Sunday, April 16, 2023

A Long Post for Mid-April

The world is greening up here, lately....

The Bartlett and Callery pears, though "trash trees", are beautiful in the landscape.  I wish my dad (who died in 1969) could see these beautiful trees in the spring, and no... I have none, here. 

This striking tree is directly across from my porch in the valley. 

This is my view this morning, after two days of rain and blustery storms. 
Our winds are back... they are so annoying.  It is hard to get things done in the yard with the wind blowing constantly, and don't get me started on mowing!  This view of the ponds will be gone by the weekend, as the trees leaf out, I lose my view.  I have talked to the tree service about clearing the fence line at the bottom of the pasture, and I am saving up for it.  I love that pond view! 

I have as many as thirteen pairs of cardinals eating here.  If they are, indeed, souls of those who have been loved by us, then all my family and favorite pets are still with me. 

Speaking of family, I had breakfast on Monday with four of my first cousins, and it was so very good to see them... our regular breakfasts were interrupted by covid, and we are only now starting to meet in person again. 

I have lost my two brothers and my sister, and these dear people are like siblings to me.  They are some of the last to ever sit at my family kitchen table, the one at which I am typing now. 

This last full moon coming up over Calamity Acres. 

The big boy and his bestest friend, Bob the Porch Cat.  Bob was busy playing with Buddy's tail and I tried to get a picture of it... but he saw me.  

This morning, I found a patch of cat fur in front of the shop... Bob was following me... he is a troublemaker, despite his innocent look... and he stopped to smell the fur carefully... someone had a fight last night, and from the color, it could only be Teenie.  I will take a close look at her later, but she was moving around freely when I got their breakfast for them a while ago. 

The girls are starting to lay again, but oddly... I'll get ten or so, and then the next day, I'll only get three.  I know for a fact four hens are laying right now this morning. 
One old hen, a VERY old cochin, is on two eggs and those eggs should be close to hatching.  Her color is fading, and I am going to have to make a decision to move her into the pen I had reserved for chicks if she does hatch them.  Chicks can wait for a few weeks.  

These flowers, from an envelope from Croatia marked "Sunny flower mix", have gone berserk under lights in the shop.  I literally have the lights up as high as they will go, and the plants are still reaching.  I had hoped to harden them off and get them planted this week, but after two eighty degree days, we are at 45 at this moment.  It is also blowing like the dickens AGAIN and we are under a red flag warning for about the sixth day in a row. 

I honestly don't know how I am going to harden them off, unless I take them out from under the lights, put them in the garage during the day where the wind can't bother them, and move them back in the shop for shelter at night.  I'll think about that. 

Jester is enjoying the balmier of our days, but yes, I have turned on the air for the dogs because the house has heated up several times by late afternoon.  Crazily enough, the heat is back on today. 

Here is my little doll, Zoey, two weeks ago yesterday, April 1st. 

She loved that bed. 

On Sunday, the 2nd, she ran around here like a little farm dog.  She came in and took a nap with Bullseye in the big crate. 

On Monday, about mid-morning, she seemed to be having trouble breathing, and I called her vet's office.  They were unable to get her in until Tuesday, so I made the appointment.  I left to do another errand, but by the time I got back, I realized she had become exhausted because she could not lay down, when she did, she could not breathe.  We left for the emergency pet hospital that I have used many times in the past. 

One look at the front door and they rushed her back into an oxygen chamber. 

After two hours, a young vet came out to speak to me, and I must have rankled with my questions, because she asked me if I was "in the medical field".  I wanted to tell her no, I have had dogs for fifty years. 

In March, Zoey was treated for a chest infection.  On the 23rd, we had a follow up, and the vet said her chest was clear and heart sounded good.  I asked if she wanted to xray and she told me there was no need. 

The young vet told me Zoey's lungs were full and wanted to call in a cardiologist. 
Friends, Zoey was eleven, I adopted her as a foster fail a year and a half ago.  The estimate of care for three days was 6000.00.  I am telling you all of this for a reason. 

