Coffee heat rising

YOUR DOG IS NOT YOUR KID! The fur-baby syndrome

Honestly. What IS the matter with people?

This morning’s doggy-walk devolved into another Trip Devoted to Hassles. At this time of year, a day very quickly gets hot. So all the dog-lovers are out by 5:00 or 5:30, traipsing around the park and up and down every street adjacent to the park. This would be charming (as long as you watch your step and don’t have a lawn that invites doggy toiletry), if only people would be just a little smarter about dogs. If only the idiots would keep their dogs under control. If only they wouldn’t assume you’re out there so that your dog can “play” with their dog.

Ruby is poorly leash-trained, because the minute I got her, I landed in the Mayo Hospital getting both boobs lobbed off. So she never has been adequately leash-trained. She’s fine as long as no one else is around, but let someone come trotting up with their “fur-baby” and she has a lunging frenzy,.

If you say something like “please keep your dog under control,” the idiots simper and go ohhhh don’t worry! They just want to pla-a-a-a-y!

Well. No. They don’t just want to pl-a-a-a-a-y. My dog wants to clear the earth of mutts like yours, stupid!

Seriously…what does possess people to come bounding up to a stranger and let their dog have at your dog?

Part of the problem, IMHO, is the idiotic “fur-baby” trope.

Jayzus! Talk about stupid!

Your dog is not your “fur-baby.” It is not your child. It is a highly evolved wolf. It can be regarded as part of your family only if your family is regarded as a pack, like unto a dog pack or a wolf pack.

That latter bit sounds promising, until you consider that dogs are not humans, humans are not dogs, and canine social structure is only superficially similar to human social structure.

The fact that those two social structures are vaguely similar makes it possible for dogs to live with humans, for humans to live with dogs, and for the residents to empathize with each other. But it does NOT make a dog the same as a human child, or a child the same as a dog.

This morning Ruby and I got out the door at exactly the wrong moment: 5:30 a.m. sharp. From the git-go, everywhere we looked, here came some chucklehead with a dog towing them down the street. In several cases, the dogs were off-leash. One guy had three dogs with him, nary a one on the legally mandated lead. At the park itself, people’s dogs were running around loose all over the place.

To avoid confrontation, we had to walk by on the far side of the street. This is a road that has no sidewalks in front of the houses facing the park. So either we climb up onto people’s lawns and tromp on their grass, or we risk life and limb to walk along that stretch of asphalt.

Finally we reach our corner of the ‘Hood and turn up our street. There, what do we encounter but a guy with one dog on a lead AND a guy with THREE dogs romping around off-leash!


  • We’re not in the park
  • We’re not in anyone’s yard.
  • We’re on a public sidewalk running along a street where most people drive around 40 mph, out of not-payin’-any-attention habit.

What IS the matter with people?

Covid and Our Pets: How scared, really, should we be?

Got a referral to a pool guy who cleans tiles — mine now being encrusted with lime. When he learned that I’ve tested positive for the Dread Disease, he announced that he wouldn’t come anywhere near the place.

This, frankly, seems reasonable, especially if you have a pre-existing condition of one sort or another.

But his moment of terror led me to wonder…how scared, really, should we be of catching Covid from our livestock?

And…can I give Covid to Ruby? Can she give it to me…or to other humans?

Well, the obvious answer is that this is a damned uncomfortable ailment, even in its milder form, which apparently is what I’m enjoying just now. So, yes: it does behoove us to avoid discomfort — of any kind, particularly of the variety that lays you out in bed.


The truth is…it would appear that unless you’re elderly or you have a pre-existing condition, the bug is unlikely to kill you. And it also would appear that yes, contagion between humans and dogs and between dogs and humans is not only possible but fairly common.

