tiger_spot: (tired)
Tethys passed away this morning.

It was not particularly dramatic. She was about three years old and ill, so she'd been moving slower and slower over the last few months, and this morning she stopped.

It feels weird not having a rat in the house. My ecology is insufficiently complex. :(


Mar. 9th, 2011 12:21 pm
tiger_spot: (Niobe)
Back from the vet for Tethys' recheck after the surgery. She's healed up well, but there's another lump in about the same area that's growing fast. It's technically possible that it's an incision reaction, in which case it should subside on its own soon, but much more likely that it's a (more aggressive) tumor.


The vet seems fairly optimistic about her chances with a second surgery, but I expect that if it's coming on this aggressively this soon after surgery, there's probably more than just the one tumor. So I think we'll just be doing palliative care, when this gets big enough to bother her.

Poor kid.
tiger_spot: (Default)
News in snippets:

Last weekend, [livejournal.com profile] chinders and I went kayaking with one of her coworkers and a large party of birthday well-wishers. It was fun, although I think I like kayaking more as a way to get somewhere, perhaps somewhere with a picnic lunch, than as just a thing to do paddling around for a while.

We saw lots of sea otters and sea lions. The otters were adorable. Ever so often an otter would pop up with a crab or some other food item, and a seagull would immediately swoop down and sidle up to it, keeping a careful watch for dropped bits. (I didn't know you could sidle while swimming, but seagulls seem fairly good at it.)

If you rent an open kayak, the rental guy will offer you a bunch of waterproof clothing. TAKE THE WATERPROOF CLOTHING, no matter what he says about it not being very breathable and how nice a day it is. You will wind up sitting in a few inches of water, gradually delivered to the interior of the boat via the paddle dripping on your knees, so you will be happier with waterproof pants. I did not take the waterproof pants (I did take the jacket), and while I was not miserably cold out on the water, I was trying-to-remember-symptoms-of-shock shivering and clumsy once we got on shore, while I was changing into my dry clothes.

After the kayaking, we ate at this seafood place that was remarkably busy for three in the afternoon, and had all manner of artichokes. Mmm, artichoke smothered in cheese.

Monday, Tethys had surgery to remove a few lumps. She is recovering very nicely.

Monday and Tuesday I was sick like a sick thing. I am also recovering nicely, although I am ready for my nose to stop running. Any time now, nose.

Thursday, [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses and I took the afternoon off to explore the city. The weather was not the sort of weather we'd been envisioning for this, but we figured if we let it change our plans we'd only be encouraging it. So we charged off down Folsom, stopping briefly for Extreme Pizza (the pizza was not particularly extreme, but they did have a chair made out of skis). Then we went to Humphry Slocombe, where we had strange ice cream (mango carrot sorbet and fluffernutter sundae) and planned to come back and have more strange ice cream later. Afterwards, we poked around the Mission looking at murals, stopping in a used bookstore, poking our heads in another interesting store or two, and getting hailed on twice.

Brooks was pretty tired by the time we got back to the train, and our backs were sore from used books and things, so next time we may plan around bus schedules a bit instead of walking the whole time. But there will definitely be a next time; despite the weather's best efforts we had a good time.

Saturday, the weather was also foiled by my going out to the Save the Bay event with [livejournal.com profile] plymouth. All of the plants of the type we were working on (sticky monkeyflower) had been planted by the time we cleared our last few patches of ground, so we wound up planting some of the other kind (yarrow) instead. It was amazingly muddy, but pretty much all the volunteers who'd signed up showed up despite the rain (hah, take that, rain!) so we finished up early.

Finishing early was good, because it meant [livejournal.com profile] chinders and I could make it out to the tail end of the rally obedience competition to watch the Novice event, which is what I'll be competing in once I actually sign up for a competition. It was educational, although we should have brought paper to take notes -- by the time they announced the scores, I couldn't remember what the dogs had done exactly so I couldn't tell what they were losing points for.

I am really glad tomorrow is a holiday, because I am bone tired.
tiger_spot: (Default)
Hello, living.

I am not sick any more. It got me awfully behind on things, but I seem to be about caught up. Now I shall catch you up.

Our Thanksgiving trip was quite nice, and I have here on my desk a giant hard drive full of all the home movies ever, courtesy my sibling. Yay sibling!

