8 years old today and a clean bill of health

Miley turned 8 today, and she also received some good news at the vet today: Her TTA is officially a success and she can begin to do what she did before the surgery.

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Natural History

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CucumberGate, Terror, Abuse, and You

So by now you’ve all seen the videos, right? A person places a cucumber behind a cat who’s blissfully chomping away on some food. The cat turns around, spots the sinister gourd, and jumps about five feet in the air.

The first thing that happened was that a bunch of people thought it was funny and shared it all over the internet.

The second thing that happened was a bunch of experts chimed in warning about how this wasn’t a benign thing, that cats could be permanently scarred, and that people should not do this to their own cats. The Huffington Post called on a cat behaviorist for advice. The AVMA put out a position statement on the controversial topic.

The third thing that happened was another group of people shared the second group’s warnings and began fighting with the first group of people who thought it was funny, and now we have CucumberGate.

Now granted, while I don’t think intentionally scaring other people or animals is a particularly nice thing to do, is it really worth getting all that upset about? Does one startle cause permanent psychological damage?

I unintentionally scare the crap out of my dog every day. Whether it’s a belt on the floor or the vacuum, he worries. Then he gets over it. My kids have been traumatized by Santa Claus from birth until age at least age 5. The first couple of times it was unintentional, then I knew what was coming and did it anyway because #tradition. They still say Christmas is their favorite holiday.

image

I didn’t have any cucumbers in the house this morning, so I took out a zucchini. I felt comfortable doing this for a couple reasons- first, Penelope is a fearless cat. Second, she’s been watching me cut up zucchini for months now and I thought it was an acceptable risk. As you can see, she didn’t give two hoots, which is exactly what I assumed would happen. If she did get startled, well, I guess I would be a horrible person, but it wouldn’t be the first time I made the wrong call.

Bottom line:

  1. People who don’t think it’s funny aren’t humorless doofs. It’s good to care.
  2. People who do think it’s funny aren’t sadistic psychopaths.

Unless you’re saying world famous animal advocate and voice of Dory herself is a psychopath, then we’re all screwed:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Yeah, it’s not the kindest way to conduct yourself, but life goes on, right? While I have no problem with people voicing a little, “hey, maybe this isn’t the nicest thing,” I worry when people call something like this animal abuse because we animal lovers have a hard time getting taken seriously sometimes as it is.

I struggle with “that’s not nice” getting conflated with “abuse”, because if that’s where we’re drawing the line I have a few Christmas photos I need to burn before CPS sees them. And so do about 9000 people on Awkward Family Photos.

 

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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I Think SoCal is Pretty Much Screwed This Winter

If you haven’t heard the news, we here in Southern California are finally starting to see the effects of the massive, gargantuan El Nino the likes of which we have not seen in our lifetimes. And I think it’s going to be ugly.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Every time we deal with a natural disaster, everyone runs out and gives people tips for preparing and being ready and most people do one or two things but the reality is, there’s only so much time in the day and so many disasters one can prepare for without going full on survivalist. At some point you have to get on with your day and hope you’re not separated from your family when the Big One hits.

The more likely you are to suffer a disaster, the more likely you are to prepare for that particular situation. All Californians know what to do in an earthquake; it’s drilled into us starting with kindergarten (as were nuclear meltdown drills in the 80s when I lived by the San Onofre plant, but in retrospect I’m not sure what good hiding under a desk would have done, really.) The beach roads by my house are helpfully marked with convenient evacuation routes for tsunamis. And after last year, when my kids were whisked out of school while a massive wildfire bore down on my neighborhood, I also revised my wildfire plan. 

earth

I figured since I knew what to do for earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, floods, and nuclear core meltdowns, I had all my bases covered and could relax and enjoy the thunder a little without worrying too much, right?

But no one ever taught me what to do about a tornado.

Around noon yesterday, I got a call from my kids’ school that due to the thunder and lightning, they were not letting kids walk out to their parents like they usually do and each of us would have to individually pick up our kids in the car pickup line or park and go into the school. Fine, I thought, and showed up 45 minutes early to get a spot in line.

About 10 minutes after that, I get a panicked text from my daughter that one of her counselors received a tornado warning on her cell phone.

“Don’t worry,” I texted back. “She probably lives out in the boonies somewhere.”

“SHE LIVES HERE,” she texted back, followed by 10 crying emojis.

Then my phone buzzed. “Tornado warning until 3:45 in your area,” it said. “Seek cover immediately.”

