Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Moxie, Kitty Cat or Carb Loving Stocky Rugby Player?

"Miss Moxie"

I'm a cat guy and I love my cats, twins Max and Moxie. But I have to admit, I have taken their good health for granted. They are indoor cats, never go outside, and I keep their world regulated to my home.

As I wrote in the previous blog post, several friends have lost their pets. This has brought me to the conclusion that I need to be more diligent in their health care. Again I've been very lucky with no health issues (knock on wood) but as they approach their 10th birthday in April, I think it's time, I actively monitor their well being.

Maximus (Max) can be a beast of a cat, a typical tough guy Tom Cat that rules the roost. But when he wants attention and love, he becomes a warm cuddly sweet heart that won't leave you alone until you put out the affection. Once he's had enough, he gives a short meow of a bark and can't get away quick enough. It's sort of like, "GIMME ME LOVE NOW!" then "OVER STIMULATION! RUN AWAY!!!!" LOL He's quite a character.

Moxie on the other hand is the smaller of the two. I have a feeling she was the runt of the litter. They were found by the side of the road, hungry, thirsty and malnourished in the Spring of 2007. After Smokey passed away in May of that year, I decided to wait before I got a another cat. It was just too hard. Well the situation with these two twin terrors presented itself and I couldn't say no. They were just too adorable.

Back to Miss Moxie. Now she's a piece of work. Tiny head, rather large body. She's full of energy in the morning, running up and down the hallway back and forth like a furry NFL pigskin with legs. Yep, she has a lil bit of a weight issue we are working on.

Ever since she got fixed, she developed a bit of a jiggly belly which has grown over the years. She has not become obese, just a lil gut which bounces from side to side when she sprints down the hall. She also developed an odd taste for bread, pasta and basically anything else carb.

For instance, I am longer are able to keep out loaves of bread, muffins, Danish, donuts, or bagels on the kitchen counters. As soon as I turn my back, Moxie will rip open whatever bag it's in and chow down. I came home one evening and she had eaten an entire slice of white bread. On another occasion she had ripped through a bag of dried tortellini and was chowing down on a couple pieces.

"Miss Moxie, Carb Lover"
I was truly perplexed and have resorted to hiding the bread products and pasta. I've got a cat with a carbohydrate craving! This was also a reason to go to the vet. Not to mention, her overall neurotic attitude. Think the old-fashioned 'wiggidy cat' syndrome or it's modern day diagnosis of feline hyperesthesia.

Moxie also tends to eat whatever she can on the floor, sometimes inanimate objects. Luckily, and I've been lucky, she has thrown up everything she's tried to ingest. I also keep my home clear of rubber bands, loose string, and ribbons. She had a feast on the Christmas tree the past couple years.

So we were soon off to the vet as fast as I could, me driving like a nut trying to get a screaming cat in a carrier in the back seat. The veterinarian was awesome with her, I was very pleased. I took Moxie to my vet in Schuylkill Haven, PA. My vet doctor was great with her comforting hands-on approach. I appreciated her humor and compassion and she did her best to put Moxie and I at ease during the exam.

Once there, Moxie was a bit nervous but wasn't as bad as I thought she'd be. Just a bit scared and nervous. No one got scratched or lost a finger. She put up a bit of a fight during her rabies and distemper shots but otherwise was able to be held without freaking the heck out.

We weighed Moxie and discussed her food situation. Moxie was a bit overweight. She should be 12-13 pounds but she's at 14.9 pounds. I just put it out there bluntly, "Moxie is obsessed with bread and pasta!!!" The Vet, without skipping a beat replied, "A girl after my own heart." LOL Soon enough, all the vet assistants and receptionists were asking after Miss Moxie, the cat that loves carbs!

Different remedies were discussed and it was decided that Moxie would be put on a grain free cat food diet with blood work to be done. Apparently, she's developed a taste for carbs and may be trying to supplement a nutritional deficit with the carbs and inanimate objects that she ingests. Thankfully, besides this, she is a pretty healthy cat. I just need to make sure the house is cat proofed from all small objects which could possibly be ingested.

