Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hot tub kitty

Mango is a geriatric cat that lives at our clinic. Normally he is grouchy (try picking him up and he'll hiss and swat at you) but he sure loves his baths.

Our kennel person lets Mango soak and keeps the tub filled up with warm water. He thinks Mango likes it because it helps his old joints.

It's a strange sight. Most dogs aren't this good!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Getting ink done

Okay, the truth has to come out some time.

One of the reasons that my friends and I took a trip to San Antonio was to get a tattoo. We didn't have to go all the way to Texas to permanently disfigure our bodies but it sounded like a lot of fun and we're young and crazy so ...

Actually, let me back up. We are no longer young and not really crazy. That doesn't mean to say we can't have lapses in judgement!

I didn't know what to get. A busty barmaid on my right shoulder? A thick skull on fire with a snake crawling out of the eye socket? Stewie from The Family Guy? Of course, I am more of a Simpson's fan. There were so many options. I wanted something significant. Something that would mean something to me when I'm 85 and wondering how my life went down the crapper. I had to put some effort into my choice so I googled Tattoo. This helped me narrow down my choices to 3,567,850,599 in less than 2 seconds. At least it was a start.

After a couple of days, I finally settled on the Nautical Star on my upper back. It's an old sailor symbol that represents the North Star or the Southern Cross (depending on which side of the equator you're on) which the sailors used to navigate home safely. Taking this a little further, it has come to signify finding one's way in life. This is perfect. I'm a little lost in my own life and I need to find direction. Having this symbol etched in my back was somehow going to help me in my quest.

I also liked the fact that this is the Texas Lone Star, which was appropriate since I was getting it done in that state. Being Canadian, this seemed a little weird but I figured I could always get a maple leaf tattoed on my chest if I suddenly felt un-patriotic. Maybe there was a two-fer special going on.

We settled on a tattoo parlor that seemed clean and non-threatening. I didn't want anyone named Bubba attacking me with dull instruments from a dirty table. We made a good choice with Platinum Tattoo and Piercing.

Our first visit was just to set up an appointment. We chose Andy as our artist who seemed really great. We looked through his portfolio and it showed his cool artwork as well as pictures of him being suspended by hooks in his back. Who knew that human skin was so tough? I made a mental note to ask him why he would want to prove this point.

We returned to the location two days later. I was a little nervous. I'm not a fan of pain. I don't like it when they take my blood at the doctor's office. If I stub my toe, I scream. If I have a headache, I run for the advil. I do have one tattoo already; I got that 12 years ago and I still remember the sensation. It's like having a jagged piece of glass scraped into your skin. I wasn't looking forward to this feeling again and unfortunately this tattoo would be larger than the last one.

My friend went first. She wanted a tattoo of a butterfly on her hip.

It took TWO HOURS! My friend is a lot tougher than I am but there were times I could tell it really hurt. I stood and watched the whole time. I found it oddly fascinating.

It turned out to be a fleshy work of art.

My other friend went next. Hers was very simple. Two chinese characters that signify integrity.

It was my turn. I was trying to act like a man so my grimacing was barely noticeable.

There was a picture of Johnny Cash in front of me. I was trying to think of all the suffering that he went through in his life so that I could forget about mine.

It didn't work.

My back was getting drilled.

I don't know how long it took but I was very happy when it was over. And it looked good. I had a fear that the star was going to be crooked or Andy couldn't stay within the lines or he would add flames or ...

Phew. It was what I wanted.

Thanks Andy!

Now I have to wash it, and moisturize it and keep it out of the sun just like a newborn baby. It's a hard place to reach but I went through a lot to get it so I'm damn well going to look after it.

They say tattoos are addicting. Will I get another one? Hmmm. I don't know. I'll think about it ...

But not for another 12 years.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Party in San Antonio!

Last week, two friends and I took a side trip out of our routine life and spent an extended weekend in San Antonio, Texas.

Why San Antonio? We wanted to go somewhere where none of us had been. Somewhere interesting. Large enough so that we wouldn’t get bored yet small enough so we wouldn’t be overwhelmed. San Antonio was a great choice; there is the famous Riverwalk, it is very pedestrian friendly, the people are inviting, the weather is great during this time of year, the food is awesome and it is culturally interesting. Don’t forget The Alamo!

If you’ve never been, I have to show you in pictures. Words don’t do this city justice.

Flower garlands for those feeling particularly festive.

And someone was even brave enough to wear this hat.

La Margarita in Market Square. Mexican food and great people watching.

A tree, just in case you were trying to figure it out.

Have fat friends. They make you look skinny.

The Riverwalk. Lots of restaurants, bars, shops and tourists. One night we ate at Dicks where the waiters insult you and you get to insult them back. Let me tell you; that place sucked.

