my dog

March 12, 1982

March 12, 1982

Gunnar and Nick Mellow
Gunnar and Nick Mellow

I’m sure some of you are sick of seeing me share Carson Animal Shelter dogs in desperate need of homes. I try to limit myself to one a day but sometimes a second or third will tug at my heartstrings. Once I’ve shared a dog or cat, I like to cycle them through again until they get adopted, rescued or (noooo!) PTS (put to sleep). I’d love to adopt them all myself but my family is near mutiny (we’re at a mere three former shelter dogs, two cats and a turtle). And, like they say, you can’t hug every cat. Or dog.

With Nick Mellow and Joyce
With Nick Mellow and Joyce

Gunnar, the puppy in the entry above, led a long and happy life but not with us – Joyce and John Salter re-adopted him and did a far more successful job of training him than we could. (We think he may’ve been part dingo. That would explain a lot.) We went back to the Glendale animal shelter a few days later and brought home a golden retriever we named Nick Mellow – one of my favorite dogs of all time. They’re all my favorites, in their own way.

04-05-2017

Nicky and Zelda
Nicky and Zelda

In June of last year, one of the Carson posts – about a blind deaf dog abandoned at that high-kill shelter by his owner because he was “too old” – really got to me. So much so that despite opposition from my family, Joyce and I drove down to Carson and adopted him. They wouldn’t let us introduce him to Zelda – to see how they’d get along – before we adopted him. Most likely, I would’ve brought him home even if Zelda despised him which, unfortunately, she does. Eight months later, she’ll still savagely attack Mr. Magoo if I turn my back. Mr. Magoo doesn’t even try to defend himself – he just whimpers.

The day we brought Mr. Magoo home
The day we brought Mr. Magoo home
Magoo is so sweet he snuggles up with cats
Magoo is so sweet he snuggles up with cats

Magoo’s done a good job mapping the house and yard but occasionally he makes a mistake and slips into the swimming pool. He’s never outside unattended so he’s quickly rescued. Still, between Zelda the Evil Princess and Magoo’s unexpected flops in a frigid pool, our house is not ideal (but a vast improvement over death row at Carson). Both Sam and John urge me to find a safer place for him. The thing is, although he requires more care than a younger less challenged dog – I love the little guy. I love him enough to let him go should a perfect environment arise but too much to actively seek to re-home him.

 

Zelda says, "Please, can't we take him back to the pound?"
Zelda says, “Please, can’t we take him back to the pound?”
Zelda in happier times - Nick in bg
Zelda in happier times – Nick in bg
Magoo says, I'm so happy to be out of Carson!
Magoo says, I’m so happy to be out of Carson!

So, if you’re sick of my dog shares, I’m sorry. Scroll through them fast, like I whizz through topics that don’t interest me. I’ll try not to abuse everyone’s patience.  For now, though, I plan to keep sharing and re-sharing at least one a day so these poor animals won’t be forgotten and destroyed. They look so confused and terrified, as if they’re trying figure out what they did wrong. It breaks my heart. If you’re enough of a dog or cat person that you don’t mind looking – and there’s room  in your home and your heart – consider letting one of them in. Yes, it requires some work on your part. But it’s worth it.

 

December 12, 1979

December 12, 1979

CD on his 3rd birthday - prior to the big hurl.
CD on his 3rd birthday – prior to the big hurl.

It doesn’t seem all that long ago although – mercifully –it’s been eons since I swabbed another human’s barf. (Dogs and cats on the other hand – yesterday or the day before. One of our seniors has a delicate stomach.)

Earlier in the day - he loved his Superman sweater (and his Superman costume)
Earlier in the day – he loved his Superman sweater (and his Superman costume)

We still celebrate our children’s birthdays, but rarely on the actual day. They usually make plans with their friends. I don’t begrudge them, after college I did the same thing – partied with my peers instead of my parents. As wonderful as my parents were, party animals they weren’t.

A long restless night.
A long restless night.

Celebrating on the correct day – and emphasizing the birthday person’s precise age – seems less important every year, at least to me. Besides, if we want the extended family to celebrate together – aunts, uncles and cousins – the logistics become more manageable if we select an adjacent weekend instead of a Tuesday or Wednesday night.

CD feels much better!
CD feels much better!

As challenging as this particular birthday was – and it was far from the only time the birthday child hurled over a birthday cake – my memories are warm, now that the vomit isn’t.

