Denny and Charlie (and the rest)
It started with OnePug...

My Little Munchkin-Face!

Monday, 10 December 2012 19:47 by robbi

Denny Towers has been a flurry of activity lately…there is so much to do and time keeps persistently ticking by…

Following Stewie’s birthday, we had a lovely Thanksgiving with all of the kidders enjoying a bit of turkey (but no other dishes were deemed appropriate for the furkids, so no stuffing or green bean casserole!)

And then as the end of the month rolled around, it was time to celebrate our sweet kitty Munchkin’s birthday.  She doesn’t get mentioned much on these pages, mainly because she’s not a pug, but she is the senior member of the household.  I had honestly only a rough estimate of her age but when I pulled out her vet records to see the date of her first vet visit, I realized that this year marks her 16th birthday! 


For those of you not familiar with Munchkin’s story, this sweet little girl ended up under my front porch one freezing January morning in North Carolina.  Our house was covered in ice and the freezing wind was whipping around.  When my brother headed out to his car to go to work, he heard a pitiful mewing coming from under the porch.  He stopped and found Munchkin cowering under the deck, trying to hide from the elements.  He scooped her up and brought her inside and gave her to me.  As he went off to work I wondered what to do with her.  She was so tiny – could not have been more than 6 weeks old if that.  A look around outside found no other kittens or a mother.  Had she been left behind? Did her mother intentionally leave her?  We’ll never know.  But given Munchkin’s diminutive build, we have always believed her to be the “runt” of the litter.  Probably left behind on purpose given her poor chance of survival if left out in the elements.   As I already had a cat, Tigger, I was hesitant to keep her.  I called her Munchkin because of her diminutive size, thinking whoever she ended up with would probably change it.  But, as everyone around me predicted, I never gave her up and she became a permanent member of our household.

I often wonder what happened to her littermates.  Are any of them still alive? Did any of them ever leave NC?  It’s doubtful any of them have had the globe-trotting adventures that Munchkin has.  She’s lived all up and down the SE US. When I was doing my nurse contracting work, I used to pack her and Tigger up in carriers and put them in the backseat while I drove to our new home in whatever state we were going to live in for the next few months.  She would settle in and sleep the whole drive, never complaining.  When I moved to England, she preceded me and flew into London, her first time on a plane.  She lived happily in the UK, scaring me by climbing out of 2nd story windows and into trees.  (She also went missing in the UK but thanks to a microchip ended up back with us – but that’s another story.)  When we moved back to the US she was ferried on the Queen Mary II in kennels that have housed the pets of royalty and celebrities.  Upon arrival in the US, we drove cross-country to TX, stopping to stay in strange and not-so-nice motels along the way.  And once here she saw countless dogs come stay with us; some as fosters and some as new family members. 

Who invited the dog?

And through it all she has remained a sweet, even-tempered girl who adapts and learns to live with whatever changes she has to deal with.  She has been my rock, with me through thick and thin.  I owe her so much. 


She had a trip to the vet for a senior check-up this past week.  Everyone, including the vet, kept commenting that she looked remarkably well for 16.  To me, she still looks like a kitten.  And thankfully she has remained lively and active.  Occasionally I’ll see her bat around a toy when she thinks nobody is looking, which makes me smile.  On this trip we found that she had lost a bit of weight.  Blood tests showed she has developed an overactive thyroid, a common condition in senior cats.  We will be starting her on a new medication to correct the imbalance.  All the other tests showed she remains in overall good health.  I’m relieved.  She is my rock.  She has been my constant companion for 16 years and I cannot imagine life without her.  Here’s hoping I don’t have to for many years yet.

Claiming my laptop case

I love you Munch!

Stewie Turns 3!!!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012 22:51 by robbi

Incredibly, against all odds, that boy has managed to survive to see his 3rd birthday!  Amazing!

Stewie April 2010

Firstly, the little guy has a really bad habit of eating absolutely anything.  And I mean anything!  The amount of times I have had to pry open his jaws and do a finger sweep… (ah, the thing we “parents” do for our babies)  He has a particular fondness for cardboard and wood, but he’s not all that fussy.  Although he has developed a real penchant for footwear, as demonstrated by his obsession with Granddad’s slippers.


Secondly, Stewie has turned out to be slightly more sensitive than we realized.  He’s actually had a couple of instances where he has had severe allergic reactions to certain things, necessitating trips to the emergency vet and multiple doses of Benadryl.

Stewpot Swollen

But through it all, this little guy has demonstrated the most incredible personality.  He’s a lover, a sweetie who just wants to cuddle.  He’s extremely eager to please (and strangely the least food-motivated pug I’ve ever met!) He’s smart – he can figure out things for himself, and he’s got a fantastic memory.  He can be a bit of a loner, hanging out by himself in a corner of the room but when he wants to cuddle he is in there with the best of them.

