Quarantine Canines

Quarantine Canines

Can Someone Post Bail?

My heart goes out to everyone dealing with the pandemic. My state was locked down in May, when life as we know it changed. The hubby and I both found ourselves at home (fortunately still working), and to pass the sudden surplus of time, I read, rekindled my love of jigsaw puzzles, and found a new hobby in adult coloring books. Writing took a backseat; I just didn’t have the desire with the barrage of doom and gloom from the television and internet. My furry friends, of course, were the glue that held my fractured world together.

Cats are known to be fiercely independent. Three out of my four are real snugglers. Tiger cuddles on his terms. Still, I think even the cranky orange tabby enjoyed having us around more. I know the dogs enjoyed the bonus time. In fact, I don’t know who enjoyed it more, me or them.

I’m a natural homebody, and as such, there is no greater feeling than the comfort and security of home. I always say that the best part of my day is bedtime, when I am surrounded by my partner and best friend, with two dogs nestled beside me, and a revolving door of felines waiting their turn for affection. Truth be told, if it weren’t for the pandemic requiring the stay at home orders in the first place, I was happy with the arrangement.

When it comes to Moose and Red, time marches on whether we want it to or not. They have surpassed the average life expectancy for most dogs, and I have witnessed their decline. It is sad to see my once robust, playful puppies turn into shadows of their former selves. Therefore, I appreciated the quarantine, if only to spend more time with them.

Other than just hanging out and having the ability to share a midday snack with them, I was thankful that they were able to have more couch time. Normally they are crated during our workday. When they were younger, we worried about leg breaks while we were gone, now we worry about injury due to their blindness and mobility issues. With us home far more, they were able to lounge peacefully on the couch in their blanket for hours on end, getting up only for potty breaks and meal times. It was fun while it lasted.

As soon as restrictions were lifted, I was back at work five days. Hubby is a teacher, so his schedule was unknown until the school year started in September. He is virtual until October 13, but he had to attend in-person meetings the week prior to the students returning. This change in the household meant that the boys would be crated again, if only for a week.

Rousing them from the couch when leaving for work can be a challenge, each dog with a different degree of crankiness. I carry them out to do their business, most of the time Moose returning to the back door while Red waits patiently at the bottom of the stairs to be carried in. Once they were wise to the fact that they were going into their crates, they started wandering the yard, forcing me to retrieve them. As they say boys, all good things must come to an end.

The Fur in Furniture

The Fur in Furniture (2)

The New Recliner is Feline Approved

Whether or not you allow pets on the furniture is often the subject of debate. It’s best to make a decision before bringing the furry family member into your home, so everyone in the household is on the same page. Of course, all decisions can go out the window when the new animal arrives.

Our pets are allowed everywhere except the basement and second floor rooms, which consist of a library, office, and spare bedroom. That wasn’t always the case; the doors upstairs were open until there was destruction. Annie managed to tear an office chair down to the foam, which is impressive considering that she was front declawed. Ozzy and Tiger left their mark in the corner of the spare bedroom, which was bizarre because they had impeccable litterbox habits. (I think this was likely due to scents left by the previous owner’s pets). As a result, the second-floor rooms became off limits.

With four cats and two dogs, I don’t have the time or energy to police every surface for out of bounds critters. There are methods to try to keep cats off certain places, but at the end of the day, you’re dealing with a cat. Therefore, we agreed that as long as nothing is getting ruined, we’re fine with it. Of course, stuff has gotten ruined, but it wasn’t because of fur, that’s for sure.

The cat furniture, as well as the people furniture, is often coated with a thin layer of fur. The cats are always the culprits, as the dogs’ fur resembles eyelashes when shed. The couch and loveseat are leather, but we use furniture covers, so the hair accumulates.

In anticipation of hubby’s impending surgery, we bought a recliner. I’m told he will need it for his recovery. While that may be true, did we really need a new chair table and lamp as well? I’m suspicious. Anyway, we had a recliner years ago that was destroyed by Annie and Moose and was never replaced. However, this new addition is memory foam and soft material, not leather.

For now, it is covered with a recliner protector, beneath a throw blanket that does not reach the bottom of the chair. I have not yet found an actual recliner cover (that stretches to cover the entire piece) because this recliner is over-sized. Hopefully any fur will be contained to the throw blanket. It looks like I will be purchasing a large blanket to cover the recliner, as it will be used as a bed for a little while.

All four of the cats have been on the chair, but only Moose has jumped in it. It doesn’t hold much interest for Red, as he has yet to check it out and we have had it over a month. He prefers to stretch out on the couch. The kitties are even more attracted to the recliner if someone is sitting on it. Because it is so big, there is more room on the arm rests for our larger cats, and the wider back can accommodate a third feline. Three out of four of our cats have lounged on it together.

I’m sure my hubby will be surrounded by fur kids as he convalesces. It stinks that he will be in the recliner more often than not, but maybe that means less cat hair left in other places. I hope he has a speedy recovery; his furry nurses will see to that.

