DropDown Menu

  • Adventures
  • Tiny House Living
  • Motorcycles & Scooters
  • Musty the Mustang
  • Puppies

    Wednesday, February 28, 2018

    Working at the Zoo

    One of the things I absolutely adore is being at the zoo early in the mornings when the animals are waking up. I have never had such a shot of adrenaline as when I went to the bear exhibit one morning and one of the bears was making this noise, is it even a roar? a growl?, and it sent shivers right up my spine! I felt like a tiny scared monkey facing this great wild beast. It was glorious!

    It is a great privilege to have that opportunity. I've also had other amazing experiences that I doubt I would ever have had if I didn't work at a zoo - feeding lemurs, getting my boots unlaced by a curious penguin, meeting amazing conservationists and research folks, collecting peacock feathers, being roared at by a lion (another tiny scared monkey moment!) and having a raptor perch upon my arm. There's so many more I'm sure I'm forgetting too.

    I'm an office-worker so I don't get out as often as I'd like, but working in such a cool environment is a really special experience.

    Photos to share!

    Free-roaming peacock

    My favorite sign - says so much without a single word!

    The fairly quiet co-workers

    Gorillas on the move!

    There's a red panda in there - hard to take a picture of but super cute in person!

    Star Wars night at ZooLights

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Short post on why I don't post on politics

I could say a LOT on politics. I could talk about Trump, democracy, hypocrisy, feminism, micro and macro aggressions, rallies, deaths and demonstrations. It isn't as if I'm not active in those realms...so why don't I blog about it?

Because my opinion is not important to this discussion and other people do so much better and yet still aren't heard. The most I feel I should do is make space for those folks - not raise my own voice and speak over them. Does the world right now need to hinge on the political opinions of another privileged white woman? NOPE.

So, I listen, make time, donate, and try to hold a safe space for those who I really do like to listen to. I try to recognize my privilege, ignorance, and racism when it comes. I'm sure a lot of it still sneaks by, but I'm working on it.

The following is a list of places I get my news and look to for thoughtful opinions, not that I always agree with them, there's some stuff here that I don't like, but enjoy reading just to have an idea where folks are coming from.

The Root

Monday, February 5, 2018

Goodbye Familiar

One of the reasons that there wasn't much in the way of holiday posts is that we said goodbye to Familiar Venture over Thanksgiving.

Fams was a chill dog. Devoted to hubs but would come cuddle with me for bad days. He loved nothing more than destroying tennis balls, laying in the sun, and cuddled up in bed. He wasn't an outdoor adventurer, social, or hyper-active the way that most people might attribute descriptors to dogs. He aligned more with the way folks might describe a cat - he was quiet, loved sleeping, and claimed your lap like it was his personal space. He liked shredding ropes, digging through cardboard, and hated puddles or getting wet in any manner. He would work for treats and praise and he lived for a good game of tug of war.

He could also be a total jerk - refusing to go outside if it was raining, even when he really had to go.  He'd grumble if you wanted his toy treasure trove though he'd have all the toys in the house and Pye had none. He was really strict with Pye and had a hard time with change...but those were issues that Hubs and I attribute more to our own failings in teaching him than in his actual personality. Well, some of it was his actual personality but that was part of him and we loved him all the same.

I'm sharing here the process of how we made a difficult decision - because it was such a difficult decision. Every dog is different. Every story is different. We made the decision to put him down when it became apparent that he was losing that personality we knew so well. He had started to go from chill to aggressive. He'd attack and then bring a toy to play with like he forgot he'd just snapped at you.

I was in the kitchen and chopping a chocolate bar and a chunk flipped off the countertop and landed on the floor. I bent down to pick it up and Fams bit my arm, hard, and refused to let go. He pulled and shook his head and I had to pry him off wedging a wooden spoon while crying and trying to stop screaming. He chomped onto the spoon and I ran.

Fams had never been food aggressive before.

I talked with Hubs, Fams went to the vet again. He'd gone before when we first started to notice little changes and they came back with a notice that some of his teeth were cracked - and we could pay to have him put under and have the teeth removed...for around 4k. It could also be his arthritis, which they could try to mitigate for but not repair. It could also be a sign of age - some dogs just go senile.

Hubs came back and it was the same issue - some teeth issues, some arthritis, and probably senility and fuzzy vision. Not too much we could do that would involve a strong ROI. For 4K he could get some teeth extracted - but they weren't necessarily causing him pain to start with and to have them removed that would guarantee him some pain post surgery. Plus he's a small dog and they made a point on stating that he might not wake up and in that case we'd still be on the line for payment. Not super confidence-building.

So with that bleak prescription, we looked at minimizing triggers and making the most of Familiar's days. We limited his interaction with Pye and mostly let him be - laying in the sun, playing with toys, shorter walks, more treats. We notified guests and separated him for their safety when visitors were in the house. I stopped hand-feeding him. He curled up with Ty more until Ty got uncomfortable.

Ty and I talked, a lot, about quality of life.

I was already of the opinion that if we couldn't safely touch Familiar, couldn't feel safe walking across the floor for fear of him attacking, then his life was not a good one. Ty took a little longer to get there but eventually came to the same decision. We didn't want Fams to experience a poor quality of life. We also didn't want to lose a family member and he still had really good days sometimes.

Eventually, when Fams stopped eating like his usual self, Ty made arrangements for Fams to have a really good day. It was a sunny winter day, the heat was on and the sun came through the window making a nice sun-spot for Familiar to lay in. His blanket was moved to the sunny area, his toys were allowed to be all over, treats were on unlimited offer and Pye was kept distracted with her own toys.

I came home in the afternoon. Kept my distance but got as close as I felt safe to.

A visiting vet came to the house. She was very kind and took her time, allowing Fams to calm down (a visitor!) and he settled back onto his blanket and toy where he dazed in the sun. He let the vet touch him and she gave him an injection of sedative and then backed away while he went back to dazing. His eyes closed and he took deep breaths - looking for all the world like he'd just fallen asleep normally.

Pye watched, she came and sat behind Ty, peering around him at what was going on. Ty and I were both crying - sad and happy tears. Sad to lose our friend, happy that he had a good day on his terms and that we had the ability to provide him a good day.

When we were ready, the vet gave Fams the second injection and his breathing slowed and stopped. It was fast. He didn't twitch or make any sound. Pye got in her bed. She watched but didn't come near and we didn't make her. We pet Familiar and said goodbyes. We thanked the vet and she left.

Familiar is buried in the backyard under the dogwood tree. We had checked the laws for Seattle and Familiar was small enough to be buried on the property. If you are considering this route - please be sure to check your local laws and measure accurately.

Fams was a good dog. He is missed.