Thursday, July 24, 2008

Elephant Sanctuary on 20/20 July 25 at 10:00 EDT

Photo courtesy of The Elephant Sanctuary

I know many of you have enjoyed my posts about The Elephant Sanctuary. The ABC program 20/20 will be airing a piece about the emotional lives of elephants and will spend some time at The Elephant Sanctuary. It will air this Friday (tomorrow), July 25 at 10:00 pm EDT, 9:00 CDT. Hope you can watch it and I will be interested in your reactions.

July 25 update: I just learned that if there is a breaking news story, the piece on elephants may be postponed to another time.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Where in the World is Possumlady!

I returned a few days ago from my association’s summer board meeting. This year the meeting took place in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin at the Grand Geneva Resort that is about an hour’s drive outside of Milwaukee. Everything went smoothly from the shuttle service I arranged to pick up 25 people at different times at either Milwaukee or O’Hare airports, to the meeting space and most importantly, the food.

I have to give a shout out to Midwest Airlines. I’ve never flown them before and boy have I been missing out. Flying is one of those things I really dread. I’m not afraid to fly in the least. It is just the constant hassles, along with being herded onto too crowded planes with too small of seats. Well, I was zoning out as we were being herded onto the plane for my flight to Milwaukee when I finally noticed the seats. Wow, I thought, how long does their first class go on! I then realized that ALL their seats were leather and big with only two seats on each side. How luxurious! Then to top things off, when we got into the air they announced they would be coming around with the beverage cart and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies! Lordy they were good, still warm and soft and gooey. All that, along with a short hour and 40 minute fly time made it the perfect flight!

Beyond all the arranging I make for our board meetings, I also have the task of taking minutes. Luckily, the only things I need to take down are actual votes and action items. In between there is a lot of down time when staff are presenting reports to the board. I always sit next to the Secretary of our board so we can compare notes. Luckily, she is also on the Board Development Committee. This committee is in charge of getting new members oriented, taking exit interviews of retiring board members and in general just making their board experience a positive one. Another one of the things they do is to bring little toys and gadgets to have on the table during the board meetings so you can keep yourself occupied and not nod off during a sometimes LO N G and dry report. Our secretary knows my favorite toys and kept all the play dough down at my end of the table.

Don't you love my little neon colored pea pods! Or the pink playdough cup filled with all the multi colored balls.

I got home and my neighbor who was taking care of my cats mentioned that Sweet Pea just didn’t seem himself. He was pretty happy to see me, but yes, he did seem just a bit off. I had already planned to take Thursday and Friday off so I was able to watch him a little more closely and found out that he had a bad case of gassy diarrhea. Who knew a little 16 pound cat could make such noises!! He probably picked it up from one of the outside cats that come inside and use one of my litterboxes. Since I had to drop by the vets to pick up Greybeard’s ashes, my vet was able to give me a prescription and Sweet Pea is on the mend.

Greybeard's ashes and plaque

On Thursday there was an article in the Washington Post about flea markets and an upcoming event this past weekend called the DC Big Flea. They bring in around 600 vendors to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA. Since this is near my sister’s house I called her and we decided to make a day of it on Saturday. Wow, talk about sensory overload!! It was like walking through 600 junk shops. Now, I love rummaging through junk shops but after a while it just became too much. And we didn’t even make it into the second building of vendors! Prices were VERY reasonable and most of the vendors were already willing to negotiate. Let me show you a few of the things I found and just had to have.

Not exactly old, these necklaces were made on the spot. A woman collects sea glass near Virginia Beach and crafts them into necklaces and bracelets. These two just caught my eye.

With my love of elephants I've started looking for little collectibles. I found this little jade ele and just had to have him. I asked if I could have 5.00 off and the vendor agreed. I do love to negotiate on these things. It never hurts to ask.

Well, we HAD to keep our strength up walking through all those stalls! We only had a bite and I brought the rest of the fudge home. Three different kinds, dark chocolate, vanilla, and maple walnut. MMM, MMMM, MMMMM. And, no, Woody, did not get any.

Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A vendor was selling all different kinds of animals made out of rusted scrap metal. I first saw a goat I really liked but it was just too big. Then I looked down and saw this little armadillo. When my sister offered to buy it for me for an early birthday present, I couldn't resist. I'm debating on the names of either Angus or Arlo.

There were a couple of vendors selling old ice fishing sinkers. They were mainly fish with a few odd animals here and there. I gasped when I saw this and the vendor said "yup, that's a rare one. I've never seen a possum before." You won't believe how much this cost and I'm not about to tell you but possum artifacts are few and far between so this little guy is now mine!

After an exhausting day I went back to my sister's house and had a wonderful steak and grilled asparagus dinner and to top it off, a great movie--The Mothman Prophecies, of course!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Goodnight Greybeard

Thanks Lynne and Lisa for your thoughts and prayers. In a way, Lynne, it was a quick and simple solution in the end. Before the vet even checked out Greybeard's leg he did a quick check of his mouth and found a very aggressive oral tumor under his tongue in a place I had never noticed before. That combined with the fact that he had a broken shoulder made the decision pretty fast. Apparently, the break severed nerves in his leg so he was not in any pain. The only alternative would have been to amputate, which the vet said, even considering his age (he estimated Greybeard to be around 15) could be doable. But considering the cancerous tumor, my vet said it would probably be a matter of months before that claimed Greybeard's life.

I was so shocked that his leg was broken. Greybeard NEVER even would go near the street, not even the sidewalk next to the street. He was always either on the porch or on the sidewalk that was on the side of the house, or on the back deck. The vet said there didn't appear to be any other trauma that would indicate he was hit by a car so he thinks just his advanced age and the cancer contributed to brittle bones and he could have just lost his balance and fell from the deck. Update: I noticed on Monday morning that my big beautiful hosta that was just getting ready to bloom had all its blooms bit off. Deer have been reported across the street in the woods but I guess they have come across the street into my yard. I'm thinking now, more and more that Greybeard could have been either stepped on or kicked by a deer sometime late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

I came home from work to get Greybeard and just had a feeling about how things would go, so I gave him an entire jar of turkey baby food before we left. I always split a jar of baby food among the 3 indoor cats as a treat every evening. If Greybeard is in the house, he gets to lick out the jar. He absolutely adored baby food. If you could have seen his face when I put down the bowl in front of him filled with an entire jar! His eyes just lit up. He was about half way through when he stopped to lick his chops, purring the entire time and looking at me with such love.

I was so apprehensive taking him in as I had no idea how he would react at the vets. He was a cantankerous old thing. The drive over was hard with him howling the entire way. But, when he was let out of the carrier he was surprisingly calm and the vet was able to handle him easily. When I put my face down to his he immediately starting purring and that is how he went to sleep.

So, Goodnight and Goodbye Greybeard. I only knew you for three years yet it was an honor and a privilege to know you and love you. How scary and hard your life was before you found your way to my house, I'll never know. It must have been pretty bad since it took you an entire year to let your guard down and let me pet you. But once you trusted me you gave me your heart and soul, no questions asked. You can read the history about how Greybeard came to my house here

Be free old man.

Last photo of Greybeard taken a few minutes before I took him to the vets this afternoon.

A Little Prayer for Greybeard

It was a whirlwind weekend flying cross-country to Seattle to attend my nephew's wedding and getting back home Sunday evening. My neighbor who was taking care of my cats mentioned that Greybeard was acting strange, not moving when she came by, sleeping so deeply she had to really shake him awake. She actually thought he was dead two times. Well, that wasn't the Greybeard I saw when I came home. He hurried up to me with his croaky meow, jogged up the front steps and dashed in the house where he drank some water, ate a few bites of kibble and basically just followed me around the house purring the entire time. When it was time to go to bed, I put him out on the front porch since I was so tired, I just didn't want to deal with cleaning up cat urine in the morning.

Monday morning came and Greybeard was nowhere to be found. I did eventually see him around 6:00 last night on the back deck. I motioned to him and he sat up but I noticed one of his front legs was dangling. I rushed over to him and picked him up. I gingerly touched his leg, no pain response. I pressed his paw, no pain. I then started more vigorously manipulating his leg and shoulder to see if I could find a break or a bite wound. I found nothing, and it was just as limp as a rag doll and when he walked (or hobbled), the leg would just drag along. So, I've made an appointment today at 3:00 to bring him in. I honestly don't know what it could be...a minor stroke? A blood clot? I would hate to have to make the decision to put him down due to financial conditions but I honestly can't afford a battery of tests, let alone possible surgical solutions to the problem. And, with his urinating in the house, I can't keep him in the house all day and he obviously can't be outside now. So, say a little prayer for Greybeard that the problem is minor and temporary, but I don't have my hopes up.

I will keep you posted.

Here is a photo of Greybeard last fall helping me on the computer.