While I was sick, my permanent retainer succumbed to the pressure of years of flossing. I had my dentist remove it, polish off the remaining adhesive, and recommend me some orthodontists to consult about whether it (and/or my top retainer, which has been broken for years) should be replaced or altered in some way or whether I can just have teeth like a normal person now. I am really enjoying having the back surface of my front teeth back, so I intend to be very thorough about explaining to these orthodontists, when I get around to calling them, that I do not care what my teeth look like as long as they are more or less symmetrical, I did not want braces in the first place so the effects of said braces wearing off are irrelevant, and really they should only recommend I do or wear anything if not doing it is going to hurt or make it hard for me to eat. I like eating.

I made cookies for a holiday cookie swap and swapped them for other cookies yesterday. They are mostly gone now. The swapping-party was fun.

Andres put the house lights up and we hung the wreath on the door, but we haven't got a Christmas tree yet. This feels late to me, but we will go fetch one and decorate it up this weekend and there will be plenty of days of Christmas tree. (The live tree we used to have is no more; it was scraggly and horrible anyway, because of having been painted blue before we got it, and it's hard to keep container plants alive outdoors here. Or, as Andres put it: "You murdered Sparky!" Yes. Yes I did.)

Galen has been doing fairly well learning Rally Obedience. The class proper is over, but the instructor has started doing drop-in classes to cover the Advanced and Excellent exercises. He's still having trouble with right-hand finishes, which I expected given how long it took him to learn left-hand finishes. He's having trouble with them in really interesting and consistent ways, which reveals a lot about his thought processes and learning style, but it would be nice if he would just get the hang of them already. Also, apparently he really likes backing up (this was one of the new exercises last week, although I vaguely recall working on it a little bit just as a trick a while back). I should practice that this evening just to see if he's still as enthusiastic as he was in class.

Galen also had a veterinary incident a little while ago. Google has dispensers containing a particular kind of chewing gum that is high in xylitol, an artificial sweetener with some antibiotic properties. Unfortunately, xylitol is also extremely toxic to dogs. Someone spilled some of the gum, and Galen, who loves gum, found and consumed it instantly. Three pieces of the stuff is a lethal dose for a dog his size, so Andres rushed him to the vet, and he was unhappy for the rest of the day but is fine now.

The chickens have been molting. This is an unfortunate state in which feathers fall out, new, itchy, poky pinfeathers grow in, no eggs are laid, very little food is eaten, and tempers are even crankier than usual. (I would be cranky, too, if my feathers fell out in this weather.) I think Teckla's about coming out of it, though -- somebody's been starting to eat a reasonable amount of food again, and all the feathers clogging up the bedding-scoop have white spots so they're definitely Norska's. Also she's been merely her normal level of cranky the last few days, rather than the Bitch Queen From Hell she was last week and earlier.

Cathy is sick again, poor thing. She has a well-deserved promotion and accompanying massive raise to comfort her in her extremity, but it's awfully unfair to be sick again already.

Tethys is no longer sick, which is surprising but good. I was expecting her to need to stay on the antibiotics to manage the respiratory disease, since that is what the boys needed, but one course seems to have cleared it up. Hurrah!

As of yesterday, all the presents that need to be shipped have been ordered and/or mailed. I thought I had about half the household Christmas present shopping done, but then I got an e-mail that one thing I ordered wouldn't be in until after the new year (and did I perhaps want to cancel, which was very nice of them to ask, so I said no, I'll save it for a birthday present or something, but I should come up with another little Christmas thing in the meantime) and decided to maybe add a few things here and there, so there will be more happening on that front. Also the first of the presents I ordered to come to me arrived, so I can begin wrapping now. We probably need more ribbon, I think we were low last time I used some.

Tomorrow I will begin using the Clipper public transit payment system. I think I have set it up in such a way that it will actually work, and if this is so I will e-mail the various companies involved to tell them how to do that, because their customer service departments were well-meaning but entirely unhelpful. Or perhaps I will be ignominiously ejected from the train. We'll see.

... and I think that is the entire contents of my brain at the moment.

How are you?
tiger_spot: (tired)
Thor passed away some time today. It is possible that the heat was a bit much for him; it is possible that it was just time.

Poor wee mite.

(I haven't got much to say about it -- he was old, it wasn't a surprise -- but it seemed like the sort of news that should get its own post.)
tiger_spot: (Niobe)
We have been to the emergency vet this evening. Tethys did something to her foot. We're not sure what, but when Cathy and I got back from the beach[1] it was swollen and she wasn't walking on it at all. We suspected it was broken, but the vet thinks it's more likely that she got it caught in something and cut off the circulation for a bit. So Tethys is stoned out of her tiny gourd on painkillers, and if it doesn't go back to normal in a day or so we will actually X-ray it.

Cathy is a hero of the revolution for calling like 6 or 8 different after-hours vet clinics to find one that was willing to look at a rat.

