Category Archives: Family
It’s her day.
This is the woman who taught me how to love unconditionally and that your baby, no matter how many legs it has or how ill-mannered it can be, should be doted on and cuddled as much as possible.
Case in point: Tori the rat terrier who’s giving the camera the stinkeye.
Today, I’ll be spending a good part of the day with my mom, celebrating our relationship and dining on tasty, locally prepared food.
Our ultimate hope is to get tickets for a tour of Boulevard Brewery, the internationally renowned craft beer company based in Kansas City.
She better leave that Spuds Mackenzie apron at home, though.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there! Whether your puppies have two legs or four, you deserve some appreciation for a job well done!
I feel like every time I promise a follow-up post or start a themed series on this blog, something happens and I end up leaving my readers hanging.
Thanks for putting up with me.
I promise to get back to sharing my late grandfather’s amazing collection of dogtiques very soon.
In the meantime, I need to share something else.
My beloved Uncle Bruce passed away this week.
Bruce’s departure from this world was not unexpected. His big, old heart had been failing him for a while.
But it is never easy to say goodbye to someone forever. Bruce’s absence is felt profoundly by the family, his community and beyond. He was a legendary man, much like the son who beat him to heaven.
In the near future, I look forward to sharing a bit more about my dear uncle and his impact on my life.
For now, here’s a picture of his granddog Harv, who brought smiles and comfort in the final days.
I will always miss you, Uncle Bruce.
When I was a little emo kid, I would stare at this picture every time I went to my grandparents’ house.
This framed 1902 print of Gustave Henry Mosler‘s painting “The Lost Playmate” originally belonged to my great aunt Vera, a kind and hunchbacked old woman I can barely remember.
Upon her passing, my grandfather acquired this piece of Victorian art and it became a central piece in his collection of old dog prints and figurines.
My grandfather has been gone about a dozen years now, but most of his collection still decorates the house he shared with my grandmother.
“The Lost Playmate” will always be my favorite, but come back tomorrow, and I’ll show you more of his beautiful collection of dogtiques.
The kindness of strangers and friends alike has helped warm my heart over the past few days.
I am still processing the loss of Charlie Machete, as well as other unrelated family matters that I will not go into here.
Yet, even in dark times, there are reasons to rejoice.
A kiss from an old man, the squeeze of a sister’s hand, new life emerging on my doorstep – so much beauty abounds.Joy to all on this spring Tuesday.
Today, I clock back in at the office after a whole week off.
As much as I love my colleagues and enjoy my job, leaving Zach and the dogs at home is going to be extra hard this morning.
But the time spent together, in our own city and with our beloved dogs was pretty amazing.
Staycation 2013 highlights:
2. Warming ourselves by the fire of tree branches and twigs that fell down during Kansas City’s recent big, bad snowstorms.
3. Taking time to explore Red X, a big store in Riverside, Missouri, that is part hardware store, part grocery store, part liquor store and part purveyor of antiques and weird animal statues.
4. Having Zach’s sister and brothers over for dinner and taking an extra plate to our neighbor, who brought us a lovely bouquet of flowers to say thanks.
5. Challenging one another to consume the super hot sauce and dried pepper flakes that Bethany brought us from her trip to the Philippines.
6. Going to a movie – Oz the Great and Powerful – on a weeknight.
Have you ever stayed home for your vacation? What did you do?
Valentine’s Day hit a sad note yesterday.
My cousin Sonya texted me in midafternoon about a family horse.
Stormy, the very tall palomino, had been found dead in the pasture.
He was old. He had been sick. But these things always come as a shock.
Sonya got Stormy when she was 8 years old. He was 8 years old, too. I was only 5, but I remember.
Big and proud, Stormy looked like a real life version of the Johnny West buckskin horse figure we played with.
We only knew of Johnny West because of this antique toy, a lasting remnant from our mothers’ shared childhood.
Stormy carried Sonya into countless show rings through her teens. The whole family would cheer from the bleachers as he weaved at top speed between barrels.
On the weekends I visited my cousins’ farm as a kid, Sonya and I might both hop on Stormy for a quick ride through the fields.