Finally, I just had to know what the doctor thought about her weight. I asked her, "Doctor, give it to me straight ... is Miss Moxie an obese cat?"
"No," she replied. "I wouldn't say obese. I'd say she is stocky."
"Stocky?" I asked. "Stocky like a field hockey player or hockey like a rugby player?"
The Vet laughed and replied, "Stocky like a rugby player."
So there you have it, Miss Moxie is a carb-loving rugby player!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Saying Goodbye to Your Pet

Smokey the Cool Cat circa 1992

This blog is dedicated to MY best cat in the world: Smokey the Cool Cat

For those people who choose to take care of pets, whether it be dogs, cats, birds, etc., these animal friends become part of the our family. This is especially true when you do not have children. I am sure no pet owner would disagree that your pet becomes your surrogate "child" or family member.

I remember back to when my cat Smokey passed away in May of 2007 and of just how painful it was. I had rescued Smokey as a kitten in 1992 from the wheel-well of my car after he crawled up in there. I heard this tiny little meow, went looking, and saw these beautiful eyes staring back at me. It was meant to be.

Through out the years, my little buddy became that constant presence that followed me where ever I went in my home. He was there, ready to give me unconditional love no matter what was happening in my life. I loved him back. It was something that got me through some extremely dark periods of my life in my 20s. 

When I had to make the decision to put Smokey down, it was the most painful one that I had ever made.  He had been struggling with chronic renal failure and had two episodes where he rebounded and came back. Mr. Raggedy Skin and Bones as I nicknamed him, was a still happy-go-lucky cat but he was getting worse with each passing month. The very last time that Smokey had a painful attack, he retreated into the tub for safety. I decided then and there that it was time. In retrospect I probably should've done it a month or so prior but that just illustrates how difficult the process of deciding "when is the right time" and the fact that you may still end of second guessing your decisions. It's normal.

I made the appointment for the early afternoon and then spent the morning just loving him, petting him, and thanking him for being my best buddy through my ups and downs. The very end was difficult, but I was so glad in retrospect that I was the one he last saw as he faded away. And just like that, Smokey entered into his eternal sleep with our mutual hopes that we would see each other one day again in the future at Rainbow Bridge.

If you don't know about Rainbow Bridge, it has helped so many of us get through the difficult times of losing our furry or feathered friends:

Below is a partial reprint of an article on by ABC News journalist Jonathan Fenaroli from March 22, 2007.  I hope that this blog post and quoted article can help others make that difficult choice.

"Pet Food for Thought: How to Put a Pet to Sleep" by Jonathan Fenaroli

It is a decision no one wants to make, yet most people who keep animals know it is one they will likely be forced to face: when is the right time to put your pet to sleep?

For pet lovers, the idea of euthanasia is tantamount to pulling the plug on a beloved family member, but really loving a pet also means sometimes accepting a sad reality: sometimes it has to be done.

"We always tell out clients this is the last gift you can give to your best friend, "say veterinarian James M. McNamara of the Bethel Veterinary Hospital in Bethel, Conn. "People need to separate themselves from the equation and do what is best for their pet."

There are many factors to consider when making the ultimate decision for one who can't speak -- health, age, and the cost of keeping a sick pet alive top the list. In most cases, a veterinarian can recommend the right course of action, but sometimes the best he or she can do is give you the facts and let you decide.

When and Where?

First, the pet owner must consider when to act. No one wants to see a pet suffer. But at the same time, imagine living with the thought that "maybe we could have done more."

McNamara says it all boils down to quality of life.

"If the animal is beyond the means of what medical technology can do, then the choice is clear," he says.

The hard part, he says, is for the pet own to put the pet's welfare before the owner's.

"I've had people tell me 'money is no object.' But if the animal can't be saved and have a reasonably good life, there is no point."

His advice:  Ask yourself a question, "Am I keeping this animal alive for them, or for me?"

Logistics are key as well. Most euthanasia procedures take place in veterinary offices, but some vets will come to your home.

Anyone who has been there when a pet was put down can tell you how hard it is. For some, the idea is too much to bear, while others wouldn't dream of missing the chance to usher a fading friend into great beyond.

BLOGGER'S NOTE: I do not own the rights to the above article by Jonathan Fenaroli. I am merely reprinting it's contents for informational purposes.

