Tangled Up in Two Cords (Part One)

 

Tangled Up In Two (Part One) (2)

Whatever is in the Big Round Hole is Needed to Charge the Computer

Red was a klutz long before he had neurological problems. When he was young and boisterous, his misadventures cost his dad and I both time and money. And for Red, it would eventually cost him a tiny bit more than just his dignity.

One day I was sitting on the couch using my laptop, with the dogs playing on the floor. I had the computer plugged in and charging, working diligently until Red went roaring by in a red fawn blur. The PC hummed along without missing a step, but I noticed that the screen got darker. It was no longer running on its AC adapter, because Red stumbled through the cord as he was charging through, pulling the cord out. The laptop switched itself over to battery power. I checked Red, who was temporarily tangled in the cord. He was more scared than anything, no worse for the wear, but the same couldn’t be said for my faithful computer. I tried to plug the power cord back in, but there was just one problem. There was no longer a port on the side of the laptop to plug it into.

It would have been much better (read cheaper) had Red pulled the cord out from the wall. I could have plugged it in and continued working with no problem. Red managed to do the opposite, pulling the cord out of the computer, leaving the plug in the outlet. Not only did he do that, but he pulled the plug out along with the cord, so there was no place to plug in the adapter. If the computer ran out of battery juice, it would shut down. There wasn’t any way I could charge it with a broken port.

It could have been worse; Red could have been hurt. He was fine, wagging his tail at my distress. The sidelined laptop was my writing computer, and not the household computer. That computer is safe in its confines of the home office. Both have weekly backups, so nothing was really in danger of being lost. Whatever I was working on at the time was safely backed up to the cloud, just in case. The situation was more aggravating than anything else.

The following day I brought my battle-scarred laptop in for repairs. I bristled at the repair person’s assessment that it was in fair condition. Sure, it had seen some mileage, but it wasn’t that bad, was it? I sheepishly explained that my dog got tangled in the power cord, pulling it and the port out of the side of the computer. It was fixable, but that would come at a price.

I was without my laptop for a little while, but it was returned to me with the ability to run off the AC adapter restored. They declared it in fair condition, yet now it had glue remnants from said “fair” sticker slapped on its lid. Insult to injury.

The laptop cord was the first cord that Red managed to destroy. He was left unscathed, but the next cord caused damage to both property and dog. More on that in my next post.

Tangled Up In Two (Part One) (1)

An Angel (When He’s Asleep)

Sir Lumpsalot

Sir Lumpsalot (1)

Oh Look Another Lump

Of the two dogs, Red is far lumpier than Moose. Moose has had fewer lumps needing removal, while Red seems to be a magnet for them. None of the masses have ever proved to be dangerous, but Red has had so many that we started to call him Sir Lumpsalot.

The latest bump was found by accident. We keep baby wipes by the door to clean the dogs after they come in from outside. We wipe down their front legs (the boys have always had bad aim), and their undercarriage before putting their man pants back on them. One day I felt something unusual, and on further inspection saw a growth on the outside of Red’s boy bit. It had a decent size to it, like a pencil eraser, and was pink in color. (Trust me on this, I’m withholding the photo for Red’s modesty). I wasted no time making a vet appointment to have the growth checked.

I figured that whatever it was would need to be removed, but the vet first took a sample of the offending growth in the office. She was looking to see if it was a mast cell tumor. My heart sank. I knew from various dog social media groups that they were bad news. The couple minutes that it took waiting for the results felt like an eternity. My mind raced to all sorts of worst-case scenarios while the vet was out of the room.

She came in and told us that no mast cells were found. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. While that was great news, it still required removal while Red was under anesthesia. That came as no surprise.

We made an appointment for the procedure. Red is a senior, but he doesn’t have the underlying health conditions that Moose has. It would be a quick process, and he wouldn’t be under long. Anxiety is my middle name, so the day of the removal I was a mess. Red on the other hand was just fine.

We sat in the waiting room for Red to be called back. I held him the entire time, and when I had to turn him over to the vet tech, I put on a brave face, saving my tears for the ride home. He had gone through similar procedures several times in the past, so it’s routine to all of us by now. I trust our vet implicitly.

Everything went well. My day dragged on as they always do when you can’t wait to pick up your fur kid in the evening after work. When I saw him, he was rid of the annoying mass, now replaced by three dissolvable purple stitches. All my usual worrying was for naught when we received the call that the growth was indeed benign! The only problem with this latest repair is that he was unable to wear man pants for a couple weeks. Our carpets took a beating for a little while, but Sir Lumpsalot lives to accumulate more lumps!

Sir Lumpsalot (2)

Scar from Previous Lump Removal

Dog Food Drama

Dog Food Drama (2)

Food Boycott in Progress

Why is it that dogs sometimes just stop eating their food, with no apparent medical issue the cause? I’m sure if I ate the same thing every day, I would grow tired of it, too. I don’t mind switching up their food, but why do they boycott it just after I’ve bought more cases of it?

