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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
And with this, I think my photoblogging of the Late Great Mr. Darcy will come to a close. This is a wonderful shot of Roy and Mr. D. taken in February 2000, while Mr. D. was still pretty much a novelty. Like many others, it had bad green eye. In this one, when photoshopping his eyes to brown, I borrowed the highlights from Roy's eyes -- a sort of human-to-canine corneal transplant.

In other news, it's been mostly sunny so we ventured out on our bikes as part of a bike tour organized by the Mural Arts Program. Since this wasn't a tour for the real enthusiast, there was barely time for one to whip out a camera, much less to set up the shot and get the names and data of the murals. Still, I got some. Photos will be posted.

The ride was about 10 miles, about the right distance for someone who hasn't been riding much except to the PathMark. On the way home, I stopped at the Azalea Garden at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for some plant therapy.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
I liked this picture of Mr. Darcy, but he had a bad case of green eye.

I'm feeling quite smug about having made it go away. I think I have a system now.

This is Mr. Darcy with the infamous "Toy," the only one he really liked and the one that would be dropped right next to you on the sofa, covered with dog slobber, whether you wanted to play with him or not. I bought them in bulk because they stood up to his depredations and were more chewable than a Kong, and I think I have about six left.
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We saw the sun for an hour or so this morning; now the high clouds are moving in.

This year the wisteria appears poised to bloom more prolifically. I stopped counting at 30 scapes. That's not prolific by [ profile] kightp's standards, but it's a great improvement on the six or seven scapes we had last year.

We have ants on the peony buds this year! Teeny tiny little black aunts, not the big ones I recall from my youth, but ants nevertheless.

I think I will be gardening passively this year -- not going out and acquiring new plants, but accepting what comes up. I have a lot of seedlings: corydalis, four-o-clocks, aquilegia, rudbeckia, and what I believe are rose campion. I also have enough feverfew to medicate the eastern seaboard if I let them grow. Then, of course, there are the coleus and begonias I overwintered.

We moved the hostas, in their boxes, to a spot where they would get rainwater. They are tremendously happy after the rainy spell and should have a good start on life this year before we move them back to their regular place. I am also thinking of dividing them and putting them in the ground. All of my variegated hostas have sported out to plain green, but that's all right.

stages of grieving for a large dog )
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Hey Pat -- did you get any nice pictures of Mr. Darcy when you were here at Flower Show time? I'm a little light on later pictures....

[ profile] clindau found a couple of really nice ones from her 2004 trip and sent them to me.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
Poor Eli the Newf was only 11 months old. Boy, was I embarrassed.

We never could teach him any manners with other doggies. He was definitely a human's dog.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
I took this picture of Mr. Darcy this afternoon. Looking at it, I can see that he was ready.

I thought I had taken some pictures of him on his last walk at Bartram's Garden on Sunday, but it turns out I either didn't take any or discarded them because I didn't like them.

I wish I'd done a video of him talking like a pirate. What a fine fellow he was.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
An hour ago he was still alive but didn't much care that he was. We stayed with him and hugged him as he went.

He was a goodwill ambassador to the neighborhood. The house seems terribly empty.

This is *much* harder than Ferko.

Edited to add: The vet didn't think it was doggie flu, but a sudden collapse at the end of a long decline. He thought that heart, lungs, and kidneys were all implicated.
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He had trouble getting up this morning, and he was coughing (more like an exaggerated pant that catches in his throat) at every exertion. He struggled to get to his food dish, licked the cottage cheese off the top, and dragged himself (literally) out of the kitchen to flop on the dining room carpet. I don't think we can wait till Monday to take him to the vet. We'll look at him again before we leave this morning and if he still looks this bad we'll pay the big bucks for a rental car and take him to the vet's this afternoon (assuming we can get an appt).

and an opinion piece I want to return to )
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it probably hasn't been raining for weeks, but it sure feels like it, and there's rain on the menu all week. A little sunlight would be nice.

The amaryllis seeds are packed up and the envelopes stamped. I have great hopes that I'll remember to take them to the mailbox tomorrow.

Mr. Darcy's cough is worrisome, although it doesn't seem to be getting any worse and he's still largely a happy camper with a robust appetite. We've made a vet appointment for next Monday, when we'll have a rental car. He can no longer walk that far.

The city is revamping its property tax calculations. A database leaked by our local paper suggests that our taxes will go up 690%.That's right -- almost a sevenfold increase. We think that will push our total tax burden up over 50% of our net taxable income. It may also push us out of Philadelphia.
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Mr. Darcy has an odd cough. He's always been high-strung and has always panted. Now, some of his pants are turning into forcible exhales that sound distinctively cough-like. Sounds a bit like a cat gearing up to hack up a hairball, too, but it stops after three or four coughs. I think his energy level is flagging a bit, too.

