Cause for Paws 2010 Pledge Request


Hi folks; asking for money. It's not for me, it's for the animals. I am raising pledges for A Cause for Paws Doggie Dash on September 11th. Your support will help the Humane Society of Boulder Valley provide food, shelter, medical treatment and behavioral rehabilitation to animals in need. I'm not gonna pull a Sarah McLachlan on you and show you a bunch of doggie and kitty sad-eyes here, I'm just going to appeal to your greater sense of kindness and throw on a heaping dose of guilt. I was baptized as a Catholic, after all. That shit works. Some of you may know that my beloved dog Hooper was sprung out of the Boulder Humane Society a few years…

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Emma: One Year


Emma was Brenda's pet cat. Well, that's what she started out as. Brenda got her shortly after the two of us got together, and Emma immediately spent much of her time showing her displeasure at having to share Brenda with me (especially the first year, when I was finishing school and Brenda often left Emma alone in her apartment while visiting me at school). But in those first few years after Brenda got her, I also took care of Emma during the summers when Brenda was off doing summer theatre gigs. I quickly became very attached to her, as, I believe, Emma got attached to me. We sorted each other out. In total, the three of us went through almost…

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Sign


After our heartbreaking experience at the shelter on Sunday, I woke up Monday to an email from my friend Elissa who works at the Humane Society; Emma's ashes were ready to be picked up. So yesterday after work I headed back to the shelter, to pick up what was left of Emma in a little cardboard box. I instantly felt guilty about having been there the day before, to look for new animals while Emma still hadn't been returned to us. It sounds exceedingly corny, but I think we needed to wait for Emma to come home, to lead us to the next animal to care for. I say this because with the little cardboard box cradled in my left…

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The Rough Road Ahead is Paved With Love


Emma is gone, and there isn't a damned thing we can do about it. I miss her; there are a hundred things a day that remind me she's gone: the ingrained look-down before I take a step, for fear of stepping on her; the look to the bathroom to make sure she's there, before I close the closet door; the corner of the wall rubbed raw from her little chin. The howling emptiness of the spaces where her litter box was, and where her food and water bowls were. It sucks. We are working our way back. A week and a half after putting Emma to sleep, Brenda & I find ourselves brimming over with energy, an unclaimed love that…

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A Life, in Photographs


I have so, so many things to say about Emma, but for now I just wanted to share all the photos we've been looking at the past couple weeks. I've scanned a bunch of photos from the pre-digital years, and compiled a few other ditties from Emma's "modern era". I've uploaded them all to my Flickr site and created a photo album -- or "set", in Flickr parlance -- for you to enjoy. It's pretty amazing to watch the evolution of this cat -- and her owners -- as she moved through her life. All told, Emma had nine different permanent addresses in three U.S. states, wore two different collars (both short-lived), endured and survived two apartment building fires,…

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Emma the Cat -- 1990-2007


She was loved, she was our child; she will be missed.…

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Decline


You spend sixteen years with someone, you learn to read signs. The funny thing is, your optimism also gets the better of you. And so, we're playing that game now. Good moments are blown way out of proportion, bad moments are horrifyingly painful to watch--and quickly pushed back to the cobwebs of the brain. Spent half the day at the vet today. It's the same old shit, same conversations I had three years ago regarding my father. The word "disease" being said far too frequently. Emma's not doing so well.…

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Irony


From the information sheet on Emma's latest cancer medication: WARNING: Although this is a cancer medication, chlorambucil can cause another type of cancer... Greaaaat. I wonder if the medication for the cancer that chlorambucil causes, causes cancer too? Round and round we go, Roche, Pfizer, Merck-Medco! Sheesh.…

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Plan


So, the harsh reality is that Emma's cancer is so progressed, she's not ever gonna beat this. We discussed our various options with the vet today, and have decided to continue with the Prednisone and she got a shot of something else today too, some Elspar-something-or-other. IV fluids and "Pred" are the plan of attack. We're essentially opting for the junior varsity squad; the other, more aggressive options carried too many negatives for us. Heart risks with one protocol, bone marrow issues with another, and all of them would require Emma to take a ride to the vet on a weekly basis for shots and probing and general unpleasantness. And, all of them end with Emma dying anyway. Lymphoma in…

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Diagnosis


It's Lymphoma; both the mediastinal kind and the alimentary kind. Stage IVb. And as we all know from Johnny Sack, there really is no Stage V. Emma's in serious trouble. Emma gets oral prednisone and IV fluids for the weekend, to hopefully keep her comfortable. Monday we see the vet in person to talk about the strategy going forward. Chemo is the only real treatment option. We're probably gonna try it and see how she does on the crap, but survival rates with this cancer are fair to partly cloudy, even with good response to the chemotherapy. My head is in a fog.…

