Category Archives: Pets

#sol20 March 9 A Slice of Mountain Mystery

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

The scene: A cabin nestled in the mountains, hours past sunset.

The facts: It was dark, it was late. We had enjoyed dinner on the screened-in deck and enjoyed the mystery of the noise we heard somewhere below the deck,  in the dark forest.  A few of us had spent some time looking into the woods to try to see what was making the noise. The kids were convinced it was a bear. I said, “It’s probably a rabbit. Stop worrying.”

There was one thing we had left in the van: Mr. Thought’s BiPAP machine.

Also, the dog had to pee.

Mr. Thought and I decide that we should go outside together. We had read the binder about the cabin — be watchful for wildlife!

We walk out with the dog and are about to walk up to open the sliding side doors when we see something in front of the van.

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We back back into the house before Finn notices, and we tell the kids to be quiet. We turn off all of the lights in the kitchen and look out the window.

“What is that?” we ask each other as we stare out the window.

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“It’s a bear.”

“Look,” I say. “It’s furry.”

The kids go berserk.  I mean, there is the crowding of the window, the loud shushing of others, the crying.

“How are we going to get your sleep stuff?”
“How will Finn pee?”
“Don’t go out there. You can’t go out there.”
“Call Animal Control!”

H says, “No. That’s just a rock! Look at the pictures we took before our walk!”

So we look at the pictures. But there only seems to be the wooden slab. No big rock.

Plus, it is furry. And breathing. And is that an eye? It is so hard to see out the window!

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Should we beep the van to make it move? But then we won’t know where it goes. Should we shine a flashlight at it? Is it sleeping? Should we knock on the window?

“Wait,” one of the kids says. Is this because I didn’t pick up my apple core?

Earlier, on our walk, we had put the apple core on the ground in front of our van – meaning to pick it up on the way back inside. But then we had forgotten.

Oops.

“Is it a rock?” Someone asks. “Or a bear?”

I text my parents.

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Mr. Thought devises a plan. He’ll go out the side porch to secure a door that is out there. This way, he can get a closer look – with screen door protection. I’ll stand by the window to get his thumbs down (It’s a bear) or thumbs up (It’s a rock!) and then we will know for sure.

The children do not like this plan. They can only think of bear attacks and death.

“Daddy. If you go out there and get killed by a bear, I’m going to be so mad at you!”

At some point, one of them googles what to do when you face a bear. They start reading us directions like “speak calmly, back away, do not run…”

We tell the kids to chill. Or maybe we yell at them to chill. I’m not saying it is our finest parenting moment. “Sit on the couch and let us figure this out, or go upstairs! We are the grown-ups!”

Then H remembers he has binoculars and runs upstairs to look from the window up there. The other kids follow.

“It’s a rock!” the kids shout, “It’s definitely a rock.”

But when L comes down and looks out the kitchen window again, she is unconvinced again.

We can see fur, and breathing, and is that an eye?

There’s only one way to find out. L sets her phone on the windowsill to capture the drama on video. Mr. Thought goes to the side porch. I watch as he slowly walks to the door that leads to the front.

Thumbs up.

It’s a rock.

A spotlight turns on from our movement, and it becomes obvious.

H says, “I told you! It’s a rock!”

Mr. Thought goes to get his stuff, I text my parents, they laugh.

We are so relieved – not only is it not a bear but now we have a story to go with the time our cat was missing right at the same time we had a mysterious large critter roaming our bedroom. . .

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#sol20 March 6 A slice in a Parking Lot

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

Listen, I admit it. I’m the kind of person you might look at funny in the parking lot of Trader Joes.

Listen, I admit it.  If I’m putting my groceries into my car, and I suddenly realize that I have been hearing a whining sound from behind me, I’m going to turn around.

Listen, I admit it. If I turn around and the whining sound stops, I’m going to pucker my lips out a little and start questioning the dog in the car beside me – the dog I didn’t notice before.

Listen, I admit it. I’m going to ask him if he just wanted attention. I’m going to say, “Was that you? Were you trying to say hello? What are you doing? You’re all serious now, aren’t you? Are you trying to pretend that wasn’t you whining a second ago?”

Listen, I admit it. I’m going to realize mid-speech that it maybe isn’t totally normal to be chatting with a dog you don’t know. I’m going to realize that people might not even see that there is anyone there – canine or human. I probably look like I’m talking to myself.

