Archive for January, 2012

The Daisy

January 24, 2012

Once upon a time, very long ago, I went to college.  When I came home from school for the Thanksgiving holiday, my mother told me that I couldn’t move back into my room and that I’d have to go back in with my younger sister. 

Here’s a little background information for you:  I’d shared a room with my sister our whole lives.  When our older brother moved out after high school, I finally got my own room.  Granted, it was the size of a crackerbox, but it was mine.  And now I had to go back in with my sister because there was a new puppy in MY room.

“He’s used to it.  We don’t want to upset him,” said my mother. 

Are you kidding me?  We’d never had a dog in the house, and now one was in MY room.  The little bugger had taken over in my absence.  I’d only been gone a few months.  So I went back in with my sister, keeping in mind that I had the first final exams of my educational career the following week, and I was worried about how was I going to study. 

The infiltrator was named Derringer, because his father was Pistol, so Derry was a little son of a gun.  Personally, I’d go with the Irish influence, and not even explain the gun factoid, but, clearly, nobody was asking my advice.

Derry was a little poodle, and my parents were enthralled with him.  He was smart, and as he grew older, he learned little tricks, and enjoyed riding around with my dad in his pickup truck.  I attempted to explain to my father that the dog was ruining his image, for how could this 6’6″ man wearing a John Deere hat drive to the feed-and-seed with his.  Poodle?  Please, the family pride was at stake.  But it was for naught.

Derry adored me, or so my mother said, and she was distressed that I did not adore him back.  I thought he was a brat.

One day years later, the day came that everyone dreads.  Derry died.  My mother wrote me that he just “went under the dining room table and died of a heart attack”.  She said that she “cried buckets”, which really wasn’t that hard for my mother to do because she was a crier.  Emotions, she had some, and she had received an extra-large portion of the crying gene, which sometimes skips a generation.

She was given another poodle puppy, but she said it just wasn’t the same.  It just wasn’t Derry, and she couldn’t get attached to the new one.  By that time, I was long out of the house, and I don’t even know what happened to that little Sambo dog, because I was busy with a home and family of my own. 

One day I went to visit my parents when my children were small, and we were outside in the yard, and two little dogs came running up.  One was a little beagle named Tyke, and the other was the shaggiest, messiest little poodle, if indeed that’s what she was, that I had ever seen.  Her coat was thick with briars, and little sticks trailed the ground behind her.  She was the happiest dog I had ever seen, her mouth open wide, panting out a big grin.  I thought she was the cutest thing.  Mom said offhandedly, “That’s Daisy”, and I thought that was the oddest name.  She further said that Daisy and Tyke would go off running for days at a time, and when they came home, they were exhausted and wet from playing in the fields and streams. 

I really wanted Daisy.  That was probably in the early 1990’s, and I knew that she wouldn’t fit in my home situation.  A bit later, my mother moved into a nursing home, and my father moved to an assisted-living facility, and BigBroSteve and his wife took over Tyke and Daisy’s care.  When I would go visit, BigBroSteve would ask if I was ready to take Tyke and Daisy, and I would say, no, not yet, I’m not ready yet.

Fast forward to 2004.  I was officially divorced, had built a home, and had one dog.  Mom had been deceased since 1999.  It was almost Christmas, and it was time to go get Daisy and Tyke.  I took along an afghan that the dog had been sleeping on so that Daisy and Tyke could become accustomed to his smell on the way home in the car. 

When I got there, I found that Tyke had died earlier that year, and Daisy had her own little house and yard.  BigBro asked if I was ready to take her, and he looked dumbfounded when I said that I was.  When it was time to go, Daisy knew that something was up, and she was a nervous girl.  We said our good-byes, and started out on our journey, with a side trip to the vet to update her bordetella vaccination, and headed to our home 8 hours away.

The next day when I went to work at the luxury boarding kennel, I took Daisy with me.  I found out that PetSmart was sponsoring pet photos with Santa, and I begged my employer for an hour off to take Daisy to have her picture made with Santa.

