Some of you were wondering about my sister’s dog, Aspen, who made an appearance in yesterday’s blog – a video of him following his post-chemo treatment, clearly feeling a little zoned-out.  Well, here’s the update. In early June, the poor boy was diagnosed with prostate cancer that had metastasized to his bladder and lymph node.  He started chemo and, after a full round, he was switched to daily leukeran chemo pills.  Pictured below, Aspen following one of his treatments, receiving some TLC from his buddy Roxy.

A recent ultrasound showed a slight increase in the size of the mass on his prostate and lymph node so his treatment was again changed.  He is now receiving a high dose of mitoxantrone every three weeks. Another ultrasound in six weeks should reveal whether he responds to his new treatment.

Compounding the problem is the fact that he also suffers from autoimmune issues and takes medication for that as well.  The side effects of these meds include frequent urination, which requires sis to line to cover the floor and beds with pee pads (which must be handled with extra caution because of those chemo treatments).  Despite all this, sis and Aspen are in high spirits.  Hopefully we’ll hear some good news in late September.

Not sure whether it was yesterday’s video of Aspen or just coincidence, but I dreamt of my boy Maximus last night.  As most of you know, Max (pictured in the blog banner) passed away early this year after being diagnosed with a malignant melanoma in July of 2011.  Like Aspen, he underwent a series of treatments, radiation rather than chemo, in addition to an anti-cancer vaccine.  It was expensive and exhausting and, ultimately, still wasn’t enough to save him in the end, and yet I don’t regret having done it.  Rather, I’m sure I would have regretted NOT having done everything I could have at the time.

Anyway, yes, I dreamt of Maximus.  But it wasn’t the sick, tired Maximus in the last few months of his life or the laid-back, chunky Maximus of most of his adult life.  It was puppy Max.  In the dream, I happened to look over and there he was, happy to be back with us. And, as I went over to pat his head, he sat up and started to gently nibble on the tip of my fingers with his front teeth.  It was something he used to do all the time when he was a puppy, something I’d completely forgotten about until I was reminded about it in my dream.  How weird is that?

I’m dedicating this entry to all of the furry four-legged friends who are no longer with us.  Tell me about them.  Post a pic if you have one.

Puppy Maximus…

Continuing the melancholy theme of this blog, I’d like to remind everyone to cast your vote for The Most Heartbreaking Moment in Stargate History.  And leave a comment on the poll page for a chance to win a signed script!  Polls close Sunday night.

27 thoughts on “August 30, 2012: The things we do for our pets! Cast your vote for The Most Heartbreaking Moment in Stargate History!

  1. At least it was a nice dream about Maximus. It does amaze how bound we become with them. Certainly they are worth very penny we invest in them. And I do hope Aspen does well. Thanks for sharing pic and memories, and hope those lucky enough to be in Atlanta this weekend.have a blast

  2. @Joe What a sweet dream to have had about your pal!

    I have had the worst day! State came in again to ask me questions and then casually asked if she could “observe my bath”. She wanted to do a skin assessment, watch the aide help me to where I bathe, etc. Even though I have the right to say no, I said yes. Uproar!

    My aide was so scared of making a mistake, she went to the trainer to go over the rules. My nurse came in to inform me I could say no; the scheduling nurse came in to tell me I could say no; etc. The therapist said something we all forgot (gate belts) as I don’t use them. It became a nightmare.

    Finally, the State inspector came back in and looked at my back. Then she left until it was time for the nurse to put on my medicines. All that kerfuffle for nothing! I am glad I took the Ativan early in the day, though. I was the only one who was calm.

    The floors in my room are just horrible — something State noticed and complained directly to the DM of housekeeping about. So head of housekeeping and the DM came in at 9:30 Central time to try to de-sticky-fy my bathroom floor. Their plan didn’t work. Back to square one.

    In medical news, my therapy is going really well. My physical therapist has added one pound weights to my ankles to help me build strength. The occupational therapist is moving me up to two-pound free weights from a three-pound bar. Both use an E-Stim (sp?) machine, too. I should get some blood drawn in the early morning. Hopefully, I’ll know results this afternoon.

    The Excessively Wordy
    Anne Teldy

  3. Puppy Max is adorable! Thanks for sharing the dream. Those types of memories are the best. Good luck to Aspen and Sis with all they are going thru. Tough times but worth it in the end to know you did all you could. And to all of us who have loved and lost our furry friends: may we love them as much as they loved us!

    Happy Holiday Weekend!

  4. Hi Joe, just a couple of pics of Elway, Molly and Summer. Miss them all so much! Hard to believe we lost 3 dogs in 9 months. My dogs have always had many names, Summer was Dinky (all her life), Elway was Pooper, Cookie, Monkey, Pbug and The Cute, and Molly was Tilica and Leeleebelle (no idea where that came from) and Riley is Bugbug. Only Gumbo is always Gumbo. 🙂 The picture of Elway was taken a few years back when he had his spleen removed (remember?) and we had to move our mattress to the living room floor so he could sleep with us. He was terrible at listening to his doctors, they’d told HIM (yeah, I know) he was to remain quiet and not to do anything for at least two weeks. His incision was from his sternum to below his willy, so I’d spend most of the day sitting with him and making sure he followed doctor’s orders. Unfortunately, I had to pee once in a while, and I caught him rolling around on the bed, being totally silly. That’s where “Nincompooper” came from. 🙂

    The only dog dreams I’ve been having lately are horrible! They’re all about Riley getting stolen or running away. 🙁 I don’t need Dr. Freud to tell me why it’s happening, but I sure wish it would stop! Naturally, I wake up crying in a panic and wake Riley and Mr. Deni up every time. 🙂

  5. What a wonderful dream, Joe. I sometimes wonder if those experiences aren’t really more than just dreams. In any case, they come as comfort.

    This got me thinking about the dog of a friend of mine (I think I told you about him – the golden doodle) who tore a ligament in his back leg which will require a very expensive operation. My friends were saying that they figured that people probably thought they’re crazy for spending so much, but I like I said to them, what if the roles were reversed? The dog would give it’s life for you, is the cost of the operation not a bargain in comparison?

  6. (Forgive any errors – I’m dead tired 😛 )

    Hubby and I have had 7 indoor cats since we’ve been married. Shoobie, our first, followed by Marbles, Creamsicle, China, Cowcat, Big Girl, and now Boo. We only have Big Girl and Boo now (in the house), though China is still with us, but living outside because she refused to use the litter pan. (On an aside, outside with China are the ferals – Sweet Pea a.k.a. Peanut, Fat Tabby, Charger, Patches, and Staches, and occasionally Kitten, the only non-fixed feral that always eludes the traps). Needless to say, I spend a lot on cat food. 😛

    As for the indoor kitties, we only had Creamsicle a short time – she was a sickly (FIV) feral we brought inside – a gentle, pretty little girl that looked just like the yummy treat after which she was named. She spent her days sleeping in a window ‘hammock’, and was never a bother, and never, ever nasty. Gradually her health began to fail, however, and there was little we could do but keep her as safe and as comfortable as possible. The day she died I had been called for jury duty, so I dropped her off at the vet, ran to the courthouse, jotted down on the paper that I think “lawyers look for legal loopholes in order to set guilty people free”, was immediately dismissed, and rushed back to the vet, only to learn that as I walked in the door and asked about Creamsicle, she took her last breath. 🙁 We only had her a couple years (if that), but I’ll never forget her sweet personality, and pretty, pretty face.

    Cream, as with most of our cats, found us. The first to do so was Shoobie. She waltzed into our apartment one day and claimed us as her people. We named her Shoobie, after a local term for day trippers from Philly who would bring their lunches with them in shoeboxes, clog up the roads and the beaches, and barely spend a dime in town. We always said Shoobie was a ‘tourist’ who just never went home.

