Category Archives: Pets

Grab a hankey!

I ran across this video from Argentina this week. It is extremely powerful and moving.

Good bye to a good dog

We had to say goodbye to our 14-year old Labrador Retriever, Casey, last week. Casey had been failing for some time. His cataracts left him mostly blind and we really don’t think he could hear a thing anymore. He had a bad case of arthritis in his back legs. As a pet owner, you always hope you will know when it is the right time to put your pet down — not too soon, but not too late either. We think it was Casey’s time.

Casey in 2009

Casey in 2009

We adopted Casey in January 2003 from a lab rescue group in Atlanta. We had driven to Atlanta and spent the night so we could be at the “adoption day” event bright and early. Casey won Mrs. Poolman’s heart when he leaned up against her leg and just slid down her leg to lie on his back in a definite “Please scratch my chest” pose.

As it turned out, Casey wasn’t the brightest dog in the animal kingdom, but he may have been one of the sweetest. That was one of his two definitive personality characteristics. He loved children. When he was still spry enough to go on walks, I used to joke that he was the post popular kid in the neighborhood. Small children would literally run out of their houses, calling his name. When we stopped, they would hug is neck, and he would respond with a big slurp on the child’s cheek.

His other defining characteristic is that he loved to carry things around in his mouth. He rarely chewed anything, but he had a real oral fixation. Shoes, stuffed animals, you name it. If he could pick it up, he would carry it. He wasn’t really a very good retriever, because, although he liked to chase and fetch, he didn’t want to give up whatever he had. He loved rolled up newspapers. They were the perfect size and shape. The highlight of his day was to fetch the morning newspaper from the front walk. He was known around the neighborhood as that well-trained dog that fetches the newspaper. “How did you teach him to do that?” We hated to tell people that he just came that way.

Shortly after he came to live with us, my brother- and sister-in-law came to visit us. Brother-in-law was carrying some luggage in from his car and his home newspaper was dangling from his hand in its plastic bag. They had not met Casey before, so he was shocked when Casey came running up from behind, jumped and grabbed the newspaper right out of his hand. Casey pranced around the yard, tossing the paper up in the air and very proud of himself.

It wasn’t all cotton candy and unicorns. He had a strong storm anxiety and on one occasion managed to eat the better part of two couches and a down comforter.  That doesn’t even count the numerous rainy nights we were kept awake by his whimpering and pawing.  And the last year or so hasn’t been easy.

All in all, though, he was a great member of our family for just over 12 years and we will miss him.

Good Christmas season and a nice family visit

Mrs. Poolman and I spent most of the past two weeks lounging around and doing not much of anything. Mrs. P worked for two days the first of Christmas week and then again on Jan 1-2. In between, we had a great holiday, and then a three-day visit to see my middle-sister, Maggie, and her family at Lake Hartwell, near Anderson, S.C. We didn’t do any floating in the lake on this visit, but one afternoon, the clouds parted and it was nice enough to take a boat ride. So the nine of us piled into the neighbor’s pontoon boat for a winter afternoon’s boat cruise. Very nice.

The view from the back deck.

The view from the back deck.

My niece with her "child," Norman the Basset.

My niece with her “child,” Norman the Basset.

All aboard!

All aboard!

Sister and Mrs. Poolman enjoying the day.

Sister and Mrs. Poolman enjoying the day.

Sister with the center of attention.

Sister with the center of attention.

Mrs. P enjoying the ride.

Mrs. P enjoying the ride.

Mrs. P finally gets her lapcat

We have been adopted. It’s official, or at least as official as a cat-adoption can be. As I mentioned in an earlier post, a stray/abandoned/homeless black male cat started hanging around our house a day or two before Christmas. After we ascertained that the cat was definitely not the neighbor’s cat, which we originally thought, Mrs. P took him to the vet and had him checked out, shots, etc. If he wasn’t our cat before paying the $300+ vet bill, he sure was afterward.

