The Tansy Scoop part 1

Wow. The last time Tansy got a dedicated post was December! That’s just not cool! Of course, as a result, I have a metric ton of things to write down. This one could be a multi-parter.

Tansy has entered a time period I affectionately nicknamed “the year of the complex.” She has worked with me for five years and she is seven years old. That’s how old Trixie was, and the number of guiding years she had under her belt, when she told me that work wasn’t her thing anymore. So, I’m probably going to be a little, no, a lot jumpy as we go past all the landmark spots, even though the logical part of me knows every dog is different. Come on, Tans, shatter my complex!

On the veterinary side, she’s been pretty healthy, but in April, I found her first old labby lump. It was really small but I found it. I think the vets must have thought I was silly because when I showed it to them, I said “I think it’s fat because I can wiggle and jiggle and twiddle it! They confirmed my suspicions and we moved on, but eeek, she’s officially getting older! She may not have much visible grey, but she has a visible lumpy! She also had a wee cyst on her ear a few months ago that the vet popped, and another wee tiny lump that disappeared on its own. Her weight is going up and down like a yo yo. They even checked her for worms, and of course there weren’t any, but we’re confused. At this second it’s back up and I’m working on getting it down. The vet at GDB said to watch her weight closely, I guess he was right.

She also lost some hair on her paws during the winter, just like she did in 2016. The weirdest part is she was wearing all Pawz boots, so it can’t be the fault of the other ones. The vets just think it was as a result of friction from the boots, and we’re not worried for now.

And a couple of weeks ago, she developed a raging bladder infection, and because it was a stat holiday, I had to take her to the emergency vet to get it looked at. Yup, they confirmed she had a bladder infection and she came home with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, the kind they gave to Trix after her dead tail episode. Tansy approves of them just as much as Trix did. I don’t know where the infection came from, but boy did it attack quickly. the night before it was in full swing, she bugged me to go pee a little more urgently than normal, but it was hot as hell at the time so I thought she just tanked up on water. Then in the morning, she was whining when we woke up, but I thought maybe she was just hungry. Then things got weird as she started asking for more and more trips outside, hurrying out there like she was going to burst, panting like mad. But we’ve started antibiotics and those lovely pain meds, so she’s much more content now. And the fee didn’t crush my bank account, so I’m all good too.

In all my years of having guide dogs, and dogs in general, I have never been to an emergency vet clinic before. What a heartbreaking experience. When I first arrived, for some reason I expected it to be a little busier, or maybe a more confined space, I don’t know why. When I walked inside, it felt like walking into a great barren room. I couldn’t even tell where the front counter was. Then we sat and waited, and while we did, we saw lots of people come in worried and leave crying! I had always heard that emergency clinics felt kind of scary because they are very focused on making sure they get paid, and I experienced that. When I called, they said they couldn’t tell me whether I should wait or come in, but here are the fees, and we don’t take American Express or cheque. They don’t take cheque? Wow! Then when I got there, they had me come up to the desk and got all my information, and then it was time to wait. I realized that it was kind of like the human ER. They do some basic triage, and then you wait and wait. I kept wondering when we were going to take her outside and get a urine sample, because they said without the urine, they couldn’t do anything. After finding out that it would be pretty hard for me to get it, they agreed to help me when I phoned in, but no one was offering to help when I got there, probably because they were doing all the triage stuff. My friend who drove me was awesome and got the sample collected so they could work on it while I waited. It didn’t seem busy, but I think a lot was going on behind the scenes, and judging by the crying people, a lot of it was not good news.

I should clarify that they were all very nice to me, but it was just a very different atmosphere than I was used to. Thankfully, the antibiotics and pain meds seemed to have fixed her up, and yesterday my regular vet place said that her urine looked clean, although they said the pH of her urine was a bit basic, I’m not sure how basic and what that will mean. I guess we’ll figure that out soon. Let’s hope I don’t have to go to an emergency vet anytime soon.