The Fur in Furniture (1)

Moose Giving the Canine Seal of Approval on the New Purchase


Car Sick Canine


Car Sick Canine (1)

Snoozing After a Playdate (2006)

Moose and Red had an active social life when they were younger. They enjoyed play dates with other Italian greyhounds, and we found lots of dog-friendly activities and events for them to attend. Unfortunately, most of the time these fun outings involved a trip in the car.

Moose vomited once in the car when he was a puppy, but that was the lone occurrence. His issue was speed, not car sickness. As long as we were cruising along, he was fine. Stopped in traffic, or even for a light, Moose would bring on the whining. He would start low, increasing in volume to an ear-splitting level. Could you imagine explaining to an officer that the reason for speeding was because your dog has a need for speed? Thankfully I have never had this happen.

Both Moose and Red travel in soft-sided crates when we are in the car. At first we used a single crate, but Red’s penchant for car sickness made it necessary to crate them separately. If Moose could talk, I’m sure he would tell us how gross his brother was. He couldn’t understand why Red was getting sick yet he was fine.

As for Red, it didn’t matter if we traveled a short distance to a dog park, or hours to a play date a couple states away. He still got sick in the car. We were meticulous about his food intake close to car trips, but that didn’t matter. He could be sound asleep and wake up long enough to vomit.

We tried specialized medications for car sickness, together with his normal anxiety drug to no avail. We were at a loss as to what to do, because once we got where we were going, he was fine. I think he tended to get sick more often going somewhere rather than coming home. Maybe he suffered from anticipatory anxiety like I do now.

The pups’ grandmom usually accompanied us on play date excursions. She always rode in the back between the boys. We learned that she was fast with a plastic bag whenever Red started retching. There was no mess in the vehicle and disposal was a snap. Thank goodness for grandmom’s willingness to catch her granddog’s vomit. Whenever we road tripped with Moose and Red, we were sure plastic grocery bags were added to their bye bye bag.

Red was an adult when he had car sickness, but he has since stopped. Maybe he outgrew it, who knows. We no longer have to monitor food intake. In fact, he gets treats at the acupuncture vet and can enjoy a puppacino on the way home with no problems. Moose and Red can even share one crate now without fear of messes.

While the car sick dog no longer gets sick, old age has brought another issue to replace it. I’m not sure there’s a technical term for it, but it’s peeing in the car. Both dogs wear bellybands to prevent any accidents during their travels. It looks like I traded one leaky end for the other!

Car Sick Canine (2)

Plastic Bag for Sick Dog

Holy Voley!

Holy Voley 2

Young Moose Spots Birds

A few years ago in October, we spent a few days in Massachusetts. We left our beloved fur family in the care of our dear friend and pet sitter extraordinaire, who has watched our kids several times in the past. The critters are for the most part well behaved, but one of them had a surprise in store for her.

We were spending our favorite holiday in Salem, but we had plans to meet some friends in a nearby town prior to the Halloween festivities. Dinner was arranged at a local bar/restaurant that they had chosen. It was so nice to see them again, enthusiastic hugs exchanged in the restaurant’s waiting area. After we were seated, we got down to the business of ordering and catching up.

I believe the phone call came before the meal arrived. I never get calls from my pet sitter, as she usually keeps in touch via text, sending me a photo or two when I am missing the kiddos. I thought it was odd when her contact info came across my phone, so I answered right away.

She had a situation with Moose. The dogs were let out into the yard to take care of their evening business. While Red returned to the house, Moose refused to come in. Our yard is postage-stamp sized, and it can be viewed entirely from the house, with the exception of behind the garage.

But Moose wasn’t behind the garage. He was in plain sight, laser focused on something near the vinyl privacy fence. When he wouldn’t answer his sitter’s calls, she went out to investigate. He wasn’t paying much attention to her, but when she tried to get him in the house, he growled and continued to stare at something in the distance. My 20-pound Italian greyhound turned into a watch dog; it must have been a bit comical to see. I was on hold on the phone when she was trying to convince him to come in from the yard.

Defeated and likely annoyed, she picked up the receiver and told me that Moose was being stubborn and growling at her. We were both at a loss as to what to do, so she decided to watch television until the standoff in the yard ended. I hung up and continued with my night, wondering if Moose was going to square off against an intruding critter. Moose was always a lover and not a fighter, so I had my doubts that he would get into a confrontation with anything. Whatever it was should be thankful it wasn’t Red in the yard instead.

Moose at long last did return to the house unscathed. It appeared that he didn’t do battle with anything in the yard, as he bore no scars or brought any trophies into the house. We still don’t know what he saw that night, but my pet sitter believes it may have been a vole.

Of course this episode took place a few years ago when Moose was younger and had better vision. Now I don’t think he could see the intruder, his skinny frame not so intimidating anymore. I’m just glad that he wasn’t hurt, and was up to date on his vaccines in the unlikely event that he did get ahold of something. In case you were wondering, yes, we still have the same pet sitter, even after this unexpected adventure.

