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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sweet But Broken Cat - The Dramatic Saga

This summer has been incredibly busy, and hot!!  I took on a new client from a vet friend referral that needed subcutaneous fluids everyday.  Unfortunately it was semi short notice and my schedule was so full that I did not get to do a formal meet and greet.  The client was nice enough to leave me a very detailed note and drop the keys at my house.  She was watching the neighbors cat before she went away and was going to check in when she returned in a few days per THAT owners request. They were out of the country. (Personally, I am not a fan of the every 3 day visit because emergencies happen)

MY client asked me if I would mind checking in on her neighbors cat while they were away because she noticed that the cat was limping.  Of course I obliged, but in my head I am thinking, "How am I supposed to find this cat in  the basement and figure out what is wrong?" I am always willing to look and help, I was just hoping that there was something that I could do.

I found the keys and walked down the street to the other house and then down to the basement to find the cat and I was so pleasantly surprised.  There was this very petite, gray tabby, lady cat who was just as sweet as can be.  I started to pet her and she looked up at me with her sweet eyes and told me that something was wrong.  I picked her up and noticed that her right leg was dangling and her right hip was not able to let the leg fully extend. Ugh.  I palpated the leg/hip/foot and she didn't seem to be overly painful (or she was being extremely stoic).  She seemed to have a little bit of feeling in the foot/leg, but it was indeed dangling and obviously broken.  I put her down on the floor to watch her walk and she would not bear any weight on that side at all.  She also wasn't eating, drinking, or eliminating.  Poor kiddo!! Still a sweetie pie throughout letting a stranger feel around her broken parts.


I called MY client to tell her that I thought the leg was broken, but most definitely needed an x-ray to be sure of what was going on. She then had to contact her neighbor to explain the situation and then give her my information.  This was my predicament.  I was watching a cat that WAS a client, and then saw this broken cat down the street who's owners were out of the country who I had never even met.  I needed to take this cat in to the vet and I needed their permission.  There was a TON of texting back and forth between the 3 of us for the next 12 hours because I didn't even know what vet this cat went to!  We finally got everything squared away and I got the answers and permission that I needed to take this poor kitty in to be seen.  She was a trooper!

We went to the vet, I explained the whole complicated story, and they of course did an xray immediately.  This is what was found.
Ouch!  Quite broken!  Here is the new predicament.
16 yr old cat
Grade IV/V heart murmur
Severely Broken Leg
Dehydrated
Owner out of the country

Sadly, the only real option with her age and health and the severity of the break was to amputate the leg.  It is really tough to splint cats and orthopedic surgery would cost a fortune.  Her heart was also a concern because she might not have even been able to make it through anesthesia. Again, UGH!  More texting with the owner and my client, all day long.  The owner opted for euthanasia due to all these factors (cost, age, health, etc)  Luckily the staff fell in LOVE with the cat (how could they not??) and they took over ownership and responsibility for her (with the owners approval).  YAY! This sweet kiddo got a second chance!

I spoke to the vet at length and she was determined to do the surgery to give her a chance at life.  This was a week ago, and I called yesterday (fingers crossed) to check in and see what her status was.  I didn't want to bug them, but I had to know!

She made it through the surgery!!! She is currently getting tons of love from the staff at the vet while she recovers!!!  Happy Ending indeed!  Major thanks to my client who noticed the limp and to the vet who cared enough to see what an amazing cat this is.  This cat was not ready to go just yet and now she will have one less leg, but a great life of love.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Off Leash and Aggressive

St. Peters Church.  Society Hill.  They welcome fussy babies. They welcome the LGBTQ community.  They have a lovely staff and lovely grounds that they open to the public.  They also have rules that no one follows, particularly the one that states that dogs must be on leash when on their grounds.

Maybe it's me.  Maybe I have become the definition of insanity.  I keep going back to this churchyard and ancient cemetery thinking that people are good and have common sense and actually abide by the rules.  They don't. I keep trying, but they keep treating it as a dog park. Are they to blame for breaking the law and the church rules?  Am I to blame for repeating a behavior and expecting a different outcome?