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The Big Casino


Welp, it looks like Emma's probably got cancer. Fluids were drained, things were biopsied. More tests underway; expecting results tomorrow or Saturday. Nothing to do between now and then but pet the cat. Shit.…

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Emma Update


Well, we just returned from the vet, and our fears have been confirmed. Emma is at least in the beginning stages of kidney disease, and she may have cancer to boot. We've heard this crap before, and Emma's always dodged the bullets, but white blood cell counts and BUN values don't lie. The immediate order is for hydration, and so--armed with a large bag of lactated ringers and a fistful of syringes--I get to do my very best John Gage impersonation on Emma tonight as we try to gradually re-hydrate her in time for tomorrow's scheduled ultrasound test. Hopefully the ultrasound will allow the vet to get a better look at both the kidneys as well as the mass the…

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Emma Alert


Our beloved cat Emma is just not herself lately. She's eating less, and as a result, activity at the other end has dropped off sharply as well. She's lost weight, quite a bit. She's also broken her last remaining fang, and at 17 years old the vet doesn't want to operate to remove the root because they're afraid she won't survive the surgery (she broke her other fang about ten years ago, and that one's remains were extracted; she was born without her upper ones -- swear to god). Being totally in love with Emma, we've decided to take Emma to see another vet in Longmont for a second opinion and really just a second set of eyes on the…

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Return


Well, we're back. Got back last night, after 23 hours of westbound travel. Emma was initially delighted to see us, then she pretended to be pissed off, but then she woke us up every two hours throughout the night to purr her happiness. Today I dug out from two email piles -- work and personal -- and went for a bike ride. I missed the mountains. I loved the city of Paris, the Orsay Museum and the Chartres Cathedral. Steak tartare, camenbert and wine from the south of France. Loads to talk about and pictures to process. I hope to post something soon. For now, this:…

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Emma's a Star


Our beloved cat Emma has had a bout with celebrity of late, appearing in the latest issue of Delicious Living Magazine. Emma was one of two test subjects for an organic pet treats article for the mag. My buddy Lauren occasionaly freelances for this magazine, and while their dog Begbie was more than ready for the challenge on the dog treat side, Lauren needed another tester for the feline side. Enter Emma. (Lauren and her boyfriend Bill were both roommates of mine while in college at various times, have lived out here in Boulder for six years or so, and were great tour guides when Brenda & I were here last May for my job interview.) The very scientific test…

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Why I Need a New Camera


(Alternate titles: Office Sail, 2004; Emma Pics) Today, my whole office went out on the Hudson River in my boss’ sailboat. I was assigned the role of trip photog, and was even loaned the office Canon Digital Rebel, to document the spectacle. Of course, as soon as I arrived at the bobbing, creaking dock, my stomach began to tell me to retreat at full speed. Ignoring my senses, I boarded the vessel, but was green enough to be awarded the helm as soon as we were clear of the marina. You see, I don’t do well on the water, but when I steer, I’m generally OK. We sailed up the Hudson River to the Intrepid,…

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Emma Update


The other day, there was a message on the answering machine from the vet: Emma’s blood results were normal. That means we continue to administer the same dosage of Tapozole, and she doesn’t have to go back to the vet for three months. Given the fact that Emma’s been to the vet more times in the last two months than she has been in the last five years, I’m pretty sure Emma was dancing a jig in the living room when she heard this message being recorded. But I’m sure I’m still happier than she is. Emma’s back. Just tonight, she took a piss (in the…

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Where's Emma?


I want our Emma back. This Emma we have now is unhappy and sleeps under the bed in the basement. The Emma we have now had a bout of diarrhea last week. (Yeah, diarrhea. And folks, feline diarrhea is not something you want to be dealing with.) The Emma we have now is very suspicious of my intentions whenever I try to coax her from under the bed, since sometimes when I do that I have an eyedropper ful of this sickly-sweet smelling pink stuff that the vet told us to give her. Give her, yeah right. 'Give' implies a mutual transaction, as in "Here Emma, have some of this stuff", and she happily laps it all up, looks me…

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Nature’s moving in


Having recently endured an assault on my inner calm by a jolly band of skunks, it appears that the forces of nature have decided to press the issue. Friday evening, Emma (our extremely lovable cat) began to get interested in the goings on around the baseboard heater in the dining room. Initially I thought there was a housefly or mosquito tormenting her, and let her have her fun. But she persisted, and began running from one end of the heater to the other, looking into the vent, looking quite interested. I signaled to Brenda that something seemed to be going on, and she went to investigate while I chatted with my friend on the telephone. Moments later, Brenda shot up…

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