My life changed dramatically and forever when I lost TJ.

I welcome you to follow along as I adjust to my "new normal".

It is not all puppies and ice cream but it is my life....real and honest.


Monday, April 29, 2013

RIP Mickey


Tuesday, April 16, 2013 my dear, dear Mickey passed away. She was in my living room and Tater and I sat with her until the end. I have been in an extremely bad and dark place since.

I knew that losing her was going to hurt. I just had no idea how badly it would hurt. It not only hurt, it made me angry. To everyone else I lost a dog, but for me losing her truly marked the end of my life with TJ. Every animal we had together is gone now. I only have my memories left. I have nothing tangible from that part of my life. I knew nobody would understand so, once again, I kept my feelings to myself. I have spent the 2 weeks since her death grieving the loss of my past life. I went back to that place I was right after TJ died. I had forgotten how deep the pain of grief runs.


 I always thought her eyes were so bright and full of life and expression.

She outlived the wonderful puppy that she gave me, Okie

This is my favorite picture of Mickey. She was a dog that was always up for an adventure and loved riding in the jeep down at "The Shack".

It has been 2 weeks and I think it is time to pull myself out of that abyss of grief. I can't let myself stay there any longer. I simply will not allow it. I don't want to be there again. My life is pretty darn good right now. I can't complain really. This needs to be simply a minor set back. One that I was completely expecting even! I have used this quote before but it is one I really relate to.


No louder shrieks to pitying heaven are cast, when husbands or lap-dogs breathe their last. ~ Alexander Pope

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Container Gardening

I am going to try my hand at container gardening this year. I am counting on failing so I won't be disappointed, but I have to admit that there is a glimmer of hope that it actually works.

My place is overrun by rabbits. They eat absolutely everything in sight.....except for the weeds of course. I really hate them. A few years ago I went on a rabbit killing spree which I will tell you about some time but I didn't make a dent in the local rabbit population. It is because of them I can't plant in the actual ground, plus the fact that the soil in Arizona is just not conducive to gardening.

About a week ago I gathered up all the extra containers, feed buckets etc. that I have laying around and begin planting vegetables in them. Not only did I plant in containers, I put most of the containers on a table. This way those little buggers can't even get to my veggies by standing on their hind legs and stretching.

So far I have planted: Green Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Spinach, Bibb Lettuce, Banana Peppers, Scallions, and Radishes. I also bought a Tomato Plant.


I am "recycling" some lava rock that the home's previous owner used as landscaping. I have been wanting to get rid of it so putting it in the bottom of my containers for drainage seemed perfect.
 
 The one thing I am most excited about growing is green beans; Blue Lake Green Beans to be exact. This is what my parents grew in our garden in Indiana and I just love green beans. I planted then in a livestock trough and had planned to leave it on the ground. Tater was with me when I planted and when I went in the house he jumped in the trough and dug up quite a few of the beans. I also think he might have eaten some of them. I know he sure was muddy. I have been waiting to see if any pop up and today I saw this one little sprout! I hope to see more soon.

 My spinach is beginning to sprout.

 The bibb lettuce is beginning to sprout also.

This is my mishmash of containers. I only used what I had around since this is an experiment and I didn't want to put much money into it. I have not planted in the large galvanized trough yet but I plan to get some sweet corn in there this weekend.

Now, if I can just keep the birds away......

Thursday, April 4, 2013

It Is A Jungle Out There!

While all of you in cold parts of the country/world are anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring or maybe already showing pictures of flowers beginning to bloom I am in Arizona loathing the arrival of spring. With the exception of experiencing the joy of knowing that summer is just around the corner I would like to just skip the springtime.

I live in the desert. Only very hearty plants can survive the extreme temperatures of the desert. We often reach 120 F in the summer and have hard freezes in the winter. But weeds....weeds are hearty enough to survive it all and appear year after year every spring. This year is especially bad as we had quite a bit of late winter rain. I know if I just wait a few months they will die and blow away but right now....IT IS A JUNGLE OUT THERE! When Tater goes outside I lose track of him because the weeds are so high.



 Unbelievable! I have never seen it this bad. It looks like I have grass for good grief.
 