    Shoobie (or Shoobs, for short) was a real character, and the reason I love black cats so much. Such personality! She always had this devilish twinkle in her eye, always looking for trouble. Life was just fun to her – everything was a game. She liked to ride on your shoulder, and especially loved it when Mr. Das would ‘dance’ with her perched next to his head, bebopping to the tunes. Shoobs was also a social butterfly and whenever we had company, she was right there in the center of it all, her eyes full of mischief just looking for a chance to show off. She was a really great cat.

    About a year after Shoobie came into our lives Mr. Das went down to our basement storage unit, and in a nearby (and very packed) cubicle he spied a wee kitten, her eyes barely open, trapped under a mass of stowed crap. The nest must have been on the top of the stuff somewhere (the cubicles were open at the top), and she probably fell down and was now in a place her mommy would never have been able to get to. He rushed upstairs, grabbed a pair of wire cutters, rushed back down and cut her out of the storage bin. We named her Miss Marbles after the character from Murder By Death. It was actually my sister’s idea; she said it was fitting because I loved Agatha Christie books (and Miss Marple), and because the tortoise shell kitten looked like marble cake. I probably should let my sister name all my cats, she’s much better at it than I am. 😛

    Shoobie soon became Marbles surrogate mommy, and the two cuddled together all the time. In fact, Marbles didn’t like people that much, and never, ever purred…except when she visited us in the bathroom. 🙄 She wasn’t a very spunky kitty, more sloth-like, slow and methodical. Her one big love was chasing ‘light beams’, whether from flashlights or laser lights or even reflected light. Otherwise she was about the calmest cat I’ve ever known.

    When Shoobie died, Marbles went into morning for several months. Then one day she came to me, and purred. PURRED! From that point on I became her new mommy, and she clung to me day and night. Mr. Das said that if she could, Marbles would have crawled into my body with me, that’s how physically close she always wanted to be. She slept with me, sat with me, followed me, ate with me. A total change in her personality (or should I say, her purrsonality 😉 ), and I didn’t mind it one bit.

    Somewhere in between there another cat found us. He was a big white cat with black spots that a neighbor had declawed, and then put outside because he became a biter. I couldn’t let a declawed cat stay outside, so I took him in, and named him Cowcat, a.k.a. Cowboy. I think out of all the cats I’ve had in my lifetime, none were as strange as this guy. First, he was a terrible biter – and he bit for reals, not for play. The first year we had him my forearms looked like shredded meat. He didn’t bite Mr. Das, however, and the two soon became best buds. Eventually (with lots of discipline and ‘who’s the boss’ standoffs) he stopped biting me as well, and he turned out to be a big, fat love. And love he did! Despite being neutered, he’d hump his catnip toys at least 6 times a day, and went into overtime if we had company! We became infamous for our ‘floorshows’! When he was…um…you know…you could not get near him or he’d attack, so we just let him do his thing and wait for him to mellow out. He also LOVED shoes, and when we would come home we’d have to present our shoes to him, which he would immediately ‘wear’. This wasn’t once in a while, but every single day. He just really loved shoes. Sometimes, after humping his catnip toy, he’d stick it in one of our shoes. Yeah, he had issues. 😛

    Mr. Das loved that cat, though, and so did I. We loved them all, and it was so hard saying goodbye to each one of them. But I don’t want to dwell on that part, I would much rather remember them alive, being pesky little stinkers that just made life a bit brighter no matter what mischief they managed to get into.

    Here’s some pictures (I have many more, but most were taken before the computer came into my life, so they’re still in albums):


    Cowcat, Shoobie, and Marbles swarming Mr. Das:

    Cowcat, with shoes and humpy toys:

    Yeah, I miss ‘em, but I also have some great memories, and making new ones every day with the ones I have left.