Here’s our source:

Anna Csiszar, et al. “Companion animals likely do not spread COVID-19 but may get infected themselves.” 2020 Oct; 42(5): 1229–1236. Published online 2020 Aug 7. doi: 10.1007/s11357-020-00248-3

These authors find that domestic pets, even in First-World countries, are vectors of the disease. However, they regard the risk as rather low: “”Actually, there is no evidence for a single case of pet to human transmission to date.” (Bear in mind the article’s publication date, though.)

More currently, the CDC tells us that

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals during close contact.
  • The risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is low.
  • Pets can get serious illness from infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, but this is extremely rare.

Hmm… Okay. Even though we’re advised not to let our critters sleep on the bed with us (hah! Good luck with that!!), the chance of a dog or cat catching the bug from us exists but is low; serious Covid illness in your pets is unlikely.



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I can hardly wait…

Welp…in the few minutes that I’ve been sitting here (very few), I don’t see any differences. It all looks the same and works the same.

That doesn’t mean that it won’t change, before we know it, make a great leap forward.

Nice timing, guys! When people are sick as dawgs and can barely think clearly enough to make their way from the bedroom to the bathroom…

Man, covid is grand fun. I haven’t been this sick since I was a very little kid.

As a young child, I was preternaturally susceptible to respiratory infections and to certain meds. If you believe my mother, I spent time in the ICU, and at one point was not expected to live through the night.

This became convenient for me, actually. Come the second grade, when I discovered how deeply I hated school and how VERY much I didn’t want to go there, I learned to take advantage of her fear by claiming to be sick. The “my tummy hurts” maneuver almost invariably got me out of the horrid place. 😀

LOL! This particular ailment, though, is no ruse.

The cough is so violent it tears up your throat as you hack away.


Along about 7 a.m., I dish up a mound of dogfood roll for Ruby, her favorite stuff. Set it down in front of her…and she refuses to eat it!

She’s a corgi, for godsake. Corgis do NOT have picky appetites.

Break open a can of the mushy stuff she likes.

Turns up her nose at that, too.

Oh GOD!  Can dogs get the dread disease?????


Yes. Holy shee-ut!

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals during close contact.
  • The risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is low.
  • Pets can get serious illness from infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, but this is extremely rare.

At the rate I’ve been going lately, “extremely rare” is another way of saying “commonplace.” She sleeps on the bed with me, so “close contact” I guess is included in that.

Ohhh gawd! Now I’ll have to get on the phone to the vet the instant the clock hits 9 a.m. And make a 30-minute drive to his office when I feel like a limp rag. And of course he won’t let me in the building, since I’m shedding viruses like sawdust.

…hmmmm…  She’s in the kitchen now…think she’s eating, but am not barging in there to disturb her. But…this reluctance to eat is NOT normal.

In other precincts…

Wanna live in Phoenix? Here’s a garden spot for you.

It’s at least 50 or 60 years old. Bordered by two of the noisiest streets in the city. Devoid of landscaping. All spiffed up on the inside, in the latest shades of prison-gray paint. A hot plate for a stove.

They want half a million bucks for it!

For the luvva gawd, that is just INSANE. And we’re told real estate prices are coming down!

Nope. Dawg was not eating.

ooohhh gawd…now as soon as the clock hits 9:00, I’ll have to start getting through to the vet.


Dog Back; Human Unraveled

Whew! WHAT a Day from Hell!

If you’re ever (un)fortunate enough to land in (un)lovely Phoenix, remember this survival tip: never, EVER drive around this exquisite city in the rush hour. And bear in mind that evening rush hour extends from about 3 p.m. to something after 6 p.m. Morning? Make it 7 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. At least.

Y’know, I hated living in Southern California: crowded, crass, ego-driven, ticky-tacky junky dumps every which way you turned. Shopping was annoying, time-wasting, and often fruitless. People were so focused on themselves they didn’t even notice the other humans around them. Driving was a horrid, hectic, miserable hassle. Neighborhoods were bland, faceless grody collections of ticky-tacky apartments and cheaply built houses.