Listen, I admit it. After I realize this, I’m going to start talking again. “Oh!” I’ll say. “You are super cute even though you are trying to look all serious. What are you thinking about? Where’s your person? You’re such a good dog! A front seat dog!”

Listen, I admit it. I’m going to take a picture before I put my cart away…because look at that puppers!

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A Slice From my chair

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

 

From my chair (which is actually the nook of the couch) I see
Finnegan’s head popping up from my leg –
He’s just noticed the neighbor’s new puppy, Gus on a walk.
He will jump up any second, I think.
I can see Gus too.
But the light is getting dim out there.
The blinds should be closed by now.

From my chair (which is actually the nook of the couch) I feel
The heat of the fireplace –
I love to watch the flames, even out of the corner of my eyes.
I will turn it off soon, I think.
I can hear the sound of the fan too.
But it’s getting a little hot in here.
The fire should be off by now.

From my chair (which is actually the nook of the couch) I hear
The boys talking –
About bickering, “you can talk about bickering without bickering.”
I am told this as I type.
I can hear the oven beep too.
But I haven’t made the rest of dinner.
I should have fed my children by now.

From my chair (which is actually the nook of the couch) I see
Finnegan back on my leg –
Sleeping after his big adventure looking out the window.
I will have to move him soon.
He is all snuggled in too.
But I have to turn the fire off
And I need to feed the children now.

#sol18 March 27 The dog is crying

Slice of LIfe   

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

the dog is crying
in his crate
even though he's been sleeping in a crate
up until 6 weeks ago
when susie died 

the dog is crying 
in his crate
even though we moved it to the room he loves
because we didn't want him 
to be lonely

the dog is crying 
in his crate
even though I could really use a moment of peace
a moment that isn't a reminder
that I can't keep everyone happy

the dog is crying
in his crate
even though I gave him lots of love and a treat
as if to remind me,
"You didn't let your human babies cry it out."

#sol18 March 25 A sunny Sunday celebration slice (from my chair)

Slice of LIfe  celebrate-image 

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! I’m also celebrating with Ruth Ayres today! 

I sit to write at a sunny window. It’s quiet-ish around here, and I look around. From my chair, I see some lovely Sunday celebrations. I see…

H sitting next to me, his mini paper towels are complete, and he’s working on his mini Harry Potter Book. He sits chatting and singing Into the Woods songs, making miniatures.

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Finn,  somehow still downstairs, not staring at the the bedroom door trying to sniff out the kittens. He sees something outside and leaps to our rescue. I don’t know what it was. A bird? A neighbor? A leaf? We will never know.

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E,  drawing monsters in the kitchen. He has pages and pages of creative monsters he’s drawn. They have strengths, weights, evolutions, and awesome names. So many details, so much color.

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Things don’t stay the way they are for long. That’s the only thing that’s constant around here: Change.

E was frustrated with his pictures, he’s taking a break from his coloring. H is done with this miniature book, he’s searching for his next project. Finn is finally tired out enough to rest on his couch in the sun. (As he should be, since I took him out for a 2 hour walk…) And that, friends, is something to truly celebrate.

 

#sol18 March 24 Before That… Kitten Edition

Slice of LIfe

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

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Home to slice, before I go hang out with my dog, and then snuggle the new kittens.

Before that, we went out to dinner. I confess, I mostly wanted to go to get a little break from our dog, Finnegan whining about the new kittens.

 

Before that, we spent time trying to get Finnegan to calm down at the closed door where the kittens were playing.

Before that, I took Finn on an hour walk, hoping to tire him out a little.

Before that, Finnegan was crying at the door and straining at his leash to see those kittens.

Before that, we had the dog sniff the carrier holding a fluffy orange and white kitten. He stared a little, whined a little, and lunged a little. Fluffy kitten didn’t care — Didn’t even flinch.

Before that, we took the tiny tabby kitten in her carrier towards the house. Finn sniffed, and the cat hissed. She was scared!

Before that, we drove 2 kittens home from the shelter.

Before that, we sat at the shelter deciding. We knew we wanted the orange and white cat, but the little tabby sat on my chest, all curled in. She was purring.

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Before that, we walked in. The kids went to the orange and white fluffy cat they knew they wanted. A little tiny tabby cat stared up at me, so I picked her up.

Before that, the shelter volunteers told us two cats was better than one, and that it didn’t matter if we got one later.

