We’re going to develop a habit

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It’s all on me. I know I haven’t been doing much this summer on this site, but social media accounts have been semi-active. Everything has been so much to process, and continued to amaze me about how many curves life can throw at you.

A month after Murphy was put down for her heart condition, I donated her things, tried to get on with life, and then an extremely exuberant friend of mine died in an accident. He was 45. I’d known him for about 19 years, along with his wife, and I met their son when the was 4 years old. Now, their child is 11, the wife has impaired vision, and everything hit the fan. We were working together on this new project for about a month before the funeral actually took place – Taking care of each other.

Then back to my responsibilities at home, and to this brand. We have all the canned samples that Dr. Elsey’s would send me over their Cleanprotein, and so far that’s going well. I need to write a new update for you on Basepaws genetic testing for cats.

And then there was Idris. Idris is a lovely bird. She’s been very human happy every since I met her when she was a few months old and brought her home. She fit into the flock okay, considering that Koi and Jak were bonded. Then she hit 7 this year, and her hormones ruined her groove. She tried to kill Koi and take Jak for herself. We did all the separations, reintroductions, adjusted the lighting periods, moved all their items around. Jak ended up with an injury that couldn’t be explained with forensics because we never found any. After Jak’s isolation period, Koi asked that Idris not sleep with them at night any longer, and then Idris was moved to a guinea pig cage at night. She kept coming onto Jak, so I had to focus her attention on me. Idris eventually tried to bond to me, but then the other two were upset because they felt I was part of their flock as well. Before Idris bonded too much to me, that it would really mess her up to be rehomed at a later point, she was rehomed this week. I have heard so many times about birds hitting hormonal age and then being put into another home and it ruins them. She didn’t do anything wrong. She’s still a fantastic girl. It didn’t fit the dynamic any longer and treatment wasn’t fair to her. All my photos with my conures were basically her… just her. She’s my cuddle bug.

Idris has been doing well, from what her new mommy has told me. She has a daddy, too. Still very happy to be with her humans. They did tell me that if Idris still wanted to get a bird of her own, that would be an option they would pursue for her. She’s doing well, and it breaks my heart. I tried to make it work, and I firmly believe in Forever Homes. I did this weird little dance of working to balance everything and pulling back when Idris needed to be with me at times. When her mom came to visit, I didn’t handle Iddy. I opened the cage and let her come out, and let her new mom do all the introductions. I did not want to have Idris be too stubborn hanging on me, and be a jerk hole to someone that wanted to hang with her. It’s been hard on us.

I cleaned the bird cage from top to bottom yesterday, and got permission from my partner to order a tree for Jak and Koi. We have a table top Java stand, but when I move it around, cats surprise them. By the way, Idris hated cats, and her parents have no cats! Whew.
Jak and Koi’s tree should be here this week and is about 5 foot tall without any lower branches, has a tray area underneath for mess, and casters to roll it around. My partner says they are expensive, and I said “Will you let me handle it? I need to do this. Otherwise our house is going to be full of guinea pigs again”.

I might have a permanent Empty Nest issue that’s been following me around since I was in my 20s. Instead of helping more animals, I need to help myself to learn to invest more into keeping the fids I have happy and healthy.

I knew things would change

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I didn’t realize how much. In March, Chewy.com said they were discontinuing the Influencer program. It was a positive force for me to stay connected and keeping up with content, but then things got all weird.

In May I broke my car. Since February 2006, I have always owned a silver Jetta. Twice, even. I got my first guinea pig in December of that year, and I believe I got my first vanity license plate in 2007: WHEEK. These things happen. Once I parked at Petco and found another sedan right next to mine with the license plate WHEEEK. I located the owners and they said they tried to get WHEEK, but it was unavailable. I was so dizzy with laughter. How often would this situation ever occur to another person with a personalized plate, especially when 97% of people ask me what WHEEK means?! I tried to make it easier, I surely did. My plate was also a specialty plate to support Spay and Neuter for AZ that was their pet plate.

