In 2003, shortly after the spouse and I moved to Little Rock, a miniature fox named Phoebe came to live with us.
My sister had acquired Phoebe from another Pomeranian breeder to diversify her kennel. After a failed attempt at showing her — because she was just too timid for the show ring — Phoebe came to live with us as a pet. She was about two years old at the time.
Spouse and I already had cats, and we had never owned a dog together. We both grew up with dogs — his large, mine both large and small — so we were no strangers to the canine persuasion. Phoebe launched herself into our hearts and onto our furniture in no time flat.
Although Phoebe lived with us, my sister still used her in the kennel breeding program now and then. She had two litters of pups, six in total, and even fostered a puppy when that little one’s mama didn’t have any milk. Phoebe was an excellent mama and made pretty puppies.
When we moved from Arkansas to California, we left Phoebe behind for a while so she could have one last litter. After they were weaned, my sister had her spayed. Sometime later, I flew back to Arkansas for a quick visit and to bring Phoebe home. She packed herself.
It was the cutest thing I ever saw.
Phoebe was a great traveler and we took her with us to a lot of places.
Like 17-Mile Drive in Carmel.
And out for lunch in Seaside.
And the Peach Festival in Marysville.
Hiking to Glass Beach.
And windy Point Reyes.
Phoebe loved her walks. She also loved her fellow critters, and got along with the cats who graciously shared their space with her.
And years later, when Chloe came to live with us, she pretty much adopted the new fuzzball as her own.
Told you she was a good mama. She also tolerated the occasional goofy dress-up.
And was especially beautiful when she was fresh from the groomers.
We loved her every minute of every day.
Today was her last day. She had kidney disease and had been steadily failing since last Christmas. Today spouse and I made the decision it was time to break our hearts and let her go.
Sweet dreams, my sweet sweet Phoebe. Run fast, run free. The beach and the butterflies await you.
We knew this day was coming. And on Wednesday, it arrived. Our darling Mote was put to rest at last.
Mote came to live with me in late March 1997, when he was — best guess — not quite six weeks old. He and his littermates had been dumped by the side of the road near a friend’s house; I couldn’t take all of those babies, but I could take one, and this sweet-faced blue-eyed ginger tabby grabbed my heart.
Although he was weaned much too early due to being dumped, he didn’t lack for mothering from Jacquenetta, then three years old. She adopted him like he was her own, and did the best she could to make up for the lack of his real mother.
As a kitten, Mote had a fondness for ice cream. I remember once noshing on some creamy vanilla goodness, when a delicate little orange paw came questing along the edge of the bowl, followed shortly by an inquisitive orange nose.
He got to lick the spoon.
Mote’s eyes didn’t stay blue; they turned a startling golden amber in short order, and changed that sweet kitten face into something fierce and wild.
He was a difficult cat to love. Being weaned so early made him neurotic and skittish, despite being showered with love and affection nearly every moment. He could be sweet, so sweet, and would hop in my lap (or my husband’s when he joined the family in 2000) and demand to be petted. In a flash, though, those amber eyes would turn icy, and his sharp claws would strike, and he would launch himself across the room with a hiss and a growl because he was petted just one stroke too many. He had a habit of trying to nurse on a shirt or a dish towel, if I left one lying on the floor, kneading it and dragging it beneath him while he purred and suckled on a tiny corner. One gets comfort wherever one can, I suppose. I never begrudged him his lovey.
Another thing that contributed to his wild neuroses was getting his clock punched on countless occasions by the neighborhood feral cats. After the third or fourth time spouse and I paid a couple hundred dollars to the emergency after-hours vet to have an ear sewn or a bite inspected, we decided he was no longer allowed outside. He pouted and moped and yowled and whined, and eventually accepted his fate. He and Jacquenetta both became indoor cats — it wouldn’t have been fair to allow her outside and not allow him.
Once he became an indoor-only kitty, Mote mellowed out a little. Not quite so jumpy, not quite so skittish, but a sudden sneeze would forever send him scampering and seeking shelter. Still, when he settled, he settled. He loved his fleece bed, and he loved sleeping on (or under) the bed in the spare bedroom. He also loved to perch in high places, one of them being a highboy dresser in our bedroom. We eventually made him a special red throne pillow and put it on top of the dresser to provide him a soft place to sleep (and not-so-coincidentally, keep the finish from getting scratched).
Mote became quite the traveler, though no fault of his own. I work for the federal government, you see, and advancing in my career meant we pulled up stakes every few years and moved across the country. Mote went from Arkansas to California to Alabama to Georgia, and only meowed for the first three hours on the road for each day of driving. No, seriously, he was a good passenger. He was content in his crate; he didn’t try to escape the motel room when we stopped for the night, and he accepted the indignity of using the cardboard lid of a case of paper for a litter box while we were in transit.
