I started to write this post in August, 2011 about a few losses we had had through the pet blogging community. I stopped writing it, because I felt like I couldn't adequately discuss a matter I hadn't experienced on the personal level that the blogger's who lost their pets had, and that it might be insulting for me to post about it. Now, unfortunately, I can finish this post. I need to finish it.
I usually try to keep things G-Rated on the blog, because honestly, what's more family friendly than a website full of animals? Today, however, is not that day. Course language ahead. You have been warned.
The rainbow bridge has been a selfish bitch.
If you're sitting there wondering "What in the hell is a rainbow bridge? What substances has Katherine been abusing?" I assure you that the only thing coursing through my veins is caffeine, and I can to expose to you the term. I didn't hear "rainbow bridge" until I started pet blogging. Each culture has their own way of discussing death and the mourning of a death; this includes the sub-culture of pet bloggers on the web. When a pet dies, they cross the rainbow bridge. It's supposed to be a comforting thought to pet parents in their time of grief.
Well, fuck the rainbow bridge. Fuck it.
I moved in with my fiancé, Zack, about two years ago. In addition to moving in together, we also brought out families together. Zack embraced my cats and Arie whole-heartedly, and I welcomed Gertrude, his elderly Basset Hound.
Gert lived a hard life before meeting Zack. She had been abused. She had been a mother (and HATED her puppy when they were fostered together). She had a back leg that wouldn't bend, a sweet but also grouchy disposition and she smelled like a three day old corpse (NOT an exaggeration).
When Zack inquired about adopting her from the Basset Hound rescue, the foster family said that they had bonded with her and couldn't give her up. Two days later, foster dad called and asked Z to come get her. He gratefully obliged. They have been nearly inseparable since, going on now for a decade.
Gertrude was a hilarious dog. Refusing to learn most of the most basic commands (but somewhat mastering 'sit' for noms), Gertrude was her own lady, and the boss of herself. Her biggest desires in life were a warm, soft cushy bed, love from her human, a yard to bury things in, and pizza crust. There are so many good stories from this dog, from expensive Italian sausages disappearing only to be rediscovered months later when she dug them up to stollen challah bread hanging out of an unapologetic Basset face as she stared our the porch window looking at her dad.
Moving in together was tough. Gertrude would be jealous of Zack a bit, and there were plenty of squabbles between her and Arie. She would chase the cats. We spent a lot of time cleaning up after both dogs, as Gertrude would have accidents from age, and Arie from her spay incontinence. It was sometimes stressful, often gross, and a consistently busy life with our family of six. It was also amazing. We slowly got to know each other better, and the family became more and more of a family. With the good and the bad, we balanced things, and Gertrude became a huge part of my heart while she learned to tolerate my presence.
On Tuesday of this past week, Gertrude started having issues using her hind legs. We were extremely worried, but started to think it was just arthritis, as she perked up when given her pain medication. Over the next few days, she seemed to be doing better, which gave us hope that it had just been a bad day from the weather or just a random pang of worse arthritis than usual. On Saturday, however, Gertrude refused to take her pill in the morning, though wrapped in a tantalizing piece of chicken. She wouldn't move. She seemed despondent. We knew something was really, really wrong, so we scooped her up and headed to the vet.
Within around 20 minutes, they noticed something was off in her vitals. Within another 20, they found that she was anemic. Within another 30, x-rays confirmed she had a tumor in her abdomen. We knew what choice we had to make. Within another 30 minutes, we were saying goodbye.
What we thought was a visit to treat bad hips turned out to be the visit where we had to say goodbye. This is the first time I've been in a room while a pet was euthanized, and let me tell you: Fuck. That. Rainbow. Bridge. It's not shiny. It's not sparkly. It's shitty. I had to watch my dog take her last labored breaths when she couldn't even recognize me or Zack, the man that had loved her for over a decade, because she was so weak from disease. Since then, we've had to handle calls about what to do with her remains, what we wanted from the cremation, and what memorial items we wanted to choose, along with letting work know why I won't be coming in (because I just look like I went 3 rounds with Tyson with the swelling from crying so much, and we still are crying) and all the other arrangements. There's so much to take in emotionally, monetarily, physically, mentally. It's exhausting and emotional and overwhelming. They don't warn you about this part of losing a pet. The business part. No one does.
Being back home is both comforting and eerie. Arie knows something is different, but doesn't seem to realize what it is yet. She and the cats to do realize that mom and dad are hurting like crazy now, though, and are all about the comfort cuddles and checking on us, which helps. Still, it's shocking to not hear little basset claws on the hardwoods. To not smell that death stench right around the corner of the sofa. To not hear a scratch at the door, asking to go in and come out five hundred times in a row without peeing once. We will heal, but healing takes time, and patience, and love.
