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Kristiina began her college career in 2008 as an English major at Sierra College, with the hopes of becoming a writer. Shortly after Kristiina received her associate’s in English, her cat became injured and she realized her love for caring for animals. Kristiina decided to make the unnerving decision to change her educational plans and join the veterinary technology program at Yuba College.
Kris’ Korner January 2019
“New year, new you”, repeats over and over in my head as mom hums and buzzes around the house. “New year, new you” has become mom’s new mantra and she will not let us forget it. On January 2nd mom announced that the entire family was going to start eating healthier as a New Year’s resolution and let me tell you, she is not letting up this time. Oh by the way, I, the loving family canine, am also included in this resolution.
I’m a happy five year old chocolate lab and I have been with my family for as long as I can remember and the routine has never changed, until now. Food has always been my favorite part of the day. Mom says we have to cut back on my treats because my weight has been steadily increasing over the last few vet visits. “Everything in moderation, Bruno”, she says to me when she gives me my one and only treat of the day.
Previously, my food bowl was filled to the brim with kibble and left out so that I could eat whenever I wanted. Now mom fills my bowl about a quarter of the way 3 times a day and if I don’t eat within 30 minutes, she takes it away! It took me a few days to figure this out, but now when mom puts the food bowl down, I make sure to eat it right away.
Mom also changed the type of food I eat as well. She slowly started mixing the new food in with my old food, trying to fool me, but I knew better! It was like sprinkling vegetables on a pizza! Mom says this new food is low-fat and much healthier for a dog of my age and lifestyle.
Mom used to add in a whole can of “dog gravy” (as she calls it) at night too, but now it’s only ½ a can of some new low-fat “dog stew”. Basically, this is just more vegetables. The new food doesn’t taste bad. In fact, I am developing quite the taste for it, but it doesn’t compare to the “less healthy” food I was eating previously. That would be like comparing a salad to a greasy cheeseburger!
Slowly, but surely, the whole family settles into a steady routine. Mom prepares the kids’ lunches for school and always includes a healthy snack such as an apple or carrots, instead of cookies and chips. Every weekend, the family and I spend at least one day doing something active. Sometimes we go to the lake or go on a hike. Other times we just play ball in the back yard.
Although I don’t like to admit that mom was right, I am feeling much better and I have a lot more energy to play with the children after school. At my last check-up, the veterinarian said that I was making good progress and has lost 3 pounds in 4 weeks! I know the kids won’t admit it either, but I can tell they have more energy and enjoy our weekend outings.
Mom says we will continue this trend until we reach our individual goals. The veterinarian says I should probably lose about 10 pounds total (only 7 more to go!). Once we all reach our goals, mom says we can ease up on our diet restrictions. She says the occasional cheeseburger and fries is okay. We’re back to that “everything in moderation” mantra.
So whatever your new year’s resolution may be, give it a chance before you give up on it. Change will always take time and mistakes will happen (mom gave me 2 treats the other day instead of 1), but in the end, change can be good and who knows, you just might feel better for it
Kris’ Korner November 2018
Oh my goodness! The day has come! The absolute best day of the year, in my opinion. What day am I speaking of? Well, Thanksgiving, of course!
I can smell it in the air. Dad has the turkey in the oven and my mouth is watering. Mom is frantically running around the house dusting the furniture and sweeping the floors, yelling at the children to clean up their toys before Aunt Delores and Uncle Vernon arrive. With my advanced canine hearing, I’m the only one who can hear mom mumble under her breath, “Ugh, they always arrive early.”
We always have Thanksgiving at our house and I am so happy! For a small dachshund like myself, I can sure put away some turkey. For seven years now, I have managed to sneak some of the delicious turkey and mashed potatoes, with gravy of course. Every year mom or dad catch me under the table and in their best stern voice they say “Roxy, get out of the dining room!” or “Roxy, quit begging”. But, I’m cute and adorable and I can be very convincing. Besides, they get too distracted with their own meal to notice me anymore when I sneak back under the table.
The children are sly too. They’re always dropping scraps for me to finish when they’re too full or when their parents say “Three more bites and then you can have dessert”. Guess who gets those three bites? And no one is the wiser.
