Tag Archive: gracie


I’m sad to report that Gracie passed away yesterday. About a week ago, she was seen eating large quantities of grass. Starting the day after that, she was throwing up her food and not eating much. This wasn’t unusual; she’s had periods of barfing that passed before. Rich was terribly ill with the flu at this time, so I was also distracted by that going on. After a day or two, Gracie wasn’t eating much at all, and she was still barfing up green water/foam. The green color was consistent, so we figured she’d just eaten too much grass. On morning of the fourth day I took her to the vet. He figured she’d eaten some critter and gotten bones or feathers lodged in her intestines. She got subcutaneous fluids to rehydrate her, and some antibiotics and kitty Pepto-Bismol to hopefully help her pass whatever it was.

Unfortunately, she did not rally over the weekend. We are crushed to see her go. Gracie had such skills that she managed to survive up here in the mountains for five years. That is unprecedented. And when she did succumb, it wasn’t to a predator, but to an illness. She had a great life up here. She’ll be sorely missed.

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My interest in bonsai has led me to discover Marimo “moss” balls. They aren’t moss, actually, but a form of algae that grows in lakes in Japan, Iceland, and North America. People like them for aquariums to control algae because, as algae themselves, they steal nutrients from the water that unwanted algae would otherwise use. They are considered good fortune. So I ordered a little terrarium with gorgeous green glass gravel and a tiny fan coral, and three 1/2-inch wide Marimo balls from Etsy.

I must say that I’m enjoying them FAR more than I expected. They float or sink based on their interaction with the air and water. Fun fact: if they’re not sharing an aquarium with other fish or plants, they enjoy club soda for their water! The carbon dioxide stimulates photosynthesis, and they like the trace sodium levels, too.

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Gracie and Cisco in full winter mode:

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Another shot of Catalina Island, and you can also see a ship at sea to the right.

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We had a perfect combination of crystal-clear skies and pretty pink sunset clouds the other evening. The Channel Islands, around 100-150 miles away, were quite visible:

Starting towards the north we have Catalina Island...

Starting towards the north we have Catalina Island…

Then we can see San Clemente Island way off in the distance...

Then we can see San Clemente Island way off in the distance…

Here we have El Capitan in the foreground, with downtown San Diego and Point Loma to the left...

Here we have El Capitan in the right foreground, with downtown San Diego and Point Loma to the left of it…

Finally we see the south end of San Diego Bay lit up and Mexico's Coronado Islands in the distance.

Finally we see the south end of San Diego Bay lit by the sunset, and Mexico’s Coronado Islands in the distance.

Sunday was perfect playoff-football-watching weather — cold, windy, cloudy, and foggy. But for a brief few minutes, the clouds parted and a gorgeous rainbow appeared:

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Finally, Gracie has fully and officially transformed into Winter Cat. She even allowed Rich to cover her with a blanket, an unprecedented event:

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Later in the day, Rich took Cisco outside for some romping around.

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Gracie ventured outside, too:

It’s been so cold, even Gracie has transformed into “Winter Cat.” She actually let Rich cover her with a blanket last night:

Pretty much unprecedented.

Pretty much unprecedented.

Got down to 22 overnight. We had ice on the inside of the windows, and these indoor icicles freezing the windows shut:

Not that we were planning on opening them anyway.

Not that we were planning on opening them anyway.

Gracie has become fully smitten with Cisco. Recently she brought over a live bird to where we were sitting outside. She set it down, and the poor thing was alive but stunned. Cisco came over to investigate, and sniffed at it. We both were sure Gracie would smack him in the face or worse, but she just sat there and watched him. Eventually Cisco went to open his mouth to pick it up, and that was when the bird regained its senses and flew away to safety.

That encounter marked a huge change in their relationship. He LOVES her, and follows her around like a little brother in awe. She considers him to be the best, most funnest cat toy EVER. He’ll chase her in play occasionally, which she clearly loves.

So the integration seems to have gone swimmingly. She’s been coming in earlier and earlier lately, and sleeping later in the morning before going out. And she’s playing with her toys again. Here she is curled up in the box, showing those unruly plastic strips who’s boss, and with her cardboard-tube squid nearby:

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Spotted a small bird of prey sitting on the edge of the birdfeeder before it flew off to a roost right outside the window. Managed to get this shot off before it flew away for good. I think it might be a Cooper’s hawk:

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Today it’s storming like a winter day. But yesterday I got some more pictures of flowers blooming.

I’ve been lamenting my African Queen irises not blooming yet when everyone else’s irises are. Well, lo and behold, we have irises!!! I’m still note sure if they just didn’t get enough water or enough cold weather last year. Maybe I should dig them up this fall.

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Cisco really liked smelling them.

Cisco really liked smelling them.

And some other random flowers blooming around the property. The rose bush is valiantly trying, once again, to bloom before the deer eat all the roses:

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The last of the California Poppies:

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Finally, we have video of Gracie displaying some of her epic tree-climbing skillz:

 

 

 

Gracie and Cisco are getting on famously. I swear she goads and taunts him into chasing her, which she seems to love. She used to get Clyde to chase her, too. He breaks off after 25 feet or so, mostly because she’s too fast for him, and he’s a little bit afraid of her. This morning he was wagging his tail in her face, wapping her with it, and she didn’t even flinch. Here they are outside yesterday:

A few minutes later, Gracie took off and Cisco gave chase, but again only for a few feet. It was hilarious when he saw her climb a tree for the first time. He became quite animated, went over there and whined and danced around. Gracie has a superpower! MIND = BLOWN.

Our new pup Cisco is settling in very well. After his ordeal on the highway, he’s definitely got some separation anxiety that we’ll be working on. He and Gracie have already had a number of face-to-face, even nose-to-nose encounters (always with Cisco on leash) and they’ve both been reacting marvelously. No aggression or barking on Cisco’s part, just excitement. Gracie usually wants no part of him, but she has approached him on her own a few times. It’ll take time, but we’re encouraged. Today it’s raining cats and dogs again, so we’re all inside right now. But Gracie has been going outside during the day, and she comes back in (with a lot of encouragement) every evening, so that’s a very good sign. He was soaked by the time we got back from this morning’s walk, so I’ve got him bundled up. ???????????????????????????????

He LOVES being under the blankets at night. So technically he’s in the bed, but he’ll stay curled up and still and quiet all night at the foot of the bed, under the first layer of blanket, but not under the sheets. ???????????????????????????????

We’ve been working on the dried clumps of tears that were matted into the fur under his eyes. The clumps are gone, and we’re still working on the stains. But he looks much better now: ???????????????????????????????

We’re also working on fattening him up a bit. This might be the only time in his life when he gets to eat as much as he wants.

He had a bath on his second day. I think he’s going to have one per week. That means there might be another one later today. He is really just the sweetest, most loving creature I’ve ever met. I’d almost forgotten how nice it is to have a pet that loves you back. ???????????????????????????????

An Eventful Day, Part 2

On the way home from our day in Tecate, on highway 94, about three miles from the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo, I slowed down for a little white Chihuahua in the road. Highway 94 in that part of the county is a rural, windy, one-lane road on which people drive far too fast. Without thinking, I veered off to the shoulder. In the rearview mirror, I saw him running up to the car.

I got out and tried coaxing him to me. He clearly wanted help, but was too scared to approach closer than six feet or so. Car after car sped by without even slowing down. About to give up, Rich gave it a try. He sat down on the curb, and the dog approached, but was still too frightened to come close. Rich signaled to me to cut the engine. The fan kept coming on periodically and it was making the dog nervous.

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Head down, ears back, he cautiously came to Rich. Several minutes of petting followed. Then the dog climbed into Rich’s lap.

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Now the question was, what to do with him? We have a cat at home, after all. Stopped at the nearest market to ask if anyone had been looking for him. No luck. Got some water for him which he didn’t drink. Stopped at another store and got some dog food. After a while, he laid down on Rich’s lap and almost slept. Poor thing was skinny and exhausted. Apparently Campo is an area where a lot of people take animals to abandon, perhaps thinking they’ll somehow survive in the wild. I have to believe there’s a special circle of hell waiting for people who abandon pets.

Especially sweethearts like this one. We decided to bring him home.

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It took about 6 months of daily gentle scrubbing with a Q-tip and a special solution to get all of the dried matted tears out of his fur.

Kept him in the bedroom and away from Gracie last night. She’s okay, but in hiding. Apparently Chi’s frequently get on well with cats. Their small size helps. A friend of mine is involved in the Chihuahua Rescue Society, and she tells me that Chi’s and Pit Bulls have the highest kill rate at shelters. Don’t know why.

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Once we got him in the house and laid out some food and water for him, he went to town eating and drinking.

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He seems healthy. No fleas or ticks, paw pads in good shape. Some tear stains under his eyes, and skinny. He’s a complete and total lap dog. Wants constant contact or at least nearness.

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Oh, and just like dachshunds, they LOVE burrowing under blankets. This was the first real rest he’d probably had in several days.

Last night, it rained and howled all night long. If he’d been out in this storm, he’d have been a goner for sure. It’s a miracle he didn’t become coyote food.

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So this morning we went to the vet’s office to have him checked out and see if he’s microchipped. He’s not chipped, and he’s not neutered, either. He’s around 3-4 years old. Weighs 9.5 pounds; it should be more like 12. He got all his shots boosted today, if he ever had them in the first place. We’ll wait on neutering until the shots have taken effect and he’s gained a bit of weight and settled in.

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Now for a name: we like Cisco.

The daffodils this year came and went pretty quickly. We didn’t get much cold temperatures or rain/snow. Here are a few:

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Then Gracie came along and gave us an impromptu photo session.

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She's sitting next to a 30-pound smoky quartz skeleton crystal with hemetite inclusions, on top of some slate tiles.

She’s sitting next to a 30-pound smoky quartz skeleton crystal with hemetite inclusions, on top of some slate tiles.

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Half perch, half scratching post.

 

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