Gertrude, I don't ever think you'll know how much you meant to me, and I don't think I knew until you weren't here anymore. Thank you, for being such a huge part of Zack's life. You saved him, probably more than he saved you, and I am forever in your debt. I am so glad you are not in pain anymore, though I really wish you could still be here. Run fast, sweet girl. Eat all the things. Bury all the things. We love you.
Rainbow Bridge image via Wiki commons, Maris Stella.
Today's guest post comes from Sara of Life in These Times, a fantastic blog about being a mother, a DIY-er, a wife, and a pet parent. Sara has been a co-worker of mine at two different Atlanta agencies, and I always love hearing about her daughter, Keelin, and her two Boston Terriers. Now, you get to hear about them too!
I’ve always loved dogs. I’ve always wanted to be a mom. So, the likelihood that the titles of ‘pet owner’ and ‘mother’ would eventually cross paths was inevitable from the beginning.
Now to follow with the ‘normal’ chain of events, I did the expected. Met a guy, dated, got engaged, got married, had a slue of failed pet experiences (ok, maybe that’s not the norm), bought a house, and finally settled down with the title of ‘pet owner’ in 2010 when the hubs and I adopted two very rambunctious Boston Terrier puppies. They pooped, they ate, they slept, they snored, and eventually they learned the rules of the road and fit right in as members of the family. It may not have been the best idea to bring home two at once, and we’ve got photo documentation of their destruction around the house to prove it, but we really do love our little fart machines. Fast forward to the spring of 2011 when we learned we’d be adding another member to our family circus, this one only having two feet, and our concerns suddenly switched from whether or not we remembered to give them their Heartguard to "how are they going to do with a new baby in the house?"
We weren’t worried about them being aggressive, but we knew that the high energy terrier in them may cause some trouble. It wasn’t uncommon for them to get each other riled up playing and run over everything in their path. So, of course, this terrified soon-to-be-new-mom had one too many images of them stampeding right over my fresh-out-of-the-oven bun during tummy time. While we did a little bit of training with them (i.e. buying a baby doll that I would hold to teach them not to rush me or jump up when I was holding it) for the most part we just crossed our fingers that they would have a good relationship from the start. And thankfully, they did.
The day we brought our daughter home the dogs were kind of the last things on our minds. Before we got home, we sent my parents back to the house with one of our daughter’s first hats so they could smell her before she arrived. I don’t know if any of our preemptive actions really mattered in the end, but for the most part they didn’t pay her much attention... until she started crying. Once that strange noise started ringing through the house they were on high alert and would follow me around as I tried to quiet my fussy babe. Gradually they became more curious and friendly and now, almost a year and a half later, they are best pals. Our daughter loves to pet, chase, and snuggle with them. And by snuggle I mean diving head-first on top of them. They are good sports about it and usually let her join them on the floor. On the off chance that they’re not in the mood for a snuggle session they’ll calmly get up and walk away, at which point she normally follows them to their new spot and starts the whole sequence over again.
The relationship between animals and children is truly fascinating. As my daughter’s cognitive and motor skills have developed, so has her interaction with the dogs. It’s like they know what she’s capable of as she learns and grows and there is always an underlying sense that they need to protect her. They are alert when she cries, tolerant when she’s in their face, and over all they love being around her. I’m so thankful that they were not only able to watch her grow in my tummy, which they would snuggle up to whenever I would sit or lay down on the floor, but are now able to watch her, and our future children, grow. So, now that I’ve tackled the ‘pet owner’ and ‘mother’ titles… what next? We shall see.
I've recently started a new job, and with it, I get to work from home in my Atlanta home with my cats and dog all day. (Happy dance around the room!)
I did forget one minor detail, however, in the newly homebound arrangement: The programmable thermostat. I realized it was freezing about halfway through my morning research, and then remembered that the thermostat was programmed to get colder while I was usually gone during the day. I altered the settings, then went to grab a blanket to wrap up in until the heat could do it's job.
Upon opening the linen closet, this is what I found:
Thanks to a slightly loose door, Briseis has found a way to sneak into the poshest and warmest snooze spot in the house: Right on top of all of my out-of-season throw pillows (don't judge my inner Martha) and throws. I have to give her credit for the genius, though I can't say I completely pleased with all of the freshly washed linens getting a coating of cat hair before they've even been put out. Oh well--lint rollers, ahoy!
If you're one of my human friends, chances are you know that I've recently taken up running. This is something I've been wanting to do for a while, but needed a few pushes in the right direction to get started. Luckily for me, those little nudges have already happened, and, from my new running adventures, I've been lucky enough to meet Piper, the Atlanta Beltline cat.
