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OH Henry!

OH Henry!

Oh Henry, why can’t you learn to poop and pee outside?

Oh Henry, why do you feel the need to wash your paws in your water bowl when you drink?

Oh Henry, when outside why do you need an hour to pick to the exact spot to is it a walking and sniffing Tibetan meditation you perform?

Oh Henry, please don’t eat the carpet, sofa, dining room chairs, ottoman, pillows, etc.

Oh Henry, be careful when messing with the cats.

Seven Days To Go!

We are off again, so kitties are pissed off again.

On June 18 we will board British Air to London Heathrow. SWEET!!

Taking our granddaughters Hannah and Hailey. We are beyond excited.

We have a cool flat on Gloucester Terrace within walking distance to Paddington Station, Hyde Park, and a lot of fun places to eat and shop.

We have some of our adventures planned and purchased. London Eye and River Thames Cruise, Stonehenge and Bath day trip. But, most of the time we will go with the flow pointing in the direction of the many museums, shopping opportunities and other stuff we want to do.

Checking out Big Ben in a rain shower…

Walking on famous dead people at Westminster Abbey…

Fish and Chips

Nips and Peeps

Mashed peas with mint (ok so not that!)

So, stay tuned!!

Posting photos on Instagram: leeanndickson


Cheery Oh and all that rot!

Ps. After three prior visits, I will take time to do my Sherlock Holmes walk all by myself.

Thomas Dickson

Thomas and Spike II. True love!

Thomas and Spike II. True love!

Thomas passed away on my lap this morning. It was a peaceful dignified death…one we can all aspire to.  To be held safely by a loved one while our pain and suffering quietly and painlessly slips away.

We adopted Thomas about a year after Toby came home.  Toby and I went to the breeder’s house and chose one of the cute blond goldens and took him outside to play.  All was good.  Toby seemed to like him and we all loaded into the Duck and headed home.  I thought it best to have his new “brother” be in on the adoption process.

About two minutes into the ride with puppy and year-old Toby in the back, Toby realized this was for the long haul and got pissed.  He snapped at Thomas and a horrible squeal emanated from the little guy.  I had to pull over and bring  him up front with me..dripping with Toby spittle.  We all calmed down and headed home.  I watched over the two for the rest of the day and then Toby did it again.  Just jumped all over the baby. Poor little Thomas ran up my legs and jumped into my arms. I held him like a baby until he fell asleep.  It took a couple of days for Toby’s alpha shit to settle down and they soon became fast friends.

However, Toby’s dominance did not last long.  Within six months it was clear Thomas was the boss. With his sad eyes, pink nose…he could be quite the hard headed bossy guy.

Thomas was a favorite of all the cats.  I think because he was little like them.

He absolutely loved cats.  When I brought Spike II home, he was only about a month old and weighed less than a pound.  Thomas took over the mommy duties and washed his little butt and made him potty.  Thomas made sure he had a daily bath and Spike was the only cat allowed to sleep on his mat.  He would curl up in Thomas’ tail or between his giant paws and sleep for hours.  Thomas would sit and snuggle with him.  When four year old Spike was hit and killed by a car…Thomas gave him a bath before we buried him.

Thomas was great with humans of all ages.  He would come up to folks at the dog park from behind and stick his head between their legs.  So, I would always then introduce Thomas since we was getting so familiar.

However, he could be a real asshole when it came to other dogs. And the worst part was you NEVER knew when he was going to go off. He never gave a warning growl and he never broke the skin.  He just liked putting other dogs…large or small in their place.  Our dog park days were over.  His nickname became Asshole.

Other than that, he was a fun guy who liked getting his own way.  He had more of a aloof cat personality than a needy dog.  He loved showing off his toys and when someone came in the house. He would run to his toy box and grab one and stick it in your face.  Toby was no longer allowed to have, hold or play with toys.  They were taken from him by Asshole when he tried.

I will say he did enjoy the months he was the only dog around here.

