Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Here we go again

Survived another wave of layoffs, which is nice and all, but I dread seeing what my workplace will become over the next few weeks. They're not saying, yet, but I suspect big changes (besides these) are coming. I'm a little worried...oh well. If the worst finally happens, I'll be all right. For now, I've got a job, so that's good.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Best damn dog ever

Cat              dog              cat

Kind of a big day for us – since Mina has been recovering well from her back injury, and since she's been advised by her medical professional to avoid too many stairs, we decided to let her go free-range this week for the first time while we're at work. We had done a test run on Saturday evening, staying out for hours seeing Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Marymoor Park. She did fine at home, so today was the big day: dog alone at home, with the run of the house.

Coming home from work, I was worried that she might have chewed up a pillow or two, eaten all the cats' food (or the cats themselves), or maybe unrolled the toilet paper...but to my joy, she'd done none of those things! As far as I can tell, all she chewed on was her approved Little Faceless Bear and Little Squeaky Lamb, and various Stinky Bones which reside around the house. Yay!

It's enough to almost make me forget that there will probably be massive layoffs at work tomorrow. Ah well...if it's me, I will be a stay-at-home dog mom for a while. I can deal with that.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summertime; the livin' is more or less easy

Mina has now had about a week of restricted activity, and she really seems to be improving. She's still tentative when she sits and lays down, and walks a little slowly (especially on the steps leading to the back yard) but she's definitely better. She's restless a lot, poor pup, and probably wishing for at least some of her usual exercise. But we're trying to be good parents and keep her rested as much as possible.

Last night after work we walked down to the park for Shoreline's concert and celebration, amusingly titled "Swingin' Summer Eve." Sounds like a feminine hygene product, but it was actually a cute and fun little event; a great disco/70s cover band called "The Afrodisiacs" played, there were those big bouncy inflatable things for the kids, and a hot dog stand run by the local fire department. Lots of people brought dogs, so we were sad Mina couldn't have come, but it was still a good time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tough time for a smallish dog

Country dog in the city
Day three, and the poor pup is living the crate life. She can come out for potty time; when she stands up, she cries a little, so we can tell that she's still having pain from her injury. It's hard to get her to eat or drink anything; she sleeps a lot, or lays there with her eyes open. In the morning, I have to persuade her to get up at all.

We did take her outside a bit yesterday and today, guiding her slowly down the stairs to the back yard. She perked up a bit at being in her favorite place, and ate some grass and drank some water, and took care of her bathroom needs. But when we brought her in, she headed right back to her crate. I'm not sure if the drugs are doping her up or if she's just pained and sad. It's hard, hard, hard to see her like this.

I had started this collage/pastels experiment before all of this happened, so I decided to finish today while the house is so quiet.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Uh-oh (We learn about Intervertebral Disc Disease)

We've had our first serious medical problem with Mina, and it has to do with her long back and Dachshund heritge

She was fine yesterday when we left for work, but when I got home she wasn't as excited as she usually is; she seemed lethargic and had trouble coming up the stairs. I was a little concerned, but when we went for our walk she seemed ok; a little slower than normal but she kept up, and even pulled ahead as she likes to do.

But over the rest of evening she started showing signs of discomfort; she would whine when getting up from her bed, and finally just went and laid in her bed in the bedroom, before bedtime, which was very unusual.

In the middle of the night she started panting, and she was shaking. I tried to make her comfortable... At this point we thought she must have eaten something bad. She cried a little when she sat, and had to ease herself down to lay down. When we got up at 6 am this morning, she was still panting and clearly in distress, so we took her to the emergency vet right away.

The vet noticed a reaction she had as soon as a spot on her back was touched; she yelped and pulled away in pain. We hadn't seen her do this yesterday, so possibly the aggravation had gotten worse. He determined that she is probably suffering from an inflammation caused by a vertebrae protruding into her spinal column: a symptom of Intervertebral Disc Disease, very common in dachshunds and their relatives.

Right now, she's not as bad as she could be; she can move her back legs fine, and after taking some medication, seems to be in much less pain. Still, the vet said that she has to stay in her crate "23 and a half hours a day" for two weeks, and be let out only to potty. If we can keep her quiet and it heals well, it is less likely to re-injure some time in the future.

After this she won't be able to jump up on the bed or furniture ever again. I'll really miss cuddling on the couch with my pup, and seeing her "go get daddy!" by bouncing onto him in bed early in the morning. And she's going to hate being confined to her crate for so long, poor thing. She loves her walks. It will take a while, after all that inactivity, for her to get back to normal, so we're probably looking at another two weeks after she's allowed to start exercising again.

I know it will take a while but I believe she'll be ok.

Graphic is copyright Hills Pet Nutrition, from the Atlas of Veterinary Clinical Anatomy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Neighborhoods, communities and the internet

As much as I am interested in, and participate in, various online communities, I often feel that they're a sort of vague, unreal part of my overall world. There are purportedly people out there, on their computers, who are interested in some of the same things I'm interested in, but they don't feel "real" sometimes. It's just words on a screen; for all I know, it could be a very advanced piece of software that someone has written to emulate a whole community and I am the only real member.

