Wednesday, July 27, 2005

What's a Librarian Without Her Books?

Since Holly is my very first dog, I was at a complete lose of what to do with her. This may sound dumb but I was really concerned. How do I stop her from eating everything that isn't good for her? How do I get her to pay attention to me? How do I teach her simple commands that I assume will make all of our lives easier? Well, I'm not a librarian because I thought the glasses looked cool! I love books, not certain types or specific genres, I mean all book. I love the smell of them and the feel of the paper between my fingers. I love the crap books that should never have been published just as much as I love the classics. So as my family quickly darted out the door the morning after we got her - with not so much as a "Don't forget to feed her" - I began to panic. So I put the pup in her kennel and made my way over to our local bookstore.

I got 'Puppies for Dummies'. I loved it. I don't know if I agree with everything the author talked about, but then I have very
little knowledge to disagree with. Within hours Holly and I were trying out some of the games. The book has great sections on each life stage. If nothing else it made me feel more secure. Since I'm the one home with her the most, especially since school is out for summer, I really felt I needed guidance. This was a great book and a must read for first time puppy owners.

The biggest thing we took from the book was a game. 'Hide & Seek' puppy style. It helps reinforce commands like come and sit. Helps puppy learn his or her name. It even helps puppy identify the names of the people playing. Our roommate, K, and I have done this with Holly a few times and she's already got the game down.

Just goes to show you - where there's a will there is probably a book to show you the way.

Friday, July 22, 2005

After Lunar came Holly. . .

Lunar was our cat for seven years. He loved to play and run. He had a small cat bed near the fireplace that he liked to curl up in. He was graceful, agile, and the world's worst hunter. Oh, he tried to hunt this moth or that foot but it never quite worked out for him. The fact that he sounded like an elephant might have had something to do with his lack of predatory skills. Lunar was an Emperor within his home and ruler of all he could see. He was also a very sick cat, but he loved us.

Lunar had Megacolon almost all his life. This meant many things for our family: Many visits to the Vet, adapted schedules to care for Lunar, moments of anger, costly treatments that never seemed to help, medications that only seemed to do more damage, and all the medical bills. Then there was all the destruction done to our home because of fecal accidents. Resentment was mounting in all camps. When Lunar didn't feel well, he'd pull away from us. He HATED the vet's office. He'd cry when we left him for overnight treatments, then avoid us like the plague when he came home. I spent so much time cleaning carpets and scrubbing tile that I really didn't want to come home. J, my husband of 5 years, would come home only to find his business' paper work was now a litterbox. The other members of our household would choose not to come home. Bedroom doors had to remain closed at all times to prevent the soiling of the beds. We were all feeling guilty, angry, and resentful. We were all unhappy. This is no life for a family. Families, in which I include pets, should enjoy each other. However, families also do not give up on each other. So we mustered on. It went on for almost 5 years like this.

This June our vet told us we had to make a decision. The enemas were killing Lunar slowly, robbing him of all vitamins. There was a surgery that showed some success when dealing with Megacolon. We could let Lunar have the surgery which would consist of the removal of the extended part of his intestines or we could put him down.

Problems were as follows:

  • This surgery could kill him.
  • He would have little control of his bathroom habits, if the surgery was successful.
  • The surgery would not cure the Megacolon. The problem would come back. There was no way of knowing when. 1 month to 10 years. Time frames were unknown. The only definite is that it would come back.
  • It might not be successful.
  • The surgery costs between $3,000 - $5,000.

There was little choice we could make. We took him home for a week. We played with him, feed him his favorite foods, and just spent time with him. Then we all went back to the vet and let him go. I decided then and there I couldn't go through with this again. No more cats, no more pets. Funny how no one listens to me!

Just one week ago, our new puppy entered our home. A puppy?! A type of pet I have NEVER wanted. J is a dog kind of guy. I would rather have sea monkeys, maybe a nice fish. So enter our lives this adorable mound of white fluff known as an American Eskimo Dog. We named her Holly. She loves to play and run. She has a little bed by the fireplace that she likes to curl up in. She is a little clumsy on her quickly growing puppy feet but she is agile. She's not much in to hunting, besides her prey would hear her clomping paws a mile away. She is a princess in this house but she does not rule the kingdom. She loves us.

This is my first dog. I expected to teach her a lot. It seems I'll learn a lot. Lunar taught me caring and nurturing. He helped teach me loss. He helped teach me that sometimes doing what's best is not what feels best. Holly has helped me learn to grieve for my shared life with Lunar. So far she has taught me how to celebrate my shared life with her.