You will note two things in this photo: a (completely adorable) wimpy dog, and a dog bed that, despite being laundered just one week ago, is comprised mostly of dog fur and stink.

Karmann had a 6 month checkup today, and I was glad because her presumed arthritis has notably worsened in the interim months. She often picks up her right front leg, and her rear legs occasionally shake after a long walk, or going up steps.

Right off the bat, she was a complete weirdo: hiding behind my legs, plopping herself down into tiny, shy bean and refusing to get up, generally behaving like a dog at the vet and not at all like Karmann at the vet. Most dogs realize, “Vet. Crap.” Karmann thinks it’s an afternoon social hour thrown in her honor by those minions she seldom sees. Or, at least, she did. Until today. Even the vet was confused.

So I immediately began explaining her leg anomalies, assuming that chronic discomfort was to blame for her bizarro behavior, and a check revealed pretty severely restricted range of motion in both back legs. The vet assumed arthritis, but suggested getting films “to rule out any other bad stuff.” When I asked her what other bad stuff, she lowered her voice and said, “bad stuff that we don’t want to talk about if we don’t have to.”

Take ALL THE FILMS, doc. All of them.

Vet soon returned and immediately said there was no bad stuff. She wanted to show me the pictures, so she pulled them up on the screen and said, reaffirming my very great affinity for her, “The first thing we notice, is that she really, REALLY has to poop. *points to poop* That’s a lot of poop. I’d take two bags. Beyond that, we see some arthritis but not as much as I expected, given her discomfort and range of motion sooooooo . . .  she might be a wimp.”

That is her official diagnosis: midly arthritic wimp.

I immediately recalled the time she (also mildly) strained her ACL, as a bombastic 2 year old, and limp-ran as though her leg was partially detached. So there is precedent for this diagnosis, in hindsight.

The leg shaking could be a result of her discomfort, thought it is mostly likely some nerve/muscular degeneration as a result of her age. When I asked if it was the little old lady dog version of what happens to little old lady people, I was told yes, basically.

So we are getting back on the acupuncture train for the, er, palsy, as well as the arthritis. Medicating for the arthritis is tricky, given her Addison’s, as she can’t take NSAIDs. She’s been on a level 2 joint supplement, and we will increase to level 3, add Curcumin twice daily, and she has Tramadol for days that she seems particularly uncomfortable. Actually, we’re giving her Tramadol for a day or two, to see how she does, so that I can (hopefully) see a baseline of comfort that I’ll then aim for with supplements and acupuncture and, possibly, chiropractic.

In other news, I will be selling blood plasma to pay for my dog’s holistic therapies. I suppose it’s a good thing I’m not wimpy about needles.




I am a horrible cat mom.

Mr. Naughtypants has finally figured out how to apply his brute kitteh force to the cellar door, thereby popping it open, so he’s been spending some time down the basement while his stupid humans are out of the house. We generally return to find him hunkered on the steps, as if to insinuate that he cracked the door open but did not–would not ever–explore the basement. There’s nothing down there that is particularly dangerous to him, I just don’t want to have to pry him off the top of a storage cabinet, or remove him from the laundry lines, so I haven’t been particularly pleased with his new love of interdomicile travel. I’ve been pleased, these past couple days, to discover that all his door digging (and there has been a lot) has come to naught and, try as he might, little stripey kitteh has been marooned on the upper levels of the house.

Fast forward to today, when I was in the basement sorting laundry. In the middle of chucking some socks into the workout pile, I spied an aberration on the pale blue duvet cover heaped onto the floor, awaiting it’s go in the washer. A small, kind of icky, animal-printed aberration.


Apparently Mortie took Tiger with him on one of his subterranean adventures and the little guy wound up abandoned. On an admittedly comfy portion of pending laundry because Mortie may wake the household humans every day, without fail, at 4am, but he is exceedingly kind to his stuffed and squashed-headed bestie.

And then I stopped to think about the last time I saw Mortie with Tiger and . . . DOGS HELP ME I CANNOT RECALL.

He has been without Tiger for so very long that I have no idea when the dynamic duo were last seen together. Bad kitteh mom! Bad!

So I abandoned my laundry sorting to take Tiger upstairs and Mortie immediately batted him around, then picked him up and walked him all over the house–never letting Tiger touch the floor–for about 20 minutes. And then they laid down and I took the above picture and came upstairs to post it because I’m supposed to be cleaning the house but bleh. And then Mortie picked him up and brought him upstairs, where he’s spent the last 10 minutes reacquainting his truly-baby-kittehood buddy with the living quarters.

Tiger is currently being shown the bed.

If Paper Towel Rolls Had Necks, This One’s Would Be Broken


a very practical present

Mortie has always been a very good hunter. When his first two attempts at plying Schmoopie and me with gifts did not go as he might have hoped–dropping stunned mice on the bed in the middle of the night leads only to giant hairless apes giving chase and not, as he found out, to accolades and playdates with small mammals–he switched to more human-friendly quarry. A loaf of bread deposited, half-eaten, in front of the TV. A bag of rolls, also half-eaten, left on the kitchen floor (aside: my striped cat is a carb addict.) Three pork spare ribs liberated from my plate as I watched. A giant chunk of turkey hunted directly from the Thanksgiving table. Pumpkin pie centers brutally slain on the kitchen island. Uncountable sticks of butter ferreted from countertops and licked to death.

Lately, though, there hasn’t been a lot of hunting. I’m sure this has much to do with no longer having basement mice, as well as improved security measures for butter and baked goods, but I also surmised that his rotundity and early middle-agedness just made it all seem like too much work. Mort likes to lie on his back and be scritched. He is not so much interested in laboring. For anything.

Until this morning, that is.


I suppose it doesn’t look like much. I mean, it’s a slightly mangled roll of paper towels sitting in a chair. On a scale of one to ten, one being a mouse on the doorstep and ten being that one time in high school that my friend’s cat brought home a dead hamster, paper towels probably rank a solid 4.

But I have no idea where they came from. And it must have been pretty hilariously awkward for an overweight cat to hunt, kill, and then drag that particular prey up onto a folding chair. He probably broke a paw sweat.

I’m not missing any paper towels–the only known roll is still secured to a dispenser on the kitchen counter. And although we are in the throes of painting and I cannot guarantee, with 100% certainty, that an extra roll wasn’t pulled into service for painting clean-up, I have zero recollection of doing so. I also don’t recall seeing it lying around anywhere–and if it had been lying around without my knowledge, my paper-seeking beagle would have long since consumed it in its entirety. On that note, I suppose it is possible that Mort found Calvin’s stash.

The roll was deposited in a camp chair in the living room. And we have camp chairs in the living room not just because we are klassy, but because we threw away the remaining piece of our sofa last night in preparation for delivery of our new sofa tomorrow. So the chair is a recent addition to our luxe living room furnishings, and not anything with which Mort has deep associations. Mort has never even been outside on purpose, let alone on a camping trip.

That particular chair is Schmoopie’s, though, and so I can only draw one reasonable conclusion. Which is that Mort would like Schmoopie to clean the house.

I support it, Mortie. Happy hunting. Maybe you could leave him some of that fancy all-purpose Pledge cleaning spray, tomorrow. It’s under the sink.