Friday, June 26, 2009


Today was take your dog to work day. It's really too bad I only had "house" work to do instead of say.. a load of head shots of bankers or a parade to shoot, something, of course, Stella is still pretty much housebound so she couldn't have gone very far anyway. I think I mentioned that we went to Office Max this week. That was a big thrill for her. I can't say it's ever been that exciting for me but whatever works, I suppose. She had a great time the entire six minutes we stayed and visibly tried to restrain herself from getting too excited. Mostly, I took her along so she'd know that her oh-so-active social life hadn't collapsed entirely. July 28 is now the target date for her release. Personally, I'm dying to take her swimming but resolute about following her doctors orders. Okay except we did walk to the corner today instead of just staying in the yard. My poor front yard looks like a urine-stained, mole-infested mine field - but I digress.

Her leg seems to be healing beautifully and what's more I think she turned a little corner in the behavior department this week. Not sure if I can describe it although the dog lovers will understand perfectly, it's like our understanding of each other has raised to a new level. It isn't huge but certainly noticeable and welcome. She still sasses me like a teenager when I tell her to do stuff but at least I know she's engaged. Does your dog/or cat ever sass you?

This photo (she was giving me lip even then) was taken back in December on Mill Creek at one of Nashville's many outstanding greenways.

Hey one more (totally cool) thing that happened this week, in case anyone missed it in the feed was that Michael Winslow followed us on Twitter. Well, he followed Stella. She's got more followers than I ever will. You can find him at this address.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Idle threats

My darling (teenage) dog Stella,

As you know, we don't have a fenced in yard. You are welcome to blame me for this but it should be noted that I lived here long before you did without need of one. I am however willing to cheerfully - stop eating lunch again, and take you outside at your insistence, for the third time in two hours, but let me say this: If you don't pee this time, if you insist on pursuing your hobbies i.e. eyeballing the cat, snorking up ants, or staring at airplanes - I am going to beat your six-thousand-dollar ass right out there in front of the neighbors, the trash man, and several of your dog friends. ¿Entendido?

Love, Mom

There are some good suggestions here about how to keep cats from digging in your garden, Stella has a different suggestion but we needn't go into it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stella is a Gemini

Astrology Weekly has this to say about Geminis:

You're popular, and you know it. You enjoy people, and you love to watch them to keep your mind busy. You're at your best at parties, bars, the office water cooler—anywhere you can find people with whom you can laugh. You thrive on gossip and news—you need information constantly, more even than food.

According to the Farmer's Almanac, if today is your birthday:

Although changeable and restless, you do your tasks faithfully and to your best ability, even though they are irksome to you. You are led by your inward desires rather than by outside influences. You are affectionate and sincere and will not fall in love at first sight. You are sometimes obstinate and like to have your own way.

Today is Stella's first birthday. Assuming I have the right information, she shares a birthday with Irving Penn, and Giacomo Agostini, TuPac and Billy Crash Craddock.

She was invited to the wonderfully prestigious Gemini Party on Old Hickory lake this Saturday but unfortunately she still has six weeks to go on her orthopedic rehab and was forced to decline. The good news is, she gets the staples out of her leg today and as such can retire the lampshade. She does plan to be the star of that party next year though. Something tells me we'll be spending a lot of time near the grill.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Two Jimmys

Not long ago, I met a dog named Skywheel Jimmy. Before anyone who knows him, jumps up and says I met that s.o.b. in 1985...I'm really talking about a dog. A puppy, named after legendary climber, Jimmy Rutherford. The people who owned the puppy tried hard to get me to take it home with me. I've tried hide it but these people have discovered my weaknesses. I even accused them of naming the dog after Jimmy right before I walked up to the campfire there.

I suggested that the obvious choice for Jimmy's new owner was his namesake who happened to be sitting there, holding the leash. In fact, I thought Jimmy and Jimmy needed each other but the dog's owners had clear instructions that the puppies were not to be given to other people on the lot.

The idea being that if you just hand it off to another carny, the dog never really leaves. It's still a road dog with a ticket to Peoria.

(Note: This text was originally published on Cliffhanger, March 9, 2004)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Happy Dance

Those of you who stop by the blog regularly may already be aware that this afternoon Stella's surgery fund met and exceeded its goal. Again, I want to thank all of you who helped and especially my friend Barney who talked me into doing it in the first place. Together you have purchased an entire canine orthopedic surgery, including medication and follow-up x-rays and as I have told many of you in e-mails over the last few weeks, you are now welcome to claim a little part of this dog as your own. I am inspired by your generosity and overwhelmed by the number of people who stepped forward to help us, some of whom I've never met. I wish you all the best and will of course, keep you posted on Stella's escapades long after her recovery is complete.

Please visit these websites. While the list isn't all-inclusive, each of those listed had a role (either directly or indirectly) in Stella's future happiness and I don't mind saying they are an exceptionally bright and talented bunch of people. If I've overlooked anyone, or am unaware of your website, please mail me or put a note in the comments.

Switched at Birth
Blue Ridge Blog
A Fistful of Science
Michael Sloan Art
Mary Claire Studio
This Just In
Princess the Pitbull
Lake Lizard Music
Tennessee Rep
Dog Days of Painting
Brown Dog Foundation
a moon worn as if it were a shell
Helen Burrus Photography
Franklin, TN Vacation blog
Coyote Awareness in Nashville

Monday, June 8, 2009


Funnel Cake or Elephant Ears..