Since then, Zorro and Mrs. Poolman have developed quite the mutual admiration society. Mrs. P goes out to the garage to smoke. Zorro is frequently hanging out there anyway, but if not, he comes trotting through the pet door to the back yard and gets in Mrs. P’s lap. Neither of our “regular” cats will do this, and this has been a source of constant frustration to Mrs. P, who wants a “lapcat.” This Zorro knows who is buying his Friskies.

Mrs. P and her new boyfriend.

Mrs. P and her new boyfriend.

We had a close call last week. While I was on my way home from work, I got a call on my cell phone from an older woman who started off with “Oh, you are a real person, not a machine.” Huh? She told me she had a black cat that had disappeared a few weeks previously when she was in the hospital. She had been at the vet and picked up on one of the various “found cat” notices I had spread around a few weeks ago. She thought Zorro might actually be her “McPheron.” She came over to the house with her adult son. However, she couldn’t definitely ID the cat as hers. Also, on the phone, she could not ID two distinctive physical features of Zorro that she would definitely have recognized if he were her cat. Mrs. P was not at home at the time, so I was not very encouraging about letting her take off with Mrs. P’s new cat. That is, not unless the cat just jumped into her arms and started licking her face, which he most definitely did not do.

 So the cat came back…and stayed.

The cat came back! Good luck?

We may have a new member of the Poolman family. It all started early last week when we heard a cat whining. Mrs. Poolman and I searched the house for one of our cats trapped in a closed bedroom or a closet but didn’t find one. But there on the front porch was this black cat crying to be fed.

Mystery Cat

Mystery Cat

Of course we fed the poor thing. We thought the cat must be “Sophia,” a stray that had taken up with our next-door neighbor. (I know this sounds politically incorrect, but let’s face it, one solid, jet black cat looks pretty much like the next one, especially if it isn’t your cat.) The neighbors had vetted her and fed her, but otherwise she was an outside cat. They neighbors were away for the holidays, so we figured we would feed her until they got back. We also placed a beach towel in a plastic box for her to sleep in and stay out of the wind.

Sophia stayed with us even after the neighbors returned which created some joking about us stealing their stray cat. Then the other night, Mr. Neighbor came over.

“Hey Poolman, that cat who is living on your front porch?”

“Yeah, so are you coming to take her home?”

“Ah, I hate to break this to you, but Sophia is asleep in our garage right now. YOUR cat is not OUR cat.”

Great! Just what we need — another cat. Upon closer examination, we also discovered that that cat we thought was “Sophia” was actually “Tom.”  We don’t know if he is lost or was dumped. He is a very nice, friendly feline. He loves attention and will actually come when you call him, especially if he thinks food is involved.

So we are looking for his real family. I have checked and posted “found cat” notices on several local pet sites. I think Mrs. P is going to take her to check on a microchip tomorrow.

If we don’t find his home, I guess we will have a new “outside cat.” He still has his front claws. That rules him out as an inside cat in the Poolman household. (We have donated too many couches and chairs to the scratching pleasure of cats over the years. We are done with that.) However, we won’t just take him to a shelter, since we know, although he is a very sweet, friendly cat, the chances of an adult cat being adopted are very slim.

I didn’t think we had a current job opening for a new cat, but I may have been wrong.

This and that

No, honey, that smoke detector is not a kitchen timer.

 Earlier this week, Mrs. Poolman made us tacos for dinner. This is usually a fairly easy, mistake-proof meal. Not this time. Rather than heating the taco shells in the oven, like we normally do, Mrs. P decided heat them in the microwave.

 “What is that smoke I smell?”

I pulled the taco shells, that were “spooned” together, out of the microwave. They were still combusting! I stuck them in the sink and hit them with the dish sprayer. A large cloud of steam later, the “blaze” was extinguished. I’ve heard of hot Tex-mex food, but really!

 We always have soft tortillas around, so we just had soft tacos that night.

 Actually, this just makes us even. A few weeks ago I saute’d some tilapia for dinner. I used a new spice mix, not knowing it was heavily salt-based. The fish filets were virtually inedible. I’m not a great cook, but usually my meals at least can be eaten. Not that night.

