Tulips

WPC:Vibrant

In my world right now, we are awash in shades of white and grey. Even the beautiful colored lights of the Christmas season are down. I look at all the empty tree limbs, and imagine them filled with the green of spring and summer. This week’s photo challenge, by someone else who is awash in drab colors, asks for vibrant photos, full color, and I’m happy to look back through some of mine, and remember the lusher, greener, more colorful seasons that will come again soon.

Tulip

Tulips

Even a vibrant orange kitty lights up the place in the drab days of winter.

Minh

Snowmagedon 2016

Sometimes new clients complain to me that they don’t have a backup plan for their pets in the event that weather prevents us from getting to their fur kids. We require backup plans for most animals. And though we truly appreciate that everyone thinks that we can’t be stopped by sleet, snow, ice and floods, it isn’t so. Nor would I wish it to be. Heroics are silly when they land pet sitters in the hospital, or worse. So we require folks to have someone with a key who lives within walking distance as a backup for events like this weekend’s. No one was going anywhere this weekend!

The roads have been plowed now, and we’re moving around, but this might give you a small idea of the amount of snow that had to be moved.

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It took a bit of time, and the folks who were plowing worked marathon hours and did an amazing job. There are those who are still complaining on Facebook and elsewhere, and I invite them to get out there in a plow and do any better! Moving 30 inches of snow from all the roads and alleys in our Township takes time…that’s all there is to it!

In the meantime, my husband was caring for a dog client who lives three blocks from us. And because we can walk there we don’t require a backup plan…we ARE the backup plan. So Marley walked through 30 inches of snow three times a day to get to the dog. The client is “stuck” in Costa Rica…on the beach. Flights home cancelled. If they want us to keep caring for their dog, they had best downplay the beach part of their communications!!

By Sunday many of the main roads were clear, if not alleys and other secondary areas. We had a cat we’d set up with food on Friday, but by Sunday I really wanted to check in on him, so I got to crawl over snow banks created by the plows and walk about 200 feet through lots of snow. No pictures, but the snow was 30 inches and I am only 6o inches, so you get the idea. It was a good aerobic workout, but the kitty was very glad to see me and so worth it. Restocked the guy’s food, and assured him that his people will be home soon.

Black cat

Another of my kitty clients lives across the street from us, and down the alley, only the alley didn’t get plowed until Sunday night, so more aerobic workouts all weekend. Amazingly, I am not even sore from walking in snow up to my butt, and shoveling like a crazy woman for two days. Guess my workouts over the last year are paying off!

The crankiest member of our household was Hiro, who is the only cat of our seven who gets to go outside. Mostly because if he doesn’t he beats up all the other cats and pees everywhere. He was NOT happy to be indoors, and finally on Monday I let him out for a bit. He stood on the porch and gave me this incredibly offended look when he saw conditions outside. He tried to climb a snowbank, very unsuccessfully, and finally decided he wanted none of this nonsense and came back in. He goes out occasionally for a few minutes to see if conditions have improved yet, and is quite annoyed that we haven’t moved all the snow.

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Life is slowly returning to normal, and all the clients who couldn’t get home are gradually getting flights in. And we’re hoping the weather stays above freezing for a little while so some of these snow banks will start to melt. I suspect, however, they will be with us for some weeks to come. We may just start giving them all names.

That was then, this is now

Then:

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Now:

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(PS…this photo is in full color. The world has turned white and grey.)

Then:

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Now:

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What a difference 12 hours can make…and it is predicted to fall for another 12 hours! Thankfully, the only client I have is across the street you see here and down the alley. Even so, snow is already up to my thighs in places. Even a short walk qualifies as aerobic activity for the day!

Hunkering down, and going slow today.

Batting 500

Last week was tough.

We had to let the cat that was found injured and outside alone go. (You can find his story here.)

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Not only was his back end  paralyzed, but he tested positive for FIV as well.  The vet didn’t think there was anything we could do to make things better for him, and so we let him go. I am continually amazed how sad we can feel losing a cat we’ve known for two days, but how can you not hurt for a cat who has had to drag himself under a bush on a very cold night and howl for two hours to get some help?

I have mixed feelings about putting him down, and equally mixed ones condemning him to a life of either peeing and pooping on himself, or having everything expressed a couple times a day. He couldn’t play, or move around much. On the other hand, he was very sweet and beautiful. There were no good choices, and we did the best we could. We really hated to lose this guy, but at least we got him out of the cold, and he had a warm place to spend his last days, with lots of food and care and love. We gave him a name – Brando – and he will be remembered by those of us who cared for him at the end instead of slowly freezing to death outside and alone.

The week was balanced by being able to do a bit more for another kitty, one of my client’s cats. A few days after his people left he stopped eating and drinking, and after 24 hours that’s kinda crisis territory for cats. After two days of  ignoring food and water, M got a trip to the vets. His red blood cell count was terrible (15, for those of you who know about these things), and his temperature was low to boot. Armed with some cans of AD, M got an all-expenses paid vacation in my spare bedroom, often known as the infirmary, where I could care for him around the clock.

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A dog crate was waiting for him, filled with flannel and fleece to curl up in. And hot water bottles. When we care for feral cats coming out of surgery, or just ill, we take small plastic water bottles, microwave them for a minute or two, and tuck the warm bottles under the bedding and next to the cat to keep them warm. Since M’s temp was a little low, he got lots and lots of warm stuff to curl up in and with.

He thought that was pretty good. What he didn’t so much care for were force-feedings…lots of them. Do you know how many syringes it takes to force feed 3/4 of a 5.5 ounce can of AD mixed into a slurry with water? And all of those got fed to poor M, like it or not. The first day he hardly fought me. By day two he was getting a bit cranky about the process. On day three he was actively trying to bat my hand away with his paw, and was getting almost as much of the slurry on me as down him. Which is a good sign, actually. He even started eating a little kibble on his own day 3, which is a very good sign.

By the end of the week his red blood cell count was much improved, and his people were home, which made him happy too. He started eating more on his own, and some additional blood work is being done to confirm the vet’s thinking about what’s going on. He’s not a young guy, but all his blood work except the red blood cell count was good, and I think he’s got another couple good years in him. Watching him improve and perk up was a good antidote to losing Brando.

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So in the end, I batted 500 last week. Lost one, and helped one back on the path of health. I’d rather bat 1000, but I guess we have to take what we can get some days. And do what we can to help, even when that’s not as much as we’d like.