Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The vet said that my lovely rat terrier, Lily, has multiple organ failure. She came to me with a bad heart. Now she has kidney failure. I got medicine for her heart. It worked beautifully. She had a nice strong heart beat. There was nothing that could be done for her kidneys. There was no treatment, no history of reversal of kidney failure. My lovely dog could not be saved.

Through research, I learned that if there is a terminal diagnosis for a pet, do not wait to put them down. As much as I loved my dog, I did not want her to get to the last stages of kidney failure, which I understand can be painful. As it is, Lily was exhausted. She was alert and interested in what is going on, but Lily spent most of her days curled up in her bed, resting. She had no more energy than that. She lost weight and seemed more fragile.

I tried to care for her as long as I could. She wore doggie diapers, took her medicine, tried valiantly to do her peeing outdoors like a good doggie she always did....but there were accidents, lots of them. The floors in the house were covered with plastic tarp with newspaper on top of that. ..and the diapers. She pees so much that she soaked a diaper overnight and urine puddles were on the plastic when I got up in the morning.

I had hoped to give her a good summer. In my imagination, Lily enjoyed the backyard. She could pee wherever she wanted to outside. However, she deteriorated to the point that I knew she would not last out the summer.

I made the call to the vet. He had me come in right away...before I lost courage. Dr. Smith told me once more, that there was no treatment that would save my little terrier. When pet owners have their pet put down, the pet is usually pretty far gone. They lay there, unresponsive. It was different with Lily. She was alert, walked in, was interested in the other animals in the vet's waiting room. She did her usual thing: tried pulling me to the exit door. How I wished that I could take her home. Actually I could....for a very short time. However, the longer I keep her with me ...because I don't want to give her up....the more she will suffer and be closer to that awful pain stage. I made the decision to put her down while she is acting relatively normal...a hard thing to do, as one never knows if I should have come earlier, or delayed a week. There is no answer to that one.

Then then put her down. She lay on the table as if she was sleeping. All muscles were relaxed. I petted my lovely dog for the last time. Her fur is like warm and silky.

Lily was adopted from the SPCA. I wonder why she was at the SPCA because someone obviously had spent a lot of time with her. She listened when I talked to her. She looked at me right in the eye and tried to figure out what I wanted. She was clean in the house, intelligent and loving.

She had no neurotic behaviors...only a few mannerisms that were lovely. Lily cleaned her paws like a cat. She liked to sit on my lap. She liked having a basket of her own to sleep in. Some one loved her very much before I got her. Perhaps she ended at the SPCA because someone died or had to go to a nursing home. I will never know.

The only problem she had was separation anxiety. She panicked if I left the house without me...barking all the time I was gone....going from one window to another window, watching for my return.

So, she came everywhere with me. Lily loved riding in my truck. She made friends at the bank and at the diner. Patrons gave her bits of bacon. She sat in the truck while I ate breakfast inside and people passing by would smile as they saw her in the truck. When I returned to it, the first thing she would do would be to stick her head in my purse to see what I had saved from breakfast for her.

The first night living with me, I set up a kennel for her. She was to sleep in there because I did not want her wandering around the house at night, possibly peeing some place. What a racket she made. Bark Bark Bark. The message was plain: no offense lady, but I don't sleep in a kennel. I opened the door. Lily raced up the stairs and jumped on my bed. I got the message and that is where Lily slept as long as I had her....which was way too short...two years to the month.

One day I brought up a basket of laundry from downstairs and set it on the floor. Lily jumped in. That is how I know that her previous owner had made a basket for her. So, I made another basket for her.

Lily is in heaven now. I cried terribly and miss her very much. My little dog was a perfect dog...intelligent, personable and loving. Her only flaw was her health and I would have done anything to save her, but nothing was possible.

At home, I do the clean up. Plastic removed from the floors, packed up all her belongings to donate to the SPCA. Her medications went back to Dr. Smith. He will use them on another dog from the SPCA. It seems terribly quiet in the house.