She had her followup in May, and things went well. Since I was worried about her asking for treats after every little thing, plus a few incidents where it felt like she didn’t want to show any initiative, and there are a few hairy routes around here that I could use some help on, an instructor came to see me. She gave me some tricks to help Tansy realize that I’m not a human treat dispenser. She thought Tansy was just using her pattern-recognition skills to expect treats a little too often. Over all, she said we looked like a well-seasoned team and she was impressed with how quick Tansy picked up on things. Yup, she’s still a ninja. We’ve done that route a couple of times since, and she loves doing it. It’s fun to watch her get so excited. She also told me something about duck as a protein. She said it was known as a cooling protein. The way she explained it was different than that website, but she said it was helpful in calming allergies and would help reduce inflammation. Uh, cool, I guess.

Like I said, I had experienced a few incidents where Tansy didn’t want to show any initiative in getting around people and things, and that scared me. We would be in the mall and there would be a crowd of people but some space around the edges. Instead of seeking the space, she would just stand behind the people, waiting for them to move. A couple of times we were crossing a street and a car appeared and she would just stand near it, daring it to move. And one day, she seemed hesitant to get on an escalator, and that one scared me because speed is key with escalators. But the no initiative has gotten much better, so I’m going to assume she was tired and going on autopilot a little too much. As for the escalator, it’s a mystery for now. So far, so good.

Something else she was doing in the winter was when it was time to leave the house to go somewhere, she would squish herself against the couch and go super quiet as if she was hiding from me. That one scared me too because I wasn’t sure if she was less keen to go. But I think she was just less keen on winter. I can agree with her on this one.

But she is getting older. Like Trix did near the end, she has started to want to lie down when we ride the bus more. That scares me because I don’t think it was long after Trix started lying down that her career was over. But Shmans has always been one to conserve energy whenever she could, so I’m not super worried yet. She also sleeps more deeply at work now, so much so that she dreams more.

I really feel like things have gone full circle. Remember when Tansy was new and she would search the house for Trixie? I felt like I got a very small bit of that the day Trix passed away. When I came home after saying my final goodbyes to Trixie, Tansy would not stop sniffing me. I think she knew something was up, but I wish I knew what she knew. She gave me a very thorough inspection, it seemed even more thorough than the one that I get if I’ve been without her and seen a familiar person or dog, but I’m not sure if I was projecting my own thoughts on her. But when we went to Brad’s house a few months later, she didn’t do nearly as much investigation as I would have predicted since I thought she would be expecting Trix to be there.

In a final bit of sad news, I found out that last month, Sasha, the dog from Tansy’s puppyhood that I got to meet, finally passed away. She was 18 and I think her quality of life had diminished so much that it was her time. It’s still sad, and would be sad no matter how long she lived.

And I think I will break the post here. I have another post full of things, but this one is long enough.

Korean Fusion BBQ

Gill is back with a restaurant recommendation.

I went downtown today for something different to do. My friend Natasha and I were searching for a good lunch spot, and we found just that. Bul-Gogi looks and smells like a traditional BBQ place, but once you step inside it dares you to dive in to its warm atmosphere. The food there is described as Korean Fusion BBQ, which in regular terms is Korean Japanese food.

What You Get

It’s always best to order the bento box. This is a variety pack of things such as tempura vegetables, rice, salad, a spring roll, and your choice of meat. Not really being much for meats but wanting something both filling and long on flavor, I chose the sweet and spicy fried chicken. Unlike some restaurants, this one had the perfect balance between the sweet and the spicy. The tempura definitely tasted a lot like more, and the rice wasn’t too bland or salty.

Conclusion

I would definitely recommend this restaurant not just for the food, but also the price. You get a whole lot of delicious for $10.

Fancy New Supermarket

The new Supermarket near our house has an automatic water mister to keep the produce fresh. Just before it turns on, you hear the sound of distant thunder and smell freshly fallen rain.

When you approach the milk cases, you hear cows mooing and smell the scent of fresh hay.

When you approach the egg case, you hear hens clucking and the air is filled with the pleasing aroma of bacon and eggs frying.

The veggie department features the smell of fresh buttered corn.

I don’t buy toilet paper there anymore.

The Perfect Shot

A guy is standing over his tee shot, looking up, looking down, measuring the distance, figuring the wind direction and speed…

“What’s taking so long,” his partner finally asks.

“My wife is on the clubhouse porch, so I want to make a perfect shot.”

“Forget it,” replies the partner. “You’ll never hit her from here.”

It’s One, Two Hit-And-Runs And You’re Out AT The Old Ball Game

We live in a world where not everything is just and not everyone gets justice. But many times there is justice, even if sometimes that justice takes half a century and is kind of cold-hearted and weird.

