Miss Minnie Mooch

My blog isn’t much of a blog anymore, but I can’t let it sit out in cyber space without formal notice of my newest addition, Miss Minnie Mooch (formerly known as “Mooch”).


It’s been just Dixie Doodle Dog and I since 2014. We’re happy with each other and our little family, but we moved (again) in July of 2016. This time, to a little rental house with a fenced backyard for Dixie and I to play in together. Our new landlord is lovely, and when I told him I was considering adopting a second dog or a cat he said that was fine and they had no breed or size restrictions, just a one-time pet fee.

I thought about it for a long time. A playmate for Dixie would be lovely, but she is really particular about other dogs, and really reluctant to share me or my time with another dog. I had a lot of discussions with my trainer about it.  I knew it was possible I’d have to arrange separate walks, at least temporarily. It might be work to introduce them and have them get along.

I looked at so many adoptable pets online. My trainer agreed to meet me at a local rescue and look at some adoptable dogs to help me narrow down the field. I went early and looked at some cats. Then the trainer arrived and we looked at the dogs, and chose one to meet. He was very cute and very vocal.  He was very stressed.  It was heartbreaking. I was so nervous. Despite living with Dixie for over two years, I’m still not a “natural” with dogs.  I can’t really read their body language and am uncertain how to approach them or interact with them. I stood talking to the adoptable dog and he barked back at me. It was uncomfortable and awkward.

I thought about it that night, but decided a cat was probably a better fit for both of us. Dixie’s never shown much interest in the cats we’ve seen, which is pretty much ideal from my perspective.  Not overly interested, no dislike, just “there is a cat”.  She has shown interest in a rabbit or cat if it moved/ran/jumped suddenly. So a quiet calm cat would be best. I would prefer a senior as I’ve always had a soft spot for seniors. But could we find a senior cat that was comfortable around dogs?  Seemed like a tall order.

However, I did see one online. A diabetic senior cat that was fine with dogs and calm.  Perfect fit!  I was just going to wait for a huge project at work to calm down and then I’d apply to adopt this cat.  I called the rescue and spoke to them about the cat.  They seemed concerned I didn’t know what I was getting into, with a diabetic cat.  I tried to reassure them that I’d adopted several diabetics in the past. Moving from Chicago has its disadvantages – they don’t know me here, and they’re right to wonder whether I know what is involved.

I called back the next week, certain we were ready to adopt the cat.  He was no longer available.  A veterinary clinic had taken him to be their office cat.  I was so disappointed.  I’d never met this little kitty, but he’d stolen my heart already. I lamented my loss to my friends and resigned myself that perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be.

However, a few weeks later, I got a message from a friend.  She wanted me to look at a senior cat available online – same rescue. I told her I was resigned to not adopting, since I didn’t want to put a senior cat through the stress of adapting to life with a dog.  She insisted again that I needed to look. The description said the cat was fine with dogs!

I was hopeful again.  “Mooch” seemed a great fit.  She’s calm and quiet.  She had a history of megacolon and arthritis. I don’t have experience with megacolon, but I knew something about it and felt confident we could figure it out. This time, I didn’t delay.  I called the rescue right away. I arranged an introductory meeting.

I went to the rescue to meet Mooch.  (Dixie was not allowed.)  She was adorable.  So tiny and SO sweet.  The rescue let me review her medical records, and seemed reassured by my questions and comments that I was not making a rash decision.  I applied for her adoption.

The rescue checked my references and later let me know I was approved. They brought Mooch to us. Dixie was definitely curious about the little kitty taking up residence in our laundry room behind a baby gate, but not too concerned.

Introductions went well, overall.  As anticipated, Dixie does exhibit some “resource guarding” behavior.  She’s not very happy to share the pet beds with Mooch, though she’s improving constantly. She didn’t like Mooch to be on the love seat with me. It’s gotten better, but Mooch has also decided it’s not really worth it to be on the love seat. Mooch has decided it’s worth it to join us in bed at night.  Dixie was upset at first, but got over it quickly and for the most part we all have our “spots” in bed now.

