Goodbye, Mr. Laid Back …


This past Friday, January 6th, Candy & I had to say goodbye to the furry critter who had been with us the longest … our cat Frasier.

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Frasier, who we called “Mr. Laid Back” because of his calm and relaxed attitude about … well … everything …

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The boy knew how to relax!

… came to live with us permanently on July 26, 2008. An apparent stray as a kitten, he kept turning up at Canyon Manor … where Candy worked … looking for food and attention.

After several days of this, Candy decided to bring him home. One of the three cats she had brought with her to California … Midnight … had died not long before … and Frasier turning up was perfect timing.

We kept him overnight, then took him to the Marin Humane Society … in part to make sure he didn’t have an owner who was missing him … and in part to have him checked out. We signed up to be first on the list if he proved to be adoptable … which turned out to be the case, as there was no report of a missing cat that matched him, he was not chipped and he was in good health.

So, we completed the adoption and brought him home to stay.

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Frasier the day he came home to stay — July 26, 2008.

Unlike his feline predecessors in our home, however … and perhaps because he was just a year old … Frasier proved to be both very adventurous and an escape artist.

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Frasier up a nearby tree after his first escape … 2008.

This necessitated us turning our deck/garden area into a virtual “cat jail” … with wire fencing extending up several feet … and bending in to prevent him from getting over the fence and out of the yard.

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Keeping Frasier In!

Frasier loved his Mommy … and seemed to know that she had rescued him … of all of our critters, he was closest to Candy. He loved to snuggle with her while she was lying in bed … and going to sleep there.

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Frasier Curled Up With Candy

Unfortunately, Frasier did not continue to enjoy the best of health. Several years ago, a routine checkup showed that he was suffering from kidney and bladder problems … which required him from then on to eat only a specialized diet of urinary care food.

Then, in the middle of last month, I noticed that his left pupil seemed dilated, regardless of the light … and that he had a build up of some kind of discharge … so, on December 15th, off we went to the vet.

Our regular vet … Dr. Robinett at Bel Marin Animal Hospital in Novato … referred him to Eye Care for Animals in Santa Rosa. The vet there, Dr. Burwell, found that he had a partially detached retina, probably from some internal infection … and prescribed two medications.  We scheduled a follow up appointment for December 30th.

In between, Candy & I were scheduled to travel to Colorado on the 21st … and I was going on to Texas on Christmas Day … both returning on the 28th. So, we boarded our cats, as usual, at Cat’s Cradle in San Rafael … with instructions on how and when to give Frasier his medications.

When I picked up the cats on the 29th, however, I was told that one of the meds had begun to cause Frasier to foam at the mouth … and the Cat’s Cradle vet tech had decided to discontinue them. Frasier seemed very listless and was obviously sick … in some way worse than just an eye problem. That night, I brought him up to my office about 11:00 pm … and shortly thereafter, he vomited up a large quantity of a vile, bloody fluid … at least a pint, maybe more.

The next morning, I took him to his 8:30 am appointment at Eye Care for Animals … and the vet there said he was very sick and needed to be seen by his regular vet as soon as possible. So, back to Bel Marin we went that afternoon … but Dr. Robinett said that Frasier’s condition required emergency hospitalization … so I took him straight to the Pet Emergency & Specialty Center of Marin, in San Rafael.

He spent two days hospitalized there, undergoing a variety of treatments and tests … including two blood transfusions. During this time, I had to drive to Southern California for the wedding of one of my nieces … so Candy picked up Frasier on Sunday and brought him home.

Sadly, none of the treatments were beneficial … likely because Frasier had a serious abdominal cancer of some kind. He ate and drank nothing for four days, lost nearly 10% of his body weight and was just lying around … obviously miserable and in pain.

On Thursday, it became obvious what we had to do … so we made an appointment for the next afternoon at Bel Marin. There, as they always have before … with Midnight, Samantha, Macavity and Nano … they treated us … and Frasier … with respect.

After Frasier’s body relaxed in death, blood began to pour out of his nose … and continued to do so for several minutes … a sure sign that it had once again accumulated in his stomach … and a confirmation that there really was nothing else we could have done to reasonably extend his life.

We … Candy in particular … are going to miss our little man, who has been such a good friend for more than 8 years … and who left us too soon.

—–oooooOOOOOooooo—–

More Photos of Frasier

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“Do not even think about changing the channel from Animal Planet!”

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Frasier Over the Rainbow Bridge

—–oooooOOOOOooooo—–

Three Dot … 130

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Nano … One in a Billion …


… “Nano- : one billionth part of something”

… (the Merriam-Webster online dictionary) …

Nano

Nano … my one-in-a-billion canine companion … well, one in about a half-billion or so anyway (the estimated dog population of the world being somewhere between 400 and 550 million).

I have been planning to write a series of blog posts here about the furry critters who bring such joy to our lives … Nano being the oldest and with me the longest, she goes first.