I was asked if I wanted to see her in the ICU.  After four hours, I asked to see her, and went back there.  I wish I had not.  I will spare you the picture I took, I need to delete it but cannot bring myself to.  She saw me, and tried to touch the side of the chamber... but she was struggling oh, so terribly. 
I saw the young doctor again for a minute, I wish I had told her then and there that I wanted to euthanize gently, holding her.  
The "ICU" was bright, a huge room, with people working on a big dog frantically and my poor little girl in the chamber, suffering.  It will never leave my mind. 

I had signed a DNR when I signed the paperwork... you see, I left that hospital with a bill over 5000.00 for Fritzi's care a few years ago, and I admit it, I have to be more circumspect now.  I knew that resuscitation measures would add hundreds to a bill, with little chance of a good outcome. 

The next morning, I was here at the table when my phone rang.  It was the doctor who had treated Zoey... she had died very suddenly.  I yelled into the phone... I did not curse, but I was so stunned that I yelled, and then apologized.  I had made a decision during the night to euthanize with me holding her, as I do all of my beloved animals, if she were no better in the morning. 

The thing that made me so mad is that she died alone, with strangers, in that horrible room. 

The hospital has a new policy where "animal advocates" call to update you on the progress of your pet.  I knew when the doctor himself called that it was bad. 

I was told that I could go there and see her, and I changed out of my chore clothes and drove the thirty miles to settle the bill and see my poor little girl. 

The tech who brought her to me in the "family room" told me that when they reached into the chamber to give her a lasik shot that morning, she had fallen over dead.  The doctor believed her heart failed. 

I held her for a while... and then let her go.  I have so many little boxes of cremains here I have had to stop doing it.... though the rep from the front desk who took my payment tried to upsell me on all kinds of mementoes. 

After a few days, I wrote a letter to the actual doctor who treated her, asking for an informed guess about what had taken her from a playful farm dog to death so fast. 

I have not received an answer. 

Her cost of care for twelve hours was 1880.00. 

Now, my comment about all this... and remember, I have been there many times in the past. 
I noticed when Bullseye was there last summer that things had changed... we were now addressed by the pet's name, not our surnames.  Upselling happened as soon as we were in the room with the young vets... they are a for-profit hospital of course, though they  provide a needed service for emergencies. 

I believed the night Bully was there that he was set aside as not serious and minimum care given. 

I believe the same happened to Zoey... that she was kept "comfortable" and left in the chamber to let nature take it's course, because I had not agreed to the 6000.00 plus care that was estimated. 
If the vet had told me to my face "your dog has no chance unless we expend thousands of dollars of specialized care".... I would have euthanized immediately to spare her the agony of suffering, and for that, I am furious with myself. 

Will I go there again?  I pray I do not have to, ever.  Do I recognize I may have to?  Yes, and they are the closest of the two emergency hospitals.  

Ultimately, I am angriest with myself for not insisting that we immediately euthanize after the vet talked to me after I had been there two hours.  I have taken myself to task night after night, and for the first four days, could not hold down any food I was so upset.  
I miss my little girl.  It hurts me that she suffered so. 

I have not put anything about this on Facebook, though I shared it with her groomer when I cancelled her appointment,  and then told the groomer it was okay to make a tribute, not realizing she meant for FB.  None of my friends but one saw it.  I literally have not been able to talk about it for two weeks, and have told very few friends and my family.  I am still looking for her, and reaching for her in bed.  I am starting to cry again while typing this.  I still can't believe it. 


  1. I am crying for you , also. So sorry for your loss and the emergency vet situation. Some of them prey on emotions rather than being honest about the situation.

  2. Oh Mary,I am so sorry I know how much your animals mean to you.....its like losing your best friend.Please don't beat yourself up about your decisions,we do the best we can with what we know.Zoey knows this and the gentle care u gave ,made the days special for your rescue.Take care,and yes the wind is brutal today

  3. Hari OM
    Mary Ann, this was traumatic... be kind to yourself, please. You gave Zoe excellent final years. As with all your critters, she could not have had better. The situation was not helped by the peculiar arrangements of that vet system, but you must definitely not take on any guilt from it. What ifs never served anyone. Acknowledging what you can and cannot do is one thing; beating yourself up about it is quite another. Know that Love prevails and Zoe knew that Love. Big ether hugs from here to there. YAM xx

  4. I am so, so sorry for your loss. Maybe I can offer some insight as a retired veterinarian.
    First of all, when I was a child, the same thing happened to our family dog. From “normal” to trying to breathe one morning, so exhausted because she had to stand to breathe; she’d start to fall asleep on her feet and wake up with a jolt because she needed to stand to breathe. It was a Saturday morning, about 50 years ago, no animal ER and so when the lasix shot didn’t work right off, my parents took her back before closing for euthanasia. To this day, when I have had a patient in such a condition, it breaks my heart and the prognosis is grave and 24/7 care is required and that means an ER and $$$$$, and ongoing medical management for life.
    Veterinary medicine has changed over the years. We have a very litigious society so all options must be covered, offered, and documented. This can come across as “upsell”, especially with less experience in communication skill and whatnot.
    Before most clinics were corporate-owned, the veterinarians that were owners managed things differently, were willing to work many, many hours aand cover extra shifts, and give uup much of their personal life to be on call and keep things running.
    Today, most clinics are understaffed and have a much narrower range of service. Referrals to specialists and emergency clinics are common, and sometimes even an ER isn’t able to accommodate clients.
    I have been always been able to have multiple pets because I was able to provide my own services. Costs add up exponentially and it is good to either have a savings account for each pet or pet insurance. Veterinary clinics have costs to cover…..xray machines, ultrasounds, anesthetic machines, oxygen cages, medications, payroll, computers, incubators, bloodwork machines for CBC/Metabolic Panels/thyroid tests, dental X-ray machines - pets have to be under anesthesia to have dental X-rays taken.
    Veterinary medicine careers are low paying and high stress. Veterinary medicine is now one of the leading professions for suicide.
    So there is a lot more than meets the eye.
    Again, though, I am so very sorry for your loss. Zoey was a beloved family member and dear, dear friend.

  5. Mary Ann so sorry about Zoey and all the emotions you are going thru. I know you gave her her best life after she came to live with you so please do not beat yourself up about it.
    That is a beautiful pic of the moon makes me think Halloween.
    Wind has been brutal here today along with some rain and boy did it cool off.
    My son paid $4.96 for 1 red pepper plant yesterday. LOL. I guess he thought he was getting the very last one... I called around and most places haven't gotten them in yet.
    Please take care of yourself.
    Pauline in oh

  6. Your sweet pet Zoey was well loved by you. I'm so sorry to read of your loss. Hugs to you from afar. Susanne

  7. Mary Ann, I am so sorry. That is horrible. Losing them is too hard. That is why I made a decision not to get another house dog or cat.

  8. I am so sorry for your loss. Please don't beat yourself up over the decisions you made at the time.

  9. I'm sending you Hugs. It is so very hard to loss our pets. They are like children in our families. You have some great memories of her. Hold those close to your heart ! Love, ma

  10. You did the right thing by Zoey. I imagine her by your side as you make your rounds. She had a beautiful spirit and she adored you, mama.

  11. My heart aches for you. Please tell me which ER you took your baby to.

  12. Oh Mary Ann, when I read the past tense, "She loved that bed," I braced for bad news, but it was worse than I expected. My step-dad told me we can't beat ourselves up over hindsight; we make the best decisions we can at that moment. But it is hard, so hard, not to go over situations in our mind, second-guessing what we did or didn't do. I am so sorry Zoey had to die alone, and that you didn't get to hold her in those last moments, but I AM glad she had so much love her last year and a half! –Michelle


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