Farewell, Duff Man …


Yesterday was another sad day in the Reilly-Davis household, as we had to unexpectedly say goodbye to another of our furry critters, McDuffy.

McDuffy

The Duff Man was six years old when we brought him home from the Marin Humane Society on January 23, 2010. McDuffy was a handsome Maine coon … who had previously been named Monterey …

McDuffy nee Monterey Marin Humane Society Photo

… though we chose to rename him.

He quickly proved to be an friendly, even-tempered and affectionate little guy … before long, he developed a routine of coming up to me while I was working, putting his paws on the side of my leg and looking up at me until I picked him up. He would then snuggle down in my arms, pressing his head against the side of my neck and purring up a storm.  Other times, he would simply climb up on my desk, flop down and go to sleep …

McDuffy Asleep on My Desk

…or would “help” with my work on the computer.

McDuffy Paw on Jim's Hand 160129 cropped close up

He also became one of Candy’s little napping buddies, lying beside her whenever she decided to take a nap …

Candy & McDuffy Napping 130819

… and, because of his stocky build, she began calling him “Bear”.

Right up until yesterday, McDuffy had no significant medical issues … he had slowed a bit the last couple of years … and I had to put some steps next to the desk on which he liked to lie under the window in my office because he could no longer jump up onto it. Otherwise, however, he showed no signs of health problems.

Yesterday, after three nights in a row of four hours sleep, I slept late (past noon) … as a result, I was late feeding the critters their breakfast … I fed them shortly before 1:00 in the afternoon … and Duffy jumped up onto the second level of the scratching post, where I often gave him his food bowl. He seemed completely normal.

About an hour later, Candy left for work … and I went upstairs to my office. At 3:45, I went back downstairs and Duffy was lying on the floor in the living room … in a spot where he often slept. I thought he was sleeping and got down on my knees to give him a quick rub … only to discover that he was dead … and, in fact, rigor mortis was already setting in. I turned him over and saw that his big, beautiful eyes were wide open … but it was obvious he had been dead for some time.

I cried over him for about 15 minutes … then wrapped him in a big, soft towel to take him to the vet’s office. On the way, I stopped off at Candy’s work so she could say goodbye, too … and we had another good cry together. Then I took him to Bel Marin Animal Hospital for a private cremation.

Candy had a tough time at work … having to hide in the treatment room several times to cry … and I didn’t do any better at home.

Apparently … as I learned today … Maine Coons are particularly prone to suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy … HCM … and that they can show no signs of the disease before suddenly suffering heart failure. For cats suffering from HCM, the muscle of the left ventricle is abnormally enlarged or thickened … which strains the heart as it tries to pump blood. HCM is described here:

http://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/cardiovascular/c_ct_cardiomyopathy_hypertrophic

Of course, we don’t know for sure if this was the cause of McDuffy’s death … though it seems likely … and, short of an autopsy, there is no way to determine exactly what happened. One thing we have learned, though, is that if we ever adopt another Maine coon, we will have him tested for the gene mutation that causes HCM.

This has been a difficult four months for us, feline critter-wise … on December 30th, our most recent arrival, Darby, escaped from our back yard … and we haven’t seen her since:

https://jimsthreedot.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/wheres-darby/

Then, just a few days later … on January 6th … we had to say goodbye to the cat who had been with us the longest, Frasier:

https://jimsthreedot.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/goodbye-mr-laid-back/

Because it happened suddenly and we had no time to prepare emotionally, however, losing McDuffy is proving to be the most difficult of the three.

Farewell, Duff Man, we are going to miss you.

—–oooooOOOOOooooo—–

More Photos of McDuffy

Slide1

Slide2

McDuffy on Office Chair

McDuffy on Printer DSC_1502

McDuffy -- Seeing Double DSC_1469

McDuffy on Scratching Post DSC_1185

McDuffy DSC_0953

McDuffy DSC_0976

DSC_0973

McDuffy over the Rainbow Bridge

—– McDuffy Over the Rainbow Bridge —–

Three Dot … 133

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Shadow … One Year …


It was one year ago today that Candy & I went to the Marin Humane Society to visit a little ball of fur named Shadow … 14 years old … and surrendered by his previous owner’s family because she had grown too ill to care for him.

Shadow Marin Humane Society 150602

Shadow is well-named … since the day he arrived, he has attached himself to me as if there was an invisible tether linking us together. When I’m in my home office, he’s in the chair next to me …

Shadow 150630

… if I get up, he does, too … and follows me wherever I go.

He gets excited whenever a walk outside is in the offing … and runs down the driveway with his little ears flapping … he thinks he’s running like the wind … but it’s actually more like a mild zephyr, as even at age 70, I can jog faster than he runs!

Nevertheless, he now remains, at age 15, quite spry … though he does sleep a lot!

DSCN3220 Shadow Sleeping cropped

Happy Anniversary, little guy.

—–ooooo—–

The Three Dot … blog post that I wrote last year about Shadow’s adoption is here:

https://jimsthreedot.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/shadow/

—–ooooo—–

ThreeDot … 126

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.

NanoSleep

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 …

NanoCouch

Relaxing on the Couch

Exploring a Mt. Tam Ridgeline

Exploring a Mt. Tam Ridgeline …

NanoSlope

… and Running on a Mountain Slope.

Nano -- 2005

Nano — 2005

Nano 2010

Nano 2010

Except as Otherwise Noted, all Photos Copyright Jim Reilly 2014