On the day we gave Boo his first taste of freedom in the house, I grabbed my camera to document the event and laughed when I saw what was awaiting him at the top of the basement stairs. He had already met Ellie and got along with her from the start so it isn’t as imposing as it looks.
As he scrambled up the stairs, he assumed a submissive pose as he did with all the other pets, as Sam and Emma were at the top of the landing watching him. He sized up Ellie but of course he had nothing to worry about. Ellie has been a sweetheart with both of the young kittens we’ve adopted and the three cats we had when we adopted her.
Ellie in 2013 on high alert after my wife opened the refrigerator door. She’d wait and see what you took out of the fridge before deciding if she should get up, she’d come running if you pulled out the cheese and meat drawer but stay where she was for vegetables.
We’re trying out a couple of types of dog shoes for Ellie, I was amused to see this pair has the same Vibram soles as my hiking shoes. They are designed for outdoor use but we got them for indoor use as her arthritic back legs are bothering her more now and she can struggle on the slippery tile. On Wednesday she couldn’t get up after we came back from our walk and was clearly anxious about it so my wife took her to the vet. We’ve been trying out some additional pain medication, the vet took her off one and switched to another and Ellie showed immediate improvement. She’s moving about more normally and has rolled around in the little patch of grass in the backyard a few times. We’ve only had her wear the shoes for short periods so far and she tolerates them OK.
Age continues to take its slow toll on our sweet pup Ellie but at fourteen or fifteen years old she is doing far better than I ever hoped. We found a good vet here in Scottsdale and the good news is her kidney disease hasn’t worsened. She’s lost about 10 pounds in the last 6 months but an ultrasound didn’t show anything alarming. A continuing trend and a symptom of the kidney issues is she is not as interested in eating her food so we have switched to a different food that has helped for the moment. She is still quite interested in the cats’ food but it has far too much protein for her.
She is feeling more pain in her back and hind legs so we are adjusting her pain medicines, there is some risk to her kidneys but at this point we want to make sure the remainder of her life is as happy as it can be. It seems to be helping, this morning she went on a 0.75 mile walk and kept a good pace the entire time, yesterday she went 1.17 miles! With the heat we don’t take her on evening walks but even in Portland it was getting difficult, I could only get her to go to the park and then she’d want to go straight home.
She loves sleeping both in her dog beds and on the tile floors although the tile is proving a bit slippery, we’re getting some booties that will give her more grip. Her attitude is one of joy as it always has been. Her hearing has been going for a while now, when I came home yesterday she didn’t hear me even as I walked up behind her but she happily greeted me when I rubbed her floppy ears.
Before we left for Arizona I wanted one more picture of Ellie at the dog park at Irving Park, the first stop on all our walks, and this lovely spring morning gave me the perfect opportunity with the trees blooming behind her. Ellie had many dog admirers, a handful who absolutely adored her, fortunately I had a chance to talk with all of their owners before we left so they wouldn’t assume the worst when our elderly pup suddenly stopped showing up at the park.
I took many pictures of Sam sleeping atop the cat tree over the years and only through the greatest restraint have I avoided sharing each and every one of them with you. It is the day this picture was taken that packs the emotional punch for me, two days before the movers were to pack our things and load them onto a truck, three days before we would leave for Arizona, five days before we would arrive. He knew something was up but he had no idea how much I was about to upend his world.
A simple picture of Sam sitting in a chair with his name writ large on his collar. But I know the chair was in my office because the junk haulers took away my old couch that morning and I brought down my old chair from our bedroom, a chair we bought when we moved into the house and which served me well for many years (and serves us well even now). It was a delight to photograph Sam in it as it reminded me of when Templeton loved to sleep there, especially after he lured me out of it so he could steal my spot. The collar though he and the other cats only had to wear in the days leading up to the move, and during, and after, in case they got loose during the confusion.
Thankfully they did not. This story ends in joy not tragedy.
A picture of Sam sleeping on the bed, I took many of those too, but it was only our bed for a night as this was the hotel in California on our first night, the in-between place in the in-between time. A reminder of a long trip, especially for the little ones, but a reminder too that as long as we were together we would be all right.
A quick picture of Ellie that I snapped after we arrived at our rental house in Arizona at the end of March. The house will be home for a year, Arizona for much longer, and I am so thankful we found the house and that our lovely landlords accepted all the pets. All of the hiking and swimming has been great for me, I’m in the best shape I’ve been for a long time. The one story house has been great for Ellie as she can now follow us everywhere we go. As for Sam, well, our little snuggler has been putting on weight as he no longer has to go to the basement to use the litter box, the main floor to hang out in my office, and upstairs to join us at night. He’s getting a reduction in food to slowly bring his weight back down. Trixie and Boo are doing just fine, they love watching the wildlife in our back yard.