  7. @Joe: I guess it goes to show that all our experiences are not completely lost, even if we seem to forget about them. So glad you had such a pleasant dream about Max. I’ve had pleasant dreams about my mother, who passed away in 1984. I’ve missed her ever since. My most beloved cat, Misty, passed away last summer, and I still miss her. Each animal has it’s own personality and cute behaviours that we get so attached to. Misty passed away at home. I arranged for her to pass away at home because her sister, who had to be euthanized the year before, had a very traumatic experience during the procedure. I’m not sure if that is normal, or whether the vet did not have experience euthanizing a small animal like a cat (the vet is a rural vet used to horses and cows), but it was a horrific experience for both me and my son. Tigger was first given a strong sedative. That went well. But then she was given the medication that was supposed to stop her heart. As the medication was administered, she reared up in what seemed like a last ditch effort to survive, then collapsed and died. Naturally, her reaction was shocking to me. I felt guilty, as if I had taken away something she was not ready to give up on. I hate what happened to Tigger, and I hate my part in it. Never again.

    @Anne Teldy: I hope things work out for you and your very odd bureaucratic cluster f@@k. But, even though the experience was not a pleasant one, you are keeping them honest by permitting the government to oversee your treatment.


  8. *Mourning. The sad thing is I spelled it right, edited the sentence, and then somehow spelled it wrong. Like I said, I’m dead tired.



    I lost my Husky a little over a year and 1/2 ago. She went blind due to seizures caused by a brain tumor, but by using my physical therapy I was able to teach her how to walk again and she lived a great life for 2 more years until the brain tumor took over. She loved people, but was also a guard dog. When someone tried to break into our house she jumped through a glass window, grabbed the guy by the ankle and kept him pinned down until the police arrived. The amazing thing is that the glass didn’t cut her at all. Her later years she loved SpongeBob (don’t know why) but it made her happy and that was all that mattered. I bought her stuffed SpongeBob toys and she would get them out whenever we would watch SpongeBob on tv. It was too cute!

    Thanks, Joe, for showing the puppy pics of Maximus! Always a welcome sight! (and much more appreciated than pictures of Carl) 🙂

  10. My vote goes for Janet’s death. 🙁

    As for pets who aren’t with us anymore, here’s my Tommy – (don’t know any other ways for posting a picture). We had him for over a year, poor guy had bone infection several times. The disease kept coming back and it was a real torture for him. Eventually the meds caused harm to his other organs, lost bladder control, for one. There was no other way but to put him down.

    Tommy was beautiful – just look at the photo!, playful. Not the brightest, but totally lovable. 🙂 My little brother still misses Tommy, although it has been several years. Before obtaining him, dogs were complete strangers for me. I had no idea how to deal with them, what they might want from me. I learned a lot from my time with Tommy, and although he’s gone, I’m glad we had him in our lives.

  11. Hi, Joe!

    Best wishes to your sister’s dog Aspen.

    I’d had pets all of my life, mostly cats. Unfortunately, I lost all my photos in a fire several years ago, except for these three.

    We rescued a kitten several years ago that was only hours old when we found her. She was very small, possibly a preemie. We took her to a vet, but he didn’t think she’d live through the day. We took her home, through washcloths in the dryer, and then wrapper her in them to keep her warm. Fed her every two hours using a syringe. We kept that up for about 2 days, and then we noticed she was growing stronger.

    She lived for nine months. One morning we woke up and discovered she had passed away during the night. When we brought her into the vet at six weeks to have her spayed, the vet said she had heart problems, and that we should be prepared to lose her at any time. (She never had the surgery).

    But she was a joy to live with, always playing and full of piss and vinegar.

    (Talk to the paw!)

    We named her Polly LePew because she had really, really short legs … and had problems for the first few months in the litter box with # 2. She was the Klingon Kitty! Boy, did she get a lot of daily baths for weeks. But, she finally learned the best way to do her business and stay clean.

    (This photo illustrates how long her tail was. I’ve never had a cat before whose tail was longer than the rest of their body!)

    Now… the weird thing is a day after we buried her in our back yard, I came outside and found this cat laying on her grave. Turns out he was the father of the kitten, and lived almost a block away. (He had short legs too.) I had never seen him before. He stayed around for a week and then we never saw him again.

