Category Archives: My Family

Creature Thoughts: October 2020

Recovery and Return

Ryder Aug 20 2020

I apologize that issues of Creature Thoughts have fallen by the wayside. Since Ryder’s cancer diagnosis, life revolves around him, and I haven’t really been able to get things back on track. This month, therefore, I’ll just send an update, and hope that by next month, things will be more calm, and I’ll have a useful article to share with you all.

As many of you know, on September 15th, Ryder had a “bleed.” This means that the tumor on his spleen began very suddenly to bleed into his abdomen and, in brief, I came very close to losing him. He was saved by using Yunnan Baiyao, a Chinese herbal formula, in emergency mode.

It’s been a slow recovery, and Ryder is not back to 100% yet (in fact, it’s possible that he won’t fully return to his pre-bleed level of health). Our main struggle right now is getting him to eat (*). To think that I would ever say that about this dog, whose appetite in healthy times is phenomenal…. However, he had a follow up visit with his vet on Monday, and she feels that, under the circumstances, he is doing very well. Though he still has to be watched carefully, and treated gently, we are able to exhale a bit again.

After the bleed happened, my thoughts and emotions were totally focused on Ryder, and I was unable to do any consultations. Now, however, I am trying to return gradually to work. I’m limiting sessions strictly to email-only, as there is no way of knowing when circumstances will give me a stretch of time when I can stay grounded enough to work. Although this has been a policy for a while, I do tend to make exceptions if people object, or if email is inconvenient for them. I can no longer do that, though…not as long as Ryder may need me at any given moment.

I also want to thank you all. So many of you have written to ask how my boy is doing. Your kindness and concern truly touches my heart.

For now, Ryder is doing okay. He’s comfortable, spoiled, enjoying slow, gentle walks in the autumn air, and knows that he is treasured beyond measure.

PS: I am not looking for advice for encouraging Ryder’s appetite. With 40 years of Salukis behind me, and even longer in professional animal care, I do already know all of the tricks. Thank you, though, as I know the temptation to advise is because of the love in your hearts.

News and Information

It’s October, and do you know what that means? The Holiday Season is snapping at our heels. How does that happen so fast? Watch This Space in November for Holiday Special information.

Very Limited Availability

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.

Farewell, Kirby, Old Friend

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.