Monday, October 27, 2008


How is this possible? This semester I'm homeschooling my three energetic kids, taking 13 upper-level credit hours, and working part-time (writing). But that's not enough, right? No, I'm also getting ready to take the GRE and apply to grad school, I've started a cat rescue (thank goodness non-profit paperwork still doesn't hold a candle to DIY divorce paperwork), I'm writing all the lessons for the UU Sunday school and am responsible for recruiting teachers if I don't want to teach all the classes myself, I'm getting the kids to story time and homeschool group every week (the homeschool group I started is 3 years old now!), I'm still volunteering at the animal shelter,
I'm cultivating friendships (and they are blossoming nicely), I'm incredibly informed about the election (more than ever before in my life) and have already mailed in my ballot, and I recently realized that I've been a single mom for almost 4 years already.

Marian is almost 9 and is growing on the inside every day. She thinks a lot, has an incredible vocabulary, a wicked sense of humor, and a deep love for humorous poetry. Leo is 6.5 and is developing his photography skills (on the sly), is an excellent masseuse, and an avid debater. Sophie is turning five this week and is crazy smart but not academic, incredibly sneaky, funnier than hell, and she pulled a kitten into the bathtub with her today. The three of them are amazing little people and I am honored to spend my days with them and share my life with them.

Now, to lighten things up...

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The kitten whisperers





The Best Blog on the Internet

Although I admit I may be a bit biased.

Still. Check it out!

Best Blog EVER

A Wandering Wednesday

I've spent my evening lost in a cloud of terms like technocratic thinking, the irrationality of rationality, center-periphery differentiation, and juggernauts. I've since surfaced and now my mind is filled with the future, a good one. Hope and promise and warm fuzzies. Sociology is left far behind for the evening.

How in the world have I become such an optimist? It awes me some days, but I'm not complaining. I spent years long ago wishing I could die, and now I'm terribly excited about life. Joyous children, blossoming friendships, and a promising future.

I sometimes miss certain people being in my life. But then I think, "Their loss" and I'm just fine again. My cup is full.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rest in Peace, Monty

Monty died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday night, after an evening full of snuggles and love. He went peacefully, after sending his last days surrounded by warmth and love.

I called his former owner, and took his body back to her. We wrapped him in a fabric chosen by Marian and a light blanket chosen by his previous owner that he had loved in his younger years. We buried him together in her front yard, and she thanked me profusely for all I had done. Her husband gave me a gift of a large bag of pinon nuts.

I'd hoped his time would be longer, but I know his time was right. It's as though as soon as he knew he was safe and could relax, he was finally able to let go of his weak little body.

Goodbye, Monty. Thank you for coming into my life.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Settling in and Making Friends



More about Monty

Okay, so he can’t see much or hear at all. His breath reeks, his skin is scaly, his eyes are crazy lopsided, and he walks funny. But you know what? He loves warmth, he loves food, he loves being petted on his neck, head, and chest, he loves the sling and peeking out or snuggling in, he loves napping on laps of any size while wrapped up in something soft. He loves. His tail is rising. And he’ll definitely never win the World’s Ugliest Dog contest.

He growled at the dogs at first, but now is making a friend of Idgie.

Idgie is very curious and friendly with him. I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets as maternal with him as with the bottle-baby kittens. She likes to give him kisses and notices his every move.


The kids are very gentle as they provide laps.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monty Alex.

Well, the vet check was informative.

Monty weighs just 2.5 pounds, and he should weigh about six. I came in with him a “senior” and left with “about 15 years old.” She confirmed that he's fully blind in one eye and partially blind in the other. His “good” eye has a small cataract and probably some glaucoma (which can create tumors that push the eye forward). The vet said I’d know better than her if he’s deaf, and he is. Pretty much completely.

He does NOT have mange, which is a big YAY. Just major skin irritation, which I’ll work on at home. His teeth are grody and his breath is bad. They trimmed his toenails (we had to untwist two of his toes first), and the clippings were quite impressive. His gimpy leg shows signs of an old injury and luxating patella (uber-loose kneecap), and his hips are arthritic. He’s too frail to go under anesthesia, so his eye and teeth will stay as is. He’s probably in some discomfort sometimes, but does not seem to be suffering.

Blood work looks good, except for barely declining kidney function, and the numbers may have been thrown off a bit due to his dehydration. They gave him a bunch of subcutaneous fluids and he started to look comically like a water balloon. It was quite impressive. Monty’s got a LOT of skin. He was less than thrilled with the procedure, but can’t bite hard enough to hurt anyone.