Before that, we took our one pet carrier out of the car and walked into the shelter. We only needed one. Because we were only getting one kitten. The orange and white fluffy one.

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Before that, the pet supply store people told us that we should get one cat now and two cats later, rather than two cats now and one cat later.

Before that, I took a deep breath, reminded the kids that it was going to be a lot of work training Finnegan to ignore any new kittens.

Before that, the kids did so many things to remind me that they needed kittens. I didn’t argue. I  need cats in my life too!

Before that, I saw a quote online. “Sometimes the best way to honor the life of the pet you lost is to save another. . . Don’t wait too long, a shelter animal is waiting for you…”

Before that, we were a home without cats for the first time in a long time.

Before that, Susie passed away.

Before that, Billy passed away.

 

#Sol18 March 22 Finnegan’s Medicine

Slice of LIfe

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

Finnegan’s Medicine

The vet’s office said Finnegan would like his medicine.

“It’s in a chicken suspension, so it shouldn’t be a problem. He should like the taste,” they said.

I stared at the huge syringe and thought, ‘Ok.”

But, they were wrong.

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Yes, those are my Valentine’s Elmo socks. I wore them under my boots today.  Then, I had to throw my boots away because they are broken now. That’s a different slice. A sad slice. I was going to crop myself out of the picture, but then I thought, I should be my authentic self.

The vet was very, very wrong.

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I’m sure there’s a better way to do this.

Finally, most got in his mouth, but some did splash on the floor.

“UGH! Chicken juice on the floor!” my vegetarian family groaned.

Luckily, Finnegan did like the taste when it was on the floor.

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If he ever needs this medicine again, I plan on just pouring it on the floor.

Dogs are weird.

(But sweet and cute enough to make it up for it)

Celebrating Susie: A Cat’s Eulogy

celebrate-image So happy to Celebrate with Ruth Ayres this weekend! What are you celebrating

Celebrating Susie: A Cat’s Eulogy.

We’re so sad around here, crying still, although the time in between the tears grows each day. We are missing our cuddly, snuggly, soft, smart, kind girl. Trying to turn grief into celebration. A celebration of Susie…

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Susie was born at home. I wasn’t there, but I got an email from my startled husband who was surprised that the sound he heard coming from our closet was a newborn kitten. The video of that day shows my parents and Mr. Thought enjoying the magic of the new kittens, and you can faintly hear me on the phone saying “Okay! I have to go, my math class is about to start!”

Susie’s mom was named “Mama Mia.” Her siblings were Ernie and Billy (the kid-ten). Susie was the first kitten out of the box, and we knew she had to be named for a woman change-maker, so Susie B. Cat it was!

We were just fostering Mama Mia and her babies, and when they were old enough, I would pack them in their carriers and drive them to the shelter on Saturdays. Mia and Ernie were adopted on the first weekend, but I had several weekends of driving Billy & Susie to the shelter, sobbing the whole way there.  One Sunday, we got the call that we didn’t need to come to get the kittens — they had been adopted!

This was very upsetting “good news.”

Two days later, the shelter called us back. Susie and Billy had been returned.

We never knew why, but I thought it was fate: There was no way we would take these kittens back to the shelter! Of course, Mr. Thought had to agree. (Or, maybe he was just tired of all of my weekend sobbing!)

Billy and Susie were our first babies. They were snuggly, playful, social, curious, adventurous cats. Billy was white with grey spots, and Susie was black and white. When they were young they used to curl up together like a big fluffy yin yang symbol. Later as they got older, they each took a side of the couch for the naps.

I’ve met a lot of cats, and I admit to loving almost all of them. But Susie was a special one. Once we fostered some kittens during the holidays. Susie took care of them, and we called her “Aunt Susie.” When our children were little, they would chase, hold, snuggle and play with both very tolerant cats. Susie loved to play with the stick/feather toy. She could jump so high, that sometimes she’d actually do a backflip in the air!

It seemed as though Susie truly had 9 lives. Once a friend of one of the kids was over, and days later we found Susie hiding under the bed with a rubber band tied around her tail. Thankfully we caught it before any serious damage. Another friend brought Lilies over as a party gift, and when the kids at the sleepover noticed that Susie jumped off the dining room table and threw up, I took a midnight ride to the emergency vet. She scared us, and cost us over a thousand dollars… but thankfully, she came home healthy! One winter, we thought Susie was missing. My dad and I roamed the cold streets shaking cat food. 2 days later, we found Susie tangled in a blanket and stuck between our bed and the wall.

