Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sneaky Kitty

If you had read my post about our newest family member, you will remember me saying that we were warned about Kira's escape artistry. When she was in the humane society, she used to escape out of the kitty room to go visit the rabbits.
Since coming home with us, after having been in the shelter for nearly three months, Kira has had a few attempted escapes. One of them caused her to stop and think because I accidentally closed her paw in the front door. We thought that this may have deterred her, but apparently the back sliding door isn't as scary as the front one that caught her paw.
Last night Mr. K and I walked over to the little park that is near our place to let the dogs run. Everyone really needed to burn off some energy. Hermione walked over off leash because she actually does better off leash than on and the other three were released once we arrived. They all ran hard and had a great time. They were obedient enough to take a time out to let two very little boys pet them all. Then, we went back home to have some supper.
I can't remember if it was before or after we ate, but at some point Roscoe needed out. They all had had quite a bit of water when we got back from their run. I think that's when our little sneaky kitty made her move.
I honestly don't know how long she was outside for, but when I was getting ready for bed, I ran down into the basement to feed the cats as I do every night. Rufio arrived on the scene, purring and rubbing on me in anticipation of his dinner. However, when I called Kira, she didn't show. After some calling and food bowl banging, Mr. K started searching the house.
And still no Kira.
I knew as we opened closet doors that hadn't been opened, just to make sure she hadn't magically been locked inside, that she was probably outside.
We've had her just shy of a month and I wondered if we had lost her. She was after all a stray cat who had spent nearly three months in a shelter. There was no saying what she would do.
I opened the back door and called her, banging her food bowl that was filled with kitty kibble. The dogs looming in the doorway behind me started letting out little woofs and I wondered that if perhaps she was out there and they could sort of see her. I didn't want them to scare her off if it was in fact her, so I closed the door and resumed my calling and food rattling.
She meowed.
I called again just in case I was hearing things and the meow came again, just much louder.
"She's out here." I called back into the house."But I don't know where."
Mr. K came out and I continued to call her name. She kept meowing back. Mr. K found her on the other side of our fence in our neighbour's yard. At first, she wouldn't let him pick her up, but when she finally did she climbed up his shoulder and tried to sit on his head. Once she was inside with the door firmly closed behind her, I ran down to her feeding station and she followed along happily. She had a few little burs stuck to her, but she was a bit too over stimulated from her little excursion that she wouldn't let me pull them off. I left her to eat in peace. I'd have to get the burs off in the morning.
I'm not sure how we lucked out to have two cats that answer to their names; especially since Kira has had her name for only a month. What's even more lucky for us is that not only do they come when called, but they both meow in response.
I know Kira was happy to be back inside last night. At 5 AM she started assaulting our bedroom door to get in to sleep with us. She and Rufio also had Kitten Olympics at some point last night too. She also scarfed down all of her food.
Now that we know that she isn't afraid of the back door, I'm going to have to be extra careful when opening and closing it. When I let the big dogs out I get Kira to go into the basement and close the door so that I know she won't sneak out under Nala or Roscoe's bellies. Kira is just a curious and active kitty, the two qualities that made us pick her, but it also means that we have a little mischievous soul on our hands.
At her next vet appointment, not only will Kira be given her yearly vaccinations, but she will be also getting microchipped.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Brain/Mouth Filter

I have to say that over the years, my brain/mouth filter has been refined. It has been, and still is a work in progress. The reason for the construction of such a strong and reliable filter?
Quite often as a blind person I encounter people on a regular basis who may deserve a stern talking to; and that's putting it mildly. (I suppose, everyone whether they are blind or not, encounters similar idiots). However, I've learned to ignore a lot of behaviour that would require such a talking to for many reasons. The main reason being that if I went on a rampage every time  someone acted like an idiot just because I'm blind, I'd be an angry and nasty person. Also, I've come to realise that much of people's poor behaviour comes from ignorance and fear. Letting my tongue fly wouldn't help or fix the situation. So, I've learned to be more eloquent or just ignore it all together. Carrying on speaking at your  normal speaking volume when someone is talking to you at top volume because they think your blindness means your ears don't work, is usually better than getting angry at them. However, there are times when my filter fails and this morning was an example of that.