By the time Thanksgiving winds to an end, Uncle Vernon is asleep on the couch, while balancing a plate of pumpkin pie on his large belly. My mouth waters as I watch the plate go up and down in correlation with his breathing. When I’m sure that Uncle Vernon won’t wake up and no one is watching, I jump on the couch and grab the pie quick and quiet like. That’s right! Roxy gets dessert too!
After everyone has left, mom begins to clean and quickly realizes that my dog food bowl as been left untouched. “Roxy,” she says, “Have you been eating scraps all evening? You’ll make yourself sick! After today, you are going on a diet!” But I just waddle over to my bed and lie down. I’m exhausted from playing with the children and running away from Uncle Vernon’s massive feet!
The entire family falls asleep early on Thanksgiving with full bellies and happy hearts, but I wake only a couple hours after dozing off. My belly hurts and I know I have to go number two, if you know what I mean. My tummy hurts bad, but I don’t want to wake mom or dad. I’m always able to wait until morning!
I start pacing around the living room, when suddenly, it happens…I have an accident, right there on the living room rug. I’m mortified! This hasn’t happened since I was a pup and it smells terrible, and well, to be frank, just plain wrong.
I’m exhausted, and I just want to sleep, but my belly hurts and I’m beginning to drool everywhere. Ladies don’t drool! Something is very wrong. Next thing I know, all the food in my belly is coming back up and I can’t stop it!
This is when mom wakes up. I try to hide because I’m scared she’ll be mad that I had an accident, but instead the look on her face is the one only a mom can have when she is terribly concerned. She picks me up and bundles me in her robe. She quickly wakes dad and tells him that she is taking me to the emergency veterinarian.
On the short drive to the veterinarian’s office, I get sick three more times. Mom never yells at me or reprimands me. In her best soothing voice she simply tells me that all will be okay soon.
At the vet, mom holds me while the doctor examines me and pushes on my belly as gently as she can. My mom tattles on me about eating the Thanksgiving scraps.
The veterinarian explains to my mom that she suspects I have pancreatitis, likely brought on from years of sneaking the greasy, fattening human food. This Thanksgiving was the final straw apparently. At the age of seven, my body simply can’t handle such foods anymore.
It’s decided that I have to stay in the hospital to be rehydrated and to be given tummy medications. I’ve never been away from my parents before, and I know mom is having trouble leaving me, but she tells me everything will be okay and that I’ll get to go home soon. I have no choice, but to believe her.
Three days later, I’m headed home and feeling much better. The doctor and nurses took good care of me, but now I’m on a strict low fat diet, forever! Mom and dad say they have to put their foot down this time because they can’t stand to see me get that sick again. Even though my new food may not be as good as Thanksgiving turkey and mashed potatoes, I’m feeling much better and I’m back home with my family, which is what matters the most. I used to think Thanksgiving was the best day of the year, but now I realize each day I’m home with my family, is the best day ever!
Kris’ Korner August/September 2018
Let me first say thank you for following Kris’ Korner. I hope you have enjoyed these short fictional stories. The stories are meant to be fun, cute and educational.
This month I’ve decided to do something a little different in honor of National Dog Day on August 26th. This month’s story will be about the human-animal-bond and I will be using my fur baby as an example. I could give you some statistics that show animals can be a great influence in our lives, but personally, I think stories speak louder than statistics. So here is Tahoe’s story:
When I was 13, my mother and I walked into a Walmart and saw a litter of puppies outside the front entrance. Of course, I instantly began to beg my mom for a puppy. What did I know about raising a puppy? Absolutely nothing, but I was blind with love. My mom made me a deal: first I had to call my father. Second, if there was still a puppy available by the time we were done shopping, we could take one home. Four hours later (to this day, the longest shopping trip of my life), I was walking out with a cuddly, loving puppy. It was decided that he would be named Tahoe to match the adult dog named Shasta at home.
It didn’t take long for my mom and I to figure out that Tahoe was not weaned from his mother properly and it was likely that he was far younger in age than we were told. We quickly learned how to bottle feed a puppy and exactly how messy puppies could be, but we never gave up on him and he never stopped fighting. It was a restless couple of weeks waking up every couple of hours to feed him or to calm him down after one of his nightmares, but eventually, Tahoe started acting like a normal puppy: playing, eating, sleeping and pooping. You know the saying “you can’t take too many pictures”? I wish I had listened to this saying at this stage of Tahoe’s life. I have too few pictures of him as a puppy.
