Dear Diary,

I had to go to the spa all by myself because Big Sis still has stitches in her stomach and she can’t be bathed until they come out. (And she is getting a little stinky too, but I would never tell her that, coz she is so sensitive, that girl.) I was really nervous about being there by myself because I have never been without Madeleine before. I tried to velcro to Mama M., but it didn’t work and they whisked me away anyway. I was so relieved when Mama M. came to get me that I jumped all over her and she kept yelling “Off Off Off”. But I didn’t care coz I was so happy to go home!

The Mamas like to snurfle with me after a day at the spa coz I smell so good! I threw myself on the bed and gave them my belly so they can blow raspberries like they usually do. But this time, Mama M. laughs so hard and said I look like a centerfold girl! Is that a good thing? Well, she’s laughing so it can’t be bad, right?

I have teenage acne! I didn’t even know I had it until Mama M. squealed when she saw them under my chin, and Mama L. promptly pinned me down and applied a salve with calendula in it! It smelled pretty good and I wanted to taste it, but guess what? My tongue doesn’t go that way! I never knew that. I can do pretty much anything with my tongue except to clean the bottom of my chin.

Today is Howloween and I hope to Dog that the Mamas won’t dress us up in silly costumes again. I can’t rely on Big Sis for this one because she actually LIKES to wear things. They might just dress us up though; there’s some photo contest going on for the cutest/spookiest pets. Here is last year’s winner, but I think she’s much cuter than she is spooky.

 

Dear Journal,

I nearly died on October 24th. It wasn’t the Mamas’ fault, and I’m not blaming them. But it was a harrowing experience, and I have never been so scared in my life!

Sunday started out nice enough. For our good behavior of having spent the last two weeks in prison, Mama L. decided to give us each a bone. I love bones! All dogs love a good bone, and this one was particularly good and flavorful. Mama L. used them to make stock for our homemade dog food!

Later in the afternoon Mama M. walked us all over the cemetary. It was our usual Sunday walk – uphill, downhill, trot, trot, trot. These exercises are supposed to be good for us. As everybody knows, I really don’t care for that much physical activity. Except for Laser Light. Now that’s a worthwhile pursuit. I don’t think I have impressed that on the Mamas enough.

By the time we came home, Mama L. was cooking up a storm. She usually does that on Sundays, making enough food for lunches for the week. Mama M. grilled her chicken outside, and that’s right about when I started getting sick.

Not only was I throwing up everything I had in me, I couldn’t stop pooping either. It was nonstop and it was awful. This went on for hours and I really wanted it to stop. I couldn’t even eat when it was dinnertime, and I have never turned dinner down. The Mamas were a little worried, but I put myself to bed because I was too tired to do much more.

At 3:00 a.m. Mama L. woke up because I was shivering so much at the end of the bed. She placed her hand on me and petted me, but she got really worried because I was breathing really fast and shallow. She took me outside to do my business, but I had already gotten everything out. We came back inside and I drank some water, but I immediately threw that up too.

That’s when the Mamas took me to Pet Emergency. Later they told me that I wasn’t myself anymore. I didn’t want to be touched; I didn’t want to be loved and adored like I usually do. Actually, at this point, I was so out of it, I don’t recall a thing. It was like an out of body experience. And it was because I was so dehydrated that my organs were no longer functioning like they were supposed to. The doctor later said that it was a good thing the Mamas took me in when they did. Small dogs like me get in trouble real fast.

The Pet Emergency care center took really good care of me. They stuck something called an IV in my arm and filled me with saline solution to hydrate me. When they brought me out at 6:00 a.m., I had a hump on my neck the size of a grapefruit. I didn’t feel it though, but the Mamas laughed and called me a camel. They also took an Xray of me and saw a little bit of blockage in my lower intestines. They gave me some pain meds (wow, that stuff’s powerful!) and some anti-nausea medication so I would feel better. But I was supposed to go home! The vet tech brought me out to the waiting area and the Mamas fawned over me. By then the medicine had kicked in and all I could do was slump down on the ground. That was when the rest of the stuff in my bowels came out in liquid form. The vet tech decided that they’d better keep me in ER so they could watch over me, since there was a little bit of blood in it.