As per my normal morning routine, I leashed Hermione and Otis up to go walk through the little park that is around the corner from our place. (Hermione is back to her normal self, by  the way). Hermione wears an extenda leash for these walks because then she can go off and explore the park without getting into trouble. People tend to dump garbage and stuff and I'd hate for her to get into something dangerous.
As soon as we hit the paved walk way, Otis pulled over to pee. Hermione had gone on ahead, but hadn't reached the limits of her extenda leash. As Otis finished his business I heard bike tires spraying up gravel coming at me. It was hard to tell exactly where the bike was so instead of reeling Hermione in, I left her out. She was off to the side and I was worried that if I called her to me she could potentially get tangled up in the bike's tires. Otis and I were off to the side as well; my white cane in my hand, slightly extended. (This is a very important part of this story). That little park is so small that I could walk around it without my white cane, but I use it just in case the neighbourhood kids leave something on one of the paths and also because it identifies me as blind.
The tires kept coming at me. The gravel spraying continued as if the rider was hitting the brakes and then releasing.
Just as the rider got to me he says in a very sarcastic tone:
"You'd think you'd move out of the way eh? Wow!"
That was it. My shocked silence was ended. Filter failed.
"I'm blind you dumb a*s!" I shouted at his retreating back. I know he heard me. I was a cheerleader a long time ago. My voice carries.
I'll blame it on the early hour and my brain still waking up. Or perhaps he just got what I've been holding back from other dumb a**es. Whatever it was, I'm not going to lie: it felt good to voice my annoyance instead of just turning the other cheek.
No, I'm not going to make a habit of going around and calling people who squish themselves as far up against a building wall as they can when I walk by dumb a**es or the people who cut in front of me in line. As I said above, getting angry about every jerk that crosses your path just isn't worth it, but sometimes just sometimes, it's appropriate to set the record straight and call it the way it is.
So, although I will continue to fortify my brain/mouth filter, I know that there will be times when it will fail. Here's to hoping that when it does, I'm not the one looking like the dumb a*s.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Little Miss Lamp Shade Head

That's right.
She's not a princess anymore. Or rather, she's royalty with a different kind of head wear.
Hermione is wearing the cone of shame.
Yesterday we brought her to the vet. A new vet I might add, who was very good and actually has emergency appointments available. Who would have thought?!
 It was so strange because it seemed like she was healing, but all of a sudden around 5 last evening, a check of her bum made us hustle to the vet clinic.
Since realising last Wednesday that Hermione's anal gland had ruptured Mr. K and I have been doing a twice daily, sometimes three times daily, routine of cleaning her anal glands and putting anti-biotic ointment on the area. She seemed to be getting better. Her energy was returning, her bum was wagging and her appetite had come back in full force. A check of the area Sunday evening put her in the clear. It looked good. However, last night I had a funny feeling and asked someone to look at it again.
Hermione had seemed fine earlier in the day and even when I had the funny feeling, she seemed pretty much herself; except that she was lying much closer to me than normal. You try not to read into these things. Anything could cause behaviour changes in your animals and since they can't tell you what's going on, you could drive yourself mad trying to interpret their every change. However, her body felt warm. Granted, it was a warm day and the house was pretty warm, but knowing that she was just barely out of the woods, I had her looked at.
Good thing I did because the area that had been free of redness and clean the night before was inflamed with one side of the gland appearing to be entirely red and hard and the other being covered with a clear film. It was apparently also bulbous. This was cause for alarm. We had been battling with this thing for over a week. It was time to go to the vet, and as I said above, a different one than our original one.
I called the vet and told them we'd be in very quickly. They are within walking distance and we arrived within 30 minutes of me calling. Hermione walked the whole way and was even excited about being out and about. It was a good thing that she was showing visible symptoms because judging by how she pranced along, you'd never know that she was fighting an infection.
The vet was a bit busy when we arrived, but Hermione was quickly weighed and then whisked off to have her bum looked after. Basically, they had to lance the area, flush it and then she'd be good to go. We warned the vet that Hermione was a drama queen, but not a biter. Strangely enough, Hermione didn't complain once. They gave her an anti-biotic injection that sits under the skin for two weeks and some pain killers. We were given some pain killers for home and instructed to give her one a day until they were gone. The vet said it was good we had brought her in because her temperature was slightly higher than normal. Even now I think her temperature is a bit high, but I think it's because the medicine is doing its job and she's fighting off the foreign bodies invading her little fuzziness.
