Ten Minutes

Our dog Ellie rests on the tile near our front door with her tongue sticking slightly out in our rental house in Scottsdale, Arizona

I was too tired to get up early for hiking this morning which meant I could take Ellie for her morning walk instead. The walks are only 10 minutes long these days but I treasure every minute. I was thinking as we walked about how one silver lining of getting laid off last year was getting to walk her every morning while she was still able. She still greets me with joy when I get up in the morning and when I come home from work or hiking, her body is aging but her spirit is ever young. She wasn’t sleeping with her tongue out, I caught her as she was about to lick her nose.

A Little Overwhelmed

Our kitten Boo lies down on the kitchen tile as he gets a little overwhelmed on his first access to the full house

Boo in 2013 on the day we gave him his first free reign of the house. He’d flop over in the kitchen when he got a little overwhelmed, close to the basement where he could retreat to a more comfortable place. He rose to half-alert with his eyes fully focused on Emma, our oldest cat who was not happy about his arrival. At this stage we only gave him limited time in the full house as he still needed to work on his confidence.

Our kitten sits up as he looks at our cat Emma (off screen), who was not happy about his arrival


Our dog Ellie lies on the tile with dog shoes on all four paws, the soles are made of Vibram like my hiking shoes

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.


Our elderly black lab Ellie sleeps on the tile floor of our house in Scottsdale, Arizona

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.

Every day a blessing.


Our dog Ellie rests on tile in front of the sliding glass door of our rental house in March 2018

We are home even if it doesn’t yet feel like it. We arrived at our rental house in Arizona in the late afternoon, the pets are a little stressed but did well all things considered. Ellie has adapted the quickest, here resting on the tile near the backyard door. You can’t see it from this angle but there’s a big pool behind her and some citrus trees further back. A rabbit ran out of the bushes when we arrived and four Gambel’s quail sauntered through the backyard right after sunset, a nice welcome. Thankfully I have tomorrow to recuperate as I am wiped out, on Monday I start the new job.

Good News

A close-up of our dog Ellie lying on the kitchen tile with her ears raised and wiggling, taken in July 2013

I took Ellie in for an ultrasound yesterday as the protein count in her urine has been on the high side. Thankfully everything looked good on her test, the vet even commented on how nice it was to be able to deliver good news for such a sweet dog. The protein levels are just below the need to treat them, so for now we’ll continue to monitor and start treatment if necessary. She had to get her belly shaved for the ultrasound but I haven’t done my duty and take embarrassing pictures of her, this one is from a year ago on the day I got my first mirrorless camera.