Coffee heat rising

Wow! The Rip-off of the Day

Tell me I’m doing the math wrong….please!  This simply can’t be right!

So M’jihito has taken off for a road trip across the country with his lifelong pal, who lives in Pennsylvania and has come down with a very probably terminal cancer. This is Dear Pal’s “bucket trip,” they say: a road trip from his home in PA, across the country, through the Midwest, over the Rockies, into California, and back.

M’jihito left his ancient golden retriever, Charley, with me, to be babysat until he gets back.

Charley has some painful health problems. One of them is bad joints — hips, shoulder, probably back. He’s pretty well crippled up.

I can empathize, because now that I’m old, I’m enjoying the same phenomena. And I’ll tellya: the hips hurt so much I can hardly stand upright.

But the most bothersome of his ailments, where the human is concerned, is vomiting. He barfs several times a day.

So Charley takes a turn for the worse. After consulting with M’jito, I call his veterinarian.

Over the phone, they urge me to buy a drug called “Cerenia,” which they assure me will ease his barfing. It’s available at a site called Chewy.

Yea,verily, here ’tis.

Can I possibly be understanding this correctly? $21 for four tablets. Plus another $20 for shipping.

Studying the ad…apparently that is correct.

What. An. Incredible. Rip-off!!!

Who the hell can afford something like that?

The veterinary in question is located in an upscale area — basically in Scottsdale. Certainly close enough to north Scottsdale to serve those tony regions.

Guess rich people don’t care if they’re ripped off.

Over to Amazon to see what a search for “Cerenia” brings up over there.

First though, we stop at The stuff is marketed for dogs only, not for use in humans. This would mean, I expect, that it hasn’t been fully tested. Apparently it’s intended for use as a motion-sickness drug.

Charley is not suffering from motion sickness. Now, an anti-nausea drug might help him…but if his human goes bankrupt, the upshot will not be desirable.

Amazon doesn’t carry it at all, unless there’s a generic name for the drug I’m not finding.  Search for Cerenia brings up this stuff. It’s a homeopathic nostrum. Fifteen bucks. Does not contain Maropitant Citrate…which probably means it doesn’t contain much of anything.

I forget that my son wants me to feed this dog EIGHT TIMES A DAY. It’s after 3:00 and he’s only been fed twice. Dish up a quarter-cup of kibble. Offer it up.


He refuses to eat it.

Ruby tries to grab it — she eats half the dishful before I trot back into the room and catch her in the act.

He may be hunger-barfing, then. Because I’m not feeding him enough. Because my memory is shot and I just plain don’t remember to drop everything and wrestle with yet another feeding. (Eight dog-food wrestling matches a day!)

Ruby is sneaking back up on the dish as we scribble…figures if she loops around the back, she can close in from behind and grab the chow. 😀

F*ck this!

I’m gonna try some canned food. Otherwise the dog is gonna starve. No wonder he barfs all the time!




Topped the dog-repelling kibble with a spoonful of canned mushy dog food, and voilà! He scarfed it right down!

Let’s see what happens next. Give it an hour, and then if he hasn’t woofed it up by then, I’ll heave out into the rush-hour traffic (wheee!!), drive on down to AJ’s, and buy some more of that stuff.

uh HUH!

Gut instinct, borne of heaven knows how many dawgs that have ordered me around over the decades, tells me that he’s hunger-barfing.

He’s not barfing because something is wrong with his digestive system. Or with any other system.

No, indeed.

He’s hunger-barfing: woofing-up because there’s not enough food in his gut. Dogs do that. It’s part of being a dog.

It’s not gonna hurt anything for my larder to stock a few cans of dog food. Ruby can eat it, if we find that it’s truly not good for Charley.

But…he’s flopped down on his mat and gone to sleep. The frantic panting has stopped.

Well…no…it just started up again. That’s a sign of pain, or of overheating. In this unholy summer weather, then, it could be either one. It’s overcast, humid, and hotter than Hell outside. Not that hot in the house, though, so probably the panting indicates the former variety of discomfort.

Matter of fact, I think I’m gonna go right now, before the rush-hour traffic seriously ramps up. He’s not barfing. And…well, I hope that if he does barf he’ll leave enough sign that I’ll spot it. He tends to lap it back up, which is why I want to sit here and see what happens.

Hmmmm, no. We have plenty of canned food for tonight and tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning I have to drive to the Mayo, a gawdawful long haul. There’s a HUGE Fry’s right on the way home. Dollars to donuts they’ll have this stuff. And if they don’t, I can swing down to the AJ’s — out of the way, but the 10:00 a.m. appointment will keep me out of the rush hour.

Minutes and minutes have gone by.

He’s dozed off.



What that is telling me is that what’s been making him barf is that expensive kibble.

Back awake: huffing and puffing again.

