January 16, 2017
I suppose I shouldn’t laugh?
get out moJanuary 1, 2017
I was asleep before midnight, which is okay because that meant my last pit stop happened before the fireworks started. No #ZOverreacting! A-plus for me!!
Here is what I will work on this year:
What are you going to do in 2017?
November 28, 2016
(I’m not going to lie. These are quickly becoming my favorite annual posts.)
Year 1, we asked you to click.
Year 2, we asked you to share.
Year 3? Well friends, it’s time to give back. We’re asking you to do something to help someone in a situation you found yourself in this year.
Let me explain.
If you follow our blog, you know we had a rough year. We fought and we celebrated and we reacted and we lost. We still mourn.
When MJ first received her diagnosis, we struggled with doing what was right for her while balancing our home budget. It’s gross to have to make decisions for your furbabies based on finances, but that was our truth. We were willing to swipe-now/worry-later and put everything else on hold (trips, home renovations, fancy dinners) to chip away at the debt, however long it would take. She was worth it. We’d do it again.
Our friends encouraged us to establish a Go Fund Me page, and they generously contributed to her veterinary expenses. Every little bit helped: there were times when those unexpected gifts allowed us to say “yes” to the next test, the next treatment, the next step.
This year, we are working with Southpaws to fund one radiation treatment for a family whose dog is battling the same type of brain cancer as MJ did. The family won’t know us, and we won’t know them. What we will know is that we took away the burden of one day.
And so, friends: think back on this year. In your time of need, what would have helped you most? Can you make that help happen for someone else?
Leave us a comment and let us know how you give back!
October 26-30, 2016
We went to Cuba. It’s a magnificent and startling and complicated place.
Doodle went to camp for his own adventure. We missed him, but we were lucky to have a house-dog. Our casa, the large house in which we rented a room, has a wiggly boxer named Pike who is curious, sweet and extremely well-behaved.
He’d greet us in the morning and when we returned from the day’s excursions. We brought in smells from America as well as places in the city he’d never visited. We hadn’t expected to have a trip mascot, but he was a wonderful surprise.
Something else we didn’t expect– that we didn’t know to ask about in advance to emotionally prepare for– were amount of stray animals. Because why would we? How would we know that we’d see dogs and cats, puppies and kittens roaming around appearing generally well-fed but still showing the wear-and-tear of street living?
Some of them joined our tours for a stroll around a square and or exploring Hemingway’s Finca Vigia, vocally letting our guide know how much they liked her explanations.
In some places, dogs wear string collars with index-sized cards attached, like the pup perched on James’ lap. The cards are handwritten and include the animal’s name. They mean that someone feeds the dogs regularly. These animals are still strays, but someone nearby looks out for them.
And yet, with so many animals in need of homes or stability, puppies are sold on the street, costing more than the annual salary of local doctors.
In Cuba, there is veterinary care. There is a spay and neuter program through animal welfare groups to try to control the stray population. There is no such thing as dog food: domesticated animals like Pike eat whatever their humans eat. Pike’s breakfast was an enormous portion of freshly cooked rice and boiled beans, and sometimes chicken. Cubans who own pets or who take care of them share their monthly food rations with them.
Together, James and I took close to 400 pictures. So many are of the animals that hang around public spaces solo or in packs, calmly approaching humans for food or affection or sniffs. Sleeping. Prowling. Co-existing with the bustle of the city.
And no, we didn’t come home with a new furbaby. We’d never have gotten out and they’d never have gotten in. But like so much of our trip, they’re going to be with us as we process our experiences.
YOU GUYS YOU GUYS.
Last November we introduced you to some new friends, Diamond and Bud. We sponsored their adoption fees with the hope that they would find good, loving homes after being long-term residents at Alley Cat Rescue.
In March,we we shared the good news that Diamond was adopted and on her way to her new, furever home. We also mentioned that Bud was off on an adventure of his own to Anne Arundel county, for additional training and some new surroundings.
