For an unknown period of time, I may not be available for consultations. You can contact me, but I can make no guarantees that the situation will allow me to help right now.
My boy Ryder’s hemangiosarcoma (cancer of the spleen) has progressed to a much more critical level. He had a bleed on Tuesday 9/15, and since then my world has been all about supporting him through the recovery from this incident. As of today, Saturday the 19th, he’s more stable but still weak, and we are working on trying to help him find his appetite again. I’m in close contact with his vet, and doing everything I can to bring him through the crisis.
Please think good thoughts for Ryder. He’s such a sweet and special boy. A true gentle soul.
The Best Fish Ever: Kirby the Plecostomus ~2000 – 28 July 2020
My daughter was in high school when we brought home a tiny baby Plecostomus for our tank. We didn’t record the exact date, because our luck with Plecos to that point was such that we expected this one to live for maybe a year … two at the most.
Twenty years later, Kirby had grown to about ten inches in length, and was still going strong. Yesterday, he was suctioning his way across the front of the aquarium. I stopped to say, “Well, you’re feeling chipper this morning, aren’t you, old man?”
This morning, I half-noticed him laying on top of his cave. I didn’t think much of it; he did that a lot. I went about pet feeding chores in my usual routine. When I got to the fish, I turned on the light and reached in with the tongs to put his algae wafer in the tank. That’s when it finally dawned on me.
He was upside down.
Kirby lived longer than any of our other pets. Sachet came close, but did not quite reach twenty. He was the only of our current pets who had known, though I can’t say that a fish would remember, my mom. He was with us through the high school and college graduations of both of my children, and through all the joys and sorrows of their lives. He witnessed my struggle with Pyoderma Gangrenosum, and the many months in a wheel chair. He wasn’t just one of the fish in the tank. Old Mister Pleco was a member of our family.
I have been pretty broken up all morning. Yes, over a fish. But he wasn’t just a fish.
He was Kirby.
I hope the rivers of heaven are cool and clear, and filled with all of the delightful aquatic vegetation treats that Plecos love best, old friend. It’s just not going to be the same around here without you.
July’s creature thoughts is going to be a bit different. We have once again had our family life derailed. Many of you already know what is going on, but I’m sending out July’s newsletter to catch my friends up to speed, and to ask for your good thoughts for Ryder, and for our family.
I am working, though may be a little harder to pin down for a session. I am restricting sessions to email-only unless the client has no possible access to email. This has actually been a policy for a while, but I haven’t always been strict about enforcing it. I would love to take time off to dedicate every minute to Ryder, but the vet bills need paying, and the family (two-legged and four) need to eat. Plus, the ability to help you all with your dear ones is a comfort to me right now.
Please read the following post on my website for an explanation:
I have a box of about 50 first-edition copies of the first novel in my Junior Handler Mysteries series, The Corpse That Wasn’t There. In order to help with the vet bills, I’m offering autographed copies for $15 US. That should help a little with expenses, and cover the cost of flat-rate priority shipping within the United States (for international orders, I may ask for the balance of postage). I realize that the book can be purchased on Amazon.com for less (due to their free shipping policies), and if people prefer to do this, that’s fine. However, it takes quite a while for royalties from Amazon to arrive, and they only come to a fraction of what the book sells for. I do understand, though … I always search for the best deal when shopping, too. Please use the contact form on gazehound.com or email me at email@example.com if you’re interested.
Although the series is written with upper elementary and middle-school aged kids in mind, many dog-loving adults have written to tell me how much they enjoy them as well.
As a bonus, the Saluki who modeled for the cover image was Ryder’s sister Arya. The talented Jennifer Hawkyard, the niece of Ryder’s first human, Lin, is the artist.
A Thank You From the Heart
I also want to thank those friends who have reached out with help and support, and so much love, for Ryder. The kindness, and the love people have for this dear boy, overwhelm me with emotion. I have spent many days weeping in the past week or two, and not all of the tears have been sad ones. Some have been tears of gratitude and love for the support of friends.
Thank you for thinking of us kindly as we travel this road once again. Send light and love and gentle prayers for my boy. We are determined to keep him happy, strong, and feeling well for as long as humanly possible.