Hey if you haven't seen the super nice comments on Stella's donation page, go over and have a look before the page disappears. There are two hours left to make $630. Not sure that's going to happen but it isn't all bad in fact, it might turn out just fine. We'll be back to thank you all shortly.

The donation page extended this collection for two more days (and there I was ready to give up). Someone suggested that I lower the goal to collect what's already been pledged but that option was only available during the first five days. So we press on. Thanks everyone, for hanging in there. I'll keep you posted.

Stella, by the way is doing great. I haven't had to give her any drugs to keep her calm. Could be that collar. Personally, I can't believe she hasn't had a big fit over it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Canine Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is foreign to most people. When Stella was diagnosed with it I went highballing around the internet looking for information. There were definitions of it everywhere but very little from the general public about the reality of the condition. The after effects, as it were. I found more than one discussion group with people asking questions and some who occasionally answered but always it seemed, with the same lifeless information. "Get the surgery. asap", "It's expensive." etc. Few offered any results or follow-up which is part of why I chose to detail her experience here. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place so if you have your own experience, please feel free to speak up or put a link in the comments below.

Stella stayed two days in the hospital and came home yesterday morning. She slept most of the day. Her entire leg is shaved high enough and in such a way, that it looks like she's wearing half a thong; I so meant to ask them to shave her a whole one this time and forgot all about it. I just thought what with sixteen staples in your leg, you should at least get to be ridiculously cute in the short-term. But I digress (wildly).

Yesterday, two days after the surgery, her leg was puffy and looks like it's been insulted. It has been. Today it is less so, by half. Same as last time. She's putting regular weight on it just not in every situation (obviously, it's still sore) She's eating, drinking and using the bathroom outside on a short leash. The staples look like a long zipper on the front of her knee. They'll be taken out in two weeks whereupon the funnel collar will be removed. Five minutes from then she will have licked at it until it threatens to bleed and I in turn, will lecture her on the importance of the Leave it command.

It's been nine weeks since her first surgery, the scar from it is hardly noticeable. Her movement is restricted, as it was last time, for the next eight weeks, the first three being the most critical. Any jumping running or playing could muck up the repair or loosen the pins. Keeping a sixty pound, eleven-and-a-half month old dog still is a challenge I wouldn't wish on anyone. The better she feels the harder it gets. It's set up so that seven weeks and six days from right now, one or both of us will be certifiably insane.

(Note: Anyone looking for more information on the subject of tricky dog knees, is invited to begin here. Definitely worth reading but certainly a much pithier version, can be found here. As I said earlier, I welcome your experience, links, or advice in the comments section below.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Post Op

We stopped at the bank on the way home from the hospital. Stella always gets a treat from the nice man in the drive through window. She sat in the back seat, looking hopeful at the camera where he greets us, a canine satellite dish, twenty-five inches wide on her head. He must have felt sorry for her because when the tube arrived with my receipt, there were two treats in it this time. I turned to give her one and she was drooling a river into that thing. Stoned, but not so much that she didn't know where we were. When we got into the house, she kissed the cat and went to bed. So far, so good.

Note: Blog friend Beth Westmark (who has already donated twice to Stella's Patellas) is willing to match the next thirty dollar donation that comes in. Woo hoo!! Thanks Beth and thanks also to Princess' mom who gave us a shout on her blog a couple of days ago. Princess was cool dog pic of the day on Twitter yesterday. She and Stella would be fast friends, I can can tell.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Good News is Good News

I dropped Stella off at the hospital at 7:30 this morning (still no Xanax). Her surgeon called me at 2:30 to say that she was doing fine. I can pick her up on Friday. Thanks to everyone, for the kind thoughts sent her way from every direction.

(Note: Welcome those tweeters who searched for "Xanax" and ended up falling for my dog(s). We love that. bienvenidos.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Drop-Off Information (revised)

What to do before surgery...

Please make sure that your pet does not eat anything after midnight the night before you bring him or her in for surgery....You may bring a small blanket, one small pillow, or one toy to give to your pet while in the hospital. Please mark each item carefully before you come into the office. You may use a piece of masking tape to identify each item...When you drop off your pet for a procedure, the receptionist who admits your pet will be the only one you see at the time of drop off. You will not see the doctor at that time no matter how much you beg or manipulate our vet techs. No crying. We do not supply Xanax to pet owners (again) no matter how much you beg. Try to control yourself without the use of alcohol or drugs.

Our office will call you after your pet's surgery. Do not call us and beg. You cannot see your pet, pet your pet or speak to your pet over the phone. All clients are required to pay a deposit of 80% of the total estimated cost of treatment with the remaining balance to be paid upon discharge. We take all major credit cards. We do not accept young children, used books, remodeling services or chickens as payment, no matter how much you beg.

I've told Stella she's going to get her nails done in the morning but I think she might be on to me. Could be it's the Elizabethan collar we saved from last time, perched on the table by the door.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Eight Ball

This is James and Eight Ball taking a break from the rain at the Scooter (bumper cars). I suspected for a short time that Eight Ball might be Stella's daddy but happily, I ran into James about three weeks ago and he said no, that wasn't the case. Eight Ball was a cool dog who got off the road after two years traveling, and is (hopefully) living the high life in Tampa, Florida. We'll see more from the archives on James. He's always had a dog, as long as I've known him.