When Billy died 2 years ago, and we got a dog a couple months later, Susie just took a mature outlook on life. Every so often she’d come downstairs, or stare at the dog through the gate, but mostly she just hung out and snuggled in my daughter’s room.

In June the vet told us that Susie was a healthy cat, and not even just for being almost 16. “She’s a very healthy cat!”

Susie died at the vet last week. I wasn’t there to say goodbye. But my mom and dad were. They were close enough to drop everything and run to be by her side. I wish I could have been there, but I didn’t want her to be alone. My parents were there when she was born, and when she left. What an honor.

They said she looked up at them to say goodbye.

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A slice (or 2) of that crazy puppy, Finn

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

Sunday evening, I was sure I had a slice for this week. A puppy slice! That day, we had finally decided enough was enough with our couch. Sure, Finn loved to sleep on the couch. He loved to snuggle on the side, sometimes propped with pillows. It was adorable to watch him nest himself in for a long cozy puppy nap.

But, a few months ago, he spent a good deal of effort destroying parts of the couch. And even though he seems to have stopped that craziness, the couch did not heal.

So, we took the couch to the curb this weekend, much to Finn’s disappointment.IMG_6640

Then, we continued to try to teach Finn to sleep on his soft (and expensive) doggy bed. It’s the one he tried to eat 6 months ago, but will sometimes rest on for short amounts of time, when given a lot of praise.  Sometimes.

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At last, a little before Mother’s Day dinner, Finn did rest on his bed, after we covered it with his favorite blanket. (It used to be my favorite blanket, just saying.) But, then we got a wee bit distracted by dinner with my parents, and we might have left the dog in the family room with his bed a little bit too long.

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After watching us rake the family room (and sweep, and vacuum…Thanks, Mr. Thought), Finnegan decided he didn’t need any couches or beds, because he had our Ikea chair, and he had me to put a pillow under his head.

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So, I thought I had my slice about Finnegan, the crazy Puppy. Oh that puppy!

But then we took Finn to check out a doggy day care out in the country this afternoon. It was beautiful. A classic rolling hills farm:  green grass, blue sky, wonderful people. He ran around with a few dogs while we talked to the owner. The kids ran off with the owner’s kids to look at the kittens in the barn. Finn wasn’t annoyingly interested in the kittens — he just licked them hello and went on his merry way. Bucolic. Peaceful. Perfect.

And then he caught a rooster.

I watched in horror as he chased, then caught it in his mouth. “Oh, it’s just a rooster,” the woman said, highlighting the differences between my vegetarian family and her farm family. “He can kill the rooster.”

We tried to catch Finn, and the rooster did get a way, a few times. And then someone caught Finn, and the rooster walked slowly into the pasture. A pile of feathers was left behind.

“I’m so sorry!” I kept saying. My kids were wide eyed and her kids were smiling, “Oh, it’s okay. it happens all the time.”

“Does this get us kicked out of doggy daycare?” I asked.

She laughed and said, “No! When can he start?”

We met her husband and when I told him we were all vegetarian, he remarked, “Well Finn’s not!”

True. He’s not.

They thought the rooster would probably go off into the woods and die pretty soon.  I think the image of my sweet puppy running with a giant rooster in his mouth will not die soon enough.

Please, Finnegan, stick to killing couches and doggy beds.

 

#sol17 March 16 A slice of silence

Slice of LIfe

 

 I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for bloggingwithstudentsall of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing!

 

I’ve been reflecting lately about time. What do you do with the time you have? What do you do with the silence? What choices do you make? This poem feels unfinished, but for some reason I like the shape of it on the screen. I’m sure it will look different on a mobile version, but it swoops in a way here on my screen… so I’m calling it done. For now. 

It is silent in my house.
E is still sleeping upstairs,
Finn is sleeping on the couch,
Mr. Thought is working downstairs.

I have a pile of should do’s.
I got my grading out: I graded one paper.
I’m looking at the basket of laundry: I’ll fold it later.
The dishwasher needs to be emptied, and filled: You get the picture.

It is silent in my house.
E is still sleeping upstairs,
Finn is sleeping on the couch,
Mr. Thought is working downstairs.