Once more (with caution)

There’s a prolonged heartbreak to loving a senior dog and bearing witness to the sunset moments along the way.

When the muzzle starts to gray

When you switch to mature adult food

When you add supplements

When he doesn’t want to play fetch for as long

When the muzzle starts to silver

When he’ll run after the ball, but not bring it back

When gray appears across his body

When medication is daily

When you realize you haven’t heard his voice in months

When his hearing fades

When you can’t remember the last time he ran

When he doesn’t bound after bumblebees

When the arthritis requires alternative treatments

When long walks become walks to the corner

When it becomes difficult to get up

When car rides are stressful

When yoga mats provide runways through the house

When he can no longer walk up the stairs

When he no longer wants to be carried upstairs

When he restlessly wanders, day and night

When you dredge his dry food into a mushy puree because he no longer has teeth

When he no longer sleeps on your side of the bed

When he occasionally has an accident

When he wears a diaper

When his breathing shifts

When he wears a diaper and a wrap

When you coax him into the yard for fresh air

When you startle him awake and for a moment he doesn’t know who you are

When you try to clean him and he reacts in fear

When he nuzzles your hand with the full weight of his head

With Zozo, there wasn’t a Big Sign. We had to choose the moment for him after weighing the ever-growing list of little signs, hoping that wasn’t too early or too late. Knowing that the air and energy and routine will never be the same again.

Today, he had a full breakfast and wore on a clean, jaunty kerchief. He followed us around the kitchen. He took a couple disco naps. It was a good morning. And then Dr. Abi from Lap of Love joined us. Zozo ate chocolate cake icing with redi-whip. He finally, finally could relax.

Our comedy guy. We love you. Thank you for being ours. Tell MJ we’re ok.

So sly

We’ve made a new friend: Finley the fox.

He comes with a bonus of helping dogs in need: the purchase of Finley will raise funds to help Key To Lion’s Heart Rescue. This fundraiser ends December 8th!

Help 160 Finleys get “adopted” into new homes. To get your own Finley, please go to http://www.avon.com/fundraiser/keytolionsheartrescue

We love ours. To death.

Show me your teeth, part 1

April 2018

NOTE: I’m not posting pictures with this post because they’re gross.  And so is some of the content.  Just kidding, there are two pictures of Zozo but they’re from after surgery so there’s no medical stuff in them.

Our 10 year old man needs a bit of a tune up.  He has a fatty tumor growing on his chest and a skin tag on his eye lid that’s finally starting to bother him.  His breath is terrible.  TERR-I-BLE.  After consulting with our vet at Caring Hands Animal Hospital, we decide to go ahead with the trifecta of cosmetic surgery: boob job, eye lift and teeth whitening.  Well, not exactly a teeth whitening, but a full dental cleaning.  We drop him off for his procedures and go about our business, waiting for the pup-date from the vet.

So here’s the thing: remember when Zozo was puppy and I freaked out because he lost his teeth?  Since then, we’ve been compulsive about his mouth.  We brush his teeth as often as he’ll let us.  He gets greenies.  He plays with flossing toys.  We do our best.

But our best can’t tackle anatomy.  Zozo has tiny teeth and big ol’ gums.  Food can get stuck and fester, and we can’t help him because he doesn’t show signs of discomfort or show symptoms other than stinky breath.  He’s nonchalant about this stuff.

The vet calls.  It’s not great, and the Bad Dog Mom soundtrack starts droning in my head, so I can only pick out incidental words: gingivitis, cavities, extractions.  Periodontal Disease.  Capital P.  Capital D.  With that, I snap back.

Colgate defines it like this:

“Perio” means around, and “dontal” refers to teeth. Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures around the teeth, which include the gums, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. In the earliest stage of periodontal disease — gingivitis — the infection affects the gums. In more severe forms of the disease, all of the tissues are involved.”

It’s a disease of stages that progresses from sore and potentially bleeding gums (gingivitis), to teeth loss or shifting and bacterial infections.  The American Veterinary Dental College says it’s one of the most common ailments in adult dogs and cats that’s totally preventable.  Ugh.

Things got away from us and his teeth revolted and we’re terrible parents.  The vet reassures me: he’s 10.  We made it this far without a formal cleaning.  We did our job.  Nature interfered.


They’ve done a thorough cleaning and several extractions.  10 extractions.  Four upper front teeth, two lower center teeth and four random molars.  It’s more than we ever expected.  We’ll take turns staying home with him, snuggling and cooing and generally everyone feels miserable about the situation.IMG_4808

He’ll start feeling like himself in 10 days.  (10 years.  10 teeth.  10 days).  He’s on wet food until his gums heal.  He’s had a tumor on his chest removed.  His eyelid tag turned out to be a ruptured gland, but there’s no danger for further infection.  No stairs for 48 hours.  No running for 3-5 days.

Fast forward a year.  His style of play has changed, since he can no longer tug and his tennis balls slop out of his mouth instead of securely sticking in his jaw.  He hoovers his dry food like a champ, so we’re spared the smell of canned wet food (praise be).  And he’s got the cutest “buck tooth” smile.


We’ve had lessons in brushing his teeth.  We brush at home 3-5 times per week.  We get regular cleanings when he gets groomed.  We check his mouth more thoroughly (when he lets us).  When his breath is bad, I panic.

But this is ten.  I guess.


Epilogue: the tooth fairy did come.  She brought peanut butter ice cream and sleeps on bed with dad and a new plushy toy to destroy.


This is Zozo. He is 11 years old today!

