Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hello Again On A Very Important Date

Friends of Portia has been silent for well over a month. This is why. As I frequently mentioned in early postings on this blog, for years, I walked my dogs in the wee small hours of the morning most days and once a week in the park with Marilyn and her pack. From time to time, I had to take time off, because of a "groin pull". I'm not an athlete, but my husband, John is. He assured me that a chronic groin pull is a very difficult injury to mend and he would spell me on my morning walks until I felt better. Then, in early April of this year, the "groin pull" came back and didn't respond to rest. It refused to go away. Mid May, I finally hobbled into the doctor's. An x-ray revealed that my "groin pull" was actually a badly deteriorated hip joint. Replacement was my only option to a life of pain and disability. But first, I had a trip to Israel that I had no intention of cancelling. When we came home, I began the slow process of referral and certification through the HMO that decides our health care. My date with the orthopedic surgeon was October 15. The surgery is looking like a complete success. I cannot express the depths of my gratitude to Dr. Michael Kimball, for his near obsession with millimeters, angles and levels. And to the nursing staff at Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, who gave me the best care I could have asked for. It's going to be a while before I take over the early morning walks and to my dear husband, John, I express the very most gratitude for looking after me, the house, the dogs during the extended time that I have been incapacitated. But today is an important day that MUST be marked. Four years ago today--or rather, this evening--Magic came to live with us. What a happy, happy day!! We love you, Miss Magic. And we are very lucky that you are our doggie.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hattie, R.I.P.

A wonderful creature, Manhattan, known to all her friends as Hattie, a white Greyhound with tan markings, crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Wednesday, October 2. I first met Hattie in the Spring of 2008 the day I met Marilyn and her pack to walk our dogs in a park close to my home. Marilyn's dogs were Franklin, Ruby and Hattie. My dogs were Portia and Bingley. Bingley is the only survivor of that group. Like most of Marilyn's dogs, Hattie was a dog who had had difficulty finding a forever home. She suffered from an auto-immune disorder that made her a little "touchy" and cranky. She required special care, both medically and emotionally. And she was most fortunate that she found Marilyn, one of the best humans in the world for being able and willing to offer that care. Both canine and human health issues have created a long hiatus in Marilyn's and my weekly walks in the park. I am reminded of the line from Emily Dickinson: To make routine a stimulus, remember it can cease. Farewell, dear Hattie. May you run and play free of pain in the meadows beyond the Rainbow Bridge.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thank You, Dr. Pearson

I love dogs of all ages. But, most of all, I love old dogs. After having lost three dogs at relatively young ages, I have been relishing Bingley and Magic. Eighteen months ago, when we discovered that Bingley had heart troubles, my anxiety level went up. But having a veterinarian like Dr. Dorota Pearson has been a great comfort. She has been right on top of things and knows how to minimize the risk of necessary procedures for Bingley. Like most retired racers, Bingley has teeth and gum issues. So every year, he has to be anesthetized to have his teeth cleaned and any needed extractions. Every time one of my dogs has to be anesthetized, my heart is in my throat until they wake up. Sight hounds, and particularly Greyhounds, are notoriously sensitive to anesthesia. Dr. Pearson has really extended herself to minimize the trauma for my hounds. She takes them in for surgery as soon as possible after they arrive, and she discharges them as soon as they show any sign of stress after they wake up. Yesterday was the big day for Bingley's teeth cleaning. I breathed a little easier when I got the call that he was ready to come home and prepared myself and the house for a groggy, stressed dog. Instead, when Bingley came home, he was almost his normal self. Amazing. When Dr. Pearson called a little later to check on his condition, I told her how happy I was. I could almost hear her smile on the telephone. "Good! I tried something new today." When we adopted our first Greyhound eight years ago, we almost switched vets--to the "Greyhound experienced vet" closest to us. But when I called to make an appointment, I was put on hold for a very long time--something that almost never happens to me with Dr. Pearson's well run office. That convinced me to stick with Dr. Pearson, and I am so happy I did. After we moved to our present house, it took us trying four different veterinarians before we settled on one. But it was worth it. If you love your pet, make the effort to find the vet that is right for you.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Happy Ending--With Warnings