It was sad how quickly I became one of "those" people, who dress up their dog and have their picture made with Santa. But doesn't she look happy?


No one really knew how old she was, but she was still plucky and independent.  She didn’t like sitting on your lap, or even the furniture.  She was happiest down low.  When I installed a dog door panel in the sliding glass door track, she was the first dog to figure out how to use it.  It helped that she was only ten pounds and that I could push her out the door, but she caught on really fast.  Sometimes in the middle of the night, she would jump out of the laundry basket in my closet that she used for a bed, and the sound of the dog door flap flip-flip-flipping would wake me up, and it always amused me that this little bitty dog used the tools I gave her to take care of herself.

In 2008, when I moved to the Swamped! Plantation, Daisy was still with me.  I wondered how to know when this dog was going to give me a sign that she was getting older, for was she ever going to slow down?  She had cataracts on both eyes, but still got around, and ate like there was no tomorrow.

Last year, in the fall, Daisy wasn’t eating as much, and she tottered when she walked, not that she walked much.  She spent most of her time sleeping in her little bed at the foot of my bed.  Remember that the main bed in the RV can only be approached from the foot, and I had to remember to not spring up out of bed too quickly in the morning so I wouldn’t squash Daisy.  One day she stood at her water bowl, her hindquarters slowly collapsed, and she went down into a sit position and then popped right back up into place.  I knew that the endtimes were approaching. 

Daisy continued to eat, and drink well, and pee and poop, and totter about under her own steam, and all those things were on the list of important basic behavior.  You know the list I’m talking about.  Sometimes she looked like someone from the home who is driven by some inner force to continue to move.  You know the old person I’m talking about, the one that won’t stay in their room, that roams the halls, standing, leaning, exploring, moving about, occasionally resting.  That was Daisy. 

I asked her to tell me when it was time, but she would not.  Sometimes she turned over her food bowl, or slopped her water out of her dish, or I would find her in the one-step stair well in front of the RV door where she’d fallen and she couldn’t get back up the single step.  Near the end, when I was talking on the phone to Sugar at night, she would pace in slow motion back and forth the length of the RV.  One night, when I got home from work, she could not stand.  She had stopped eating.  And drinking.  And all she could manage was one small abnormal poop later that night, as though she were cleansing her body for her final journey.

The next morning when I got up, Daisy was not in her bed.  I found her *standing*, the little dog that could not stand the day before, standing in the stairwell facing the door, waiting for it to open so that she could get out and go off by herself.

It was a cloudy, gloomy day when Daisy and I got into the car for the last time, and as we set off in Ole Yeller, the sky began to weep soft tears.  I had already called the vet’s office to discuss the situation, and told the vet tech that Daisy would be dehydrated and that the vet might not be able to find Daisy’s vein for the final injection, but under no circumstances was the vet to do a heart stick.  (Y’all just go google that term.)  The tech said that rarely is that method used but only when the animal is fully sedated.  I told her that if Daisy were too dehydrated and her blood pressure had dropped, that the injection could be given in the abdomen. 

Sugar met us at the vet’s office.  When we got into the exam room, I reiterated that *under no circumstances* would the injection be given in the heart, and that it could be given in the abdomen if they couldn’t get a vein.  The vet said that would take longer to achieve the final effect when given in the abdomen, and I said, “What’s the hurry?” 

We started the procedure, and I held off the vein, and the vet was able to insert the needle, and Daisy slid away from us at 3:15 PM. 

When we went outside, it had stopped raining, and the sun was coming out.

The Personal Reminiscences of William Starr Basinger, Part II

January 12, 2012

Here’s the remainder of the 36 pages that Sugar gave me to scan and post.  Must lie down soon after this.





And that’s the end of my story.

