Merry Cursedmas


Anyone out there know how to break a Christmas curse? Not sure if we need a witch doctor, a voodoo priestess, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, or an exorcist (OK, probably not that last one).

Normally, I love, love, LOVE this time of year – Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah, we celebrate them all! And I’m a twelfth day of Christmas baby. Holidays good!

But a bad luck trend appears to be developing around our household on December 25. Last year, I took a spectacularly embarrassing fall and wrecked my knee, requiring surgery and many months or rehab. My right leg still doesn’t function quite right. This year we opted for a nice, safe walk on paved country roads around a local winery. What could possibly go wrong?

Then I noticed my darling, exuberant, sweet-tempered Vizsla (Remember, Ashton?) standing in a pool of blood. Wait, BLOOD?!?!

Her tail was wagging non-stop and her furry face looked to joyful. I thought, Oh no! Something must have died and Ashton stepped on it.

Alas, no. What Ashton had managed to step on was some hidden wicked thing that pierced through her paw…we never located the vicious object and Ashton didn’t even seem to notice anything had happened. It took us quite a while to convince her that she was injured, but the pain finally caught up with her during the horrid examination and cleaning process at home. In the picture above, she is wearing my inept field bandaging (a.k.a. a creative new use for orphaned socks) and waiting patiently for her vet appointment.

The humans of the household spent a jolly Christmas night cleaning up what looked like a crime scene around the house.

Bah humbug. Seriously.

Vizsla! A Love Story – Part One

We’ve welcomed a new Fuzzy into our home and she wants to say hello:

Hi there! I am Wirehaired Vizsla Point of Honor Vizcaya Dallas, but you can call me Afton...or Ashton....or Aston.

Hi there! I am Wirehaired Vizsla Point of Honor Vizcaya Dallas, but you can call me Afton…or Ashton….or Aston.

She’s a 4-year-old spayed female. Her breeder calls her Afton, after Afton Cooper from the original Dallas series, but our lips &/or brains can’t seem to spit out that name on a consistent basis. We seem to be calling her Ashton more often than not, and she responds very well to Ashton. So…yeah. Probably Ashton.

Although her coat is considered undesirable for breeding or showing, her heart is perfect for loving.

That said, she does have a few behavioral issues, including a quirky little phobia related to persons of the male persuasion. It’s not a constant problem, mind you. Just when the scary two-legged male persons move around without her permission….or cough…or, you know, do man things. Apparently, this troublesome phobia has made it difficult to place her in a permanent, forever home. Until now.

The man of THIS household is decent, kind, patient to the core and infinitely gentle with nervous dogs.

Technically, we only have Afton/Ashton for a trial period right now, but I am in love, love, LOVE with this fuzzy love monkey. Michael is slower to declare his feelings, but I believe he is also hopelessly smitten.

In order to fully explain how over-the-moon thrilled I am by this unexpected turn of events, I’ll have to tell you a star-crossed love story from my past….

Once upon a time (almost 20 years ago), I took a job as a full-time dispatcher for the Cruelty Investigations and Animal Rescue unit in a large, metropolitan humane society. (I LIVED Animal Cops before it was a TV show on Animal Planet). Looking back now, it was one of those “best of times, worst of times” experiences but I’m not going to get into all the nitty gritty details from that period of my life. I just want to tell you about one particular case.

(*cue Dragnet theme music*)

It was a sunny, sweltering hot summer day. I received a call from the Airport Police Department. They had an animal cruelty case involving two dogs in a locked car…only one was responsive. The officers on the scene needed a humane officer to take custody of the dogs and advise on the charges to be filed against the owner. It sounded like an ugly situation, so I radioed the officers on duty to get out there as quickly as possible. They returned to the shelter with a deceased Rottweiler and a sweet little bundle of anxiety who looked a lot like this:

Sad Vizsla“It’s a Veeezuuuhluuuh,” Officer Manion told me, squinting at his case notes. “V-I-Z-S-L-A. Hungarian hunting breed.” The refugee in question had her whole body pressed against my leg with her head glued to my lap while I entered her information into our intake computer using my right hand. My left hand couldn’t stop stroking her velvety ears and smoothing the worried wrinkles on her brow. Even as her tail thumped the floor, she continued to cast nervous looks back and forth between me and Manion.

“She’s a very sweet doggie,” Manion said, (Hello, Captain Obvious.) “but she’s had a rough day. If you want, keep her here with you for a while before you put her into a kennel for the night.”

One of the best, most wonderful perks of being a humane society dispatcher is getting to bring some of the rescued pets into the back office for some one-on-one time. I couldn’t afford my own dog at the time, so spending time with these temporary companions was important to me. During the few short weeks she was in our custody, I brought the Vizsla into the office as often as I could. (Notice I have not mentioned her name. That’s because I don’t remember it. We were all enchanted with the word Vizsla and she responded when anyone called her Vizsla, so that was the only name we used during her entire stay.)