Chez Pitz.

Welp. Gotta say: I feel approximately the same about this place. The only difference between Phoenix and unlovely Long Beach is that Phoenix gets one helluva lot hotter in the summertime. In all other respects, the two garden spots echo each other when it comes to the…uhm…graces of living. Dump A and Dump B: one smeared up and down the Pacific Coast, the other oozing across the Sonoran Desert.

Started out the day perusing real estate online, briefly. Just in the past few months, housing prices have exploded.

We have, for example, this garden spot. The place is smaller than my house. Jammed closer to the neighbors. And when you come down to it, situated in a neighborhood that’s about the same as mine in terms of quality, economics, social class, and crime rates. The thing is on the market for a good $200,000 more than my place is worth (Zillow claims my house is worth $540,500…and here I thought I paid way too much at 235 grand…). That would be because it’s located in darkest Arcadia, rather than on the top end of North Central. It’s been on the market for two hundred and sixteen days and still hasn’t sold.

That, I would offer, suggests the asking price is WAY too high.

First thing this morning it was off to the vet’s, there to get her smelly teeth worked on. The vet is way to Hell & Gone over in the Arcadia Lite district, a good 30-minute drive under the best of conditions. Make it 40 to 50 minutes in the accursed rush hour.

Leave the poor terrorized little dog there. Traipse back home, still navigating the horrific morning rush-hour traffic, and mope around all day in the absence of my furry friend. Worry, worry, and worry some more about a) the state of the pooch’s health and b) the staggering amount I figure Dr. Bracken is going to charge for yanking rotten teeth and scraping the rest of them clean, presumably under full anaesthetic.

Back at the Funny Farm, wrestle with the finances, wrestle with the busted garage door, wrestle with the pool, fart around fart around fart around fart around. Study real estate ads, thinking…really…I do need to get away from the accursed Tony situation. Calculate how I could buy a new house without cluing the bastard to where I’ve moved. Not difficult, really. 😉

Waste an inordinate amount of time on these and similar ventures.

Along about mid-day, call — yes, I can come get the dog.

Back into the traffic, this time plugging into the early afternoon rush hour (wherever you need to turn left, you can’t!). Drive and drive and drive and drive and…and…huh?

OVERSHOOT the street where the vet’s office resides.


Now I’m LOST in darkest Arcadia.

Drive around drive around drive around drive around…can NOT FIND HIS STREET!

Pull into a parking lot, walk into a business, and ask them if they know where Meadowbrook (his street) is. They do not. They pull out a cell phone, look it up, and decide I prob’ly passed it some blocks to the north. This: puzzling, since their phone seems to be showing the map in an east-west layout.

Drive around drive around drive around drive around…STILL cannot find his street!

This is weird, because I’ve been going to this vet for a good 20 years (with a hiatus or three) and yes, I DO know where Meadowbrook Drive is.

Go into another shop. This place is close enough that the clerk can say…oh, yeah: it’s three streets up that way.

Drive around drive around…FINALLY find the vet’s place.

All this driving around is happening as the afternoon oozes on and the traffic thickens. And thickens. And thickens.

Retrieve the little dog. Staff tells me not to feed her and not to let her drink too much water.

Right. Don’t know much about corgis, do ya?

Amazingly, though…unlike the avaricious vet here in our part of town, the one who proposed to extract several of Ruby’s teeth, to the tune of something over a thousand bucks, Dr. Bracken has not yanked out even ONE of Ruby’s fangs…all of which are now shiny and white.

Drive and drive and drive and drive and drive, the better part of 45 minutes: through heavier and heavier traffic, dodging up side routes I happen to know about, admiring the very expensive and fancy real estate in Paradise Valley (is there any way I could afford one of these palaces?), scrabbling past a couple of chronically congested intersections…at last, make it into the ‘Hood.

Get the dog out of the car. She is PARCHED. Let her drink some water but try to keep her from drowning in it. Not an easy task.

