Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Birthday to Ann

A Very Happy Birthday to my friend, Ann Somerville, astoundingly wonderful author and all-around special person. Of course, she's in Australia, so, technically, I guess her special day was yesterday, but, I'm not, so I say it's today! Happy Birthday to you...see you in the City by the Bay in November!

Friday, September 11, 2009

September Sunset 9/11/09

Photos by Karyn, Canon Powershot S80

Update on (Clunker) Jimmy (Jack)

Well, Jimmy is recuperating, and he has a new home with our vet tech, Cathy. Despite beginning to fall in love with Jimmy over the 55 hours he spent with us, we weren’t really prepared to have another animal at the time Jimmy appeared, but we knew we’d keep him long enough to make sure he would live.

He is happily ensconced at the home of our vet tech, Cathy, who Jimmy met Tuesday morning when he was taken to our regular vet for a thorough examination. Whenever we picked him up, his skin would crackle, and he seemed to tire very easily. Still, for the three days we had him, he ate regularly, tried to befriend the not very resilient Pugs, and was generally a love and a good boy---very polite, very, very sweet.

The doctor thinks that Jimmy might have a small hole in one of his lungs, and he could require a great deal of special medical care, medication and possibly surgery to get back to normal. Certainly he will have more tests. As we already have one special needs child in the person of The Dolly Lambi, two seemed more than we could take on at this time. (Dolly was paralyzed in her hind quarters at age four by hyper extending her body on her back legs trying to get some food off the kitchen counter {so very pug-like}, and although her paralysis was not permanent, the damage from it was, and she wobbles on her back legs, is very unsteady, and is in need of being watched at all times).

But, the the main consideration was where would Jimmy get the very best treatment and care available. The vet tech would be able to provide that to Jimmy at a fraction of the cost (possibly free, except for meds), and best of all, she and her husband have been placing strays in loving homes for years. In fact, just the week prior, she placed a dog that looks very much like Jimmy with a lady in her church.

However, to make sure Jimmy wasn’t some nice person’s little love, the Doctor scanned his chip. It turns out that his given name was Jack, but the phone was disconnected. Further investigation revealed the street he lived on is in a very bad area, and we suspect that given the distance from us, he was most likely dumped in a good area, but, after checking all the usual places over the past five days, we can say with certainty that no one is looking for Jimmy. Which, in this case, means no more heartbreak for Jimmy.

Jack is now officially Jimmy, and Cathy reports that he’s off the pain meds, responding very well to the antibiotics, and, best of all, he has been drinking water, which is something he did not do for the first three days. The way we got water into him was intravenously at the ER hospital we first took him to, and by adding water to his meals at home, which he ate and slurped with great gusto.

When we got him, or should I say, when he got us, he was so matted and dirty that we had to cut the burrs and sticks and brambles out of him with a scissors. We gave him a sponge bath, but knew he was too fragile for a full grooming. Yesterday, Cathy the vet tech, decided to give Jimmy a make-over, so he could have a fresh new start, again, so she shaved him, took a picture of him and told him his official name is, in fact, Jimmy. Each day she dresses all his sores and wounds, and by the time we got him to our own vet, he had gained one pound. He was barely six pounds when he found us. Oddly, we called him Jack a few times when trying to guess his name, and he didn’t respond at all. We’re pretty certain that being Jack wasn’t fun, wasn’t a good life. The medical team at the vets felt that given his injuries, Jimmy was abused, possibly by a second owner.

Karyn cried all day after she left Jimmy with the vet tech, but we both knew it was the best decision for everyone, especially Jimmy. Today, we realized something else. It was the story of Jimmy, how he sat outside our gate, ran into her arms, was the best houseguest anyone could hope for and never complained about anything, even being that sick---it’s that story that pulled at our heartstrings so much. We’ve known Cathy for six years, and she is probably the only person in this town to whom we would have entrusted Jimmy. And we know that she is very careful when placing adoptees---she interviews them, checks out the home, really does her due diligence when it comes to placing the four-legged children.

So…Jack became Clunker became Jimmy, and although Cathy has sent us daily reports, we already know that this is going to be a HEA ending. If Jimmy can get his health back, and he is, after all, a survivor, then someone is going to have a wonderful companion, and a lot of love. Already, several people who have met Jimmy want him!

After his make-over, Cathy put Jimmy on top of her car to keep him still while she snapped this photo because her two German Shepherds love him and all they wanted to do was play, and Jimmy is way overdue for some serious play time!

Thanks to everyone who posted and wrote to us about the lovely boy Jimmy. We’ll be sure to post an “After” picture when his hair grows out.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Look Who Showed Up at the Front Gate this Morning


THE DOLLY LAMBI "Tell me this is not another boy."
Teddy Valentine: "No, nothing's wrong. Why?"

