Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

Life Goes On   5 comments

I finally saw Marcos’ headstone and I must say my reaction surprised me. He is the fifth pet I’ve buried at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, sixth if I count my brother’s dog, Duke. I found his grave immediately thanks to the pinwheel I’d left at the unmarked grave at Easter. Shiny and new, I could read the engraved words before I climbed the hill.


And I broke down and cried – real tears crying. I never cried at the cemetery with any of my other pets. Not even Fremont. Seeing Fremont carved in stone did stop me in my tracks, and have me uttering his name,  but not like this. I couldn’t even smile at the Handsome Hunk of Dog bit. Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I’ve loved all my cats dearly but I guess this just goes to show that dogs leave a different kind of hole in your life.

Meanwhile back at the House of Mars, life goes on. Summer has come.


So it was down with the storm door


And up with the screen door.


Which has made Marcel and Marceau happy campers

Speaking of the Brothers Mar, they gradually relinquished their claim on  Marcos’ beds



so I donated them (the beds, not The Brothers) to the  Putnam County Humane Society. Every once in a while Marceau does hang out on the futon, but his days are limited. Come Bulk Garbage Pick-up day in October it will be out in the street. That will be sad, but necessary since I’m in the process of restoring the room to its original status – guest room. But like the rooms at the Bed and Breakfast I stayed in recently, it will have a permanent title – The Marcos Room

As for The Marcos Room, I’ve discovered that taking down wallpaper is a journey.



As for me, yes life goes on. Followers will recall I took at nasty case of poison ivy with me to Key West last year. Well last week I took a case to St Thomas Virgin Islands,


a milder dose, but still annoying.

Oh well, some things just don’t change, do they?

The Amazing Adaptibility of Animals   3 comments

First of all thank you to everyone who expressed sympathy at the passing of Marcos. Here at The House of Mars, life goes on, as it should. I am undergoing the long process of un-adapting:

  • The first day without Marcos, I came out of the gym to discover it was beginning to rain. I found myself stepping up the pace, the thought I have to get home and let Marcos out before it gets worse, prompting me.  Then reality hit – No you don’t.
  • Saturday afternoon I was preparing my usual bagel and Muenster cheese lunch. As I removed the cheese from its wrapping, I readied myself for the clicking nails that would signal I had to cut a few extra slices for cheese-moocher Marcos. Reality check – just slice enough for yourself.  The Cat Brothers don’t know the pleasure of cheese (nor will I introduce them).

Marcel and Marceau, on the other hand are adapting to Marcos’ bedroom, and his bed on a bed.


Of course, animals cannot express whether it’s easy or hard to adapt to changing circumstances but it amazes me that somehow they do.  On this note we, the remaining Martians,  Marcel,  Marceau and I, V Margaret would like to give a shout out to some of our furry friends and “relatives “ who have adapted.

The Car Brothers’ cousins, Pinky and  Dudley

Pinky and Dudley’s original owner, unfortunately fell victim to Alzheimer’s disease and the considerable upkeep of this glamor gal and glamor guy became too much for the daughter who was caring for her.  Enter my sister-in-law and brother who adopted them. Not every cat gets ultimate adaptation, a living room to match their color scheme.





But alas Pinky and Dudley were not finished adapting. Enter


My niece noticed the bedraggled little kitten hanging out in front of their apartment building. Fellow residents were feeding her, but my niece felt she could do better, so after some first-rate persuasion of her mom and dad, Zelda became part of the family. And so Zelda adapted to being and indoor cat, and to sharing that indoors with Pinky and Dudley. So far, Pinky has adapted better than Dudley (or maybe it’s the other way around).



The Cat Brothers also have a cousin-in-law, once removed and that is ….


Noche lives with my sister-in-law’s sister and her family in a house that serves as the gathering place for various holidays. This means not only does the human presence multiply on these occasions, but often the canine, as well. Sometimes it’s three tiny designer dogs dashing through the house and getting into his favorite places. At other times, it’s a huge chocolate lab throwing his weight about, weight that amounts to about five times Noche’s. But Noche grins and bears it all, the ultimate host.



Then, there’s Charlie.

If you’ve ever watched a dog show you’ve heard of Working Breeds – big guys like St Bernards and Bernese mountain dogs. Charlie is not one of these.  Charlie is a working dog – a nine to fiver in the city, in Manhattan, to be precise, in Soho, to be pinpoint precise. Charlie accompanies my hairstylist Mario Diab to work each day and as soon as he enters the salon, he adapts from family pet to Office Manager.




I’m not just being cute here, Charlie really is the Office Manager.  If you don’t believe me, check out his web-page.

And last but not least, there’s Marcos best friend, Harley.