Favorite food: Peanut butter, shredded cheese, pizza, crispy french fries, and anything you’re eating

Favorite thing: dad. Paws down his absolute favorite

Favorite place: the couch, under mom’s desk, half under the bed, camp, walking beside Godiva

Dislikes: noises, outside, strangers, horses, my little sister, mom’s hairspray, the oven, delivery men, britney spears, etcetcetc

Happy National Puppy Day, 3/23/19



we haven’t met yet.  i’m new here.  my name is Velma Adler Twix Finginsley.

  • velma, because i’m already getting into capers and i’m a #furderino; also, i’m really metal
  • adler, because the humans here like to read and irene adler is one smart boss-lady
  • twix, because i’m sweet like candy and that’s my christened name
  • and finginsley, because the humans said so

i’m about 13 weeks old.  i’m all white with a brindle spot where my rump meets my tail.  i have some ink spots on my face and tummy, too.  my eyes are brown.  my toes almost smell like fritos.

my humans (parents?) found me through key to lions heart rescue.  me and my 7 siblings were found on the side of the road in an extremely rural town in missouri. our finder saw us huddled on the side of the road shaking from the cold and took us into his home. he reached out asking for help since all the shelters there were full and a pit bull ban has been in the works (boo) where we were found. this good samaritan drove us 18 hours one way so we could have a better chance at life here.  now i’m stuck with these assholes.

i’m settling in.  learning the ropes.  trying to be the best girl possible.  my big brother doesn’t remember how to play, so we’re taking things very slow.  so far, i’ve made loads of friends, got new clothes, broken the internet and showed off my mad snoring skills.  i like to chew and low crawl.  i also enjoy treats and whimpering for love.  i pinwheel around my food bowl when i eat, and my zoomies are very fast.

i’m perfect.


Happy MJ Day!

December 16, 2018

In honor of #MJDay, snuggle up next to your favorite thing and take a long nap. Eat french fries stolen from someone else’s plate. Refuse to put your feet down in the rain. Make friends with someone new. Wiggle like no one’s watching. Be your Most Joyful self, or Miss Jackson if you’re feeling a little nasty.

Her last ride.

We miss her every day.

Giving Thanks, Year 5

Well folks, we’ve had a long year here at PB&C.  We fell off our posting but picked up an instagram (@zozobeanfinley), but it’s just not the same.  We can do better.

Of all our posts over our years blogging, our Thanksgiving posts are our favorite (1,2,3,4)  It feels good to give back, especially after you’ve given so much love, enthusiasm and encouragement to us.  We weren’t going to drop the ball on this.  And Mother Nature really demanded it.

Beginning November 8th, three California wildfires caused massive destruction, injury and heartbreak; the most destructive season on record in California.  Over 10,000 pets have been displaced by the fire, and the impact to other animals and wildlife is as yet untold (but devastating).

This year, we’re making three donations.  All three organizations are taking in displaced, evacuated animals.  They’re working to reunite families who were separated from their pets.  They’re providing emergency veterinary care to wildlife.  They’re making room where room is not available, working around the clock.  Will my contribution make a big impact?  Absolutely not, but we’re definitely in “every little bit helps” territory.

Humane Society of Ventura County

Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation

Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA

Here’s what I know: there are plenty of local rescues and shelters in and around Malibu that could use your help.  I picked these three because their resources cast the widest net in terms of services provided.  I speak with no authority that these are the right choices for everyone, but they’re the right ones for us.  If you consider donating, I know you’ll pick a deserving individual (so many gofundmes right now), organization or foundation that’s best for you.

I hope that you and yours are having a warm and wonderful holiday season.  Take care of each other, and give thanks for what you’ve got.  We’re certainly thankful for you.


Team PB&C

When dad’s away…

By Zozo

Here’s what mama and I did today:

Woke up! I was so excited for our Best Day Ever that I jumped on the bed and sat on Mama’s head. She “did not appreciate it.”

Had breakfast. I had kibble and she made gross coffee and had a cookie because she’s a grown up and there’s eggs in there somewhere.

Yard works. We weeded and weed whacked and mowed and trimmed tree branches and dug in the mud and ate grasses and maybe/maybe-not ate cat poop.

Showers and baths. I was muddy and she was sweaty and everyone had a rinse.

Thelma and Zo-ise road trip (mama said not to call it that). We took the scenic route to drop off old paint cans. The men were very complimentary of how many cans we fit in mom’s mini-suv. I burped at them.

Home for a rest and then pizza. I love pizza crust.

Couch time.

Best. Day. Ever.

Who doesn’t like new things?

March 2018

Two years ago, we bought a new mattress.  It was an ordeal, trying to determine fill, firmness, pillow-top or not, size, etc.  Although the weekend spent reclining around mattress showrooms was both entertaining and creepy.

This year, we were in the market for a new mattress, but for the grumpy old man who lives with us. Same ordeal, less test-driving: what fill, level of support or cushion, to bolster/bumper or not to bolster/bumper, etc.  After much looking (an Orvis isn’t in the budget right now), we settled on the PupLounge Memory Foam Orthopaedic Bed from Treat A Dog.


What we like:

  • The Tempurpedic foam holds its shape, which is good for Zo’s aging joints
  • It doesn’t slip cross the floor
  • It’s waterproof and tear-proof, and machine washable.
  • The price point: we bought this on a steep mark down (60% off and free shipping).  If it had been original ticket price, I may be less enthusiastic.  It feels like it’s more durable and better craftsmanship than something you can snag at a local, big box pet store.

What we less-than-like:

  • As the video mentions, we bought based on his weight.  I suppose I could have pulled out a tape measure to confirm the dimensions, but I assumed (I know, I know) that a bed for an 80 pound dog would be proportional in size to weight.  That’s on me. Next time, we’ll go for the extra large bed.
  • The sound of his nails on the cover is irritating, but that’s a #dogmomproblem more than anything.


So far, so good.