All Our Children Meow and Woof: July 2007

All Our Children Meow and Woof

I created this blog to sort through my emotions as Finnegan, a great Irish Wolfhound, fought bone cancer for nearly 26 months. Fortunately, his battle subsided for many months and during the course of the 26 months, I shared stories about his feline siblings. On August 8, 2008, Finny passed on in my husband's and my arms. He fought the good fight and he will always have a special place in my heart. *If you have a question, please write me at finnegandog at gmail dot com.*

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Donald Diagnosis

Hyperthyroidism and a mild bladder infection. I'm a sucky cat mom.

Grumpy McGrumpster

Donald is at the vet's now. I wonder how many people are bleeding.

Oh, and I changed the title to All Our Children Meow and Woof because I feel bad disappointing all those soap opera addicts searching for a blog solely dedicated to the show All My Children. I can't help you here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

My Cat Has a Raspy Meow

The title is a google search that led to this blog and I thought it would be appropriate for today's lesson: Donald. If you recall, Donald is our orange, polydactyl, crazy, grooming fanatic cat. He is half bald because pulling his hair out is such an amazingly fun past time. And interestingly enough, he does not swallow the hair, he spits it out so I find clumps of unchewed (?) orange hair on the couch, our bed, the floor, and any place else you could imagine. Although Donald is certifiably crazy, he is a sweet boy and quite affectionate with everyone in the house, Finnegan included. Some of the time his meow could wake the dead and he hollers for absolutely no reason. Other times he sounds like a life long smoker with a raspy "Hey, Edith, grab me a beer" meow. And, he is mighty handy with his extra thumbs. Donald has been known to pull ladies' undergarments from drawers, look at said item, and toss them to the floor. Even cats have their fetishes.

The big orange cat has been known to piss off a few people. When he lived with my parents, they allowed him to explore the great outdoors. Rather than venturing into the woods, he elected to break and enter the neighbors' house. Once Donald gained entry, no one is certain quite how, he would settle himself into the home as if it were his. Although this neighbor is a six foot tall man, Donald managed to corner him in a bathroom. Any time the he attempted to make an escape, Donald responded with claws, hisses, and growls. Eventually, the neighbor used a vacuum as his armor and made his escape. He called my parents and sheepishly told them Donald had taken him hostage. This resulted in the neighbor's brother declaring that if he ever adopted a dog, he would want it to be as good a guard dog as Donald.

Besides taking the neighbor hostage, Donald protected my parents' house from the evils of a plumber. While the plumber was walking down the hall, Donald used his thumbs and grabbed the guy around the ankle and would not let go. Suddenly, my mother heard, "LADY! Get this damn cat off of me!" My mother was sure a medical bill would be forwarded to her along with his bill for services.

In Donald's old age, he has mellowed considerably. He is affectionate to pretty much everyone and he is enamored by the contractor we have doing work in our house now. Donald follows him from room to room and when he prepares to leave, Donald sits on the table by the front door and grabs the contractor so he cannot leave. It's sweet and a little disturbing at the same time. We have to sit Donald down and try to explain that Mr. Contractor can not move in with us.

The most interesting part about Donald mellowing is that I believe my husband had a significant role in taming the beast. Ten years ago, I met my husband and my husband met Donald. The two developed a loving relationship and eventually, they lived in sin over at my husband's apartment. This might be the only example in the history of relationships where the cat moved in before the girlfriend.

Donald also has his fans. Oddly enough, my parents' neighbor loves Donald and asks about his well-being. Children adore him and even more bizarre, he is sweet and gentle with them. Well, sort of. Until Donald decides he has had enough or the voices in his head tell him to do something naughty.

Donald is an old man and is starting to slow down. We have noticed that despite eating like a hog - he shoves Finnegan out of the way to steal his food - he is beginning to lose weight. Also, his water consumption in the last month is quite high. This morning I made an appointment for him to see the veterinarian for blood work and an urinalysis. We hope it is something manageable but also realize that he is a seventeen year old cat and he has had a terrific life.
A lump is forming in my throat thinking about life without Donald.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mama Is her Very Own Animal Cops Show

Bad boys, bad boys, watcha gonna do? Watcha gonna do when she comes for you? (Theme song from the T.V. show, Cops)

For the second time, Mama saw a doggy running up a very busy road with his harness on him but no leash or human attached! Gasp! The last time she saw him, she tried to catch this doggy but she and another woman had no luck. So this time, Mama knew she had to do something. Mama used to be a veterinary technician and her dream is to one day do animal law exclusively. So, she followed the doggy and got out of her car at a safe spot. She tried to entice the dog and gain his trust but no luck. He let her get just so close and then ZOOM! He took off.

