Monday, December 19, 2011


Our sweet Kitty Tulsa passed away 2 nights ago.   He was born in 1994 and ended up at the shelter. When I walked in the door they were actually walking him back to put him down. He had been having seizures. I immediately adopted him and we started running tests to find out what was causing the seizures.. turned out he was reacting to the bleach they used to clean his kennel.

Tulsa grew up thinking he was a dog! He came when he was called, chased balls, and brought them back. When he was young he would collect socks and pile them in a corner in the closet, as he got older and we moved into a house with a basement, he liked to catch cricket spiders and would do horrendous things like remove their legs and put them in a corner and put the bodies in another pile.. I guess he had OCD!  The first time I saw him with a dog he had latched his claws into the back of a German shepherd and was riding him.. or hanging off him!

Tulsa helped us foster mommas and kittens.. and I'm not sure if he was confused or just an amazing helper but he would jump into the momma cat's whelping box and pick up the kittens and take them out one by one to a nest he had built where HE would try and nurse them to give the momma a break.. It never worked but he really thought he was doing a good job and I think the Mommas enjoyed the break. He loved to let the kittens climb all over him and he'd play with them.

Tulsa & Fred
Then we started fostering dogs and Tulsa ... crazy Tulsa would cat train each and every one of them, well except one.. Nala!  Tulsa must have cat tested and trained over 200 dogs during his foster career!  And I will never forget Daisy's Birthday Party!  Daisy was our golden retriever and one year we had a really big birthday part for her, that included 36 dogs (and their people) and one Rabbit - who more or less came across as the streaker in college who runs down the street to see if he'll make it!  This rabbit ran from one end of the back yard to the other right under the party tent with all 36 dogs and Tulsa chasing him!  Tulsa was right at home in the middle of the pack with all of the dogs and any dog who got too curious or too fresh got a hiss and a good whack across the nose.

Tulsa kissing Daisy
Tulsa NEVER Ever left our property, even though he would go outdoors.  He'd follow the dogs on a walk, just to the edge of the property, then stop as we left, and then walk over to the other side of the property and wait for us to walk around the block and come up the other side and then he'd rejoin the gang.

As Tulsa got older and sicker he still wanted to be in the middle of everything so we'd sometimes put him in Buster's cart and take him for rides with Buster while we walked the dogs.. I think Tulsa enjoyed it but Buster wasn't too thrilled that Tulsa would sit on him for a better view!
Tulsa hanging with Daisy

Tulsa was one very special kitty in that he helped our other animals who had passed on, cross over. When our cat Fred passed away, Tulsa was sitting with him, and actually ended up sitting on him after he passed and his body started to get cold. He was even grooming him. Watching this totally broke my heart, but I couldn't bring myself to stop him.  Before Daisy passed away, Tulsa sat with her constantly, and it looked like he was praying with her.

Tulsa saying prayers with Daisy
Our sweet Tulsa quietly passed away at 4:30am in bed next to me.  I think it was a relatively peaceful passing, no seizures, no hospitals, no strangers in the house, no craziness, no shots, he went on his own and met all of his other kitty and doggie friends on the other side of the rainbow bridge.  I'm sure he's chasing bugs, sunning himself, and chasing lizards (a recently discovered hobby) and occassionally working with St. Peter to help cat train dogs in heaven! 

Wrestlemania with Tulsa & Simba

Beautiful portrait done by Mary Detwiler from

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So.. how's it going?

Dear Blog...
Tulsa the cat
Sorry I haven't written in so long.. it's been very nutty around here.. Let's see.. where to start updating you..  so Thurs 12/1 we took all 5 dogs 3 hours to our old vet in DC to get their regular check ups, when we got home late that night (after a 4.5 hour return drive with 5 crazy dogs bouncing around the car) I noticed our kitty, Tulsa's face was all swollen. He had an abscessed tooth! Our poor kitty also has a heart murmur (grade 6) and is dealing with kidney disease so this wasn't a good thing. I ended up taking him to the ER, to get some antibiotics and pain meds. The next morning, Tulsa and I drove back up to DC to visit Dr. Hall at the Veterinary Dental Clinic where we had an apt to have the bad teeth extracted. Unfortunately, after blood work, Tulsa was not a good candidate for the extraction. His hematocrit was 15. And his RBC count was 3.  NOT GOOD.  He really needed a transfusion - but that's really tricky with a heart murmur, like his.  (He's had this heart murmur his whole life - all 18 years).   I opted not to run over to the Hope Center for a transfusion. He had enough going on and I think he'd be really angry if he had to spend the day in the hospital.. So we decided to put him on antibiotics to treat the swelling and put him on some pain meds to treat the pain. On the way home, Dr. Lord called me and said she could put him on some herbal remedies to help him out..

