September 29, 2008

Absent son and Rupert

I noticed my youngest son's bedroom on the way to the shower. As per usual it is messy, but it is sadly empty... and I have no intention of tidying it. What caught my eye was Rupert snoozing on the discarded dressing gown.

Rupert likes that son and particularly that bedroom. He seems drawn in there. Actually, so do quite a lot of them, as you can tell by this picture of his bed in the morning winter sun ....

Son is away skiing with his father.... probably somewhere in Wanaka or Queenstown right now. We used to live down there, so they enjoy the chance to spend time together and drive round and redo The Gondola, The Earnslaw, youth hostels. Not to mention The Luge, and now possibly the new attraction, some sort of bungee swing.....

The house seems quiet with only daughter coming and going ... mainly going on reflection. As I am on holiday, it is strange, but not unpleasant, to have the house to myself. So many things I could be doing.....

Rupert came to us as a replacement for another much loved ginger tom cat.... RIP Pickles.

It took us a long time to find him.

I was visiting one of my students at our local Animates one day, and he arrived as part of an abandoned litter of kittens. After 10 months of watching out for one, I immediately said I would take him, but because he had a scratch on his eye, I landed up quarantining the whole litter for them (remember I am a vet...) and of course, no surprises, the whole litter is still here 8 years later.. . i.e Rupert, and his handmaidens, Nala and Beatrice.

He is still a very special, very beautiful and very majestic cat....

Anyway - time for action, not procrastination. First job filing back statements, then look at insurance claims, then warrant of fitness and then the hospital to visit "neo conduit".

Blogging is much more fun.

Have a lovely day...

September 28, 2008

Princess Nala...

Nala has moved around our family lavishing her attentions on one favoured person, usually for a few months at a time. We have her full sister, Beaty, and her brother Rupert too, but they are firmly bonded to my youngest son. The honour of Nala's love has usually been bestowed on either my middle son, or lately, my daughter when son left home.

I do remember a surprising few months, after a long period of indifference to my existence, when Nala once transferred her loyalty to me, turning her trademark somersaults on the bed when I rubbed her back; I felt privileged.

Today, middle son returned home for a visit to collect stuff for his latest flat. (Good to know that parents useful for storing clutter and providing plates and kettles and cutlery as required...)

I saw Nala issuing her royal summons as I hung out the washing ( beautiful warm and sunny here today after yesterday's gales..) . She was miaowing at him as he walked towards her, from her vantage point on the fence beside the sleepout. Not her usual genteel little miaow, but a loud, raucous, repetitive noise, resonating across the lawn. She didn't even move off her fence. I wondered what she was trying to tell him...... I got the distinct impression she was telling him off. The reunion was touching.... Wonder if he is allowed a cat in the new place?

September 27, 2008

Stress in the Equinox

I am on holiday!!!!
Yes – two weeks….bliss. This morning was the first day, and I walked the dogs and did some weeding… then I woke up!!!! The dream has not become reality, and I am still in bed. But I don’t feel guilty.

I heard this week that we are at the spring equinox...which might help explain why work has become a major source of stress and bother this week, when it is usually great. I loved it and was amazed to be paid to do something that was such a pleasure. Now, burn out and anxiety are taking their toll.

This week, I started feeling ill and sick and shaky when I go to my office and cried twice up there. Not to mention at home…all Monday night, odd moments. I have focused on prioritization and conflict resolution and trying to figure out what the hell is going on. After 11 years in the job I can usually do it with one hand tied behind my back. Something is not right. Menopause, overwork, budget cuts, staff cuts…..yes, I am 50 and working in tertiary education.

I am not alone in the issues, but it is seriously making me reconsider my options. Self employment in a recession does not appeal greatly, but at some stage my health will pay the price and that scares me. Poison whispers seems to be the issue. But no facts. She says, he says, they say…..blah blah blah. It is making it hard for me to work as my self esteem is shaky.

Time for planning, but not until I have had two weeks off to clear my head and relax.

How did I help myself cope? After the last meltdown, I took a long walk around the lake with the dogs. So lucky too live with this at my gate...