Thomas was old, stiff, not too sure on his feet  and suffering from cancer. The time came to say goodbye.   Again, our lovely vet made a home visit and he peacefully slipped away with his head in my lap and Lonnie and I caressing his ears…he loved that.

I saw this on Facebook last week and thought it was really nice and reflects how I feel:

Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs your heart is very big.

God, my heart is big and today very lonely and sad.

I used to joke.  Thomas and Toby they are TnT together.  No one seemed to get it.  Dynamite!  Get it??

Anyway no exploding of fun, barking, tags shaking, bells ringing or clickity clack of toenails here…it is so damn quiet.

They are up in Heaven now with all my other loves. What a great place to play.

Toby Dickson

Toby Dickson

Toby Dickson

After living divorced and dogless (even catless-UGHHH that was hard!) for a couple of years in an apartment in Burlingame, I finally moved into our home with Lonnie in Roseville on July 31.

On August 1, we had Casey.  He was named in honor of Casey Jones the infamous locomotive engineer of Illinois Central RR fame who died in 1900 while supposedly “bravely” trying to stop his passenger train and ran into a freight train. The truth is a bit less dramatic and he was going too fast for the curve…but who am I to judge…I wasn’t there.

Toby Dickson

Toby Dickson

I have a habit of naming my pets for railroad related items or themes.  Our cats are/were named Spike and Chessie (the mascot of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad) our other dog is Thomas…you guessed it for Thomas the Tank…you get the idea. So, with Lonnie’s occupation as a locomotive engineer and manager of engineers…I thought Casey Jones a perfect fit.

I told Lonnie I was going to get him…I don’t think he believed me until he drove in that night when a bright nine week old golden fluff ball greeted him a the door.  It was the first time I heard “baby talk” from him…it was so funny and cute.  Casey was a good dog and I loved him, he was my company when Lonnie was gone for so many days and nights and weeks on end for work. We walked, played at the dog park and were great buddies.  I took him on work trips too.  We went on day trips and once I took him for a week across Northern Nevada to look at railroad crossings in the most remote areas.   He kept Lonnie company too when I was on work trips and served as a great excuse to come home from work…”LeeAnn is traveling; got to feed the dog.”

Casey died a few months after his third birthday of lymphoma.  An unexpected development, one I was not ready to handle. He was not eating one week and dead the next. A friend asked me “When did you stop crying for Casey?”   “The day I brought Toby home.” I replied.

Toby was named for a dog the fictional detective Mr. Sherlock Holmes counted on as a trusted partner and fellow detective in the novel A Sign of Four.  Holmes is quoted as saying he would “rather have Toby’s help than that of the whole detective force in London”  I am a bit of a Holmes buff, so thought we would leave the railroad names alone for a while and try something new.

I rescued him from an old lady who’s recently deceased husband’s pension was supplemented by selling puppies. Asshole.  OK…just needed to say that.  Toby was the last one in the last litter.  She was glad to see my $500 and to see Toby’s tail out the door.  I was happy to hand over the cash and grab the robust little guy.  Casey, in his last days, had grown so dramatically weak and thin…I needed a fat puppy.

However, the chubby tummy didn’t last long.  The old bitch had fed him a bunch of cheap canned dog food before I got there.  He promptly deposited the still undigested contents on to the seat of the Duck.  OMG.

We stopped, mopped up and headed home. Although he just barfed…I could tell he was happy being released from that smelly garage, in the fresh air, and light of that canned crap.

Toby plopped into the house and was met by a couple of grumpy middle age cats. “Oh shit! Another dog!” I heard Spike say as he sashayed down the hall-tail up in the air. Oh well. Too bad. So sad! But I was ecstatic.

He was a great puppy when he wasn’t eating drip systems, digging out plants and generally causing havoc.  We walked, Dog Parked and generally hung out. Like Casey, he was an excellent partner, companion and travel partner.  He mellowed nicely with age and grew to be an great old man.  However, with his age came what has become normal maladies for Goldens. His hips and joints hurt and he developed a really big fatty tumor on his left shoulder.  Our vet told us if we had it removed…it would just grow back and it would cost thousands of dollars.  I told him “No one is getting fat sucked out except me!”