Unfortunately, I have to start with bad news … this past weekend was a tough one for Nano … she is closing in on 15 years old and has been slowing down in the recent past … on Saturday, we had an unexpected medical crisis.

Early in the day, she went outside and up on the hill behind our house … something she had not done for some time … and I had to carry her back down when it was time to come in … I then went out to Costco … primarily for dog treats … and was gone for about an hour and a half.

When I got home, I found Nano lying lethargically on her bed, surrounded by what appeared to be bloody vomit … and found a trail of the same stuff all the way out the back door onto the deck.

Nano was listless, could not stand on her own and did not respond when I talked to her … so, I picked her up and took her to the Pet Emergency & Specialty Center in San Rafael … had to carry her into the vet’s office, too, as she still could not walk.

They quickly discovered that what I had thought to be vomit was actually diarrhea, as she had a serious bout in the vet’s office shortly after we arrived … ultimately, the vet determined that she was suffering from HGE or Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis … which means that it was a good thing that I took her in right away, as the website “VetInfo.com” describes HGE as follows:

“HGE or Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis is a disease that hits quickly and can be fatal if not treated immediately. Veterinarians and pet owners remain frustrated by Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis because symptoms appear rapidly and often without explanation. A perfectly healthy dog will be fine one moment and then seriously ill the next. The problem with Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis is that there is no known cause. Experts believe there might be a link between this disease and a loss of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. What is known is that fluids leak from blood vessels within the intestines and exit through the rectum.”

The vet … Dr. Audra Pompeani … put Nano on a hydration IV and some medications … and recommended that she stay at least overnight … I went in to see Nano and she barely responded when I hugged her goodnight.

Sunday morning, the vet recommended that Nano stay the rest of the day … and I had to drive to San Diego for a Monday morning court appearance … so Candy had to pick Nano up after she got off work at midnight.

By the time I got home near midnight on Monday, Nano was doing somewhat better … though she had to be carried when she needed to go outside for a couple of days.

By today, Thursday, we had also learned that a follow up urinalysis revealed that she has a urinary tract infection … for which she has to take amoxicillin … and her blood work shows elevated kidney values, an early sign of kidney problems.

All in all, a tough few days … for Nano … and for Candy & me.


Looking back at better times …

… I adopted Nano (nee “Starrose Lady”) …

Starrose Lady — Marin Humane Society Photo

… from the Marin Humane Society on January 26, 2000 … just shy of three months after my wife Sandy had died of breast cancer … this was a difficult time for me, emotionally … and over the next year, Nano provided a measure of emotional support and comfort for which I can never fully repay her.

Nano -- 2000

Nano — 2000

Of the dogs available for adoption at that time, I picked Nano because I wanted a medium-sized dog who could go running with me on the trails of Mt. Tam … part whippet and part who-knows-what, Nano fit the bill perfectly …

Nano Running on Mt. Tam Trail

Nano Running on Mt. Tam Trail

… and eventually did run thousands of miles with me on the mountain and other open space trails.

The night I brought her home, however, she was shaking like a leaf the entire trip … and didn’t really stop shaking until we went to bed … at which time she crawled under the covers and curled up at my feet … which proved to be her favorite sleeping place for several years.

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Not only did Nano love running … she also loved chasing and catching any ball that I would throw for her … for several years she went with me to work at my brother’s company, A&J Electric Cable Corp., in Hayward … and we would go out a couple of times each day to play catch in the long driveway … I would throw a ball as far as I could and she would go tearing after it … bringing it back and begging for me to throw it again … over & over … until she was panting and my arm was tired!

After I moved to Novato, we spent a lot of time on the Wild Horse Valley fire road … and playing catch out on the street … an uphill run for her to chase the ball.

The last few years, though, she has slowed down … at first, we would go out to play ball and she would run up the hill a few times … then come down once and instead of bringing me the ball, would turn into the driveway and head for the house! Hint … I’m tired … enough ball-playing for the day!

Eventually, she would not chase the ball at all … and would just watch it roll down the hill if I threw it. We lost a few that way until I finally got the message … the ball-throwing & chasing days were over.

Nano has a sweet personality … loves everyone she meets … most other dogs …

Nano & Cairo

Nano & Cairo

especially her long-time friend Cairo

Nano, Samantha & Macavity

Nano, Samantha & Macavity

… and even the cats who have invaded her space since Candy moved to California in 2007.

These days, she particularly likes visiting with my daughter Risa & her husband Jeff Thomas … and their two dogs, Bailey (a mini-dachshund) and Blue (an American blue pitbull).

Here are some more pictures of Nano … doing the things she loves the most …

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Relaxing on the Couch

Exploring a Mt. Tam Ridgeline

Exploring a Mt. Tam Ridgeline …

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… and Running on a Mountain Slope.

Nano -- 2005

Nano — 2005

Nano 2010

Nano 2010

Except as Otherwise Noted, all Photos Copyright Jim Reilly 2014