Hi.

I have not written in about a year so I am not sure what prompted me to do a 2012 wrap up, but I suddenly decided I needed to get this year down in writing.

Remembering Basil, April 1994 – August 17, 2012

I adopted Basil in June of 1994, and he was my companion for just over 18 years. Basil was adopted from a humane society in Orange Park, Florida. A friend and I randomly went to the animal shelter just to visit. While in the kitten room, a little guy with the number 1064 around his neck hopped up on my lap. I didn’t consider myself a cat person, but after meeting little 1064, I knew I needed him as a kitty companion. Basil was a super mellow cat who traveled well and got along with every person and animal he met. A few years ago, we had trouble getting his hyperthyroidism under control and he became Radioactive Cat when he received radioactive iodine treatment. He became much healthier after treatment. Like many thyroid or just plain old cats, Basil developed kidney disease. We successfully treated it for about a year with at home fluid therapy, but he began rapidly declining in August. We had to make the decision to let him go. It was a horrible week, but in the end, he let us know that he was ready to say goodbye.

Diesel Love

A week before Basil passed away, I wrecked my car. I didn’t just wreck it, I totaled my car. I had gone home for lunch to check on Basil and Callie (more on Callie in a moment), and on my way back to work, I rear-ended a large Ford F250 in my wee little VW Golf. The accident involved a suddenly stopped left-turning car in front of the Ford F250. The Ford slammed on his brakes and I slammed on my brakes, but I didn’t have time to stop so I hit him. Fortunately, the guy I rear-ended was very kind. So, along with a sick cat and a sick dog, I had to go car shopping. I drove a Subaru Forester and an Outback. I was pretty sure I wanted a Subaru Forester. Then I drove a VW Jetta wagon. After several days of pros and cons, I decided that I wanted a VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI. I love it. This is my third VW: 1996 Golf, 2004 Golf and 2013 Jettawagen. If you count Clint’s 2000 Jetta, which he is still driving, it is our fourth VW.

Canine Seizures

Callie

In June, Callie had the first seizure that we witnessed. We now believe that she had been having them for a while and we just hadn’t witnessed one prior to June. She received a general diagnosis of epilepsy, and we eventually put her on zonisamide. Things seemed ok. However, just before Christmas, she had a cluster of eight seizures over a roughly 36-hour period. We took her to the emergency vet where they gave her a loading dose of phenobarbital. The past week has been full of ups and downs. A week post phenobarbital loading dose, we are finally having more ups than downs. We took her to a neurologist, and they recommended an MRI and spinal tap to make sure epilepsy is the appropriate diagnosis (as opposed to a brain tumor or encephalitis). We have been on the fence about the MRI because we are afraid of the potential diagnosis, but I think we have made the decision that we need to pursue all possible diagnostic options.

Reading

I have only read 33 books this year. I will likely finish my 34th book today. I read a lot less than I planned to. I hope to pick it up a bit in 2013.

The Future

Going forward, I hope to use this blog more. I might write about books I’m reading. I will probably write about canine seizures. While researching the disease, I found real life stories the most helpful. I plan to write about Callie’s saga in the hopes of helping someone else. I would also like to do some knitting in 2013. It’s been too long.

Here’s to the New Year!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

I hope everyone is managing to fit in some reading during this busy time of year. I suppose that our holiday gift is that Clifford, or Big Red as we like to call him, has completed heartworm treatment and is able to play and enjoy life like a normal dog again. He won’t be declared heartworm-free until we can test him in about six months, but he has received clearance for normal activity. I suppose it is time to admit that Cliffie is probably our fourth dog. We have grown a bit attached to the rascal.

Oh! And our trainer informs us that he is probably not a staffie mix, but instead a red lacy dog. Now it all makes sense! A Texas hunting dog! No wonder he is far too interested in the kitties. (We are working on that last bit.)

I am currently reading:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern Crossed by Ally Condie

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Oh my goodness! I love this book! I know it is super hyped, but the hype is well deserved. This book is making me want to shirk all responsibilities and just read, while at the same time I never want the story to end.

Crossed by Ally Condie – I am happy to finally catch up with Ky, Cassia and Xander.

During the past two weeks I finished reading:

Seizure by Kathy Reichs Brute Strength by Susan Conant

Seizure by Kathy Reichs – This second Virals book is less science and more pirate adventure! I have enjoyed this series quite a bit and will continue with the books as they become available. (4 out of 5 stars)

Brute Strength by Susan Conant – I love this series. It makes me feel like I am not alone in the category of crazy animal person – even if Holly, Steve, their five dogs and one cat are fictional characters. (5 out of 5 stars)

Upcoming:

The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths

The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths – I enjoyed the first two books in this series and look forward to the third.