Mama continued to chase the doggy up the street. As she followed him, she made a call to my veterinarian to ask who she should call to help her While talking to the vet technician, poor doggy almost got hit by a car and then a bus. EEK! People, please! Doggies must be kept in a safe fenced area. Jeezum crow!

Mommy continued her pursuit through the intersection and tried to call the police but failing in her ability to multi-task, kept dialing the wrong number. GENIUS! (And no, she wasn't dialing 911). Well, actually she did dial 911 but hung up before she thought it had connected. Actually, it had connected and someone called her back. She assured the officer she was fine but asked if she could have the non-emergency number. Mama is so embarrassing!!!

Numerous times, she kept trying to entice the doggy with the promise of treats but he wasn't buying her act. She continued driving up the street through another busy intersection with her hazard lights on all the while trying to think up a plan. At one point, she contemplated using her cell phone charger as a leash to grab the pooch.

Finally, he turned up a driveway and headed to the back yard. She parked her car and followed him to a deck where he sat waiting for someone (the delinquent who is supposed to care for this dog) to open the door. Sure enough, no one was home. Mama found his water dish and long lead attached to a tree. She grabbed the hose and filled up his mucky water dish. At this point, he was either sick of Mama or finally trusted her because he allowed her to attach him to the lead so he would be secure for the time.

Mama returned to the car but before leaving she left a note for the man letting him know what had happened, including that the doggy was almost hit by a car. Also, she wrote down his house address so she could call animal control.

Now you might be thinking, maybe it was a one time mistake. Dogs can accidentally get loose. In fact, I did one time and went on a joy run through my neighborhood. Fortunately, a llama sized dog is easy to spot and a teary mama found me and brought me home. HOWEVER! This is not a one time deal, folks. Mama saw this dog loose just last week running along the same street. And, Mama has seen him running behind his human companion while he rides his bike along the same busy streets. With no leash or anything! Not safe! At all!

Fortunately for now, the dog is safe. Mama is going to call animal control so that they can give this man a warning and hopefully, he will learn a lesson. From now own, Mama is going to put dog treats and a leash in the car so she can safely rescue other doggies in need.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Story of Finnegan - Part !#%@??

Yes, I did that deliberately. This post might (might? hell it will) involve strong language. Anyone who has moved across country with a menagerie of critters will understand.

In July 2002, we packed up our house in Salt Lake City to return east so my husband could begin his academic career and I could start law school. At the time, we had one car, a Subaru Outback, and a plan. My husband would drive the rental truck stuffed to the brim with all of our crap and I would drive the car stuffed with all of the critters. Certainly, this was not ideal but we really had no other choice. The idea was that the seats would be folded down and a large enclosure such as this would hold the three cats and Finnegan could stretch out in the back.

I should have known this trip was going to be a disaster when Mr. Stinny, who was freaked out by the fact that all the furniture was gone, peed on our down comforter the night before we left. After washing the blanket the best I could, I had a restless night of sleep and woke up sad with the realization that I was leaving a city and people who I had grown to love. Not just sad, sobbing sad and tired. A great combination for what lay ahead for me.

Because cats do not generally enjoy car travel, I obtained some kitty sedatives from our veterinarian for the trip. I gave all three of the cats (we did not adopt Shrimpycat until 2 years later) their drug about a half hour before our departure time. Still teary, I put a drowsy Mr. Stinny in the carrier. Next, I grabbed Donald who at this point was pissed. Of course, because I was teary, I did not fully comprehend the extent of Donald's pissiness.

Let me just give you a brief background of Donald: he's crazy. And he has opposable thumbs. And he becomes a psychopath when given sedatives. In other words, he has the opposite reaction.

I grabbed Donald and put him in the carrier with sweet blind Mr. Stinny and all HELL broke loose. Donald started screaming and hissing. Before I had a chance to react, he grabbed Mr. Stinny with his big paws and held him as a hostage. Poor Mr. Stinny was too stoned to react so I tried to defend him. Every time I reached into the carrier Donald would swat at me. In turn, I would swat back in an effort to focus his attention on me rather than Mr. Stinny.

Did I mention I was parked on the street? Where people were walking by? And staring?