My theory (such as it is!) is that he hyperventilates because he’s in pain. We know his hips are bad. So they probably hurt — mine sure has hell do.

So…what if the frantic panting is not from gut pain or upset, but from something else: hip pain?  What if he’s barfing because of the stuff we’ve been feeding him — largely expensive kibble — and not from some pathological condition?

Great theory, ain’t it?

But I kinda doubt it.

Whatever can go wrong…

WILL go wrong!

Somehow, WordPress deleted the post I was writing, when I took time out to clean up another puddle of dog barf. I can’t …remember what I was saying, presumably because the constant interruptions disrupt what little cognition I have left.

Oh, sh!t… Now he’s getting ready to barf again.

Poor old dog!

Yes. Out to lunch with my friend VickyC. She’s very concerned about the memory/cognition issue, and urges me to hire someone to come in to my home and ride herd.

It may come to that. Honestly, sometimes I can’t recall things that happened a few minutes ago.

Have an appointment on the 13th at the Mayo with a new doc whom I think they intend to be my new GP. I hope so…happy to give someone new a try. I never have much cared for the doctor they foisted on me after the beloved Dr. Daley retired — he whom I followed to the Mayo the instant they opened.

Charley the Golden Retriever is very much off his feed…he seems to be getting sicker and sicker. If he still won’t eat tomorrow, I’ll have to try to get him to a vet. Problem is…he weighs 80 pounds! I can’t even begin to lift him into the car.

There are some mobile vets here in town…but by and large they’re executioners. Not feeling very comfortable at the prospect of inviting one of those over here.


Shortly after sunset…

Poor old fella is obviously in pain. He huffs and puffs and huffs and puffs… Finally got him to lay down on a thickly padded doggy bed here in the bedroom. Now he seems more comfortable. He’s quieted a bit, anyway.

Not one chance in Hell that the human is going to get much sleep.

Lordie! Make it stop!!!

4:00 a.m.

Charley, my son’s crippled, superannuated dog who is staying here while his human bucket(-list)s around the country with his terminally ill buddy, is up and stumbling around.

His nest has been in the family room, which is a sunken room (very stylish when this house was built) down two steps. Problem is, he can’t negotiate even two steps.

He woke up barking, rousted me out of bed about 20 minutes ago. Needed to go out, apparently.

This entails my having to haul him up off the floor, because he can no longer stand up by himself.

Understand: he weighs 80 pounds.

Poor old fella!

Now he was stuck on the floor. He couldn’t get himself upright.

I began to think I was going to have to call the fire department by way of getting some strong men over here.

FINALLY he managed to get enough traction to stand up.

Out into the backyard.

… ohhhh gawd, what am i gunna do if he gets stuck out there?
… ohhhh gawd, what if a coyote comes over that wall?
… ohhhh gawd, how’m i gunna get enough water to him and, if he can’t stand up,
into him to keep him alive until I can get someone over here to help?

Back into the house. Back on the slippery tile floors.

Can’t let him go back into the family room…I’ll never get him outta there.

Grab the dining-room chairs, tip them on their sides, and barricade the ledge between the family room and the dining room/kitchen area.

Holeeee shee-ut!

Move his stuff into the dining room.

Now he’s in here (so am I, tapping away on the computer) and laying on his bed but partly off the bed…yeah, the part that presumably hurts is laying on the hard tile floor… I’m so upset I can’t even think about going back to sleep.

All of this drama in about 25 minutes…wheee!

This is what happens when you outlive your life.

Say a prayer, my friends:

God, please let me go
When it’s time for me to go…

My great-grandmother and her daughter, my great-aunt, each lived far beyond their time. Gree — great-grandmother — was well into her 90s when she passed…in the night after she had prepared a Christmas feast for 15 people and then cleaned up after it and mopped the kitchen floor. Her daughter Gertrude, who held onto her job as executive secretary to the president of a large international bank in San Francisco until they had to order her to retire, was similarly superannuated when she died. Around a hundred years old…her son having to take care of her for several years before the end.

Understand: they were Christian Scientists. They never, ever saw a doctor!

My mother smoked herself to death. Murdered by the tobacco companies. No telling how long she would have lived if it hadn’t been for the profit-making cancer sticks. She turned 65 on the day she died.

Ohh my gawd. Now Charley is back up. He wants to get back into the sunken family room, whence he can’t get out…. Now he’s standing there, panting miserably. It’s 4:30 a.m. sharp. And…he’s headed for the back door, meaning ANOTHER wrestling match to get him back in the house.


Back into the house HUFFA HUFFA HUFFA HUFFA steam-engine serenade.

The switch to the light in the side yard is busted. I can’t turn the goddamn light off.

Guess that’s better than not being able to turn it on. But now I’ll have to shell out another $75 or $100 (plus parts) to get the electrician over here to fix it.


Finally ensconced back on his bed.

Human stumbles toward her bed.

Ruby, who has been cowering under the toilet, emerges from her hideaway.

{sigh} Now it’s quarter to five. Wonder if I could get another half-hour of sleep in?

oh HELL!

I hear his claws clicking on the tile out there. He must be up again.

Welp. I guess that’s the end of sleeping tonight. Good thing I crashed in exhaustion around 8 or 9 last night….


Now he’s ensconced on his bed back here next to my bed.

When he breathes, he goes HUFFA PUFFA PUFFA HUFFA, a lovely lullaby.

ohhhhhh shit!!!!

He’s just settled down and now he’s up again HUFFA PUFFA PUFFA HUFFA…. Circle around circle around circle around doggy-dance…now he’s back down on his bed. Will he PUHLEEZE settle down enough for me to get another 20 minutes of z’s in?

Poor beast…

Settle down? Not a chance in Hell!

Up. Traipse up the hall into the kitchen. Guzzle water. Stumble around stumble around stumble around stumble around. Decide to go back to nest in living room.

Human loses patience.

Dog ensconced in living-room nest. Lights out.

Good Morning, America!

Midnight: Weird noise outside.

What?  Pool equipment run amok? Air conditioner on the fritz? Juvenile delinquents frolicking?

Stumble outside. Cop copter is circling over the intersection of a neighborhood lane and Conduit of Blight Blvd. He flies up this way, then doubles back. Ugh.

Why DO I live in Crime Central, anyway?

Climb back into bed.

Dog wants out. Wouldn’tcha know it?

Lift dog out of bed. Follow her to the backyard.

* Cop copter is already gone. That’s somethin’, anyway.
* Wait for the dog to do her thing. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.
* Neighbor’s AC is making the weird noise. Sounds like an expensive fix.
* Motion-sensitive backyard light is losing motion sensitivity. Does it just need a new lightbulb, or is that another expensive fix?

“Come ON, dawg!!”

*Scrabble scrabble scrabble scrabble…. Dog digs up quarter-minus.

Stumble back in the house. Lift dog back onto the bed.


Dog’s stomach is growling dramatically. Why did I imagine I wuz gonna get back to sleep?

Fed her…when? Around 6 p.m.

Helle’s belles. That was seven hours ago!

Do I really have to get up at 1:00 in the morning and feed the dog? And then let her out into the crime-infested night again?


Colonel, the Great Dane, and the Little Boy

Did I ever tell this story here? Don’t recall…so am gonna self-plagiarize from today’s Quora post:


Q: Do German shepherds make good guard dogs for homes and families with children?

Ohhhhh my goodness. If you have to ask this question, you’ve never known a GerShep. Lemme tellya:

First off, Greta the German shepherd, a mellow and laid-back beast who came to live with us after her humans divorced, saved my son from serious injury and probably permanent disability or even death. Long story short, we were ambling up the sidewalk with a neighbor’s 90-pound pooch, the not-very-redoubtable Colonel.

Colonel was leading the way, about 15 or 20 feet ahead of me, with my two-year-old son toddling along after him holding onto his tail. (Yes: Colonel was extremely mellow.) I was ambling along after Colonel, and Greta was bringing up the rear, sniffing the flowers as she ambled even more slowly.

The house on the corner had a wall around the backyard that extended up the side of the lot, running parallel to the sidewalk along the street, approaching us at right angles. In other words, our party is coming up a corner: a house and a wall are blocking our view of anything or anyone approaching us from our left.

All of a sudden, out from behind this wall comes a nubile young woman jogging up the street behind a great Dane, which she has on a leash.

When the kid sees the Dane, the likes of which he has never gazed upon in his short lifetime, he explodes in joy and excitement. He goes QUEEEEKEEEE QUEEEEKEEE QUEEEEKEEE!! at the top of his little-kid voice, drops Colonel’s tail, and runs straight at the enormous dog.

The Dane — quite reasonably, in the doggish context — sees this as an attack on its human. It lunges to her defense and RIGHT NOW has his head inside its maw.

I run after him — I’m a good 20 feet behind him and Colonel.

Colonel runs off in terror.

I lunge to try to catch him. Get my fingers on his little shirt, but he manages to jerk away before I get a good grip and continues to charge the Dane…right into the dog’s fangs.

Holeee ess-aitch-ai!!! At this point I think my baby is dead! if he isn’t killed, he might as well be!

And then a streak appears at my right side, about waist-high.

It’s Greta. And she’s airborne!

She literally flies up the sidewalk beside me and launches herself straight onto the Dane, which is half-again as big as she is.

The Dane’s human struggles and then dodges out of way as the two beasts tumble to the ground, fighting.

I grab my kid and pull him out from under the two falling dogs.

