One Year

>> Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It doesn't seem possible that Wembley has been gone for a year already. I wanted to write her a letter on the anniversary, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead, I've been working really hard on assembling the scrapbook I have devoted to her. It's full now, but I plan on adding four more pages.

She passed away on January 18th, 2010, at 2:15 p.m. January 18th, 2010 was also the same day my grandfather was put into a nursing home.

On January 18th, 2011, I sat on the floor of our bedroom and hugged Walter tightly, watching the minutes before and after pass on my phone.

Now that this monumental date is over, I feel relieved, oddly similar to the relief I felt after she passed. No more chemo. No more suffering. No more late night two hour drives to the animal hospital. No more worrying about whether or not she was internally bleeding to death or starving from not eating.

Now, it's no longer the year Wembley passed away.

Soon it will be one year since we rescued Walter, and rescued Ava. And Bella the pit bull, who is thriving in the home we found for her (and I get updates on). And one year since I fell in love with the deaf white cat who turned out to be an absolute diva. One year since taking Rhoda out of the horrible cages of Animal Control.

All of these small milestones are because of Wembley, an angel alive and an angel now.


Feeding Time At the Zoo

>> Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's no surprise that I am often asked this question: How do you feed all of those animals? Not meaning the cost, but meaning the method. It is not easy, but now that I'm working from home, we have a pretty good system that the dogs and cats are used to. In fact, they are so used to it that if I decide to sleep in, it just doesn't happen, because they wake me up, ready to eat.

The cats do not sleep with us. I feel bad about this, because Piper loved sleeping on my legs, and Aurora prefers to sleep on Alan's back. With Quincy sleeping with us now, and Walter's new habit of jumping into bed with us early in the morning (he prefers his orthopedic dog bed), and Reagan above the pillows, the bed is quite full. Rhoda is the reason we can't have the cats in the room. She is so affectionate and purrs constantly. Touch her, she purrs. Her favorite place to sleep is snuggled up to either one of our necks. Her purr is just too loud and she is too pushy with her snuggling to get any sleep, so now we keep the door closed. I did catch Rhoda and Piper sleeping in a ball on the chair, so I know they are okay with it.

Moving on- the morning is hectic. The earlier I get up, the better, because if it's too early the dogs won't be crazy and ready to go. Around seven-thirty or eight, they start to get antsy, hungry, and ready to go outside. Anything earlier than that they will sleep.

The dogs go outside first thing, and while they're doing their business and romping around, I keep an eye on them (we don't have a fence) and feed the cats. This is where I need some fine tuning. The cats act like they are dying of starvation in the morning, and surround me until I feed them. Aurora gets fed in the bathroom because she eats soft food (she's a diva and refuses hard food most of the time), while Piper and Rhoda eat in the kitchen or on the cat tree. While they eat, I prepare the dog bowls.

The dogs have a vitamin routine and they all eat different portions of food. I measure those out, put them in the bowls (Reagan eats out of a barrier bowl so she doesn't eat too fast), put the vitamins in the right bowls (They have three of the same, but Walter and Reagan have a couple additional vitamins for joints), and mix in a little bit of soft food for Walter, because he's as fussy as Wembley was and doesn't like eating his vitamins without something tasty. By the time all of this happens, the dogs are ready to eat and usually gathered on the back porch.

I let the hungry trio in, and they get fed. They are used to this system now, and if they stray from it they get frustrated and act crazy, as Alan usually finds out on the weekends (he gives me a feeding break).

Night feeding is WAY easier, because they usually get a treat here and there, and they're worn out from playing.

Sometimes it feels like madness, but in general it is a good system. I want to find an easier way to feed the cats. I won't just plunk a bowl of food down in the basement and have them free feeding all day, but I'm thinking a lunch portion is needed when the dogs are outside, just to alleviate their dramatic antics!


The Chi Pack in 2010

>> Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Things sure have changed with our pack in 2010, for the good and bad.
On January 18th, 2010, our angel left us. It has been difficult for us to adjust with life without her, but more for Reagan than anyone else.

On February 18th, we rescued Walter. He was scared, abused, had an eye tumor, wasn't fully housebroken, and didn't know any tricks at all. He didn't like men. He dove onto the dog bed shelf the first time we brought him to Petsmart, because he wanted to hide. He peed everywhere out of fear. He was nearly euthanized in a dog pound, scared and alone.

Today, Walter is truly an amazing dog! He is sweet and loving, and has been my therapy dog this year. When I'm in a panic about Wembley, I look at him and know he is the silver lining. He isn't afraid of men as much as he was before. He loves children. His eye tumor has been removed, and his coat is long and beautiful. He begs for food when he shouldn't. He knows how to sit now, and he is fully housebroken. He runs and plays with the girls. He is finally just being a DOG. And most importantly, he is alive. He is happy. Above all, he is loved.

In April we adopted Aurora. It took her a day to adjust to being in a new house. She loves dogs, and likes Rhoda, but is still a little lukewarm with Piper. Piper wants to be friends, and can't seem to figure out why Aurora is such a queen. Because of her deafness, she is fearless. Alan is her favorite.

In August, we rescued Rhoda from the evil gas chamber at animal control. She is thriving in kittenhood after a little bit of a rough start due to a kitty cold and a case of fleas (luckily, they were gone before she came home and we did not have an infestation!). Rhoda is very affectionate and purrs constantly!

Reagan is healthier than ever. She's lean, strong, and hasn't had any episodes with her hip dysplasia since we found out she had it. I credit this to a regiment of glucosamine, good dog food, vitamins, and exercise. She is more of a "bad dog" now that Wembley isn't here to provide a good example, but that's part of Reagan's charm.

Piper is loving having Rhoda as a playmate. They are best friends. Piper has been an incredible mother figure to Rhoda too, teaching her the ways of the cat world. It's hard to believe Piper is only a year and half old. She's thriving and active, but still a skittish around strangers.

We're looking forward to another thriving new year, full of health, love, and lots of treats. :)



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