November 25, 1993

November 25, 1993

John and Michael challenge Jimmy at chess.
John and Michael challenge Jimmy at chess.

In the early years of our marriage, John and I alternated holidays between my family and his – Thanksgiving in Fresno, Christmas in San Diego, reversed in the following year. Gradually we spent more holidays with my family because my parents and sisters all moved within five miles of my home.

Cindy, Aunt Mary and Flo Rowell
Cindy, Aunt Mary and Flo Rowell

I don’t recall when both of our mothers stopped volunteering to host Thanksgiving but they powered through longer than I could’ve. I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve hosted Thanksgiving at our house, largely because when the question arises – “where are we doing Thanksgiving this year?” – I’m hiding in the bathroom.

CD and cousin Jeff Rowell
CD and cousin Jeff Rowell

Fortunately, my failings as a cook and hostess are compensated by my sister Janet and her husband Jim McCann, who do Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas ninety percent of the time. They are an indefatigable team, toiling from dawn till dusk to present the perfect meal without complaint (not entirely without complaint – but within civilized limits.) My contribution? Diet Coke and sparkling water.

Sam, John, and Evie Rowell
Sam, John, and Evie Rowell

Their house is well-suited to entertaining, with its vast rolling dog-friendly lawn. Singles and stragglers are always welcome.  A good time is had by all.

Jimmy and Alex Rowell
Jimmy and Alex Rowell
Richard and Chester (Chet) Rowell
Richard and Chester (Chet) Rowell

Although I have a thousand photos of Thanksgiving at Jani’s, this blog is ostensibly about Thanksgiving in 1993, the first and last time I hosted the Rowell clan at our house.  I’m posting those photos today to prove it.

Chet Rowell and Mary Lawton
Chet Rowell and Mary Lawton

May 7, 2014

May 7, 2014

Daisy's last day. We had her for ten years, from when she was four to roughly fourteen. She was a PERFECT dog.
Daisy’s last day. We had her for ten years, from when she was four to roughly fourteen. She was a PERFECT dog.

After our beloved Daisy (a golden retriever mix) crossed the rainbow bridge, we adopted a terrier mix from a local rescue organization. Before long we discovered Nicky’s head was full of bad wiring (as opposed to any trace of a brain). He’s pathologically devoted to me, so much so that even after two years, he’ll attack John if my husband dares to get too close to me. Then there’s his piercing, ear-shattering bark.

Nicky's intellectual look.
Nicky’s intellectual look.

It was clear why Nick’s two previous owners dumped him; if I followed suit, his next owner would do the same thing. My dog was a lemon but he loved me so much! How could I save my psychotic little terrier? My novel and brilliant solution? Adopt another small dog and hope Nick follows the new dog’s example. I am nothing if not a clear thinker when it comes to adopting more pets.

Nicky and I before Zelda.
Nicky and I before Zelda.

Enter http://lhasahappyhomes.org and a lhasa mix named Xyla (now Zelda). Her previous owners surrendered her because she needed eye surgery, which the rescue organization provided. They were honest about her flaws (she was a chewer but that’s over now). On the plus side, she was smart – dolphin smart, as opposed to Nick, no brighter than the average mollusk.

The beautiful regal and QUITE entitled Zelda.
The beautiful regal and QUITE entitled Zelda.

Zelda watches television like she’s following the plot but she’s actually watching for the appearance of a dog (or cat, pig, horse – any four-legged creature). Then she goes bonkers, barking and launching herself at the TV,  frantic to vanquish the intruder in our home. If Nick tries to assist, she lunges and growls at him.

Nick and Zelda share space.
Nick and Zelda share space.

Zelda’s more into food than Nick, as you might surmise from her chunky physique. If Nick doesn’t finish his food, she drags a piece of paper on top of it with her nose (she’d be unstoppable if she had opposable thumbs) and then nudges it from  Nick’s side of the room to hers. She’s adept at distracting him, stealing his treats and hiding them to enjoy later – usually in the corner cushions of my sofa. I once found a square of cheese waiting there.

Zelda loves to read.
Zelda loves to read.

They were both about a year and a half old when I adopted them which makes them roughly three now. They still act like silly puppies which is fine by me; the rest of my family is less enthusiastic. Sure, pets are work but I can’t imagine a life without animals around me. Our current crop is Fitzgerald-themed – Carroway, Gatsby, Wilson (the cats) and Nick and Zelda (the dogs). I talk to them like they’re people because to me – given their wildly different personalities – they are.

Nick doesn't know how to read.
Nick doesn’t know how to read.

