Friday, February 29, 2008

For God's Sake, People - Keep An Eye On Your Pets!

I'll be the first to tell you I'm not always the best pet parent. I get annoyed by the cats' neurotic behaviour, Mrs. Nator and I put off cleaning the litter or aquariums for too long, and I get frustrated at not being able to get our female turtle to nest. But some of the terrible conditions I have seen in my first couple weeks at the vet hospital could have been prevented by some very basic attention.

The main thing I want to tell people is, look over your pets! This means running your eyes and hands over them from stem to stern, if not every day, then at least a couple times a week. Get to know how they look and act normally, and if that changes, make sure they aren't sick! We had the sweetest kitty ever in the other day. She was 15 years old and had never been fixed. Somehow, her people claimed not to have noticed the chain of mammary tumours, some a good deal larger than golf balls and oozing, running down her tummy. How did they not notice this?! What's more, if she'd been fixed, this probably would not have happened! This poor elderly feline ended up having major surgery - excavating growths from the entire front of her torso, plus the removal of two rotten teeth. Afterwards, she was still as sweet as ever - purring and stumbling over to be scratched. But she would have been far less traumatized and in pain had this been caught earlier.

Another thing I need to advocate is crates for puppies. Many people think they are unnecessary and maybe even cruel. They think of them as dog prisons that their pets see as punishment. But crates are only punishment if you make them so. In truth, they can be safe spaces for your pet where he or she can feel cozy, take breaks and stay out of trouble. All you have to do is make them an inviting place to stay and train the dog to think of the crate as his or her special space. In the case of puppies, if you are not able to watch or have them watched 24 hours a day, this is extremely important. Just the other day we had two adorable puppies in. One had been in a couple weeks before for eating an entire pack of cigarettes! After some emergency care and nursing, he was released in a few days, only to come back in a few days later after eating a package of allergy medicine! Apperently, the first episode was not enough for the owners to puppy-proof their house. I wonder if anyone told them about crates.

The second puppy is an even sadder story. The owners reported that they came home to find he had somehow knocked the television over on his head and lain unconscious and convulsing for some time. What a horrifying homecoming! The dog had irreparable brain damage, and had to be euthanized. My heart aches for both the puppy and its people, knowing that if he had been crated while alone in the house, this would not have happened.

I'm not telling these horror stories to make anyone feel bad. As I noted, I, like everyone else, am ignorant of some things and make mistakes with my pets. I just want people to know that there are a few simple things they can do to help insure their animals' health. And if we love them like they love us, isn't that the least we can do?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Howdy, Natorettes! I've been spending my day recovering from what I hope will be my last 10-hr shift at the veterinary hospital for a while (not to mention my last viewing of a dangling eyeball for a while, which was a first for me, thank you). It's hard to go from laying around on one's ample ass most of the time to constantly moving for that amount of time, especially at a certain age and weight. The 8-hour shifts are alright, though. Or least they are now, while I'm not yet back in class. After that, whether I have to clone myself to get by remains to be seen.

Anyway, not having much time (or anything of interest to say), I'm finally getting to the 123 Book Meme Corn Dog tagged me for a little while ago. Here are the rules:

1. Grab the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
2. Open it to page 123.
3. Find the first 5 sentences and write them down.
4. Then invite 5 friends to do the same.

And here goes:

"Everything comes and goes
Pleasure moves on too early
And trouble leaves too slow
Just when you're thinking
You've finally got it made..."

Kind of leaves ya hangin', doesn't it? And do those count as sentences? Anyway, that's from Joni Mitchell: The Complete Poems and Lyrics, which I suppose isn't so complete anymore, since it came out in 1997.

Actually, my quote in my senior year high school yearbook was from Joni Mitchell. It was from the song "Black Crow" on the album Hejira, and went thusly:

"In search of love and music
My whole life has been
And diving, diving, diving, diving
Diving down to pick up on every shiny thing
I'm like that black crow flying
In a blue sky"

No, I wasn't no damn hippie. Just pretentious and full of passion hormones.

Now I tag First Nations, oneofhismoms, Qenny, Chaucer's Bitch (whenever she gets back from Sith Efrica)and Warrior Two. I imagine they will have disparate and interesting reading at hand. Now, do the meme and send it on to five friends or little Jimmy will die!

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Snowy Day In Brooklyn Town

Had me low, had me down...

But I'm not really low so much as tired, and the weather is a good excuse to hole in for a couple hours and contemplate my first day at the new job.

I was lucky that my first day turned out to be oddly quiet, as there was a lot to take in. The vet assistant I was shadowing was a big ol' dyke, also entering the vet tech program at LaGuardia. She showed me everything from where the cleaning supplies were located to how to read charts, from how to prepare ER stations to how to handle bodies. When I took a recently deceased cat in my arms, stiff with rigor mortis and looking disturbingly like my beloved Maya, to make a final pawprint in Sculpey as a keepsake for her person, we got misty together. When a small dog suddenly crashed and had to be given CPR, foaming blood pouring out of her mouth onto the floor, she suggested I watch to see what the ER team did. When one of the tiny puppies mistook my nose for a nipple (happens all the time) and tried to suckle, we laughed.

And laughter goes on a lot, there. Most of the team communicates with the easy, mildy insulting humour that people who like each other and have gone through important work do. Several times during the day, while I was learning how to run bloods, put together surgical packs, or just discussing the finer points of reptiles with the classmate who recommended me to the job and is now my co-worker, people told me unbidden that they love the place and stay there because it feels like a family. "You can always ask questions, and people are happy to teach you," I was told. And it was true. Several times, I didn't even have to ask. Someone who had noticed me watching or answered a few questions earlier would fill me in further. My head was swimming with new information, but it felt good.

Tomorrow is my second day. I bought some new scrubs, and I'm nervous and excited. I'll be working with a different team, and have new things to learn, accomplish, or maybe mess up. I'm hoping I do a good job. I've discovered that I like doing this kind of work, so far, and I want to do it well.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


And I'm starting tomorrow!

Granted, it is a low-paying job.

A very low-paying job.

But! It is a veterinary assistant job at a sparkly, new, state-of-the-art facility with lots of knowledgeable staff, specialist vets, a top surgeon, and lots of fascinating gew-gaws like an MRI machine, digital x-ray system, sonography machine &c.

What does this mean, Natorettes? Well, one hopes it means I will be learning a lot at this job, which is just what I want to do.

So, I'm a little nervous (and wondering when my other pairs of scrub pants are going to arrive in the mail), but excited for tomorrow. All in all, this calls for a round of the Happy Happy Joy Joy Song! Commence... singing!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Beat That, Whitman's

Well, my Valentine's Day involved a room full of dead cats, violent illness in a subway station bathroom, commemorative glow sticks, men dancing awkwardly while dressed as nuns, silly string, and Rufus Wainwright singing in drag as Judy Garland. Oh, and Mrs. Nator was there, too.

How was yours?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Hot Mess

Man, did you guys see Amy Winehouse on the Grammies? I don't know when I've had such mixed feelings over a performance. Is she talented? Very. Did she looked like she was having fun at times? Yes. But other times she looked terrified, troubled, zoned, overwhelmed, and a whole lot of other things you might expect from someone taking a break from serious drug rehab to do a live international performance. Good grief.

Here's the clip, if you want to see it.

She looked gobsmacked when she won the award. I hope it's good for her. Who knows if getting out and performing helps keep her alive or just exacerbates her problems? Being an artist is so much about high emotion and energy. It's no wonder so many artists end up strung out.

The sad thing is, talented as she is, she will always be tied to the song "Rehab" because of just how damn catchy it is and the irony of her situation. One only hopes that she will live long enough to release a song called "I Got Tired of Being Fucked Up and Killing Myself So I Learned How to Channel My Talent Sober."

That might just need a catchier chorus, though.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Stay Tuned...

I know I have been mainly absent or boring around here, but finals are coming and I'm negotiating a job offer I got. I am really interested in working at this place, but need to hammer out some financial details. I won't share too much until I'm a little more sure, but please wish me luck. I hope to be more interesting again once I've gotten this worked out!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Eli Manning Becomes A Man

So here's my theory.

So many commentators have been talking about Eli "growing up," "coming into his own," or "becoming a man" in the last few weeks. They're referring to his frustrating string of mistakes and poor judgment over the last couple seasons, and his sudden turn to playing well and having almost no interceptions from the end part of this past season and right on through the Super Bowl. Fans and talking heads alike marveled at his sudden confidence and competency. He not only started making plays, but smiling and laughing, a welcome change from his usual gape-mouthed mope.

Now, a while back, I had a theory that Tiki Barber's infamous comments on how Eli trying to speak in front of the other players was "almost comical" actually helped Eli, in that it spurred him to step up. But now, I have a new idea. That idea is: sometime in the last few months, Eli Manning lost his virginity.

Think about it: a quiet-spoken guy, southern baptist and fond of his mother, sadly unattractive despite his tall build and athletic skills, Eli has been dating his college girlfriend (now fiancée) for five years, now. I believe that at some point in the mid-to-late 2007, that girlfriend - or someone, anyway - finally put out. I mean, did you see how drastically his demeanor changed? How his panicked, flapping runs and fumbles turned into dodges and completed passes? Something must have given him the confidence and relaxation he'd been lacking.

The only other explanation I can think of is that he sent away for this: