Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Great Idea, and the Story Behind Sam

Today marks two weeks since Cooper went missing. I have been devastated the entire time, wishing that there was something more I could do to bring him home. I've done the following:
- posted flyers all through the area and at vets and pet stores
- checked the shelters & SPCA's in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, and Sutter counties, including looking through the lists of deceased animals that have been picked up by animal control.
- repeatedly placed "missing" ads on Craigslist for all of Northern California and the Reno area and responded to every "found" dog ad in the same areas
- placed ads in the Sacramento Bee for both online and print
- emailed rescue groups
- listed him as missing on Petfinder and Petharbor
- consulted a pet psychic. Seriously, I actually did.

I don't know what more I can do at this point. He had a collar on with his rabies tag (which has my veterinarians information on it) and a tag with his name as well as my phone numbers (cell & home) on it. Still, I've heard nothing.

Cooper is such a social butterfly - every person he sees he views as a potential friend and immediately greets them and gives them kisses.

As much as it breaks my heart, at this point I have to assume that someone took him in and have adopted him into their family and chosen to not call me. Because he is that cute and sweet and loving.

Today, I get an email from Dogster about a new product they are offering on conjunction with the American Red Cross called "Together Tag".
This sounds like an amazing product, and I have to seriously wonder why no one thought of it sooner. The brief overview of how it works:
You buy the id tag for about $25 and have your pets name & phone # printed on it.
When you get the tag, it also has an id # and a website on it. If your dog goes missing, the person who finds your pet can call your phone number on the tag and if they're unable to reach you, they can go to the website and enter the id # on the tag indicating that they've found your pet.
Once they do that, you're sent an email notification AND they have visibility of alternate contact information - other people in your area and outside of your area who can be contacted to care for your pet if you are unable to be reached. you can also indicate special care instructions in the event that you are not able to meet up with the person who has your pet in a timely fashion - perfect for the pet who has a special diet or needs medications.
Also, if your pet goes missing you go to the website, enter your pets id # and notifications are automatically sent out to rescue groups, spca's and shelters.

I will be getting this tag for my dog Sam, and any future pets I have.

Who is Sam, you ask?
Sam is my dog who is technically my sisters dog.
Huh? Confused? Yeah, its an odd situation.

In the summer of 2004, my sister Lindsay called me one day as I was leaving work and says "I found a dog and Grandma said I could keep him over there but he won't fit in Josh's (her loser boyfriend at the time) car. Could you come pick him up?"

So, I go over there and she tells me that she and the loser boyfriend had gone out to some junkyard in Rio Linda to get parts for his car. I believe that was code for "we went to our pot dealers house" and she said that as they were walking into the junkyard the man who runs the place starts yelling at them "Get your f-cking dog outta here!"
Confused, Lindsay turns around to see a giant black lab looking dog walking behind her. She said that htere was a trailer park down the road from the junkyard so she takes the dog over there and starts asking people in the park if he belongs there. Nobody recognizes him or knows who he belongs to. As she's walking through the park, one person tells her that they don't think its a good idea for her to leave the dog there because the man who runs the junkyard shoots at stray animals with a bb gun. So, Lindsay took him back to her boyfriends house with her and got permission from Grandma to keep him at our house because we have a larger yard.

When she brings Sam out from her boyfriends house, I'm expecting a typical black lab. Something around 70-80 lbs, maybe 90 lbs, right? I was SHOCKED when Sam came out. Sam is a solid 140 lbs. When he howls at a siren, it sounds like I've got Chewbacca in the back yard. Kinda like this, but much more drawn out:

We took him home, and the next day took him to our vet to see if there was a micro chip or anything. Nothing. He had a collar on, but no tags at all and no microchip or tattoo or any that could identify him. The vet examined him and sure enough, the man at the junkyard has been shooting at him with a bb gun. We had to have a dozen pellets removed from him.

We posted flyers, placed ads online & in the paper and at the shelters to try to find his owners because he had obviously come from a home where he was well cared for. He was trained, knew all verbal commands, very well behaved. However, we never got any responses. Instead, we got a 140 lb dog that my sister decided to name Sam... and then never cared for. While she continues to refer to Sam as "her" dog, I'm the one who cares for him, plays with him, grooms & bathes him, feeds him, and everything else. Sam really is my dog, I'm just better off to not say that around my sister.

When we got Sam, our vet estimated that he was about 5 years old which means he's now going on 10. The whole time we've had Sam he's always had a little buddy to run around with. At first, it was Maddie.
After Maddie died last year, he started to show his age. Instead of running and jumping and playing, he started moving a little slower and started having trouble getting up when he had been lying down.
When I first brought Cooper home, he was a little apprehensive at first to have this energetic spaz of a puppy running around, but within just a couple of days Sam was back to his youthful self. He was running and jumping and playing again, not showing his age at all. Now that Cooper is gone, he's once again starting to show his age. He's slowing down and seems to have a little trouble getting up again.
The part that really breaks my heart is when he's outside by himself I can hear him crying on our patio.
So, for now. I'm babying him more than usual. I'm trying to give him as much love and companionship as I possibly can.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I've been on Weight Watchers for about four months now.
I've had some success, not a tremendous amount but some.
In the meantime, I've been spending $40 per month for the Weight Watchers membership. With that $40 I can attend meetings whenever I want, and use all of the online resources - community message boards, online weight tracker, recipe builder, stuff like that.
Out of all of those resources, the only thing I do actually use is the weekly meetings... and I'm not too thrilled about those. The "leader" we have is nice, but I just don't find the meetings to be all that engaging. To be completely honest, half of the time the meetings thoroughly piss me off. Now, I understand that if you're going into a meeting with at least a dozen other people who are trying to lose weight, there are going to be people who have issues with their relationship towards food.
There will be people who may not overeat, but just don't make the wisest choices in regards to what types of food they put into their body. These will be the people who eat regular meals, but maybe those meals don't have a proper nutritional balance - they may be to carb or fat heavy and are lacking in lean protein, fiber, whole grains and vegetables. Those are the people who need to put more focus on the quality of their food as opposed to the quantity. Those are the people who may not have a problem with passing over food when they aren't truly hungry. I believe that this is the category that I fall into.
What I've benefited from Weight Watchers in the past four months is that I've been reminded of how to make healthier choices... to chose baked over fried, to increase the vegetables and lean protein in my diet, to chose healthier fats such as olive oil and skim milk. I'm not saying that I make these healthier choices all of the time, but I'm trying - undoing a lifetime of poor choices is not going to happen overnight, theres going to be a learning curve and a transition phase. However, I know the basics and am on my way there.

My dilemma at this point is that I really don't want to attend the meetings any longer. I am bored beyond belief during the 45 minutes that I'm there, counting down the minutes until I can leave, and getting angry when the meeting goes over the scheduled time. Since I know the basics at this point that I can continue with implementing them into my daily life on my own. I have the resources to make educated choices, and have the motivation (more in a moment...) to continue with the weight loss.

Also, theres other things I could do with that $40 each month. Like, join a gym.
I can get a discounted gym membership through my work to 24 Hour Fitness for less than $40 each month.

I've got motivation to continue losing weight, and motivation to start working out more.
The weight loss motivation is my cousin Carries wedding. At the end of August I'm going to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, and this is the dress I'll be wearing:

You see how I'm going to need to try to tone my arms up a bit for that?

The motivation to start exercising more is the 3-day, 60 mile, breast cancer walk I'm planning on participating in this fall. I've got a lot of training to do if I'm seriously going to complete this walk without killing myself.
I've also gotten the idea in my head that I NEED to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I think I got this idea when I found roundtrip airfare from San Francisco to Lima Peru for $409 this May. I don't want to go to Peru and NOT see Machu Picchu, but I also know that I am not in the physical shape that the hike would demand. While everything I've read says that the hike is not that challenging as far as the terrain is concerned, the altitude is what makes it demanding. In order to successfully complete the hike I would need to train for it physically, at high elevations as well as on a stair master. I would love to be able to go to Peru and complete this goal next April - thats the tail end of the "wet" season and right before the crowded tourist season begins.

So, what should I do?
Stick with Weight Watchers and go to the dreaded meetings each week, or drop it, continue the better eating habits on my own, and join a gym?
Historically, I have done better with weight loss when I've gone to the gym and worked out and am hoping that doing that again would help to boost my currently sluggish metabolism.
Let me know your opinion in the poll on the left.
Also, let me know what you think of the dress!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Something Entertaining

So, I need to put something up here thats a little less depressing. Something light hearted. Something entertaining.

Here is the story about how my mother C-blocked me about a month or so ago.
Yes, you did read that correctly. My very own mother C-blocked me.

About a week or so after Thanksgiving I call my mom on my way home from work and she is out drinking with a friend. They originally met for lunch and had a couple of margaritas and then moved along to a local bar for gin and tonics. I could tell my the slur in her voice that she is in NO shape to drive home so I head towards Folsom to pick her up.

It was FREEZING cold and I was desperately trying to get my mom to leave when her friend felt it was necessary to get another round of drinks. I go inside to help her carry the drinks and when I come out theres a guy named Dan sitting at our table and my mom is holding her hand up to him. I had noticed him before - we'd briefly chatted and he'd bummed a smoke off of me. I'd noticed that he was cute it a slightly uptight conservative kind of way, but whatever. I figured he was coming from work or something himself.

Dan: Um. She said I needed to sit down and.... release my negative energy?
Mom: Yes. I'm picking up on some negative energy from you, you need to release that. Why are you angry?
Dan: Um. Im not angry.
Mom: What are you mad about
Dan: Um, I'm not mad
Mom: What are you afraid of? fear is a negative energy too
Dan: Im... I'm not afraid
Mom: Did you get in a fight with someone today? An argument with someone? A coworker? Your parents?
Dan: Nooo
Mom: Did you just break up with your girlfriend? Are you hurt about that? What happened?
Dan: Um. I broke up with my girlfriend about 7 or 8 months ago?
Mom: I KNEW IT! I KNEW IT! Tell us about it

and it went from there. My mom and her friend attacked him, badgering him about what he could do to get back together with his ex-girlfriend and so on and so on.

The part that REALLY got me was that several times in the midst of telling him how he should get back together with his ex, she said

"You seem like a nice guy! I'd introduce you to my daughter here!"

Trust me, it was a struggle to not
A: scream "Shut the F up then and let US talk!
B: "accidentally" knock her 7th (thats right, 7th...) gin & tonic into her lap.

But, I kept my cool and just sat there silently.

The only satisfaction I got out of the whole night was that my mother had a hangover for about 2 days afterwards. Unfortunately, she also projectile vomited all over the passenger side of my car. I found out that those map pockets on car doors can do double duty as vomit basins.

Sigh. He was cute. I wonder if he would mind hanging out with a woman who's mother is looney and prone to drunken vomiting.

After stewing on this for a while, I posted the story on Craigslist Missed Connections. What can I say? He was cute.


Yesterday I got a call from a vet that Cooper had been found.

I picked him up, and took him to my regular vet where he got the vaccination that he was supposed to have received Saturday while he was missing. I brought him home, fed him, watched him and Sam (my other dog) give each other kisses, and I left him out back with Sam while I went back to work.

On my way home from work I stopped at PetsMart and got a tag for his collar that has his name, both of my phone #'s, and my home address on it.

When I got home last night, I took Cooper for a walk where we took down all of the flyers that I had put up around the neighborhood and then when we got home I gave him a bath and lots of treats (because he hates baths).

This morning we snuggled, I let him outside to go potty, brought him back in for a bit, then put him back outside when I left for work.

Around noon Grandma called to tell me that he wasn't in the backyard with Sam anymore.

Once again, I have searched the area and have found no sign of him.

Again I find myself asking you that if you know anyone in the Citrus Heights, Roseville, or surrounding areas, please forward along this notice.

There does seem to be a pattern though. Last Thursday night I had taken him for a long walk and on Friday, he disappeared. Last night I took him on a long walk and today he disappeared. My Grandma has a theory that while we're out on these walks, he's picking up the scent of some female dogs and is escaping in an attempt to get laid.

I'm hoping that someone picks him up and calls me soon.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Cooper is now home - someone dropped him off at a veterinarians office this weekend and I was able to pick him up this morning!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cooper is Missing

Last night I came home to find that Cooper was not in my yard.
Somehow he managed to either get out, or was taken from my back yard.

I have searched the neighborhood and have not found a trace of him.
I have also checked at local shelters, animal care and regulation, and spca's.
I have also posted "lost" ads on Craigslist, Petfinder, Petharbor, and Wailtag.
Tomorrow I will be plastering the area with Lost flyers and Monday I will be mailing the flyers out to veterinarians.

Please, if you know of anyone in the Citrus Heights, Roseville, or surrounding areas, please forward along this notice. I just want to bring him home.
If you have any other tips for how I may find him, please please please let me know.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Belated Happy New Year

2008 was a good year.

I was able to visit London for a week in April and then in August some friends and I went camping in Fort Bragg.
That was the extent of my travel for 2008. It may not have been as extensive as 2007 when I visited Oregon, Germany, France, Salt Lake City, and Italy, but it was just as enjoyable. My fair skin and curly hair agree with the misty climates of the British Isles and the Northern California coastal regions. My demeanor also agrees with pints of Guinness in an authentic pub and cocktails around campfires -- both with good friends, of course.

Now, for the big question... What are my New Years resolutions?
This is a tricky one. I was considering not doing any resolutions at all because a year can sometimes seem like a long time and I've got the attention span of an oh look! Something shiny!
Truth be told, typically at the beginning of the year I will come up with resolutions, and within just a couple of weeks I've completely forgotten what they were.
I've decided that this year I"m not going to come up with resolutions for the year. Instead, I am going to have an "action plan" (by the way, I hate that phrase -- SO corporate employee improvement oriented. If you can think of a better term, please let me know) for each week. I will have things to accomplish during the week that are aimed at more long term goals... baby steps towards the bigger picture.
This weeks baby steps:
1. Go for a walk - simple enough, right? I plan on doing the 3-day, 60 mile, breast cancer walk next fall. I'd better start working towards it. This Saturday is the perfect opportunity, some friends are part of a running/walking training group and they're getting up Saturday to go running/walking along the American River at the butt crack of dawn. Also known as 8:30 am. I typically sleep in until about 10, if not later, on the weekends. This will probably be physically painful for me.
2. Work on my ongoing computer issues - a temporary resolution may be right around the corner! Not the resolution I'd like, but possibly something to get me by for a bit.
3. Get back on track with Weight Watchers. Around Halloween at some point I stopped journaling and keeping track of points and everything but have continued to loosely (very loosely) follow the plan and have been up and down since then. Since I'm paying monthly fees for this program I should be using it properly, right?
4. Resurrect my travel blog. I started 2008 pretty well on that thing, at least for the first two months, then things just kind of petered off. I'm going to be getting it back on track for 2009 though. I've already uploaded some photos from my London trip.
5. Take 5 usable photographs. I'd like to elaborate on this.... but can't yet. Top secret project in the works.

Thats pretty much it on this weeks task list. I'll let you know how they work out.

On a side note:
OH. MY. GOD. I want this and I am not ashamed to admit it. Okay, maybe I am just a little bit ashamed. But only a little.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Big Chop

Next Saturday Cooper goes back to the vet for another round of vaccinations. At that time I will be scheduling an appointment to have him neutered.
I think I might get him this as a get well present.