Two weeks ago I was walking my weekend dog through the cemetery who does not react well to certain dogs, but especially dogs off leash while she is leashed.  We walked halfway though and notice that there is a black dog off leash.  We stopped to regroup, the owner is calling to her dog to come, the dog is not listening.  My husband called over to the owner and yelled, "She's not good with other dogs!"  She called her dog again, but dog was fixated on the dog that we had and charged toward us.  The dog that we had on leash was visibly startled, barking, growling and this dog just kept on coming.  The owner kept calling to her dog over and over but her dog (that was good enough to be off leash) was not paying a bit of attention to her.  She is also not running over nearly fast enough to grab her dog that was then snapping at the dog that I had.  It was a chaotic mess and i was just trying to lift our dog in the air to buy time.  In the midst of trying to protect my client dog, the other dog bites my hand.  No skin was broken, no bleeding occurred, but at that point the owner of the other dog finally made it over to us and just kept saying, " I'm sorry."  The sad thing is that this entire situation could have been avoided if her dog was ON A LEASH!!!

Today I was walking through the same cemetery and there were 2 large dogs running around off leash while church services were in progress.  Then a 3rd big dog came up on leash and those owners decided to let THEIR dog off leash too!  I yelled over to them that their dogs needed to be on leash, it was the rule.  The man looked at me and waived the leash at me and looked away.  They kept going about their business.  The dog that was with me was agitated and then I had to drag her away from this situation  that shouldn't be happening in the first place. This is not a dog park and people continually treat it as such.  Who's responsibility is it to enforce the rules? The church? The police? The community?  I left a message for the church to explain the situation and I am hoping that they will do more to enforce that dogs remain on leash (given that it is a city ordinance).

I must sound like a broken record, but if no one says anything then nothing will change.  If I just turn around and walk way, the entitled people will still act like they can do whatever they want.  Is that ok?  What would you do? My first priority is the safety of my animal clients. If I have to keep them safe by getting a bite, then so be it. I also should not have to avoid certain areas because of irresponsible rule breakers.



Monday, December 26, 2016

Lifestyles of the Rude and Entitled

I was working in a fancy highrise one morning and I was riding the elevator down to to lobby.  The elevator stopped after a few floors and a woman and the cutest little dog walked in.  The dog came right up to me and she told me that that dog doesn't like many people.  As more people got on the elevator, the dog his behind me for safety.  The owner and I got to talking and she asked for my card.  Excellent.  

About a month or so later, I receive a call from this woman asking me about dog sitting.  When she called, I was already out working so I asked her to please email me all of the information (the dates, what times she needs visits, etc) and that I would get back to her later when I got home.  This was about 8:30/9 am when she called.  I skimmed the email a bit later and realized that I had some questions for her, but didn't want to call until I was home and didn't have a dog in my hand. 
This was the email:

Good morning Debbie,

We will be away for an overnight next weekend and would like you to check on Esther while we are away.
I shall feed her and walk her the morning of the 10th, so if you could:

Walk her around 2-3:00 and feed her on the 10th
Walk her around 9-10 at night on the 10th

Walk and feed her 7-30-8:00 on the 11th.

We should be back for her afternoon walk.

Please let me know if this works for you. Then we can discuss details.

Thank you,

 I got home at my usual time, about 3 pm and I had just enough time to eat something, sit down, and take a deep breath.  Then my phone rings and it's her. Perfect timing!  I say, "Hello!  How are you?"  Her reply was, "This is (insert her name here)."  And I say, "Yes, I know. I have it saved in my phone, how are you?"  She replies in the coldest, most annoyed, snarky tone I have ever heard, "Were you going to respond to me?"  

I was taken aback!  I told her that I had just gotten home not too long ago and I was planning on calling her in a little bit.  She said, "Well, I called you early this morning."  And I said, "Yes, and I told you that I was out working and that I would call you when I got home.  I just got home."  She replied by saying how she didn't expect me to be out so long!!  (Um... I WAS WORKING ALL DAY !)  I I told her that there were potentially a few problems with her request.  One was that I had already sent out an email that I was taking off from the 7th to the 10th and she wouldn't have known that because she is not on my email list.  She immediately dismissed me.  Then I said, for the future, the other was that I do not do visits past 7pm because I allot myself 12 hour days.   I was trying to ask if we could switch the time around and she gets literally angry and haughtily says, "Well no!  She NEEDS to go out late at night so I guess that's it isn't it?!"  Again, taken aback.  I don't even know this woman and she is already angry at me for not being able to accommodate her every need.  I was about to offer her a referral for someone that I know that does do late night walks, but she essentially hung up on me.  I was angry, but I let it go for the night.