The Personal Reminiscences of William Starr Basinger

January 12, 2012

Sugar gave me 36 pages starting with the beginning of the book written by his great-grandfather William Starr Basinger.  If you’re not interested in Starr stuff, just move along.  Nothing to see here, people.

But if you are interested in W. S. Basinger’s life, 1827-1910, read along.  Fascinating, really.  Those of you who love words and language and stalking will enjoy this window to the past.

(OK.  Gotta stop tonight.  Be back tomorrow to finish the remaining 25 pages.  I could have put all the pages in a gallery, but that would just be a thumbnail view, and you’d have to click on each page to make it large enough to read, and that seems like too much to ask my loyal 5 followers to do.  It takes longer to format the blog the way I’m doing it now, but I’m happier with the results, and after all my  your happiness is what it’s all about.)

Twinkle, Twinkle, Great Big STARR

January 11, 2012

I’m always interested in the connections that people seek out.  It’s like when you visit a new place, and you meet someone new, and you ask each other where you are from, and pretty soon you’ve found a connection, even by the thinnest of margins.  I’ve heard people say that they’d been through a certain town, and someone else say that somebody in their family knew someone, once, who passed through that very same town, and that slight connection is all we need to feel *connected*.

I’m also interested in people that find a connection to something I write in this blog.  Because, boy, do I write about some random stuff.  I find it funny that most of my new commenters have an interest in Sugar’s family and ancestors.  And I wouldn’t have met the Sugar at all if I hadn’t moved to SC about 11 years ago with my family, and subsequently divorced the Satan, and got an additional job working at a boarding kennel, and later Sugar’s daughter went to work there, and eventually begged  asked me to meet her father.  Connections, they are everywhere.

One of Sugar’s ancestors is/was a certain William Starr Basinger.  He wrote a book later in life about his personal reminiscences.  I think he would have been a great blogger with jillions of followers.  He was in the Civil War, and wrote about his family before and during his life.

Sugar says that the original handwritten reminiscences are at the University of Georgia in Athens.  Someone transcribed them into book form.  It’s my understanding that a total of 6 books were distributed among family members.  Guess which book collector has a copy that was handed down?

Yup.  Sugar.

I’ve tried to wrest it from his hands before.  People have wanted to reprint it, certainly with great compensation in mind, but William Starr Basinger’s family said no.  It was written for the family and not to be reproduced for commercial interests.  Not that I would EVER think of something like selfish gain on my part (except for that one time in 2009).

There’s a certain commenter (big shout-out here to Sugar’s cousin Deb) who is interested in the book, being a bona-fide cousin and all, and she asked by email if we would check the book for some mention of her ancestor.  One word to Sugar, and he whipped out 6 copied pages with references to her William Starr, not to be confused with William Starr Basinger.  One word from a  cousin, people.  That’s all it took.

So I scanned and emailed them.  Random act of genealogy kindness.  Apparently that was not enough for Sugar, because he appeared with 36 more pages.  The man is killin’ me.

So I’ve scanned the newest 36 pages, but I just can’t sit up all night and email them, when it occurred to me to post them here on the blog, but either way, it’s going to take a long time.

Here’s the first 6…

I now demand instant STARR status.


Alice The Cat Makes a Resolution

January 9, 2012

Alice: "Hmm. So what Rawls was really saying here in his groundbreaking 'A Theory of Justice' was that cats should have unlimited access to books, cellphones, and wool yarn."

Alice the cat has resolved to read more in 2012.

Alice: "But first we need to understand the state of political theory prior to Rawls's work."

Couldn’t she have started with something easier to read than “Rawls:  A Theory of Justice and its Critics”?  Like Cat in the Hat?

Alice: "Really, it's quite simple. Rawls advocates liberal servings of canned cat food. Every day."

It’s going to be a long year.

