A picture post…

In celebration of my purchase of Aperture 3 – I give you photos I have altered. Deb is the photographer.

Zoe is really not that serious!


Pit bull in deep thought!


Sawyer enjoying the sun.


Piper looking quite serious.


Sadly Molly is not really photogenic but she is cute in real life!


Kiefer laying in the doorway to the kitchen. Road Block!


Bella looking intense!





Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘Goodbye Clio’ edition

  • Today we said goodbye Clio. I still remember the day she came to us. She was blind, confused, starved and semi-feral. She had been thrown from a car in a bag and a Good Samaritan pick her up and dropped her at the Vancouver Animal Shelter. She came home with Deb as a foster. Being a historian and all, I decided to name her after the Greek muse of history. Deb hated that name, but it suited her. As fosters go, everyone knows how often we fail. After 2 years, Clio was completely bonded to me and was just beginning to explore relationships with other humans. I could not let her go and make her do that all over again. So she stayed with us. Nothing was ever easy for Clio – her legs were malformed[1], as were her teeth. She loved to eat though. She was always persistent in getting what she wanted. I used to call her my little ‘pez dispenser dog’ because she would pop up, I would put food in her mouth and she would go down. Clio was often a target for other dogs because she didn’t move right. We were always making sure that the ‘abusive dogs to her dogs’[2] were separated so that she did not get hurt. Clio did everything on her terms. We have all pretty much been bitten for trying to clean her up – which she hated. This was a dog who despised being groomed. She was difficult to cuddle with because she had a hard time relaxing. Once she did relax, she was the best cuddler ever. Rest easy baby girl. You were loved.
  • So I have had a little more time with Lion and I found some other things I really love! In Lion, you can shut down your Mac with apps and windows open and when it restarts everything is as it was. I have to say one of the things I hated most about my Mac was closing down apps. I often have many open and it would take forever! This feature is great especially when you have to do a software update – you can just let it go and it will be as you had it when it is done updating. This is a sweet, sweet feature. With mission control and an app launcher like Launchbar, I could see at time when the dock could become redundant. It is much quicker to open apps with Launchbar and easier to switch with mission control. Oh and I did have to revert back to the normal scrolling way. While the change makes sense, I have been on computers far too long to make that kind of change.
  • One more thing! Rob Anders[3]! Talk about a loose cannon! Yesterday he gave a speech announcing a new housing project. He went on to say that as he gave the speech he was going to interject his own phrase whenever the bureaucrats wrote something he was not comfortable saying. What he did was give his support to Alberta PC Leadership candidate Ted Morton. It was completely inappropriate for Anders to use his position as MP, while on government business to endorse someone in another race. Having been in parliament as pretty much his only career you would think he would know this bit of information!


[1] We fixed one leg but it was extremely painful for her. The other leg was not great but no vet ever recommended fixing it – even when we asked. She was able to weight bare so it was ok.

[2] Mackenzie and then Zoe.

[3] He voted against giving Nelson Mandela honourary Canadian citizenship. Seriously, who does that?


Today is our last day with Clio. I will write her story another day. Right now I am going to cuddle with her. We just got back fro a pre-arranged dinner out so I am just getting to sit with her now. She is done and it is her time.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘I think there may be a revolution’ edition

  • As my regular 17 readers would know, I am not a fan of summer. I hate the heat; it makes me sicker than I already am. I get heat stroke in like 5 minutes. Just going to the car and doing errands makes me want to lose my cookies. I am also not a big fan of the rain. It seems like it started to rain last November and has not stopped yet for any length of time. We had a long, wet winter. A cold, wet spring. Now, it seems like autumn has arrived without a spring or a summer. This weather is similar to late September early October. Even though I hate the heat and the sun I am starting to feel bad for my friends who adore the heat. I hope you at least get the month of August!
  • I am really getting impatient for Lion to drop. It is supposed to come in July and there are only 13 days left of July. I get it free for my Mac Pro, which means I should get it for my other computers. I love how Lion is going to bring more of the iOS system to the Mac. I suspect Mac purists may not like this evolution but it is the direction computer operation systems are heading. One of the things I like best about Mac OS X is that it is intuitive and easy to use. iOS is even easier to use so any integration will only make Macs easier to use.
Clio a week ago
  • Clio is starting to fade. She has been on Lasix and cardiac meds for almost a year now. She is at the highest dose of both. She is not coughing so that part is good. Lasix is hard on a dog’s kidneys but it is a necessary drug to keep the water moving out of her lungs so she can breathe. She is still eating although not as much which is causing her to lose weight. She is not in any pain, nor is she vomiting or having diarrhea. Vomiting and diarrhea are signs of kidney failure. The other thing that the vet told me could happen is that her heart would basically explode which would be a catastrophic death. So, as long as she is not any crisis we don’t need to make a decision. If/when she starts to cough we will immediately let her go.
  • We have decided that Deb’s birthday present is going to be a trip away for both of us. I score too!! We are trying to find a place that will take dogs, has luxury, maybe a dog sitting service etc. I think we are willing to go to Vancouver Island but not the Gulf Islands. Anyone have any ideas?