Everyone warned me not to get attached to her, but I couldn’t help falling deeply in love our darling Vizsla…even though she could never be MY dog.

This is not a tragedy, at least not for the Vizsla. I feel certain that dog lived a long, happy, healthy life. But after she walked out of our shelter, I never saw her again.

Skip ahead a few years to an all-breed dog show where I was watching the final Best in Show contenders file into the ring. Sitting alone on the cold, cement floor, I suddenly became aware of a gentle warming pressure along my back. Turning my head slowly, I came nose-to-nose with a face that looked a little like this:

Vizsla FaceHer owner/breeder could not stop giggling. “I think she thinks you’re related,” she said. “Your hair…” As she broke into another fit of giggles, I gathered my hair into a side ponytail and draped it over the dog’s head. Back then, I used to color my hair a coppery red that matched the dogs coat. I mean it matched EXACTLY. We sat like that, the Vizsla’s head on my shoulder with my hair falling over her ears while her owner took some pictures and I quizzed her about the personality and temperament of Vizslas.

I walked away from that encounter absolutely convinced that a Vizsla was my dream dog, the perfect companion for me. Energetic, but willing to cuddle for hours. Intelligent and sensitive without being neurotic. Obviously gentle and affectionate. But my lifestyle choices and finances still would not support dog ownership at that time. So it was a dream that I would have to put on hold indefinitely….

[To be continued…]

photo credit: hasensaft via photopin cc & peteaylward via photopin cc

A Confession…

I’m having an illicit affair.

His name is Sr. Rossi. His eyes are the color of the Caribbean Sea at sunset…and perfectly crossed. His body is a creamy buff, but his ears, face, toes and tail are a delicious shade of coconut brown. Every time I get close to him, he turns somersaults and purrs thunderously.

20131105-113623.jpgI am in LOVE! Don’t tell Zoey.

Alas, he is not mine. When I leave this beautiful place, I’ll be forced to leave my love behind.

And I must admit, after watching him frolic along the seashore with his lawful owner, he seems very content in his current relationship. He shadows her as she strolls through the waves, happily pouncing after the tiny scuttling crabs, never more than 20 feet from her side. Sigh.


stalkerish photo of my fantasy feline and his owner taken from our balcony.

Fear and Loathing with the Fuzzies

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”

― Alfred Hitchcock

“Obviously, this man pillow has never met the Tessa dog.”

 ― Zoey the Cat

Right…so I have been spending quite a bit of time pondering the nature of fear. Ghost stories make you do that. This leads me to think about Alfred Hitchcock….and Honey Badger…and Zoey and Tessa.

Rainbow kittyZoey is my Honey Badger. She don’t care. My fuzzy girl is fearless. Tessa is my sweet, sweet darling scaredy dog. She is terrified of a strong breeze.

This really happened…

Let’s start with Tessa on the porch. It’s a lovely, sun-kissed day. As Tessa reclines, buzzing things hover over her fur. Annoyed, she snaps occasionally at the buzzies. Zoey walks past the dog-thing into her house. She is large and in charge. Nothing gives her royal purrrrrness any reason to pause.

Suddenly, Tessa snaps at a bee that has been buzzing her. Zoey jumps and searches for something to killl. Instead, she endures me. Laughing my head off, I scoop up Zoey in my arms to laugh and laugh and laugh. HA! She is not fearless! She has just shown her fraidy-cat side. Tessa frolics at my feet.

Zoey is not amused.

As Tessa settles into another light sleep, Zoey plots her revenge. Quietly, carefully, Zoey stalks Tessa. Just as Tessa lets her defenses down, Zoey jumps up on a metal table and forces the table to upset. BAM!!!

Tessa is mortified! Zoey calmly jumps into my arms. Every inch of her furriness screams, “See Momma. That’s what I do with traitors.” Tessa hides.

I’m telling you…it was on purpose. Once Tessa startled Zoey, the WAR was ON!!!

What frightens me and fills me with awe is how fully and completely Zoey the Cat understood the nature of Tessa’s fears. Loud noises always horrify Tessa. Thunderstorms turn Tessa into Jell-o. Things going bump? Crash! Zoey knew what would horrify my puppy the most, and she calmly executed her plan to terrify Tessa.

I think it is quite possible that my kitty is a better author of fearful mayhem than me.

What normal, natural noises scare you the most?

photo credit: Fulla T via photopin cc

The Zen of Zoey

Before the realization spreads deeply into Zoey’s consciousness that monumental and wondrous events are taking place in my life and the world as we know it will never be the copyAfterphoto-57

A Tale of Two Chicken Bones

Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.