[1] The verdict: From the perspective of "How much will the dog enjoy this outing?" we should stick with hiking. I deliberately picked a beach which allows dogs on, but not off, leash on the theory that this would mean there would be fewer other dogs for him to get overexcited about. In practice, there were a lot of dogs, most of whom were off-leash. We learned that Galen likes ocean water no better than he likes any other water that makes noise (i.e., not at all even a little bit HOLY SHIT IT'S TRYING TO EAT ME), so while he enjoyed the trip to a new and interesting environment, we will not be going back, as there are plenty of other equally new and interesting places closer to home with fewer other dogs in them.
tiger_spot: (tired)
This tells us nothing about Odin, since he was most likely over two, which is not young for a rat.

Kind of surprising, though.


(Maybe a stroke? Hard to say.)
tiger_spot: (Niobe)
Huginn passed away this afternoon, very quietly at the bottom of the cage.
tiger_spot: (Galen)
The dog is settling in well. His new name is Galen.

Galen's greatest goal in life is to be around people. He doesn't particularly want attention, once he's greeted everyone, he just wants to be there. He is also very fond of walks, liver treats, and shredding plush toys.

Yeah, yeah, you're just here for the pictures. )
tiger_spot: (tired)
Calypso's died. I mentioned a while back that she'd developed a brain tumor. She'd been pretty stable for a month or two; she could get around, although she fell over a lot, and she was interested in food, although not very good at eating it. About Christmas Eve, she started to look out of it in a new and different way. Yesterday morning, she was lying on the floor of the cage, about room temperature. She sure looked dead, and I couldn't find a heartbeat, but she was still breathing and twitching occasionally. We figured it wouldn't be long, so we wrapped her up warm and kept an eye on her. She remained creepy zombie rat, with no detectable heartbeat or body temperature but occasional breathing and other tiny motions, until well after dark. And then she stopped.

I have pretty much done my mourning in advance on this one. I am impressed she hung on as long as she did, and I hope she was reasonably comfortable.

(At Wayside School, dead rats live in the basement. She'll fit right in.)
tiger_spot: (Default)
(Questions from [livejournal.com profile] tenacious_snail)

1. How does an introvert manage three relationships?

I don't find interacting with a person I know really well much of a strain, so maintaining close relationships is much easier than going out and interacting with a bunch of new people. It helps that my partners like quiet at-home things rather than going out to parties or crowded places, and that they all have other partners to distract them and other friends to do more social things with. It also helps that they all get along, so we can overlap together-time for efficiency. :)

2. When did the Greek mythology names for ratties begin? How many have you had total, and what is the most you've had at once.

My first rat, in middle school, was Io[1]. Before I got a rat, I was planning to name it either Justin or Nicodemus, after characters in The Rats of NIMH, but neither of those seemed right for a female. I think I got it out of a dictionary of mythological figures I had.

Later, in college, when I got the next set of rats, I wanted their names to match. I thought it would be kind of neat to have other rats match as well, and Greek mythology provides a nigh-inexhaustible source of matching names. So those two were Eris and Metis, and I've kept it up since then.

Counting, it looks like... 16 girls (Io, Eris, Metis, Maia, Tyche, Astraea, Niobe, Ariadne, Clio, Thalia, Echo, Calliope, Hera, Aphrodite, Tethys, and Calypso) and Cathy's 5 boys (Loki, Odin, Thor, Huginn, and Muninn). Most at once was 10, when Andres and I had 5 and Cathy had 5 and we moved in together. (Never again. 5 is about the maximum I can give proper attention to.) As it turns out, rats fall under the small animal rule in the Mountain View city laws, which means you're not supposed to have more than 4 without a permit. But what the city does not know will not hurt it.

3. If your daughter wanted to have muttonchops, how would you handle it?

Uh, hm. Well, if she was young enough that she hadn't figured out that other people sometimes react badly to particularly unusual personal presentation choices, we'd have that talk first. Then probably visit a... costume shop? Or maybe a wig shop? Okay, no, before that I'd ask some of the people I know who've been involved in theater whether they have any suggestions.

Depending on how much this costs, it's probably coming out of her allowance. I don't mind tossing out a couple bucks for spirit gum, but I bet reasonable-quality artificial facial hair is pricey.

If this is for daily wear, I'd have some health concerns, so if she actually kept it up for, say, a week, I'd want us to go talk to a dermatologist or something about adhesive safety and proper skin care. (But I'd expect it to be more of a special-occasion thing, or a passing phase, so I wouldn't be too concerned to start out with.)

And then for the next gift-giving occasion I'd get her a top hat, because if you are rocking the muttonchops as a teenage (preteen?) girl, it is a truth universally acknowledged that you must be in want of a top hat.