Thursday, April 08, 2010

The little cottage next to mine is rented to a nice lady with a son in middle school. She is a widow...running her household all by herself. Over time, the cottage needs care. I was shocked to see how much had deteriorated since my last walk through...and it was not because she had done anything to damage the house. Every thing needs painting. The ceiling in her bedroom has a crack that needs repair. The same condition is found in the dining room. There are two interior doors that need painting. Some walls need painting, too.

Outside, the exterior needs painting and two squares of sidewalk have broken up. I need a mason to install two squares of sidewalk....and I would like to replace her front steps. They are safe, but look awful.

Time to call my painter. We make arrangements to have a drywall man put up a new ceiling. He will tape it and then Spence will paint it. Meanwhile, Spence is sanding down the doors. Paint is blistering off the doors in sheets.

We are waiting for a man to install her dishwasher. I am waiting for her dishwasher to get out of my kitchen so I can finish up my kitchen. I can't finish my kitchen until the dishwasher is out. Once it is out,I can move my base cabinet into that space and install the countertop. Tina is waiting for the installer to schedule the installation.

Meanwhile, the phone rings: It is tenant two. This is an educated couple raising twin daughters. They are traditional Italians...very neat and particular. When I drive by, I swivel my head to check out the house. It looks like the husband has vacuumed the is that neat. It seems that We have had a lot of rain, a lot more than usual. The family is watching mold grow on the wall in the sun porch. Oh oh. This can't be ignored. I get a contractor to look at it. He says the roof above is shot and the sun porch needs Sheetrock and insulation.

Down in the basement, water is pouring in from the Bilbo doors. It needs to be replaced and the wood door in front of the Bilco door needs a repair. Ernest gives me an estimate and I agree to it. I will be writing a lot of checks in a short period of time, but these repairs need to be done to keep my tenants healthy and happy....and to safeguard the value of the houses.

Meanwhile, at my house, Ernest fixes my front door. He builds a temporary step for the basement door. We discuss the flaw in the basement slab and He suggests the solution: The slab central part needs to be broken up and removed. A new slab should then be poured with lots of re-bar. The builder skimped on rebar. That is why the slab moves so much. This is one project that will have to wait until I pay for the tenant repairs.


What is the matter with me? It must be spring fever. I can barely put one foot in front of the other to get through the day. I took a nap today.....something I never do. If it isn't spring fever, then it may be because I got an early start on my garden.

The city removed the tree that fell on my garage...and my neighbor's house. There is thousands of dollars of damage done to my garage and to my neighbor's house.

The city's crew removed the trunk and the branches. They chipped up the stump, then drove off. I waited all winter watching for the city truck to come back and cart away all those chips. There is a huge pile of them on the narrow strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street. That is where the tree was.

Then it dawned on me: I am stupid. I am paying $7 to $10 a bag for mulch and there it is, sitting in front of me. There is no difference between what I was buying and what is sitting at the curb. This tree died from fungus. What's the difference. There is fungus in the soil naturally. I won't be spreading a disease if I use the wood chips in my garden. I have a bonanza of mulch for the taking. I am taking it or as much as I have room for. Putting my back into it, I shovel wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of wood chips . They mulch around my plants . I have two beds: one for vegetables and one for flowers. For once, I have enough mulch to do the whole yard. Greedy me. I lay a tarp on the corner by my old mulch piles and shovel more tree chips into a pile. Let it rot in place. It will be good to go next spring. There is still more wood chips. The next day I work at it some more....but with less energy than the first day. The third day brings more shoveling ....fewer loads than the day before. yesterday, I could only manage one load. Today, I managed one more load and quit.

My shoulders, knees, feet, back are stiff. I can barely move. I walk around the house and yard as if I have a bad case of arthritis. A nap seems a good idea. Last task of the day is to make a sign on a stick. It goes in the much reduced pile of wood chips at the curb. It says,"Free Mulch. help yourself"

By the way, the city says it will not pay for the damage the tree did. The city says it has no obligation to inspect each tree. I consulted with my insurance representative. I am suing the city.