Buster’s Last Day

The Cuckoo's Nest


Today is the anniversary of my old dog Buster’s death. It’s been 15 years but I will never forget. It was a clear and cold day like today only the east wind had been blasting Portland for days.

He started to get sick on New Year’s day. I woke to find a pile of vomit in the living room. During the night he had eaten a whole pound of raisins that I had left on the kitchen counter. He was 14 years old but he never gave up counter surfing.

He kept throwing up off and on that day so I decided to take him to Dove Lewis. They were able to stabilize him and on the next day I took him to my regular vet. By that time he was completely out of it but we gave him another day. In the morning, they told me that he had…

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The littlest birds

The Cuckoo's Nest

I’ve been noticing the little birds lately. The sparrows, finches, chickadees, bushtits and hummingbirds. They have been in abundance in my front yard. I think the ornamental plums have aphids and they are drawn to the smorgasboard. However, there is a nest of chickadees in a bird house next door and I see the mother, father and little chicks flitting about getting food. I imagine there will more than one hatching.

I also think that I have a pair of hummingbirds with a nest near by. I can sit at my front window and see the the myriad of subtle relationships between the trees the birds the shelter of the grape arbor next door. The hummingbirds have been drawn to a number of blossoms since February. Daphne, lilac and now foxgloves. Tonight I saw both hummingbirds going from one bloom to the next all over the front yard. I have…

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My Orphan of the Storm

The Cuckoo's Nest

I watch her walk across the room, every limb, stiff with pain, shaking, splaying in different directions like Bambi on the ice. Every step could end with her slamming to the floor.

For the second day in a row, I have found her right by the front door when I came home. I found it kind of puzzling because she hardly moves from her bed in Vivian’s room, except to pee and poop. She is still my Queen my strong warrior Queen.

Most of her life she has lived in some sort of pain, physical and psychological.

The first year of her life she lived chained outside. Bred as soon as she was able. The puppies sold for cash or whatever. They may have tried fighting her or at least sparing her with other dogs. for she had wounds from dog bites and she feared other dogs and reacted with…

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These are the dogs of my life

The Cuckoo's Nest

It has been over a month since Ozzie moved in and boy, has he moved in. From the torn up toys, stuffing and muddy paw prints around the house, his presence is evident everywhere. My only concerns are my sister being knocked over by his puppy energy and his eagerness to chase the cats.I had hoped that he would be cat friendly. He had lived with a cat. But so far all he wants to do is go balistic when he sees them.

It will be a long haul.

He is affectionate, goofy, full of manic energy and I am afraid I may not live up to his expectations. Yet he doesn’t seem frustrated or unhappy. I have promised him many adventures and will live up to them. He reminds me more and more of my sweet Buster, in looks and personality. Buster challenged me and I think so will…

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my second home town – Silverton, Oregon

The Cuckoo's Nest

We made our annual pilgrimage to Silverton last weekend for the Children’s Pet Parade. This tradition began in 1932 when civic minded folks thought they should have event to take their minds off the Great Depression. They didn’t have Prozac back then so this was the best next thing. I know when I am depressed, a good pet parade is what I need.

I debated until about 15 minutes before we left whether or not to take Ozzie. Since we hadn’t had taken him too many places with lots of people and other animals, I wasn’t sure how he would do. Glad to say, he was a pretty good boy. The only time we had any trouble was when a couple of smaller dogs got snarly with him. But otherwise, he was fairly calm and only freaked for a few seconds when he saw a horse for the first time…

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Foster Mom to the Dogs

The Cuckoo's Nest

It’s been about a year and 7 dogs later and I am starting to get the hang of it. Fostering dogs. My seventh dog, Marcy will be leaving for her new home this Friday. And just like Patrick the miracle dog, Marcy will have a re-birth in her new home on St. Patrick’s Day. Luckily, Marcy never went through what Patrick went through. However, like Patrick, she was a throw-away dog, found as a stray and brought into animal control.

Luckily for me, I was available to foster her as she wasn’t doing very well at the shelter. I was concerned she would be anxious in another strange place but she acclimated almost immediately to our home. She found a place on the couch and relaxed right away. My dog, Ozzie was introduced through the fence and then through a gate in the house. Ozzie tends to be the one who…

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Cheaper by the Dozen

The Cuckoo's Nest

Smokie 008.NEFWe have a dozen animals in our house. That’s not including the little mices that sneak in every winter. Seven dogs, 2 cats and 3 parakeets. Maggie is a foster dog. Peanut and Daisy are foster failures. Ozzie was adopted from the Oregon Humane Society, Bo Peep was also from OHS via a raided puppy mill. Taz, my sister’s dog came from Illinois with her. The parakeets, Clyde, DewDrop and Buddelia were rescues. The cats, Sparky and Spooky were strays that we adopted. We are animal people. Our home and lives revolve around the animals. Activities, work schedules, vacations, holidays.  My closest friends are animal people. I met my best friends by dog introductions.

The newest addition to our house is a little gray poodle called Smokey. His owner, Barbara and Smokey had been inseparable. They watched TV and shared pop tarts in bed. For 15 years they were side…

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I Remember Mom

The Cuckoo's Nest

On Mother’s Day most other women my age are remembered by their human children. My dogs don’t know Mother’s Day from any others. They love me the same every day. So mostly on Mother’s day I remember my Mom and how I am so grateful to have the memory of someone who was a real human being. Modest, kind, thoughtful and always thinking of others.

She gave me the love of food made by hand and growing your own vegetables.  Her hands touched everything with care.

I just appreciate everything you taught me about taking the time to do things right. How to really clean a kitchen floor or to arrange a bundle of weeds into a stunning display. You could make any meal special or any day special with the way you remembered a favorite flower or color.  You put thought into what you made and into what you…

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Dogs and depression

The Cuckoo's Nest

I am a believer in the healing powers of animals. And this article touched me. I have been plagued with depression and anxiety all my life but I know the therapeutic affects of the animals in my life. My first dog, Buster saved me from the brink of despair.


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