He’s got some time left and I think he wants to live it. I agree with the vet’s pronouncement that what he needs most is a warm home with a soft bed, soft food, and lots of love. She also admitted that even if he'd escaped from a home, it's not a home he should go back to. This was timely, as some of the vet clinic staff recognized him. (This specific veterinarian is new to the valley and the clinic.) Apparently I was not the first concerned animal lover to pick him up and bring him in. (None had done blood work, fluids, or nails before, though, so it wasn’t totally redundant.)

Monty has been brought as a stray either to this vet or the shelter (right behind it, where I volunteer) seven to nine times in recent months, by either animal control or animal-people like me. Once he stayed at the shelter for two weeks. And to my surprise, I learned that he was always returned to the owners, often with doorstep delivery. His owners always came looking for him eventually, and swore he was only skinny because he was old. My gut rebelled as images of his frantic feasting, long toenails, and blind self in the street flashed in my head. If he wasn’t being neglected, why would he be getting out so often? That in itself is neglect, when we’re talking about a 2.5-pound deaf and blind Chihuahua crossing one of the town’s main roads, or wandering loose at all. Repeatedly. Am I right?

(This town needs an animal cop. I don’t think our one animal control guy can conduct investigations or make arrests. I’ll be finding out more.)

When the regular Monty transporter was called to deliver Monty back to his owner, I offered to do it instead, and was thanked. I simply had to talk to the owner myself. Nobody had his past paperwork handy, but gave me a ballpark area and the wrong house color, and combined with the memory of where I found him, I was on my way.

I admit, though, I stalled a bit. As we hung out in the Sonic parking spot, I chewed on my cheap grilled cheese sandwich and chewed on my thoughts. I felt cranky and out of sort and stressed out and a bit anxious, wondering how this would turn out and fearing the worst. I did a drive-by of the house that had the potential Penny-sighting late last week, and then headed over to Monty’s neighborhood.

I talked to some neighbors as I tracked his home down. A family near where I found him said they regularly saw Monty out and about and pointed me in the right direction, about half a block away. Another neighbor pointed out his home across the street, but I stayed and talked with her a bit about the feral cats she feeds (that’s another post on another blog) and her own Chihuahuas who were yapping at the door.

Somehow, while talking to the neighbors, I succeeded in letting my stress and anxiety go and knew what to do. I would approach Monty’s owner with kindness and compassion and an offer to help. I crossed the street and knocked on Monty’s owner’s door, leaving Monty in the arms of my daughter in the car.

When three robust pugs swept the sixty-something short round-faced woman out into her figurine-festooned yard, I confirmed she was missing her dog, then locked eyes with her and asked if we could talk.

I firmly and gently told her what the vet had said regarding his weight, dehydration, and need for pampering, and shared my concern about him not being safely contained. I loved on her three healthy and well-loved pugs, admired her wind chimes, and listened to her talk. She talked about Monty's current life with her, asked my advice, and listened to my careful words. We ended our lengthy discussion with her tears on my shoulder, my arms around her, and an old little dog who will live the rest of his days in the love and warmth and safety of my home.

the inner sanctum of the snuggly sling dog

And the vet bill was only $66.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Definitely not a Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Alternately titled "Not Just on Animal Planet Cop Shows"

I doubt he could have made it to my house, so the Universe had him cross in front of my car several blocks from home. I thought Banjo was in bad shape physically, but holy hell, he didn't even compare to this guy.

The pictures are horrible because I was concentrating on him, not the camera. But you'll get the idea, sadly.

The smaller eye is almost totally white and terribly sunken. The other eye looks to be swollen beyond even the normal Chihuahua bug-eyes, but I admit the contrast between the two makes it hard to tell. He is clearly almost totally blind.

His ears have a terrible skin condition, and his inner ears are difficult to view. He responds to no noise at all; I think he's deaf.

He's missing most of his teeth and the ones remaining are in bad shape. That, combined with the grey on his muzzle lead me to think he's an old man. When I brought him home, I hoped that his age would explain his emaciation and that perhaps he was refusing to eat or something.

But, no. After dabbing food on his nose a few times, he began licking juice off my fingers, then suddenly seemed to realize that this was FOOD. There was nothing else in the world to him as this little starving guy ate his fill.




See how skinny he is? His back hips don't seem to work well, and his left leg is injured. His over-long nails speak to his neglect as well. My hope that he's merely an escaped elderly dog (can you say denial?) has flown away.

Chihuahuas are small, but emaciated Chihuahuas are even smaller. This is NOT a large cat.

I've seen a lot, but I'm just horrified. Did I mention I can even see every little bone in his tail? Am I the only one in tears?

I bought a scratch lottery ticket today for the first time in ages (no, not quite the non-sequiter it appears to be) and my $1 ticket won me $50. I'll be using it to take this old little guy to the vet tomorrow.