That was some foul smelling stuff, Mama L. said later. I smelled like rotting chicken carcass.

Pet Emergency discharged me at 7:30 a.m. so that Mama L. could take me to my regular day vet, Montclair Pet Hospital. What? I don’t get to go home? So for the next few hours, I got probed and checked again. They did an ultrasound on me, while Mama L. was trying to get ready for work. By the time she was dressed and ready to go, Montclair Vet called and said that Mama L. should take me BACK to Pet Emergency so that I could be operated on immediately. I was so doped up by now that I no longer care where I was going. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know who Mama L. was, or where I was, or who I was. I just wanted to close my eyes and sleep. Mama L. kept her hand on me the whole time and told me everything was going to be ok. Her voice was soothing, and it was nice to feel her hand on me. I felt comforted, but that was about it.

The main reason I had to be operated on was that the doctor at Montclair said that the ultrasound showed the blockage at the thinnest section of the small intestines — and maybe the intestine have been perforated, which would be a life-threatening situation. In other words, when the operate, they would have had to cut out the perforated part of the intestine and sew the ends together.

Dr. Harbajuk found a large, round, compacted bone mass that couldn’t quite make its way out. It was the size of a big lollipop and he said that it looked like a fossilized bone. His theory was that it’s probably been in my system for a while, and now it’s just starting to back up. And because I was so dehydrated, everything upstream of the blockage just turned into a sponge and made it worse. He said that even though I was given the IV fluids, by the time he operated on me, I was only about 25% normal. You should see all the stitches I got! It’s probably some sort of a record.

The Mamas came and visited me that night, after I got out of surgery, but I didn’t know it. I didn’t really come out of it until the next morning. Then a vet tech called Mama L. to give her a status update and said that I could come home on Tuesday, if only I would eat a little. She said she had tried to give me some chicken baby food but I wouldn’t eat any. Mama L. told the vet that she should try real chicken (coz I’m crazy for them).

About 30 minutes later, the tech called Mama L. back and said that was a good tip! Not only did I scarf down my chicken, I “looked disappointed” that there wasn’t more. I was recovering nicely, and I could go home the same day! When Mama L. came to pick me up at 5:00, I was so ready! I miss being at home, and it’s really cold in the hospital.

Mama M. went and got me a soft cone for my neck — they didn’t want me to bother my stitches — and I really appreciate that a lot. The regular cone is really awful to work with. At least I can sleep with the soft cone on. And you know what I’ll be dreaming? Bones, of course! Because I just know that that was the last bone I will ever have.

Here’s a picture of Gingersnap! trying on the hard cone. Boy is she glad she doesn’t have to wear one like I do. The Mamas said they can’t wait for this month to be over. October has been just awful, and they have a new found respect for Susan Miller, who is somebody I have never met but who is apparently amazingly accurate. I hope she predicts only good things from now on. We’ve had a pretty rough time. But I am glad it’s all over with and that I’m still alive and that the Mamas love me!!!

Dear Diary,

Madeleine and I have gone to jail every day for the past couple of weeks now. The Mamas said it was for our own good and that it’s to protect us from ourselves. I didn’t know what that means until Big Sis told me it was because we ate Mama M’s shoes. I still wasn’t sure how the kennel would protect us, but Madeleine said that the Mamas told her that veterinaries often find the strangest stuff inside dog’s stomachs, like shoes, and that can make them sick or die even. I don’t mind jail that much, actually. I get to sleep in all day, and when I’m awake, there’s always a pizzle or a rawhide for me to chew.

We have lost a few neighbors in the past couple of weeks. Zeke is gone now; he was one of our favorite dogs! Mama L. was walking me that very morning when Zeke’s mom told her that it was going to be Zeke’s last day. Mama L. cried all the way home and she’s been sad ever since. And Fast Eddy and Mr. Ahab are gone, too, although I don’t miss them much at all — they were such mean old cats and they were always hissing at me! And now Annabelle is gone too. Big Sis was very fond of Annabelle. She told me a story about how when she was much younger she would share her treats with Annabelle.

