Redux: Pediatric Sterilization and Problems as Predicted

Hi Everyone,

It’s been years since I’ve checked in… busy with life and trying to paint. Photographing my work and blogging about art or life and the critters I love just doesn’t seem to happen.

This will be a short post…just to make sure I remember how to do it 🙂

At any rate, that beautiful puppy I wrote about two years (after the death of Zolton)…well he has four bum-limbs. In fact, the orthopod has written him up as having “four lame limbs.” 

Without going into it too much tonight let’s just say he was born with elbow dysplasia which was undiagnosed and has now developed into Fragmented Coronoid Process (FCP) and severe arthritis in BOTH elbows. 

As if that isn’t enough, he has two partially torn ACLs (dog version) requiring TPLO surgery. HUGE undertaking. Totally pissed. The cost is staggering. The rehab for both knees is almost a year and no one knows what the hell we can do about the severe mess that are his elbows.

All he does is lie around clearly not trying to indicate his pain. All of this, I’m conjecturing is due to, at least in part, pediatric sterilization!! The research shows that there can be problems with the bones of dogs who have had their hormones messed with due to this inhumane practice. My Lord! These are babies and we are neutering them when they are infants and they haven’t even had a chance to produce hormones naturally and allow their growth plates to close.

So that’s it. All I can share of this tragic tale tonight. I had this premonition 2 years ago and, alas, my instincts were spot on. Now I have a sweet, loving darling with more issues than anyone knows what to do with.

I’ll catch you later on this.



Sharing some beautiful words in regards to the tragedy on Friday in Connecticut.

Slim Paley

Like everyone else across the country and no doubt caring people around the entire world, my heart is breaking for the families of all the sweet & gentle souls lost in the tragic incident in Connecticut last Friday. When something this unspeakable happens we instinctively search for comfort by looking for answers but come away with nothing. We have so much we want to say, but there are no words. Just our tears, aching hearts and prayers. I pray for the families and entire community of Newtown to find some strength and comfort in the massive outpouring of love we are sending and know they are profoundly not alone their mourning.

May the Universe hear our collective cry for more kindness, acceptance and love amongst us and may we all be listening as well.

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Say NO to pediatric sterilization

Hi folks,

I still haven’t written about Zolton’s very last few days. I can’t at the moment. I’m a wreck. But I am trying to heal the pain with a new puppy, however, finding one is really, really hard!!

I’m trying to do the right thing and get a “rescue” puppy but the rescue-community is dogmatically self-righteous in insisting upon pediatric sterilization. This is horrible for the animal–you are interrupting that angel’s normal hormonal development–and many cancers are linked to it. If you don’t believe me, take a look at some of the research:

I found one boy I really want, named Derby. He’s a Pyrenees mix–possibly with Newfoundland:Image

I simply don’t like that he’s been neutered.

And then I LOVED these Newfie-mixed litter mates. One’s father might have been lab, the other’s Rottie. HAPPY is the one who might have a lab for a daddy, (below), 


And Kenji, Happy’s brother, probably had a Rottie for a daddy.


My issue with these boys (well actually I would only take Happy) is twofold. First and very seriously, they may have been exposed to Parvo which is a deadly virus. The Rescue group has them in quarantine for two weeks (but they really need 21 days). And secondly, she is absolutely 100% adamant  about neutering these boys as soon as they come out of quarantine. I begged…I mean BEGGED for her to give me the latitude to neuter him when it was physically prudent to do so and she flat out refused. REFUSED. No case-by-case assessment here. Just plain, full on, self-righteous dogma. And, hey, it’s her right. They are her dogs. But she wants me to make my decision tonight, before we even know if the dog will make it and that, to me, is unreasonable. Therefore, I am going to pass on the dog.

I think it is important for more of us to pass on these dogs. To not do business with these rescuers and puppy mills that know the facts and continue to operate within their flawed paradigms!

So what do you think? Does Derby look like Zolton when he was a puppy?


I think so.

Now can I get over the early-neutering thing? 


Noah’s Ark

Not much new to report on this blog so I’m sharing what “life” is throwing at me now…..everyone can relate to the pain in losing a most beloved pet. I welcome any or all comments. xx

The Zolton Chronicles

I don’t think I was suffering so acutely during the process of watching and waiting while my wonderful father passed. This Zolton mess is close to doing me in and we just started!! A note about Dad: he had emphysema and was dying for years and it was a chronic heartache. This is like the crap hit the fan with one mind-blowing revelation.

My girlfriend, The Cat Doctor in Hellertown, PA, is a brilliant vet though she only deals with cats in her practice. I have never met a smarter nor kinder more compassionate vet. So I faxed her Zolton’s ultrasound report. She corroborated the prognosis but really helped in clarifying much of the grim details.