Sometimes it was scary. The horse was so very many hands high with a name that matched his disposition.
As he was ridden less, Stormy became more independent. My last experience in his saddle was terrifying and short, circa 2006.
But he was always eager for a handful of grain or an apple if you offered.
Although in recent years, the only person Stormy saw daily was my aunt Sandy – who found him cold yesterday – his passing is felt by our entire family.
Life can seem so long, but as you blink, the horse races around another barrel.
For 26 years, that yellow horse was there. Now, he’s not.
Share your horse stories in the comments.
What’s the matter with Scooby?
Answer: a lot of things.
If you follow Wayward Dogs on Facebook, you may have noticed my request on Friday to keep my little, old miniature pinscher in your thoughts.
Around midweek, Scooby the elderpin stopped eating. When it comes to the guy whose high food drive has caused him to be described as a “walking alimentary tract,” a sudden disinterest in eating is always alarming. This time, the trouble was also accompanied by lethargy and puking.
After 24 hours of these symptoms, we hustled Scooby to our trusted neighborhood vet.
Here’s the diagnosis:
The Bad News
Scooby is currently suffering from what the vet described as a “raging” urinary tract infection. An x-ray taken to rule out the possibility of kidney stones also revealed a mass in his gall bladder and some significant deterioration of his vertebrae. He also suffers from chronic infection related to his gross teeth.
The Good News
According to his blood scan, Scooby’s red and white blood cell counts are appropriate for his age. His only elevated enzyme levels seem related to the urinary tract infection, which is the most immediate concern – and likely what made him lose his appetite.
The vet concluded that the mass is actually a bunch of gall stones that have accumulated over time and do not warrant surgery.
Following 10 days of anti-biotics, a urinalysis will tell if Scooby has recovered from his UTI.
From there, we’ll determine the right medication regimen and lifestyle changes that will help reduce his propensity for infection of his urinary tract (this is not his first UTI) and mouth, and manage pain related to his bad back.
In the meantime, Scooby is enjoying much rest, pampering and unlimited amounts of any food he wants to eat.
No lie – before the bloodwork came back, it seemed as if the demise of my littlest best friend was imminent. Although I have been bracing for news like this from the moment I accepted his gray face into my life more than six years ago, I didn’t feel ready when the vet said she had found a “mass.”
I’m glad the current diagnosis is more optimistic, but I know my little guy isn’t out of the woods yet. And as an elderpin of indeterminate antiquity, he’s kind of on borrowed time as it is. But I’m grateful for every snuggle we have left.
Thanks to the Facebook followers who shared well wishes. Your support means a lot!
Have your dogs ever dealt with any of the ailments from which Scooby currently suffers? Share your experiences and suggestions in the comments.
I blog because I’m a compulsive writer.
But I don’t put those words on the screen just so I can sit and stare at them.
Like anyone else, I put sentences together and send them out into cyberspace in the hopes that they’ll resonate with somebody else.
I write to express a point of view. I write to tell a story or share facts. I write to learn. I write to connect.
In 2012, writing on this blog, mostly about dogs, allowed me to connect with more awesome people than I can count. Here’s a look at a few of them:
1. Katty De Lux, Pin Up from the Paris of the Plains
Interacting offline with Kansas City’s blogging community introduced me to many amazing people, including Katty De Lux, a model, blogger and animal lover who adds smile, style and sass to every situation. She wowed me with her mad networking skills when we co-hosted a fundraiser for Midwest Adopt-a-Bull.
2. Chris Sailors, Owner, Kennel Creek Pet Resort
The guy with the best-behaved dogs at the Great KC Pet Expo also runs the nicest pet resort in Kansas City. In 2012, Kennel Creek Pet Resort changed my opinion about what to expect from dog daycare and boarding. I’m proud to call owner Chris Sailors a professional collaborator and friend.
3. Amy Oleson, Owner, Fido Fetch Photography
Amy Oleson was one of the first people to join KC Pittie Pack. Her beautiful pictures helped generate attention for our dog walking group. Less than a year later, she’s now pursuing her dog-umentary photography dream full-time and expecting her first baby.
