There has been so much going on with our family that I’ve been wanting to write about, but the more that happens, the less time I seem to have to write about it, and the more overwhelmed I feel. Where to start!
I’m just going to run-down how our family has been doing for the past year. With the constant background noise of COVID, it’s been crazy enough, but it seems like things never quite slow down around here.
We Have A Cat Brother
My boyfriend has had a wonderful black cat for seven years, long before we met. We trialed having Salem live with us, along with Matilda and Cow in our one-bedroom apartment, for about two weeks.
The dogs just can’t stop obsessing over him. I can’t tell them that in order to get a cat to like you and want to play with you, you have to give him space. The problem is, we don’t have space. I was able to split the apartment in half and keep him behind a door, but he was truly unhappy with having to be alone so much of the time.
Salem is living with other family members, he’s safe and happy and we can still visit him. Maybe one day when we buy a house, we’ll have more time and space to train the dogs to relax around him.
I’m glad I had an opportunity to get to know Salem a little better, and as a “dog person” I learned so much about cats. I want to write about my experiences more in upcoming blog posts. Naturally I worry about judgement, but I know I’ve done everything I can to keep everyone safe and happy, and while I wanted to make cohabitation possible, it’s just not right now.
If anyone has ever successfully integrated dog and cat family members, please comment or email me and tell me your story.
Matilda Is Painting Again
Matilda learned to paint a few years ago. In the past year I finally sold a few of her paintings with 100% of proceeds to charity. This past weekend I made her some more brushes and we made two new paintings together.
I’m not sure how Matilda feels about painting. She wags her tail a lot when she does, but does she understand art? Does she truly enjoy it?
Matilda would not paint if she didn’t get treats. At least, not with this enthusiasm. But she responds to my tone of voice. On days when I’m feeling distracted, she’s not really into it. On days when I’m really enthusiastic and having a good time, she seems to enjoy it so much more.
The things I do to pay for dog food, which include writing and painting reborn dolls, are enjoyable, but I wouldn’t do them nearly as much if I weren’t getting paid. Besides the money, though, I feel so satisfied and accomplished when I finish my work, especially when I tackle a new hurdle or technique.
I just wish Matilda could understand what beauty she creates!
Cow Is Now Allergic To Fat
Over the summer, Cow had a scary event. I thought it was a seizure, but it was a vagal nerve reaction to vomiting. Two nights spent at the emergency vet later, and we found out she had suffered an episode of acute pancreatitis.
It turned out that the ground beef I had been giving her for a few days was fattier than I had realized. It was 80% lean, which is about average, not lean but not incredibly fatty, and she had eaten the same percentage many times in the past.
That time, I had bought it from Walmart, and I found out that many people have found their ground beef to very fatty. When I took the meat out of the freezer and cooked it up, I noticed that it was, in fact, incredibly fatty. Normally when you cook up a pound of ground beef, you get a small puddle of fat that you can drain off, but I drained off about 12 liquid ounces. Absolutely horrifying.
Fffff… can I curse on my own blog??
Cow suffered not only pancreatitis, but aspiration pneumonia because she inhaled her own vomit. Luckily, recovered beautifully.
I was terrified to lose her. I was a wreck for two nights when she was in the hospital.
I also felt incredible guilt. I do not now think that raw feeding is bad, but it’s riskier than I thought it was… I was only feeding it as part of her diet, and I know about supplying the right amounts of nutrients and watching out for fat.
These days, Cow eats a low fat kibble and sometimes gets boiled chicken and rice. Regular dog food gives her diarrhea. I think she’ll be sensitive to fat for the rest of her life. I still want to put her on a partially fresh diet again, but it will likely be cooked, lean protein sources like chicken.
We Had Fleas
I did talk about our late summer flea outbreak. Does anyone else feel like 2020 has just been giving and giving? I hope that when the ball drops, this cursed year will be behind us.
We’re Closer Than Ever
I want to end this on a good note.
We’ve been through a lot this year, but I find myself loving these dogs more and more.
Cow, because even though she has such awful luck in so many ways, she’s the happiest dog you’ll ever see and she makes me laugh constantly.
She had such a rough start in life, almost everything she eats makes her feel itchy, but after we did the 5Strands at-home allergy test, I finally found foods she can eat. She’s no longer pink and itchy and miserable.
Matilda, though she’s super smart, she’s still my little baby, and she needs just as much patience and love as Cow.
I recently found out that when (human) moms are breastfeeding their (human) babies, they go into a “cuddle curl.”
The cuddle curl is a mom’s natural way of protecting her baby while they co-sleep. Mama lies on her side, curled around her baby while the baby nurses, and the positioning of her legs and arms prevent her from rolling over and crushing the baby, and also protect the baby from being rolled over by the dad.
I cuddle curl around Matilda every night, and I didn’t realize it was such a natural instinct. It’s one of the reasons small dogs are so special. They really bring out something nurturing in all of us.