In 1968, Douglas Parkhurst killed 4-year-old Carolee Ashby in a hit-and-run, or at least he’s pretty sure he did. He was drunk at the time, he said in a confession he wrote once he knew he could no longer be prosecuted for it.

Now, 50 years later, this has happened.

A Vietnam War veteran who confessed five years ago to killing a 4-year-old girl in a 1968 hit-and-run was trying to protect children when a woman drove her car onto a little league baseball field in Maine during a game, striking and killing him. Screaming bystanders and ballplayers fled as Carol Sharrow, of Sanford, drove through an open gate onto the field Friday night, police said.
Video shows the car driving around the infield, turning over home plate and then heading toward the stands behind third base.
Douglas Parkhurst, of West Newfield, was near the park’s main gate before he was hit and Sharrow sped away, police said. Parkhurst, who a coach said was the grandfather of one of the players, died on the way to the hospital. No one else was hurt.

The woman, whose name I will point out is only a couple of E’s away from making this even stranger, has been convicted twice in the past for drunk driving. Police wouldn’t confirm whether she was in similar condition at the time of the incident, but it seems hard to blame anyone who would be inclined to think so.

It’s A Neighbour Thing


Hello again, Gill.

This time she comes bearing bad neighbour stories and wondering about our own.

For us, that’s easy. There are these ones and these ones and these ones and these ones and these ones and these ones and these ones and these ones and probably a few I’m forgetting. Yes, we’ve had good neighbours too, but a good neighbour is a neighbour you don’t often have to write about. To paraphrase myself in one of these old posts, a good neighbour is one that’s either friendly or stays out of the way.


Fortunately, I grew up in a neighborhood filled with wonderful people who were more than happy to lend a helping hand. Whether driving my sister to skating lessons, bringing a casserole to a bereaved person down the way or gathering at someone’s home to welcome a new baby, my neighborhood took care of and cared for its own like family. Depending on when and where you grew up you might have had a similar experience to mine, but here’s hoping you didn’t have one of these neighbors.

  1. Redneck dreamin – A British lotto winner barely out of his teens moved in to an upscale neighborhood and quickly made enemies. He created a crash derby park where at any given time day or night he’d have people over to race cars.
  2. Disgracefully hateful – Last year I wrote about a Missisauga Ontario Canada woman screaming for a white doctor to treat her son’s chest pains, but it turns out there’s a touch more racist venom to this story. Living in a racially diverse city like she did, you would think that she would have enough brains to keep her hate at the doorstep. No, no such luck, local law enforcement was called after she was heard hurling racist abuse at a black neighbor.
  3. Dear neighbor – Apparently another Canadian in the Toronto area didn’t get the memo about inclusion. A woman with an autistic son received a disgusting note telling her to move away or have her son euthanized. The letter also contained a lot of other vile, hateful stuff that hurts my heart to even think about.

Question

What are your best and worst neighbor stories?

Keeping An Eye On Things

Gill has a quick update on last month’s hospital saga.

Hey there friends! You know how I told you of my harrowing experience in the hospital last month? It appears I must go under the knife in September. The doctor said he didn’t like the fact that the lump from the infection is still there, however he told me he would remove it when he goes in to unblock the tear duct. After the procedure I will have dissolving stitches that will disappear in a week or so and I will look like I’ve been in a fight, but it’s going to be worth it. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.

Question

What’s the most interesting surgical procedure you’ve either had or heard of?

When Fun Went Wrong

Gill is back to wish us all a happy amusement park season. If you’re heading out to enjoy some fun over the next few months, hopefully you don’t wind up suffering the same fate as any of these poor folks. We need readers. We also care about your safety. Yes, we most definitely care about your safety. Over and above anything else, to be sure. There. You can stop punching me now, Carin.


For much of the world’s population summer’s here, and often that can only mean one thing. Time to go for thrills and chills at the amusement or water park. Most days spent there are fun with little more to show than sunburns, family and friend memories made, and even the occasional vomit off a high speed ride. Sadly, some of these trips end in ambulance rides or fatalities.

  1. Take Her to the lightning – At a Massachusetts amusement park called Revere Beach a ride called the Lightning got a reputation as a quick abortion device in the 1920’s. This predated safety standards, and many a fun day an unwanted pregnancy was ended here with its many bumps and jars.