On top of the pain killers we were also given a "cone of shame" for her to wear. She's a bit obsessive and keeping her from licking/chewing at the area has been difficult. With the collar though, she's not able to get to it at all. I do have to take it off of her when taking her out for bathroom breaks because she refuses to walk around with it on. She's such a particular little thing. At least she's getting rest since she refuses to go anywhere with the collar on. I have to be really vigilant when I take it off for bathroom breaks because she instantly attacks her butt.
So, Hermione's battle with problematic anal glands continues, but with the assistance of some strong drugs she should be back to normal soon. The vet said that the glands may be problematic for her for the rest of her life, but then again maybe not. If they continue to cause her issues, we may explore the option of having her anal glands removed. It's a risky surgery so there are a lot of things to consider. I had Jetta's glands removed in the first year of us working together. I didn't know then what I do now about diet, but you never know what will work. I thought Hermione's diet was suiting her and maybe it is. These glands can be tricky little things that really serve no purpose for the domesticated dog.
For now, I'll continue to feed Hermione her pureed pumpkin and blueberries and hope that she recovers quickly so that she can take the ridiculous collar off sooner rather than later.
Poor Little Miss Lamp Shade Head.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

A Hermione Update

So, you know how I said Hermione seemed to be on the mends? Well, Tuesday was a bit of  a rough day. Not "Oh, we need to go the vet right now!", but more like "things aren't getting. better..a bit worse and I'm worried."
Tuesday Hermione refused to eat any dog food at all. By this point we had figured out that it wasn't whatever stung her, but rather something was wrong with her bum. So, I called Lindsay over to see if she could help me express Hermione's anal glands.
Anal glands are small glands near the dog's poop spot at about 4 and 8 on a clock's face. They can potentially become too full and infected if a dog isn't having regular poops. I was convinced that it was her glands.
Lindsay wasn't able to come until Wednesday because she was working. So, I spent much of Tuesday fussing and worrying. Hermione didn't want to have anything to do with food or water and that was freaking me out. However, she would allow me to spoon frozen blueberries into her mouth and she'd eat them. If I balled pureed pumpkin up small enough and dropped it into her mouth, she'd swallow it. I even made her some chicken broth which she drank some of.
That said, her heart rate was normal and she didn't have a fever. She was also going out to the bathroom and walking around if I took her out on leash.
I had put her flea stuff on the day before which never reacts well with her. In the hopes of making things easier for her system, I gave her a bath, washing away the flea medication. I also took the opportunity to trim the feathers away from her bum and feel her whole body all over. She's so quite furry, so feeling her structure is easier when her fur is wet. I didn't feel anything abnormal.
My parents stopped by that night to see her. Dad had dropped off the pureed pumpkin for me earlier in the day. Hermione didn't even get off the chair or wag her tail. Mom picked her up and at one point accidentally squished her bum. Hermione yelped. Mom also looked at her butt and said it was red and irritated.
I was further convinced it was anal glands.
Wednesday came and she seemed a bit perkier. She still didn't want dog food, but would let me shove blueberries into her mouth as well as the pumpkin. She wasn't too happy about it, but as long as she was swallowing I kept feeding it to her. I usually just gave her little bits at a time about every three hours or so. She was still going out to the bathroom. So, that was encouraging.
Lindsay arrived Wednesday afternoon and we spirited Hermione off to the bath tub to express her glands. Hermione yelped which we thought might happen, but upon closer inspection, Lindsay realised her bum didn't look right. There seemed to be a hole of sorts near her poop hole.
Now, it was time for the vet.
As I called the vet, we cleaned Hermione's bum with some therapeutic grade witch hazel. I think it stung a bit, but that just meant it was cleaning.
My first call to the vet sent me directly to voice mail. I left a message. They still haven't returned my call.
Mr. K had started looking stuff up on the internet because that is what he does. He had Lindsay describe what it looked like and when he found something he thought to be right, he showed her.
Turns out he diagnosed her.
While they were researching, Lindsay had called the vet on her cell phone and they answered. I talked to them and explained. They told me that they didn't have any appointments until Friday so I would have to bring her in for the day and they would call me once the vet finally got to her. Then, they would let me know how much everything would cost and what our plan of action was.
Um, how about no?
Don't you have emergency appointments?!!
What vet doesn't have emergency appointments?
Especially a vet office that has over ten vets working there plus their dozen or so vet Techs. I was furious.
According to the stuff Mr. K found, Hermione had blown out one of her anal glands. The concern with this, of course, is infection. However, other than giving her anti-biotics, there isn't anything vets can do for her; unless hers was so bad and she needed surgery. Hers wasn't that bad.
The instructions we found told us to keep it clean which we've done with the witch hazel and to keep her from licking. That's been the fun part. I can't tell you how many different types of doggie diapers we've made in the last few days. She's so small that she can get out of everything. Mom and I even bought her a baby diaper shirt, but it was just a tad too small and wasn't wide enough to cover her bum. She's currently wearing one of my t-shirts with her head poking through the sleeve. She's not too happy, but it works. We are also to put anti-biotic ointment on her which we have also been doing.
Since yesterday she's eaten two full meals and drank her fill of water. She even hopped around when I let her out of her crate this morning. Yesterday she wagged her tail, and bum, when Mom came over. Just that little bit of ointment and cleansing has made a huge difference.
I'm still feeding her pumpkin to keep her poop soft so that she doesn't strain while going. We think that is how she ruptured the gland in the first place. It will take some time for her to heal fully, but she is definitely on the mends. We are just paying very close attention to ensure there aren't any signs of infection. If anything crops up that is worrying, we'll be going to the vet; just not that one. Her bum apparently looks less irritated today than yesterday and it looks like it's healing. So, we'll just have to keep on it. Thankfully, she's not a labrador and is being quiet and resting. The dress-like t-shirt may be helping with that.
So, it was a bit stressful the last couple of days, but I think she's getting better. Fingers crossed.
My poor little princess.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Kira Kitty and an Uncomfortable Hermione

Since I've let this blog lapse into non-writing status again, there are two components to today's post. (Very long post ahead)! The first is a bit longer, but both of equal importance. Let's start with Kira Kitty.
Who is she and where did she come from?
As everyone knows Mr. K and I have a Siberian Forest cat named Rufio. We had originally got him, not only for companionship, but to show him and start our own cattery; breeding these amazing cats. However, after searching and searching for a suitable wife, or wives" for him we couldn't find any or the plans of this or that cat fell threw and eventually we opted to have him neutered. We've discussed still showing him, but obviously starting our own cattery is no longer an option.
In those plans, we always thought that Rufio would eventually have other feline company. He's quite the social guy and he seemed lonely at night when we had all gone to bed. We tried letting him sleep with us, but since he's still young, only 1.5 years, he is active at night. He would clean himself on the bed, bounce around the room, sit on top of Hermione's crate and try to bat her, climb the dresser, attack the curtains Etc. Basically, we weren't getting any sleep and Sir was banned from the bedroom during sleeping hours. Mr. K and I both felt bad, knowing that he just liked having company. Rufio started letting us know about his disgruntled state by destroying things. He chewed through cell phone adapter cords, Mr. K's fancy headphone cords and many other things. We thought that perhaps it was just naughty kitty behaviour, but when he chewed through the strap of one of my bras not once but twice, we decided it was time to find him a friend. The problem is that Mr. K is allergic to cats. That is why we decided on the Siberian breed in the first place.
In our researching cat breeds the first time around, we read a lot about darker cats (sometimes) producing less of the protein that most people are allergic to. We knew getting another Siberian was out of the question this time around. They are really expensive and really difficult to get a hold of. So, I looked at the local humane society to see if they had any black cats. Statistically speaking, black, or darker, animals are more difficult to adopt out and so I wasn't surprised when I found a few black cats. There was one cat in particular that caught my attention. She was described as "active" and "spicy."
I sent her profile to Mr. K and I think his interest was peaked right away too.
We waited about a week, talking about the pros and cons. We finally decided that we would go meet her and see how allergic Mr. K was to her.
On July 31 we went to our local humane society and asked to see the kitten. There were so many beautiful and sweet cats available, it was just heart breaking. I just had to keep telling myself that we were going to try to save one and some day in the future, I'd be able to help in bigger ways. But, for now, this would have to do.
The worker went into the room and put the two cats already out back into their cage and opened Miss Kitty's door. She sprung happily out and immediately rubbed up against us. Then she was off, enthusiastically scratching the scratching post. It was like she was saying, "look. I know where I'm supposed to scratch. I'll be good. I promise."
The worker left, warning us to make sure that when we left, we snuck out without a black kitten in hot pursuit. Apparently she was quite the escape artist. She would bust out when unsuspecting people were leaving or entering the room and go off to visit the rabbits up for adoption.
We petted her while she scratched and we were both impressed at how she wasn't afraid of us. She purred, further winning us over. She had been found on a walk way in the middle of May and had been in the shelter ever since.
How was it that this little outgoing, sweet kitten had been looked over for two and a half months?
It had said on her bio that she needed to be spayed, but when we went back out to the front desk and told them we wanted her, they told us that she had been spayed three days prior to our arrival. This made us even more convinced.
As we stood petting her while she scratched away at the appropriate scratching object, Mr. K asked me if I wanted her. Of course I did, but I left it up to him.
"How allergic to her are you?"
He told me it was hard to tell because the room was full of cats, but he said that if he petted her and then put his hands near his face he felt fine.
We would have to take her home and see. I vowed to vaccuum every second day if that meant she could stay.
We signed our adoption papers and brought the little bundle of fur home.
We think she's between 6 and 8 months, but it's hard to tell because she is so tiny. She is technically called a black smoke because her coat is black, but has a silver under coat. Her eyes are gold and she is so sweet. She talks a lot and is quite active; just what we wanted.
Rufio wasn't entirely sure about our decision. He hissed and growled at her the first day, but it hasn't even been a week and they are already kitty battling; friendly kitty battling, that is. They even have started sleeping ear each other, Rufio on the top step and Kira on the one below him.
We're convinced that she is mixed with some kind of purebred cat because her features aren't that of your every day domestic long hair. Her tail is hugely furry and she uses it like a fan to show off. She's a flirt. More impressively, she's not even remotely afraid of the dogs. Otis tried to battle with her like he does with Rufio, but she powder puffed him on the head, flicked her flirty tail and pranced off.
As for her escape artistry, she hasn't tried it yet. (Knock on wood). We're hoping she doesn't want to go outside now because she has so much more room here and more company.
We did have to teach her that biting isn't nice. She would get so excited that someone was petting her that she'd put her teeth on your hand. After saying "ouch" a couple of times and refraining from petting her, she's stopped biting.
So, our furry family has grown again and I vaccuum for over an hour every second day. But, Mr. K's allergies aren't really bothering him. And, that means she can stay.
As for Her Royal Highness, Princess Hermione Sophia: she's not feeling well. (This is the second part of my post. Did you remember? The first part was quite long).
We had a birthday party for me on Saturday which consisted of brunch with some great people, a romp at the beach with sed wonderful people and then a barbecue at my parents' house with more great people. My parents were at camp, so I brought all of the dogs with us. They had been alone on and off all day and so I thought they would want to come along. Plus, they're my family too. Some time between barbecued hamburgers and cake, something bit Hermione. We don't know what it was, but she yelped and jumped around. We thought nothing of it, but the next day she was not herself. She didn't even want her breakfast. She did drink water though which made me feel better. She was alert, heart rate normal, but she just laid on the chair. At dinner I managed to convinced her to eat some yogurt and cinnamon. I thought her tummy was upset and that was why she wasn't eating.
The next morning she scarfed her breakfast down and drank. She was still just lying on her chair. She would go out if I took her, but she wanted to go right back home. Her tail wagged, but her usual spunk just wasn't there. A friend could see where she had been bitten and said it didn't look infected. She at her supper and drank water all day. Her bathroom breaks were normal.
Today is day three and she's still unhappy. She's in her chair resting again. I checked her heart rate and it's normal. Her nose is wet and cold and she's responsive. It's almost breakfast time here for the dogs, so we'll see what she thinks of eating this morning. As long as she keeps eating, drinking and going to the bathroom I won't worry...well, worry too much. I'll have someone look at the bite again today just to make sure it hasn't become infected. I'm hoping with a little rest and some TLC that she'll be back to normal soon. As much as her high energy can be a bit much sometimes, you never want your dog to change and you worry when they just aren't themselves.