The big thing which no one spelled out was that there is a 9.8 cm mass in the sacral lymph nodes. That is almost 4 gosh darn inches in diameter! This thing is in…

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The Graphic Reality

The Zolton Chronicles

It all started with a “senior” visit to a new veterinarian almost two weeks ago. It had been 21 months since Zolton’s last visit to a doctor. He had been seen for years–every six months–for every little thing. In fact, I was an alarmist. I did everything I was supposed to do and then some….But then my husband’s business hit an extremely rough patch. Almost everything he created since graduating from business school was lost. Yup, we were one of those families, having been blessed with much, (through very hard work on my husband’s part), that lost almost everything material in the debt crisis. He’s a real estate developer and the losses were huge. We hung in there–continue to do so–but the emotional toll that consumed my poor husband, me and his children has been daunting (not to mention all the employees he had to let go). I’m not complaining…

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A year in heaven

This week, March 6th, to be precise, marks the year of my dear father’s departure from this world. I am an only child and losing him has been monumental. I knew it would stink, but I had no idea! I have been filled with emotion this entire year but on Tuesday, the 6th, I was BEYOND my usual level.

I thought it would be healthy to write–a catharsis of sorts–and , perhaps I could speak to someone else’s mourning–maybe extend comfort to others. But I didn’t write. I was so full of emotion, I couldn’t write. I felt like locking myself in a closet and drinking a bottle of Skinny Girl Margaritas, but I ended up running on the treadmill to “Sympathy for the Devil” instead.

I am out in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, skiing with my family–an activity and a place that were very dear to my family. My Dad loves it out here–he loves the mountains, he loves fishing and skiing and he hadn’t been able to join us the last few years because of the altitude–he had emphysema. I think the last time he was here was in 2003, in the Fall. We all went hiking and up to Jenny Lake. They fished at Dick Cheney’s country club (smiles) and we went through the national parks singing some silly song I learned in college. My son remembers those days and the song (“it’s vinter in the vunderland and the vind blows on the vindowpanes and all the viggy vomen write philosophies on the vestibule…).


It seems like years ago. I can’t really fathom the reality that I will never ever see him again–at least in this lifetime. When this fact permeates my soul, I go from completely O.K. one minute to breaking out in uncontrollable gasps of weeping–bordering on hyperventilation. Life just isn’t as wonderful without him on the planet. He was a kind man. A loving father and husband. One of those rare gentlemen whose humor and dignity got all of us through a lot of hard times. He wasn’t a man of many words (as my mother and myself) but he came up with some good ones when they were terribly needed. He would even mediate my marital blow-ups! He loved my son, his only grandchild, his namesake (the two of them pictured above), my mother, me and my husband and even my husband’s children (when I didn’t). He loved my cats and my dog. I remember when my dog was a puppy and I rescued him from a shelter in upstate New York and had to buy him a plane ticket to be brought to our town. My dad had picked up the dog at the airport (always doing me favors) and brought him down to our house. The puppy had had a nasty accident all over his kennel and of course my sweet father cleaned up the entire mess and the dog before he was presented to me (this was my first dog and would have been my last had I had to deal with the mess).

I’m not sure where I’m going with all of this. I just want to remember him today. I love him so much and I miss him even more. In trying to comfort his mother, when his father fails to do so, my son reminds me, “just think of the great year Grandpa had in heaven!” Oh, how I want to believe that. I really do. I think that’s why they call it faith.

My Life as a Multi-Hyphenate

Perhaps my aspirations were not lofty enough. I was told throughout my life that I could do anything “if I put my mind to it.” I guess the latter part was my demise. I didn’t put my mind to much…as in the 900% effort needed to achieve success as an actress, a media maven, a stand-up comic, a yogini or even possibly a painter.  Even though I was quite a good therapist and psychologist, I didn’t love it enough to stay in the field too long.  Once I defended my dissertation, I hung up my doctor-hat and became a mother. I want to point out that I am not even talking about my short-lived career as a real estate salesperson because that was one area I never cared to achieve success….just enough pocket change to make life easier. I also note the irony in the fact that I married a real estate developer, but that is a story for another time.

But all of this is changing. It started with putting forth the 900% effort required to be a great mother. Motherhood, beginning in my 40th year was the golden ring that I snatched quickly and confidently. Once I found out I was pregnant, I embraced it full heartedly. I packed up my tiny apartment in La Jolla, California and moved back east to be with my husband full time (we had a bicoastal marriage for a short time when I was in graduate school in San Diego). I try hard not to make the connection that I might have been late to mature since I did spend much of my twenties not thinking about success as I survived as a single, white woman living in New York City in the 1980s.

I moved my little life and all my books and music back to eastern Pennsylvania. Even the New York Times ranked Bucks County as the most beautiful county in the country (not Marin!). Leaving the beautiful southern California weather, my porch with plants and birds and the never over-stated town of La Jolla wasn’t easy however leaving the cultural nihilism and tattoo parlors of Pacific Beach was a snap. Occasionally, though, I yearn to move back to the Coast with the glorious sunshine and ocean yet diabolically wince when I think of the perfectly highlighted housewives in their precious pink sweat suits—FULL MAKEUP—while getting an early morning latte, exchanging horror stories about who ate the most carbs the day before (these women are not the transplants from New York).  I recognize this as simply a case of wanting what I don’t have, at the moment.