March 11, 1978


March 11, 1978 

Anne crashed on our couch a lot before she became a high-powered entertainment lawyer.
Anne crashed on our couch a lot before she became a high-powered entertainment lawyer.

Anne Kurrasch was one of four female law students living in Law House when I moved in and met John. After he casually mentioned he thought Anne was attractive – he and Anne went out drinking and dancing as “friends” before he met me – I realized it behooved me to befriend her. I didn’t expect we’d become friends for life.

Law students J and Anne in the process of NOT studying.
Law students J and Anne in the process of NOT studying.

Prior to law school, Anne majored in economics at Stanford (nobody else I knew even got into Stanford). When I met Anne, her goal after graduation from law school was to work in a bank. I like to think I influenced her career change to entertainment law.

Anne started out as J's friend but over the years she became more mine - not that we're competing or anything.
Anne started out as J’s friend but over the years she became more mine – not that we’re competing or anything.
Anne with our first dog, a black lab named Greta.
Anne with our first dog, a black lab named Greta.

Like every other job in the entertainment industry, it took a while for Anne to break in – during which she spent most weeknights sleeping on our couch – but Anne doesn’t give up easily. Today she’s an attorney for Showtime.

She influenced me too as confirmed in this diary entry –   “influenced by her preference for single stones”. Anne knew everything about the world – perhaps it was an elective at Stanford. Things like the right watch (Omega), the right dressy evening bag (Judith Leiber) and the right car (Jaguar). While I did not acquire these things (aside from a Leiber evening bag), it was all brand new information to someone who grew up shopping sales racks. I didn’t know shoes and bags made a statement about who I was – at least they did in the late seventies and eighties.

K&A

As much as she knew about classy accessories, she was only human and, as such, suffered occasional fashion catastrophes as illustrated by the photo below. (I more or less lived there.)

Fashion catastrophes

More on Anne as the next forty years unspool.

 

 

 

February 23, 1964


February 23, 1964

 

The four of us in 1964 - From the left, Me, Natalie, Janet & Joyce
The four of us in 1964 – From the left, Me, Natalie, Janet & Joyce

From today’s vantage point, life looks simple in ‘64 but it didn’t feel that way then. I obsessed over what other people thought of me (which they didn’t, much). Subtle shifts in friendship sent me reeling. I stewed about my performance in school. I wanted to be number one in everything but I was afraid to be best at anything.

I was afraid to be best at anything.
I was afraid to be best at anything.

My need to be number one began in ‘53, when my parents shattered my fragile 2-year-old psyche by bringing my sister Janet home. I got their message loud and clear. If I’d been a better baby – cuter, smarter, more entertaining – they wouldn’t have needed another baby. I ran outside and bawled my eyes out.

Me, on the day they brought Janet home.
Me, on the day they brought Janet home.
It's nice to have Janet to play with sometimes.
It’s nice to have Janet to play with sometimes.

They flat-out refused to return her. Over time, I discovered she – and later Joyce – had some good points. Little sisters were easy to trick. Gradually both of them became fun to talk to. In fact, it was easier to talk to them than anyone else in the world.

We can talk to each other about things other people don't understand. Because it's a Knutsen thing.
We can talk to each other about things other people don’t understand. Because it’s a Knutsen thing.

Because we knew which buttons to push, emotions ran high. They could cut me to the bone, infuriate and inspire me, rouse my jealousy and my compassion. On balance, we shared more laughter than tears.

Sharing some laughter.
Sharing some laughter.

I trust them with my deepest secrets, my darkest self. When I fail and feel all is lost, my sisters raise me from the dead. They’ve got my back when I need them most. They love me when I don’t deserve it, believe in me when I give up. They’re the wind beneath my wings, my bridge over troubled waters. They light up my life. You get the gist.

We learn how to share precious puppies and kittens.
We learn how to share precious puppies and kittens.

Maybe all things considered, what my sisters give me is bigger than the narcissistic wound Janet inflicted. Maybe gains always come with pain. Maybe I should stop whining about what happened 63 years ago.

Is it finally time to let this go? Now that we're all so mature?
Is it finally time to let this go? Now that we’re all so mature?

Nah. Not yet. More on this in my three photo blogs – When I was an Only Child (2 years 2 days of Bliss), Kathy Vs. the Alien Baby and And then there were three.

 

They're so happy and normal. I would be too, if everyone loved me best.
They’re so happy and normal. I would be too, if everyone loved me best.

