pet news

Saturday, August 15, 2015

pepper on a bug hunt—those damn moths!

I’m testing slideshows. I need it to have a caption, thumbnail navigation, be responsive, and to open fullscreen. Oh, and it cannot be Flash-based since Flash doesn’t work on very many devices and crashes Firefox more often then not.

This one is WOW Slider, which is pretty pricey, but worth it because it does the job for the ecommerce sites I build. The problem is, in this context, it doesn’t open in fullscreen but within the iframe. I’ve written to tech support there to find out the workaround for this—they’re usually quite good at solving any issues that might come up—but I won’t hear back from them until Monday. Which is fine. UPDATE: tech support at WOW Slider provided me with what I needed—this slider now goes to fullscreen no problem. Turns out I needed to add allowfullscreen (no quotes) to the iframe.

The problem with using this version is the files have to be uploaded via ftp and they are not editable within the CMS, so unwieldy for editing by anybody but me. It has to be set up and captioned in advance.

posted by lee on 08/15/15 at 01:22 PM

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Monday, October 01, 2012

oh happy dog, and other thoughts

Bingo surrounded by her favorite things
Bingo is the essence of dog. Here she is, in dog heaven, surrounded by her favorite things including backup for them, in the same room with us so she doesn’t have to worry about herding us ... September 21, 2012. (click to see it big!)

It’s a bit odd, but I’ve been feeling a bit calmer lately. Not sure why. Maybe it’s because I know exactly what the problems are these days, if not quite how to solve them. Let’s just say we’re a very long way from ever becoming part of the 1% (oh rub the Powerball God’s belly) or even the 25%, but I believe, finally, that sooner or later, we’ll be okay. (Just wish it wasn’t such a slog!) That’s all we want: to be okay. Health stuff too, but we’re getting there, also.

My October goal: to redesign our company website. It’s like the cobbler’s kids, running around with holes in their shoes because the cobbler is so busy making money to feed them he doesn’t have time to tend to thier shoes.

And to finish organizing the house—which I made a pretty good dent in before we went on vacation in August. Ah, maybe that’s it—why I feel calmer—I think so much better when there are no piles of clutter and when I know exactly what the issues are.

It’s also starting to sink in that as long as I accomplish something, I don’t have to feel badly for not accomplishing everything on my to-do list. I have to remember: they’re goals, not deadlines.

One thing that still puzzles me, though: why would people who barely have a pot to piss in, or will never, ever be in the 25% (let alone the 1%) unless they win the lottery, supporting Romney? I just don’t get it.

posted by lee on 10/01/12 at 12:41 AM

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Monday, May 28, 2012

creature features

No particular point to this entry. I just feel like posting some photos of our creatures. Sans Pepper. She remains as hard for me to photograph as she can (Stanley gets better photos of her).

Ruby patiently waiting for her cookies
Ruby patiently waiting for her cookies (click to see it big!)

Ruby always worried about something
Ruby is always worried about something (like not getting her cookies) (click to see it big!)

Bingo hiding from something
Bingo trying to hide from whatever the latest indignity is that Stanley wants to inflict on her. Like taking her picture. She is afraid of the sound of velcro. (click to see it big!)

green eye Slink
Slink literally keeping an eye on what’s going on. © lee fleming, 2012 (click to see it big!)

posted by lee on 05/28/12 at 10:13 AM

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

cats

Sometimes, when I’m really absorbed in what I’m working on, I glance to my left and I’m surprised to see the cat snoozing under the window has changed. And I didn’t even notice.

Slink, May 22 2012
Cat 1: Slink, with his lovely green eyes. (click to see it big!)

Pepper, May 23, 2012
Cat 2: Pepper, deep sleep. (click to see it big!)

I’ve been trying to get a good photo of Pepper—good thing pixels are cheap because she’s very hard to photograph. Where Slink has brilliant green eyes, Pepper has beautiful topaz eyes, with just a hint of green ringing the edge of the irises. They have very different personalities, and I can tell them apart just by hearing their purrs.

Pepper's eyes, May 23, 2012
Topaz eyes—Pepper won’t pose for me. (click to see it big!)