Later I booked an hour long relaxing massage with essential oils, and spent a relaxed evening with another great friend and past student. I guess we supported each other this week. You can read her journey on her own blog…

Yesterday I took her back to hospital for further major surgery. So far so good. I will visit her today. As well as our friendship, she helps me keep my issues in perspective …as they are often trivial next to what she is facing! But she always takes the time to work through mine...and I try to be there in return for her. Not charity - just what friends do. - late edit: Good news - she is up and about....all well.

Yesterday, I had some quality time with my class, and some of my good friends....and today I feel much better!!!!! Sometimes you have to reach out and ask for help. And lets face it, hope springs eternal and the glass is half full. I have nothing to really complain about.

It is spring here…and I took these pictures around the house yesterday morning, Just as well… the spring equinox gales are trying to take all the blossom away as I write.

September 24, 2008

Horses are pets too

Sam had to be put to sleep recently. My daughter's beautiful horse, only a teenager, with eventing and dressage and fun years ahead of him, but he got "choke".

Horses cannot vomit, so any obstruction results in fluid and partially digested food and saliva and so on pouring out their noses. Sometimes they breathe it in and get pneumonia, but basically, it needs clearing, and the longer it is obstructed, the worse it is, and the greater the scarring. Sam was choked for five days. He seemed right, but then got repeat attacks, and even though we fed him energy rich liquids, and looked down his throat with a camera, in the end, there was no further treatment possible except surgery. The obstruction was at heart level, so it would mean opening his chest. Mega money, and he was already getting painfully thin.... plus there was the mention of cancer....his chances dwindled to zilch.

Sam was put to sleep at home, standing near his paddock mate, who helped him to stay calm to the end. His passing left a hole in our hearts after many years of him in the paddock next to us. A horse may be, but part of the family and a huge part of my daughter's life.

September 22, 2008


Our cats can eat whenever they want to. We keep the food topped up and they can graze all day long. The method came about out of necessity as trying to get all seven ( now six) into one space twice a day was creating too much tension. Now there is open access to a dog proof height and the buffet is open. As you can see, failure to top up the bowls results in some congestion....

After two years on this method, they are all round and well fed, some more than others. As a vet, I have no problem with the method, except that I was initially worried that one of our cats would never stop eating and eventually explode. She is our biggest problem...nothing gets between Beatrice and her food...

Beaty loves to eat. She lives to eat rather than eats to live... Some humans are no different.....

September 20, 2008

Bailey Buttons

I inherited Bailey, aka Bailey Buttons, when I moved in with my partner early last year.

She was a designer breed exotic kitten, once purchased at great expense from a local pet shop by other family members. Her penchant for toileting around the house resulted in her changing homes, although the habit moved with her.

Eventually I came to live with her. The fact that I brought three children, two dogs, and five other cats with me, didn't worry her and she took it all in her stride. Now, she is my friend. She seeks me out, greets me when I get home, loves to purr pressed up against my face (which involves a certain amount of nasal droplet exchange.... ) and seems to want to curl up next to me whenever she can, as she is now as I type on the laptop. The other cats accept that the bed is hers and have adopted the children instead.

But she is beautiful in her own squashed face kind of way.

September 18, 2008

The Comfort of Pets

Life is stressful in many areas for me right now, and I have been procrastinating about starting to write a blog. Lets just say I am juggling many things.But I knew the moment would hit me when the time was right. I am up early, listening to the birds sing in the early morning light. It is spring here in New Zealand, and I drove through Hagley Park yesterday where blossom and tiny green leaves are appearing on the trees, a reminder of a new year, and promise of summer after a particularly hard winter.

I woke this morning and found my brain was not going to let me return to sleep, so I took stock of little things around me; the curve of my partners back beside me, the warmth of the duvet, and the gentle snoring of the dogs at the foot of our bed. So I sat up and looked at them. The sight of their sleeping bodies in their bean bags, peaceful, happy just to be in the room with us, filled me with a rush of pleasure. Perhaps, because I have nearly lost them both in the past, I really appreciate and love them both. One day, they won't be in those bean bags, and I realised again how I will feel the hollowness of their loss.... meanwhile their adoration and love for me helps me to cope with my day. I knew I had to capture the feeling for myself of their importance in my life and share it with my blog.

Saffy is the Goldie, and Jess the Border Collie x...

I decided to be a vet when I was six and have never regretted my career or the life it has made for me. Pets matter in our lives. Just enjoy them and appreciate how much their companionship means to you.


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