Red is our household food critic. For a dog that once gifted his grandmother a bird he found in the yard, he has discerning taste. One day he stopped eating his usual canned food. Moose eats prescription food, so I can’t pawn off Red’s food on him, lest I upset Moose’s sensitive tummy. Make no mistake, Moose will eat ANYTHING. This is only the second occasion in Red’s life that I can remember him staging a food boycott.

At first I thought maybe he had a reason behind leaving his bowl near full, as he’s a senior guy. Sometimes he won’t eat much in the morning, but will empty his dish in the evening. I thought that was what was happening until I noticed the bowls weren’t being emptied.

It turned out that he was hungry and wanted food, just not that food. He was far more interested in what everyone else had to eat. He even found cat food appealing. That’s when I knew we were in food boycott mode.

The first boycott came while he was eating the chicken and rice recipe from a well-known brand. He and Moose ate it with gusto, until Red decided he didn’t want it anymore. I bought more varieties of the same brand until I found one that he loved. I have found that for Red, food love is fleeting.

Red ate every other flavor that I bought, so I chose a canned formulation of turkey, duck, and chicken as his main meal. He devoured it. When our usual pet food store ran out of the cans, I scoured other retailers in search of this magic blend. He seemed appreciative of my efforts, gobbling up the concoction. Then came the day he just stopped eating it.

We are currently in the process of changing his food. I have again purchased different flavors in the same brand, hoping that one will get his seal of approval. The kicker is, he will eat any flavor that is different from his current food. I think he enjoys variety, so perhaps that’s what we’ll do to prevent any boycotts due to boredom. Variety is the spice of life, right?

For the record, Red is more finicky than any cat I have had when it comes to food. What do I do with the rejected cans of dog food? When it comes to people, I hate to get rid of something someone else can use. The majority of my stuff gets donated somewhere. The same is true with cast off dog food. I’m sure there are dogs who would be happy to take Red’s food off his paws and enjoy it as he once did, so it gets donated to a shelter or rescue group. Bon appétit from Mr. Red!

Dog Food Drama (1)

Food Boycott Over

Exciting Announcement II

Exciting Announcement II

I am pleased to announce that I am again a contributing author, this time in Carol M. Ford’s Golden Linings II: More Tiny Tales about Pets, for Pets. As with the first Golden Linings, author proceeds from sales are donated to animal rescue groups and shelters. As a writer and animal lover, I am proud to have contributed two tales. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, details can be found here. The animals and I thank you for your support!

Also, Tails of Mirth & Madness is now on Instagram! Check it out here.

Appreciating the Black Cat’s Gotcha Day

Appreciating the Black Cat's Gotcha Day (1).jpg

He Loves Me . . .

Yesterday was Black Cat Appreciation Day, which coincides well with today. It was three years ago on this date that we adopted Vlad, the most awesome of all black kitties. (I might be just a tad biased).

I appreciate all the cats I have known and loved, but black cats have their own special day. Black kittens and cats are not adopted as often as their counterparts in different colors. There’s a stigma attached to them, which is a shame, because to know one is to love one. Black Cat Appreciation Day raises awareness of just how awesome black cats are.

Since Halloween is my favorite holiday, I wanted a black cat and Vlad more than fit the bill. For me, looks are secondary to personality, and three of my current cats picked me. (Barnabas picked my husband, wrapping him around his little paw at their first meeting). This time I sought a black cat, but he had to have a great personality, one that would mesh with the resident cats.

What I love about Vlad is how lovable he is. They say shelter pets seem to know when they have been rescued, and show their appreciation to their new owners. Vlad shows it every day in little ways.

I love to kiss the top of his big plush head. The neatest thing about Vlad that I have never seen another cat do is return kisses. For every peck on the top of his head, I get a nose lick. It’s automatic, like he knows how to give kisses back. It really is endearing.

Vlad and Tiki are both lap cats, with a preference for hanging out with me. (The two gingers are more Daddy’s boys). Sometimes they vie for lap space, with Tiki more often than not getting the prime seat. That’s just as well, as she has higher seniority.

When Vlad is able to jump in my lap, he does it with gusto. While Tiki is 11 pounds, Vlad is more. How much more I’m not sure until his next vet appointment, but suffice it to say that he is beefier than his sister.

Sometimes he will bop you in the face with his giant black head. I think this is somewhat new for him, possibly learned from resident head butter Barnabas. After that, he makes himself comfortable. He likes to curl up under your arm, completely outstretched, big black feet extended. He was a long cat, lanky when we adopted him. He’s still long, but not so lanky these days.

If you think working will keep you safe from Vlad’s affection, you would be wrong. He has no problem standing on whatever you’re reading until you acknowledge him. If you’re working on your computer, he likes to sprawl out in your arms or on your lap while you try to type. On your phone? He will gnaw on the corner of it. Writing something long hand? The writing implement will be chewed.

Sometimes he can be annoying in his quest for affection, but of course, you have to give in and lavish Vlad with lots of love. He’s my cuddle bug and I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

Appreciating the Black Cat's Gotcha Day (2)

. . . And I Love Him

Summer Schnoz

Summer Schnoz (1)

Insect 1, Moose 0

Many dogs enjoy fun in the sun when winter gives way to warmer temperatures. Some may enjoy it more than others; I would guess that dogs with thick coats would prefer to lounge in air conditioning given the choice. Still, even when you take precautions to protect your pup from harm, stuff still happens.

Moose was just a couple years old, a precocious young buck at the time, and our first dog together. We made sure he never walked on hot concrete, didn’t overheat in the sun, and we slathered him with dog-safe sunscreen on the necessary areas for playdates and outings. He was never left in a hot vehicle. We went so far as to get him a life jacket in the event he was near water. (Sometimes playdates included pools for both dogs and humans). Overprotective much? Sure, but he was our first dog, and we tried to be perfect dog parents. One hazard we didn’t count on? Insects.

Moose was in the yard one day and got stung. Or bit, we just don’t know. Just how he was injured, and what caused it, remains a mystery.

I arrived home one day to be greeted at the door by my happy Italian greyhound. He was his usual boisterous self, but there was something different about him, and it was as plain as the nose on his face. In fact, it was his nose. His muzzle was swollen!

Rattled by his appearance, I found my better half and asked what was wrong with Moose. Ok, maybe I yelled, “What’s wrong with his face?” He didn’t know anything was wrong with the dog, let alone how it happened. It appeared to be an allergic reaction to a sting or a bite. Not wanting to take any chances, with an eye also swollen, we carted our boy to his vet.

It didn’t take long before they whisked him back to administer a shot that would help him. We sat in the waiting room, hearing our little man yelp from the injection. Moose was a drama king from the beginning; perhaps this was the incident that started his flair for theatrics.

Fortunately his breathing was not affected by his misadventure. The medication worked fast, and he recovered quickly. To my knowledge, that was the only time he had a run-in with a bug, or at least got into a tangle with one and lost.

We thought we had all of our bases covered when it came to the summer safety of our pups. We asked our vet what we could administer ourselves in the event such an incident happened again. We later carried the recommended medication, along with dosing instructions, in their bye-bye bag whenever we went anywhere. I’m happy to say that we never needed it.

No matter how well you think you’re prepared for any summer hazards, there are some things you can’t anticipate. One thing is certain, I never saw Moose pursue insects in the yard after that. He would advise against getting a summer schnoz.

Summer Schnoz (2)

Swollen Moose

Nite Nite Bedtime

NIte NIte Bedtime (1)

Zzzzz

When my brother was little, he would grab his pj’s and tell our mom he was ready for bed. He was one kid who looked forward to bedtime, while I tried to delay the inevitable for as long as possible. Now I have a doggie equivalent of my brother, a pup who can’t wait to go to bed.

Red’s bed is our bed. Known as “velcro dogs,” Italian greyhounds love to cuddle close, and most of the time they sleep under the covers with their owners. If you think that’s weird or gross, this might not be the breed for you. We have baby gates keeping the boys in the family room, where we are most of the time in the evening. The gates prevent access to the rest of the house, including the bedroom, located on the first floor of our Cape Cod.

When Red would like to go to bed, the pacing and staring start. If that fails to get any notice, he ups his game by grabbing a toy if one is laying around, and walking to the baby gate and staring at the bedroom door. He continues to pace back and forth to the baby gate with a toy in his mouth, before dropping it and barking at us as a last resort.

Even though we know what he wants, all we have to do is ask the magic question, “Nite, nite bedtime?” This gets Red even more riled up. By this time we have to relent, but not before he goes outdoors one last time. As soon as he returns from doing his final business of the night, he runs into the bedroom, the baby gate already removed. When he was younger, he could jump onto the bed and start burrowing by himself. Now he will bark to let someone know he is ready and needs help. We turn down all the covers before picking him up and placing him onto the mattress. He wastes no time burrowing under, although sometimes he plants himself too close to the edge for my liking, so I scoot him closer to the center of the bed. We cover him up, turn on the fan (weather permitting), leave the light on low, and he is content to stay there the rest of the night. He is even generous to move over when the humans come to bed.

You may be reading this and think, “What about Moose?” Moose doesn’t do any of this. When Red goes into bed, Moose is content to hang out with us on the couch. Once in a while he will join his brother, but he often won’t stay settled until we come in with them. Red on the other hand knows we will come in eventually, and that is good enough for him.

I never thought I would have a dog I would have to tuck into bed. This is something that makes Red unique, and I just love it about him. I wouldn’t change this little guy for anything.

NIte NIte Bedtime (2)

Serious Sleeper