Poodle Pancreatitis


I missed everything Tuesday. I missed most of the afternoon Sunday, all of Monday and everything Tuesday too. I missed the LA Auto Show and I missed driving Toyota’s Mirai, the new Fuel Cell Vehicle. I missed out on participating in my own life because I have a poodle with pancreatitis.

In case you were wondering pancreatitis is diagnosed with four hours spent at the vet’s office and $387. Something happens to make it work out that way but I’m not sure what the actual logistics to it are nor do I much care.

Junior has been moaning, crying and not eating. He wouldn’t even drink milk which is a morning favorite. I hadn’t left him alone for more than a few minutes in days because the only way he would drink is if it was from my water glass and keeping him hydrated meant keeping him out of the hospital.

The vet and I talked at length about what could bring on pancreatitis. There’s always bum luck but rich fatty foods are often a contributing factor. Junior always gets my gristle, slyly and under the table, and the morning cup of whole milk is also a likely culprit. So basically we figured that, like most things in this house, it was all my fault.

I gave up days on my beloved treadmill desk to sit and work so that Junior could be on my lap. I listened to him cry and gave him beef flavored tramadol liquid. I wiped his ass (don’t ask) and repeatedly went on my hands and knees to clean the carpet where he vomited. I treated that dog like he was a baby in part because I’m wild about him and in part because I felt so terribly guilty about making him sick.

A photo posted by William Vega (@willibaldoea) on

Tuesday afternoon Junior suddenly perked up. He ate a little boiled chicken and rice and bopped around the kitchen a bit. For the first time in days he was off my lap and I wasn’t solely focused on him so I got about the business of cleaning my kitchen and just sort of stretching my legs when I heard a crunching sound. I’d only given Junior soft bland foods so I went to investigate what he might be crunching on and saw him licking his chops in front of the cat box.

He has been dining on this.


That’s right. Junior’s favorite treat is none other than silica gel cat litter. I think it’s safe to say that the whole milk isn’t what’s trying to kill him.

Now I’m entering a new nightmare zone. The cat litter crystals are the most amazing product on the market. There is zero odor coming from the cat box and, unlike cat sand, it doesn’t get tracked all over the house. Though to be fair it seems as though any litter that made it’s way to the floor was promptly gobbled up by Junior.

Cute but dumb. Dangerously so.





Dog Blood


Earlier this summer Junior had a blood transfusion. He was bitten by a larger dog and blood was sort of spurting everywhere. We had this horrible moment where we handed him over to the vet tech who asked us some questions:

If he needs blood do we have your permission to give it? We both nodded.

If he crashes do you want us to resuscitate? Mr. G nodded. I shrugged. I could have gone either way with it. I don’t personally want to be resuscitated in every instance.

Junior didn’t crash and wasn’t resuscitated but he did have a fairly involved surgery and was put back together again.

About a week later I was standing in the shower (all thinking is best in the shower) and it dawned on me that they offered me poodle blood. Where does one get poodle blood? I couldn’t stop thinking about it and asked pretty much everyone I know if they’d ever been asked to donate dog blood (with their dog of course).

I mean, we’ve all rolled up our sleeves for the bloodmobile but I’ve never seen a dog blood donation bank. What about cats? I don’t even want to know about farm animals.

I found scholarly articles that talked about canine and feline blood banking and how it was preferable to the whole blood many veterinarians used from donor animals that live in the clinics and that’s when I did a little freak out. Would a Los Angeles vet have a dog just hanging out in a crate waiting to roll her sleeve up?

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Then I asked my facebook friends if they knew about how you get poodle blood (the bestest of all canine bloods – yes?) and this was our discussion.

ME: Where do they get blood from for transfusions?

FRIEND: From live donor animals, who usually live at the clinics themselves as pets, and who are retired after a few years of “service”. Retired donor animals usually go home with one of the techs or vets working at the clinic.

ME: Oh god. So gross.

FRIEND: The donor animals don’t seem to mind. At least, the few cats I was able to work around didn’t mind, at all. They rarely had to give blood, and when they did, they were treated so well afterward, that the donation was forgotten, I’m sure.

ME: Do they roam the hospital like pets?

FRIEND: Yes, totally free roam in the back areas, but they usually stayed out of the hustle and bustle within the quiet of the veterinarian offices. Also, I do know that some clinics recruit donations from clients and employees pets, if they have room to store blood.

I also found this great podcast from NPR. It delighted me to know that I’m not the only person who ponders poodle blood.

Let Me Fill You In On Tomorrow’s News


This is an incredibly disturbing video. I do not recommend you watch it.

If you decide to watch the video what you will see is that the Hawthorne Police Department and SWAT teams are involved with getting someone out of a residence. You’ll watch a tense situation where lives are at risk and then you’ll see a man drive up with his “buff dog” and “bumping music”. He will pull out a cell phone and move to where the police action is. The police will detain him, the dog will escape the car and become menacing to the police (who incidentally will have their lives at risk behind them as well) and then the police will shoot the dog.

Abbreviated versions of this video are making their way around the web already. Don’t watch them. Don’t watch this.

Don’t be manipulated into thinking that the police killed a dog when my eyes tell me that a dog owner put his dog in harm’s way.

I Send them to School and then I Sit in the Car and Cry


This morning wasn’t the easiest one. It’s the Blessing of the Animals at the kids’ school. All the students bring their pets to the school yard before clases begin and a man who isn’t a priest but wears a collar (forgive me I never know what to call him) puts a few drops of water on each pet and says a blessing. Four years ago he about drowned our hamster and I was also have a rough day. I wouldn’t have remembered that, but apparently I blogged it so it must be true.

The morning was a little frenetic  Usually I toss on workout clothes and wake up just five minutes before the kids. I drop them off at school and then do whatever exercise I’ve got on the schedule for the day. Today is different. Today I have a midmorning meeting at a high school. So I woke up 15 minutes before the kids but it wasn’t enough because I had to get really dressed (not fake exercise dressed) and do things like put on mascara.

So I’m downstairs with Jane and Alexander is standing on top of the landing when it’s time to leave and he yells at her that she’s been in his room and taken his PE shorts. She swears she has not but when I look at her she’s standing there in a pair of shorts that say “ALEXANDER” on them. She rolls her eyes and says, “They were in my drawer.” Which they probably were and she’s completely in the wrong because she should have returned the shorts to him but still I’m the one who puts the laundry away so I find myself standing between my two children feeling queasy.

I hate it when they fight and they seldom fight. I know it comes out of frustration and anxiety but that doesn’t make me feel any better, now I just feel worse knowing that my son is anxious and frustrated.

We pile into the car with the dog and everything. Alexander has to run upstairs for forgotten football jerseys and things and he’s just miserable. He’s quiet and unhappy which bleeds to me. Then I’m feeling sad that this is Jane’s last blessing of the animals as she’s in the 8th grade and possibly Alexander’s last as we’re thinking of sending him to another school for 7th grade (but much less likely). My son is unhappy and I am trying to be happy but failing mostly. We are tied together and in the mornings I’ve not yet unwound so I need them to be joyful or I cannot be.

We get to the school and the kids have decided that this year Junior will go with Alexander. I turn right into the driveway and go to grab Junior’s leash and it’s not there. It’s in the house. It’s in the house with the football cleats that I’ll need to bring him and I know that I shouldn’t  bring his cleats but I also know that I should have had these kids prepared for school the night before so this is my responsibility.

There’s no time to drive home and get Junior’s leash and get back to school. We simply live too far away. So I park the car and have a good cry on a random sidestreet.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to powder my face and go look at a high school.


Winning the War on Vermin


You may or may not recall that although Junior is adorable and I do love him best, Sparky was actually recruited by us Gottliebs to win the war on vermin. For the most part Sparky has been useless, she does not love me, but she doesn’t dislike me. She’s a typical cat with me, aloof and busy shedding. With Alexander it’s a completely different story, for Alexander Sparky is all purrs and snuggles, she’s the perfect pet.

Last night Sparky became my favorite too. Watch her at work, and you can look for a cameo of Mr G.

About 45 seconds in you’ll hear Mr G saying, “Jess you gotta do something about this.” Um, I did. I put it on YouTube. Is there soemthing else I’m supposed to do?