Pets

For the past couple of weeks we’ve been verbally counting down the days to our dog Orly regarding how many days he has left with his balls which he will be having surgically removed tomorrow morning.

(He doesn’t seem very impressed?)

Some might view this as cruel but it’s not like he understands what we’re saying to him & the decision to have him neutered is actually quite bittersweet for us.

We first purchased him with the plan that he would not only be another member of the family but also a stud for our female Boston when they were both old enough. We used to breed our Miniature Pinschers that we once had & it was such an amazing experience that I really wanted to be able to breed a few litters with our beautiful sweet natured AKC Bostons.

Unfortunately despite our careful pickings of them as pups from two separate unrelated litters where the parents were all around 15lbs each we ended up with Sasha, our female Boston being a tiny 11 lbs and Orly, our male being whopping 22lbs, which may not sound like a big difference to some but considering it’s literally double Sasha’s size it’s just too big of a difference to safely breed the two of them.

So with great consideration we decided to have both of them fixed & give up on the idea of ever breeding either of them. Sure we could of sold one & found a replacement but we love them & are very attached to them both. They are members of our family.

Unfortunately, Orly has seen Sasha through two of her heats now & with the last one he was old enough to be triggered by it. This led to an incessant need for him to mark his territory in certain favorite locations of his throughout our dinning room & it’s become extremely frustrating for us to deal with. He doesn’t do it all the time but when he does I just want to scream & boot him to the curb. Yes, I know it’s our own fault. We should have fixed him a lot sooner if we didn’t want this problem, but with our male Min Pin we NEVER had this problem EVER. So I wasn’t exactly prepared for this.

We’ve tried putting male dog wraps around him but he perfected the art of escaping them within a week & short of that I just don’t know what else to do. So I am left really hoping & praying that it’s not too late & that this neuter will be enough to snap him out of this habit.

I also intend to bleach down every inch of the dinning room so that the scent of his markings will no longer be there to encourage him.

So here’s hoping!

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A couple months ago Roy & I (well, mostly me) decided it would be a great idea to get an Ecelctus Parrot to add to our family because our two children, two dogs, a lovebird & array of tropical fish just weren’t enough.

I was originally thinking of getting a cockateil but while we were wandering around this spectacular pet store in town that has all kinds of exotic pets we spotted two male baby Eclectus’s that already knew how to say “Hello”!. They were quite a bit larger than what I was originally looking for but I reached in to their open  top cage & one hopped right on to my hand. There was no biting attempts & they were just so incredibly gentle &  quiet for their size.

Eventually we left the store & started doing some research about them. Roy was already researching them on his iPhone before we even made it out of the store. Everything stated how super intelligent these parrots are. How they’re rated amongst the best talkers, how they’re pretty quiet compared to most parrots, that they require a lot of fresh fruit & vegetables in their diet, etc. and we decided after educating ourselves that we wanted to get one.

After our tax return came in going & getting Samuel was the first thing we did. We got big beautiful cage for him, picked out special toys, food, litter, treats, etc. & brought home our precious parrot with a thing from the pet store saying we needed to have him vet checked within 72 hours for them to guarantee his health & within that time frame we got him in to a bird hospital where they announced it was going to cost hundreds of dollars to run full testing on him to make sure he didn’t have anything. We decided to forfeit having that all done & instead settle on a very basic 30 second exam where we were charged about $50 for the vet to look over the birds body & tell us he “looked” good.

Within the first few weeks Roy & I both got some nasty bites from our gentle precious parrot & I started to feel like the bird hated me & only wanted to be with Roy. I’ve since figured out that he is an extremely nervous bird that freaks out over something as simple as the water running & that it’s best not to hold him during that time.

We bought a whole bunch of PVC pipe & connectors & Roy built a 3 tier stand for Samuel to have some “outside of his cage time” on and now Samuel screams off & on all day for this special time, or for food, or if Roy leaves the room, or if the water just so happens to be running. This scream is ear piercing & mind rattling and I absolutely cannot stand it!

He no longer seems to talk either & certainly doesn’t seem to be learning any new words. Roy thinks he hears him talk but it sounds like nothing more than bird chatter to me. Something that he does….ALL… day long. Seriously! He’s worse than a woman!