Eventually we settled into a routine and Tahoe and Shasta settled into one of their own. Shasta was not always tolerant of the new puppy, but my mom bought a brand new playpen for Tahoe so that Shasta could have her alone time. At the time, my mom did not have the extra money laying around for the playpen, but she made it work so that both her dogs could be happy.
About a year after we brought Tahoe home, our life was turned upside down. The home on five acres we had lived in for five years was being sold and we had thirty days to vacate. We wound up moving into town in a house that did not allow pets inside. It wasn’t ideal, but we made do. Tahoe and Shasta lived in a fenced in yard on about ½ acre with an insulated pump house for shelter. It was quite the adjustment period for fur babies and humans alike, but we settled in well and stayed for 8 years.
Shasta passed away when Tahoe was about 5 years old. Being alone, I tried to spend as much time with Tahoe as possible, but as I grew older and obtained more responsibilities, I quickly realized time was hard to come by. No matter how little time we had, Tahoe always appreciated my company, greeting me with a wagging tail and a happy bark every time I pulled into the driveway. This is unconditional love. This is loyalty. This is my best friend.
Tahoe has been there for me during all stage of life: first love, first heartbreak, first job, high school graduation. He has been the one I turn to during times of celebration and during times of grief. Tahoe stayed with my mom when I moved into my first apartment, and he was there when I decided to move back home because being a “grown up” was harder than I anticipated. He was never judging and always accepting. After graduating veterinary technology school, I accepted a job and chose to move to Weaverville, a 3 ½ hour drive from home. I was faced with the decision of whether or not to bring Tahoe or leave him with my mom. I couldn’t imagine being so far away from my best friend, but at the age of 10, would he adjust okay so late in his life? I decided it was worth a try and Tahoe has adjusted to life in Weaverville quite well. It seems that as long as he is with me, he is happy.
Tahoe will be 14 years old this November. He has been by my side supporting me for half my life. Tahoe has helped me grow and he has provided unconditional love all along the way.
At almost 14, Tahoe is beginning to show some ailments (of which I am sure I will write about another time). It is now my turn to support and love him unconditionally. He is on the best diet possible as well as several medications to help with his ailments. Every day, Tahoe greets me with a wagging tail and a cheerful bark. Every day he is happy to see me. Other than his age (and mine for that matter), nothing has changed and I understand now that nothing will change the bond we have created and strengthened over the years. During his last years of life, it is my goal to spend as much time with him as I can, to take him to places he’s never been, and to take far too many pictures. My only regrets are the pictures I didn’t take and the time I didn’t spend with him while I was busy “growing up” and focusing so hard on my future.
The human-animal-bond is not something that can be described with words; it is only something that can be experienced and felt. As with any relationship, there will be ups and downs. There will be days that you are so angry at them for chewing your favorite pair of shoes or for spending every dime in your wallet because they couldn’t listen and stay out of the trash. But these hard times will be forgotten because they are worth it for the exchange of a lifelong companion. Cherish this bond with your fur babies and take too many pictures because, unfortunately, our time with them is far too short.
Kris’ Korner June 2018
Hello! My name is Oliver and I’m a 6 year old orange tabby cat. I live with the human named Julia. She’s okay as far as humans go, but her greatest downfall (in my utmost important opinion) is that she doesn’t allow me to roam the great outdoors. If I go outside, I’m on a harness and leash, which I know is only because the human worries about me wandering off alone.
Anyway, I don’t much feel like going outside today. I’ve been a little down the last couple of days. The human, Julia, has allowed the other human, Eric, to move in and his stuff is everywhere! There are boxes next to my cat tree and next to my litter box and next to my food bowl! Not to mention the newspaper everywhere! Don’t get me wrong, I love to play in the newspaper and boxes, but the human Julia is very organized (a little bit of a neat freak, if you ask me) and all this clutter is stressing me out!