Refrain from feeding the dog. Piss off the dog.

Reheat some left-over grocery-store pasta…bolt that down. Yech. Why DO Americans eat this stuff?

Reflect on how horrible Southern California was as a place to live in the late 1950s, early 1960s. Reflect on how much lovely Phoenix has come to resemble that scene. Want to go someplace else.

Anywhere else.

Looking Forward (NOT!) to Another Lovely Day in Uptown Phoenix

Ugh! This is gonna be a horrible day.

Up, as usual, at 2 in the morning with old-lady insomnia. Kinda sorta got back to sleep, dozing lightly on and off, around 4 a.m. Then up at 6 a.m. to drive the Ruby the Corgi to the vet, there to have her teeth (expensively!) cleaned. Have to leave here around 7 to get there “between 8 and 9.”

This guy is the best vet in town, IMHO. If anyone will do her teeth without ripping me off, this guy will. But…



Her teeth stink, indicating she has a gum infection. Her mouth is so narrow, it’s impossible for me to use the contraptions they’d like one to use to clean a dog’s teeth. So yes. Her teeth no doubt are very dirty. Yes. To clean her teeth you have to anesthetize her to knock her out, a spectacularly expensive step that is just Step 1. And yes. He no doubt will have to pull out some of her teeth. So yes. This is going to be a bank-busting day.

La Maya and La Bethulia have a pair of mini-dachshunds. That breed also has a long, narrow muzzle…just like a corgi’s. The “long narrow” part is the operative issue. The mouth is so small and so tight, you can’t get a gadget in there to clean the dog’s teeth…especially not when the dog puts up the Fight from Hell every time you try.

I had stopped taking Ruby to Dr. Bracken (best vet in town) because his office is in the Arcadia district — a LONG way from the crime-ridden fringe of Sunnyslop, where we live. It’s an unpleasant drive under the best of circumstances. But during the rush hour? Ohhhhhh gawd!

To get there requires turning left out of the ‘Hood onto a main or semi-main drag. But Our Honored City Parents have set up all the major north-south routes out of here so that YOU CAN’T TURN LEFT DURING THE RUSH HOUR!

So, before I even reach the Arcadia district (where you may be sure that once again I’ll get lost), I’ll have to drive around and around and around and around Robin Hood’s Barn just to turn east in his direction.

Yes. To turn east out of the’Hood, you have to turn right, then turn right again, then turn right a fourth time. You have to overshoot the main drag that you need travel on. Go down to the next through street. Turn in the opposite direction from the way you need to travel. Then at the next main drag turn right in the direction from which you came. Then turn right onto the first north/south road. Then turn right again onto the desired main drag. Once you’re headed eastward, then you just sit back and drive and drive and curse and drive and drive.

It’s a bitch of a process, and not one I’m looking forward to.

If I have to pick her up at any time after 4 p.m. (i.e., during the afternoon rush hour), I’ll have to repeat the process.

And THAT is why I quit going to Dr. B. and hooked up with La Maya’s vet.

Well. Every time those women took their dachshunds to that vet, the woman was wanting to knock them out and clean their teeth. And every time she cleaned their teeth, she extracted some more teeth. And every time she did that, she presented them with a thousand-dollar bill!

No kidding. Every time you turned around, it seemed, La Maya was getting another thousand-dollar hit upside the head from that woman.

Fine when you both have decently paying jobs.

I, however, am now “retired”: another term for “unemployed.”  And I can NOT afford bills like that. So, as I will explain to Dr. B when I see him this morning, locking me into a cycle like that is going to mean I’ll have to put Ruby to sleep.

And that, I do NOT want to do.

So one of the highlights of this horrible day is going to be BEGGING him not to bankrupt me with the doggy dental gambit. And of course since vets have their own bills to pay, I’m not gonna get far with that.

