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New photos

I meant to mention in my previous post that I had put up a (small) new gallery of the critters at the Critterweb.

OK, now I’m really done for the day. I have a big list of chores to do that I have been dodging by playing on the computer half the day.

Simon’s new ‘nest’

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Big catch-up

The posts have been a little sparse lately, because there has been a lot going on. Nothing earthshatteringly catastrophic, at least…

One reason for the lack of updates is that I have decided to buckle down and study, and try to be ready for my CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) exam before the end of the year. I don’t know if I will be able to pull it off that quick because subnetting still makes me go all glaze-eyed and blank (it’s math, after all) but I’m giving it my best shot.

Another reason is that we are having some issues with Tori. Well, it’s not that this is anything new but we’d hoped we’d be able to get a handle on it by now. The ‘Retriever mix’ puppy we adopted is apparently actually a closer to full grown Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix — essentially a busy herding dog with a high prey drive. We have tried everything we can think of to get her to stop chasing and nipping at the cats. We are also not able to meet her activity needs very well, but the big issue is the cat chasing/biting. Our youngest cat Simon has had a femoral head ostectomy on both hips, which means, essentially, that he has no hip joints. He cannot run or defend himself. We watch Tori as vigilantly as we can but if our attention wanders even for a second she is after the cats, and Friday night she hurt Simon, either by nipping or stomping on him. He is OK, thankfully, but it drove home what we’d already realized and just didn’t want to admit: ‘this isn’t going to work.’

The other problem with the Tori situation, ironically, is Mojo. I say ironically because one of the reasons we got her was so that he would have a pal to roughhouse with, but he is actually settling down considerably and likes to spend more quiet time now. Poor Tori has grown accustomed to nonstop wrestling and pesters him until he gets defensive because she can’t understand when he just wants to sit and chew a bone. It’s not a good situation for him because she gets him agitated and that starts him spinning.

It’s not her fault she has more energy than we can cope with, if anything it is our fault for not recognizing what she was when we got her. It’s really hard to gauge a dog’s breed and true temperament when adopting from a shelter, and of course her background was entirely unknown. In retrospect we should have gone with a dog that had been fostered for some time at a rescue group but hindsight is always 20/20, right? And in our defense, we couldn’t have forseen just how much of Mojo’s ‘busy-ness’ was apparently actually a side effect of his compulsive behavior that would stop as he got better.

So we are looking for a more suitable home for Tori now. I feel horrible that we are even considering this but at least she is out of the shelter, dewormed, crate trained, and has learned some basic obedience commands so she is better off than when we first got her, in that respect. And we know her well enough now to have a good idea of what sort of environment she needs to be happy. Hopefully we can find that perfect home for her.

Wednesday was very ill with diarrhea from an unknown cause recently and ended up at the vet’s. She’s feeling much better now and regaining some of the weight she lost. We think it was the food she was eating. We got her a new collar (tan with blue-green rhinestones) at the Cat Connection yesterday — she looks very sharp in it and I’m hoping to get a picture of her with it on.

Mojo, as I already mentioned, is doing well. We had a rough spot a week or so back when we had to decrease his medication because he was really zoned out, but he’s doing really good now on the lower dose. We still see tailwatching on a daily basis and maybe once or twice a day he will actually chase it, but he is easily distracted. We were told that he will need to be on the clomipramine at least 14-16 weeks and then we can taper it back off if things are under control. I will be very glad to get him back off it, but I do have to admit that it has really helped.

Luna-rat’s tumor continues to grow but she is in good spirits. It might be starting to affect her ability to use her right front leg. We’re watching her close on that, and spoiling her rotten. Joy found these yogurt covered banana chips that she and the other two rats go crazy over. Lilly has been having tummy troubles again and doesn’t seem to be feeling too well. She doesn’t do so good in cold weather and we are thinking of finding her some sort of heated dog bed to help her get through this winter.

That’s about it from here. It’s finally getting cold outside — it was near 80 yesterday and then a front came through early this morning and dropped it closer to 40. We’re trying to think of what to do for Thanksgiving this year; we’d had sort of a tradition going when we were in Tucson of spending it with our friends Chris and Paul, who were also vegetarians, and we haven’t really made many friends since we moved here. We thought maybe we might see if any of the (very few) vegetarian restaurants here are having a Thanksgiving buffet, and do that rather than putting all that work into cooking a giant meal here for just the two of us.

The Matrix Reloaded

Well there’s another 138 minutes of my life that I will never get back: we finally got around to watching The Matrix Reloaded the other day.

Ugh.

Big Scare!

Last night I let the youngsters out to potty, as they had been rocketing around the house pretty good for about an hour or so (Mojo has not been well this past week so it was great to see them playing again) and I figured they were due for a ‘pee break.’ Of course, instead of doing what they were supposed to be doing, they just continued the wrestling match out on the patio… and then it suddenly got quiet.

Both Mojo and Tori had been digging around the bricks at the edge of the fence earlier so I opened the door and peeked around the corner, expecting to catch two illicitly digging puppies. What I saw instead was an OPEN GATE and no dogs in sight! My heart nearly stopped right on the spot.

I ran out of the yard and called them, it was pitch dark outside and at first I couldn’t see a thing. Then Mojo came running up, and I could see Tori a little behind him. I scooped him up and put him in the house, then called to Tori, being real careful to sound cheerful and not panicked like I really was. Thankfully she came running to me as well and I got her safely inside. The puppies were smothered with relieved hugs and given a bunch of treats. We were SO lucky.

I had taken both of their collars off because they use them to throttle each other when they are playing, so neither had any “ID” on them. Mojo is microchipped but Tori isn’t yet. We keep our gate latched, with a bolt snap from a leash clipped through the latch so no one can open it, but apparently the gate is sagging with age and just sagged below the latch somehow. Mojo and Tori must have bumped it while wrestling and it popped open. I am going to reinforce it so that can’t happen again, but what a scare!