Beatrice the Cat has been much nicer to me since then. I am not sure why, but she would purr and rub up against us. She even let me guard her and herd her around the house to make sure she’s safe. And instead of swatting at me like before, she’d just tap my head.

Mama L. has been depressed for the past few weeks, but I don’t think it’s just because of all the animals gone from our block! I think maybe it’s because of the stupid caterpillars eating her Asian vegetables. Mama L. had planted all these different kinds of vegetables like chard and lettuce and beets and the caterpillars didn’t bother any of them. But they devoured her bok choy and tatsoi and something else I can’t pronounce.

Or maybe it’s because she’s not sleeping well. She wakes every two hours at night and flings the bed cover off. And then she would shove me over and muttered something about us being a furnace. But since she was the one who threw the covers off, I have to put out more heat to keep warm. Big Sis said Mama L. is having hot flashes and that should go away after Amy Lee fixes her. She’s been taking herbs, although I’m not sure they’re all that helpful.

Maybe it’s Amy’s fault because Mama L. has lost every single scrabble game she has played with Amy. I don’t know how many games she has lost, but I think she should stop if she’s not winning. Why would you want to play if you can’t win?

Madeleine says it’s a combination of everything going on in the world right now. Grandma D. hasn’t been doing too well because she’s been sick and then one day she fell getting off the bus! She wasn’t too badly hurt, but Mama L. is worried coz Grandma is getting older and there’s that whole thing about old bones. On top of it all, the weather is getting colder and it’s getting dark sooner. There is something called seasonal affective disorder, and it spells SAD! And Mama L. is particular susceptible to it. I think we should all go on a vacation to some place sunny.

Anyway, I try my best to cheer the Mamas. When they come home, I fetch my favorite pizzle and throw it down at their feet to show them how much I love them! And Madeleine would roll over their dead socks to show how much she appreciates them too! I hope this will earn us our good service dogs kerchiefs like the one that Auntie Peggy was talking about.

RIP Annabelle!

Today we said goodbye to Annabelle. She was born in April 1998. She would have been 13-1/2 years old this month. She was the runt in a feral litter of nine, the smallest and the smartest one of the bunch.

In the prime of her life, before the diabetes got the best of her, Annabelle used to hunt and fought ferocious battles. One time she brought home an avocado pit that she had wrestled with for quite a while. Another time she came home with dirty muddy paws, evidence of a fierce battle with an ill-fated potato and dropped it in the middle of the kitchen floor.

She loved liver and bacon treats. She’d roll over for tummy rubs. She hated being brushed. She loved her heated bed. She never minded the dogs. She loved being inside boxes and bags.

Grandpaw Dwight called and wished her well on her journey. She was his favorite cat. Datie said she had long deserved her kitty wings and should be on her way. Auntie Juniper came with us to the vet to say our final goodbyes. Juniper was there when we first met Annabelle, many many years ago.

We will miss that silly girl.

“Crabby noodles”, (Miến Xào), part 2

This is another super easy recipe, a variation of the “leeky noodles” recipe which was posted a while back. Same exact list of ingredients, except that I substituted crab meat from one whole crab instead of Chinese sausage and shallots instead of an onion. Oh, and added a couple of dashes of fish sauce. The result was a delicious and quick dinner. Try it; you’ll like it. 🙂

 

Dear Grandmaw B.,

This may be my last post as a free dog. Mama L. came home after work today, to the scene of the crime, that I may or may not have committed. There is no way for her to prove this, of course, and therefore tomorrow Gingersnap! and I will both be sent to the crate, or prison, as I call it. I protested and pointed out to Mama L. that in America, we are all innocent until proven guilty, and that we should be given a fair and speedy trial in front of our peers. But Mama L. said that there were less than 12 dogs in our block and that the law only applies to humans anyway. Immediately, I think of a class action lawsuit, but she’s right, we don’t have enough dogs in our neighborhood to write a petition. (Note to self: I must ask my Lawyer Auntie Juniper about dog rights in this country, but I have a feeling she would just side with her.)