 

Pieces of a Life

An early shot of Yolanda with the princess.
An early shot of Yolanda with the princess.

Early Sunday morning Yolanda Hernandez, originally from El Salvador, died in my home where she lived for 32 years, When I hired her to help with a newborn, a one-year old and general housework, I never imagined she’d die surrounded by me and our adult children (the newborn is 32; the one year old 33). (Click on this link to get an explanation of the babies born so close together).

Yolanda with Ahni (Alex)
Yolanda with my sister Janet’s son, Connor McCann. She was close to all of Joyce and Janet’s children; they all called her Nana.

Yolanda moved in with us in 1984. She loved Chris, Sam and Alex with everything she had – especially Sam, although she never admitted  favoritism. The tip-off?  She always referred to Sam as “the princess.”  Alex was Ahni and Chris was Goose because that’s how the princess pronounced their names. Yolanda balked at calling us John and Kathleen; we were forever Mr. John and Mrs. Kathleen.

J, Uncle Matt, Yolonda, The Princess and Goose
J, Uncle Matt, Yolanda, The Princess and Goose
Recent shot with Janet and me.
Recent shot with Janet and me.

She confided her cancer to the princess, who stepped up. She drove Yolanda to all of her doctor’s appointments, sat by Yolanda through every chemo, visited every day when Yolanda was hospitalized. The rest of us pitched in but the princess earned Yolanda’s second nickname for her – my angel.

Yolanda and the princess in Park City, Utah
Yolanda and the princess in Park City, Utah

On Friday February 10, Yolanda’s doctor estimated she’d live thirty days. She had thirty hours. When she drew her last breath at 1:30 AM, we all understood it was for the best. Her pain was excruciating, cancer terminal, death inevitable. No surprises. We knew where this road led.

Yolanda's first party after starting to work/live with us - with John
Yolanda’s first party after starting to work/live with us – with John

Except we didn’t, not really.  We’re in shock. All day I shushed our dogs so they wouldn’t awaken Yolanda – as if anything could. Three fat cats looked increasingly  concerned – where’s our Fancy Feast? ‘Where’s the human who opens cans?

J and Yolanda assembling Christmas toys with Sam and Alex supervising
J and Yolanda assembling Christmas toys with Sam and Alex supervising

The light is on in Yolanda’s room. For a second, I think she’s there. I haven’t been in her room alone in years. Everywhere, pictures of our children – framed on her bureau, taped to the wall, stacked in photo albums. She carried their photos in her wallet. She loved it when strangers thought they were hers. Was I jealous, did I worry she’d spirit them off to El Salvador?  No. If anything, it endeared her to me. If I couldn’t be there, who better than someone who loved them like they were her own?

Yolanda in Park City with Goose, the princess and Ahni
Yolanda in Park City with Goose, the princess and Ahni

On a sheet of paper tacked above her bed she drew a cross and scrawled, “Please god please god no cancer. Please god no cancer.” A purple spiral notebook was scribbled with recipes. She saved expired coupons for things she didn’t buy. A few of her clothes trailed price tags, waiting to be worn. Whoever clears my room when I’m dead will find comparable artifacts.

Sharing cotton candy
The Princess finds cotton candy less delicious than she hoped it would be.

The photos we leave behind show what we did. Fragments of incomplete projects remind us of all left undone, bits and pieces of Yolanda. I should have known her better, more deeply, sooner. I don’t know her sister’s name or phone number in El Salvador and I don’t speak Spanish even if I did.

Young Yolanda, far left, with her two brothers and sisters
Young Yolanda, far left, with her two brothers and sister

So what did I know about Yolanda? She made the LA Times her own personal illustrated blog. She drew devil’s horns on basketball players she hated, basically everyone but LeBron and the Clippers. She trapped a rattler outside our door by slamming a concrete slab down on its head. (I would’ve been dead from heart attack.) She didn’t drink, smoke or party. Her modesty did not permit her to wear shorts, swimwear or sleeveless blouses – ever.

Always there for every birthday, every celebration
Always there for every birthday, every celebration
Yolanda at Chris' wedding
Yolanda at Chris’ wedding

She loved our forays to Costco – “the big store” – but recently I was too busy to take her until she was too weak to go. There are so many things I meant to say – should have said – but didn’t. I hope she knew – I think she knew – how much her kindness meant, how her patience and loyalty changed our lives, how many others – my sisters, parents and friends – grew to love her like we did and always will. How much we’ll miss her smile, her red coat, her curly hair, her commentary on current events (you thought she’d stop at sports?) in the LA Times, all part and parcel of the boundless heart and infinite capacity for love we knew as Yolanda Hernandez.

