Copyright 2009-2014 by Holly K. Austin unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.
If you would like to use an image for some purpose, please contact me via the comments feature.

Sickly Expensive January

>> Monday, January 30, 2012

It's been a fabulous last two weeks of January in my household.  And expensive.

The month's vet bills started with Rocky and Wednesday.

Wednesday we suspect is our carpet pee-er.  We brought her in to see if she might have a urinary tract infection.  But of course, the day we brought her in she had not a drop of urine in her bladder, so we have to bring her back again.  That was a wasted visit.

As for Rocky, he's had some fits of coughing and shortness of breath in the past few months, so we hauled his furry fat hind quarters into the vet.  X-rays followed, as did blood tests, and he got diagnosed with feline asthma.  Did you know cats could have asthma?  Neither did I.

The vet prescribed some steroids.  Ever given pills to a cat before?  Always a good time.

Then Simon got sick.  Really, really sick.  The poor little guy came down with severe diarrhea, which turned into bloody diarrhea, which turned into pure blood.  Within a few hours he went from his usual boisterous obnoxious self, to a shaky, lethargic, pathetic figure.  A few hours after my husband came home from the vet with Rocky and Wednesday, he wound up whisking Simon off to the emergency vet clinic.  Why do these things always happen after normal vet hours?

In the course of two days, Simon had x-rays, and blood work, and visits to the emergency vet (which charges more than $100 just for walking in the door) and our regular vet.  We spent a lot of anxious hours worrying about him, trying to make him more comfortable, cleaning up the mess, not sleeping, and trying to tempt Simon to eat a few bites of a bland diet.

We never did figure out for sure what Simon had but our vet thinks it was a virus, and because he's a puppy mill dog with rotten genes it just hit him far harder than it should have.  I think her conclusion is a valid one, because just as Simon turned the corner and started picking up his head and sniffing at his food bowl again, Phoebe came down with a mild case of whatever Simon had.  She never slowed down for a second though... she never does.  She continued to ricochet off the walls and stairs and furniture, and just had the runs for a day.

Thinking we'd finally gotten past the worst of it, I then came down with a horrid wretched cold that laid me up for a couple of days.  I've seldom had a worse one.

Then just as I started to improve, Rocky came down with an upper respiratory infection.  He suddenly got sneezier and snottier than I was.  I guess some upper respiratory ailments in cats are actually viruses that can stay in their systems for life.  I kind of wonder if the steroids suppressed his immune system like they do in humans.  But the advice we got was to "isolate him from the rest of the cats."  Ok, not a problem, we figured we could put him back in his attic.  After all, he was once the Attic Ghoul, and loved it up there.

Not so much now.

After a night of incessant yowling, and a busy day of trying to destroy my woodwork, paint and carpeting, I give up.  The rest of the healthy beasts are going to have to take their chances with Sneezy.  He's gotten a fair bit better already.  I'm going to hope he's no longer contagious.

The month's vet bills have surpassed the $1,000 mark, Wednesday still has to go back for urinalysis, and several pets are still due for vaccines.  And that's not taking into account the cost of having to recarpet the attic stairs.


It's a darn good thing they're cute.  DARN good, I tell you.

Speaking of cute, this is Pippin's way of letting us know he wants to come in.  He sits on the railing outside and peers in at us.  It makes me jump - I never expect to see a feline head up that high.  Here's hoping his extreme cuteness helps make up for some of the other less joyful aspects of pet ownership.


Photographing with my Guts

>> Sunday, January 15, 2012

I admit I was enjoying the eternal autumn as opposed to winter.  40 degrees and sunny in January?  No snow?  Yes, please.

However, I confess that a sticky snowfall followed by a single digit day of strong sunshine is breathtakingly beautiful.  These are shots I took this afternoon, some in my yard, and some only a mile or two from my house in the nearby countryside.

I took 187 shots in total, and put 23 up here.  That's a pretty good ratio for me.  I love digital photography because it's so inexpensive to take photos and there's no guilt associated with not using ones I don't like because they don't cost me anything.  I take at least 20 times as many photos as I ever use - probably far more.

