White trash neighbors

Living in South San Jose is pretty great, for the most part. Great house, mostly great neighbors, and amazing weather are all positives.

But the negatives come out twice a year. There are several rental properties in our neighborhood, and they are often rented by giant wads of fuck.

Case in point: Last night, New Year’s Eve, we knew there would be fireworks. There are always fireworks here, even though they are banned, especially on NYE and the Fourth of July.

It sucks for our dogs. They freak out, and no amount of sedation or other home remedies help. And that is with “normal” fireworks.

But last night, at 10:30, there was a very loud explosion. Apparently, our dirtbag neighbors have a source for professional fireworks. You know, the ones that are used by professional pyrotechnicians to put on the larger displays.

We often have fireworks, including the smaller mortars (the ones that lead to star bursts) that you can buy if you go to states that have loose fireworks policies.

The one last night was not one of these. It was the real deal. Its lifter charge (typically a black powder charge to boost it out of the launch tube until the main charge explodes and the visible star burst happens. This one was so powerful that it caused every car alarm on the block go off.

Joy, two freaked out dogs (Cerberus is usually unflappable, but even he came to hide with me in the dark.) What a great way to ring in the new year…

I have to admit that I was saying a prayer that the morons would blow their hands off.

I hope these assholes move out soon.

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Our new addition – Lizzie

It should not surprise anyone who has been paying attention to this blog that we had to say goodbye to Garrett in January, at the ripe old age of 13. Since then, the house just hasn’t felt right. Sure, it is nice to not have to worry about feeding, and keeping the yard locked and safe, and to be certain to not stay out too late. But all that convenience pales in the absence of a buddy.

To partly fill the void, we have been sitting two wonderful Greyhound girls, Falcon and Clara who have brought joy, a bit of chaos, and the love of a greyhound back into the house. But still, something was missing. No permanent addition to our family. Continue reading →

The final rest for Tate

The bad day happened. No, not the actual decision and act to send Tate across the rainbow bridge because his seizures were escalating, and he was beginning to suffer the consequences. That was not a good day, but at least we could comfort ourselves knowing that we did the best we could for him.

No, the call came from the vet, Tate’s remains were ready for us. Wow, a ton of bricks. Fortunately, I didn’t personally pick them up, or I would have lost it big time. No, Barbara already had a planned visit to the vet for some therapy for Garrett, so she got the short straw by default.

Tate is back with us, where he belongs. And I am sitting here, tears streaming down my face as I remember how much he was a part of our house, and regardless of his faults, he was a wonderful, happy, boisterous, lovable scamp.

Sure I don’t have to watch my paper napkin, lest he snatch it and eat it, or we can leave bread on the counter without it being snatched. But those were small concessions.

Just last week, we were at his favorite place Edenvale park, walking Garrett, and one of the “regulars” asked where Tate was. We were stoic, and explained. I handled that well. So why does having his cremains returned to us emotionally devastate me?

I can’t answer that, but it does. From the cedar box (arguably the best cremains return we have had), to the ceramic tile they made with his pawprint. I sit here, a wreck, acknowledging that he is well and truly gone, taken from us far too young, but also knowing that we made the right decision.

Adulting is too hard this weekend.

Posted also on Greytbros

Sad Days

As anyone who knows me in real life knows, I have rescued Greyhounds. I have donated a lot of time and money to the southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption org, and ran their website for a few years.

Last Tuesday, we had to put one of our greys to sleep. He had long suffered from seizures, big, scary grand-mal epileptic seizures that had been increasing in both frequency, and in numbers (clustering).

While we knew the end would come, and that the decision was inevitable, it still hurts to lose one of your fur kids.

I am not as sad as when we lost his predecessor, Oliver, whose osteosarcoma was sudden, and aggressive. We have known for a long time that with Tate, our job was to weigh quality of life versus, the horrors of seizures.

I am using my other blog, Greytbros, to write a series of posts to remember the good times, and the joy that he brought us.

Having a seizure dog is a difficult course, and we are glad we could make his 5 years with us as enjoyable as possible. In the end, he passed peacefully, and while there is a huge Tate sized hole in my heart, I take comfort in remembering the good times.

Jackasses ruining the Dog Park

Dog parks are great places in general, however there are some people who screw it up. Today, we had one of those days.

When we got to the park this afternoon and it felt a little off. There were three people there and 5 dogs. One group grabbed a couple of their small dogs and left (not uncommon, we have greyhounds, so small dog owners are nervous).

The three remaining dogs were a german shepherd, an english bulldog, and a small poodle thing. The first warning was the english bulldog was on a pinch collar. and the owner was working hard to restrain. But no real troubles except that the little poodle dog liked to squeak and that gets Tate all excited. We know this and we prevent it from getting out of control.

Continue reading →

The Drive

Over the 4th weekend, I took a couple of days off (Thursday and Monday) to drive my dogs from Tucson, where they were staying at a pet lounge, to our new home in San Jose, California.

The drive was fine, we rented a big Dodge Grand Caravan, as we wanted there to be enough room for the boys, and all the crap they need (beds, food, water, our bags, etc). Although Barbara was worried that it would not have enough room, it was surprisingly cozy in the back, with well partitioned areas for the boys.