Chicken Bone

Trisha’s Week

Zoey ate a chicken bone. In fact, she devoured it. Not a tiny little rib or wing bone. Oh, no! My little food-obsessed feline freak found an unattended thigh bone on the counter and gobbled it up in less than a minute.

It didn’t seem possible. Despite all of the evidence that suggested she had managed this gluttonous feat, we searched everywhere for that darned bone, certain she had simply pulled it off the counter and stashed it somewhere where she could nibble on it daintily without any fear of interruption. But finally, after searching every crack and crevice, we had to accept the truth. That gigantic bone was there on the counter one minute, then it was gone. And there was only a purring, lip-smacking cat where the bone had once been. Zoey had managed to chew up and swallow the entire cooked thigh-bone of a chicken in less than sixty seconds.

Panic ensued.

We checked the internet and saw all sorts of dire warnings: sharp edges, obstructed bowels, perforated intestines. ARGH!

After calling our veterinarian, we ran out to buy wet cat food, potted chicken meat, pure pumpkin puree and mineral oil to cushion the bone fragments. We fed her this murky-yet-irresistable mix 3-4 times daily. We kept her inside and monitored her closely, often massaging her sides and belly to check for signs of swelling or tenderness. I gave up my bed, sleeping on the couch with kitty in my arms for three nights straight. I woke up every morning and ran to her litter box to dissect her poop, hoping to find clear evidence that the digestive danger had passed. As yet, I have not found any shards of bone among the kitty litter.

Zoey purrs on loudly, absolutely oblivious to the disaster she has managed to survive without any sign of harm.

Zoey’s Week

This has been the best week EVER!!!

It all started when I found a crunchy, yummy chicken bone. Can you believe the humans left that amazing mouthful of yumminess just sitting out on the kitchen counter?

Of course, the human folk freaked out when they realized the precious bone was missing. I thought the game was up when they kept shrieking my name over and over while poking at my lips. I almost felt ashamed of myself for about three or four seconds. But then they started bringing me the most wonderful and delicious tidbits: nibbles of spiced chicken chunks, delicate livers and the most incredible sweet puree. They have finally figured out how to worship me properly!!!

The big hairless kitten I adopted many moons ago now makes the most comfortable bed out of her body and we sleep together in bliss. She hurries to clean my stinky box every morning. She massages my lovely, perfect belly every night.

That chicken bone is the best thing that has ever happened to me. EVER!

photo credit: suttonhoo via photopin cc[

Zoey says…

When the weather outside is this frightfulFrightful WeatherCuddling with the dog suddenly seems delightful.Fuzzies Cuddle

Tessa says…



I hate Punxsutawney Phil.

A Message from Zoey and Tessa

Dear People of the Internets,

Please to give us a few moments of your time. We are very concerned.

Our pet human – you refer to her as Trisha – appears to have gone quite bonkers. Perhaps she has been afflicted by the rabies. Or perhaps the little white machine she stares into for hours has finally boiled her brains. Whatever the cause, she is definitely many kibbles short of a meal right now and we would like to understand what is happening.

Here are the symptoms of her affliction:

  • She stares for hours at a glowing screen, sometimes into the wee hours of moonlight
  • Sometimes, her fingers go clickety-clack on the buttons for hours
  • When we try to put our paws or noses on the clickety-clack machine, she pushes us away in a most unfair manner
  • Sometimes, when her fingers go still, she cries for absolutely no reason
  • Sometimes, when her fingers are flying, she cackles for absolutely no reason
  • Sometimes, she stuffs in more food than any human has reason to eat in one day

She calls her glowing screen with the clickety-clack buttons a laptop. What is Zoey, if not a perfect laptop? Why would a human choose to fuss over a non-living lump of white plastic instead of cuddling with her adorable feline?

The other day, she took Tessa on a walk and we were overjoyed by this apparent return to normal behavior. But then she walked and walked and walked with her eyes looking off at nothing, mumbling to herself and Tessa almost passed out from heat before she noticed it was too hot to be walking so far with a fuzzy friend and no water!

Our beloved Man Pillow – you would call him Michael – tells us that our Trisha is doing something called writing which will be followed by something called publishing which will then be followed by something called marketing. He says we should be loving and supportive and, most of all, patient.

Patient? We sneeze on patient. Is he kidding? Trisha is in possession of a set of thumbs that we need for her to use frequently, especially to open our bags and cans of food. We cannot afford to be too patient. If she loses what little is left of her mind, we might starve!

What is this thing called writing? Will the next phases – these things called publishing and marketing – make her better or worse? Why would a human creature with plenty of access to food, water and loving fuzzy folk to cuddle torture herself with these activities? Can you kind people of the Internets explain this ludicrous human behavior to us?

Your comments would be most appreciated during this trying time. Now we must go lick all of our parts and find the perfect spot for our fifth nap of the day.


Zoey & Tessa