Harley  brightened Marcos life for his last six months. Harley lives across the street from The House of Mars and would bark and yap each morning when he heard Marcos and I set out on our morning walk; so much so that his owner would have to let him out. The door would open and Harley would leap and bound across the yard. Our walk would have to wait until I’d unleashed Marcos and they’d race about like pups.

I don’t see much of Harley but when I do, he’s adapting to a bomber jacket that matches one worn by his owner.



Meanwhile back home, Marcel and  Marceau branch out in their process of taking over, er adapting to the beds-on a bed.


Peace to all beings – furry and not.

The House of Mars Minus One Mar   6 comments

The population of The House of Mars has decreased by one. Marcos departed this world on February 7, leaving Marcel and Marceau,


and yours truly V. Margaret to return to life as it was before he came to live with us.

He had a brain tumor, or so his veterinarian said. I thought it was canine dementia but whatever it was, it left him disoriented and wandering around to get lost in corners.



If he was truly sixteen when I adopted him, he would be 21. (In case you missed that post, here it is.)

If he was 8 or 9, as the vet suggested at his first check-up, that would make him 13 or 14, which is more likely.

This afternoon he was buried at Hartsdale Pet Cemetery.



It wasn’t a new experience for me but it never gets easier. It does give me comfort, though, to know he joins all the pets who came before him.

The first to be buried there was Duke, also known as Dukie-Dog and The Duke. Dukie was actually my brother’s dog, and lived to the ripe old age of 14. My outstanding memory regarding living with The Duke is coming home from school and being greeted by “Shush, the dog is eating.” This meant having to stand statue-still until he finished. You see Dukie was an extremely finicky eater and if he was distracted, the meal was over. My mother wasn’t taking any chances.




O.B. Brat, the O.B. standing for Old Baby was also known as The Obadoodle and Badude. She was my first cat and shared my first apartment in Yonkers.  I adopted her from Bide-a-wee Pet Shelter in Manhattan; a six week old bundle of white who fit my hand. Even at that size, she had a hiss and growl befitting a Bengal tiger.

When I got her home she ran under the bed. That evening I coaxed her out and picked her up, intending to introduce her to her dish in the kitchen. I got all of two steps when she hissed and twisted out of my grip.   “Ooh, you’re such a brat,” I hissed back. Thus, the name.



I became so obsessed with my little Obadoodle that I actually almost stayed home on Friday nights lest she be alone. You notice I said almost. I didn’t but it ruined my fun, knowing she was home alone. What she needed was a friend to hang out with.

I went to the Yonkers Animal Shelter in search of a dainty female kitten and came home with a strapping six month old muscular male. I was passing a cage when a paw reached out and grabbed my sleeve. Imploring me from the cage were the most beautiful green eyes rivaled only by the beautiful black fur surrounding them, shinier than the black patent leather shoes I wore to church when I was so little.

Job E Cat, also known as Joby Cat, Jobinski, Binsk, and Joby Cat the Wonder Dog was a man‘s cat, as in a man’s man. He was rough and ready and loved to wrestle and play soccer, both taught to him by an old boyfriend from England. Soccer consisted of the Englishman soccer kicking a ball of aluminum foil with that odd ankle twist soccer player’s use, and Joby returning it with his own version of a soccer kick, which, now that I think of it, was probably more of a hockey stick move. Back and forth the foil ball would go with the two of them scrambling the entire length of the long living room – until I’d have to put an end to the game.  Dogs pant. Cats shouldn’t.

His full name was Job E Cat and that stems from the patience he showed upon meeting her, for she didn’t tone down her obnoxiousness in the least, even though he was twice her size.  She hissed and growled and left the room, then came back and hissed and growled some more.

I commented “He has the patience of Job.”

 The patience was short-lived however. When it wore off he tried to beat the you-know-what out of her whenever he could. My plan worked – Brat may have hated Joby but she was never lonely.

Joby loved everybody but Brat never let anyone near her …until one evening when I was getting ready to go out. My date had arrived and I went into my bedroom to get something or other and returned to find him leaning over a chair, talking to someone. This was a chair on which Brat had been sitting.
“What are you doing?” I asked, incredulously.

“Petting your cat.” He said. And there she was purring and craning her neck for more.

That was the best character recommendation anyone could give. I married that young man and we all  moved to California.

In California Brat abd Joby devised a sharing scheme – divvying up the rooms in the house and agreeing  to share the yard.

Brat lived to be 14 years, 3 months and Joby died the one year later.  He was one month shy of 15.

Do you think it was mean of me to sentence them to eternity togetherness?                     