With Bill Connell, Sam and Alex
With Bill Connell, Sam and Alex

We’ll meet again, Yolanda.

We’ll meet again, Yolanda.
We’ll meet again, Yolanda.

(I’m not trying to make a political point about immigration. However, since Yolanda was an illegal immigrant when I hired her, here are the facts.  She always worked, either caring for the elderly or children. She neither asked for nor received welfare.  She became a US citizen in the early 90s.  For the next twenty years plus, she paid taxes like everyone else. In other words, she writes checks to our government without cashing checks from them. Our country gave her something more valuable than food stamps – a chance at a better life. The way I see it, she was lucky to get into our great nation – but not as lucky as we were to get her into our family.)

Standing between her brothers. The three of them traveled to the US together.
Standing between her brothers. The three of them traveled to the US together.

November 30, 1968


november-30-1968

 

On the surface, my future looked bright. My parents and I were coming home from a  trip to LA to tour college campuses. I fell in love with UCLA, the only school I’d applied to. I planned to major in English and start college the following fall. Things didn’t work out that way. (Link to Why it changed)

The key – and most incongruous – line in this entry is “maybe she absorbed some of my death wish.” This was the first hint (at least, in my diary) of the deep depression that darkened my senior year.

Not coincidentally, it’s also the first party I no longer felt like attending. I barely attended school, racking up a record number of absences. I’m not exaggerating to say I didn’t attend a full week of school all year. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Me dropping the proverbial ball.
Me dropping the proverbial ball.

Every senior yearbook photo shows me buttoned up in a heavy wool gray coat. It didn’t matter if it was blazing hot outside. I felt grotesquely fat and needed the coat to hide behind. The truth was, I did gain weight (which the coat accentuated) but I was never grotesquely fat. When the whole world looks repulsive, it’s hard to see yourself or anyone else accurately. It’s all ugly.

I'm easy to spot - the only one in the photo wearing a heavy wool coat.
I’m easy to spot – the only one in the photo wearing a heavy wool coat.

I knew something was wrong with me but I didn’t know what, let alone how to fix it. If pressed, I would’ve blamed my plunge into darkness on a broken heart. While getting dumped by a guy I liked surely didn’t help, I no longer believe it was the instigating factor.

Harder to find, in the back of the room, but I'm almost certainly wearing the same coat. When you feel ugly, it's no fun getting your picture taken.
Harder to find, in the back of the room, but I’m almost certainly wearing the same coat. When you feel ugly, it’s no fun getting your picture taken.

In retrospect, I suffered from clinical depression. I knew nothing about it then and I doubt my parents knew much more. Even if they had, psychiatric help was – at best – a last resort for Scandinavian Midwesterners. We believed will power could and should overpower a downward mental spiral.

It didn’t, though, and I spun further down until moving to Los Angeles shocked me back to life. That and a guy named Luke – but that’s another story.

hello-sunshine

 

November 22, 2002

november-22-2002

 

"Hi, my name is Deeter. I like to play with small animals."
“Hi, my name is Deeter. I like to play with small animals.”

I used to have this theory that everyone has one Great Love in their lifetime. A Great Love is not necessarily who you end up with (in fact, more likely not IMHO) but it’s someone who changes you profoundly. Author Andrew Sean Greer (“The Confessions of Max Tivoli”) takes it a step further. “We are each the love of someone’s life,” he writes. I love the quote, but I question the math. What if one gorgeous man or woman is the great love of five people’s lives? Doesn’t that leave four people without an available great love?

"Want to come out and play? I'm exceedingly good at hide'n'seek. Just try and find me."
“Want to come out and play? I’m exceedingly good at hide’n’seek. Just try and find me.”

I believe that in addition to a Great Human love, people with animals also have a Great Dog or Cat Love. Sure, I know you love all of your pets, but wasn’t one just a little more special? Didn’t one of them speak to you, make you feel like you and he/she forged an almost mystical connection?

"These are no fun at all to hunt. They don't run, they don't scream."
“These are no fun at all to hunt. They don’t run, they don’t scream.”

