Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

pets, ghosts and memories

It started with an annual physical for the Tempest. She’s getting older – geriatric according to the vets, since she is older than 7 – but she’s really in good shape. She could stand to lose a pound (this has been a constant struggle for us since she was a year old – I should be happy that she needs to only lose a pound!) but other than the vet said she seemed to be in great shape.

Except for her teeth. I’m getting those cleaned next month.

I’ve known all along that I should be brushing her teeth. Teeth are important, and she actually isn’t too bad about letting me brush her teeth, I just rarely think to do it. That’s something I have to change, especially after she gets a full professional cleaning. Mostly because it is healthier for her. But also, if I can keep the teeth clean, that will save me money in the long run. Dentals are expensive!

The whole visit got me thinking, made me face, I suppose, that she’s not going to live forever. No, this is not news to me, I’ve lost many pets over the years, and it is the kind of thing you know as soon as you adopt. Your time with them is limited. It is just the way it is, but mostly I am able to focus on the moment, enjoy them here and now, and not grieve for them before it is time.

But last night and this morning, those future-dreading thoughts were pretty close to the surface. This morning driving to work, I heard the Indigo Girls “Ozziline,” which brought back so much grief from all those I’ve lost.


I had to put the dog down
Before I hit the road
Yeah I watched that sweet old life
Become a bag of bones
So when you’re body’s broken
And your heart wants to give in
And you hear that hoot owl callin’
Just like she was a friend

And then girl least likely to posted about her Kody, who she lost 8 years ago yesterday.

It apparently is a time to remember those we’ve lost, a time to appreciate those we still have, and a good reminder to brush my cat’s teeth.

Sort of spooky, given all the loss I have had on my mind, that I took such a ghostlike picture of a very-much-alive Tempest today.

the tempest ghost
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5 responses to “pets, ghosts and memories

  1. Mary Martin February 16, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I’ve had Emme’s teeth done, to the tune of $400. Then my homeopath started doing them. She doesn’t even charge for it. It’s part of my $65 visit. She goes right in there and chips off anything that needs to be removed. FYI: For your readers–There’s a company that travels around to do dentals without anesthesia. It’s less expensive and takes 30 minutes and your pet walks right out. http://www.petdentalservices.com/

    I think they’re in only CA and FL for now, but maybe I’m wrong. AND maybe there are other services like theirs in the states between FL and CA.

    I was going to use them until my homeopath taught me how to do the dogs’ teeth myself with simple dental tools.

    Gross, but true.

    Saves me a load of cash.

  2. Susmitha February 16, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    That’s a beautiful, haunting picture.
    The intent way in which those eyes stare really add to the effect.
    Maybe that ghostly picture of someone who’s alive means that they’re gonna escape death for a longer time…

  3. Deb February 16, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    @ Mary – that’s the likely expense for tempest as well, assuming no extractions needed. Her teeth are fairly caked with tartar at this point. I will look into the no-anesthesia option, but I think only after we have a clean start. I found this blog post, which brings up some interesting points: http://petmythbusters.blogspot.com/2007/10/no-anesthesia-teeth-cleaning-myth.html

    What I’m hoping is that once her teeth are clean, if I brush her teeth every day, that her teeth will stay clean and we can avoid needing another full dental. The general anesthesia gets more dangerous as they get older, also.

    @ Susmitha – thanks! I hope you’re right, that she’ll escape death a longer time. Gorgeous stuff at your etsy shop, by the way!

  4. Mary Martin February 17, 2008 at 10:40 am

    I have heard both sides, and my traditional vet, whom I trust as he is very unconventional for a non-homeopath, swears by the California folks, but not for every animal, and certainly not for cases with severe gingivitis or where extractions are necessary. Also, if the disposition isn’t amenable, such as with Emme and many cats, they won’t recommend the no-anesthesia approach.

    I think you’ve got the right idea: yet a full dental once, then do everything possible to not need another one.

  5. Deb February 17, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Yeah, I think Tempest would actually be a good candidate for the no anesthesia approach based on the way she acts at the vet and the way she lets me cut her toenails, but more for the maintenance types of dental attention.

    I think I need to find a vet who is more open to alternatives. I think the vets at the office I go to now are competent but I always feel like they’re encouraging expensive procedures that might not be necessary. Though I did expect Tempest to need a dental this time around.

    I’ll keep looking and asking around to see what other options there are in this area!

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