Happy Holidays to you all!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Yikes! Where have I been? Distracted. That’s where. I have been knitting, too. I guess the cooler temps have inspired me to pick up my long lost hobby.

I am currently reading:

The Dead Kid Detective Agency by Evan Munday 1222 by Anne Holt Virals by Kathy Reichs

The Dead Kid Detective Agency by Evan Munday – I am technically still reading this, but I am afraid it may be a quitter. Unfortunately, it is just not compelling me to pick it up.

1222 by Anne Holt – This is a Galley Grab read of a new-to-me author and series.

Virals by Kathy Reichs – I am late to this young adult series. I love the science kid-centric plot. I would definitely like to hang out with these kids! I am listening to the audiobook version.

During the past month I finished reading:

The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child Light from a Distant Star by Mary McGarry Morris

The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast #3) by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child – This is my first venture into the world of FBI Agent Pendergast. I am so glad I finally dove into this series. This was a lengthy book, but the length was not unwarranted. The plot included a natural history museum, archives, research, a couple of serial killers, and even some science fiction. I can’t wait to get my hands on another in the series. I have already put #4 on hold at the library. (5 out of 5 stars)

Light from a Distant Star by Mary McGarry Morris – I finally decided to quit this book. First, a dog attacked a child and was killed violently. Then, there are some jokes made about revenge based around poisoning dogs. That did it. I decided I was done. Light from a Distant Star was a win from Read It Forward. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t finish it.

Additional:

SnugglesDuring the past month, I took in and re-homed yet another dog. This time I found his owner thanks to a microchip, but the family could no longer properly care for him. Fortunately, I found the little guy a home. He was pretty adorable!

There have been five or six loose dogs in our neighborhood over the past two months. I think it is time to start a campaign in the ‘hood to encourage folks to keep dogs on leash and inside securely fenced yards… and possibly even to discourage dumping dogs. It’s nuts!

Clifford’s Heartworm Treatment

Cliff

About a month ago, around the same time that the wildfires started and things went a little nutty in Central Texas, a stray dog was seen roaming our neighborhood. He kept running back and forth across a fairly busy road. I knew I would feel terrible if I later saw him squished on the side of the road. I spent about three days working to get the dog to trust me because he was very skittish and ran when a person got near him. I would slowly walk away from him while dropping food behind me. Over the course of three days or so, I began to earn his trust. He got closer and closer, then tentatively took food from my hand, and finally tolerated me touching his head. I lured him into the backyard of the (empty) house next door, and an hour or so later had a leash on him and got him into my backyard. It wasn’t easy, but we got the stray guy off the street.

The amazing thing was that the once skittish dog became a mostly normal dog within 24 hours of us corralling him into the backyard. I say mostly normal because he likes to JUMP! A LOT! and he also pees on his front legs sometimes.

I should take a moment to say that of our seven resident pets, only two were adopted. The remaining five were strays that we took in. We are suckers. So this stray guy made number eight in our house. We immediately went into panic mode, wondering what we were going to do with this dog? Our dogs already had some behavior kinks we were working on, so a fourth dog would cause all kinds of problems. A few days later, we took him to the vet. It turns out the guy we had been calling Clifford was heartworm positive. Crap.

Two of our resident animals were ill when we found them. Callie, our pit bull, had sarcoptic mange and a bacterial infection. She spent six weeks getting nasty lime dips and we had to handle her with gloves. Today she is a spoiled, healthy dog. Meep, our youngest cat, was severely anemic when we found her. We had to force feed her every few hours. It was touch and go for a few days, but she pulled through and is a cute, healthy cat today.

But heartworms? Dang, this was a new one for us. A very scary new one after I consulted the internet. To add to the scariness, I learned that there was a shortage of heartworm medication. The only option was to give the dog antibiotics and heartworm preventative until the medication was back on the market. Fortunately, in the past few days, our awesome vet has secured some medication and Cliff will begin treatment on Monday. I am kind of terrified. He’s a hyper dog, and we need to keep him as calm as possible while he undergoes treatment.

This all brings me to something I am somewhat uncomfortable with. I have been encouraged to begin a donation page to help raise funds for Cliff’s treatment. If you are so inclined – $1 – $5 – anything will help get us through this treatment. It all adds up and I will be forever grateful for your assistance!

Cliff

P.S. We are still hoping to find Clifford a home after all this. If you are in the Austin area and looking for a dog, maybe Cliff is your doggie soul mate. Give him a couple of months and he will be ready to go! 🙂

P.P.S. This dog business is why I have not written a book review in ages, but I hope to get back on the review wagon within the next week.