So we did as he advised gave him pain pills and lived with the growth. We nicknamed him Quasimodo and sometimes Lumpy Bump.  As his lumpy hump grew heavier and broadened, his pain worsened.  He would give you a good show at the door or for his dinner, but soon he could no longer just lay down…under the weight, he would collapse.

After just thirteen years Toby peacefully passed away in my lap on a Sunday morning.  My friend later told me that October 5th is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi and the Canticle for the Animals. We didn’t know that and it makes me feel better.

The vet came to the house and she was so comforting to Lonnie, me and Toby. He greeted her with a smile and a wag then quickly hit the floor.  I snuggled up under his head (he was 110pounds of pure love and I couldn’t hold him all) and held his head. He must of known what was about to happen…he never moved again.

I spoke quietly to him, stroked his head, scratched his ears and told him everything was going to be OK and he would be out of pain in a few minutes. Lonnie and our dear friend Jeremy were witnesses. He peacefully slipped away and the stress and pain of his body relaxed.

I was OK for a while, then we just needed to get out of the house for a drive. I was good the next day…since I had to work to distract me. However, Tuesday while driving home alone from San Jose I heard a song for the first time. I was so sad and crying so hard, I thought I was going to have to pull over. The tune was Gene Cotton’s 1970’s Before My Heart Finds Out.

The lyrics are so close to how I felt last Sunday morning and keep feeling.

Leave me now… before my heart finds out
Well, before you walk out of my life
Would you be especially quiet?
And don’t you let my heart know that you’re leaving.

My brain knew and knows what was best for Toby, a quiet, peaceful and dignified death. My heart doesn’t want to know. Doesn’t want to know he is gone.

Rest in Peace my beautiful guy. I will see you over the Rainbow Bridge.

Retired Guy vs. Kitten

Lonnie & Daisy

Lonnie & Daisy

We adopted a kitten two weeks ago today.  Daisy is thriving!  She is a white and gray tiger and has a ton of extra toes.  Her front white paws look like little snow shoes as she plops along looking for something to get into.

As info: Chessie is getting more used to Daisy. It was pretty bad at first and she is still pissed off. They can be close…but touching touches off a hissing fit.  Dogs: they could care less!  Toby lets Daisy eat out of his dish while he is still eating…what a guy!

While emptying the dishwasher before my 6am yoga class, it hit me:  Kittens and retired guys are pretty much the same.

The first thing the in the morning, they go potty. Then they take a bath. Then they eat.

Pretty much the rest of the day is spent:

Playing:  batting around shiny objects.  making stuff in the garage


Napping: sometime together and sometimes alone


Catching the occasion sun ray: see Napping

Snuggling: see Napping

and so on.  Pretty much that is it.

Kittens and retired guys also can drive the still working and kitty mom crazy, by making noise, creating tripping hazards, wanting meals and the occasional toy.

Daisy purrs. To quote Mr. Spock: (while holding a Tribble) “Most curious creature, Captain. It’s trilling seems to have a tranquilizing effect on the human nervous system.”  If I need to explain Tribble; you are too young to understand my blog.

Lonnie Zens. He continues to create the most beautiful furniture, frames, and other wooden objects.  I am truly amazed at his ability to take a piece of wood and turn it into something spectacular with such ease.

Our yard and house have never looked cuter/cleaner/neater…even with the drought!

Daisy and Lonnie have bonded.  It is cute. So, I must inform you all that Hell has officially frozen over!

So, as Daisy climbed among the clean dishes as I retrieved them from the dishwasher and put them away. That is what I thought about this morning.

Have a nice day.

Getting Ready to Travel*

chessie-is-pissedChessie (the cat) is pissed.  I know it doesn’t look like it in this photo…but I can feel it.  She is seething.  You see she knows we are packing. We are leaving for three weeks to tour the French regions of Normandy and Brittany. Bike, barge, and a lot of walking are in store for the days we are not riding the commuter trains and the TGV to different destinations. So, with our busy household…these weeks have been filled with coordination…