The river is only three to five feet deep. This is a huge benefit if you're staggering home at 3 am and fall in.

The Alamo. A sign of Texas bravery and its most famous landmark.

A fountain at the Alamo. Not very exciting but it's peaceful, don't ya think.

Ya'll come back real soon!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dusty on drugs

UPDATE ON DUSTY (I know everyone in cyberland is breathlessly awaiting this so I thought I would take time out of my busy evening to spread the news).

I thought FOR SURE (I live in the Valley so this wording is quite acceptable) that Dusty had Addison's disease. This is a condition which happens when the adrenal glands don't produce their proper hormones and the affected dogs have vague signs such as vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia. On the bloodwork, the electrolytes and the kidney values can be abnormal and the disease is confirmed with a blood test called the ACTH stimulation test. This is an expensive test and requires that the dogs are poked with a needle three times.

Dusty's bloodwork looked very suspicious for Addison's and his clinical signs fit so I performed the ACTH stimulation test. Did I tell you how much Dusty hates needles?

This morning I got the results back.


I can't tell you how much this news sucked. Addison's disease is expensive to treat but the dogs do very well almost immediately. I felt completely defeated that I didn't have an easy answer. Unfortunately, the other possibilities for Dusty aren't so nice. I requested an ultrasound today and it revealed small kidneys, which I already knew about. This probably means that Dusty has either a stomach ulcer or inflammation in his esophagus (or both), along with his kidney insufficiency. This combination of problems is much harder to treat than Addison's disease. Looking on the bright side, there is no evidence of cancer.

He is currently on a variety of meds and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he will feel better very soon and start eating his proper diet. As old as he is, I'm taking each day at a time.

I decided to sedate Dusty for the ultrasound. He enjoys his controlled substances and slept most of the day. Even when he came home, he was zoning and spent an hour staring at a blank wall.

Unfortunately, he did not get the munchies once, damnit.

This is Dusty. This is Dusty on drugs. In all honesty, there is not much difference between the two.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Got spoon?

Dusty is my 15 1/2 year old Pekingese who has been my faithful companion for many years.

Sadly, he is not in the best of shape. He has a bad back, failing kidneys, and only one eye. I'm not sure how he lost his eye; I adopted him as a half-blind senior pet about eight years ago. His deteriorating back and kidneys are just a result
of old age.

He's such an incredibly tough guy. He never seems grouchy, never demands attention and these days, he's quite happy to sleep on a pile of my clothes. I'm fortunate that I can take him to work with me and he has become such a part of my morning routine that I can't imagine a life without him.

Unfortunately his appetite has been quite poor lately. He is supposed to be eating a special kidney diet and although I usually mix in some chicken, even that has not stimulated his desire to eat this past week. He only weighs eight pounds on a good day and he used to weigh ten. He can't afford to lose any more weight.

Today, I decided to fix him a delicious breakfast. At least I thought it was delicious. Kidney diet (okay, he's gotta eat SOME of this), A/D (a special food for sick pets), Beneful chicken medley (just a spoonful for a treat), and Trader Joe's chicken. Sounds pretty good right? Not to Dusty. He looked at it and walked away. It broke my heart to see him so disinterested.

Being the klutz that I am, I dropped the wooden spoon that I used to mix his breakfast on the floor. I didn't pick it up right away because I am also a lazy bastard.

But go figure. THIS is what Dusty wanted. He started gnawing on the wooden spoon like a goddamn beaver. He spent over half an hour chomping and licking the utensil while his delicious breakfast spoiled next to him. Being the Youtube generation, I had to film it.

I should also mention that Dusty tried to eat a bar of expensive soap that was lying on the floor. Apparently soap tastes better than chicken when you have crappy kidneys.

Now I'm looking around the room in search of something that Dusty might find edible; my rubber duckies, my cellphone, highlighters, candles, pens ... I have a feeling this is going to be a very strange taste-test but damnit, I just want him to eat!


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Carpet Monkey

Ultimate Doggie Fashion!

Just when you thought everyone was done talking about this year's Academy Awards, I have decided to bring some of the memories back.

But the good memories. Not the boring-acceptance-speech bad memories.

Do you recall the dresses that some of the women were wearing? Well, someone has decided to make them into doggie couture!

I know. I know. Your precious Pug or sexy Shih Tzu can be a little starlet and be the prize-winner to your heart!

Check out and click under The Red Carpet Collection. They have doggie designs in the dress styles of Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba and Jennifer Garner. For the male dogs, you can either go with the transexual look or The George Clooney.

They ain't cheap but when it comes to showing off at the dog park, is cost really a concern? Not in Los Angeles!

Looks trumps dollars every time, even when it comes to your pet.