Deeter was my Great Love in the feline world, high praise indeed as I’ve had a lot of great cats. Deeter was different, though. We could communicate.  He shared my loathing of all things rodents and like the ruthless assassin he was, he racked up an impressive number of kills.  His homicidal instincts were not restricted to rats. A friend of Sam’s brought a kitten into our house when she came to visit. Deeter went ballistic, stalking and terrifying the little intruder so much it chose death-defying leaps from one outside balcony to another rather than face Deeter’s wrath.  Eventually, Deeter’s patience was rewarded and he trapped the little girl downstairs when no one was watching. He slashed her stomach so badly she required surgery (which I felt required to pay for. Not such a cool move, Deeter.) Don’t worry, the kitten survived and – equally important – Deeter made his point. No new cats would be moving in, not even on a temporary visa, not under his iron rule.

"I'm just a sweet little pussycat when you get me alone."
“I’m just a sweet little pussycat when you get me alone.”

Deeter was a character, a personality with a strong life-force (read death force for rodents, birds and lizards.)  According to my next-door neighbor – not one of Deeter’s fans for reasons which will soon become apparent – Deeter heroically held a rattlesnake at bay while my neighbor sought help.

"This is quite comfortable, really. Thank you for asking."
“This is quite comfortable, really. Thank you for asking.”

For a merciless killing machine, Deeter had a surprisingly babyish side. He loved to toss rubber bands in the air and then pounce on them. He loved to lie beside me and knead my flesh. He loved to jam his head deep into J’s smelly tennis shoes and inhale deeply. He loved howling cat fights with our next-door neighbor’s Russian cat Micki, a psycho KBG agent (I can’t prove it, but strongly suspect.)

"What I need now is another hit off this smelly shoe."
“What I need now is another hit off this smelly shoe.”

For weeks after Deeter died, Micki wandered by our windows like she did every day to tempt Deeter into a frenzy. Now, though, she was searching for Deeter – and she looked sad. Well, as sad as a psycho cat can look. Beneath their violent vicious hatred, I believe they were deeply in love. I guess we’ll never know.

"Oh, the indignity! The insult! Did she have to get me a GREEN cast?"
“Oh, the indignity! The insult! Did she have to get me a GREEN cast?”

I have another terrific tuxedo cat now – Gatsby (below). I’ll always have a tuxedo cat in my life, in memory of Deeter but there can never be another feline Great Love for me.  I’ll miss Deeter till the day I die.

Gatsby the Goofball lacks Deeter's aura of building menace.
Gatsby the Goofball lacks Deeter’s aura of building menace.

If you had a Great Love – Dog or Cat – please post a picture and their name. Surely I’m not the only one.

 

November 13, 1985

november-13-1985

CD with Nicky
CD with Nicky
Nicky guards me and Samantha
Nicky guards me and Samantha

 I dimly recall a Louis CK routine about how getting a pet is like putting down a deposit on heartbreak. (His version is funnier.)  Odds are high you will suffer through the loss of several pets in your lifetime if you’re an animal lover like me.  Losing Nicky was a heartbreaker.

Nicky between me and Joyce Salter
Nicky between me and Joyce Salter

Nicky was a golden retriever mix, around 4, when we took him home from the Glendale Humane Society. I can’t imagine why anyone would give him up. His nickname was Nick Mellow. He used to plunk his rear on the sofa like a person while keeping his paws on the floor. I’ve never seen another dog do that.

John and Nicky
John and Nicky

Then he stopped eating and we began the round of vets. Their best guess was that something or someone poisoned him (apparently antifreeze tastes sweet and is fatal to dogs). He kept getting worse. Finally, we hospitalized him in West Los Angeles, hoping a definitive diagnosis might lead to a cure.  He spent two full weeks there.

Every day, either John or I drove 45 minutes each way to visit Nicky. We coaxed him to eat with chicken strips or treats and hoped our presence reassured him he’d be coming home.  After a series of tests and surgeries, racking up a bill of almost 2K (not a bad deal today, but a fortune in 1985), they sent him home on November 12, no clearer about what the problem was than when he was admitted. They said maybe he’d get better. The next day he crawled down our stairs to be with us again. Less than 8 hours later he died.

Everybody's best friend
Everybody’s best friend

As a result of this experience, I promised myself I’d never take extreme measures to save another pet. The tests and surgery only caused him more pain. Nicky was miserable caged away from us in a hospital; we should’ve kept him comfortable at home.  If we hoped by spending a lot of money, we’d increase his odds of survival – we were wrong. In retrospect, we should have accepted the inevitable and made his last two weeks at home as comfortable as possible.

 

 

Skip to toolbar