    I think your dream about Maximus is very special.

    Best wishes to you, Joe.

  12. Good luck to Aspen and his mom. Poor fella. So much to deal with. Maximus was sending you a message in your dream, to let you know he’s happy and healthy and nothing can harm him now. 🙂

    Got some bad news about my cousin yesterday, which sort of fits right in with this post. Her brain tumour came back bigger than before with a second spot nearby, so it’s metastasizing. Almost exactly a year since she had her first seizure and subsequently was diagnosed and treated. She was given a good report in April and got her drivers’ license back in June. She could use some good vibes/thoughts/prayers/whatever anyone cares to send her way, while she waits to find out the plan of attack from her doctors.

  13. Obviously I can’t read and comprehend. Didn’t see your request for stories about our pets and I posted about my cousin who, while lovable and loyal, is not furry or four-legged. *g*

    I’ve had a lot of cats over the years and I miss all of the ones who have moved on. Scotty was a big black and white fella. He’d sit beside me on the couch when i watched tv. If I talked to him about the news or whatever was on tv he would reply. He squawked like the Penguin from the old Batman tv series. I’d say something and he’d respond. I’d say something else and he’d start to get all indignant about it. The third time he would jump off the couch and tell me off, and then stomp off as though really irritated by the whole conversation. He always had to have the last word. 🙂

  14. Oh now you are gonna make me cry. dang. We have always had animals since I took in my first stray(humane society rescue) Mal, she was a border collie mix, had her 17 yrs, and she went at home. We shared our home with 5 more cats, 2 a friend gave us, Tippy( was 19 when he passed) and Patches, and 3 someone left in our driveway, (we lived at the end of a road in the country. Mo, Cali and Jr.
    Then there were the 3 dogs after Mal. Hans ( german shep), He got parvo and did not make it. Rusty, people we got him from people that could not keep a puppy after their baby arrived, probably a good thing for Rusty, he was a setter lab mix and did not seem to care for children, think they made him nervous, and then there was Jimmy(another mix)(looked like Benji the dog), I said to my husb, I wanted it for my mom, someone at work was giving him away, well you know that never happened, he stayed with us. Rusty got anemia and we got a transfusion for him, it helped a while, so I know we go to great lengths for our babies.
    Jimmy almost made us grand(dog)parents, well he ran off and maybe got with this lady’s poodle, at least that what she said when she came to our door threathening, and we said, bring them to us, we would take them all, but I guess no daddy, coz we never heard from her again. He was young and we had him fixed after that, keeping him closer home.
    I always took my animals to the vet and get their shots and spay and neuter. We got the multipet discount. Always had animal hair, and kitty litter, great for the big box stores that sold in quanity, so we were great for the economy. Wore a lot of gray colors. Oh the good old days, would not trade it. So many fond memories and wonderful pictures. At this time in our lives, we are petless, we have since moved from the country, but still babysit at times for the neighbors shih tzu. Its not the same, but is ok for now. Have a wonderful day and thanks for having me remember once again the fun.
    ~Max was a beautiful boy and he just stopped by to say hi to daddy,(and take care of yourself). thanks for keeping him on the banner.

  15. Those Max pictures were so cute. So sad though. I watch my younger cats and know….. Still I try to give them a good home and make them happy while I have them. That’s all I can do. Then I go on to the next kitten and try to change its life. Once we move further in the county, I’d like to rescue a dog.

    I’ve got Aspen on my prayer list. Your sister is a saint for taking such good care of him. I’ve got a cat with an autoimmune illness. Weird symptoms. My cat is doing better since I’ve changed his diet. The vet thinks he’s allergic to common ingredients like beef or chicken. So I found some less common cat food that is based on venison, rabbit and duck.

    JeffW: I imagine my face had a funny expression when the dish was set in front of me. I had my heart set on some kind of luscious crab and got a ….deep fried bug. 🙁
    That’s rough about your allergy to chocolate. That cookbook looks good though.