Yeah, of course I know that isn't true, but that sort of feeling has always led me to wonder if there aren't online communities that cross over into real life groups. One group we all fall into is the city where we live, so I searched online for a social network tie-in of some kind to my city, Shoreline, WA. There are Facebook "neighborhoods" that sort of fit the bill, but they only seem to serve as marker that yes, you live in a certain place, and there's no interaction based on that fact.

I did finally make an interesting discovery in a corner of the web: a blog called "Ronald Bog" (the name of our local mini-lake, I guess you'd call it). It's a blog about Shoreline, and I was happy to find that it covered the kinds of things I like to know about my town: what's going on, what's that new building on the corner going to be, what are the restaurants everyone likes or doesn't - that kind of thing.

Cutting out the lengthy middle of this story, I ended up becoming a co-author of the blog. Right now, it's a pretty low-traffic site. The blog's owner and I are trying to think of ways to promote it, and get more of our fellow Shoreliners (Shorelinians?) to come and participate.

I envision that people in the area will exchange ideas and thoughts about everything from local government to where the best sushi can be had. I'm thinking about ways to get more people here in Shoreline involved (and would love any suggestions!) and will be writing articles on the things I think are interesting about my town. And I'll probably still keep writing posts here about the dog- can cat-owning life and what I've managed to draw in my free time, and other stuff of interest to pretty much just me.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy 10 years!

We had a little celebration last night for our ten year anniversary of owning this house. Friends came over and we enjoyed crab, hamburgers and chicken from the grill, and several 1998 wines. Afterwards, we got out some of the liqueurs we made last year and had forgotten about; they were all much better than the last time we'd tasted them! The cinnamon, apple and blueberry were particularly good. Our faux Aquavit was even much improved.

Today is going to be a lazy day, after a day of cleaning yesterday, and I have a painting in progress that I really want to work on. It looks like it's going to be a little cloudy, so I won't feel too bad about staying indoors for some of the day. And there are tons of dishes to do after last night, so we'd better resign ourselves to getting some work done in the house.

Friday, July 4, 2008


So it was pretty hot last week...we felt sorry for our little black and tan pup and decided we would get her a little wading pool to splash in on summer days. Here's how her first day with the pool went!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Dog park drama

We have been loving this wonderful weather. We took Mina to the Edmonds off-leash park agin last weekend, and had quite a good time. There was a strange incident, though; as we were coming in, a dog fight broke out between the double gates leading into the park. We were still too far off to see all the details, but one of the dogs' owners went into the park, and the other, a strained-looking woman, was sitting on the ground between the gates. I asked if she was all right, and she said she'd be ok, so we waited a few minutes and then went on into the off-leash area.

When we got in, the tide was coming in, so the waves were higher than they'd been the first time Mina visited; it took her a while to get used to the more forceful water washing over her. While we were luring her into the waves with her beloved squeaky balls, a pair of big dogs, and one little white dog, seemed to be out of control in our area. The little dog approached other dogs of every size aggressively, and the bigger ones pushed in to where we were playing and just barked and barked at poor Mina, right in her face.

The bully dogs' owner turned out to be the same woman who'd had the encounter at the gates. She sat far back from the water, tepidly calling her dogs now and then (they didn't really listen). I noticed that the woman who had been sitting on the ground was now talking to the bad dogs' owner; she had some notepaper and seemed to be getting contact information. We speculated that she might have been hurt in the fray earlier.

We kept trying to play, and Mina was joined by a sweet little corgi named Wally and his owner, so we threw balls for both pups, even though the corgi couldn't go very deep. But the big dogs kept pushing in and barking at both little dogs, until finally I went up the beach and asked if the woman could please control her dogs. She finally leashed them all up and left the park, to the relief of several other dog owners. We couldn't believe how blasé she was about letting her unruly dogs pick fights with other pups.

After that, we all had a much better time; Mina made several new friends, donated one of her squeaky balls to a big friendly mutt named Cooper, and got just soaking wet, as always. She was exhausted in another hour or so of running, so we bundled her up and headed out. As we were leaving, we saw the injured woman talking to an Edmonds police officer at his car. I stopped by to see if she was doing ok, and whether she needed any collaboration regarding the rude woman and her dogs. She said she was fine; she'd re-injured herself, she said, but would be ok. They didn't need us to hang around, so we left. It really was a nice day, despite all the drama. Mina loves the water and on a hot day, it's just the thing for a little black dog.

We haven't made much progress on finishing the front and back doors, though. What can I say? When it's nice out, we just want to hang out in the sun. But we'll have the upcoming long weekend to put on the last coat of varnish, and we can schedule to get these things installed. Finally! I don't regret playing a bit, anyway. It's finally summer, after such a long, cold spring!