Chillin' in their rented van. This is the life
Chillin’ in their rented van. This is the life

We settled in to an easy lope across Arizona. Starting later than I had hoped (surprised? Ha, you don’t know Barbara very well, do ya?) we made pretty good time. A stop at the junction of Gila Bend to top up the tank (we had been driving the van around all week) and to potty the boys, grab some Subway sandwiches, and off we went.

Smooth sailing until we hit Quartzite. One of those famous Arizona monsoon pattern dumps, we ended up parking in a Chevron lot for 20 minutes until the deluge passed. I will miss that.

Barb takes over driving, and we head to California. As we were approaching Palm Springs, and it was already 6:30 PM, it seemed like a good time to find a place to stay. So I pulled up my trusty iPhone, searched for dog friendly hotels, and the top recommendation was the Best Western Date Tree Inn. Setup the navigation, and we are 20 minutes out. Cool.

Continue reading →

Bad dog owners

Owning a dog comes with certain responsibilities. Most people have a good grasp of these responsibilities. Keeping them licensed (if required), getting their rabies vaccination, keeping them healthy, feed them quality food, the usual items.

Not here fidoBut increasingly I see lots of evidence of bad dog owners. I talk about dog feces left in the landscaping of the neighborhood. There are laws, there are signs posting that it is both illegal and a health hazard to not clean up after your dogs.

But still, every time I am out with my dogs, I see lots of evidence of bad dog owners. Piles everywhere. There are definitely some places where people repeatedly let their dog do their business (as there are literally dozens of identically sized piles).

The frustrating thing is that our neighborhood has plenty of stations that dispense baggies, and have receptacles for the bagged waste, and they are emptied regularly by the landscaping maintenance gnomes. Still people feel no shame in letting their pooches poop wherever they happen to be.

And walking the neighborhood, I see lots of people who have let their dogs deposit their waste in people’s yards. It is bad enough that they don’t feel compelled to pick it up int he common area landscaping, but for f*cks sake, don’t just leave it when your best friend bends a biscuit on someones yard. Do they not get upset when they see dog waste in their yard?

Sheesh.

Facebook “Promote” post – Don’t waste your money

The dog who is inspiring the "Jackie's Fund"
The dog who is inspiring the “Jackie’s Fund”

I manage a couple of facebook pages, one for my employer, and one for a non-profit that I work with (Southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption).

I am constantly barraged by Facebook to “promote” a post to extend its reach, and get more responses. We recently took in a hound who had an injury on the racetrack, and we are doing some fundraising to cover the not insignificant vet costs.

Our marketing team wanted to try to promote this post to see what the result would be.

So, I signed up for it, gave them my Paypal information, and put a $15 limit.  They said that the post would reach between 3,000 and 4,000 people.

4,022 people saw this post over the next 24 hours on their wall. Of this 87 people clicked on the post, or 2.1%. 7 people “liked” our page. Our website had 30 extra visitors that day (almost indetectable in the long trend), and not one additional donation.

I posted it on my timeline, with a plea for my friends to cough up a buck or tow if they could afford it. That generated the ONLY donation that we have received that wasn’t in our existing network.

My conclusion is:

  • Facebook promotions are worthless. They game the propagation to try to encourage you to pay money to promote, but when you do, you get no results.
  • You are better off using your own network, and encouraging them to share than to use the facebook tools.
  • Facebook is a lousy vehicle for promotion. You may need to have a presence, but it just doesn’t translate into action from their billion + users.

Oh, and if you want to help us out, and do something for the awesome greyhounds, head over to this link and click the “donate” button.

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Our furkids: Tate Edition

Our family is complete with two furkids.  We have adopted retired racing greyhounds, and made them completely spoiled. Greyhounds are some of the sweetest, laziest, dogs you will ever know.  Both of ours are couch potatoes, and are often ridiculed for being the slowest walkers. We don’t mind.

However, there are some downsides to the Greyhounds. Their upbringing and time on the track is really hard on them. They often come off the track with worms, bad coats, and teeth that are frightful. However they clean up and adapt very well to home life.

But there are other issues. Many of them are injured at the track, and (if they are lucky) have a long recovery before their retirement. But there are other health problems that arise later in life. The incidence of osteosarcoma is frightfully high. We lost our last greyhound, Oliver, at the far too young age of 8 to bone cancer.

Tate suns himself on the grass
Tate suns himself on the grass

After we lost Oliver, we had a hole in our family that needed to be filed. Enter Tate.

Tate raced 8 times, and broke his right rear hock on his 8th and last race. Fortunately, there was a rescue group on hand, and he was taken in and nursed back to health. After that he leaped into our hearts, and has been here for almost 3 years now.

Alas, all is not perfect.  About 2 years ago, he began to have seizures. Grand mal epilepsy. They seemed to be getting worse, and more frequent, so off to the neurologist. When I was commuting from Tucson to Chandler last year, the frequency increased to about 1 a week, an escalation that was frightening (often it is indicative of a brain tumor that is growing). So off for an MRI (at a price that is frightful).

Fortunately there was no sign of a tumor, and he just has epilepsy.  We cope with pretty heavy anti seizure medication, and the frequency of seizures is about 75 days.  A tolerable state.

Today was one of the seizures.  We get less freaked out not, and he recovers remarkably quickly compared to before we began the anti seizure medication.