Holy Voley

The Beat Still Goes On

The Beat Still Goes On (2)

Moose’s cardiology appointment is always stressful for everyone. It’s a matter of hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Of course, I hope that his heart is no worse for the wear, but the fact remains that he is a dog of 17 years. Even though he is enjoying a long lifespan (he would be in his nineties in human years), the inevitable bad news we receive one day will still be shocking.

A cardiology appointment requires a day off from work, as it’s a comprehensive visit. Moose’s doctor practices in a large city out of state, which means that his dad escorts him to the visits. My better half is a pro at driving in big cities, while I am terrified of the idea. I can handle appointments solo if they’re in the suburbs.

Both of us are nervous before the appointment, but it is my better half that has to hear the results, good or bad. (For this reason I can’t say that I am envious that he goes to these appointments without me). He leaves our boy at the hospital for a few hours to undergo an exam and testing. The good thing about the city is that there is always something to do to pass the time, in walking distance from the hospital. Still, even though he finds ways to occupy himself, I’m sure it seems like an eternity until he can be reunited with Moose.

We have observed no serious deterioration in Moose’s health, other than a little stiffness when walking; a bit of an anti-inflammatory twice a day has greatly improved this issue. He does not seem to get winded, and we haven’t heard him coughing, which are all good signs that the heart condition hasn’t worsened.

When asked if Moose was still a candidate for teeth cleanings under sedation, the vet thought it best to leave well enough alone. Unless Moose were unable to eat due to a tooth issue, we were advised to forego any unnecessary dental procedures notwithstanding an emergency. Italian greyhounds are notorious for having bad teeth, with some pups requiring so many to be pulled that dogs are sometimes left with their tongues hanging out. So far neither Moose nor Red have lost the necessary teeth to cause this. To be honest, this was something I dreaded and hoped would never happen to them. (Although they would still be adorable).

I am pleased to report that Moose’s condition has remained status quo since his diagnosis three years ago. He has chronic degenerative valve disease, but he is not yet in heart failure. Moose remains on the same dosage of medication, as it seems to work well for him. I only pray that his disease progression is moving along at a snail’s pace. While I am elated over this news that he hasn’t gotten much worse, next on the radar is the boys’ annual checkups. Senior bloodwork will be done, and I hope that it won’t reveal any underlying problems. As I mentioned, we have recently added an anti-inflammatory medication to their routine to help with age-related joint stiffness. They haven’t had kidney issues in the past, but we need to be sure with the new drug. Every day with senior pets is a gift, one that I never take for granted.

The Beat Still Goes On (1)

The Long Arm of the Lawless Moose

The Long Arm of the Lawless Moose (2)

Hmm . . . I Didn’t Open This

Happy 2020! I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. The most wonderful time of the year involves family, friends, and food. Lots and lots of food. Tempting treats abound, and not just for the humans.

We ordered a two-pound cookie tray from the decades-old bakery located in town, just down the street from our house. Their delicious gingerbread men, chocolate chips, and cherry cookies have become somewhat of a holiday staple for us. While they were intended for Christmas Eve, no one had any room for dessert after enjoying the rest of the substantial holiday spread.

Because we had more food than people and places to put it, the kitchen table became host to a variety of treats, including the unopened cookie tray. This table is small and round, so space to put things is limited. I put the treats closer to the edge than I should have, assuming that the dogs were too old to be interested. You know what they say when you assume.

We were getting ready to go out one day during the Christmas break. I knew the dogs were roaming free from the confines of the baby gates, and I thought I heard them go into the bedroom. I didn’t see them walking around, so I figured they burrowed under the bed covers, hiding out until it was time for us to leave.

I didn’t think anything of the stillness of the house until I walked into the kitchen. The pups hadn’t gone back to bed at all. They were quiet because they were eating the cookies that had mysteriously made their way to the floor. Moose and Red were helping themselves to the treats. They were taught the “leave it” command, which saved them from potential disaster one time when chocolate fell on the floor, but I doubted that they would remember it from their puppy classes. Even if they did, they couldn’t hear me anyway. Instead, I swooped in and removed their bounty, now in pieces, from the floor. The aftermath looked worse than it was. They don’t have a full set of teeth between them, so I doubted that they ate much before I intervened.

How did the cookie tray end up on the floor? I didn’t have to see it to know what happened. I have no doubt that Moose was responsible for procuring the cookies. He is a notorious chow hound, with special skill. He will stand on his back legs at any surface containing food, stretching a front leg to paw at anything edible that he can knock to the floor. My guess is that Red was innocent in this debacle, but stood by to share the fruits of his brother’s labor.

The moral of the story is never underestimate blind, deaf dogs. While those senses diminish with age, the power of scent remains as strong as ever. I should have known they could locate and get into the treats left too close to the edge of the table. I did order a replacement tray, and that one is out of the way from the old men that still have some puppy in them.

The Long Arm of the Lawless Moose (1)

Crime Scene