Now by this point all the parents in the parking lot are grabbing their buzzing phones like a scene out of a Steven King movie, looking at each other with a quizzical “What the heck does this mean” look. What’s a warning? Does that mean it’s a little windy? Or does it mean an F-3 is bearing down on our little line of cars?

Meanwhile, my daughter- who has been studying geology in school and has a deep and abiding fear of all natural disasters including tsunamis, super volcanos, and the San Andreas fault, is calling me in tears because she got the text as well and now she’s convinced we are all going to die, and I am trying to reassure her everything is fine while a small part of me started thinking about tying myself to the flagpole with a slip lead.

Being the cautious  type, I pulled out of the pickup line and parked the car so I could go inside the sturdy concrete environs of the school and join a teeming mass of alarmed parents, none of whom knew what a tornado warning actually meant. A smaller but hardier number remained stubbornly in the parking lot, because in the Southern California school jungle, The Wicked Witch of the East fate is an acceptable risk when it comes to giving up a prime spot in the pickup line.

My daughter requests that we not leave the school grounds until the tornado warning expires, which happens about half an hour later. Most people do not wait, rolling their eyes at the National Weather Services’ overabundance of caution and running off into the winds, umbrellas inside out. I learn later that most of the county schools were ordered to shelter in place, but not us. Fortunately for all involved no tornado actually materialized, because it probably would have eaten up the vast majority of minivans in the region, leaving no one standing but the school principal and us, while my daughter says, “Told you so.”

On the way home, my phone buzzed again. FLASH FLOOD WARNING, it said. STAY INSIDE. There at least was something I knew what to do with. Avoid creeks.

I came home to find poor Brody curled in our laundry room, the only windowless room in the house. My friends in the midwest reassure me that a tornado warning is a big deal and instead of playing Bejeweled in the car one is supposed to run to the center of the house- in my case, our laundry room- and pull a mattress over your head.

My point in all of this is, you can prepare all you want but there’s still always going to be something you just never thought you needed to be able to handle, and that’s probably what is going to get you. And when that happens-

If that happens-

Look to your dog for guidance. He’s the only one with any sense.

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Judge: Uber's E-Hails Are Legal, Taxi Industry Must Be "Wary"

Judge: Uber's E-Hails Are Legal, Taxi Industry Must Be "Wary"
And I'll schill for Uber, Lyft and the others: I like their cars: neat, clean, new and the price is right and includes the tip. They never ask me directions and they don't drive like maniacs. Even the greenies that use Uber, or don't use Uber, while
Read more on Gothamist

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May 19, Best Dog Food Guide | Learn then Choose What’s Best for Your Dog

Want the best dog food for your beloved pet? Reasons to switch dog food brands. Get informed today.
Dog Food Blog | Best Dog Food Guide

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Baby Emmett is Here!

Finally! Emmett Hunter Williams was born at 9:22 PM on Saturday, January 9th, after a (much easier than the last time) 12 hours of labor and just 11 minutes of pushing. He was 8 pounds, 10 ounces (I have big babies, man) and 21 inches long. And he is completely amazing. Best of all, his big sister is in love.

Robbie came across the name Emmett one day while searching for baby names and we both loved it. We recently learned Emmett means “whole” or “complete” – pretty perfect considering this little dude officially completes our family. (We gave him the middle name Hunter after his daddy, who also has the middle name Hunter, a family name.) We now have two E’s and can’t wait to start our adventures as a family of four.

I’ll share more (including his birth story, just like I shared Essley’s) eventually, but for now I’m absolutely exhausted and looking forward to having some down time with our new little man during my maternity leave. As I said in my last post, there will continue to be posts here while I’m off, so be sure and stop back by. And thank you for following along on my pregnancy (and now new baby) journey!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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What are the most destructive and least destructive dog breeds?

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Hey, guys, is this a dog or a bear? Internet mystery solved…

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Minimalism

I’m part of a group on flickr that gets a challenge every 2 weeks… This time around the challenge is minimalism.  So off Coulee, Marlin and I went to the university where there is a pretty cool sculpture thing I thought we could use.  It is nothing like what I normally shoot, but I quite like it!

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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Great article! It's somewhat funny to me becau…

Great article! It's somewhat funny to me because our pit got sprayed by a skunk, tore a nail, and broke out in hives all within a two-week span. I will be trying the benadryl for the hives. Have you ever run into severe dry skin issues with your pits? Ours scratches her face until she bleeds. She also gets something similar to diaper rash between her legs and belly during the winter/spring. And she just started licking her paws CONSTANTLY over the past year. I found an aloe spray for dogs that seems to keep the dry skin under control, but I have to apply multiple times a day, every day. It starts all over again if I miss a day.
BAD RAP Blog

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