Thank you so much for reading our VetWisdomCafe blog!
After posting for six years, yesterday, was our 1,000th and last blog.
We'll miss you!
--Laurel and Tammy
Thank you so much for reading our VetWisdomCafe blog!
After posting for six years, yesterday, was our 1,000th and last blog.
We'll miss you!
--Laurel and Tammy
As you read on Tuesday in Laurel's eloquent post, "times they are a-changin'".
When I figured out that we had been writing this blog for a little over six years, I was amazed! I knew it had been going for a while, but I had no idea it was SIX years. I've enjoyed sharing the fun stories, the cute animal videos, and the celebrity stories.
But I have really appreciated being able to share my personal stories with you. It has been an honor to share many of my personal griefs, cat stories, emotional decision-making issues, and so much more. To receive your input and feedback has been invaluable. And getting your personal comments and emails has meant so much. I know you've all gotten to know my kitties too. Henry, Ben, and Oscar never knew they would be "famous" blog kitties!
I am also moving on from my work with Laurel and World by the Tail to other things. Not sure where my path will take me just yet. But, when I started working with Laurel almost 11 years ago, I didn't know where that path would take me either! I certainly didn't expect it to lead me where it has, and I'm sure grateful that I have had this opportunity.
From my start as the administrative assistant for Argus at CSU in our one little office, to moving into more responsibility as their communications coordinator in the new wing and offices, and then moving along with Laurel and Debby to working for World by the Tail and learning all of this website and social media "stuff", it's been an amazing decade! I've been very lucky to have such amazing mentors and friends.
I know that Laurel and I are both experiencing some grief along with these changes. Even as we both move on to other things, we'll miss our working relationship. And I know that I will miss our blog, and all of you too.
Be well my friends! If any of you would like to stay in touch with me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (for a little longer). I'd love to hear from you.
On Thursday, April 19th, Tammy and I will have posted 1,000 blogs.
And, although it feels sad to say this, we have decided that 1,000 blog posts is a good time to end this particular version of the VetWisdomCafe.
We are very grateful for the community you all have created with us. And, we are a bit sad to be moving on.
Our conversation with you has spanned 6 years and covered everything from pet parenting to grief to coping with veterinary stress. Along the way, other writers have joined our conversations--Dana Durrance, Jean McBride, and several guest bloggers. We've made many loyal friends--like you, Midge and Marty--and even picked up a couple of critics along the way (you know who you are!)
All in all, it has been an honor and we will miss "talking" with you each day.
For six years, Tammy has been the main voice of this blog. She has opened her life and her heart and allowed us to be right there with her as she's dealt with sick kitties, moving (several times!), grieving for her sister, and relocating her aging parents. Tammy has shared her anxieties and her excitement, her fears and her confidence. I, for one, have learned a lot from Tammy's thoughtful, down-to-earth musings and I've looked forward each day to discovering what she had in store for us via our blog.
But my personal experience with Tammy goes way beyond this blog. Tammy and I have worked together for 10 years, first at CSU and then at World by the Tail, Inc.! Not many people are lucky enough to experience the kind of teamwork that Tammy and I have created.
Tammy has been my right arm, my left brain, and my more youthful perspective on the working world. I will not only miss writing with her on this blog, I will miss working with her at World by the Tail, Inc.
Technology is prompting us to make some drastic changes in our websites at World by the Tail, so Tammy's tenure as webmaster and Social Media Queen is coming to a close. Technology is also prompting me to reflect and regroup in terms of my own writing and business endeavors. So, my time directing our websites and social media is also evolving.
For now, I just want to say thank you to all of you who have read and commented on our stories. I may decide to blog again down the road and, if so, I'll let you all know.
And, Tammy, thank you from the bottom of my heart for always "being there" and for rising to every occasion I ever threw at you! You are a treasured colleague, but more than that, you are a treasured friend.
Blog or no blog, we'll always be in touch...
It seems that Fred, the labrador retriever, has made a new buddy. Dennis, the baby duck, was left behind when his mother was mauled by a fox and killed. Fred, and his owner Jeremy, took the duckling in, and Fred made friends. The dog helped clean up Dennis the duck, and the two are great friends now.
They snuggle at night, Dennis rides on Fred, and they swim together. (Dennis is more graceful than Fred according to Jeremy!) Jeremy says that Fred is like a mother to Dennis - or maybe more like a "stay at home dad".
Read the full story and find more photos here.
Have you ever had one of your pets adopt another animal of another species? I think that Henry would likely try it given a chance. He's so friendly to other critters. (I'm not sure he knows he is a kitty!)
It’s time for my annual treatise on the value of napping.
It seems this is a topic that must be discussed every so often.
In marketing I think they call it top of mind awareness. Cats don’t really need this reminder.
I’m talking to you – my human friends and family.
You may think I haven’t noticed you running around from one task to the next, to-do lists dangling from your hand.
Or that I don’t see the tired look on your face, or pick up on the stress that sometimes radiates off your body.
But I do.
I notice and to be frank, I worry.
You are a human being, not a human doing.
And if you’re doing, doing, doing all the time, you’re missing out on some of the most wonderful luxuries life has to offer.
Luxuries like stretching out in the sun with a good book, and then when you’ve read your fill, drifting off to sleep.
Dozing in the sun can work miracles for a bad attitude.
You must trust me on this: Life is too short not to take naps.
And read good books.
And spend time with the people you love.
About those to-do lists:
Only use them if they really do help you remember things or get organized.
If they make you feel bad, crumple them up and give them a toss.
Because this is the true nugget of gold we cats want to share with you – life is too short to feel bad.
Are we clear on this?
Now get out there and take a nap.
--Mija (with a little help from Jean)
P.S. Have you noticed in the photograph that I am totally ignoring the microfiber cleaning cloths? When this photo was snapped, I was all about napping in the sun with a good book close by. Nuff said.
This French kitty is called Henri, but he looks more like my Ben. I found this to be a wonderful little film - do you think your kitties think like Henri?
A new study has been getting a lot of media attention lately.
It seems pet owners have higher self-esteem and are less fearful and preoccupied than those who don't live with pets.
So, no more thinking of us as crazy cat ladies or wacky dog people! Now, we're the sane ones!
Dr. Allen McConnell, the lead researcher for the study, says people who are close to their pets are also closer to their friends and relatives. In other words, pet people make relationships a high priority and solid relationships are correlated with better mental health.
A surprising outcome of Dr. McConnell's study is that the people who saw the most humanlike qualities in their pets got the most benefit from their relationships.
So, go ahead and anthropomorphize (assign human qualities, behaviors, and emotions) your pets to your heart's content! It's good for you!
I know, I know - another cute video! I just can't help myself.
I wouldn't even know what a theremin was if it wasn't for my husband's love of weird music! But, I do know and needed to share this cute kitty with you! He could be the next big thing! He plays the theremin just about as well as anyone could! My cats would either a) LOVE this, or b) be TERRIFIED of it! What do you think your pets would do when confronted with this strange musical instrument?
Our herd of oldsters has made a change in their routine.
In the depths of winter, they seemed quite content to spend the majority of their time hunkered down in the shed or close by.
They were out of the wind and away from the larger herd, which are two biggies on their list of “must haves.”
Their Mamas Didn’t Raise Any Fools!
I still find them at the shed area when I show up with feed pans around noon each day. They may be old, but they are certainly not stupid. They know the schedule. I can count on each of them to be there. We have our own version of a mutual admiration society going on.
Lately though, when the feed pans are put away and it’s clear to everyone that I’ve handed out the last alfalfa cube or horse candy of the day, they head single file down the lane. (If you click on the photo above you can get a better view of their trek.) No more hanging out at the shed. They move as a unit, with some agreed-upon destination in mind.
Perhaps they’re moving toward water.
Or maybe just a nice sunny location in the pasture.
They remind me of a herd of elephants walking across the plains of Africa.