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘why are people so freaking stupid’

  • Today the CBC ran a report about drunk driving. Apparently, since the changes were made to the impaired driving legislation,[1] the number of impaired driving charges has been cut in half. While this is good news, it is not good enough. Drunk drivers are inherently selfish people and driving under the influence is the ultimate selfish act. Choosing to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol should not even be an option. People who do this have a serious problem with their moral compasses. I would love to hear from people who have their cars impounded because they blow over .05 just exactly why they did it. Do they lack problem-solving skills? Can they not decide to leave their cars at the office, go drinking and take a cab or transit home? What about forming drinking clubs and rotate a designated driver. If people can take the time to plan to go out drinking why can’t they take the same amount of time to make sure they will not kill someone on their way home. I think we need to change the licensing criteria in this country. Before someone is given a driver’s license they should have to watch videos delineating the trauma people go through after a drunk driver has killed someone they love. Failing that – every car should be equipped with a Breathalyzer that the driver must blow into. If the driver has been drinking then the car will not start. It would be a small inconvenience to pay to prevent drunks on our roads. </rant>
  • Clio’s health has deteriorated over the last couple of days. Her appetite is down but she is still eating cooked steak, which is great. She is sleeping a lot more and seems more unsteady on her feet. She is not coughing so I suspect her kidneys are crapping out due to the Lasix. So far she is not vomiting nor does she seem to have diarrhea. We will monitor her closely and take her in to the vet’s if she is in distress. We will try to avoid taking her in as it really distresses her. We may arrange for the vet to come here instead. We are not quite there yet. Clio is a fighter. From the minute she was born, this dog has had to fight. Born blind and brain-damaged, Clio struggled. From what we can tell, Clio was left to languish in a crate and rarely (if ever) let out.[2] Ironically, the best thing that happened to her was when she was tossed from a moving vehicle. She was then picked up by a kind person and taken to the Vancouver Animal Shelter. It was then that she came home with Deb. Originally not even sure she would survive she was so distressed. She was almost completely feral. She had never known the kindness of a human tough. By the time she understood people and had formed relationships with us it was too hard to let her be adopted out. I couldn’t imagine her feeling like we had abandoned her, so Clio was a foster failure. Clio became a member of the pack. Clio has never been an easy dog. She bites if you try to groom her. She rarely sits still when she wants to be held but there is something about her chutzpah that I have admired for over 10 years. Clio is a fighter and she is not ready to give up yet.


[1] This would be the legislation that saw consequences for driving under the influence begin at .05. There was a great deal of protest around this change from restaurants and bars as people may not stop at happy hour and have a couple of drinks before they go home.

[2] The backyard breeders who did this to her deserve to rot in hell forever.

Gratutitious Pet Shots

I can’t string too many words together today. I am still sick. Instead I shall regale you with pictures of the crew. Enjoy!

Zoe - her smaller, blind eye
Pipes looking very serious
Great shot of the boy!
Molly looking good!
Kiefer licking his lips
Clio getting a treat


Isn't Bella adorable!!!

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘I love my new front teeth’ edition!

  • I love the way my dentist fixed my front teeth. About 25 years ago, I needed a lot of dental work done. My fear of dentists coupled with living in care and no money meant that I severely neglected my teeth. There was a dental office across the street from where I lived with a big sign advising that they ‘cater(ed) to cowards.’ So, I went there. I needed so much dental work, having all of my teeth pulled was a serious consideration. Instead, I decided to soldier on and get them fixed. My lower front teeth were in bad shape. When the dentist picked the wrong shade of filling material for them and my teeth looked horrible. Plus they were stained from when I was a smoker (20 years ago now!). Because they looked so bad, I always assumed that one of them was going to start to hurt. My bottom teeth are notorious for being very sensitive and not freezing very well. So the sedation route was great for me. The drug they use is halcyon and one of its properties is that you do not form new memories while on it. So all the anxiety of being at the dentist, the sounds, the smells, the anticipation of pain is not there. This is a huge relief for me as I am very fearful. I highly recommend the sedation route for anyone who has a lot of dental work to do!
  • Everyone here at the Swamp is well. Piper has been wandering howling for no apparent reason, which I find quite amusing. Kiefer and Clio were groomed the other day. They look so cute when they come back.
  • I love how some people are so desperate for spring that they are wearing sandals almost in defiance of the rain and the low temperatures. I am dying to get my feet out of socks and shoes too but it is just too cold. I do chuckle at the ones defying the weather.
  • It is still quite swampy here. We still have pooling water on the front lawn. The front part of the backyard is pretty dry but the rest is very, very wet. We have had a great deal of rain so it is not surprising.
  • Things are calming down in my life, which is a very good thing. I have made a decision that I am not going to post about yet but will at some point no doubt. It is a life altering decision.
  • I will post my election predictions tomorrow! Can’t wait!

