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Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Just an update…

Some of you may know, we lost our beloved Momo–our CRF kitty–this fall at the age of 11. He lived for three years on what amounted to zero kidneys, and levels off the charts–all on palliative care. And he did it in total style.

I figured we were done for awhile, saying goodbyes, I mean. Our other cats are 15 (in a couple weeks), 13, and 3; Sadie (our GSD mix) is 10 (and at under 40 lbs, was a young 10), and Gryphon the akita is just 2.5. Unfortunately, life jjst doesn’t always work that way.

Sadiee had been kind of “off” following a UTI this winter, but we chalked it up to age and stress (she’s a bit on the crazy side…thank you, Prozac, for bringing a sense of normaility to our house :D). But she had recovered from the UTI just fine, and her senior panel was “unremarkable” at her HW test and vaccination appointment earlier in the year, as well, so we just figured we’d mention it when we went in for her nail trim “Sometime in the next month or so.”

Last week, though, she took a dramatic turn, and “a little off” turned into a respirtory rate of 60-70, going as high as 120, rear limb weakness, huge lymph nodes, anorexia, wheezing, and bloody noses. Like, literally in the course of a week.

The trip to the vet and xrays/labs showed schmutz in the lungs (diffuse mixed bronchointerstitial pattern, to get technical); splenomegaly, a mass of indeterminate etiology near her spine, anemia, high WBC (high lymphocytes), etc etc etc… differentials could have been a lot of things for some of the things…but one thing that could account for it all is advanced lymphoma. Which is exactly what the FNA of the node suggested. Sent a culture out to test for blasto, though as well. Based on everything, the vet was as positive as he could be for lymphoma (“Well…there’s still an off chance it’s blasto. And, of course, it could be something totally bizarre that no one has heard of. But all the test results and symptoms say lymphoma.”)

Given the wide-spread symptoms, her intense hatred of vets, and a host of other things…we elected to start her on prednisone only. We have seen some improvement–but not nearly what you’d expect from pred therapy–which is usually fairly short lived, but typically dramatic.

So, we’re waiting, watching, and giving it a try for a few days. Then we have to make a call. Hurts my head, and my heart, to have to think about that again.

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Do not stand at my grave and weep…

So, for a brief moment yesterday, I was sad. I watched the video of Sam’s last day, and I thumbed through photos young and old, watching the both of us age. And in some ways, it seems like it can hardly have been a year since he died, right? He was JUST here. But when I look back, I realize time HAS passed, and the world has kept spinning, and we have found new routines. And I realized, it’s sad that he’s gone…but it is beautiful that he was.

He was a stubborn, goofy, horny, idiosyncratic curmudgeonly canine, and despite all that, he managed to woo people the world over. He was a bald, three-legged, chupacabra of a dog, and yet the lessons I learned from him about living well and, maybe more importantly, dying well, will stay with me forever.

SammerBoJangles, it was a life well lived, and a rest well earned. I miss you, Pigs…but more than anything, I am glad to have had the chance to walk (and hop) with you for 13 years.

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“This isn’t a sad story…it’s a happy one–all the way to the end.”

Friday, March 7th, 2014

What a long strange trip it’s been.

365 days, and much has changed…and much remains the same.

One year ago, the snow was two feet deep…just like today.

One year ago, I was recovering at home from surgery…just like today.

One year ago, you became a tripawd, and I was waiting for you to come home…but not today.

Happy one-year ampuversary, Samdog, wherever you are.  It was an awful diagnosis, and a terrible disease…but it was also a gift in its own strange way. Thank you for reminding me to find the beauty in small things, each and every day.

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Wednesday, December 4th, 2013


Since it’s been a couple of weeks, I thought I’d post an update or two on Gryphon (read: upload gratuitous puppy shots).

In some respects, I see a lot of Sam (hey! Poop eating! Stubbornness!), in others…not so much. Of course, we are also just starting to get confident in our world, which makes us naughty. Low-key, slow-moving naughty, but naughty nonetheless. (My in-laws were over last week, and the day before they had been at sister-in-law’s house. S-I-L and B-I-L have a lab puppy.  In Laws asked me if our dog was drugged 😀 In comparison to a lot of puppies, he’s pretty mellow for sure. Especially in our family where almost everyone has a hunting dog of some sort–labs, vizlas, weim/weim mixes, springers, etc. So NOT low-key dogs.)

We’re 11 weeks old today, and weighing in at 23.3ish lbs, so solid, but not overly large. But who knows…puppies grow in fits and spurts.

And now, for the important part: the pictures!