I’m glad there’s a long weekend coming up. I’m going to try not to work, Much.

posted by lee on 05/24/12 at 03:14 PM

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ruby again

It’s been such a worrying thing I dread the thought of posting the entire story, so I’ll just refer you to Stanley’s blog (which he is finally resurrecting) to read the details.

What he doesn’t go into detail about is that the perforation was caused by the Deramaxx that was prescribed by vet Matthew Palmisano of VCA/Norwalk, who did the fifth knee surgery operation. We still don’t know why he prescribed this as he KNEW—or should have known since it was on the paperwork we gave him—Ruby was getting carafate and pepcid—stuff to soothe her stomach because an ulcer was suspected (she did not get Deramaxx after her 4th surgery). I suspect he didn’t bother reading what meds she was on and just prescribed the standard post-op stuff—SOP for far too many specialists, both animal docs and human docs. So, he might be a fine orthopedic surgeon and he might have done a fine job on Ruby, but if he kills the dog in the process because he’s careless about reading her case history, he’s not such a great vet, is he?

What really made us angry was the people at VCA—the receptionists treating us like shit and the vets we saw, one of whom was the medical director or something, denying VCA did anything wrong, arguing with us about it. And then telling us that it would cost us between $6500 and $7600 for them to fix Dr. Palmisano’s mistake with only a 50% chance of Ruby even recovering.

All I could think of is all the pain Ruby would go through at that place, how frightened she’d be, and to go through all of that with a shitty prognosis, I just couldn’t do it to her and we just couldn’t afford it, not for such an awful prognosis.

Dr. Kurose and the staff at Strawberry Hill Animal Hospital saved Ruby—she’s still doing well (knock on wood)—which amazes us. He asked if he could try to save her and assured me that he would make sure she was on pain medication, and we knew she loves the staff at SHAH, so she wouldn’t be so alone and frightened. I wept when he offered to try to save her. He and the staff did a wonderful job—we just have to figure out how we can repay them for all the extra miles they went to save Ruby’s life.

Since our encounter with VCA, we’ve heard nothing but bad things about them. We weren’t especially happy with them after our first encounter with them when Ginger needed to be rehydrated back in 2008 during her battle with lymphoma. They charged way too much money for what they did and when we got her back, she smelled so bad we couldn’t believe it—she didn’t smell bad when we brought her in less than 24 hours earlier. So I have my doubts about the sanitary conditions there.

One colleague told us they ruled out the condition that actually killed his dog, and another colleague told us they charged a fortune for exploratory surgery to try to figure out what was wrong with his dog.

And this time, VCA charged us $1000 for a two-hour emergency stay, giving her an ultrasound and some tests to see what was wrong with her (they didn’t even locate the perforation).

The VCA receptionists were horrible—we had no idea why we had to fill out more paperwork for Ruby when they had just seen her a couple of days before we brought her in and one receptionist tracked us down in the clinic to hand us a bill when we had no idea what was going on, and laughed when we told her we had no idea what was going on.

We need to find another emergency animal hospital—I never want to go back to VCA unless we have absolutely no choice. I’ll drive to New Haven if I have to.

Okay, my rant is done I think.

posted by lee on 01/25/11 at 01:58 PM

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

operation number five (and final we hope)

Ruby managed to defeat operation number four, so the Dr. Kurose asked us to take her to the specialist—I forget his name at the moment—at the animal hospital here in Norwalk. So, we did, and he recommended one more go at it as soon as possible.

She went in January 5th, and we picked her up today.

According to the docs, the surgery went well. She goes in January 11 to get her bandages/cast checked and/or changed, then gets the cast removed on January 14. It will take about six weeks for the knee to heal. And, when she starts going out for her several ten-minute bouts of exercise daily, we’ll put her on a diet as she has to lose 15 pounds (we’re going to start cutting back in a few days. Again.)

They are also recommending that she go in for at least one physical therapy session, if not more. We’ll probably do the one session so we know what she’s supposed to be doing at home.