Time to go to the vet, I think. I have the uneasy feeling that I forgot all about heartworm meds while I had all the family illness of the past four years. I hope that's not it. Maybe it will just be another one of those things that comes with age.
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Happy Easter to all, whether it is for you the feast of the Resurrection or an excuse for wanton chocolate consumption (or just another Sunday).

boring housekeeping stuff here, move along )
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
The hippeastrum seedpods have gotten as bloated as they're going to get (which was pretty bloated) and are now starting to shrink back. The big one is almost 1-1/2" across. I expect them to pop open around Shakespeare's birthday. I'll start them May 1. I have a source for the builder's sand, I think, and will sterilize it and the soil to cut down on the algae this time.

Earlier this week while we still had a rental car, I felt the need to express some pent-up demand to buy things other than food and cleaning supplies. In a burst of exuberance, I went to the Wal*Mart and bought

  • A new shower curtain and liner (gasp!) so that I can take down the dirty ones and not have to throw them in the laundry the same day
  • A five-foot rubber backed carpet runner to put down on the kitchen floor so Mr. Darcy will have some traction and not wind up splayed out on the kitchen floor, unable to get his footing
  • And an artificial spring flower wreath for the front door

Oh, the mad extravagance of it all. Next I may splurge on some pantyhose!

Poor dog

Feb. 11th, 2009 07:48 am
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I am in my office and Mr. Darcy is crying because he can't get up the stairs to the third floor. And now so am I.

EDIT: I spoke and sniffled too soon. Here he is, lying in my office doorway, panting and grinning. Miss Ferko isn't any too pleased, though.

EDIT II: On the way downstairs, Mr. Darcy behind me, he lost his footing, careened into me, knocked me about a bit, and now I am nursing an annoyed left knee and a burgeoning bruise/hematoma just above my right heel. I'm resting the latter on a huge bag of frozen mixed vegetables and hoping for the best. This will not do. I will install the baby gate and he will simply have to cry, poor thing.

This is going to make my Lincoln Day Parade march tomorrow decidedly unpleasant.

EDIT III: rest, elevation, ice (in this case, frozen mixed vegetables), andthe compression that comes from resting a heavy leg on the aforementioned mixed vegetables appears to have done the trick. A little generalized swelling and discoloration/discomfort, but apparently no hematoma. Possibly it wasn't as bad a knock as I thought, even though I slipped down a stair and landed nastily against the riser of the step above. (Re-playing the fall in my mind, I'm sobered by how close I came to actually falling down the stairs, possibly breaking something. I caught the banister by the skin of my teeth.)
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Mr. D. started looking perkier early this afternoon. By the time Roy came back from an excursion, Mr. D. was dancing with impatience for his walk, and bounded along for four blocks. He handled all stairs with aplomb, ate a good dinner, talked like a pirate, and played catch/fetch with his favorite toy. I guess I'll take down all the crape I'd been hanging, at least for now.

The whole wheat / oatmeal / currant / applesauce muffins were quite tasty all on their own. The melted Reese's peanut butter cup on top of two sample muffins didn't add enough to the experience to make it worthwhile. In fact, the flavors weren't fully complementary. We live and learn.
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Appetite is okay and he's still engaged with life (say "walk" and his whole face brightens). But he's still having a lot of trouble moving around. Poor guy...he was so embarrassed by his episode of incontinence yesterday. It's awfully hard to limp and skulk at the same time.
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Despite his troubles earlier today, Mr. Darcy is still engaged with life -- pricking up his ears at words of power like "walk," for example, although he was extremely shaky on his two-block round-trip to the vacant lot where he does his business.

While he was dozing in the living room, I opened the freezer and got out a tray of ice cubes. He immediately materialized at my feet to talk like a pirate for an ice cube, although he didn't do the happy dance while doing so. He also ate his dinner like a ravenous thing.

On the other hand, when we let him out back for his evening constitutional, his hindquarters collapsed and we had to carry him back into the house. Then he recovered enough to make it up the stairs to bed, although his hindquarters were trembling all the way up the stairs and he had to rest twice.

Perhaps tomorrow will be better. He's clearly not yet ready to go, but he's not doing very well this weekend.
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Darcy made a huge mess in the dining room last night/this morning. From its position, we guess he was trying to make it to the kitchen.A few hours later, he was heading from one room to the other, yelped,and started really dragging his left hind leg.

Our vet has thought for some time that he was suffering from degenerative myelopathy in addition to his arthritis/dysplasia. So now I'm tracking the decline of two geriatric animals.

Poor fellow. He wants to be with us so he's hobbling from room to room. We think that we'll have to spend more time downstairs with our laptops and less time in our third floor offices, which he can no longer reach.

Mr. Darcy is 11, give or take 6 months.


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