Through it all, Mote returned time and again to snuggle with his life-long companion, Jacquenetta. When we lost her in late December 2014, he didn’t know what to do with himself. He prowled the house, searching and searching, and he cried, and came to me wanting comfort, then rejected the comfort as soon as I tried to provide it. And about this time last year, some six months after Jacquenetta died, he started his own decline with kidney failure.
Tuesday evening when I came home from work, I noticed three things: Mote hadn’t touched his food; he hadn’t used his box; and he couldn’t walk more than a few steps before he lost his balance and had to lie down. I suspected he’d had a seizure that day while we were at work. After a tearful discussion with spouse that evening, we decided it was time to let him go. I called my office first thing Wednesday morning and told them I wouldn’t be in. And Mote and I took his last car trip together to the vet, where I held him in my arms and cried while the doctor administered the medication that let him rest.
And now he’s snuggling with Miss Q again.
Goodbye, sweet Mote, prickly Mote, cantankerous and lovely and ferocious Mote. I’ll love you always and always and forever.
Remember the Tunisian Terror? The blanket I started for my mother in April 2014? I finished all the crocheting in April of this year and then started the embellishments. Behold! All the cross-stitching is done!
Here it is laid out in the order in which it will be assembled. Now all that remains is the sewing together of the squares. One row is sewn, eight rows remain to be sewn, and then comes stitching the rows to each other and putting a border on it. Stitching the squares together doesn’t really take long: I can do one row in an evening of TV watching, but truthfully, I’m so sick of looking at this thing that the blanket is lucky if I even pick up one row in a week.
Also in progress, two new projects — first, a baby blanket, the tried-and-true giant granny square of many colors for a colleague who is expecting a boy. All the leftover yarn from the Tunisian Terror is coming in handy for this one. I have another colleague also expecting a baby, but gender is unknown at this point, so that blanket will wait a bit. Also, I started another Christmas gift, the Chinook scarf, out of the drapy-est silk and cotton blend you ever felt, in a color called Sea Glass.
In book news, I just finished A Sudden Light by Garth Stein and started Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. Review pending of the Garth Stein book but it will be a favorable one. I’m less than 100 pages into the Stephenson and completely enthralled.
Bonus picture: Here’s Phoebe, who keeps me company when I’m here in my craft room writing or winding yarn or planning projects or simply goofing around on Facebook. She’s getting older these days and doesn’t have any teeth left, but she’s still a good dog. Aren’t you, sweetie? Of course you are.
This post is part of Stitch-Along Wednesday. Click on that badge below to see what other folks have been up to this week. Also, go check out Shadow’s Knit Knacks Link-up post and add your link at the bottom.
With heavy hearts, my husband and I announce the loss of our beloved and beautiful Jacquenetta, age 20 years, 10 months, and two weeks.
Jacquenetta entered my life as a six-week-old kitten in late March 1994. She was one of two kittens that came home with me from the Garland County (Arkansas) Animal Shelter (the other kitten, Puck, was sadly lost in the woods several months later). She was quiet and affectionate and loved sitting behind me on the back of the sofa so she could groom my hair.
She was a mighty hunter in her day, a terror to the local rodent and bird population. Many’s the day I came home from work to find an offering on the front porch: a field mouse, a vole, the occasional sparrow, once even a baby rabbit. Then came the day she hopped in through the hole in the screen door and dropped a bluejay at my feet. A live bluejay, which promptly flew about my kitchen in a panic while I chased it around with a dishtowel until I managed to herd it out the back door.
When Jacquenetta was about three years old, I brought another rescued kitten home and Miss Q immediately began mothering him. She and Mote became bosom companions, and could be found snuggled up together most evenings.
After my husband and I met, moved in together, then married, Jacquenetta became a well-traveled kitty, because that’s when we started moving around a lot. She became an indoor kitty, as well, because when we moved, it was out of the country and into town. She never lost her sense of adventure despite her confinement to well-defined square footage. In fact, she scared me nearly to death when we lived in a condominium with a 20-foot vaulted ceiling and a plant shelf at about the 12-foot mark. I looked up one fine day and saw her on that plant shelf, shrieked, and sent spouse upstairs to coax her off the shelf. She cooperated, and we blocked the pass-through to deny her future access.