(If she wanted to grow muttonchops, I would be sympathetic but unhelpful.)

4. When did your parents get to Canada and why didn't I know?

May this year. I probably didn't tell you. I mentioned when they were planning to move, and I might have talked some about the delays when they were happening, and I've relayed Mom's description of some of the weirdest features of their rental house to a few people, but I don't think I've been terribly comprehensive about making sure everybody knows what my parents are up to.

Hm. Hey everybody, my parents are visiting for Christmas! So if you want to see them and you're around in the latter half of December, drop me a line.

5. Esta Susana en casa?

No, Susana está en el trabajo.

[1] She was a most excellent rat. When she died, I posted on an AOL rat-owners board for sympathy. I got the sympathy, but because of the sans-serif font used on the board, I also got an awful lot of people thinking that her name was Lo and I hadn't capitalized it. So no, two vowels, thank you.

A Footnote

Nov. 10th, 2009 07:42 pm
tiger_spot: (tired)
Also, Calypso has a brain tumor.

(Or something. There are a few possibilities, so we're treating for the easily-treatable ones, but those are not by a long stretch the likeliest.)
tiger_spot: (tired)
This morning we put Hera and Aphrodite to sleep.

This was rather sudden, yes.

Details, which get explicitly gory towards the end. )
tiger_spot: (tired)
So of course the evening after I post that Hera's doing well, we notice a lump.

Yes, agrees the new vet at the clinic, looks like a mammary tumor. Given the respiratory ick (and her age[1], and the fact that she's a rat), she's a really lousy anesthetic risk, so we're not planning on surgery. If it's growing slowly, something else will probably kill her before it starts to bother her; if it's growing quickly we can try surgery at the point at which not waking up from the anesthetic is better than a continued lumpy existence.

Her kidneys are doing great, though, so we have permission to dose her with Metacam (an anti-inflammatory / painkiller) up to once a day as needed. I offered her a dose on a bit of bread last night, and at first she didn't seem interested. Once I told [livejournal.com profile] chinders that I didn't think she was going to settle down enough to eat, so maybe we should try again in the morning before she got regular food, Hera decided that bread sounded like a great idea and ate most of the dosed part (but not the crust -- picky thing).

So then I told her, "You're a very sick rat and you're going to die soon."

Reverse psychology. Worth a try.

[1] We've had her for two years this month, and she was an adult then. We guessed at about a year old when we got her, so the vet has 2 years 10 months as the current estimated age in her chart (she started looking younger when we'd had her for a bit -- must not have been fed real well in her previous life), but she could in theory be anywhere from 2 years 5 months up. So she's certainly old, but we do not know whether she is Really Impressively Old or not.
tiger_spot: (Niobe)
Here is the ratty update:

Hera: Still on antibiotics for the Respiratory Infection That Will Not Die, but stable and active despite the occasional godawful snorking. She's definitely an old rat now -- back legs a touch wobbly (though they don't seem to have weakened any more since we first noticed, so that's being a good slow decline), napping even more than usual, hard to wake up, appears to be getting a bit of a cataract in one eye -- but a happy old rat.

Aphrodite: Also getting up there; she's a lot slower than she used to be. Friendly and interested in what's going on outside the cage, but has mostly quit trying to break out and explore. Fonder of hammocks than she once was.

Huginn: Has been attempting to climb out and explore when in the small cage for cleaning purposes lately. Good snuggly rat, always comes up to the door in case the visiting human has food and is quite happy to stick around for social interaction in the absence of snacks.

Odin: The quiet, out-of-the-way rat. He's been very background-y lately -- healthy and unobtrusive.

Thor: Poor fella seemed to be having a bit of a paranoia relapse this evening. About two weeks before we left on vacation, he'd been experiencing sudden pains in his backside somewhere, and came to the natural conclusion that other rats were persecuting him, so he was getting himself into a lot of fights. Once we realized what was going on, we separated him and had him on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories for a bit, which seemed to resolve whatever the underlying hidden problem was. He's been good for a while, but was squeaking in a very aggrieved manner earlier. Settled down after a little time apart to cool off, so hopefully he was just having an irritated moment and whatever-it-was isn't coming back.

Tethys: Much calmer than she used to be. Willing to come up to the door if there's food, but quickly backs off if there isn't. Still likes watching people through the bars; still doesn't like to be touched, but will tolerate being picked up with much less scrambling than historically.

Calypso: Still a freaked-out little rat. A bit scared of people, generally avoids contact, looks jumpy a lot. I suppose she's happy enough.