Mooch is a delight.  We have stolen cuddle sessions, usually in the bathroom when Dixie isn’t looking. She purrs and we butt heads lightly. She’s probably the most laid-back cat I’ve ever had the fortune to know. She’s not thrilled if I’m late with her breakfast or dinner and will give me a loud meow to know it, but overall is just happy to have a comfy warm place to sleep.  Lately she’s taken up Dixie’s “guarding spot” sometimes, in front of the large picture window, to check out the neighborhood activities. She seems less interested in watching the back yard, though I took her out in a harness a couple times to investigate.  (It’s fenced and Mooch isn’t able to run fast, climb, or jump… but I don’t her venturing off where I can’t see her.)

It fills my heart to have a cat in my home again.  Dixie Doodle and Minnie Mooch bring me joy, and laughter, and so much love.

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Gnome-loving neighbors

We moved over the fourth of July weekend, and now live in a little rental house with a fenced backyard for Dixie Doodle dog.  One of the greatest things about our little rental house is it two doors down from a house with a MILLION gnomes in the front yard.  Seriously, hundreds of gnomes.  It is epic.

So, a couple weeks ago, I left a card and a little bag containing two pair of socks (with gnomes on them, of course) at the gnome-loving neighbors’ door saying I loved their gnomes.

Then a couple days later, I got a card left in my mailbox thanking me and saying they would like to get to know me better… maybe over dinner? They gave me their phone number (not knowing that I am horrible and will never get around to calling them, ever.)

Around that time, a black shoe appeared mysteriously at my front door.  (I also have started my own mini gnome collection with a passed-out gnome and a flipping-the-bird gnome.

Which all leads to today’s BREAKING NEWS! I was INSIDE the gnome house! On the INSIDE!!!!! I feel this story is best told by the gnome-lovers, but since you are likely not friends with them, I shall pretend to be them.
We, the gnome-loving family, are home on a Sunday morning, still dressed in our Sunday best from church… Mr. Gnome-lover in a suit jacket, Mrs. Gnome-lover in a pretty dress and bolero, Young-adult-gnome-lover in slacks or whatever, enjoying homemade noms…
*knock knock*
Open door. See very disheveled unshowered woman carrying an old black shoe. Is she homeless? A panderer? :-\
Woman says: “Hi, I’m Lynette…. from two doors down?… that left you socks?”
“Oh, yes! please, please come in!!!!”
Woman: “Um, I’m sorry, I’m a mess… I was just going to leave this shoe and this note… is this your shoe?”
“Whut? Shoe?”
Woman: “I’m trying to find out whose shoe this is… it appeared in my driveway around the time you left your nice card”
Entire gnome-loving family gathers to look at shoe.  Um… no, this shoe does not look familiar to us… and how very… interesting… that this woman is trying to solve the mystery of this black shoe.
Woman exclaims again about the wonderful collection of gnomes in the front yard.
Gnome-loving neighbors also collect clocks!  Would you like to see the clocks?  Show woman two rooms full of clocks.  She stares in amazement.
Show woman back yard, woman stares in awe and wonder at the back yard complete with little pond and water feature and little log cabin and statues and…. O-O
Chat a bit, get a sweaty hug from odd neighbor woman (me) and … well, we can probably guess there was considerable conversation after I left.

The “I” in bigotry

This is a difficult post to write, but one I feel I should.

I’ve generally prided myself on not being a bigot. I’ve had coworkers, friends, and boyfriends of varying religions, races, and sexual preferences. I’d like to think I try to see the various points of view, whether or not they agree with my own, and reserve judgement until I’ve heard more than one side of the story.

There are times I’ve called others out for what I’ve viewed as bigotry. Not as many times as I should have, I readily admit, but I’ve hurt people’s feelings and alienated people when I’ve pointed out that something they’ve said or some or posted seemed offensive. I’ve left online groups after letting them know the reason I was doing so was because I objected to some of the language used there, and dealt with the backlash – and reported the group for violating codes of conduct.