But today I have a treasure that I never held when living  in New York, Boston, London or California. I have a beautiful child—a son—now 14—still sweet, wonderful and as perfect as he was when a newborn. God graced me with the greatest gift; He did have a plan after all!  And to think I almost missed it. All the hyphenations aside, I am a mother, my greatest title—the main act—and a pretty good painter, too. Perhaps it takes a lot of hits and misses until one’s life is flushed out to near-perfection.

The Circle of Life

Today, as I left the house to paint, I left with a heavy heart. Not only am I grieving the death of  my father in March, I am grieving the loss of my parents’ cats…and my childhood home. Since my father died, my mother has been anxious to sell her house, get rid of her two beautiful cats and move to a retirement village. She wants things to be easier. The only way she can fathom “easy” is to move to a much smaller place, an apartment actually, in a lovely retirement community. For her this means endless bridge games, water aerobics and jello, I imagine. It also means the loss of her two feline companions. I get it. I do! How can you entertain the gals for bridge with a litter box stinking to high heaven? Therefore, Fritz and Floyd need to find a new home. She questioned me about shelters she could send them to. Aghast I replied, “Mother! Those places are for trailer trash. For people who are not responsible! We rescue animals from shelters, we don’t take animals there!” On and on it went with her defense being that she simply didn’t know what to do and she couldn’t take them there. PERIOD. So of course, you can’t argue with a grieving senior so I relented and began looking for a home for these precious boys that came from a shelter, abused and homeless and riddled with ring worm. Now they are fat and beautiful and loving and entitled.

I managed to find them a home. A new friend I paint with was willing to take one, maybe, for her 92 year old mother who still lives in a private home with a nurse…..but she has a small dog. Well Floyd certainly wouldn’t tolerate that. Fritz,…maybe. But how long will this woman live and before you know it, Fritz and Floyd will be uprooted again. Yesterday, I fell to my knees in prayer. Prayer for just about everything and everyone. Prayer for my girlfriend who lost her husband to a drunk driver; prayer for my mean spirited step daughter; prayer for my over-worked husband and under loved friend. Prayer for me, by Jesus. I need help! Help for my mother with those two cats.

The email came and my new friend offered up another solution. She, in Costa Rica with her family, was thinking about me and my mother and my mother’s soon-to-be-homeless cats. Her mother’s nurse came through. She just lost her dog to an unfortunate situation. She had to leave her dog with a stranger who bought her old house. Her children wanted a pet. They considered another dog but they loved cats….and cats are easy. But they wanted one declawed. BINGO. We got that! How about two (well, maybe…she needs to play it right with the husband). The entire family with their two small boys descended upon my mother this morning. One child wanted Fritz, the other Floyd. ALRIGHT. She’ll take them both. But my mother only had one cat carrier. Take one and come back tomorrow. Promise? Absolutely. Fingers crossed, I breath deeply and sweetly tonight.

Leaving the Angst Behind

Since I’m finishing the draft of my first book, well second, counting my dissertation, I’ve decided to put myself “out there” so to speak. Allowing myself to be completely vulnerable to the vast cyber universe of seriously critical anonyms. I barely have enough time to do the things I need to do and no time to do the things I want to do in my new life-path or focus, that of producing realistic oil paintings with a consistent quality of excellence. Anyone who paints can tell you just how difficult it is. So many things to think about. So much more than in any of the so-called brilliant fields in which I’ve actually worked–where people think they are doing really difficult stuff. SO MUCH HARDER. There are edges, values, hues, saturation, composition, texture and so on. This comes from a person who has done so, so many things in 54 years of life. Actually an embarrassingly ridiculous amount of dabbling has gone on in my life and now I’m trying like hell to focus….to focus on things that bring me peace and serenity and satisfaction. Also, I terribly need something to capture my attention, with a Zen-like flow. I get bored quickly, hence, the dossier.

It has taken me a long time and a lot of heart-ache to come to the conclusion that I am an artist before anything else. I have always been an artist and for some bizarre reason I tried to be so many things before I relented my will to the often lonely and difficult world of making art. And I might add, that it never, ever worked…for me, that is. However, my octogenarian mother always reminds me,  had I stayed with my last official, corporate position I could now be a publisher. She doesn’t realize how that would never EVER have happened with my anti-corporate disposition. Although, only days out of college with a B.A. degree, I went to the epicenter of excitement, my perceived universe of grandeur, the New York City advertising industry. I was such a good actress that I charmed 5 Vice Presidents of 5 top-ten worldwide agencies to give me a start as a Media Planner. I succeeded such that one of these gentleman actually called my parents in Pennsylvania to tell me that he has never hired a person for my position without an M.B.A. Isn’t that just dandy? How lucky for me…or maybe for them. Nah. On second thought, not for them, because I usually was fired once the artist was discovered. They saw it before I did. I continued to persevere in a city I loved but in corporations I despised. Why, I wonder, do we figure it out so late in life that there isn’t enough time left to do it all. The meaningful stuff, that is??