Donald was hissing and screaming and so was I. Finally, I wrangled Mr. Stinny out of Donald's clutches and ran him inside. At this point, I realized Donald would be riding in the privacy of his own carrier. Every time I tried to grab Donald with a towel, he would scream and hiss and swat and try to bite. In return, I started shouting:


No, I was not rational but this screaming fit was through a steady stream of tears, now a result of my complete and utter frustration with the situation. After trying different approaches, I finally grabbed Donald, pulled him out of the carrier, and put him in his own private carrier.

But wait there's more! I did not get him out of the carrier before he took a nice bite out of my hand. Not just a little nip, I nice big juicy chomp that I swear to God bled until the Wyoming border. After this pleasant encounter with one of my cats, we got the other two stoned cats in the carrier and Finnegan in the back seat. Donald rode with my husband in the front of the truck while I applied pressure to my new gushing wound on our way out of the city. By this point, I was seriously contemplating taking one of those kitty tranquilizers.

We did not make it far. At the first rest area, we stopped to repack the back of the truck because it was weighted too heavily on one side and the rear tire was smoking. Safe. After a half hour, we set off again into Wyoming and through its rolling hills. Did I mention the rolling hills? That caused the truck to overheat? And resulted in my husband rolling down the windows and blasting the heat? Obviously, this did not work well for Donald and he began to pant. Again we stopped and transferred Donald from the truck to the back of my air conditioned car next to Finnegan.

Both critters had plenty of room and yet, Donald did not agree. Any time Finnegan would shift his weight, Donald would lunge to the front of the carrier and scream and hiss at Finnegan. After an hour of shift, HISS! SCREAM! CRASH!, Finnegan had glued himself to a small portion of the back and as far away as possible from the furry little psychopath.

So yet again, we stopped and moved Donald into the front seat next to me. The unexplained screaming and hissing finally slowed down to a grumble but any time I changed the radio station or flipped over a cassette, he screamed and hissed to make sure I hadn't forgotten about the terror that is Donald. After this pleasant experience with sedatives, Donald did not receive any more ever again never ever ever. EVER! Later on when I told my veterinarian about this experience, she mentioned something about him having impulse control issues. Um, yeah.

He did remain my front seat companion and was rather pleasant the rest of the trip.

Mr. Stinny, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. He was petrified. Frozen with fear. I worried that Mr. Stinny would have a cardiac arrest from all the stress. I learned how to lift myself up enough and tilt the rear view mirror just in the right position so I could keep a mama's watchful eye on him. If I couldn't get a good view of him or I thought he was too still, I fashioned a patented poking device out of three or four straws that I would use to poke him to make sure he was still alive. Sure enough, he would make a little "Meh" noise and that would satisfy me for the next hour. This went on for the next three days.

Our trip took us through Boulder, Colorado to visit friends and then off to lovely Junction City, Kansas. Because we were traveling with a small zoo, we decided it would be best to find a motel with exterior rooms. Folks find it odd to see a small llama walking through their lobby for some reason. Don't ask me why. My husband, being the frugal person that he is, found a motel that had exterior rooms and was cheap!! Very cheap!

We found our room with such amenities as a bed and working toilet and settled the cats in with their litter box. By the way, even if you offer a litter box in the carrier during a long drive, cats, or at least my cats, will hold it until they are on solid ground. Then, I took Finnegan for a walk around the motel. As we were walking, we ran into the maintenance man and friend who were drunk off their asses and making a lovely meal of hot dogs on a hibachi. They must have been on their second case of beer because one of them slurred:

"I love dogs!"

"Me too!" the friend said.

"What kind of...of (pause) dog is that?"

"He's an Irish Wolfhound" I said while trying to hurry Finnegan along. Well the sound of a friendly voice and grilled hot dogs stopped Finnegan right in his tracks.

"I love dogs!"

"Me too!" the friend said, again.

"Boy, he's a big one. I had German Shepards growing up. They're big"

"That's nice" I replied, using my full body weight to pull Finnegan from these two characters.

"I'm the maintenance man," one of the men said while pausing for a gulp of beer, "So if you need anything just let us know. You want a beer or hot dog?"

Aside from being the maintenance man, he was also the motel cook and bartender! How luxurious!

"Um no, thanks anyway. Have a good night," I said as I finally convinced Finny to keep moving.

I swear as a I walked away I heard: "I love dogs" "Me too!"