At 9.5 weeks…Sadie is hogging the bed (to be fair, it IS her bed :p)
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Another 9.5 week shot: Interpretive Sleep Dancing
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10 weeks old, on our first road trip to visit my parents.
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Lastly…and let’s see if I can get it to work…here’s a video of Sadie (finally) deciding to play (albeit begrudgingly). The noise you hear is all Sadie. She has inappropriate social skills. Most of her “games” sound like a cross between Celebrity Death Match and a perpetually horny, yet continually sexually, frustrated muppet.

Thursday, November 21st, 2013


I realized I never made a blog post, and probably should have 😀 But Sally saw the forum post (and photos!), so I don’t have to worry about her and Hannah yelling at me 😉

First there was the Big Pig…and now, there is Little Pig :D

Introducing Gryphon (or, as the fancy paperwork says “Sovereign’s Heart of a Lion at SamRock”). He just turned 8 weeks, and we picked him up on Thursday. He flew like a champ–kept his kennel clean all the way here (he came from Arkansas), got out wagging his tail, and has been quite the little man ever since. He was super sleepy for the first half-day or so, but now that some of our fatigue is wearing off, though, his saltiness is coming out :D

I wasn’t sure how I felt about a white dog, but he sure is cute. He also likes dirt. Especially eating it. And rolling in it. But eating it is awesome.

So far, Momo likes him–follows him around and plays with him (until he gets too rough). What’s funny is, what means “play” in Dog…means “knock that shit off” in Cat.So there have been some frustrating conversations. I feel kind of bad for him, since several of his siblings were black, and about the same size Momo is, so it probably confuses the shit out of him why THIS “puppy” is sending him mixed messages. :D Here is one of their “games”:

Also, as of the other night…Gryphon has upped his game. Now, he enjoys HUMPING momo. So yeah, definitely channeling Sammy on that one 😀

As for the rest of the cats, Frank and Max are…indifferent? He’s there. They ignore him, mostly. And since they ignore him, he doesn’t even notice them. Finnegan Does Not Want (which I think is funny and a taste of his own medicine. I also think he’s pouting a bit, since he’s no longer the baby). He sits on the barstools and watches him, then jumps down, hisses/smacks/and leaves. Except when it’s food time. That is interesting enough to warrant getting closer.

Sadie also Does Not Want. She didn’t like being alone…but she doesn’t like THIS, either. She can now be within 2.5 feet of him without spazzing out, but that’s about it. They bonded in solidarity (SLIGHTLY) yesterday,since they had to go to the vet. I feel bad for Gryphon–he keeps trying to play with Sadie, and she’s like STFU. GO AWAY. I HATE YOU. AND YOU. AND ALL OF YOU. HATE DEVIL FACE. So, slow going. She hasn’t tried to kill him, but she’s not playing with him, either.

As of today, 6 days later…we’ve progressed to just normal hate face…not HATE DEVIL FACE. Gryphon has also upped his game here, as well, and now plays “bite Sadie’s tail”. Ah, a crowd favorite, to be sure.

Here are some pictures of our first couple of days:

“Help me! I am in prison!” (actually, he was very mild mannered and happy when we got him at the airport.)

Help, help! I

In Puppy Alcatraz

I’m a big fat boy! 15 lbs of fuzz. (Er, Gryphon, not Pat)

I guess it was a big day for everyone…

Everybody jazz step!

Bath time makes me sad :(

Extreme (sad face) Closeup!

Pretending to like each other. Sort of. Kind of. Not really. Can we have treats now?

Toesie Woesies!

(If you can’t tell…his favorite place to sit is under the kitchen stools. :D )

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Just so you know

Just so you know, Pigs… and I know you do:

I loved you first, I loved you best, and there will never be another to take your spot.

You may not have been the dog for everyone, but you were always the dog for me.

Just so you know. And I know you do. <3

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

And now for something different!

We always said that Sadie was the bossiest bitch in the ‘verse, but honestly, since Sam died (which will be seven weeks ago on Thursday), she really hasn’t been her old self. Or, maybe she HAS been her old self…her old, old self.

She’s finally started going outside on her own again, and has resumed some of her “Yard Patrols.” She’s even gotten a few rabbits (do not get me started on last week’s apocalyptic bunny massacre/subsequent vomitorium on the rug festival of fun…). But mostly, she spends all of her time in the basement sleeping. If she does come up, she is needy and scared and timid–it’s almost like she’s the same abused and nervous dog we rescued seven years ago.  She hasn’t played with any of the toys, hasn’t wanted to do much of anything. It’s like when she HAD someone to boss around, she was the Queen Bee…but she’s just not sure how to be an only dog.