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘backwater’ edition

  • Where we live there is no garbage pickup. This means that Deb has the dubious task of loading up all the garbage into the back of her truck and trekking it to the dump. Once there we get to pay for disposing of our garbage. In a way this means we recycle more but, nonetheless, the garbage piles up. I am just grateful that I don’t have to bag and load it.
  • So, what would a ‘Dispatches from the Swamp’ edition be without some references to the dogs. So here they are, in no particular order:

o   Molly – is seriously the ‘freak of the week.’ The dog is a total spaz. It is so easy to get her going. She starts to spin and bark and do her stretches. She is always good for a laugh.

o   Piper – Piper sleeps harder and more than any dog I know. She can literally be back to sleep in less than 10 seconds after being disturbed. The other day Deb carried her down the stairs so she could go pee and she fell asleep in her arms. She is a sloth who can hold her bladder for 14+ hours.

o   Sawyer – is blossoming. He is such a nice boy. The toilet-training boot camp is paying off. We need to keep it up for another year or so and the boy will be solid, just like the pug. It is difficult to train a little dog and it is almost impossible to do it in a house with 2 incontinent little dogs.

o   Kiefer – is doing well. He loves the sound of his own voice. He is quite happy that the nicer weather is here. He loves to lay outside where it is cool.

o   Zoe – Angelina just shaved her and she is so happy. That dog really hates having any amount of hair on her body. I think she is just really uncomfortable. She is so much more interactive when she has been shaved. She is very funny and she is one very, very happy dog!

o   Clio – is still hanging on. She has a serious heart murmur and she is at the maximum dose of Lasix right now to keep the water off of her lungs. She probably only has about 6 months until she has some sort of crisis that takes her. Right now we are still trying to fatten that little dog up. She is not so interested in raw food as she once was – I think it is too difficult for her to eat it and she doesn’t really smell all that well. She gets a lot of cooked eggs and cooked meat now.

  • One of the good things about living where we do is that it is pretty easy to do errands. We have everything we need very close by and we don’t really have a whole lot of traffic to contend with here in the sticks.
  • I still feel like I have been hit with a bus. I am not sure what is going on but I hope it goes away soon!

****For some reason my sub-bullets are the prominent bullets and the regular bullets are the sub-bullets. I hate bullets.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘oh my god let the election begin already’

  • I am so sick of all the election stuff. The leadership races in BC have several different candidates calling on almost a daily basis. We are not members of the BC Liberal party yet all of the candidates called us more than once. Now the NDP leadership candidates are calling and emailing everyday. Now, with yet another threat of a federal election the candidates are calling. It wouldn’t be so bad if there was an actual real person on the other end of the phone except there isn’t – they are mostly just recordings.
  • We had a very interesting presentation today from the BC Human Rights Coalition. I learned a great deal about how human rights work. Like for example the only rights we have are those that are enshrined in legislation. Another interesting factoid is that human rights do not extend to private spaces i.e. golf courses with male only rooms. Another great thing is that BC’s system is direct access and all claims are accepted. It was a great presentation and I would recommend that every work place contact them for a presentation.
  • Apparently WordPress was down today for some time. As a result, they opted to give all of us daily bloggers a pass for today. Well, I choose not to take the pass. I am hopeful that they are back up now so that I can post this blog. Apparently they have been having some server issues lately. I guess they are not solved yet.
  • And now for some fun news. All of the dogs are doing well. Deb has a new plan called ‘Operation 2nd fat Shihtzu.’ The goal is to get some weight on Clio. We have never been able to get any weight on her. She doesn’t eat a lot at any one time and if she eats food that is too rich she gets diarrhea. So the plan is several small meals per day of cooked food that is easy to eat. She will still get her raw although it may be more ground with bone. Part of her condition is difficulty breathing which might make it too hard for her to chew for any length of time. Hopefully this will help to get some weight on her because at this point if she were to get some kind of respiratory infection she really has nothing to fight with.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘Sawyer’ edition

  • Things have been a little out of control at the Swamp lately. The terriers have been at again and we have stuffie entrails everywhere. They are absolutely hilarious when they each grab an end of a toy and they pull. Watching the two of them tug on either end of a toy is hysterical. They have about 40 pounds of weight difference but what Sawyer lacks in weight he makes up for in intensity.
  • Speaking of our boy, he seems to reach a certain age. You know when a young boy’s thoughts turn from playing with stuffies and roughhousing with his siblings to thoughts of well, sex. For a while he has had a ‘humpy bunny’, which he would become ‘intimate’ with every night. Now though he seems to have decided that Sienna should be his ‘humpy bunny.’ Sienna, of course, is not really amused by this situation. However, she has a hard time dealing with him because he is on her back humping away and she can’t reach him.
  • It is time to make a vet run with Bella to have her thyroid levels checked, Clio to have her Lasix dose increased and Molly to check out what can be done about her worsening collapsing trachea issue. I am hopeful that there is some kind of a fix to improve her quality of life. She eats well and her personality completely is completely intact. She still does not want to share the same air as Sawyer and she demonstrates this by barking, growling and shark attacking any dogs who even look at her food.
  • My previous point brings me back to Sawyer again. He does not like his own food for some reason. He actually seems to prefer slightly used food. He loves to take Molly’s chicken bones because she can’t eat them. He eats voraciously when he finds them. This of course does nothing for their relationship! We have decided that we are no longer going to hold him into this or by hand feeding him etc. No dog voluntarily starves to death so he will eat when he is hungry.