The rest of our trip was uneventful. Donald did not misbehave again, with the small exception of peeing in his carrier when we stopped at the rest stop. Mr. Stinny survived and forgave me for putting him in the carrier with Evil Donald and poking him with a straw for three days . Finnegan tolerated the trip and enjoyed all of the attention he received at the rest areas. He was, as usual, a good boy and an excellent travel companion.

As you might have noticed, I did not mention Lilliputian because she was the star of the trip. She comforted Mr. Stinny and only made her loud meezer noises when I said her name in the car, which was nice at hour 17 of our third night of driving when I started hallucinating. So I will leave this exhausting story with a picture of the Queen Siamese:


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Worry

I am genetically engineered to worry about the small stuff, the big deals, and everything in between. As you, whoever you are, are aware, Finnegan was diagnosed with bone cancer over a year ago and had surgery to remove his entire leg. He has endured chemotherapy. However, he is pretty much the same dog. He eats a lot, walks around, and enjoys his time with us.

Still. I worry. It's been just over a year. When I see him, I hear a voice in the back of my head: Median survival rate is 18 months.

I calculate that's it's been 13 months. Then I wonder: is it eighteen months from diagnosis, surgery or the end of chemotherapy? I think it's from diagnosis and I sigh. How much longer do I have with this wonderful dog? Does he look weak? Has his breathing changed? Is he panting more than usual?

When I arrive home from work, I race to make sure he is still with us. I know this is terribly morbid but this has been on my mind a lot lately and since this is Finnegan and my blog, I wanted to share what I am feeling now. My worry and angst.

I relish in my time spent with him. I demand kisses and hugs as much as I can. I lie on the floor next to him savoring each moment. I laugh at each time he shoves me away with his one remaining front leg.

Still, I do worry.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Animal companions? Expensive? Nah. Today, after my eye appointment, I will be heading to the veterinarian's office to purchase an eight pound bag of Purina Feline U/R food for Mr. Stinny so he can pee freely, a six month refill of heart worm prevention medication for Finnegan (large breed size times two boxes), and crazy meds for Donald to stop his obsessive grooming - or at least slow it down.

One of those critters is totally getting a job.

Friday, July 13, 2007


If you want to learn more about the human behind the dog, please check out this. You can also learn about Pappy's human there too!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I have been tagged by Asta to put up pictures of me smiling. Hmmm... Here are some recent photos my mommy took of me. I realize in one I don't look as if I'm smiling but DAMN! I look cute!
I am tagging Meggie, Kubrin and the Gang, Winstonberry, and Nanook & Pooka. Please put up lovely pictures of your smiling faces!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Beefy and Brawny versus Disheveled and Scrawny*

I wouldn't put it past Mama to go to the local animal shelter and pick out the mangiest, goofiest, neediest animal to adopt. When she worked as a veterinary assistant at a cat clinic, she fell in love with this mangy cat named Mouse who was often mistaken for a homeless cat and brought into the shelter. He had grey messy fur and a raspy meow. While working at a veterinary clinic in Salt Lake City, she fell for and adopted Mr. Stinny, a cat who had been hit by a car. Incidentally, he is blind and quite needy, I might add. Attention slut might be an appropriate descriptor for the little man. Of course, there was Lily at the humane society who had just had her third litter of kittens and she weighed only four pounds. Mama rescued her. Shrimpycat was another scrawny little thing abandoned in the woods outside of Syracuse. Yes, she became part of the family too. Then Donald, well, he has so many issues I would have to write a whole post dedicated to the weirdness that is Donald.

And that leaves me. Yes, Mama adopted me as a puppy from a breeder. Yes, I am a purebred Irish Wolfhound. Yes, Mama used her student loan money to buy a dog instead of food. But Mama picked an Irish Wolfhound out of all the other breeds because we tend to look a little disheveled. No poodle cut for us! And, we tend to be on the leaner side, although I did look pretty strong and beefy - mmmm beef - in my younger years. And she prefers similar breeds like Scottish Deerhounds, Wired Hair Fox Terriers, and the like. Of course, I did end up having issues like being born with little to no sight. Go figure.

What does this mean? Is she a disheveled human? Well, kind of. She is not too fussy about her hair or make up. She shows up to work in a snazzy suit with cat hair on it and really doesn't care. She has a history of dating thinner disheveled men (and even married one!).

So, my questions: is there a correlation between a preference for certain types of breeds (and mixes) and attraction to certain characteristics of a human mate?