So if I take that darn many, how do I select the ones I use?  My photo editing and selecting process is very visceral.  The ones that make the cut are the ones that give me an emotional response.  They make something tighten or tingle in the pit of my stomach, or the best photos are the ones that cause me to stop breathing for a moment.  When I feel that, I know I have captured something worthwhile.  At a minimum, selected photos have to make me feel.  And then all I can do is hope that my readers have a similar response to at least some of them.

For this photography adventure, I was accompanied by my whole support team including spouse and both dogs, but the Bean was the most enthusiastic companion, eagerly sniffing the fresh cold air for interesting scents, and assaulting me with her tongue every time I ventured within range.

I hope you, my dear readers, enjoy a few of these.  If you would like to see them as a slide show without all the surrounding distraction of my blog layout, just click on the first one, then flip through them.  If you are curious, my favorite one is the barn window. 


A Doggie Test of Wills and Some Pictures

>> Monday, January 9, 2012

It's disturbingly un-January-like around here these days.  Being a non-winter person, I confess I am loving sunny, 40+ degree days and lack of snow.  There's a part of me that worries though, about what this weather means about climate change, and what it means for increased flea and tick problems, and whether it means we'll still have snow on the ground in July.  I mean, we have to pay for this somehow, right?

Anyway, enough winter philosophizing.  An update:

Our Christmas flew by in a positively mad whirlwind of activity, and then my husband left town to spend some time with his family in South Carolina, leaving me home with our zoo all by myself for the better part of a week.

The 5 cats are not a problem.  They kind of do their own thing.  Although at the moment we have discovered we've got a carpet pee-er, and I'm not entirely sure which cat to blame, or which cat to take to the vet.  And when I'm the only human around I sometimes wish I could clone myself so that one of me could get some sleep while the other spends much of each night snuggling with each needy cat in turn. But aside from those minor factors, and the occasional hairball, the cats aren't much bother.

The dogs are a lot more work.  For the most part, Phoebe and I get along just fine.  She's a good girl, and has largely outgrown the worst of her puppy misbehaviors (although she did eat a pen on the rug one evening, leaving a puddle of black ink on the cream carpet and grinning up at me with blue-black teeth). On the whole, though, she behaves.  She does what I ask her to with enthusiasm.

Simon and I, however, should never be left home together for an extended period of time without supervision.  We seriously get on each other's nerves.

This happens every time Seth leaves town for a few days.  Simon starts off being his usual stubborn self, but day by day, his response times get slower and slower when I tell him to do something.  I can stand at the top of the stairs and tell him to come, and he'll sit at the bottom of the stairs and look at me.  Then scratch his left ear.  Then nibble on his right front paw.  Then look at me.  I'll tell him to come again, sounding more exasperated.  Then he'll look at me.  And scratch his right ear.  And still sit there.

By the end of Seth's time away, I was starting to worry my neighbors must think I'd lost my mind.  I was all-out bellowing at Simon daily. He got into the garbage, he pooped on the rugs, and he refused to do anything I asked him to do.  He even took to refusing bribes of treats.  Then the day before Seth was due to come home, he escaped the leash, refused to come when I called him, and when I finally recaptured him and tried to bring him back home he tripped me, then pulled so hard on the leash that he was pulling me face-first down the icy sidewalk.  I didn't know whether to scream "Simon!  I'm going to kill you!"  or just give up and say "Hyah!  Mush!" and make him drag me home.

The little $#!*

When Seth finally walked in the back door, I believe I said something to the effect of "Hi honey.  Glad you're home.  They're yours."


It's funny how very much Simon is Seth's dog and Phoebe is mine.

Anyway, all this winter sunshine is conducive to some lazy sunny winter day photography.  I found the pups snoozing in the sun on the spare bed, and took advantage of their cuteness.  If you've seen much of my photography, you know I love to play with sunshine and shadow.  I suppose it's no coincidence I took far more photos of Phoebe than of Simon.  I think I'm still holding a grudge against him.

This pic of Phoebe cracks me up.  Something about her in it reminds me of Zuul, from Ghostbusters.  I expected her to say "I am the gatekeeper":

But then she looks at me like this, and reminds me more of a bat:

Simon, drooping:

Bat and droops:

Simon looking his most handsome:

This is akin to the look I get when she knows she's in trouble:

I simply love this last one.  She looks so contemplative:


  © Blogger templates Shiny by 2008

Back to TOP