The next day I rethought it and realized that it was completely uncalled for and I didn't even get to finish my sentence!  So I sent her an email that said this:

Hello there. I'm sorry to disappoint you with my lack of availability for this particular trip, but you hung up before I could get a few things out.  

#1  It is tough to find a dog walker to come for walks after 8 pm, but I could put the word out to try to help you find one. We all normally work 12 hour days as it is and there has to be a cut off somewhere.  I personally am in bed by 10 as I am up at 6 everyday.

#2 You must allow at least 24 hours for someone to get back to you regarding pet sitting/dog walking.  Things come up that are unexpected and days are long.  I was not ignoring you, I literally did not have the time to sit down and reply to an email until 6pm last night.

#3 I have a lot of family from ******** with the last name *******, might we be related?

She replied almost right away to this (which I was not expecting) and it was pretty bad!


Got someone to sit. She called
Me back in 2 hours and she is available for the times I needed.  No issues. 
I don't have time to listen to excuses. I need a service, you can't provide it so I was done. I need to work with Serious business people no matter what their product or service. I have been around a little
Longer than you and have a decent understanding of dependability and availability. It is time for me to move on. 
Btw you wrote this email in a much more timely manner than you returned my call. 

Let's just move on. 


Sigh.....  I replied and just told her that I was trying to keep it cordial since I do business in her building and we would inevitably run into eachother again on the elevator. Told her to have a great weekend and called it a day.  I later found out that she is just as awful to her other neighbors in the building as well as the staff.  Do I feel a bit better about that?  Not really....  
If I can't accommodate someone, I will always try to give them another option.  When they insult me and my business because I didn't have time to get back to her until after my workday, well, that's just below the belt.  I am one person.  I do not have a secretary to schedule my life.  I know I lucked out by not having her as a client (Thank you universe), but  I hate to know that there is someone like this treating people terribly for no reason.  Literally, no reason.  



Monday, December 5, 2016

Charlie Waffles: Squirrel Extraordinaire

I haven't had time to write as much, but I wanted to write about Charlie Waffles a few months ago.  I figured that it would be an uplifting change from the "man hits dog" post.  There must always be a balance.  Here is the story of Charlie Waffles:

I was in the car with Terry headed down 3rd st to walk a dog.  I got out of the car, crossed the street, and when I hit the sidewalk in front of the dogs house, I saw a small furry gray ball by a car wheel.  I bent down and picked up a small cold and stunned little 7 week old squirrel.  The nextdoor neighbor was outside and kindly offered me a small towel to wrap him in and a piece of her Eggo waffle which he readily ate.  Now I had a squirrel and had still had to walk the dog.  The first rule of baby squirrels is "keep them warm and hydrated."  Luckily Terry squirrel sat in the car and my client had some pedialyte that I could use to hydrate the little guy.  After the dog went back home, we took the squirrel back to my house to give him a hot water bottle and some fleece to cuddle in while I finished my day.



I was hoping that he was just stunned and needed a little warmth and food and that when I returned home he would be raring to go out be a squirrel.  When I first checked on him in the house she was going NUTS in the carrier that I had him in.  He was biting at the door (and my finger) trying to get out.  My immediate thought was, "YAY!  He was just stunned and now he can run and go be free!!"  I optimistically took him out on my 2nd floor deck and opened the carrier door.  I expected him to bolt and climb down the side of my house.  Instead, he timidly walked out and jumped in my lap and them climbed on my shoulder.  (Damn!) From then on, he was my little buddy and I had to deal with the fact that I could only keep him for so long.  He stayed with us for a week and after taking him out on the deck every day, he was getting more and more bold.  He wasn't the best eater, so every morning he got a piece of waffle with peanut butter and jelly (hey, it WAS a nut) and he would eat baby food.  He enjoyed his carbs, but I knew that he needed to be a real squirrel with squirrel friends.