*This post is inspired by the Today Show had a segment about women choosing thin men over brawny men.

Friday, July 06, 2007

And Then There Were Three...

It was a year ago today that I had my surgery. If you look closely at the left leg in the photo, you can see the nasty nasty bone tumor.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Another FREAKIN' Public Service Announcement

I know, I know. You humans just LOVE those purdy fireworks all shiny and loud. For some reason, celebrating the independence of this darling country must involve loud explosions. Fine. I am sort of kinda okay with the big fireworks that you must display all at once at the lake. At least you get it over with.

HOWEVER! Please STOP S-T-O-P with the DAMN fireworks by my house. And yes, I know they are by my house because my mommy found evidence of one such device in our front yard. There is no need to blow sh*t up in a neighborhood where the houses are all near each other and there are big FLAMMABLE YOU KNOW CATCH ON FIRE AND BURN trees all around. AND I do not care if your explosion creates an image of George Washington doing a jig to Yankee Doodle Dandy. PLEASE! No more fireworks. You will make a blind three-legged Irish Wolfhound extremely happy. And that's all the counts, right?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Story of Finnegan

Part Trois

I felt a little French was necessary for Finnegan's other lady friend, Sophie. And don't worry Meggie, Finny loves you too. He is just an attention whore. Many apologies all around for any other lady friends we are forgetting.

Once Finnegan made it past the awkward puppy stage and I made it beyond the neurotic nut job stage, Finny grew into a handsome dog. He became a tall muscular boy with spurts of crazed energy. Alas, he developed and carefully crafted the crazed puppy routine. This routine could be dangerous for several reasons. First, our back yard was small and he had a tendency to run into things. Second, if he failed to pay attention to his surroundings AND TO HIS PEOPLE HELLO I'M RIGHT HERE!, he would collide with whatever unfortunate person got in his way. Fortunately, it did not happen too often.

Because he became more exuberant and playful, I decided that I needed to find an outlet for this new found energy. After talking to some folks, I found out there was an off-leash dog park fairly close to our house. Initially, I felt uncomfortable with letting him run around in public without me attached to his climbing rope leash. And then I remembered, he was the quintessential Velcro dog who rarely wanted to leave my side. So then I began to wonder if he would even enjoy the experience of the dog park because he might be too chicken to interact with the other dogs. Well, he wasn't chicken and if I called him, he would run FULL SPEED WATCH OUT SH*T! back to his loving mama. Both of us made lovely friends at the park, every type of dog from a Chinese Crested around whom Finnegan would gingerly walk to the most well-behaved Staffordshire Terrier one could possibly meet.

The dog park became my regular social event in the evening. Because my husband worked late, I would run home, change into something more comfortable (and no, a negligee is not what I mean), and have Finny hop into the car to head to the dog park. Everyone talked with one another and the dogs would race furiously after each other. Finnegan would join in the chase but because of his vision problems (I classify being nearly blind as a vision problem), he was usually at the end of the pack. Despite trailing behind, he had the time of his life every day he went there. I must say that going to the dog park was truly one of my favorite ways to unwind after a long day and I really miss it. I know Finnegan, being the social butterfly he is, misses it too.

Besides playing, Finny can also win contests. He's not fancy and he can't do obstacle courses or super special advanced obedience competitions but dammit, he can win prizes based on his size. Every year, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary or their local counterpart has a fundraising event called Strut Your Mutt. Basically, hundreds of dogs would walk around Sugarhouse Park and dogs and their humans would find sponsors to raise money for the sanctuary. Usually, we went with friends and enjoyed seeing all the interesting breeds. Finnegan says he liked the butt sniffing best.

Besides strutting, the event held competitions for Longest Tongue, Waggiest Tail, and of course, Biggest Lap Dog. Finnegan could probably win all three of those competitions but his specialty was Biggest Lap Dog. Unfortunately, the competition was rigged his first year and he did not win. We believe steroids might have been involved with the winner. Just speculating! Finnegan did return in 2002 to defeat the competition as Biggest Lap Dog. He won something probably involving treats or food. It was a momentous event at that time in his life and he demanded to have an entourage follow him around at all times. The best we could come up with was the three cats, Donald, Lilly, and Mr. Stinny, and once in a while me. After getting past the glamour and excitement of being a champion, Finny returned to earth and went back to what he does best, relaxing, eating, and romping in the dog park.