Mama L. is running about a couple of weeks behind on everything these days, so this Birthday wish is coming to you rather late. She’s been playing online scrabble with Amy Lee (And losing horribly. Who knew that “haj” was a real word?) But you should know that we wanted to send you something extra special for your birthday, so we asked Mama L. to send you homemade beef jerky because it is (currently) our most favorite thing in the universe! She gave us a tiny little piece to try this morning, and she uttered something about garlic being bad for dogs — isn’t that the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard of? But, anyway, WOW, it was the most delicious thing I have ever tasted! I think she made up that story about garlic being bad for us because she didn’t want to share. You should look for it in the mail because it’s on its way to you. Even though it’s your birthday present, it’s ok if you want to share with Grandpaw B. Unlike Mama L., we encourage sharing especially when it comes to food.

But not with Chester. Chester is Uncle Brian’s 5-month old puppy who now weighs more than both me and Gingersnap! combined. He has way too much energy and he’s super clumsy and he smells. Like a boy dog. And he’s not house-trained yet so he just pees wherever he wants. He’s a big dimbulb, if you ask me, but since he’s Uncle Brian’s dog, I suppose I should give him a break. Besides, Uncle Brian keeps referring to him as “Cousin Chester”, so I am supposed to love him or something. Anyway, over the weekend, Uncle Brian threw his back out, so the Mamas brought Chester home so that Uncle Brian didn’t have to go up and down the stairs to take Chester out to pee. Neither Little Sis nor I was too pleased about that. Little Sis downright snarled at him when he crawled up on Mama L’s lap. That was too much for Gingersnap! to handle. She can share her food and pizzle and treats — and even Mr. Squeaky Lion — but she was not willing to share Mama’s lap. I had to body-block Chester from Gingersnap! to keep him safe. That was a lot of work to do, as you can well imagine. I was exhausted by the time the Mamas took him back to Uncle Brian’s yesterday.

Speaking of exhaustion, I am utterly convinced that the Mamas intend to walk us to death again. Mama M. got some new hiking shoes (for Mama L. too!) Then one day, a big box arrived at the door and the Mamas were all excited about it. They were going on about treats for us — I thought we were going to get something yummy to eat, but no. It was a jacket. Or specifically, it was a jacket with big pockets on both sides. Mama L. said that it was our backpack — so that we can carry a bottle of water, a tennis ball, and maybe a few cookies on a long hike. I hate hikes! The last time I went on a long hike I was so exhausted that I slept for three days! I can tell Little G. is a little suspicious too. You can just tell she’s wondering if the Mamas were going to toss her in the pond again. (I know, that was a different kind of jacket. But Little G. doesn’t know that.)

But that was before Mama M. came home and saw what “we” did to her favorite shoes. Well, just the one shoe. Mama M. kept asking “Who did this?” for a couple of times until she realized that Little G. was about to pee from being so scared. You can always tell when she’s about to pee because Little G. would pull her lips way back like Vincent Price and look at you sideways. I don’t know who Vincent Price is, but that’s how Mama M. describes the look. You know I could never tell Mama M. who really did it, coz I know Little Sis would never tell on me. So Mama M. stopped yelling, but I know she’s conspiring with Mama L. for the woodwork incident and plans to send us to prison anyway. And then later she said she had bought two pairs of those shoes anyway, on account of us being wild.

Little does Mama M. knows, but we were only doing that to protect her from alligator shoes that Auntie Erin sent!

 

So, while we will never be as good as our new friend Bassa (you should read how she saves Christmas!), and while it’s extremely unlikely that Santa will bring us a bone for Christmas this year, I just want to go on record that we think you’re still the bestest Grandmaw in the world and that you’ll have the bestest birthday year ever!

Love,

Madeleine
(and Gingersnap! too)