Friday, March 17, 2017

My Obsession with Travel Brochures

When I was a young boy taking annual summer trips across the country with my family, much to my parent's chagrin travel brochures became my souvenir of choice. (Yes, I was an odd little boy.) I would collect them by the hundreds. They were so colorful, filled with exciting pictures of places to go, things to see! The meteor crater in Arizona; Jamestown Virginia; Cars buried front end down in the earth for miles to see in Texas; the Grand Canyon; Mount Rushmore; Wall Drug, South Dakota; the most crooked street on earth in San Francisco; Reptile Land; Mount Vernon; Pedro's South of the Border; and The Empire State Building. I could go on and on and on.

But why this fascination which borderlines obsession? I think it goes back to our summer trips where we would drive thousands of miles across our great country, stopping at various touristy sites, staying at motels along with way, sometimes carefully planned out, other times the luck of the draw. Our trips during the late 70's early 80's included mandatory stops (insisted upon by us kids) at the venerable Stuckey's roadside convenience stores.
Crazy About Brochures! 

Adam, Sheryl, and I would see an advertisement for a Stuckey's at the next exit whether it be in the Midwest, Texas, or Florida and scream "STUCKEY's!" eliciting a strong rebuke from my mother to "Keep it down back there! Your father's driving!" He would end up stopping after our pleadings. Mom would more than not have to use the bathroom anyway and it gave us a chance to explore and look at all the touristy 'chotchkes' the store had to offer.

After much begging, our parents might buy us a postcard or two: a picture of a rattlesnake or a jack-elope; the oldest house in Sante Fe, New Mexico; the St, Louis Gateway Arch; Dodge City, Kansas; or possibly the Alamo. It was rare they succumbed to our pleadings for any other souvenirs. We actually (smartly) held out for the souvenirs when we hit the big ticket tourist attractions like Mount Rushmore, Walt Disney World, South of the Border, or Cripple Creek, Colorado which might include a small toy Pluto dog, a clay miniature Pedro, or a piece of fool's gold from Cripple Creek.

But then my eyes spied a rack of colorful brochures right by the front door of Stuckey's. Each of them telling about some exciting place that I could go to. And the best part about it, the brochures were free! I took one or two of them, then three or four, and then started taking 10 or more at a stop!

We'd hit places where I could collect even more brochures:  visitor centers, museums where racks of brochures would be by the front door or gift shop, airports, train stations, and more Stuckey's than you could count on your hand! I could get 10 free brochures to every purchased postcard! When I got home, I'd glue the postcards AND brochures in a scrapbook. OK, maybe I didn't see the Largest Ball of Twine in Minnesota or Gator Land in Florida ... but I could have!

I still have a habit of taking too many brochures as an adult. It's think its a comfort thing for me. I enjoy it. It reminds me of fond childhood memories and I just see a destination I want to go to and I take the brochure. I'll read one or two before bed time. They are perfect for that 5-10 minutes before you fall asleep. Who needs a novel with long ass chapters? Give me a 4 page brochure and I'll knock that puppy out in no time and then be fast off to sleep! Maybe I'll even dream of that destination if I'm lucky.  πŸ˜Š
Maryland Visitor Center

My sister Sheryl teases me about it. It's OK, I can take it, I'm a big kid now. Sheryl and I traveled down to Washington, DC a couple weekends back and hit up the Maryland Visitor Center. True to my nature, I picked up about 30 brochures on various destinations in or about Maryland such as the Newseum, the Maryland Civil War Trails, Monocacy, Colonial Chesapeake, Sotterly Plantation, the National Archives of the United States, Rivensdale House Museum, and ... of course ironically I found the "Visit South Jersey Visitor's Guide."

You can take the kid out of South Jersey, but you can't take the South Jersey out of the kid. This South Jersey kid is still obsessed with brochures. :)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Something to Consider...

While driving home the other evening, I passed by a church sign with the quote below. Now anyone who knows me knows that I am not the head over heels religious type but I do strongly believe in God as well as consider myself devout to my faith. I just thought it was a great quote. It gave me pause for thought and reflection about my own spirituality and inner peace. 

No God
No Peace

Know God
Know Peace