The following day, I was out walking Buster #2 and Buttercup and they were playing with the laser pointer - well chasing the laser at night and wrestling.. At some point there must have been some sort of collision and #2's eye was caught on Buttercup's tooth.. they didn't seem to notice and continued to pay for another 1/2 hour until they came in and I got a look at #2 in the light.. he was kind of bloody... and required an emergency visit to the vet..  (Turned out to be merely a flesh wound and he's doing ok)

Buster the Beagle
Then a few nights later.. while tending to little Tulsa.. Buster, kept coughing and panting and coming over and trying to steal his food... I kept sending him away.. He finally sat at a distance and continued to cough and pant and started to look a little off (he had also eaten Max's dinner, including his keppra and chinese herbs for his brain)  Anyway - the 3rd eyelid of one of his eyes was really pale, so I got up and pet him.. he seemed a little stressed, so I threw kibble on the floor near him to see what he'd do (he is a beagle.. the barameter for a beagle is if he eats.. he's good, if he doesn't eat.. he's bad)  He looked at it.. then looked at me.. he wasn't getting up.. so I went over to try and urge him up... he got up.. took a few steps then sat down. I helped him up again.. he took a few more very wobbly steps and then collapsed. His gums and tongue went white.. he was in BIG TIME distress.  I got him in the car, headed to the ER - he stopped breathing a couple of times on the way, but came back.. definitely not looking good.  I won't get into the ER vet issues we had that night.. but the following morning Dr. Stiff checked out Buster and saw something on his xray that didn't look right and ended up taking another xray and found a big mass on his liver...  (At that point Buster was off oxygen and walking around doing ok. We left him for the rest of the day just in case.. picked him up that night and made an apt with Dr. Paull for the following morning to get an ultrasound..  

Daisy 3 months after her liver surgery
The ultrasound confirmed that there was a mass on one of the right lobes of Buster's liver, he also had some funky stuff on his spleen.. and definitely needs surgery to remove it..  I suppose it's kind of fortunate that we have been through this before, so the next moves were not as difficult to figure out as they were the first go around.   (Our Golden Girl Daisy, had a 12x11x10 cm mass on the right lobe of her liver and required 2 lobes to be removed, as well as her gal bladder, and ended up having 2 more emergency surgeries, the last one putting in a stint to keep her duct in tact..  Dr. Langenbach had done an amazing job with Daisy , and while I think the surgical team here is actually very good, I had a history with Dr. Langenbach and just felt a little more comfortable with her doing such a major surgery.  The downside is that I have to travel for the surgery - but heck.. we went up to NY - 9 hours away for Max's Cyber knife.. 3 hours isn't as bad..

I've been meaning to blog about Daisy for a long time.. years actually, so I guess this incident will get me going on her blog.. but there is one thing that I wanted to mention that is incredibly strange...  Daisy was given a ball that had a daisy on it... and on the back there was the "Life Is Good Logo", by her first mom, Peg.  This was something that meant a lot to all of us..  While I was driving up to Buster's surgery consult with Virginia Veterinary Surgical Associates (who I think are great and Dr. Suess came very highly recommended by all the vets down here and Dr. Langenbach) I passed a yellow VW Bug that had stickers all over it... as chance would have it.. the vanity license plate on this car read "Daisy" and across the back of the bug was a big "Life Is Good" Sticker.. I took a photo (below).. but of course the sun glare didn't help much..  what are the chances of seeing this ???  I took it as a sign that everything was going to be ok.. and Daisy was watching out over her brothers (I was stressing out big time... now I'm worried I'm going to be one of those people who see messages from God on Billboards!  As long as they are good messages I guess that's ok!)
License plate says "Daisy" and there's a big "Life Is Good" sticker across the back of this car..
So.. Buster is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday 12/20, and we're saying lots of prayers hoping that everything will be ok and his surgery will go smoothly.  He has a pneumonia that we're working on kicking with prednisone and some chinese herbs called "Restoration of the Lungs" (Translated). They seem to be helping - but not sure which one is helping more.. or if it's a combo.  Buster has been panting at me for the last 2 hours.. which is most likely a prednisone result..

As for Max.. I hereby declare him cured (not that I have any sort of medical expertise in saying so.. but... ) I found him counter surfing this afternoon  (and we are an anti-counter-surfing house).. and then later today I found him eating the Christmas presents under the tree (see video below).  A couple of days ago he was chasing the dogs who were chasing deer through the woods too..  I think he's getting used to his keppra dose, and his sharpness is coming back. He still sleeps a lot - but so do the rest of the dogs.. He's been going for walks every night, and will engage in play with some dogs, and occassionally will go after a squirrel.