Ruby, operation 5, January 6, 2011
This time, Ruby has a lovely chartreuse cast. It goes well with her red fur. (click to enlarge)

Bingo was a little nervous with Ruby gone, but for the most part, she was loving her only-dog status. She is pretty much a happy-go-lucky dog—our only real problem with her is trying to trim her nails as she acts like we’re cutting off her paw with each snip. Oh, and she’s a food thief—if it’s on the counter and she can swipe it, she will. But other than that, she’s a goofy sweet thing who, for some reason, is scared to death of our niece Kate. And only Kate.

Stanley and Bingo, January 6, 2011
Oh please can we go out and play, please please please (click to enlarge)

posted by lee on 01/06/11 at 01:00 PM

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

ginger

Ginger at Sherwood Island

Our beautiful, sweet Ginger died today around 6:30 p.m. A few days ago we had some hope, but she took a turn for the worse and the last couple of nights she had trouble breathing and couldn’t sleep and we realized it just wasn’t fair to her to make her suffer any longer. The lymph nodes in her neck were choking her and she could barely walk and was just so unhappy.

It was so hard to say goodbye. Stanley and I stayed with her until she died. Her vet, Meredith Re, was as she always has been, kind and supportive.

It hurts. I miss her.

This is our last photo of her, Stanley took it today after she’d finished eating her Greenie, her favorite food:

image

We were hoping to take her to Three Mile Beach in Oscoda for one last swim—we were hoping she’d be okay for just another month, but the lymphoma and the torn ligament were just too much. She was such a good dog.

posted by lee on 08/19/08 at 04:27 PM

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

try to keep a chowhound from eating ...

We brought Ginger home about 5:30 on Saturday. What a difference—Friday we had to nearly carry her in and Saturday she was wagging her tail and lively and very happy to jump in the car.

They wanted to keep her longer, to try feeding her and seeing what happens. But Dr. Re said Ginger should go home as soon as possible since she is so nervous when she’s away from us. So they let us pick her up and sent instructions home for feeding her, with instructions to bring her back if she can’t keep food down or gets diarrhea again. The doctor at the hospital wanted to do a full ultrasound, which we weren’t too keen on unless it’s necessary. Dr. Re told them not to do one unless we had to bring her back, when they would need one to get a final diagnosis—which, right now, is chemo-induced illness and not something like pancreatitis or renal or liver pathology.

Her diet is supposed to consist of rice and boiled chicken sans skin or fat or spices of any kind. And we can feed her oatmeal. We’re supposed to do this for five to seven days. She is not happy about this. She inhaled her first meal at home: a cup of brown rice and a chicken thigh. We gave her another thigh while we ate dinner. She then spent the next couple of hours trying to get us to put her dog chow back down so she could eat it—she parks herself beneath whatever it is she wants and kind of huffs at us until we give in (we didn’t give in. Yet.)

And she’s not allowed to have a Greenie yet. Greenies make her very happy. When Jeopardy comes on and she hears the sounds made while listing the categories at the beginning of the show, that’s her cue, “oh happy happy joy joy it’s Greenie time ... ” Fortunately, Jeopardy isn’t on again until Monday.

So far, so good. Her lymph glands have done down considerably, probably due to the steroid injections she got in lieu of the prednisone, but it makes it easier for her to breathe. She’s still very tired, but not lethargic: she’s interested in what’s going on but is too tired to chase Slink yet. And she reeks—so it’s a bath on Sunday.

Since she didn’t stay for two days, we actually got some money back from our “deposit,” not a lot, but some. We asked if we could just contribute it to a fund for people who don’t any money to pay their pet hospital bill and they were very pleased to do this.

What’s weird is seeing the shaved areas on her foreleg and hind leg where they inserted catheters and IV tubes or whatever. We hadn’t realized they done this so were a little shocked when we took off the bandage.

She gets another chemo treatment this week—I’m a little nervous about this but trust that her oncologist vet knows what he is doing since the hospital is affiliated with the onco vets’ practice. Or her onco vet works there, or something.

I’m just happy that she’s home again and we have her for a while longer.

posted by lee on 07/19/08 at 10:40 PM

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Friday, July 18, 2008

ginger meets a new set of doggie doctors

The cancer protocol the onco vets put Ginger on a couple of weeks ago just didn’t work, and her lymph nodes again started enlarging, which means the lymphoma is back. There is one more chemo protocol they can try, though the prognosis is not good. We’re starting to accept that we won’t have her around much longer, but are hoping she can be comfortable enough for one more trip to Oscoda in late August and early September.