Fremont, my California Cat, also known as Huge Biggie. What can I say about Fremont – my 23 pound guardian, the cat for whom I bought The House of Mars before it was The House of Mars? That would have to wait for Marcel and Marceau, the original Martians. But then you’ve read all about Fremont in earlier posts, and if you haven’t I invite you to. Fremont lived to be eleven

And I’ve also written about Niles, sweet gentle Niles. The black and white kitten who grew to be a slightly smaller version of Fremont, a gentler version of Fremont. Fremont recognized his gentleness and took it upon himself to watch over his little Niles. Niles survived life without Fremont for only a year. succumbing to the same cancer as Fremont.

Only the good die young.




And so Marcos joins the beloved crew. When his headstone is ready, it will say “Marcos, Handsome Hunk of Dog.  He was, don’t you think?


A Message in a Bottle for the First Owner of the 16 year old dog   6 comments

Writing to you is like setting a bottle afloat in the ocean since I have no idea who you are, where you are, or even if you are still alive. But if I could, I’d like to ask a few questions on this, the fifth anniversary of bringing Marcos into my life.

Was he really sixteen when you had to let him go? Or was it a misunderstanding between the Animal Control Staff and your neighbor who brought him to New York Animal Care and Control I can’t believe that the Wild Dog of Borneo who bounded out of the foster vet’s office, pulling the very buff vet tech behind him was a sixteen year old dog. That would make him 21 now. No way, Jose. That reminds me,

Are you Latino, Latina? I ask because early on when he used to walk me all over the neighborhood, we passed a group of men one evening and one called out in Spanish to another, and Marcos whipped his head around as if to say, “They’re talking my language.”

I say when he used to walk me because suddenly last April, he woke up one morning and decided I’m old. No more walking. He’s a sneaky critter, that Marcos, making like he’s sniffing the most interesting patch of pavement but what he’s really doing is turning around degree by degree, and before I know it, I’m heading one way and he’s going the other.

And when that doesn’t work, there’s this act he puts on. People we pass in the park say “Poor old guy, he can hardly walk.” But poor old guy knows the half way point on our circular route, and once we’re heading back in the direction of the car, he’s prancing more sprightly than any dog this side of the Westminster Kennel Show judging ring.

This, from the tireless dog who regularly walked me an hour and a half each morning and an hour each evening. In those days, I was known as that lady you see walking her dog all over the place.


And he’s put on a few pounds which brings me to my third question. I hope you don’t find me rude for asking but What happened? Were you too old to take care of him, too sick, too down on your luck. The Good Samaritan neighbor who relinquished him just said you were no longer able to care for him. At 46 lbs when I brought him home, one of my neighbors thought I’d adopted a grey hound.



It’s been a steady climb but

Marcos now tips the scale at 61 lbs

But them I’m also known at the veterinarian’s as the woman who overfeeds every pet she gets.


Marcos best friend and roommate, Marceau bears witness to this.


They weren’t always best friends. Back on day 1 when I introduced Marcos to his crate, formerly known as my spare bedroom,

and closed the gate behind me. I barely made it into the living room when he took the gate in one bounding leap and was in the dining room. He would have had Marceau in  his mouth had I not got there in time.

Back to the bedroom for Marcos

with the gate now resting on two phone books,


And up to the loft for Marceau who voluntarily exiled himself, for most of the next year whenever Marcos was free and about.


But one day, they just clicked and have been best buddies ever since with Marceau shadowing his every move.




And lastly, How did you train him so well. I never could have done it. I did try to train my first cat, O.B. Brat, many moons ago. Our training sessions went something like this.

“Brat, off the table.”

“Come on, please, I’m trying to eat.”

“Get your nose out of my plate.”

“Oh, never mind, I’ll eat in the living room.”

So you can imagine how impressed I was with Marcos’ manners- responding to SIT in an instant, sinking to DOWN with but a point of my hand. He doesn’t respond as well anymore. I thought it was because I stopped practicing commands with him but friends have pointed out that he may be going deaf since he never runs to greet them when they arrive anymore.

But I am most impressed by, to put it politely, his house hygiene. One of my reasons for not sharing my life with a dog had been the fact that I work all day, and didn’t think any dog could hold his business from 8:00 until after 6. So, I was prepared for accidents at first – but not one puddle  in nearly five  years. And there were a few times when, due to unavoidable circumstances, I was gone for eleven hours, and still  came home to bone dry floors.

I said for nearly five years because (and I’ll whisper this because he wouldn’t want you to know)

lately, I’ve had to put down papers.


But he knew what they for; God bless you, you paper-trained him too! Not that he uses it often, but I’d rather be safe than washing the floor. There is one problem though

 – the roommates


They think it’s their very own slip and slide.

And so, upon closing, I leave you with a couple of photos of Marcos as he is today.


Not every dog has a bed


As well as a bed on a bed.








Posted October 16, 2012 by virginiafair in Cats, dogs, Uncategorized

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