    Oh, one more website story. This one would be good for anyone that had to deal with overseas tech support as well. Hubby saw the band website down yesterday and called the hosting company. We’ve had around three outages in the last month mind you. This was tech’s supports answer to the outage: “There’s a typhoon in Kansas City. Surely you’ve heard about it on the news?” We’ve been having a good laugh about that excuse.

    AnneTeldy: That was a terrible position for the state to put you in. I’m sorry you are having to go through this. Is this a permanent placement for you or are you going home when you are feeling better?

  16. Heart strings officially tugged….wonderful post Mr. M.

    My memories are of my first Beagle, Jake. I grew up with him. We got him before I could even remember, probably when I was about 3 or so and he passed when I was 14. He was my buddy, my boy. That was over twenty years ago and even now just typing this, I’m getting choked up.

    No two things go better together in this world than Beagles and kids. They were made for each other. Jake was made for me. I fully believe that. He will always have a place in my heart, that apparently is still tender today. I have a lot of stories about him and how goofy he was, like when he went running full steam into the screen door to the backyard(don’t worry, he was fine, the door however….), but I feel it’s more appropriate for me just to remember him and his unconditional love and friendship he gave to me everyday.

    For this boy and his dog, I loved every minute of it. He changed my life.

    Thanks Jake.

    -Mike A.

  17. Best thoughts to Aspen! Hang in there, buddy!

    Cool dream, Joe. Max paid you a visit. That’s good stuff.

    I’d like to talk about my lost furry friends, but I’d cry. And I’m at work, so that would suck.

    Have a great holiday weekend, Americans! And a great weekend to the rest of you.

  18. LOVE everyone’s touching photos and stories. Thank you for sharing!

    Northern breeds and snow dogs are closest to my heart. Manna, Miss Manny, or “Manny, Manny furry fanny!” was my baby. She gave me 15 years of love and made me smile every day. It’s only been three years, but somehow she manages to say hello every summer.

    Just last weekend, I pulled out a pair of black jeans. It was strange not to brush off fluffy white fur before leaving the house. Huh! Some friends and I stopped at a frozen custard place after a movie. Outside, a man had brought his big Great Pyrenees for a lite treat. “Panda Bear” was a sweet boy, and eventually ended up leaning against my legs. Not only was I visited by a fluffy white dog, my black jeans were covered in “polar fleece,” once again.

  19. Joe — The pix of Maximus are adorable! Maybe he came back as a puppy in your dream to tell you that he feels that good again. Cute, cuddly, and full of P&V. 😀

    JeffW — A carob cook book? Let me know how it works out. The thought of chocolate almost never tempts me anymore because of the consequences of eating it. I might try something carob from Trader Joe’s as a test, as long as it doesn’t also have coconut or palm oil in the fine print. Often it does. 😛 But I could always pick up macarons. 🙂

  20. Enjoying reading all these stories about your beloved furry ones. Some are heartwarming, some are heartbreaking. Such is the power of love and commitment. I agree with others who said Maximus was visiting you in your dreams. That is what I always thought when I dream about one of my past babies. I wish I wasn’t allergic to cats or I would have one or two.

    @ anneteldy – Hang in there. You are a paying customer and they have a job to do. Make them do it. I do think that most of them that work there are angels. Hopefully the bad employees are few. God bless.

  21. Adorable pictures! And so many sad stories…
    I lost my bunny about 18 months ago, Peter (very creative naming, I know) was 10, an age rabbits aren’t really expected to reach. Though his death was sad, and I hadn’t been home with him for several years, I knew he’d had a good life. He was such a happy little guy. When he was young he would jump up into your lap to be petted and loved racing people in our living room. Even as he got older he enjoyed sitting outside with the family – including our black lab – and never hopped away.
    God bless all of you good animal parents!

  22. *hugs for Joe* I’m truly touched. I even got a tear in my eye reading your blog. Sounds like Maximus visited you in a dream. His spirit still lives within you.

    Poor Aspen. 🙁 He certainly will be in my prayers. He seems like such a sweetheart. 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.