They needed to start her on the first chemo drug they gave her, an induction drug, Elspar. And continue her on Prednisone. Next week she will get blood tests and get checked over, then we start her on yet another drug, but I don’t remember what it is. It’s a pill rather than an injection.

She seemed to be doing okay after treatment on Wednesday. On Thursday, she ate quite well, some wet dog food, a little bit of steak, a bit of baked potato, some broccoli (which she loves—go figure ... ), plus her dog biscuits and her Greenie. Not much of her dog chow. She sometimes gets diarrhea when she eats beef or pork fat (or just beef or pork), so I didn’t think much about it when she had to go out repeatedly starting around 2 am on Friday morning. I was up monitoring a server upgrade anyway, so it wasn’t like I was going to sleep right away. I put newspapers down before I finally went up to bed just in case it wasn’t over.

Ginger chasing a squirrel, July 2008
come back squirrel, i want to play (click to enlarge)

It wasn’t. Only it was much worse—fierce vomiting was the next event. She snagged the cat tuna and blew it. She drank some water—gone at once. Between the vomiting and the diarrhea, I knew it was bad. I called the onco vet, who prescribed some pills to give her, one for each problem. Pills. For a dog that couldn’t even keep water down. A trip to the vet to pick up the scripts and $40 later, I gave her the meds. Barf in 60 seconds. No pills in evidence, but oh she looked so so sick and in pain. The onco vet said to call her regular vet, Dr. Meredith Re at Strawberry Hill Animal Hospital (we’re crazy about Dr. Re, and the creatures love her too, even though she sticks them with needles and shoves thermometers up their butts).

Dr. Re had us bring her in, and it was very difficult because Ginger just did not want to walk anywhere. She got up into the car, but did not want to get out of the car. Stanley had to half pick her up and half shove her out—we didn’t want to yank her by the collar because of her swollen lymph glands. Then, when we finally got her in to the exam room, Ginger shoved her head between the table and the wall and tried to make herself as small as possible.

Bottom line was Ginger needed IV liquids and pretty close supervision overnight at least, since she was dehydrated because of all the liquid she lost—she lost three pounds in two days and only some of it was the lymph fluid going down (they have gotten smaller, but they’re still very much noticeable). Dr. Re’s hospital doesn’t provide ICU-type care and is not staffed during the wee hours, so she recommended we take her to the VCA Veterinary & Emergency Center—the animal ER here in Norwalk. Off we went. Dr. Re was worried that it might be pancreatitis induced by the chemo. We thought, before we saw Dr. Re, that it was all the stuff she ate, or maybe the potato skin poisoned her (they can if they’re green).

Ginger was first “triaged” by an intern? Or orderly? I’m not quite sure who the guy was. We told him that Dr. Re had already called and faxed over her records, seemed rather pointless and a silly procedure—we wanted her taken care of as soon as possible. He left, and soon the vet, Dr. Vaishali Kamath, came in to take a look. I got a good feeling from Dr. Kamath—I felt like I could trust her to take good care of Ginger. The only times Ginger hasn’t been with me are the few days I was in hospital and when we went to Washington DC on our honeymoon, so it was really difficult to leave her there. The vet got her settled in for diagnosis and treatment, and came back to go over the estimate. After leaving $1,500+ to pay for everything (75% of the high-end estimate), we went home to a very quiet house. I asked Stanley if we were crazy for paying so much for a dog who is terminal, and he said, “probably.” I asked if it bothered him and he said, “no.”

Dr. Kamath said, around 11:30 when I finally reached her to get an update (lot of dogs into the ER tonight, but only one from heatstroke), that Ginger was perking up quite a bit, that her blood pressure was back up to closer to where it should be and her blood work was fine except for some abnormalities which the hospital oncologist said was due to her chemo. Lots of IV fluids, IV steroid injection. Her vomiting was stopped, though the diarrhea continues. She is wagging her tail and had just gone out for a walk. We will probably be able to bring her home Saturday—we will hear from the hospital and Dr. Re Saturday morning. Oh, and the vomiting and diarrhea are the result of her chemo and not us letting her eat beef or potato skins. Just a lot of different poisons in her, a lot for her system to handle.

