Animal companions in our happy homes

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  • BelisariusBelisarius Admin Emeritus
    I truly try to like all dogs, but this winning the 2019 AKC Championship? Bah.

    At least Andy the Golden Retriever won Best in Group.
  • Belisarius wrote: »
    I truly try to like all dogs, but this winning the 2019 AKC Championship? Bah.

    At least Andy the Golden Retriever won Best in Group.

    I'm also a dog lover, but that AKC Champion looks more like a fur muff than a dog. Andy the Golden Retriever looks like a real dog, a beautiful one.
    JMHO...
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I'm more a cat person, but Andy is beautiful. I'd love to see him running full tilt.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    I thought the AKC champion looked like a feather duster ... :mrgreen:

    Andy the Golden Retriever is gorgeous though!
  • Is the AKC champion called Tricky Woo?
    When dogs like Andy get the chance to run it is a pleasure to watch - over Christmas I enjoyed seeing some greyhounds running on an otherwise empty beach - gorgeous.

    On the other hand Cats are meant to sleep. Or that’s what Truffles tells me. Preferably on my lap when I’m trying to sew.
  • BelisariusBelisarius Admin Emeritus
    edited January 2
    daisydaisy wrote: »
    Is the AKC champion called Tricky Woo?

    I don't get the reference if there is one, but the dog's actual name is Wasabi (for real).

    ETA: Ah, from All Creatures Great and Small...
  • Sorry, should have said...
  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    I knew it instantly but was surprised that you knew Tricky Woo. :)

    My dog runs like a hound despite her mixed ancestry which doesn't include any of the hound breeds. It is a delight to see her run. She's bursting with energy. We have some local spots where a low tide means a huge flat beach to run on. I may not be able to move much but she sure likes to go.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Oh Boogie, he's gorgeous! :)
  • Today I fought back urges to join Truffles in the first of her laser treatments for stiff joints. She seemed ok with it and has tackled the stairs a bit more smoothly than yesterday. More next week - my willpower will be tested!
  • En route to bed last night, I realised that there was a distinctive smell in my bedroom. I sniffed around, and realised my whole bedroom smelt of cat pee. Horrors! I then realised that my hallway was just as bad. Dismay! And my living room! Everywhere I went I could smell cat pee! Meanwhile my daughter was sniffing round assuring me she couldn't smell anything, anywhere, and was I sure?

    I was very sure!

    It turned out that I had thrown my fleece dressing gown over a chair that morning, and part of it had trailed on the floor. Elizabeth had peed on my dressing gown. The dressing gown I was wearing en route to bed! ( :disappointed: )

    It's just as well that Miss Elizabeth is adorable, cuddlesome and delightful or I might have some harsh things to say to her.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    Easier to wash a dressing gown than acres of carpet. Clever cat! Good cat!
  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    Lol - too funny! I had a friend who thought that the skunk smell from her dog was on her but it was up her nose. :)
  • Cathscats wrote: »
    Easier to wash a dressing gown than acres of carpet. Clever cat! Good cat!

    She has a perfectly good litter tray! I'm assuming the texture of a fleece dressing gown appealed to her in some way.

    The dressing gown was probably due a wash anyway.
  • Truffles is impeccable with her toileting habits and only pees inside of she is ailing for something (her way of saying ouch rather loudly) so it might be worth getting Elizabeth checked over.
  • Apart from a brief flurry of peeing next to her new, improved, litter tray, instead of peeing in it, which was clearly her way of saying she didn't like the new tray, she doesn't pee in the wrong place often.

    We do have one ongoing problem. There is a ginger cat who likes to stare at her through the windows. Every time Elizabeth sees it, she starts yowling and scratching at the glass. There have been a couple of incidents when the ginger cat has cornered her in the garden and we've had to rescue her. I took her to the vet the last time that happened, because I thought she had been hurt. The vet checked her over and said that she was fine, but stressed.

    I don't know who the ginger cat belongs to, but he must have a cat flap, or be put out at night, because he appears at all hours. He doesn't belong to any of our immediate neighbours. One other neighbour is also being pestered by him.

    I assume that Elizabeth can hear him, because she can't see him when the curtains are closed , but will jump onto the windowsill and go behind the curtains for a confrontation.

    I have put "anti-cat" plastic spiky strips along the outside sills of the two worst windows, but they haven't deterred him. I don't know whether it is worth buying more, to have a double width strip, or whether that would be throwing good money after bad. I have a loaded water pistol by the back door but I haven't been quick enough so far. We have a Feliway plug-in to help calm her down afterwards.