The Christmas Puppy

January 7, 2012

The holidays are hard for lots of folks.  I’m glad the holiday season is over.  I get so stuck in the mud that I never get the Christmas cards out until after Christmas, if then.  I haven’t had a tree since I moved into the RV Palace and Cat Hoarding Facility.  Cat, RVs, and Christmas trees – never a good combo.  But mostly I’m just over Christmas.

I wonder if any local folks read this blog.  I try to be careful and not announce anything too opinionated or degrading, just in case the locals read this stuff.  There’s some annoying crap happening in this town, which you can read in the online newspaper, and a lot of people are trying to push their agendas down your throat.

So I just toddle around and take pictures of porta-cockers and gravestones and cats.  It passes the time, keeps my mental health number lower than it could be, and most of the time, makes for a satisfying life.  I don’t have to get all wrapped up in what to cook for supper, is the laundry done, and how to keep that marriage partner happy and satisfied.  Ain’t happenin’.

This life is not how I thought I’d live my life.  But this life is the one I have, so I have to make the best of it, and really, it’s a pretty good life.  I’ve learned to be stronger, and not to worry about what people think about me, even though sometimes I do.  The internet has helped, for it keeps me connected with people and events, and I can see that I’m not the only one living an unusual life.


Last week, a young single mother called the vet’s office where I work.  I answered the call, and she described that her puppy was very sick.  Usually with puppies, we worry about intestinal parasites and parvo, which I’ve written about before.  I described some symptoms of both, and she said that the puppy had none of those problems.  She also said that she didn’t have very much money, and asked how much the office visit could cost.

A general office visit is $42 which might as well be $420 for some folks, because we live in one of the poorest counties in South Carolina.  I told her that if medicines and/or treatments were required for the puppy, I couldn’t estimate how much that could cost, because I didn’t know what was wrong with the puppy, but it sounded like this pup was going to need more than $42 worth of care.

So she brought the puppy in, along with her two little girls.  One looked to be three-ish, but small enough to be carried on the woman’s hip, and the older girl was perhaps 8 or 9.  The puppy was wrapped in a fleecy warm blanket, and lay deathly quiet.  It was alarming.  The pup was wrapped up like a burrito, and did. not. move.

I showed them into the exam room, and the vet entered to do the exam.  I left the room to go back to my work station at the reception area, for it was the last working day of the year, and my co-worker was taking vacation time that day that would otherwise expire.

Shortly thereafter, I heard loud wailing and crying in three-part harmony from the exam room.  I went to the door of the exam room, and it was a scene from a movie.  The woman, with baby on her left hip, was hugging the older child, and all three were sobbing, and the vet was standing there holding the puppy, still wrapped up like a burrito.  When I asked what was going on, the vet said that the owner just got bad news, that the puppy had strangles, and they would need to euthanize.

I looked at the sobbing trio, and in particular the older child, who was insisting on taking the puppy home to die.  She refused to leave the puppy there, and then the mother had to pull out some tough-love, and demand that the child listen to her, and that they were going to leave the puppy there.  The smaller child wailed along with the other two.  It was horrible to see and hear.

I asked the vet what could be done, and he said she was a single mother and couldn’t afford treatment, plus then the puppy would need vaccinations, and this was the best course of action.

Best?  For whom?  Is this what Jesus would do?

I asked if the puppy needed heroic efforts to save it, and he said no, just antibiotics and steroids and fluids.  I said that I had cephalexin and fluids, but I would need steroids, and I took the puppy, and told the poor sobbing family that I would try to get her better (although I had no idea what “strangles” was), and I asked the older child her name.  She hiccupped out, “Eh-eh-emily”, and I told her to stop crying because it just wasn’t helping and all she was doing was giving herself a headache, and scaring the puppy and the little sister.

Long story longer, I took the puppy to the grooming salon to stay and be treated, because, really, how can you let a Christmas puppy be killed?  Seems wrong somehow.

And if Christmas is just going to be about giving presents made of plastic crap from China, then that seems wrong somehow, too.

Just ask Sophie.  Or just watch her video.