Completely matted, with stickers and burrs and dirt everywhere, this little boy with pure white curls stood at our gate and ignored Teddy's ferocious barking and just waited for a kind human being to invite him in. He ran into her arms. He was completely sweet, docile and in some kind of pain. We decided to take him to the Emergency Vet because we knew he wasn't a young puppy, and yet he wasn't fixed. He seemed exhausted, frightened and very hungry. We came to a quick decision. This little personable dog had not been well treated or he was a runaway who had run into some big trouble. He screamed when we touched his back. And we know for a fact that people abandon dogs in the desert area all the time. We've rescued seven lost dogs in the past few years, and they were all happily reunited with their owners. They were all in pretty good shape when they came to our gate....but there was just something about Jimmy....

I went to work and Clunker's new Mommy took him to the vet. The minute I saw him, I knew he was going to cost some serious cash. Cash for Clunker? Uh, no, Mommy said, way no.

Hours later I got a phone call. The vet said he had suffered some kind of blunt force trauma, but she couldn't find anything broken. He walks just fine. He was dehydrated so they gave him fluids intravenously, gave him antibiotics because we had no history, took a blood panel to make sure his kidneys were working, and gave him some effective pain meds. He is chipped, but the chip is not from anywhere around here.

Our scenario, which may or may not be true, is that he has been mistreated because he cowers when one first pets him; then he crawls right up into one's arms and falls asleep. We drove around looking for signs, but saw none. I've checked the lost and found in the newspaper. We'll call the SPCA on Tuesday and see if anyone has reported him missing. He had no collar. We don't think anyone is looking for him. Or maybe we just hope no one is. But if he's someone's sweetheart, we want to find out who and kick the shit out of 'em. No, I mean, we would, of course, try to unite any loved ones.

I think he's ours, now, and his name is Jimmy. He cost $299 to put him back in running order, and if he stays, he'll get tutored. The black and now mostly grey Dolly Lambi, our eldest pug, age fourteen and half, is not happy. Teddy Valentine, our two-year old pug, is not happy. But both pugs seems to be behaving a bit better than their usual spoiled selves. Jimmy, very quite, and very polite, thinks we said thugs, not Pugs. But he's too sweet to say so to their faces.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Making Progress...and Helping Out

Martine Colette, Wildlife Waystation

(California wildfires light the hillsides of the Tujunga area of Los Angeles on Monday, Aug. 31, 2009 . (AP Photo/John Lazar))

This photo of fire is the scene I saw on the drive home from work night before last that I made reference to in a post the day before yesterday. The new front of the fire is the Big and Little Tujunga canyon areas of Los Angeles. This front is at the opposite end of the fire from us, at a distance of about 40 miles.

Yesterday brought the on-shore breezes and higher humidity being attributed to Hurricane Jimena, approaching Cabo San Lucas, but the temperature was high 90s, low 100s, and although the fires still burn, the reports put containment of the Station Fire (nearest us) at 22%. We are fine and not in any danger at all. Thanks for the concern and good wishes. It really made us realize how connected we all really are.

As the city was completely enveloped in a cloud cover and a smoke shroud yeserday, I only saw a couple huge flareups on the distant mountains above Acton. Although Action is only about 16 miles from us, the amount of smoke coming our way this past couple days made it seems as though the fire were just over the next ridge; it's actually farther than 16 miles because it's up and down the mountain ridges that surround Action, although it did progress down the mountain sufficiently to warrant evacuation of much of the rural Acton community.

The big news today was the trouble The Wildlife Waystation was having finding enough cages to take out the bigger animals, as flames tore down Tujunga Canyon. As an alternative, firefighters set risky backfires to push the flames away from the WW, and it worked. As of this morning (9/2), all the animals left at the sanctuary are safe.

Wildlife Waystation (WW) houses about 400 animals, many of them disabled, and is a place I was introduced to over 15 years ago by singer Dusty Springfield, a friend. The WW was one of her favorite causes and chosen non-profit charities, but she didn't give only money. Often, she would visit and pitch in and help around the grounds whenever she could. There's always work to be done in place like WW.

The woman who started the WW is Martine Colette, a real scrapper of a Frenchwoman who has devoted her entire life to saving a variety of large animals (mostly), many of whom started out as pets by people too stupid to realize these animals get big and need a lifetime of care and protection once they are in any kind of captivity.

Today, two chimps got loose on their way to their evacuation headquarters at the LA Zoo. One headed for the small primate and bird sanctuary of the zoo (Whohoo, look at me!), and was tranquillized by dart gun within 20 minutes. The other chimp was on the lam for nearly an hour, but was eventually found and finally coaxed into her cage by her trainer. Griffith Park had to be closed while authorities hunted for the runaway. Truth is, the evacuations have completely traumatized the animals, and these kids aren't easy to move under any circumstances.

But in a cruel twist of irony, the day before the fires started, the Wildlife Waystation put out a press release about a different kind of emergency. It's out of money, due largely to having to close the facility to the public over a year ago as it was unable to meet certain LA County requirements. Evidently it takes about $5000 per day to feed all the animals and provide them with veterinary oversight. Anyway, like so many of the animal rescue and/or sanctuary operations that begin as someone's labor of love, the daily coin of the realm is always so much more than expected. Anyway, you might want to take a look at their website, and pass this story on to anyone else who might be able to lend a hand to the Wildlife Waystation.

In every fire and natural disaster, it's the faces of the vulnerable and helpless, people and animals, that strike a chord within us.