Welp…it’s getting late. Better get up and start getting ready for the Endless Drive…

Whatever can go wrong…

STOP THE WORLD! I wanna get off, and get back on in about 1947.

Holy mackerel! Whatever CAN go wrong WILL go wrong. Whoever made up that hoary saying must have been living my life in a previous incarnation.

Greeted the sun this morning by finding a hard thing in my mouth. Whaaaaa???

It’s part of a tooth. A back molar simply fell apart.

So now in half an hour, when the dentist’s office opens, I’ll have to call and make an appointment to get THAT fixed, no doubt to the tune of a great deal MORE hassle, expense, and painandsuffering.

Meanwhile, I’m supposed to spend the afternoon at the church office, staffing the front desk. How I’m gonna do that and sit in a dentist’s chair at the same time escapes me. But we’ll deal with that when the need arises. I guess.

At 9 a.m. — less than half an hour — I need to surface at Leslie’s Pool Supply, therein to get them to test the water and sell me the chemicals needed to rebalance the chemicals.

Pool Dude was here yesterday — while I was traipsing from pillar to post around the Valley — Dermatologist in Avondale, then hours at the downtown credit union, then up the moribund Target on 19th Avenue, therein to buy some area rugs so that my son’s dog can walk around on the tiles without falling over (he’s old and weak and his feet slide out from under him when he tries to walk on tiles — and my whole house is tiled).

The Target folks insist they’re just remodeling, even though it’s hilariously obvious that they’re selling off merchandise with intent to close down the store. If they admitted that the location is going out of business, of course, they’d have to clear out the junk with a sale. As it was, I realized that Charley does not need fancy rugs; all he needs is the rubbery stuff you lay down underneath them, which give him plenty of traction to move around. Poor old pooch.

Dermatologist removed more suspicious growths. Reported that none of the last crop had turned to cancer. Yet. I remarked on my one-time best friend’s brother-in-law, a healthy and athletic man who, I recently learned, died of skin cancer — malignant melanoma.

More than one of which I’ve enjoyed meself.

At the credit union, I explained to the extremely nifty dude that I can’t get into my account. We dorked around and dorked around, changing my password. As it develops, these days to change a bank password you have to have a cell phone!

Fortunately, I’d brought the useless iPhone my son gave me — useless because with the plague, the senior center nearby shut down its iPhone class, because Apple’s “class” was a sadistic joke (more so for the alleged instructor than for the customers), because I do not know how to get into it, because…on and on. We were able to fire it up and use it to reset the bank’s password. Now all we have to do is get me into my account there.

With one headache and crisis after another since then, though, I haven’t had time to attempt that trick.

This morning will be consumed with dealing with the swimming pool. When I left for the dermatologist trek — before Pool Dude surfaced — the walls were festooned with fresh algae. I left a check in an envelope for him and flew out the door.

When I got home, I found the empty envelope on the pavement near the pool and the pool’s walls festooned with fresh algae.

Tested water…chemical balance seemed OK — good enough for gummint work, anyway. But decided I should take a bottle of it up to Leslie’s for a full array of tests, and while there try to snab some granulated chlorine.

The chlorine shortage continues — kicked off by a fire that leveled the factory of the major US producer, a year or so ago, and dragged out by political correctness (chlorine being bad for you, after all). So I’m going to have to pay through the wazoo to re-fill my pool supply kit…I’m down to something like two three-inch tabs. Eventually I’ll probably have to re-plumb and install one of those salt-water systems, which will cost an arm and a leg. As I recall, it didn’t do that great a job on La Maya and La Bethulia’s pool. But…I guess if we can’t buy chlorine anymore, we’ll have to take what we can get.

Come four o’clock this morning, good old Cox’s phones were down. Come five o’clock: same. Come six o’clock: same. It finally came back online. Fortunately, I’ve learned to use the iPhone just enough to get into my email and to also onto the Web to check what time Leslie’s opens.

Speaking of the which, it’s ten till. Sooo…off and running!