The maintenance level of this bird is pretty extreme also. The cage needs to be cleaned daily & Roy spends 30 minutes doing this every single night. The bird needs to have fresh fruit or vegetables every single day as a necessary part of his diet & he starts screaming right around the time he knows he usually gets it demanding that Roy hurry up. He eats literally all day long & usually starts with some of the kids Cheerios in the morning, then he works on his pellets during the day. Roy often gives him some sort of treats like Goldfish Crackers for lunch & then the fruit or vegetables for dinner… which the bird throws everywhere because it’s just part of the fun. Thankfully we have dogs that are happy to clean that all up.

All I know is the peace & quiet that once was is no more & I’m not a happy camper. I don’t have any desire to further bond with this bird because he drives me nuts & I worry about Roy ever deploying because guess who’ll be stuck dealing with all of this if he does & it’s not like I won’t have our children & other pets to deal with too. So I’m thinking… Eclectus for Sale!

I’m sure there’s someone out there who doesn’t already have a house full of children & other pets that would be more than happy to devote the time & attention needed to this bird. I’m sure Samuel would love to have a close bond with someone that truly has the time to spend with him… but it’s definitely not us!

***Update*** 5/12/2010

I’ve since this post been investing a lot of time & effort on my part to increasing my bond with Samuel. Things have been improving quite a bit & I’m no longer finding him nearly as annoying. It all seems to come down to a fine routine of bringing him out of his cage as soon as he starts his shrieking & onto his custom built stand where he can have his outside time & a cracker or two, then putting him back once he decides he no longer wants to sit on it, which is usually after about 10-30 minutes or so. He has calmed down significantly in regards to his noise level but is still a pretty nervous guy. All in all I think we’re doing ok with him though & there is relative peace & harmony in the household once again.

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PB167028I’m not sure if I mentioned it previously, but we’ve discovered that our original plan of breeding Sasha & Orly will probably be a poor decision.

Sasha who is now 17 months old & full grown is an itty-bitty 11 pounds.

Orly who is now 11 months old & pretty much full grown has ended up being a whopping 21 pounds.

When we got each of them I asked how much each of their parents weighed & was told by each breeder that both sets were about 15lbs each. So I figured these two would be about 15lbs each too. However, they apparently are both the exceptions.

Sasha has tiny little legs & paws, a small head, not much of a hanging jowl, big free standing ears & almost reminds me of a Chihuahua with much sweeter & quieter personality.

Orly is big all over. He has a huge head, is solid muscle, has huge feet & a big hanging jowl. When he jumps into your lap he quite literally knocks the wind out of you!

Most veterinarian’s that I’ve talked to recommend spaying Sasha because the size of Orly’s head would more than likely cause the pups to have a big head too & require Sasha to have a C-Section in order to deliver.

Our elderly neighbor’s (who recently moved out) daughter was a Vet Tech & when she discovered our plan to breed she too said it would be a sure C-Section & even mentioned that the whole ordeal could even potentially kill her.

P9136936I definitely do NOT want to loose Sasha. No amount of pups or money from said pups are worth loosing the best dog I’ve ever had over.

After calling around to numerous veterinarians in the area & getting quoted $200+ to spay her, I’ve decided to take her to the SPCA’s Spay & Neuter Clinic to have it done for $40 and have her an appointment scheduled for January 14th. At that price there’s quite the waiting list!

The problem however, is that she just came into her second heat & now Orly is plenty old enough to know just what to do about it. So, we now get to spend the next 2-3 weeks trying to keep them separated so that no pups occur.

Let me just say… keeping two dogs, who have one thing on their minds, separated will be quite the chore indeed. Thankfully the heat just started so it’ll be a few days before any real attempts start, but this could get ugly.