Now the Dane has Greta down, and I think omigod, this is IT for Greta.

All of a sudden, just as the animal is going for Greta’s throat, if collapses.

No kidding: it falls to the pavement, unconscious.


The young woman has hauled on its leash so hard, it choked off the dog’s air and the beast passed out, falling right on top of Greta.

Greta gets up and repairs to my side. Colonel is nowhere to be seen. My son is still on his feet, incredibly enough.

Just about speechless, I choke out “I’m so sorry!!!”

She says — no kidding, these ARE her words:  “That’s all right. It happens all the time.”


Greta put her life on the line for that little boy. And it wasn’t the last time she put herself between her humans and very serious harm.


Quick (HOT) Trip to the Park…

A crisp 99 degrees at 7:30 this morning. But this balmy figure was besmirched by the humidity: almost 30%. Yeah: that’s thirty percent.

Ruby and I set out for the requisite doggy-walk around 5:30 or 6:00. Hoping the park would be free of its usual dog-and-human horde, we went in that direction, since she dearly loves to walk around in the park.

And yeah…there were fewer people. BUT the usual morons who ignore the law were there chasing their dogs around off-lead.

What is it about a sign that reads


that’s hard to understand?

And do people who feel entitled to ignore that law (it’s a county-wide leash LAW, not a local park rule) seriously believe that other people and other people’s dogs just loooove to have their pooches come bounding up to them? Is it really possible that NONE of these ninnies has ever landed in the middle of a dog fight? Or are they just too stupid to imagine the scene in the ER when they’re carted in? Or the scene as their dog lays on the ground bleeding out, after someone’s German shepherd gets done with it?

Ruby is fairly harmless, as she weighs only 35 pounds.

But the late, great Anna the Ger-Shep most decidedly was NOT harmless. And…her life’s goal was to rid the earth of other dogs. To that end, she had developed a strategy:

When an idiot’s dog would come bouncing up to her, she would assume a goofy grin. This would cause the idiot to imagine she wanted to play with his dog. No amount of hollering at him to KEEP YOUR DOG BACK! would make a dent on the nitwit’s stupidity. Some of them would reply, “oohhh it’s all right! They just want to playyyyy!”

Yeah. If eviscerating your dog and scattering its guts across the park is “play,” I guess so.

This is why I tend to stay away from the park: it’s a magnet for the Dumb and the Feckless.

But today Ruby was determined to trot over there. Why not? thought I…

Well, we didn’t have any Dog Incidents (despite several nitwits’ off-leash dogs). But my gawd! The HEAT!

It was just too hot to make the full mile’s circuit around the park.

So we walked down to the southwest corner, where the house that the aging owners apparently lost is under construction…and under construction…and under….  They’ve been trying to restore that place for at least a year, and finally have given up. Saw an ad recently that they’re selling it as is.

And “as is” is one, unholy, deconstructed mess. Whoever buys it (if anyone is foolish enough to buy it) is gonna have to tear it down and start over. That will include rebuilding the swimming pool, too.

How you could possibly sell it for enough to cover the repair and reconstruction costs escapes me. It’s right on the corner of an east-west feeder street and a road that goes from the northernmost border of North Central all the way south to the state office building complex. So….commuters in the know who have jobs or business in that complex ride that street all the way south in the morning and all the way north in the evening. You’d be crazy to choose to live in a house on that road! Especially in that specific lot…

I met the son of the couple who own(ed) the place. And I suspect he was a guy with a prison record and so couldn’t get a decent job.

At one point I wanted to hire an arborist. I’d heard about this guy via the neighborhood Facebook page…and it appears that some of the glowing recommends offered there were, uhm…slightly exaggerated. He did an OK job, but — frankly — not great. Gerardo and his boys would’ve done a better job, and Luis certainly could have. But ohhhhh no! Nothing would do but what I had to hire an “expert.”

My suspicion is that the guy was an ex-con who couldn’t get a hired job, and so had to start his own little low-talent “business.” Friend of mine has a son who was (for ridiculous reasons IMHO) clapped in the slam, and he has had one bitch of a challenge getting paying work, now that he’s “paid his debt” to society.

Hey! How hard can it be to trim trees, right?

Well…hard enough to surpass that guy’s skills, that’s for sure.

Presumably, his business went nowhere, and I’d put money on it that the parents’ Social Security and savings weren’t enough to support all three of them, even with a paid-off house.

If it was paid off. They may have had to borrow against it, either to start the guy’s business or, if my speculation is right, to pay his lawyers’ fees and fines.

WhatEVER, they vacated the house, and the contractors who bought it for renovation labored for months and then just gave up. So it’s sad and yet kinda morbidly interesting to walk by there and watch the construction efforts.

My guess is, they’re trying to sell it to someone who will level the building and start over from scratch. Which probably should’ve happened in the first place.