Single Volunteers Atlanta is gearing up for two 5K's, the Hunger Walk/Run on March 10 and the Color Run on April 6 (join us!). I need to train up for such events, so I finally decided to check out the Atlanta Beltline. The Beltline is a new trail around the city of Atlanta that follows the railroad tracks. It's a gorgeous trail, a brand new initiative, and an amazing place for cyclists, walkers, runners, families, skaters (there's a small skate park there), and more. Every time I've gone, I've seen at least 10 dogs while on my 3.1 mile runs (5K training!) with friends.
One day, upon entering at the 10th and Monroe entrance and about halfway through my course, I found Piper, the Atlanta Beltline kitty. At first, I thought she was just a stray, and was going to take her with me. I also thought she had been fighting, as one ear appeared to be injured. Upon closer inspection, I found that the nick in her ear was a spay and release marker, and that she was actually well cared for, complete with provided food and even a mailbox:
Piper has warm blankets in the two large pipes that she uses as beds, plenty of food and water, and many adoring fans that stop by to say hello. While she doesn't enjoy being picked up, she does enjoy when a calm, patient person hangs out long enough for her to let them pet her.
I would love to give Piper a forever home, but as we already have quite a busy house, and she isn't a fan of being picked up, I doubt I could bring her to casa de Arie. However, as the general life of stray cats isn't usually that great, Piper seems to be doing fairly well for herself and has become a Beltline staple. Many people take notice of this darling black cat (so much like the cats from Life with Arie!), so much so that she's appeared on Tumblr, Incurably Stir Crazy, and even CNN.
Want to learn more about Piper? I'll be sure to mention her in future posts. You can also check her out on Twitter!
Are there any neighborhood-adopted strays in your area?
Life with Arie is all about pets, life with the beautiful White German Shepherd, Arie, and her siblings, two black domestic shorthairs, Jasper and Briseis, including celebrating Valentine's Day with your pets. Sometimes though, I have to tell you a bit about myself.
Many people know me as Katie Moore or Katherine Moore, an Online Content Specialist and Pet Blogger (You can learn more about my content work on my LinkedIn and about.me pages). Other people know me a bit better, and know about my personal life; my quirks, my habits, what I like, what I dislike, and what happens in my day-to-day. If you're in the second group, then you know that I had an interesting break up earlier this year. Well, I have a new valentine, and he's more than I could ask for.
He's the tall, dark, and handsome type, with soulful brown eyes and a sweet smile. He's goofy sometimes, like me, and stubborn sometimes (also like me). He's very fit, and I'm trying to be, so I meet him for lunch dates and we go for a long run, then cuddle up on the couch for a bit while I write for clients or for this blog. I couldn't wait to share the news with you guys, and I'm so happy to introduce him:
Needless to say, I'm really enjoying the single life right now, which means more time to dive into my passions, like writing, helping businesses with content, spending time with Arie, and enjoying my hobbies and friends.
Whether you're celebrating with someone special on Thursday, spending time with friends, or hanging out with a four-legged friend, I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day. Share pictures of your Valentine (PG please!) on the Life with Arie Facebook page!
As many of my regular followers/friends/other pet crazies know, Life with Arie has had to take a few breaks this year to deal with a few new aspects of daily life. I'm starting to get back to the blogging groove and reconnecting to old pet blogs I love, new friends, and more; what a better way to make a comeback than to meet a bunch of new writers and be featured in an Infographic!
The team at Coupon Audit has created a variety of infographics featuring the blogs they have found to be in the top 100 for various categories. Life with Arie was included on their "Top 100 Pet Blogs to follow in 2013" list! Check out the full 100:
An infographic by the team at CouponAudit
I'm excited to see some new names and faces on the list along with a few old friends, and can't wait to say hello to a few of the other included bloggers. Thanks again to the team at Coupon Audit, and I'm looking forward to a fabulous year of blogging in 2013!
Was your blog included in the list? Leave me a comment to say hi! I'd love to connect to you. If your blog wasn't included in the list, be sure to leave a comment with your URL, tell me a little bit about your blog, and say hello. I love meeting new bloggers!
Sorry followers! Need to verify a blog claim. RK3523HURFEU
Dramatic title, I know, but lately it has been well warranted around our house. The cats make guest appearances regularly here on "Life with Arie", though I do usually blog about Arie. Lately, however, Briseis, one of the brother-and-sister duo, has apparently been craving attention. She shows this by trying to get herself killed.