Due to either my work or spouse’s work, we moved from that condo in South Arkansas to another condo in Little Rock and then to a house in the Quapaw Quarter; from there we went to California for a few years; returned to the South in 2010, and finally we landed in the Atlanta metro in early 2013. During those years we added two Pomeranians to the household. All animals handled the moves well, including being driven across country twice.
And somewhere during all these moves, Jacquenetta found time to pose for Kitty Hustler. Okay, not really, but that’s what we called it whenever she sprawled out on the sofa like she was waiting for someone to hand her a beer and the TV remote.
It was shortly after we moved to Atlanta that I noticed Jacquenetta wasn’t her usual self. She spent most of her day upstairs, away from the exuberance of the dogs and the noise of the television. She would come downstairs to eat and use her box and for the occasional snuggle with me or Mote, but generally she could be found in the dimness of the upstairs hall just outside the door to the guest bedroom. I put it down to her age but I watched her. We started getting more concerned when she could no longer groom herself as usual and became matted in her hindquarters. She also couldn’t tolerate being brushed for long, so keeping the matting under control became difficult. Then one day last April, she had a horrific seizure. Spouse and I rushed her to the vet, who kept her several days for observation and testing, and then delivered the diagnosis: end stage renal failure. This condition could be managed for a while, but in the end, it would be fatal.
“Is she hurting?” I asked. “No,” said the vet. “It’s painless.”
Spouse and I chose to manage Jacquenetta’s condition at home, with medication to prevent seizures and twice-weekly subcutaneous fluids. We ground the Valium and calcium into a fine powder and mixed it into soft foods; we hung the IV bag from the dining room light fixture while we pumped saline solution under the skin between her shoulders. Mote recognized his life-long companion was desperately ill, and spent as much time snuggled up with her as he could. We also let her outside now and then to bask in the sunshine on sun-warmed concrete.
Shortly before Thanksgiving, I noticed Jacquenetta no longer climbed upstairs; instead, she lay across one of the floor vents downstairs for the warm air rising through the register. I laid a towel across the vent so her paws wouldn’t get caught in the grating and told spouse it wouldn’t be long now. A couple of weeks later, we put up the Christmas tree and spread the skirt out in such a way that her preferred floor vent was covered and she could still rest on top of the warm air. She stopped eating the Sunday or Monday after Christmas; when I came home from work Tuesday, spouse said she was passing blood in her urine. We called the vet and we all agreed it was time.
I left work early Wednesday and we took Jacquenetta to the clinic. They wrapped her in a soft fleece blanket and let me hold her while they administered the medicine that would let her rest. Spouse and I both petted her and loved her and talked to her while she went to sleep for the last time.
Sweet dreams, baby. You were loved so very very much.
Slow but steady progress on the Tunisian Terror, as seen here. I’ve noticed my tension seems to have relaxed some on the later squares, now that I’m comfortable with the Tunisian Simple Stitch. This means the later squares are slightly larger than the first few. I’m hoping this won’t create a major issue when it comes to assembly. Someday in the not-quite-foreseeable future. Ten squares down, 53 to go.
I hope my mother realizes how much I love her. 😉
After the highly unusual feat of posting for seven consecutive days last week (yay, Blog Week!), I took a short break to read a little, spend some time with the spouse, pamper the critters, and start getting my mind in gear for our upcoming class. I’m a technical and policy instructor for a government agency; and we have almost 300 students registered for our next 14-week course, with more expected, so I may be a little scarce around here very shortly. But I will also do my best to keep up with WIP Wednesdays, and maybe a book review once a week.
In other news, my ancient tabby Jacquenetta (who turned 20 earlier this year) has made a remarkable comeback from the health scare she gave us several weeks ago. Seriously, I thought when we took her to the vet that day in late April that she wouldn’t be coming home again. She’ll be on medication the rest of her life, but she’s regained a good portion of her strength and can once again climb up and down the stairs and jump on the sofa under her own power. There she is, having a wash and enjoying the sunshine. She just loves a good stretch out there on the warm concrete of the front walk.
This post is part of the WIP Wednesday Round-up hosted by Tami’s Amis. Click that badge over there and go see what other crafters have been crafting this week, and tell them avantaknits sent you.
Spouse has a rare Saturday off. Which we will spend together, cleaning the house. And so I present to you an entry sans yarn content.
The dogs, pretending they are harmless and innocent.
If you look closely, you will notice they are lying on a towel which is covering my blocking squares. This is my excuse for taking so long to block anything.
Us, before we went out to dinner on Valentine’s Day.
The cats were snuggled up together on the couch last night, which is a rarity. Unfortunately, it was late, I was on my way to bed, and I didn’t feel like grabbing the camera. So here’s an old picture of them snuggled together on the recliner.