however putting it up there does not guarantee that it will not be got.

We have seen the kitchen stool pushed up to the counter and the evidence strewn all about the house.  I told you he was intelligent.

He ate four muscle relaxers that had been packed in my luggage.  We called poison control on that one.  He just had a very good night’s sleep.

Shit Dog was introduced to a new nasty habit of consuming other animals defecation, in particular Elisheva’s.  This was a trait taught to him by another dog who briefly resided in our home before letting her depression get the better of her and committing suicide.

I haven’t let him lick me in years.

We found out this year after Elisheva passed away from Alzheimer’s that Shit Dog had become partially deaf from age.  She had been signaling and leading him around.

He has always been a bit high strung, the chihuahua part of him, I suppose.  After a brief period of mourning for Elisheva, Shit Dog’s anxiety issues came on full tilt. We always said he needed to be the first to go.

Our neighbor, a lovely woman from Belgium, who survived the London Blitz called to let us know (how kind), that Shit Dog was barking and howling through the day when we weren’t home.  Since we have been through animal control issues with said neighbor before, we weren’t too concerned at first.  But I happen to witness the behavior first hand one day.

He did indeed howl, incessantly. He’s now on a mother’s little helper aptly named Reconcile®.

He’s also on oral chemotherapy. Shit Dog was diagnosed with bladder cancer this year.

There’s been some changes.  He thinks he has to urinate a good bit – more so than standard for a puffed up, little, male dog, but he really doesn’t.  He tires more easily and he does’t wrap up in his blankets like he used to do, but other things remain the same.

He will still gulp down any unguarded chocolate milk.  And out of the past, oh six weeks, he’s probably eaten the garbage about four times. The defecation eating ended with Elisheva.

We don’t worry about it anymore.  We figure at this point, he’ll go satisfied. Damn Shit Dog.