They are a team.
The oldsters feel safe when they’re together.
They are so clearly comfortable with each other.
They’re friends (if we were to attach a human experience to horses.)
And on those occasions when one of the horses is removed from the herd, for example, for grooming or exercise or a visit from the farrier, the rest of the herd is concerned.
They call for their missing member.
They don’t settle until the missing horse is returned to the fold.
To me, that’s the essence of community and I value having it in my life.
I need to be part of something larger than just me.
I love the interchange between people.
I feel cared for when my friends notice that I’ve been “missing.”
In return, I notice the same for my friends.
We are a community.
And just as the oldsters find safety and companionship in their herd, we humans find the same with our friends, our neighborhoods, and our towns. It’s how we all get by – with just a little help from our friends.
Connect With a Friend Today
I invite you to share whatever may be your equivalent of an alfalfa cube or two with your friends today, and remember just how lovely it feels to be part of a community. They are your peeps, your tribe.
Leave a comment below and let me know how you reached out.
So, I happened across this video earlier this week and just had to share it with you! It seems that the researchers at Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, OR are researching how their Octopus, Pearl, uses her gestures to communicate. (This is just down the road from where I live.)
In this video, you'll hear her gestures translated. So interesting!
And, so an April Fool's joke! What a fun video they put together though for this joke! I really love that these scientists have such a sense of humor! I bet they had a great time coming up with what Pearl might be thinking too!
What do you suppose your pets might be trying to tell YOU?
This is an amazing story of a very lucky Basset hound called George.
An emergency operator in England received a strange call and all she could hear on the other end was choking and deep breathing noises. Emergency workers responded to the home where the call came from.
They were let into the house by a neighbor so that they could find and help whoever it was in distress. They started searching the house. The neighbor walked into the living room and realized that it wasn't a human who had called. It was George, the Basset hound, and he was in trouble. He'd gotten tangled in the phone cord. It was around his neck, and he was choking.
Lucky George somehow had managed to dial for emergency help (999 in England). Thankfully, the emergency workers were able to get in and they helped him free from the phone. If he hadn't dialed emergency, he probably would have died!
His owner Lydia said, "We still don't know how he managed it. He's not usually very smart. He's really dopey and just likes to chew socks."
Has your pet ever done something to save either himself or you from danger? (photo from bigstockphoto.com)
Okay, the four word self help was so much fun that I have to share another challenge with you.
It's the six word memoir.
That's right. Six words to sum up your life or, more appropriately for this blog, your pet's life.
It seems Smith magazine challenged several famous writers, artists and musicians to submit their six word memoirs. They collected these brilliant pieces into a book called Not Quite What I Was Planning. An example of a celebrity memoir is Stephen Colbert's entry, "Well, I Thought It Was Funny!"
I'm sure I could come up with a better one, but this title came to mind for me:
"Never Could Have Made This Up."
And, for my dog Bear, who is a house dog but longs to run free and be wild like a wolf:
"Night Patrol in Backyard. No Raccoons!"
Give it a try! Share a six word memoir with us about your pet (or you!)
So, I don't know if this is real or not, but the video does look pretty convincing! This elephant seems to be really enjoying his technology! I know I've shared other pets with technology (like the frog trying to eat the flies off of the screen!) But this one was worth a share as well.
Have your pets ever interacted with any of your phones or computers? My cats react to TV now and then but it's rare. Kitty videos sometimes get their attention - more for the noise than what is on the screen though.
There are many things I adore about Bud.
This particular photo isn’t great – blurry and taken from too far away with my point and shoot camera, but I chose it because it shows Bud in his self-appointed role as the “food lookout.”
Every day, he’s at the front of the line, waiting for me to bring his grain. Most days when I drive up, the first horse I see is Bud. Even from a distance, he stands out because of his spots.
He positions himself at the gate, so hopeful, so confident, and so ready to eat. He seems completely comfortable waiting for one of our vehicles approach. He just knows we’re coming.
And he’s right.