 *   *   *

I understand the reason behind Amber alerts. But is it really necessary to send the same alert out to my phone every few minutes all night? The other night, my phone was hopping with an Amber alert from Tampa, more than 300 miles away. I had to turn the phone off just so I could get some sleep. Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose? Duh.

 *   *   *

It’s tough running a small business, but sometimes when I see how some businesses treat their customers, I don’t understand how they can keep their doors open at all. Last December, we contacted a local pest control company about some unwanted pests in our attic. We called this company because they handle other termite inspections and because someone close to us works for them. The pest control guy came out for an inspection a few days later and said he would be back the next week to seal off the attic and set some traps. Two months later, we hadn’t heard back from the guy. When we finally reached him, he confessed he “forgot.”

 So he sent one of his minions out to seal off all entrances to the attic, but he had forgotten to bring the traps.

 “No problem, I’ll be back on Thursday to set the traps.”

 Of course, he never came. Meanwhile, we got a bill for the incomplete service.

 After continuing to hound than, we finally got the rodent boy to come back out last week and set his traps — four months after we initially called. He is supposed to come back this week to collect whatever (hopefully nothing) that has been caught. We’ll see.

 *   *   *

And speaking of unhappy experiences with local merchants, we took Sammie the dog and Sid the Tailless cat to a groomer this weekend to be trimmed a little. Both are long-haired and desperately needed it. We went to a groomer we had not used before. I don’t know what the groomer was thinking. Sammie was cut down fairly close. Sid was practically shaved.

Sid the Hairless (as well as tailless)

Sid the Hairless (as well as tailless)

He looks like a little piglet with the head of a lion. Poor thing. Fortunately, Sid doesn’t really seem to care how funny he looks. His “sister” Penny, however is another story. She has been hissing at him ever since he got home yesterday afternoon. Quite the critic she is. Fortunately, Sid is an inside cat, so sunburn won’t be a problem. Otherwise…

I don’t think we’ll be using that groomer again. Duh.

Merry Christmas!

It’s been a nice, but somewhat busy few days here around Casa Poolman.

Most of Mrs. Poolman’s family came up from Jacksonville to visit over the weekend. This included both sisters, a brother-in-law, a niece a great-niece and a large boxer. Only two nephews and a girlfriend were otherwise occupied. We ate a lot, drank a lot and talked a lot. We had not all gotten together since sometime last summer, so it was a nice visit. Niece Ansley was down in the dumps because her husband is in the middle of a nine-month deployment on board a guided missile destroyer in the Persian Gulf. She was able to have a video conversation with him via her new smart phone. Not too shabby.

The gang headed home on Monday. Mrs. P and I went to Christmas Eve Mass at 6 pm. Some of my CCD children were the narrators for the Christmas Pageant which was part of the Mass. They did a great job. I’m proud of them.

Last week, I mentioned one of my students whose mother is somewhat frustrating. The problem is that she never can seem to get her son where he is supposed to be and when he is supposed to be there. This child desperately wanted to be a part of the pageant, but “Mom” couldn’t seem get him to any of the rehearsals, even those that were held during our regular class sessions. Unfortunately, the child is dependent on the Mom to get him where he needs to go. We can’t get too angry at the child, but the mother is another issue. He did show up for the first of our two programs during the regular CCD time slot last Wednesday and we allowed him to read. “Mom” promised me she would have him there for the Christmas Eve Mass. All the other kids were there by 5:30 as directed.  Jack was a no-show. My co-teacher, Sherry, and I were steaming, but we had a Plan B for the rest of the team. Then, at 5:55 pm, just as we were ready to walk the kids from the school to the church for Mass, young Jack came running up. Sherry and I shared some not-very-Christmas-like thoughts about “Mom.”

Christmas Day was fairly low key. Our children and their “sig-others” spent the first part of the day with the other sides of their families. They came over here around five o’clock for a Christmas dinner and opening presents.

Mrs. P is working today and tomorrow. I was pretty-much a slug today. Leftovers for dinner. Not to bad.