    I think the "peeing in the wrong place" may be linked to stressful windowsill encounters.

    Any suggestions? The whole household is woken if Elizabeth starts a windowsill yowl at 2am, but we are mostly concerned about Elizabeth who is clearly distressed by each encounter.
  • Orange peel on the outside windowsill? What I’ve put by the hedgehog feeder seems to be deterring all but the most determined of cats. But of course Ginger sounds very determined.
  • Is it possible to add a strip to key windows that causes them to be angled, not flat level, so the visiting cat simply slides off? I’d also consider window film so the cat can’t see in and loses interest.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I am very unpopular with Aroha. I was tipping up a very heavy chair and she went under it. I couldn't hold it any longer so I gave her tail a quick tug as it was that, or drop the chair on her. She was not amused, and gave a loud yowl. I feel guilty, but there was nothing else I could do. I may be forgiven at tea-time. 😼
  • Boogie wrote: »
    What a lovely name for a cat @AuthorDiva :heart:

    She already had that name at the ASPCA when I adopted her from them. I liked the name so much that I kept it instead of changing it.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited January 9
    This photo of my pet Lab, Tatze, makes me smile. She’s looking over ‘her’ chair. It’s her safe place from the pup, she knows if she’s on there the pup isn’t allowed near her. :)

    (Tatze means ‘paw’ in German)

  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Thanks Boogie. I think I will revisit this photo when I'm feeling stressed, she looks so relaxed.
  • We all need a safe chair sometimes.
    :smile:
  • FredegundFredegund Shipmate
    @North East Quine - does Ginger have a collar? Might be worth putting a note on to suggest a few early nights.
    For the record, our feral widdled in a cardboard box that Chilperic had left on the bedroom floor. It took me a couple of days to track it down and it wasn't pretty...
  • No, no collar. Ginger is clearly healthy, but I wonder if he is being kept by someone as more of a mouser than a cossetted pet. One of our neighbours has a black and white cat which strolls across the garden and Lizzie is unconcerned about it. She watches with keen interest, but the yowling and her tail bristling out like a bottle brush only happens when Ginger is about. Mind you, black-and-white doesn't jump onto our window sills and stare in. And black-and-white doesn't corner her in our garden hissing and spitting.
  • I was wondering where to post this, and privately thought Hell would be better. However... I received a begging letter from one of the local hospitals to fund robotic pets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h375j3tSgI4&feature=youtu.be. What does anyone think? If it works, who am I to gainsay it? When I was sick, a warm, live, friendly cat with a very special personality kept company with me and made a difference that I'll never be able to express in words. Dementia is different, I know, but I'm not (yet) able to relate at all well to it.
  • Interesting, @Stercus Tauri - I had wondered about something similar for my aunt and investigated a heart beat that some vets use to calm some patients with. I even found a purr. But I wasn’t sure enough to go ahead with it. She passed away in Sept so I’ll never know how she’d have responded. My gut feel is that it might have confused her even more.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    edited January 16
    Tbh, I thought the cat in the video was more than a tad creepy, but I'm not really a cat person. If they made a wee white dog one, that might be different ... :mrgreen:
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    edited January 17
    Creepy is the word.

    If I could get a small robotic dog, I could call it "Good Boy' and use it to shame my unrobotic bad dogs (who have just widdled on the kitchen floor).

    Seriously though, wouldn't a furry pillow work as well for someone with dementia who is not aware of the difference between a live animal and a cuddle toy? Or is it the sounds of purring or miaowing that soothe the patient?
  • It has been found that stroking something soft can calm someone with advanced dementia - I spent hours trying cuddly toys out to find one that was actually smooth (it’s surprising how harsh some of them felt).
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Yes, if it’s soft and calming then why not?
  • I have known a retired shepherd with dementia who was given an almost life-size and very realistic Border Collie dog. It was perfect for him. He took it everywhere and named it Meg, which was the name of his very first sheepdog. I don’t think he needed it to be any more lifelike than it was.

    (P.S. I remember once when I was visiting he suddenly remembered his sheep and asked who was caring for them. I reminded him that his sons were running the farm now - had been for a good couple of decades - an he, with his mind in the past, snorted derisively and wonderfully and said with infinite scorn “They loddies!”)
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    The care home where my brother lives has real cats. He has his own cat which was a stray on the family property before he went into care. The home is on one level with several courtyards and Pud-Pud has a ramp up to his window.