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p5086072The girls & I had an awesome day today going to Avala Farms with a friend of mine & her 4 year old son.We got there around noon & each of the kids was given a baggie of greens that they got to take around & feed to the animals. There was goats, sheep, ducks, chickens, donkeys, ponies, ostriches, peacocks & more. The girls were absolutely fascinated, especially Brooklynn who is more and more obviously going to share our love for animals. We showed them how to hold a handful of lettuce out for the animals & they grasped the whole concept pretty quick. I was impressed and had so much fun watching them & taking photo’s. (View all photo’s from this event here)

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p5086104After feeding all the animals we sat down at a picnic table & had a delicious PB&J lunch before heading back to the van to drive a little further down the way to Avila Beach where we parked & walked the Pier. We saw a Pelican perched about half way down, which I thought was pretty cool & had to get pictures of and then when we reached the end of the Pier there was this area that you can go down a set of stairs to get to where Sea Lions like to congregate. There wasn’t many around today (probably because it was around 90 degrees & a little too hot for sunbathing) but there was 5 of them snoozing that I was able to get within feet of to snap off a bunch of pictures. It was fascinating to see, but I was a little afraid because if you got too close then they’d bark at you.

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After the pier we were all very hot & very exhausted so we headed back home. It was a really great time and the girls were the perfect age for first time introductions to farm animals. Still I think it’s kind of funny how I’ve been here 5 years and never really checked these places out until now. We’ve sure been missing out!!!

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As most of you already know we ran into some difficulty regarding the girls & their medical needs & getting the medical approval to be allowed to go to Florida. We were even denied a couple of times, but I absolutely refused to accept no for an answer when it wasn’t for a legitimate enough reason. First they tried to deny our move because of *A* and some missing paperwork etc. etc., so I argued that she’s not even a Military Dependent yet & is still technically a Foster child. So they agreed to excuse all their issues with her needs if we don’t add her as a dependant until after we move. Next they decided to have issues about Brooklynn’s need for a Gastroenterologist, but I argued the fact that she had only seen this specialist once, and that no issues were found, that they’d only adjusted her diet which was something that could be followed up by a regular Pediatrician, even got the Gastroenterologist’s office to fax something to the Military Med Group stating all this, but still it wasn’t enough. We ended up having to have all of Brooklynn’s paperwork re-filled out by the Pediatrician, without the need for a Gastroenterologist checked off and finally got the official “ok” yesterday for us to go to Florida and when Roy went into work today his orders were all ready for him. So as far as all of that we’re finally good to go with 4 weeks left till our departure!

Unfortunately *A* has still yet to be switched into an adoptive placement with us because the social worker is still waiting for the “freeing” paperwork from the State. I’m not too worried yet however. I really suspect that she’ll have it by Wednesday of next week & hopefully we can set up a time to discharge *A* from foster care the following week. Guess we’ll have to see….

More good news is that we finally got Brooklynn’s Birth Certificate in the mail… with us listed as mom & dad :). She finally has an official record of birth & identity!!! Monday I plan to take her down to apply for a SSN. According to the Social Security Website, the card should arrive 10-14 days after we apply so we should be able to get it before our move & if we’re really lucky still have time to go amend our taxes for the last 2 years with the same lady on base that’s done them for us. (We haven’t been able to claim Brooklynn on our taxes yet due to her lack of SSN, but they told us that once we finally had one we could go back up to 3 years max & file amendments. Not to mention the Adoption Tax Credit that we’re also eligible for that we couldn’t apply for earlier this year when we filed, because we still didn’t have her SSN. I don’t know if it’ll be beneficial to us or not since Roy typically gets all his taxes back anyways, but we’ll see what they say.

So other then all this my minds drawing a blank… I can’t think of anything else really new going on. Things we’ve been waiting and waiting on are finally coming together now. We have relief knowing we are indeed going to Florida and the shock of it happening in 4 weeks…. 4 WEEKS!!! We’re scheduled to leave California on June 7th, we’ve already given notice on our house here, we don’t yet know when the movers will be scheduled for, but it’s really going to happen now!

Oh yes, and Sasha is currently experiencing her first real heat…

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… I get the impression she’s not real thrilled though.

And Orly….

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Well, I don’t think he’s quite ready to be all studly just yet either.

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I apologize once again for the blogging delay. I’ve just been so consumed by everything else going on in our lives as of late that in the moments of not worrying about things I’ve been glued to Netflix Movies via CD or streaming through Xbox Live rather than writing.