So I came up with a temporary fix until it heats up. I borrowed an electric weed eater from my girlfriend and went after them. I don't know why short weeds are more acceptable but for some reason it is less offensive to me. I just want my nice, brown, gravel yard back

In celebration of Tater being with me for 2 years I decided to see if he could behave (not chew anything up) out of his crate while I was at work all day. He did wonderful! So I packed up his crate and stored it away in the garage. The best part is I get to see his happy face watching for me out the window when I get home. It makes me smile no matter what kind of a day I had.


Parvo Update: Both dogs are back to their original health! I also wanted to let everyone know that yes, my dogs were vaccinated. It hit Mickey hard because of her elderly age. Tater wasn't hit hard because of his youth. So all dogs are susceptible even though vaccinated. Like one of my readers said: "A reminder for all of us with a tendency to want to bring home strays."

Monday, April 1, 2013

Parvo

Well it was bound to happen to me eventually. I have been warned numerous times over the years by different vets, family and friends. But there is something in me that can't turn my head on a stray dog. I have adopted so many over the years. Even as a child I was always bringing home strays. I have never had any problems. Well, I can't say that any longer.

Maggie had parvo when I brought her into my home. She infected my other 2 dogs and consequently I had a week from hell. If you are not familiar with parvo this is a brief synopsis I hijacked from Wikipedia:

Dogs that develop the disease show symptoms of the illness within 3 to 10 days. The symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea (usually bloody). Diarrhea and vomiting result in dehydration and secondary infections can set in. Due to dehydration, the dog's electrolyte balance can become critically affected. Because the normal intestinal lining is also compromised, blood and protein leak into the intestines leading to anemia and loss of protein, and endotoxins escaping into the bloodstream, causing endotoxemia. Dogs have a distinctive odor in the later stages of the infection. The white blood cell level falls, further weakening the dog. Any or all of these factors can lead to shock and death.[19] The first sign of CPV is lethargy. Usually the second symptoms would be loss of appetite or diarrhea followed by vomiting.  Vaccines can prevent this infection, but mortality can reach 91% in untreated cases.

For brevity purposes I will give you a timeline of what happened. The symptoms described above are terrible and because of them every floor in my house has been bleached several times, all dog beds have been thrown away as were any plastic bowls.


Monday, March 18
Maggie was brought into my home to live forever. I loved her and thought she was such a cutie pie.

Wednesday, March 20
We took Maggie to the vet as she was very sick and discovered that she had parvo and was severely dehydrated. Because she was in such bad shape the decision was made to put her down.

Thursday, March 21
Upon arriving home from work I discovered that Tater Tot was exhibiting symptoms of Parvo. I was devastated and rushed him to the vet. Armed with Zantac, Pedialyte, and an antibiotic I returned home to begin the long process of trying to save his life.

Saturday, March 23
Mickey began showing symptoms of Parvo. She is 13 years old and my vet informed me that if she got it she probably not survive because of her age. Again, I am devastated. I spent my entire weekend force feeding, cleaning up "messes", and forcing fluids into my dogs. Hoping with everything I had in me that I could save them. I was riddled with guilt that I had done this to my precious dogs.

Sunday, March 24
Both Tater and Mickey were showing signs of improvement.

Monday, March 25
I arrive home from work to find Mickey had taken a turn for the worse again. I spent that afternoon, night and the next day at her side trying to save her.

Tuesday, March 26
By this afternoon Mickey is once again showing improvement. I cautiously begin to think she might make it.

Thursday, March 28
All is good. Both of my dogs have survived Parvo!! I survived too. It is nothing short of a miracle that got us through this.

The above is a very brief description of what we endured. I barely slept the entire time and when I did it was a short nap on the couch. I did have to work but fortunately I work from home on Tuesdays and Fridays and that enabled me to give around the clock care. Because Tater is fairly young (2 years old) and healthy he didn't get as sick as Mickey. Mickey on the other hand was so weak at one point that she was laying on the floor unable to get up to vomit or use the bathroom. I truly believed she wasn't going to survive.


Tater on his first day of being sick. I think it is very noticeable that he doesn't feel well. It broke my heart to see him this way.


Mickey resting on the dog bed that is now in a landfill somewhere. Honestly people, this dog is too tough to die!


 RIP Maggie. Your time was short but you were loved deeply.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Addition To The Family!