There was no reason for him to stay (no major injury, nothing to stop him from fulfilling his squirrely duties).  He was very attached to me and I was attached to him.  He didn't care for any other human really, he was my guy.  That just made it even more difficult to take him to the wildlife rehab and hand him over to strangers.  Instead of being Charlie Waffles, he became Gray Squirrel 3599.  I did call and check up on him a few times and he was acclimating quite well.  I secretly hope that he will find me one day in the world and jump on my shoulder so that I know it's him.  I know that I did what was best for him, but it was still tough! I'm happy that I got to play "mom" for a week to him and have a sweet bond.

















video

video

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Do NOT Hit Your Dog In Front Me - Trust Me

After 2 full days of pouring rain, I was so happy to walk dogs on a dry and brisk morning.  I had 2 dogs with me in the neighborhood and we were crossing the street.  I saw a man walking a large pitbull towards us who saw us and smiled and seemed excited.  Given that I had an older pit and a puppy in my hands, I just let them cross the street and we backed up.  It seemed that the owner was not happy with the dog being happy ( I can only assume) and as soon as he passed us he flattened the dog to the ground and raised his hand and hit her hard in the head. She did NOTHING wrong.  Even if the dog did do something wrong, there is no excuse for hitting.  But this was pure abuse just for the sake of control.

My immediate reaction was to say, "Hey!! There is NO need to hit your dog!"  That was met with (kids cover your ears) "Mind your own fucking business! I'll do what the fuck I want! Mind your fucking business. I'll get my brother to come and get you! Don't fucking follow me!."  He had some more things to say, I was struggling for my phone, he was daring me to call the police, etc.  I followed at a distance to his destination and I called 911.  I gave a description of the man, the dog, and an address.  (Mind you I still had 2 dogs with me) I then got cut off from 911 - it just hung up.

I walked the dogs home, got them settled, and then headed to my next dog. While walking, I called the 3rd District to see if they were indeed sending someone out, considering we got disconnected.  They told me that they don't dispatch from there and that I have to call 911 again to check.  Sigh.  So I called - no answer.  I called again, it disconnected me with no answer.  I called AGAIN and after 10 rings a 911 operator picked up (Appalling!!!). I explained the situation and she asked if I was at the location that I called about.  I told her no.  She said that the police needed to speak with me in person before they go find him!!  I told her that no one told me to do this and her reply was, "Well that's unfortunate."  I told her where I was and she said that she would send a car out to me and that I should wait for them.  I waited 45 minutes.  No one showed up.  I had to get to the next dog, so I left and just looked for an officer on the way. I didn't find one until 17th and Pine.  He told me that I needed to file a report in person and call the SPCA.  The SPCA needs an address of the dog, I don't have that. I had what I thought was an address, but it seems that he was just "doing some business behind a gate"

So, people of Queen Village. Keep an eye out for him.  I saw him at 6th and Carpenter headed to 5th.  Tall white male, thin. Approx 65 yrs old. Longish gray/blondish hair.  Female pitbull, long torso, light brindle, large nipples as if she had a litter not long ago.  Please keep an eye out for him and and see if the dog is ok.  She does not deserve to live like this.

Yes,I know what everyone is going to say:
Be Safe
Be Careful
You don't know what he will do
Don't Engage

I get it, I am aware. But I cannot watch a dog get abused in front of me and just walk away.  I can't.  Hopefully someone knows him and can get the dog into a safer place.  I have to do whatever is in my power for the safety of the dog.

Update 12/4/16

Got an address with help of neighbors/clients/friends (GO TEAM DOG SAFETY!)
Filed a report with the police and the SPCA animal cruelty. Spoke to the officer and he will be having a chat with the owner (who btw has 3 dogs) on disciplining dogs by way of hitting.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Rest In Peace Sweet Bugsy

It's never easy when an animal client dies, but it always affects me a little differently. Some have passed in front of me on an emergency basis.  Some have passed and I found out months later. Some I have played "hospice nurse" to and knew that it was their time.  Each of them have had a place in my heart, whether I knew them for months or years, but the cat that passed today held a very special place in my heart.