4. Mike Kitchens, Founder, Midwest Adopt-a-Bull
The story of how pit bull dogs stole Mike Kitchens’ heart generated massive views for this blog in February. Four months later, when his brand new rescue group was just getting started, my big, black foster dog returned from a second failed adoption. Mike could see that we needed support and made space for Charlie Machete.
5. George Lombardi, Director, Missouri Department of Corrections
The man who oversees Missouri’s prison system cares about rehabilitation – of people and animals. Under George Lombardi’s leadership, Missouri correctional facilities have implemented Missouri Puppies for Parole, the nation’s most extensive prison-based dog training and adoption program.
6. Stacy Ideus, Owner, Stacy Ideus Photography
I’m certain Stacy Ideus and I first communicated through the walls of our mothers’ abdomens. Our lives have moved in very different directions since we were born a few days apart in Beatrice, Nebraska. But family, dogs, photography and blogs are bringing my oldest friend and me close again in our third decade.
When we were kids, Shawn Timm and I were the little girls in our 4-H club who each had very obedient but very big and scary-looking dogs. She still has a mastiff (and a therapy-certified springer spaniel), but my black-and-tan went from a Rottweiler to a miniature pinscher. But we are both still crazy about dogs. And our dogs send Trader Joe’s treats to each other.
In 2011, my long lost high school friend Miranda Loehle found me and my blog and – from halfway across the country – introduced me to a fellow dog blogger in my neighborhood. In 2012, Miranda continued supporting this blog, Our Waldo Bungie and countless others. Sadly, it was also the year her beloved dog Brutus crossed the rainbow bridge. He was lucky to be loved by her.
My cousin Megan and I didn’t play together as kids. But if we lived in the same city, we would definitely “play” together as adults. In 2012, we realized we have a lot more than family in common. She’s a marketing manager for a farmers’ market in Lincoln, Nebraska, and she can make things like yogurt, kim chi and lard from scratch. She’s kinda my hero.
Unlike the other people in this category, my friend Holly and I haven’t been acquainted for lots of years. We’ve known each other for a few, but in 2012, our casual friendship was cemented when she adopted my much-loved foster dog Minnie.
Who has blogging brought closer to you?
I know we’re already three days into the New Year, and I should be thinking ahead.
But, darn it, I’m still feeling nostalgic over 2012!
I love dogs so much that I blog about them nearly every day. But in between networking for adoptable dogs and taking infinite photos of the canines in my house, the fellow residents of Wayward House (both dog and human) and I also enjoy tasty foods and beverages and the thrill of making things ourselves.
I try to post about these experiences in the hopes of inspiring my lovely readers.
Memorable food and DIY posts from 2012:
1. Homemade Barking Dog Stopper - Charlie Machete’s new worst enemy went viral on Pinterest and generated the most single-day hits ever for this blog.
2. Sew Your Own Dog Beds – Zach’s solution for sturdy, cost-effective and comfortable (as far as we can tell) dog beds involved the use of a nifty tool I have still never used – the Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl.
3. Sweet Potato Peanut Buttery Frozen Goodness – This no-bake dog cookie recipe is super healthy and helped me use up some sweet potatoes leftover from the 2011 harvest.
4. Don’t Shop, Swap! – I like looking good as much as the next girl, but I hate to spend on fashion. Whenever possible, I trade clothes with my friends.
5. DIY Citrus-Scented Household Cleaner – I followed another blogger’s lead on this and managed to give up Windex forever.
6. DIY Laundry Detergent – We pass up the harsh chemicals of the commercial stuff and save money by mixing up our own sudsy soap for our clothes (and stinky dog beds).
7. DIY Dye Project for Collars and Leashes – Zach turned a pink gentle leader into a macho camo green for Charlie Machete.
8. Basil Mint Tea – This refreshing recipe helped me deal with extra herbs from the garden and put an old pickle jar to good use.
9. Remedy for a Good Time in Kansas City – I was stoked when a new restaurant that values homemade and homegrown food opened up in my neighborhood.
10. Lemon Vodka Gingerade – After my friend Lisa the DIY Gourmet gave us her homemade ginger syrup, we put our first two homegrown lemons to tasty use.