First of all, I know I have once again been MIA. But this time I was S I C K. Holy cow did I get knocked down by a cold! Going to work and caring for my critters was about all I could handle for a couple of weeks.  The good news is that I am back up and running again.


I have been thinking for a while about getting another pup. Mickey is at the end of her life and Tater...well he is just tiny and I want a larger dog. Yesterday Sam emailed me a Craigs List ad featuring this little girl.

 How could you not love that face?!
 
 I believe she is part Heeler and part Pit. The people that put her on Craigs List had found her as a stray and were just trying to find her a good home.
 
Sam drove to North Phoenix when he got off work to pick her up and delivered her to me (I live way east of Phoenix). She is really skinny but that won't be a problem to fix around here!
 
Now she has a forever home and Tater Tot has a new sister to play with. He is being a bit bossy with her right now but I am sure that will stop as she continues to out grow him.
 
I don't have a name for her yet so if you have any unique ideas please let me know in the comments. Her personality is very quiet and mellow and she is quite the lady so I want something to match that.

Monday, February 25, 2013

He Talks With Me About TJ

He is my friend and he was TJ's friend. Most have no idea that he and TJ were good friends and most don't know that he and I have become such good friends. He commiserated with me when I called to tell him of TJ's diagnosis and prognosis. He was the first of many to say "he is such a good man and he doesn't deserve this!".

Although he didn't have the opportunity to come visit TJ before he died; he often called me to see how he was. He came to TJ's Memorial Service at the house. He stopped by a few times after TJ died to help me with some things. Over the past 3 1/2 years he has sent me many random text messages to make me smile or laugh. 

He calls me and we talk about TJ. I don't usually like to talk on the phone but when I am talking with him about TJ time flies and before I know it hours have passed by. He is not afraid to ask me the tough questions. He wants to know how it was for TJ at the end. I tell him. He knows every last heart wrenching detail. He is not afraid to laugh with me about some of TJ's ridiculous shenanigans.He tells me how often he thinks of TJ. While so many others will barely utter TJ's name in my presence it is our main topic of conversation.

We rarely see each other in person. Sure, we always talk about getting together but our schedules just don't permit it. But it is our phone calls that I look forward to the most. In those first few months after TJ died it was him that was able to lift me up with a phone call. Even now, on those rare occasions that I am having a bad day, I know it is his number that I must dial, yet I often don't have to as he always seems to call just when I need him the most. His compassion for my plight was unparalleled and still is to this very day. Ours was an unexpected friendship and one that I cherish deeply.


"We cannot tell the exact moment a friendship is formed; as in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses, there is at last one that makes the heart run over." ~ Gloria Naylor


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Goodbye Saguaros!

I finally got my saguaros removed. Well, I only had 5 of them removed. I have many more on my property. The ones I had removed were in the way of where I want to put a round pen and horse stalls. It took quite a few phone calls to find someone willing to pay me for them. Many of the landscapers I called wanted to charge me! Saguaros are protected in the state of Arizona and it is illegal to move them without a permit. Many people who live in the city want them in their yards and will often pay landscapers quite a bit of money for them so there was no way I was giving them up for free. Then I found "Cactus Deb". She offered me $10 a foot for them and she would get the permits and move them. I had a total of 35 feet of cactus removed. They were all fairly small and were what are called "spears", meaning they have no arms. While they may be small they are very heavy since they are full of water.


This was the largest one weighing in at approximately 1,100 pounds. Where they wrap the ropes around it is first wrapped with carpet. The needles are sharp but the actually flesh is tender so the carpet protects it. 

 A cradle that also has carpet on it is placed on the side it will be laid on.
 
 The roots are very shallow so very little digging will release the cactus from the soil.

 Once the cactus is laid on the truck the tap root is severed.
 
 It is then pushed up onto the truck bed.
 
Repeat the process.
 
This is the tag that must be affixed to each saguaro being transported.
 
The 3 largest all packed up and ready to go. They weighed (left to right) 900, 1,100 and 800 pounds.
 
The little 2 foot baby is rolled in carpet on the front and Deb will be back to get the little 5 foot one.
 
Depending on time and weather I should get my round pen and stalls up within a month. Yay!!