Twelve years ago a good friend and co-worker of mine at another animal hospital took his own life.  To this day I have not gotten over it, nor will I ever.  For those of you who believe in the afterlife, he has come to visit me quite a few times over the years.  He has also visited our other co workers (they can attest to it).  After he passed, everything was a whirlwind of sadness and organization.  He was also a pet sitter and we had to take over his clients.  Twelve years ago I started pet sitting for Bugsy who he had already been watching for a few years.  Today Bugsy lost his battle with cancer.  My old co-corker and I were the only 2 people to ever pet sit for Bugsy and I always held that close.  It was my last real connection to him.  His owner and I became like family and he was such a special cat to me for all of these reasons.

He was always a "hefty cat" topping off at about 26 lbs.  It was tough to lift him, but he would always sit on the couch with me and watch TV.  He loved food, yelling at the closet, drinking out of everything except for his water bowl, and playing hide and seek behind the coffee table.  He was the apple of his moms eye - very bonded and very close. She hated to leave him alone in the house but felt better knowing that I was taking care of him.  He lived a long and mostly healthy life until his 15th year when he was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and then cancer.  He was being treated with chemo and steroids but he wasn't responding.  I spent the last few weeks shoving pills in his mouth and then force feeding him twice a day because he wouldn't eat on his own.  I kept hoping that it would just be temporary and it would give him the boost that he needed to respond to the medication.  Unfortunately it only prolonged his life so that he could spend a little more time with us.  He was visibly declining yesterday and would barely take the food I was giving him.  I knew then that he had given up and his mom agreed.  In the past 24 hours his back legs were giving out on him, he was becoming uncomfortable, and he just wanted to sleep.  It was time and we all dreaded this day.  I said my goodbyes last night because I just knew that today was the day.  I intermittently cried all day, as did his mom.  We both did everything in our power to keep him with us and comfortable.

After 12 years with a cat that was not my own, he really felt like part of my cat family.  I have cried for other clients passing, but this felt like I had lost one of my own.  My own emotions surprised me and I have been in mourning all day. He will be greatly missed, but I know that he is no longer in pain and in cat heaven looking down on us.  Here are some pictures from throughout the years.....











I love you Bugsy. !2 years was not enough for me.  I will miss you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

No, my dog is NOT trying to eat your daughter!

Just another lovely afternoon in Washington Square Park. I am walking my buddy Finn (pictured here)
And we are trying to do our "frolic through the park while doing our bathroom business" ritual.  We got halfway around the park and he decided that he wanted to switch directions. We turn around and I see a young father jogging the path of the park with his 3 daughters (I am assuming) . Their ages I guess ranged from 6-10 yrs old (again, I am assuming)  The first 2 youngest were right by his side but the last girl was lagging behind a bit.  Just as she decided to pick up the pace was right when she was passing me and Finn. He got SO excited when she ran by that he put on a huge smile and started jumping, trying to join her!  (He LOVES to run)  She looks to her left and immediately starts screaming bloody murder for literally about 20 seconds. Screaming at the top of her lungs repeatedly for 20 seconds! (really count to 20 to see how long that is) Meanwhile the whole park turns around to look at us!  It appeared as though the dog attacked her or I tried to kidnap her.  It was a "stranger danger" type of scream. Her dad was a good 200 feet away and I'm just standing here yelling, "He just got excited and wanted to run with you! He wasn't doing anything!!"  Far be it from the dad to run back over and see why the girl was screaming incessantly or talk to me. This dog wouldn't hurt a fly, he loves love and people. At that point Finn was so confused at what just happened that I decided to walk the opposite direction from the runners.  

We took the grass past a few benches and passed a group of about 8 Middle Eastern women and a baby that seemed to be feeding the squirrels and birds while they chatted.  We walked behind them just trying to get through the park when I felt something peg me in the head. I was hit in the back of the head with a cracker!  I rubbed my head and turned around and one horrified woman was looking at me and in a thick accent says, "Ooh, sorry!"  I asked, "Did you just throw a cracker at my head?" She looked uncomfortable and didn't answer, I doubt she understood a word I said. At that point, it was just safer for us to go back inside. Sometimes the park is just too much to deal with. It is a sad statement to make, but it is so very true.