I know what you're thinking. The cat couldn't possibly have a death wish! If you've seen my previous posts about the cats, you know that they're the typical run of the mill cats. They each have an amazing personality and are loads of fun, but love typical cat things, like jumping into any empty box that's hanging around, sleeping in the sun, and meowing when they can see the bottom of their food dish (even when there is still food present). While a typically laid back, albeit vocal cat, Briseis has lately taken a turn from complacent house cat to a feline Evil Knievel.
Briseis has decided that any extra-warm place in the house is a GREAT place to curl up. Including the dryer, as displayed above. I check the dryer every. single. time. I do laundry now, afraid that, among the towels and jeans, a kitty cat may go unnoticed and be well on her way to an unpleasant tumble.
Besides the dryer, kitty has also tried to:
b) curl up in a cooling oven. YES, the oven. You read that correctly.
c) take a nap under an open recliner, which could easy be shut by an unsuspecting visitor, and
d) Tried to curl up on top of the curtains. While this may be a fine decision for some cats, mine are extremely clumsy, just like me.
Basically, the cat has a death wish, giving me a constant reminder that my daredevil of a feline may be lurking somewhere dangerous, and I should always keep a look out. If you own cats, I'm certain you're already aware of this and keep an eye out for yours as well. I've taken to leaving blankets readily around on more surfaces in the house for her to curl up in, and have changed the thermostat from 68 degrees to 70 to accommodate a warmth-seeking kitty. I also check the dryer, oven, etc. each time I use them to be sure that Briseis is well out of the way, and that Jasper hasn't picked up on her bad habits.
What odd places have you found your pets in? What about odd habits? Share some odd-animal-behavior-solidarity in the comments section.
Arie and I just moved into a home in the city of Atlanta (Hooray for being ITP! If you don't know what ITP is, you probably don't live in Atlanta, and that's okay). Since moving in, the partners-in-crime..err...cats, have developed a new game to play with Arie. We'll call it "dumpster diving". This new game is helping Arie to eat things that she shouldn't, taking our carefully set-out dog nutrition plan and tossing it out the window. Here's a little bit about how "Dumpster Diving" is played:
Dumpster Diving is a simple game for the feline participant. You simply jump onto the counter, and wait. When the canine approaches, pick an object close to you--Any object. Now, lightly tap that object with your paw until it finally falls to ground where it either breaks, bounces, or sits peacefully. Now, watch.
Dumpster Diving is a game of opportunity for the canine participant. Your actions go like this: Mull around the house being a good girl. Chew on your Kong, eat a few bites of Nutro kibble, sleep. Eventually, look to find your favorite pals, the cats, and see what they're up to. Oh, look! They're in the kitchen, AND they want to PLAY! They're tossing you toys! Hooray! OH OH OH! They're tossing you treats! HOORAY!
Dumpster Diving is like a game of keep-away for the human, except you're always the kid in the middle and you just can't seem to get that stupid ball. You go about your day, minding your own business, when you hear a sudden "THUMP!" in the kitchen. You walk in to find your beloved pets committing mischievous acts: Cats are on the counter, waiting to see if the dog will get in trouble. The dog looks up at you with guilt eyes, having just eaten/chewed/played with whatever the cats knocked to the floor. Your part in the game is to clean up whatever mess has just happened, and then repeat when the game is played again, all against your will.
Why call the game "Dumpster Diving"? The cats "dump" items from the counter and Arie "dives" for them. From a few rounds of "Dumpster Diving," I've discovered that my cats can be even bigger jerks than I thought, that Arie is a trusting, gullible soul, and also that Arie doesn't care about what she eats nearly as much as I do.
If you've read my previous posts, you know that dog nutrition, especially when it comes to dealing with common ailments, like allergies, is something that I care about. Your dog's diet is important, but they might not be as strict about it as you are. In fact, The Nutro Company recently released an infographic that discusses that fact:
Arie and I area going to work harder to make sure she's only eating what's good for her and what she loves, sticking to that grain-free diet to help with her allergies. What do you do to keep your pet away from foods that they shouldn't eat, or to help them eat healthy?
This weekend kicks off the pet bloggers mecca in the South (and across the country, really), BarkWorld Expo. Last year I came to this conference on a whim shortly after starting "Life with Arie"; I was terrified and excited, and I learned so much while I was there while also meeting some other amazing pet bloggers. I'm excited to be a returning blogger (I get to feel special with my very own Alumni ribbon) and I'm really looking forward to learning everything I can this year. Unfortunately, Arie has to stay at home...
I love baby girl, but she's staying at home thanks to her leash-reactive nature; I'll be sure to share the swag though (oh, the swag!).
.At the end of each day I'll be sure to share all of the lovely nuggets of knowledge with you. Who else is here? Give me a shout!