    The thing is that if you have a large number of people with dementia needing calming a robotic cat can always be available and be easily taken from one person to another. It won't decide to wander off for it's own feline reasons and you don't need to feed it or keep the litter box clean. I think it's different to having your own cat to keep you company at home, where you can develop a different relationship with different cats. I know in the past when I have been depressed, having a cat has given me a reason to get up and go to the shops for her food, whereas if it was mine I just wouldn't bother.

    I think the robotic cat at least makes more sense than the robotic seal I've seen on other videos. Certainly the seal (which resembles a baby harp seal) has large eyes and soft fur, but it just seems weird to me.
  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Shipmate
    edited January 17
    @Cathscats I read a short story once in which an elderly woman phoned the hospital where her husband was coming out of anaesthesia. A keen young nurse told her that her husband was still drowsy, but was asking for her by name - Jess - and saying many affectionate things about longing to see his Jess again. The matron reprimanded the nurse, because she knew that the wife's name was Ina.

    Back in the farmhouse, the wife settled down happily with a cup of tea by the fireside and told the sheepdog "He's missing us, Jess."

    @Stercus Tauri I've seen and stroked one of those robotic cats at an exhibition of robots at the National Museum of Scotland. I thought it was creepy and the fur nylony. The movements were realistic, but limited and repetitive. I think you would have to have quite severe dementia to find it convincing.
  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    They use them widely where I used to visit with my dog. One lady would be looking directly at my dog while I was visiting with another resident and would pet her cat in a way that she knew would make it meow. She was watching my dog to see what she would do. It made all of us giggle. They are not soft inside - the structure is rather heavy and bulky - but the the fabric for the fur is quite realistic. One lady, who likes dogs better, got a dog and everyone spoke to her. Honestly, I think whatever gives a person comfort and delight has gotta be a good thing. The best benefit from my point of view is that it gave visitors, family, and staff, an obvious conversation topic. Yes, it is childish to presume that an adult will think of a robotic pet as a real pet. I guess you have to enter into a little pretend time and use your imagination like you would with a five year old describing what her dolly was up to that day. I hope that if I ever am old that someone will give me a dog to pet and talk about and pretend to care for.
  • I agree with you @Lily Pad - and I’d like one of these cats if I can’t have the real thing.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    I hope that if I end up in a care home they'll let me keep my favourite teddy-bear.
  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    Maybe tie a little tag around it now that says, "Teddy bear for when I go to a nursing home." Then everyone will know. :)
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    I hope I've got a while to go yet - I'm only 57! :mrgreen:
  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    Well, yes, of course, but making sure everyone knows is never a bad thing. :)
  • I’ve written a plan for That Day that includes my bear goes with me.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Very wise! :)
  • I wish that my sister's very favorite bear and life-long companion could have been cremated with her, but I wasn't there at the time.
    :cry:
  • My sweet 15-year-old dog, "A", has Cushings disease. The Vet told me to watch for vomiting. Well, that seems to be how she spent the night. The first was in the bedroom right after I went to bed. Then she woke me up at 6:00 this morning, in the hall. When I got out to my family room, there had been several more incidents, and again just now. I'll call the Vet when they open in an hour-and-a-half (it's just past 6:30 here), but I really fear this could be it. I've been trying to prepare emotionally and praying for strength to get through this loss when it happens. All of your prayers will be appreciated.
    :cry:
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Bless you @Pigwidgeon, it’s such a hard time when our beloved pets are at or near the end. :cry:

    🕯
  • Thank you, Boogie. She's basically the only family I have and has been the love of my life for over 15 years. But if the time has come, I won't prolong it out of selfishness.

  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Poor wee dog. :cry:

    {{{Pigwidgeon and A}}}
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Thinking of you Pigwidgeon. It's hard to let go, but it's the last loving thing you can do for her. :heartbreak:

    Please be kind to yourself over the coming days.
  • Well, we're back home. The Vet thinks the vomiting may be unrelated to the Cushing's disease, so we're treating that symptomatically. I'd already scheduled her for boarding at the Vet's this coming Monday-Thursday while plumbers dig up my back yard to replace a pipe, so she'll be in good hands and they'll monitor the situation.

    Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes. I was delighted to be able to bring her back home today, but I know that awful day is not too far in the future. We'll enjoy whatever time we have together.
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