So it seems like she is not ready to go just yet. We’re not ready to let her go yet, either—as long as she is comfortable and seems happy and not in any pain, we’ll hang on to her. The onco vet told us we will know when it’s time to let her die. She’s not under my chair as I write this and the void is huge—I can’t wait to bring her home.

posted by lee on 07/18/08 at 11:14 PM

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

this week’s drug is cytoxan

Ginger is still doing well. Last week’s dose of vincristine—besides turning her doggie farts lethal—lowered her white blood cell count. Not below the cutoff for the next round, but enough so that her onco vet asked us if we wanted to postpone the next treatment for a few days. We opted to go ahead with the cytoxan and feed her antibiotics and keep a close eye on her rather than disrupt the schedule. Since I work at home, I am able to watch over her. And trip over her. She keeps very close to me most of the time.

Cytoxan was administered with a diuretic—Dr. Elpinar told us we had about 20 minutes from the time of treatment to get her home and get her outside to pee. Ginger, of course, kept her own schedule and we had to make her go out. She’s on an antibiotic, half a dose of prednisone, her K-9 Immunity stuff, Omega 3s, and I just added flax seed oil.

Oh, and she overdid it running with Tattoo last Saturday and had a terrible limp for a couple of days, so I added glucosamine chondroitin to the list. The vet told us we shouldn’t give her aspirin while she is on prednisone because it will upset her stomach and gave us a painkiller that is safe with it. Seems to do the trick quite nicely. She isn’t limping any more—she usually does get over it after a couple of days, but this time she hurt so much on Monday that Stanley had to carry her down the stairs. So Tuesday, since she was still limping, Stanley dosed her with the painkiller about a half an hour before I got up so she could go downstairs herself.

The thing that’s making me crazy about this is Ginger has lost five pounds in two weeks. The vet says it’s because it takes a lot out of her to fight the cancer—and I know she’s right, but 5% of her body weight in two weeks seems like a lot to me. She started out at 86.5 pounds and is down to 81.5 pounds. It’s weird to go from worrying about her weighing too much (she was eating Beneful Healthy Weight!) to worrying about whether she’s eating enough to fight her cancer. (If only she could eat lots of Greenies every day—I still haven’t figured out what so addicting to dogs about those things!)

Update on the costs so far: $2,000 (two trips for diagnosis to her vet, intake and three chemo treatments by the oncology vet, K-9 Immunity kits, prednisone, antibiotics, and pain medicine. Oh, and high-end puppy chow, high-protein wet dog food, bones with vitamins, and lots and lots of string cheese. Stop ‘n’ Shop string cheese works best, especially if you take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you need it.)

In other news, we had a really nice time over Easter. I was going to use the time to catch up on stuff, but I was just too tired and barely checked my email.

THE CONNECTICUT SCHOOL OF ETIQUETTE REDESIGN
And today we soft-launched the completely redesigned website for The Connecticut School of Etiquette: http://www.morethanmanners.com which I quite like so far. There are some glitches I need to work out and there is more content and photos and a bit of programming to add, but it’s a site the owner can pretty much update herself once she gets the hang of the interface and how it works. Done with ExpressionEngine, of course. The original design we put up quite a while ago—more than five years ago, I think—and while nice, it needed a redesign and needed to be easier to maintain because the owner’s business is expanding.

One of the things I need to do is make the black bar with the etiquette words at the very top of the screen work cross-browser. Looks fine in IE6 or 7, but has this annoying one- or two-pixel border at the top that shows the background pattern through in Firefox and Safari. Not sure yet how to handle this. Border and margin for the body are set to zero, so that shouldn’t even be there—I’ll check various CSS guru sites to see if there’s something I’m not doing that I should be. Every time I think I’ve gotten a handle on CSS, something new that doesn’t work right comes up and I realize I have miles to go—especially since I don’t want to use any hacks.

Friday I’ll be finishing putting together a database in Access. Among several other things. Work is not dull, that’s for sure.

posted by lee on 03/27/08 at 08:59 PM

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