Jun. 24th, 2009 06:30 pm
tiger_spot: (tired)
While I was taking Hera out of the cage to give her her morning medication, she opened her mouth at just the wrong moment and managed to get her top front teeth hooked over one of the bars on the ramp. It took a while to get her loose, and she scratched her muzzle, but she doesn't seem to have hurt her teeth.

Poor kid. That was scary!

Many Rats!

Jun. 1st, 2009 10:22 pm
tiger_spot: (Niobe)
Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] chinders and I cleaned the rat cages and put all the rats in one cage. (This will save us future cleaning!) They are... mostly getting along. Calypso is continuing as normal -- she was the low-ranking rat anyway, and seems perfectly willing to respect the authority of anyone three times her size. Loki seems to be getting along with everyone, as he is clearly no threat. (Poor guy's pretty sick. Happy to cuddle, though; I've seen him sharing a hammock with each girl except Tethys.) Huginn, Muninn, and Odin are all being fairly laid back, with the occasional scuffle with a passing newly introduced female to figure out who's in charge here. Tethys was apparently in heat on Saturday (the boys are all neutered, but she doesn't care) and has since been working out that who's-in-charge thing in a casual way; seems to resolving in favor of the boys. Aphrodite, after a few instances of major puffiness, has mostly been busying herself down at the very bottom of the cage and avoiding everyone. I'm surprised; she's usually fairly aggressive, but she didn't even come up to the top for breakfast today. Thor and Hera, on the other hand, spent the entire morning having an Altercation.

I don't know who started it -- the first thing I saw was a bit of mutual threatening and a quick scuffle that ended with Hera on her back, squeaking, with a tuft of Thor's fur in her teeth. So that was inconclusive. She ran off and hid in the yellow thing, and he took up a post outside and hissed at her. The way the cage is set up right now, she could go around behind the yellow thing under a short ladder, or she could go down the ramp to the lower half of the cage, but she couldn't get to the ramp up without going past him. Hera spent an hour or so poking around under the ladder and around the front of the yellow thing, getting hissed at. Eventually she got bored, wandered down a level or two, groomed a bit, then strolled upstairs for a snack, ignoring Thor completely. I'm not sure if that counts as a win or a truce or what; I've not seen this blocking-into-a-corner behavior before.

Historically, among the females I've had, dominance goes not to the biggest or strongest rat, but rather to the most persistent rat. This would tend to weigh in Hera's favor. However, Thor is twice her size and since the stroke her grasp on the concept of "down" has been fuzzy, so she's very easy to knock over. (Oddly, she seems to have a pretty good grasp of using the terrain to her advantage, reaching down from above or into a hammock from a nice stable position so she can slap the boys around without much fear of retaliation.)

It's always interesting to watch the rats work out their social structure. Once they've got the hierarchy figured out, they won't test it much, so the only chance I have to see how it's going to work out is to watch while it's still unsettled. My current prediction:

1. Hera
2. Thor
3. Aphrodite?
4. Odin?
5. Huginn
6. Muninn
7. Tethys
8. Calypso
9. Loki

I'm really not sure where Aphrodite's going to fit in, because she's being a bit odd around the boys so she may wind up lower than I expect. Odin seems to have fairly strong feelings about whom he should be allowed to knock over (he was picking on Hera yesterday).

Perhaps I should establish a betting pool.
tiger_spot: (tired)
She was an awfully good girl. We'll miss her.
tiger_spot: (Niobe)
She is the second-oldest rat we've ever had. Her back legs don't work too well, although they seem to have plateaued rather than continuing to deteriorate. She's tired most of the time.

She's sitting on my lap now. She had a spoonful of peanut butter earlier, which thoroughly wore her out, but she's woken up again now and seems to be looking for something. Ah. More peanut butter. Of course. She seems quite happy with a spoon to lick.
tiger_spot: (Niobe)
I went to take my shower this morning, and Andres shouted "Wait! A rat just ran out of the bathroom!" Sure enough, there was Aphrodite, having knocked the lid off the recovery tank, jumped out of the tank, jumped off the coffee table, and gone exploring.

"You're supposed to be resting," I told her as I put her back in the tank.

After my shower, I noticed the tank lid ajar again, went and retrieved her from visiting the boys ([livejournal.com profile] chinders's rats are hanging out in the study), and plonked a nice heavy book on top of the cage. This is exactly why I don't want unneutered males in the house. But hah! Aphrodite's just been spayed, and can't get herself in trouble!

The Norton Anthology of Literature seems to be having some trouble keeping her contained. I will go switch her over to the small cage in a minute; climbing the walls is probably less bad for her incisions than jumping into the lid.
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