The Sunday before Labor Day, a young girl came down our street with a truly Adorable Dog. It was black and white, and to me, it looked like a Jack Russell mixed with some other toy breed. She wore a collar with two names on it and a phone number. Her rescuer explained that she had found the dog while jogging on my street the day before and had been unable to get an answer on the telephone number on the dog's collar. It was all I could do not to grab the little dog and think about what on earth I could do with it later. But reason prevailed. By herself, Magic might be small dog safe, but I've never been able to test her, because Bingley definitely isn't. The girl who had found the little dog had a similar problem and was having to keep the rescued dog shut off in a room from her big dog. I tried to encourage the rescuer to keep the little terrier for a few days, try to discover if she was chipped, and hang on until people in the neighborhood came back from holiday trips. But that was not to be. The adorable little dog was turned into Escondido Humane Society the following Tuesday. My friends reassured me that such a cutie would be adopted for sure. Then, last evening, just before we were leaving to drive into San Diego, I spotted a poster with the little dog's picture and name. I wanted to cry. There was no time to call, and I worried all night about the dog's fate. This morning, when I called the number, I discovered that the owner had called the Humane Society when she returned from her Labor Day travels, had paid the fine, and reclaimed her dog. So All's Well That Ends Well. However, I did learn a few things: The dog still has not been chipped. (Of course I "reminded" the owner to do that.) The dog had "gotten away" before. (I suspect that the dog is being left to its own devices in a back yard.) I was so relieved that the dog had been reunited with its human, I forgot to ask if the collar information had been updated. (Is the phone number on your dog's collar your current phone number?) I do hope that this experience--and the fine--will motivate the little dog's human to take better care of her.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Happy Birthday, Bingley!

Today is not just any birthday for our favorite boy Greyhound. Today is Bingley's TENTH birthday! A ripe old age for a Greyhound. He is celebrating, doing what he likes to do during the middle of the day: snooze on the living room love seat. This evening, things will liven up a bit and he'll take a few circuits around the living room, and might even toss the odd stuffed toy in the air. We have it on no less authority than our trusted dog walker that Bingley is the liveliest ten year old dog he knows. Happy, Happy Birthday, Bingley. We are grateful to have you in our lives.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lily Needs A Home

I received the forwarding of an email about an eight year old, female German Shepherd Dog mix, whose days are numbered in a Los Angeles shelter. If you, or anyone you know would like to provide a home for a deserving dog, please email me at portiasmom at live dot com

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy (Official) Birthday, Miss Magic!

What do Magic and Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II have in common? They both have official birthdays. The difference is that Her Majesty knows the actual date of her birth. But the date of Miss Magic's arrival is lost forever. Furthermore, I suspect that there is some slippage in the date of Magic's "official" birthday, because I'm not at all sure about the precise date that she, two of her puppies, and the puppies' father were rescued from outdoor cages in the High Desert of Southern California by volunteers from Greyhound Adoption Center. A few days later, a third of Magic's puppies was also rescued. After we adopted Magic, I decided to place her birthday in July, the month of her rescue. But the precise date of her rescue eludes me. So it's sometime between the 13th and the 15th of July--as best I can tell. This year, Miss Magic's Official Birthday is today, July 15. She is officially nine years old today and wears her age gracefully. She still trots with a little spring in her step, and just yesterday, she jumped over some flower pots on the deck to be first in the door before the amiable Bingley, who only gets competitive about chasing small furry critters. As Mike Dougherty, Westminster Best In Show Judge and proprietor of Windsong, says, "Dogs are not for the faint of heart." Dogs bury themselves in the innermost parts of our hearts, and then they leave us with indescribable pain, because their life-spans are a fraction of human life spans. Some people react to that pain by refusing to ever have another dog. But for some of us, the only way to live with the pain--there is no cure--is to welcome another dog into our lives. Not as a replacement, mind you. There is no replacement for a lost dog any more than there is a replacement for a lost human being. But a new dog brings new joys and challenges and helps us to stop wallowing in our grief. Magic came into our lives after our traumatic loss of Portia. She is nothing like Portia. She doesn't look anything like Portia looked. She doesn't act like Portia acted. She isn't even all Greyhound. She's a "fuzzy", Greyhound-Scottish Deerhound mix. But as much as I mourn the loss of Portia, I would not have wanted to miss the company of Magic. Happy Birthday, Miss Magic! May you have a long, healthy life!