Of course, I am an almighty cat and I hide my feelings very well, so the humans don’t notice that I’m upset. It has been two days of this madness and I have been keeping to myself under the bed. Today, I don’t much feel like eating. I licked a little of the gravy from the ever so delicious wet food the human gives me, but I just can’t bring myself to eat it all. My tummy just doesn’t feel right. The human Julia asks in a very concerned voice, “Why didn’t you eat all of your food?”, but I just give her the tail (none of your business, human) and walk to the bathroom to use my litter box.
I only drank a little bit of water, but man I feel like I could pee a river! I assume the position, ready for the great relief and…. OW! It hurts! I’m trying so hard, but only little drops come out and it feels like razor blades!
The human Julia comes rushing in (can’t I get some privacy?) all frantic and concerned. After a look-see (again, privacy please?) she exclaims “Oh no! There’s blood in the litter box! Eric, I have to take Oliver to the vet. Please find the carrier.” Okay, two words I never like to hear: vet and carrier.
I yowl the whole way to the vet, but once we get in the vets office, I become quiet (maybe they won’t notice me). When we get into the exam room, the nurse places a cold metal instrument that is plugged into her ears on my chest (you look real funny, lady) and looks in my mouth (this is annoying) and proceeds to take my temperature…in my hind end! Such an insult! She is quite lucky the Almighty Oliver is not feeling well or I would tell her exactly how I feel about the situation. The nurse states that I am stable and proceeds to ask the humans questions such as:
When did you first notice Oliver straining to urinate?
Has he been eating and drinking?
He didn’t finish is wet food this morning, which is very unusual.
What type of food do you feed Oliver?
How’s his energy level?
He’s been hiding under the bed lately.
Have there been any recent changes to Oliver’s life?
My boyfriend moved in a couple of days ago.
After the relentless questions, the nurse fetched the doctor: the woman in the white coat. The doctor does all the same things as the nurse, except the temperature, and then proceeds to run my lower belly. I give her a low growl as a warning-this is very uncomfortable, lady! She stops pushing on my belly because she knows the Almighty Oliver is boss! She tells the humans I have Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease.
The human Julia begins to cry and I’m just starting to panic when the doctor says, “It is completely treatable. Since he is only partially blocked we can send him home on medications. You’re lucky you caught it when you did. I would prefer to get a urine sample (just how does she plan to do that?), but I can feel that his bladder is too small. We will send him home on pain medications and antibiotics. He will need to be on a strict prescription diet for 4 weeks and then we will recheck. If all is well, we will be able to put him on a higher quality maintenance food. You should know that cats are more susceptible to this occurring again after it happens once. Also, try not to add anymore stress to Oliver’s environment. Stress and diet play major roles in FLUTD.”
The relieved human Julia wipes her tears and thanks the lady in the white coat at least 100 times. (Sssshhh human! I just want to go home!)
The nurse shows Julia how give me the medications (by the way, I’m pretty sure this is torture) and then we go home.
It has been 7 days since we went to the vet. I’m feeling much better and it no longer hurts to use the litter box. The new food is tolerable and the canned stuff helps, but I sure do miss my Friskies! The pesky human threw it all away.
When we got home from the vet that day, the human Eric finally cleaned up all of his mess! Although I’m still unsure about how I feel with him in my territory, I am not as stressed as I was previously. As with all humans, I will just have to show him my almighty power! Speaking of, it is time for me to go attack his feet now!
Check out these resources for more information
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD):
Traveling with your Cat:
The season is coming! May's topic for Kris's Korner is Rattlesnake Awareness
Hello! My name is Rex and I am a 2 year old yellow lab. My human is the best human ever! He spends time with me every day and gives me belly rubs. I know I’m a spoiled pup. We love to spend as much time as we can outside. We get very restless when the weather won’t let us go outdoors, but now it is warming up and it hasn’t rained in a couple of days. My human says it’s springtime, whatever that means. It must have something to do with the sun peaking out of the clouds again. I’m very excited for our adventures. My human tells me that today is my birthday (whatever that is) and we are going on a great adventure to celebrate! He says it will be a day full of all my favorite activities.