    Note from Steve: It was part of a group of rides known as the Giant Cyclone Safety Coasters, a name it kept even after taking its first victim by day two.

  2. Banned after 1930 – On July 24 1930 a ride called The big Dipper crashed killing four and injuring seventeen. After the accident, the Omaha city council banned wooden roller coasters from the city, a ban which stands to this day.
  3. Curse of the big dipper – We hop across the pond and jump ahead four decades to West London England. Some of our older British readers may even remember Battersea Park, opened 1951 closed 1974. On what was supposed to be a day of fun and frolic in May 1972, a ride also known as the Big Dipper carrying dozens of children lost control and slammed into another section of train, killing five and injuring many more.
  4. Three Dead In Edmonton – In the mid 1980’s, at one of the most amazing malls in the world, the mindbender, which had been declared safe just one day earlier, jumped the tracks in front of a horrified concert crowd. Three lives were lost, and many more changed.
  5. Traction park and grave pool- From 1978-1998, Vernon, New Jersey’s Action Park got a reputation for fatalities, broken bones, and lawsuits. Action Park saw three drownings in what would come to be known as The Grave Pool, one electrocution, and two deadly events involving the slides. The employees were often drunk, high, or otherwise unqualified.

My Experience

I was born with a congenital heart condition, but on a sunny day in 1991 that did not seem to phase me. My sister, who belonged to a local figure skating club, was gifted tickets to an amusement park called Canada’s Wonderland. Opened in 1981, it boasts water slides, roller coasters, and loads of other fun stuff. My sister and I each brought friends from the neighborhood, and since my dad had to work that day my mom was running the show. My friend and I rode several rides, and were having great fun. She suggested we go on this one ride called Saloco. It looked alright from what I could see, just several cars going around a track. I was so very wrong. It started going up. No problem yet. But then it got to maximum height and started turning on its side. Needless to say, when I got off I was white as a ghost, shaking, and feeling pain in my chest. Now, for the most part, my amusement park experience involves holding people’s stuff and a whole lot of walking.

Thought

In researching this article I have come to the conclusion that although safety standards have improved and people seem to have a better understanding of hiring practices, one must always follow something my mom says. “If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.”

Question

What’s your scariest water slide, amusement park, or carnival experience?

Is Your Wife Ok?

A man and a woman were having a quiet, romantic dinner in a fine restaurant. They were gazing lovingly at each other and holding hands.

A waitress, taking another order at a table a few steps away, suddenly noticed the woman slowly sliding down her chair, under the table and under the table cloth while the man stared straight ahead. She watched as the woman slid totally out of sight and still, the man stared straight ahead.

Thinking this behavior a bit risque and worried that it might offend other diners, the waitress walked over to the table.

“Pardon me sir,” she said, “but is everything ok? I think your wife just slid under the table.”

“No,” replied the man calmly. “She actually just walked in.”

Put The Money In The Bag. Sure, But Put Your License Through The Machine

Photo of David Menser
David Menser, one of the smarter dumber people you’ll see today.

This is normally where I’d call David Menser an imbecile, but honestly, he might just be an average guy. Why? Because on the one hand he was smart enough to remove the dye pack from the stack of money he got from the bank teller he was robbing, but on the other, that ended up being the same teller who got him to hand over his driver’s license when he demanded even more cash a few seconds later. Those two events cancel each other out and prevent him from leaning too far in either direction, I think. Pretty sure that’s math or physics or something.

During a robbery on June 4 at the Huntington Bank on 1880 Hilliard Rome Road, the Sheriff’s Office says Menser was tricked into giving the teller his drivers’ license.
According to court documents, Menser approached the counter and presented a demand note for money that said, “I have a gun.” The teller gave Menser money and a dye pack. Menser took the money and put the dye pack back on the counter. 
Documents say Menser then told the teller he wanted more money. The teller told him a driver’s license was required to use the machine to get our more cash. Menser reportedly then gave the teller his license to swipe through the machine and then the bank with the additional cash.

Those typos aren’t mine, by the way. They belong to real news people who should be ashamed of themselves.

Anywho, Menser was arrested, and is now a suspect in three other area bank robberies. That, I argue, proves my earlier theory about him possibly not being a total maroon. He does seem like the go big or go home type, though.