I grew up in a time and a place where certain actions or words weren’t viewed as harshly as they are today, and I’ve tried to unlearn patterns of speech and action. I’ve watched old movies or shows I once enjoyed and been upset at scenes that didn’t bother me years back, but now… I view them differently and wish I always had recognized what I see now.

I hope I can put more good in the world than bad… at least, leave the world no worse off for having been here. Aim for better.

Yet there are times where I fail.  Fail abysmally. I’m ashamed, and I vow to try harder, do better.

Recently was another of those times.

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I’ve wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest since I was a child.  We went to Washington to visit my father’s brother and his family, and I fell in love with the area.  Moving there was always my plan, but there’s always been some reason (excuse) not to follow my dream: a house, a job, a relationship, etc.  Last summer I decided it was time to STOP making excuses and make my dream happen.  I created some “job alerts” that emailed me when careers opened up in my areas of skill located in the Pacific Northwest or Colorado.

In April, I threw my “hat in the ring” (submitted my resume) for yet another opening.  One thing led to another, and the company flew me out for interviews and a weekend of exploring the area.  I was offered a job in July, and decided to accept it.  I gave notice with my current employer July 9.

I drew this map of where we are moving.  I have mad map-drawing skills.

I drew this map of where we are moving. I have mad map-drawing skills.

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All washed up

I moved into this house in 2004, and not surprisingly, it came with a washing machine.  That washing machine died a watery death in 2006 when it stopped draining water from the tub, making it pretty nonfunctional as a washing machine.  I purchased a new washing machine.  This is all a really boring story so far, right?

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Introducing… Little old neighbor lady!

The doorbell rings this morning – I ignore it. It rings again.  (Dixie is, of course, barking like crazy because INTRUDER ALERT! SOMEONE ON OUR FRONT PORCH! DANGER!) I run to door, frazzled as I was trying to finish up a few things before running errands.

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When I was considering Dixie (and other dogs) for adoption, I’d read as much as I could about them on the shelter’s website (Chicago Canine Rescue), PetFinder, and Petango.  One thing I found a bit surprising is it listed Dixie as not spayed.  The subject obviously came up during the adoption process.  Dixie was originally relinquished to the city “pound” (Chicago Animal Care and Control).  Chicago Canine Rescue transferred her to their shelter when her time was coming to an end, on February 14.  Dixie had I adopted her on March 14.

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When I met Dixie, I thought she loved everyone and everything.  She seemed very easy going.  She was one of the VERY few dogs at the shelter that wasn’t barking.  (I don’t blame them, it’s a stressful environment no matter how wonderful the facilities and volunteers are.  One dog barks, others join in.)  She didn’t react to any of the people, dogs, or other things we encountered on our walks from the shelter around that neighborhood.  In fact, the first time I met her was when a volunteer carried her out and put her into my arms.  I saw Dixie make a couple half-hearted “woofs” one time when all the other dogs were barking and I was part of a “walk through” of the shelter.  The day I adopted her, she did bark at a woman entering the shelter as we were “checking out”.  All in all, though, she seemed pretty relaxed.

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Learning Curve

I’ve written about feline nutrition many times in the past, including the post Vets and Pet Food.  I found yet another interesting article on the subject, by Dr Meg Smart.

At present, only 8% of the Veterinary Colleges in North America have nutrition as a prerequisite for admission into the veterinary programme. Introductory nutrition courses are taught in 75% of the veterinary colleges in the United States. Applied clinical nutrition in both large and small animals is taught as an elective in 14 to 28% of the colleges. Exit interviews of graduates and surveys of practicing veterinarians indicate that they are not adequately trained in nutrition.

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Driving Miss Dixie

Dixie seems to really like riding in the car.  I have a friend whose dog dislikes getting in the car, and I’ve always felt bad for her.  It’s nice to have a dog hop up willingly into a vehicle without protest.  None of my cats seemed to like riding in the car. However, I can’t blame them.  The car never meant “good things” to my cats – it meant going to the vet, or moving.  For Dixie, the car can mean going to the park! or obedience class! or the vet! an adventure!  Some of the adventures turn out to be adventures she wish she hadn’t had, but getting into the car means possibility!

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