As you’ve undoubtedly also noticed, I have made some blog changes. I recently learned of a program called “Artisteer” via my friend Mel’s blog and decided to give it a try. It’s an incredible Theme Generator that pretty much allowed me to adjust every single aspect that I could possibly think of and after many hours of playing around with it I came up with what I’ve got here. Unfortunately, until I can come up with a spare $50.00 to purchase this incredible program, there will be the tiny “Trial” watermarks all over my page. I know it’s not overly noticeable, but it bothers me none the less so I hope to get rid of it soon.

I’ve also added a new page, which you’ll notice up above here, that contains the time & weather not only for us but our families too. I thought this was a good idea to add since when we get to Florida we’ll be 3 hours ahead of my family, 2 hours ahead of Roy’s sister, and an hour ahead of his mom. It’ll help us all remember who’s got what time & I find comparing weather fun too!

p4135908In other news, Orlaann is doing much better. He’s still a bit congested sounding, but much better than what he was. We’re not 100% certain that it’s not a Congenital Hearth Defect, but the Vet really feels that because he’s shown such improvements with antibiotics that it’s highly unlikely and instead believes it’s Pneumonia. He’s already on his second set of oral antibiotics, and I’m bringing him back in again on Thursday for a second inject-able antibiotic that lasts for 14 days. According to the Vet it could take quite a few more weeks to completely clear up his congestion, but she truly believes it will happen and I’m holding out tremendous hope for that too.

As far as making a decision on what to do about *A’s* bios… I still haven’t made one. I have written & re-written so many letters to them, but have yet to come up with something I’m ok giving to them. I want to give them something basic that tells how she’s doing, but at the same time gives a clear impression that that’s as far and as detailed as I’m willing to go without appearing rude. I still just don’t know what I want to do, but I feel obligated to give them something simple to tide them over until then.

Last week we also just about had everything arranged for tomorrow to be the day to have *A* discharged from Foster Care and switched to an Adoptive Placement, but then later received an email from the Social Worker saying that they were in such a hurry to do this for us that they failed to notice that they still needed something back from the State allowing her to be “freed” and in order for them to even apply for this “freedom paperwork” they need the paperwork from the court that says rights were terminated… and no one is really sure when they’ll be able to obtain that, so I’m really praying this doesn’t delay things too much longer.

Roy still doesn’t have his orders cut, but we truly anticipate that it should happen any time now. We have all the necessary paperwork filled out & submitted though and as it turns out everything is dependent on our children’s level of needs & whether or not the correct doctors are available within such and such a distance of where we’ll be moving. *A* needs to be close to a Pediatric Neurologist, and Brooklynn for now needs to be close to a Pediatric Gastroenterologist and from what I can tell there is none “In Network” for our Military Medical Insurance in all of Florida, but I suspect that they’ll be willing to arrange an “Out of Network” one to be utilized and there appears to be plenty of those. If they won’t though… then we may not be moving at all since they won’t send us to a location that can’t accommodate our families needs. So that’s good, but a bit of a bummer too.

p4155917As for the girls they’re becoming more and more of a handful every day. They’re both into everything. The moment I turn my back they’re literally climbing tables, pulling everything off, turning off my computer, opening Roy’s CD ROM drive, changing the channels on the TV or turning it on and off.  We literally have a fence up now blocking off our computer area. We’ve fenced ourselves in to keep them out! Brooklynn has also now developed a major hair pulling fetish and is constantly making *A* cry for her own personal amusement. I’ve been very consistent about time outs for this behavior, but now it’s like she knows it’s bad behavior, but she just doesn’t care, so she does it to *A* in the other room where I don’t always see, but I know exactly what’s happened when *A* suddenly starts bawling & Brooklynn comes running back with a coy little grin and goes about her business like she just accomplished something really special. She’s a year & a half old… how can she possibly be so evil mischievous?

Speaking of Brooklynn… On Saturday I stumbled across a garage sale down the road & found this little plastic chair. Unfortunately, they only had one but I bought it anyways and captured this video of Brooklynn experimenting with her new chair. (Password= asecret1)


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