So last night was her birthday, and we decided to give her a little party. AND we didn’t even make her wear a hat, since she hates it :p

I made her a “cake” and then she got a brand new toy rabbit (even though she has a basket FULL of toys, they were all “shared”, and probably still smell like Sam, I’m sure. *I* think they smell like stinky nonspecific dog slobber and schmerm, but to her…it’s probably pretty distinctinve :D).

Frankly, in the interest of full disclosure, the rabbit was almost a bit TOO creepily lifelike…even moreso now, as it lays on the rug, it’s head all LindaBlaired and its dead eyes staring sightlessly in my direction…but, whatever, it’s not MY birthday.

So, in honor of Sadie Susan, Sadis, Sadissasonacarus, Boobers, Boober Girl, Booberkins, little Miss Satan Pants, please enjoy these images!

Here is a video (JUST FOR YOU Sally!!!) of Sadie and her birthday toy!  and here is her FaceBorg album

I can haz cake nowz?
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MY toy!
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Friday, October 4th, 2013

Pick our Pic

Yeah. I can’t decide which one to enter for the calendar contest. Anyone else want to vote on which one to put up for voting? The lighting is better in the first one, but my ghetto car is in the background and Sam looks better in the second. Hmmmm…

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or snowy March
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Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Well, that was sorta weird.

So, as I mentioned sometime somewhere else at some point awhile ago (I mean, I’ve mentioned all sorts of random shit, so I am sure this came up), Sampson was a birthday present to myself 13 years ago this month. I had just moved to a new town, I didn’t know anyone, and was enrolled in a graduate program in a field I knew nothing about… so I figured at least this way I’d have someone on my side 😀

Getting in the way-way-back machine for a moment (insert be-doodle-be-doodle-be-doodle-be time travel sound effects here)…

As I’ve said before, Sam is half akita in lineage, but about 1450% akita in temperament. Especially the stubborn streak and the DON’T HUG ME nature. The other half is German Shepherd/Doberman cross. (Whenever he was especially cranky or naughty, we’d call him the Axis of Evil, given his WWII-super power lineage of Japanese and German)

Sam was confiscated from a neglect situation along with his parents, a few siblings from the litter right before his (13 puppies total), and his entire litter (12 puppies…yeah, his mom and dad were quite prolific).

Proud papa, Kodiak:
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Mom, Sadie Mae:
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Sam’s litter had just been put on the floor, and I was their first visitor. Let me tell you, 12 puppies is a whole lotta puppies…
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(Forgive the quality of the images, as these are photos-of-photos, since they are from Ye Olden Days before digital cameras)

So…anyway, I picked out my roly-poly bundle of disgruntlement, and brought him home 🙂 And here he is on Day One, shortly after his first bath (because yes, even as a baby, Sam loved a good romp in some poop).

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So that was September 2000. Now, fast forward back to today (insert reverse be-doodle-be-doodle-be-doodle-be sound effects), September 2013, and I find myself, for the first time in 13 years, having a birthday with out Sam-boy in it.Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It has been a week of odd pairings, I guess. On Wednesday, I got my first birthday card in the mail…and I packed up all the throw rugs all over the floor. Thursday, I opened a present from my grandma…and went to pick up Sam’s ashes. Friday (my actual birthday), I went to the mailbox, and pulled out a handful of cards–half of which were birthday greetings; the other half, condolence cards. In some cases, people had sent one of each.

Like I said…strange days.

So it was sort of a melancholy birthday. There was no one to eat jelly beans and wear the assless chaps and party hats–at least not with quite the same verve that Sam always expressed–but we were also reminded about all of the good times and funny/quirky/frustrating moments we had with him. Everyone’s cards and e-mails and facebook posts let us know that Sampson had made an impression on people–in some cases, people he never met “in person.” And that, in its own way made me feel a bit better.

That’s how it is, though, right? As a wise individual once sang, “You take the good, you take the bad. You take them both, and there you have The Facts of Life”  (good luck getting THAT out of your head, now ;-)).  Happy tears, sad tears; laughing, crying; cursing, congratulating. A little bit of everything.

Like I said…strange days. But pretty normal ones, too.




Because I don’t want to leave this post on a Debbie Downer note, and to show that yes, we still have cake (and animals who will eat it, too!)…here is a picture of birthday fun and smushes for No Finn:
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Thursday, September 19th, 2013

I love The Oatmeal

This was always one of my favorite Oatmeal comics. It’s just so appropriate 😀  (Find this comic here:
It always made me laugh, because it was absolutely true. Today, it kinda made me a little weepy. Laughy, but weepy. Because it’s still true.
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