My favorite activities are eating, playing fetch and swimming at the river, so that’s just what we are going to do. The walk to the river is fun as he throws sticks for me to fetch along the way. We often run into other critters: squirrels (my favorite to chase even though my human won’t allow it), birds, mice, lizards; we even saw a bear once! My human tells me the woods are full of dangerous things, so I must stay close to him (to protect him of course).
Finally we get to our favorite swimming hole, and I run and jump right in! My human runs in with me, but he doesn’t stay in the water like I do. He likes to lay on the warm rocks, but today, my dearest human gives me his full attention (since it’s my birthday and all). He never takes a break from throwing the sticks. It really is the best day!
On the final throw, he throws it extra hard and it lands on the other side of the river! I swim across the current (no matter how tired, I never give up on a stick) and find the stick on the bank. This bank feels warmer because there aren’t any trees to shade the rocks. I finally find the stick, but it is right next to an even better stick! This new stick is about the same color and size, but it is striped and one end of it is moving and making a rattling noise. Can you imagine? A stick that moves! My human and I are going to have so much fun with this one!
I try to paw the stick closer to me and the rattling noise is getting louder. It wants to play too! I bend over to pick the stick up in my mouth and….OUCH!!! The pain is so dreadful and I feel like my face is on fire. I’m positive my head is ten times its normal size. Who would’ve thought that a stick can bite? I’m stunned and going into shock and all I can do is yell, “Ow! Ow! Ow!”. That’s when I realize that my human is braving the cold river and swimming across to me. At first, I think I’m in trouble because he has that look like he does when I chew on something I’m not supposed to. I’m barking at him and saying “Dad! The stick bit me! It bit me!”. He takes one look at the stick, still rattling a few yards away, and looks at my face and says “Oh no, Rex! You got bit by a rattlesnake! We must go to the hospital right away!”. I don’t know what a rattlesnake is, but I’m sure it can’t be good. This must be one of those dangerous things that I’m supposed to protect my human from. Well, I think I did my job! I just sure hope I never have to protect him from that thing again!
On the way to the hospital, I try to rest, but I can’t get comfortable because my face is on fire. My human tries to speak calmly to me, but his voice is shaky and I know he’s worried. He keeps mumbling words like “vaccine” and “rattlesnake” and wondering if I’m up to date, whatever that means. I just want the pain to stop.
When we arrive at the hospital, a sweet nurse approaches me and says that she is going to help me. She escorts us into a room (the same room I always get shots in, but I also get treats, so it’s not so bad). She offers me a treat, but I can’t even eat because I hurt too badly. The nurse asks my very worried human questions and assures him that I did have my rattlesnake vaccine this year. My human sighs in relief.
The doctor comes in with a shot (for the pain she says) and injects it under my skin. I don’t mind as long as she doesn’t touch my face, which she doesn’t. She ensures me that she only wants to make me feel better. The nurse then tells me that I’m going to have to stay the night with her in the hospital. I’m scared to leave my human who is telling me that everything will be okay and that I will see him tomorrow, but the medicine must be kicking in because I feel so much better!
My night in the hospital goes well. Of course I miss my human, but the nurses and assistants check on me frequently and give me plenty of belly rubs. I have fluids running into my arm (which feels a little weird) and the nurses give me medicine regularly. When the pain subsides enough, they even give me canned food! What a treat! I only ever get this on special occasions at home. I sleep comfortably through the night and the next morning the doctor is examining me. She is gentle and tells me everything will be okay. I have been feeling much better and I think she and the staff have something to do with that. The doctor then tells me that I get to go home!
I’m so excited to see my human. When I see him in the exam room, I jump in his lap. I really want to lick his face to show him how much I missed him, but my face is too swollen, so I just rub my body against him and wag my tail. I know he’s happy to see me as well. He doesn’t stop smiling and he keeps giving me belly rubs. On the way home, he tells me that I’m lucky I didn’t need the anti-venin (I don’t really know what that is, but I take his word for it). He says my hospital bill would have been twice as much (although he would have paid for any care necessary, of course.) He goes on mumbling how happy he is that he decided to get me vaccinated and he’s so happy it wasn’t worse. I don’t understand all the things he is saying, but I’m happy to be on my way home with the best human ever! Note to self: In the future, don’t play with sticks that rattle!
Check out this link information on the canine rattlesnake vaccine: