Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bao and I, in the depths of Canyon de Chelly.
This was different. Canyon de Chelly (in northeast Arizona) is very spectacular, but it's not exactly a canyon. It's more like a long, wide valley flanked by sheer, thousand-foot-high cliffs. Centuries ago, the Anasazi build homes into the sides of the cliffs, and you can still see some of the remains. After the Anasazi came the Hopi, and after them, the Navajo.
Bao -- as usual -- was unimpressed. With Bao, it's all about sniffing and peeing. But since pets aren't allowed in Canyon de Chelly, there was nothing interesting to sniff at, and no place worthy of a pee. At least, it was cooler than it is in Scottsdale at the moment. He liked that. So did I.
The valley itself is watered by several dozen streams and is very fertile. Navajo still live there, raising sheep and planting crops and popping out at intervals to sell necklaces to the tourists who come through twice a day on flat-bed trucks with seats bolted to them. You drive into the mouth of the canyon and then follow one of the water-courses -- it's a very bumpy ride.
The Navajo Reservation is a separate, sovereign nation. They have their own schools, and their own police force, and their own language. (English is a second language) Being there is rather disconcerting. You think you're in the United States, but you're not. And the Navajo neveer let you forget it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bao loves our new place in Scottsdale.
It's a condo -- but it's a condo with a difference. They call it the "stacked townhouse concept" and if you can imagine townhouses stacked one on top of the other rather than arranged side by side, you've got the idea.
Each condo has its own yard. The yards are actually balconies, of course. But they are all different shapes and sizes and some of them (including mine) are huge. All the balconies are irrigated, and planted and maintained by the developer's army of gardeners. Mine consists of 800 sq. ft. and has plantings of palm trees, acacias, and even a 30-foot Palo Verde -- all on the fifth floor!
If Bao needs to go out in the wee, small hours all I have to do is open the sliders. No coyotes -- not on the fifth floor! No bobcats. No mountain lions. And no more standing there with a flashlight and a baseball bat to ward off the wildlife, waiting for him to pee!
The place is set in acres and acres of gardens and fountains, and has won just about every architectural prize going. It came on line just as the economy tanked, which was bad luck for the developer and good luck for me, because I could have never aforded to live here before housing prices went south.
It's called Optima Camelview Village. And as you can see, Bao has made himself right at home.
Oh, and did I mention? It's in the heart of downtown Scottsdale, just across the street from Fashion Mall. Location, location, location.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bao is currently on four different medications -- two for the heart condition, and two more to keep his bowels functioning. Turns out, all four of them are "people" medications, available (with a prescription) at an ordinary drug-store.

I discovered this when the lccal veterinary pharmacy advised me they were all out of whatever they needed to fill the prescription for one of the heart meds, and wouldn't have more for at least a week. I was horrified. This is probably the most important medication of all, and Bao has to take it twice a day. What were we supposed to do?

They suggested that I get our veternarian to write another prescription, which could be filled by a drug-store. So we did, and off we went to Walgreens.

A month's supply of what we needed cost a whopping $79 -- unless Bao had a Pharmaceutical Card. In that case, it was only $9.99.

How could Bao possibly have a Pharmaceutical Card? I asked the nice young man. Bao is a dog.

Doesn't matter, replied the nice young man. He can still have his own Pharmaceutical Card. If you buy it today, it'll cost you $29.99 for everything. And the next time you buy the meds, they'll only cost you $9.99.

Long story short, Bao has now got his very own Walgreens Pharmaceutical Card. I never knew dogs could get Pharmaceutical Cards, so I'm passing this on for whatever it's worth -- it was worth $50 to us!

If your dog (or cat) is on medication, it might be something worth looking into.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Have you ever wondered why your dog's grooming costs more than your own shampoo and blow dry?
Because your hairdresser does not wash and clean your rear end.
Because you do not go for eight weeks without brushing your hair.
Because your hairdresser does not have to give your pubic area and butt a sanitary trim.
Because your hairdresser does not have to clean your ears.
Because your hairdresser does not have to remove eye boogers.
Because you sit still for your haircut.
Because your haircut does not include a manicure and a pedicure.
Because your hairdresser only has to wash and cut the hair on your head.
Because you do not bite or scratch your hairdresser.
Because the liklihood of your pooping on your hairdresser is pretty slim.
This comes from a sign that's posted at Bao's new groomer. It cracked me up. Hope it brings a smile to your day, too.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

How truly lucky I am to be able to afford to pay for the veterinary examinations, treatments and medications that Bao has needed during this difficult time!
It must be horrible to have a sick pet and not be able to afford the necessary treatments and medicines. And I can tell you, these things aren't cheap. Again and again, I've found myself thinking about people less fortunate than I am -- and wondering how I might be able to help.
There don't seem to be any charitable organizations dedicated to helping people obtain medical treatment for their pets. (If there are -- and I just haven't been able to find them -- I'd appreciate knowing about them) Since I haven't got any family (besides Bao) I asked my lawyer if I could possibly provide for an organization like this in my will.
But how would such an organization function? How would people apply for assistance? How do you weed out the cheats? These things take time -- and in a medical emergency (and it usually is an emergency) there isn't any time. How could you make something like this work?
If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them. This is sometghing that needs to be done. But I don't know how to do it.