Friday, November 28, 2008

How much stuffing can a girl eat?

Seriously...I could forgo all the other leftovers, but not stuffing. What makes stuffing so special? It's just bread, spices, celery, leeks, apples, sausage, and yummy buttery goodness. Think I will go for another serving. Sigh.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Story of Max

I was asked by my friend and veterinarian (and other friend, her vet tech) to write Max's story for the open house of her new vet clinic. Thought I would post it here as well, along with Max's lovely cover photo!

Preventive Care Saves Lives
The Story of Max

Max, our nine-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever, takes his job very seriously. On any given day he is an agility star, running partner, alarm clock, security guard, baby sitter, vacuum cleaner, face washer, shoulder to cry on and bed warmer. Max and his sister Brandy joined our family as small, mischievous, seven-week-old pups. Over the years they have given us unconditional love, even when their routine was rudely interrupted four years ago with the addition of a baby boy to the family. Max, of course, knew a baby was coming. For nearly nine months he’d glued himself to my side, protecting me from perceived dangers (squirrels and pigeons in particular), and pressing his nose to my growing belly to check on the baby’s progress.

From the moment our son Brandon was born, Max took over as self-appointed nanny. During the day, his large brown eyes diligently followed Brandon’s every move and with every cry, he’d rush to his side. At night, he paced back and forth between Brandon’s room and our own, finally settling down in the hallway between the two. He was never willing to leave me, or our son, out of his sight.

This past year, our beloved 15-year-old cat Tino fell ill with cancer. Although visibly upset with Tino’s rapid deterioration, Max spent his days and nights with his feline friend, sleeping with him, protecting him and comforting him with his presence. When Tino passed, Max kissed him goodbye and then stoically gave me his shoulder to cry on.

Caring for Tino during his final days reminded me of the importance of ensuring all our pets continue with their routine medical care. Earlier that year, Brenda Kennedy, DVM, Eastside Veterinary Associates, had strongly suggested our dogs receive dental exams and cleanings as part of their preventive care. Two days after losing Tino, Max had his teeth cleaned by Dr. Kennedy and Mary Fix-Hofilena, Licensed Veterinary Technician. I didn’t think much about Dr. Kennedy’s post-dental evaluation. She’d called me personally to say Max was wonderful and the dental went well. We were just thankful we’d no longer have to put up with his stinky breath.

“We found some peculiar tissue under the tooth we removed,” she told me. “It might not be anything, but with your permission, I’d like to send it out for testing.”

I gave permission and shrugged it off. Max had a bad tooth. That happens sometimes, especially with nine-year-old dogs. Two days later, Dr. Kennedy called again. Her voice quivering with emotion, she explained, haltingly, that the tissue tested positive for oral melanoma.

Max had cancer.

I don’t really remember anything else from that phone call; all I remember is spending the rest of the day at home, crying. Thankfully, Dr. Kennedy followed up with an email and another phone call to my husband, who took notes. Within 24 hours of diagnoses, she referred us to the top oncologist and surgeon in the region. Within a week, Max met with the oncologist and surgeon, had a CT scan, ultrasounds and was prepped for surgery. Oral melanoma is one of the most aggressive cancers in the canine world. Once diagnosed, the average life expectancy is six months to a year. However, because Dr. Kennedy spotted his cancer during a routine dental, it hadn’t had a chance to spread. Ten days after diagnoses, Max underwent surgery. The surgeon removed three teeth and some jaw bone above the tooth where the cancer was found. It was a nerve-wracking experience and I had to fight back tears when Max emerged from the hospital shaved, swollen and on pain medication. But the moment he saw us, his tail started a slow wag, increasing in speed as I closed the gap between us and wrapped my arms gently around him. We had our Max back, and subsequent tests showed he’d defied the odds. He was cancer free.

“Max did his job,” Dr. Kennedy said to us afterward. “He stayed strong during treatment and didn’t let the cancer spread.”

That may be true, but it was the team work at Eastside Veterinary Associates that saved Max’s life. Had we not been urged to have his teeth cleaned as part of his preventive care program, Max would not be sitting at my feet right now, faithfully guarding our backyard from the next squirrel invasion. Thank you, Dr. Kennedy and everyone at EVA, for caring for our beloved pets as much as we do.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Post Election Humor

A little poem for you, author unknown:

The election is over, the results are now known.
The will of the people has clearly been shown.
We should show by our thoughts and our words and our deeds
That unity is just what our country now needs.
Let's all get together. Let bitterness pass.
I'll hug your elephant.
You kiss my ass.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I just mailed my absentee ballot. Tomorrow is the day! My stomach is in knots, but I'm hopeful the polls are right and we won't have a nail biter late into the night.

Please oh please don't blow off your vote tomorrow.

Now, back to my regular scheduled programming...I am back to my old work schedule, yey! This means more time to write, more time to blog, more time to run, more time to kick it with my little guy. I couldn't' be more happy.

I'm going to be all superstitious and not talk about The Road Home for awhile. When I have solid news, I'll post it here. In the meantime, I'm going to work hard on Take One (working title, novel #2).

Happy Monday everyone!