Dogs and drawings

It has been close to a month and a half that I wrote my last blog. Better than I have done before but still not up-to-par for what I want to do: about once a week.

Sometimes it feels as if life just steps in the way, we need to do all sort of things and then, before you know it, another week has passed.

For example, I am trying to draw at least 1 hour per day on my bald eagle head. Sometimes there are days that I just can’t find the time to draw at all. Could it be because I have SO many projects that I am working on? Maybe…

At the moment I am working on my eagle head drawing, found some pens that I wanted to cover with polymer clay so I am working on that (making flower canes as I go along), last week I’ve finished 2 commissioned dog portrait drawings, I am cleaning out my studio and am amazed at the amount of supplies I have and never used.

At the same time all the household chores come into play too like vacuum cleaning, dusting, getting groceries (one of my least favorite things to do!), cooking, cleaning the windows, and things like that. Next to these “never ending chores” the house needs repairs, renovations, and general clean-ups like cleaning out the garage. One half is cleaned out now so we have room to move stuff from the other half there and throw away what is either broken or not being used. Sorted out all the different types of wood too and finally had the room to put them flat instead of standing up, which can warp the wood.

Then there are our 4 fur babies who all need their care, 3 of them being considered senior dogs because of their age. Our oldest, Bonnie, is an almost 13 year old Westie who was diagnosed with Cushings and, as a result of that, is now diabetic too. I have to admit that I am not checking her as regularly as I have done with my Lab Ruby but she is a completely different dog character wise. She really hates having “stuff” done to her and I am just happy when I can get that syringe with insulin in her twice a day without having to stick it 3-4 times because she pulls away and the needle comes out. I do check her blood glucose levels on a regular basis, but not twice a day as I am supposed to do. Does that make me a bad “Mama”? I don’t think so because I do keep an eye on her and go more by her physical signals (with the occasional blood check), like peeing everywhere when her glucose levels are high, and take it from there.

Then there is our oldest male, Taz, a pedigreed Mutt who will turn 12 in 2 weeks. He has arthritic knees, has had knee surgery done on both knees because of torn ACLs, but that doesn’t keep him from running up and down the fence barking his little head off whenever he sees the neighbor’s dog in their yard. I bet the neighbor hates it now, pulling the old fence down and leaving nothing but the chain link fence when he moved in!

My Big Boy Smokey (Australian Cattle Dog and a rescue) is the youngest senior dog at almost 8 and I just received a call from the vet about his blood work. We brought him in last Thursday because he didn’t want to eat and he was just feeling miserable as far as we could tell. He has thyroid problems (hypothyroidism where it doesn’t work as it should) and during a visit to our own GP I read posters on his wall about thyroidism and everything pointed to his thyroid being over-active (hyperthyroidism) instead of not working (hypothyroidism). His belly is bloated and it looks like he is retaining his fluids in his legs. Now, taking Smokey to the vet is always an endeavor. He gets full-blown “grand mal” epileptic seizures going there and has to be heavily sedated -preferably asleep- when we need to bring him. They did a complete blood panel on him, checked his legs with a thumb print test to see if there was fluid in there but luckily there wasn’t. That also means he, most likely, doesn’t have fluid around his heart for which I am really grateful! As a result he has spots all over him where they had to shave his hair away; maybe I should make a checkerboard pattern on him?

Anyway, his T4-level is slightly high, meaning we overshot the goal with his medication so after we’ve finished this batch we need to go to a lower dose. He has a slight ear infection in the ear in which he had a hematoma last year so got some stuff to put in there. The one that really surprised me was that he has had Lyme’s disease… The Lyme’s disease marker, an additional blood test, was slightly elevated but since he is showing no other symptoms she thinks he has had it before and is now a carrier without having Lyme’s disease. That must have been before we got him, us being his 3rd or 4th family before he was even 1 year old. That poor pup has had a rough start in life, being beaten and stabbed with a knife because he was following his instincts and herding the horses the 1st family had by nipping at their hooves. ALWAYS check the nature of your dog before you get one!! If you don’t want a nipping dog, don’t get one from the herding group! And, of course, some people should NEVER be allowed to have any pets! You know, the people who love the puppies but not the adults and let them end up in the pound so they can get another puppy… Don’t get me started on them!

Then there is our youngest, Kender, almost 4 years young and a chocolate Lab, very energetic and I wonder if there is a way to bottle her energy and use it myself. She tore a nail all the way to where it comes out of her toe, had the nail removed, it got infected, got that infection taken care of and now she has an infection in the same foot but different toe.

My day starts with getting up at 06:00 or 06:30, let the dogs out, feed them, give their medication, fight with Bonnie to give her the insulin, then put stuff in both her ears, then onto Smokey to get stuff in his ears, then get some hot water and Epsom salt to soak Kender’s foot and that is the same with their evening food. It has become quite the ritual.

All this (puppies, house chores, renovations etc.) leaves not much room for my hobbies but trying to squeeze it in there every day.

Here is where I am now with my Bald Eagle Head; he already has the raptor glare of the eye and right now I am working on the grassy area between the eye and the beak where all sort of little feathers are sticking out. Still needs a lot of work but getting there like the tortoise: slowly but surely.

Hope everyone will have a wonderful day!

Eagle Head

Dogs and genealogy

I am sitting here and trying to figure out what to write about, since so much has been, and still is, going on here. You know, the day-to-day things like house chores (for which I am NOT built!) but it’s real depressing to write about that. Besides, who would want to read about that I have vacuumed the living room or washed down the doors yesterday, right?

What is taking up a lot of time at the moment is our oldest dog Bonnie. She was diagnosed with Cushings and, as a result of that, is now a diabetic too. I say “too” because my old buddy Ruby had been a diabetic since she was 7 or 8 until she passed away on March 29, 2010 at almost 15 years old. I am trying to find the balance between her medication for her Cushings and the amount of insulin Bonnie needs which is a struggle because both diseases have about the same symptoms (drinking lots of water, peeing everywhere in the house etc.) but I think we’re getting there, slowly but surely. At least Bonnie has stopped peeing that nasty “sticky pee” everywhere! The worst is when it has dried up during the night because it is SO hard to remove. Put a paper towel on it and it will be glued to the floor…. hence the name “sticky pee”. Luckily she has stopped that and she is more active now too so I reckon we’re on the right track.

Another thing that has been keeping me busy is my new found family here in the US. I am originally from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, moved to the US around 2003 I believe and one day I got a message on Facebook from a lady named Rose asking if I was family from such-and-such family at a specific address. The people she mentioned are my paternal grandparents! What a small world, isn’t it? Rose saw my drawing of a wolf pup on the Facebook page of the Wolf Conservation Center (I had drawn that to auction it of and donated the money to their awesome cause) and saw my last name, which is the same as hers. She is making a genealogy tree of her Dads family and we started talking.

Now I have to say that I don’t know much about that side of the family, due to the troubled marriage of my parents. They split up 3 times before they got their final divorce and the last time I saw my grandparents must have been around 1976-1978. Last time I saw my aunts, uncles, and cousins from that side was even before that and all because my father didn’t want anything to do with us. His loss….

I did remember (some of) the names and Rose and I started our search through Facebook, where we found a couple of my aunts and cousins. So, as is only logical, we sent them a message. And another message….and another message… But we are getting no reply at all! Rose befriended one of my aunts (the one who had reacted to a message Rose had left ages ago on a genealogy forum) but a couple of days later she couldn’t find her Facebook page anymore. This is really weird because I can still see her page; we came to the conclusion that she must have blocked Rose!

Initially I didn’t want to contact any of them (bad memories) but thought to give it a try too and am slowly casting my net wider from my father’s sisters to their children, but still no reaction at all. Makes you wonder what they are thinking… All that we want is information like names, dob, and such. It is really hard to find information online when all you have is a name and an approximate year of birth; near impossible to find that information in the Dutch registers because they don’t have anything like ancestry.com.

Time to start my day. I am mucking out my studio and going through supplies, finding things I didn’t even know I had and sometimes wondering why I saved some of the stuff. It must have been with a specific purpose in mind but since I can’t remember it goes in the trash.

Hope everyone will have a wonderful day!