I can’t bear the image of him waiting at the gate and me not showing up. We’ve trained our horses to this routine, and now the responsibility is mine to carry through.
I’ve said it before, but I think it bears repeating. Animals help us to be better humans.
My relationship with Bud and Pepper has given a structure to my day. An unbreakable routine, that honestly I haven’t had since my son was a baby. Other than going to work every day (when I was doing that,) I’ve found a way to weasel out of most of the routines I’ve tried to establish.
The funny thing is that I love having this routine. Knowing when I feed the horses helps me plan the rest of my day. “No I can’t schedule that appointment at noon. It’s when I feed the horses.”
Now, I’m trying to apply that same adherence to routine to some of the other parts of my life. Things like exercise, house cleaning, grocery shopping etc.
Wish me luck!
If you had to say, would you describe yourself as routinized or a free spirit?
A writer friend and I were playing around with words the other day. She recently discovered a book called Four Word Self Help by Patti Digh. In this book, Patti dispenses the deepest wisdom about life, all in four word sentences.
Here are a couple of examples.
"Jump up and down."
"Leave some things undone."
And, as you can imagine, my personal favorite, "Know it will end."
My friend and I giggled as we came up with our own four word self help sentences and then I began to apply them to wisdome from my pets. What advice would my pets give me in just four words?
Here's a couple I (or rather, they!) came up with:
My big, black male cat Grafton said, "Eat, sleep, and repeat."
And, my sweet, little cockapoo Beau said, "I love it all." And he does. (Beau is pictured - taking Bear's advice!)
What wisdom would your pets pass on in four words?
This amazing video story introduces us to tiny Beyoncé. This puppy was supposed to be stillborn according to her vet. She has escaped death four times in her short little life.
Her mother was a stray and slated for euthanasia, but she was too close to giving birth to her puppies. Beth owns a rescue in Eldorado Hills, CA. She saved Beth, and her puppies were born five days later. Little Beyoncé was named for the singer - and her song titled "I Am a Survivor".
Stories like this make me believe in good in the world!
The video was made by Lily's Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary.
I don't have an old dog, but we have three old cats. They are all "senior citizens" now. We've had Ben since he was 4, but Henry and Oscar have been with me (and now us) since they were kittens. I would definitely consider adopting an older pet if the opportunity arose. I know that shelters always have older pets who don't find homes as quickly as the younger pets.
Do you have aging or old pets? Have you ever adopted an older pet?
I’ve written about the meditative aspects of my time with the horses on several other occasions.
So This is Why They Call it Work!
It has been a rough few weeks (months?) for me in terms of a work project. I’ve felt like a gerbil running on a wheel. I run and run and run, but at the end of each day, I can’t see any progress, except my exhaustion.
Apparently they’ve named it work for a reason!
So late in the day on Friday, I had a breakthrough of sorts. At least I could see a small shift.
I began to breathe a bit easier.
I slept all night for the first time in a long while.
I felt infinitely more relaxed.
A Saturday Filled With Grace
Then Saturday was a glorious day. The wind of the past two days had died down. The sun and fifty degree temperatures warmed the horses and me.
The pasture glowed in a golden, sunny light.
I spent longer than usual hanging out with my horse friends. I brushed Bud and Pepper as they ate. I handed out numerous alfalfa cubes to the herd of oldsters.
I talked to them and they listened. Horses are excellent listeners.
I sang to them.
I could be kidding myself, but I think they are especially fond of the oldies rock and roll songs.
It was a mellow afternoon, and the stress just oozed out of my body.
My Friend Joe
As they came closer, I saw that is was Old Joe, the other spotted horse in the herd. We’d named him Griz when we first met him, before we knew his real name. He sometimes hangs out with the oldsters.
“I think he wants to see you,” the man said.
Indeed, Joe was making his way toward me to say hello. So I stroked his neck and asked him how life was going for him. I also talked to the man who sat atop Joe.
“He likes you,” the man said.
“I like him too,” I answered.