Stewie N Samantha

He’s a cutie who has definitely grown on me – I was the one who was dead set against a puppy when he came into our house.  But he won me over and by the time he had to go for his neuter surgery to get him ready for placement through PugHearts I knew I couldn’t let him go.

Stewie's first Christmas 2010

So here’s to my sweet little StewPot.  Thank you for sharing the last 2 1/2 years with us and here’s to many, many more!

Stewies 3rd birthday 110312

Restricted Access

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 00:17 by robbi

It’s been a typically hot summer here in Houston. Probably not as bad as we’ve seen – last year we had a stretch of weeks with temperatures soaring into the 100’s. This year has been a bit more typical with average temps in the high 90s with the normal high humidity. Not nice, but normal for this area. And of course with the high temperatures we’ve seen the disturbing reports of idiots leaving kids and pets in their cars. Far too many deaths due to stupidity.

Closer to home, our local rescue was notified that one of our dogs adopted out here in Houston had suffered a heat stroke by being left outside all day. She was a young, healthy pug.

It scares us. It doesn’t take long for anyone to get overheated in these conditions. Add to that a fur coat and a tiny little smushy face, and you’ve got a recipe for a tragedy. Throw in the fact that Denny isn’t as mobile as he used to be and cannot climb through the doggie door anymore and also the fact that Maggie is too stubborn/ignorant to realize she’s getting overheated and you can see why we worry about our guys. We usually leave the back door open so that the furkids can get in & out through the doggie door as they need to. But this year we’ve repeatedly closed the door to prevent them from going out unsupervised. If we’re home but upstairs we’ll close the door. It’s just that little extra precaution that makes me feel a bit better.

I love these guys, but they are dogs after all – not humans. They are not able to think as logically as a human and therefore don’t always make the best judgment calls. Anyone who says “instinct” will guide them to keep safe has obviously never heard about the sheep that plunge over a cliff just because they were following the sheep in front of them. These guys need us to use our good sense to make sure they are safe. It’s no different than a baby needing an adult to decide what’s best for them.

Charlie on his raft

Plus of course there’s the fact that if given half a chance Charlie will go unsupervised into the pool and then drip pool water all over our new wood floors….

August Updates

Monday, 20 August 2012 19:11 by robbi

My sincerest apologies, I had written this post a couple of weeks ago but was not able to upload it due to some Word/LiveWriter incompatibility issues.

Miss Maggie wasn’t feeling too well so we took her to the Vet for a check-up. Seems she was suffering from a nasty UTI, so she was started on antibiotics. She has since finished them and seems to be back to her usual feisty self.

Munch has also been battling an ear infection, so there’s been the joy of attempting to get ear drops in a very clever senior kitty’s ear. My best chance is to distract her with a saucer of milk – but I have to be quick because she’s figured this out and if she sees the bottle of ear drops she’s out the door before I can grab her. I will be very glad when her ears are clear!

Denny. Ah, Denny. Well he’s pretty much the same. He has good days and bad days. Weather permitting, we still take him out for walks but they are short ones. He tires easily and when he’s tired he stumbles. The back brace wasn’t quite the miracle we were hoping for. To be fair, we haven’t used it as directed. Firstly, the inventor came up with it as a corrective device for animals with traumatic injuries. The idea behind it was that it be worn nearly continuously after an injury until the dog healed. As Denny’s condition is chronic, things are a bit different.

The brace itself is extremely restrictive. It’s difficult for Denny to lie comfortably in it and he cannot use the bathroom in it. It’s fine if he’s standing, but Denny doesn’t stand around much. So we put it on him and he lays like a blob in his bed until we take him outside. Then the brace has to come off for Denny to do his business. Then he comes back in and he’s too hot to have it put on right away. So we wait until he cools down and then put it on him for a while. As it goes tightly around his belly, it has to come off when he eats. And so it goes.

When he does wear it for any amount of time, he seems to be in pain. While the nurse in me knows that is not necessarily a bad thing, the mom in me hates to see him like that. So far, the mom in me has been winning this battle and we haven’t been keeping it on him very much.

But just yesterday, Richard had him in it for a few hours during the day. He took it off of him shortly before I came home to take him outside for a bit. He said it looked like he was hurting, so we left if off the rest of the night. Denny was stiff and looked unhappy most of the night. Then this morning, he walked over to the edge of the bed for me to pick him up with his tail wagging – something he hasn’t done in the past few weeks. Then I took him downstairs and sat him down by the back door while I turned the kitchen light on and opened the screen door. I looked down only to see him scamper outside unassisted.

And so I guess we’re back to putting him in it for at least a few hours every day. I promise that we’re going to be more methodical about using the brace and tracking his condition. I know there are a lot of people out there waiting to see if this thing works – the least we can do is give it a proper try.