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Posts Tagged ‘pets’

Two Sudden Deaths

In aging, domestic life, life, love, seniors on August 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm
Gravestone

His garage was next to mine, holding a red mid-size car. He was not a happy man, rarely smiling. His wife was frail. When we passed one another in the hallway or driveway, he almost never said hello.

Yesterday he dropped dead.

I came home just as the ambulance pulled up to our apartment building. I thought little of it, not because I’m callous,  but because our building is filled with people in their 70s, 80s and even 90s. It’s not an uncommon sight and, thankfully, the resident is usually home again within a few days.

Last week a gorgeous husky dog, always out with his blond owner for walks on our winding, hilly suburban street also died suddenly and unexpectedly.

Which explained a circle of hushed women whispering yesterday in the hallway.

Our lives are shaped by pattern, routine, the known and familiar.

Faces become visual wallpaper, the normal everyday background to our lives. The ones we take for granted. The ones we can lose, as two of my neighbors just did, without warning, in minutes.

Today, two pieces of it — a beloved pet, a valued friend and husband — are gone, ripped away, leaving behind the shocked and mourning.

Don’t Kill The Cat! Ten Ways To Be A Great Houseguest

In animals, behavior, parenting, travel on November 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm
House Sparrow

Respect their nest! Image via Wikipedia

As the holidays approach, and hosts everywhere hope for the best, a few handy tips:

Don’t kill the cat, (or dog, or fish or parakeet.) I once rented a Parisian apartment, a tiny studio at the top of six (!) flights of stairs. It came with a cat. Within minutes of setting down my suitcase, the cat was gone. Where? I peered six stories down into the courtyard. Nope. Looked every-bloody-where. Asked a neighbor. Kitty had hidden under the duvet covering the sofa. Great. I might have sat on le maudit chat.

Whatever animal(s) come with your host’s home, treat them with kindness and care. Keep doors locked and windows closed when necessary.

Bring loot. It might be lovely soap, fine chocolate, wine, some CDs, a coffee table book. If you arrive empty-handed, be sure to send a gift or flowers within a few days after you leave. With your hand-written thank-you note, mailed. Even if your hosts are loaded and seem to have everything, you can come up with something they would enjoy.

Help out. This means you, missy. Even if you snooze ’til noon, you’re still fully capable of washing dishes, loading and unloading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor or wiping down the kitchen countertops. Not everyone is as haus-frau-y as me, and I do love a little housework, so I do windows, polish silver and even clean out fridges on occasion.

Buy meals. When you and your host(s) go out to eat or drink, pay for them. If you’re on a super-tight budget, do it anyway, at least once. Be thoughtful about their generosity in inviting you into their home. (i.e. you’re not paying to sleep there.)

Bring food and drink. Again, especially if your host(s) are on a budget, this means less of a drain on their scant resources. If you must consume something very specific (and/or expensive) — soy milk, quinoa, spelt, gluten-free bread? — bring it with you.

Sex. Don’t. Really, it’s just not that urgent. If you must, be quiet and tidy and don’t spend all day locked in your room. Whatever little treasures you enjoy at home, stash ‘em when not in use. No matter how wildly in love/lust you are, limit the PDA. It can get a little scary.

No public grooming. Ever. Ever. That includes: shaving, flossing, plucking, picking, moisturizing, depilating, coloring, the noisy and disgusting trimming of your nails, filing/painting/unvarnishing your nails. No one needs to see, hear or smell these behaviors, however necessary.

Find a room and shut the door and do it there. Then tidy up.

Respect the space. Even if you think your host(s’) standards of housekeeping, design or cleanliness oddly high or low, it’s their place. If it’s really that dirty or gross, leave. If it’s so anally all-white-don’t-touch-the-sofa you’re scared to relax, ditto.

Ask about preferences and allergies. I almost ruined my friend’s job interview this week by starting to spray (a little) perfume on my wrists. Turns out she is wildly allergic and would have sneezed for hours.

Adjust your schedule. You don’t have to get up at 5:00 a.m. to meditate or jog with your host(s), but it’s their home and their life you’ve come to fit into for a few days or more. If you normally wake up especially late, make sure this isn’t going to pose a problem for them. Find out who needs the bathroom when and for how long. If you get up much earlier or stay up much later than they do, be quiet and considerate of others’ needs for silence and rest.

Staying with a friend or relative can be a lot of fun and a great way to get to know them better, and vice versa.

It can also, quickly and efficiently, forever kill even the best of relationships as people seethe, sulk and wonder whose idea this was exactly.

Give good guest!

Sadie Wins Westminster, First Scottie In 20 Years To Do So

In sports on February 18, 2010 at 9:12 am
Congratulations to Sadie!

Image by garlandcannon via Flickr

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden, the Superbowl of canine supremacy, is a hoot. It was held this week, and Sadie, a Scottie, won.

We went a few years ago and loved it, especially being able to go “backstage” and visit with hundreds of dogs as they were prepped for their big moment. We cheered like crazy people when Uno won in 2008, the first beagle to ever do so, howling with joy when his win was announced.

This year it’s Sadie’s turn. Reports Cindy Adams in the New York Post:

And what personal goodie did Sadie get for winning this huge prize? “A hot dog,” said Dan Musser. “She loves hot dogs. Kosher. Nonkosher. Hebrew National. Anything. Any kind.”

“She’s going to California with her trainer to be bred. He has a wife and three children, so she’ll stay with them. But she’ll come back to Michigan to give birth. She’s used to airplanes because in this campaign year she’s showed someplace every week. She flies under the seat.”We’ve been showing dogs 50 years. Done Westminster maybe eight times and won Best of Breed, but it’s our first Best in Show. Sadie’s 4½. She started showing two years ago and won 112 Best in Shows countrywide. She won Top Terrier in 2009 and that started her Atomic Year, where she’s so far won every prize there is, beating out 115,000 others. She came into Madison Square Garden as the No. 1 dog of 2009.

“First time a Scottie’s won Westminster Kennel Club since the ’80s.”

Toronto Humane Society A House Of Horrors — Closed Indefinitely

In Health, news on November 30, 2009 at 11:13 pm
Small, brindle-marked dog posed on table in studio

Image by George Eastman House via Flickr

It’s a hell of a story if you love animals – Toronto’s Humane Society closed indefinitely after a raid last Thursday found scary conditions, including a dead cat mummified in the ceiling. Since the raid by the Ontario Society for the Protection of Animals, a puppy, two cats, a dog and a raccoon have had to be euthanized, so terrible was the condition they were found in, reports the Toronto Star:

“I have seen things that have made me cry and haunted my dreams in that building,” said Marcie Laking, a former animal-care worker who has spoken out numerous times against the society.

Laking started working at the society as a volunteer in 2001, and became a staff member in 2005. By 2006, what she had seen in the building had taken its toll.

“I remember taking dead animals when my shifts would start, and dead kittens,” said Laking. “These animals are dying painful deaths – from ailments that are not being treated, are not being treated properly or can’t be treated – and they are dying in their cages.”

The body of the mummified cat was put on display Friday during a guided media tour of the facility. Strooband led groups of journalists and television crews through the area of the building used to house about 1,000 cats.

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