This morning we’ve learned the BUD WAS ADOPTED! What a wonderful way to end the week.
It’s. So. Hot.
Summertime in the suburbs of DC always swelters. Humidity. Tourists. So much gross.
To keep cool this year, we’re relying on our old stand-bys:
Frozen Nibbles: Zozo will do anything for frozen green beans and/or banana slices. We put them on top of his dried food or use them as treats after short trips outside. He’ll wait (im)patiently for them when we come inside.
When he was younger, we could sate him with ice cubes. As he’s aged, he’s less interested in them. But frozen treats seem to do the trick.
Basement dwelling: it’s like we have an adolescent human boy. He lurks in the dark corners of the basement, drawn out only by promises of food. It’s cool. It’s dark. Quiet. There’s video games and instruments. He loves it. And he’s reluctant to come up or share the couch. Or he’s under it.
Close crops: like it or not, we cut off all of his fur for the summer. His shaggy, flat black coat is unbearable in the sunshine and heat. He’s groomed closed to his skin– so close that you can see how white his belly is. And it makes me laugh when he’s sleek and skin-y.
Water sports: Zozo loves to swim. Loves it. He like to splash and paddle and chase balls. We don’t have a pool at our disposal, so we often take him to Old Towne Pet Resort for a dip and a bath.
Tell us! How do you stay cool when it’s hot outside? What are some things we should try?
April 22, 2016
I’m a planner. We’ve discussed this. I’m happiest when I get to organize, when there’s a to-do list, and when I can track my accomplishments. I get frustrated and disappointed when my hard work is undone by things that are outside of my control. But I’m also the person you want on your side in a crisis. Change is good. I’m flexible. Two opposite people living in my little virgo body. The struggle is real.
We like to take trips with the dogs. The Outer Banks, Asheville, Woodstock (which I neglected to blog about but I’ll get back to)… this year is no different. For our very first “just us three” trip, Zo, James and I set our sights on Charlottesville, VA. We heard it was a great place to hang out: funky, historic, walkable, pet-friendly. I rented a house. I made reservations for dinners. We made “excursion” plans. And then we changed them on the fly.
See, on our way to Charlottesville, we planned to take a slight detour along Skyline Drive and take Zo for a hike. Our travel plans coincided with the commencement of year-long activities celebrating the Centennial of the National Park Service. We were excited to hike newly refurbished, blazed trails; to shake off the city and work and stress and enjoy the fresh, clean air.
In the days leading up to our trip, the news began reporting of a wildfire along Skyline. We tracked the fire and changed our route. Every day in the week leading up to the trip, we tracked and changed and tracked and changed. Thousands of acres of forest were destroyed. Skyline closed. Our big “WE’RE ON VACATION” moment came to a halt.
So I stressed and planned. The morning of our departure, I nooked into the corner of the couch, laptop perched on my knees, looking for solid hikes do-able with a dog. I hounded James with links and maps and “what abouts.” He told me to calm down. I scowled a lot. Zozo slept. And then I found it: Humpback Rocks in Crozet, VA. 45 minutes from Charlottesville along the Blue Ridge Mountains.
We packed the car, strapped the pup in, and hit the road. I felt better.
And then the rain started. It rained fairly steadily the entire drive. When it wasn’t raining, it was misting. But I was going to hike, dammit. And so, we did.
Because of the rain, the trail was ours. The site reads it’s a little over two miles and strenuous. You climb 1,240 feet. I don’t know what we expected. No, that’s a lie, I do. We expected strenuous to mean this:
And it was that. And more… much more.
The three of us are stubborn. James delightfully (for me) goes along with my terrible ideas. Zozo is part goat, scampering and hopping along like a fearless puppy (he’s 9). The rain wouldn’t stop us. And the final view… totally, absolutely worth the stress.
Covered in mud and more damp than dry, we made our way back down the mountain. Someone fell on their tush (hint, it wasn’t me). We piled back in and made the drive to Charlottesville. More on that later.