After a few minutes of chitchat and horse petting, I drove off, and Joe and his rider went on their way.
I was so touched that Joe recognized me and came to say hello.
It was just the sweetest moment.
To the herd of oldsters and Old Joe, I just want to say this:
Thanks Guys! You’ve enriched my life in ways I never could have imagined.
I think I may have mentioned a cat named Zen in a previous post, but I'm not sure I've told his story!
Zen is a kitty that was in need of a rescue. He lived at my sister Vicki's then apartment complex. He had a family, but they ignored him at best, and at worst they neglected him a lot. He often showed up at my sister's apartment looking for a little love, or a little food.
When I visited, I (of course) gave him attention. I'm a kitty person, through and through. He was a sweet boy, a huge yellow and white kitty. His name was already Zen, and boy, did it fit?! He was as "zen" a critter as I've ever met. (The definition of zen: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind.) He was very calm and had a calming influence on me.
Vicki suggested that I talk to Zen's owners and see if they were at all interested in letting me adopt him. It was a strange move for me to do something like that, but it worked. They realized that they were neglecting him, and they let me take him. (I even thought to call my landlord ahead of this conversation, so I knew it was OK to bring him home!) We packed him up in a crate, and I took him home with me that very day.
The ride home wasn't pleasant for the kitty or me. He got carsick and he yowled th e whole hour's drive home. But, when we got there, he settled right down. I hadn't counted on some opposition from my other kitties. I had Lissy and Oscar at that time. Lissy didn't mind him, but Oscar... that was another story! He HATED Zen immediately. The two of them couldn't ever be in the same room together. They never did work out their differences. But, the good news was, Zen was used to being an outdoor cat, so he spent much of his time outside wandering around the farm. I lived in the country at the time, so it was ideal for a kitty. He would come back for food and a little cuddle time. If he was inside, Oscar spent some time in the bathroom. It may not have been ideal, but it worked out OK.
Zen got hurt very badly not long after he came to be with me. I'm not sure what happened, but he had a large gash under his front arm. He had to have emergency surgery, but he bounced back very quickly. I loved having him around the farm. He often hung out on Nancy's (my landlord and friend) fence - just sort of watching what was going on. Zen also liked to "hug". He would sit with his rear end in my lap and his face up in my face, with his front paws on either side of my face.
The hardest thing for me is not knowing what became of Zen. I've lost many pets, but Zen is the first that I literally lost. He very rarely was gone for more than one day. When he didn't turn up one night for dinner, I expected he'd be back the next day. But, he never came back. He was a big cat, so I don't think it was an owl or something like that, but more likely he tangled with a coyote, or something like that. I hold out hope that maybe he found a new home!
I don't have very many pictures of Zen. I scanned in these two to share with you. I had a camera back then, but it was before I went "digital"! I wish I had taken more photos.
Have you ever lost a pet like I lost Zen? How did you cope with that type of loss? Thanks for indulging my trip down memory lane!
We don't very often feature a product here for Wordless Wednesday, but we're pretty proud of our print catalogs. This is the cover from our most recent catalog which we've just started sending out! Lora, our Business and Print Manager, creates the catalogs (with a lot of input from the whole team!) Isn't it a great cover? The insides are not only fun to look at, but useful, with a lot of information about all of our products! If you want a copy of your own, you can request one, or you can view the whole thing online too.
Supposedly, today is the first day of spring (which is why we have SNOW in the forecast here on the OR coast?!)
But, because spring is approaching, birds (and other critters too) are waiting for eggs to hatch with their spring babies.
I came across these amazing "bird cams" and wanted to share with you! You can watch a bald eagle live on its nest! And hopefully in a few days, maybe see the hatchlings too! I could probably get addicted to "TV" like this!
Have you seen signs of spring in your neighborhood? In spite of the freak snow storm last week (between 4-8 inches fell all along the coast in Oregon), there are definitely signs of spring here. Daffodils being the most prominent feature at this point. They're popping up all over! (This is a picture from our balcony during the snow last week!)