It was time to replace the car, but my parrot needed emergency surgery, and I tossed considering another silver Jetta out with the bathwater. I also went to the MVA and gave them back my WHEEK Maryland plate. I didn’t even get a silver car this time around, which was also a huge habit of mine. Blue Anthracite Pearl. A hatchback. A crappy hatchback. But now I mostly love the car, and if I find something to nitpick from time to time, I attempt to remain humbled and know that I had the money to pay cash for my bird, so there was no hesitation to get the treatment she needed when her leg was mysteriously torn open.

I did keep my license plate frame : I’d Rather Be Playing with my Guinea Pigs
As well as contacting the artist who made my guinea pig decal in the UK. She had pulled the listings because ripoff artists, but still had the item in storage and created a new listing for me.

The car smelled bad. It’s like when you know your friend smokes weed in high school, but they keep spraying that god awful cologne over it. I bought the car fairly cheap, and I had to find out what this car was smoking. I used a Chlorine Dioxide bomb on the interior to neutralize that yucky detailer smell. I found a half a pound of leaves in the cabin air intake. I cleaned the A.C. evaporator. I am not even playing when I say – I – did the things. My partner accompanied me to the parts yard and cannibalized other mk4 Volkswagens. The arms on the hatch were failing, the floor was missing in the hatch, there was no lug wrench or jack, I didn’t like the vents on my car, and I needed to customize a set of floor mats.

I also bought lock actuators because the right passenger door was dead. My partner installed it and the door locks and unlocks.
I found a plugged sunroof drain, modified the grommets, and upgraded the hoses to the rear. My partner broke down most of the interior and put it back together, because I have a bit of a Hulk Smash issue with delicate items. Even he broke a small piece, and then recast it with industrial materials he keeps in the house. When I asked how much it ran financially, he said it was about a third the cost of ordering the replacement part. Okay, okay. I serviced the sunroof, and we assessed the condition of the gasket. It may need replacing in the future, but wasn’t brittle enough or creating leaks.

And my primary radiator fan went out 2 days before the first ugly heat wave. I took it to the shop because I’m not going to risk a migraine working in that under the given conditions. PS – my part went out 1 week after we got the exact same thing fixed on our other vehicle. I highly recommend European cars. *wink wink wink wink wink no wait that’s just my eye twitching from stress*
The other repair it needed to pass inspection was an front inner right CV boot.

Now we’re having another heat wave, and I can’t do anything to the car. It’s giving me too much time to think. Right after I started work on this car, Murphy had to be put down. I spent time working on the car, then more time working on the car. I stopped hearing random guinea pigs that would make me break down for a few minutes in a panic. I also have an Idris problem. My youngest bird is still frisky and needs a home. I’m trying to work on that. The next things to focus on for the car were making sure it was safe, ie my own head unit with bluetooth and a proper phone mount.

Somewhere in the middle of that last part, a friend I made almost 20 years ago passed away in a freak accident. I’ve been friends with his lady just as long, I met them together, and I made easy friends with their son as soon as I found a chance. We’re all working on picking each other back up and keep going forward. My partner installed the mount for my phone in my car this morning, two days after I turned 37.

Now, I’m trying to look forward by 6 weeks. The weather should drop off, and we can see if the other lock actuator fixes my driver door, as it only responds to manual locking. We also get to take apart the hatch door and figure out why the mechanism moves when you unlock it, but releases when you pull the handle unless the key is inserted to that lock and turned. Passenger seat underside needs examined to find out why it rocks about just a bit. We might even decide to reupholster the headliner.

What do you do? It’s gotten so bloody hot that everything is on pause. I liked that I had this project moving along. It helps me try not to go off about giving up guinea pig caretaking. It helps with not upsetting myself over trying to rehome Idris. It helps with chiseling away at the Writer’s Block. I do keep up with Stop and Eat the Flowers’ Facebook.

We got our Batpig

My cat wants to star in a horror movie

Jak turned 9

I got mom an art for her grandpig leaving us

And most recently we were notified from BasePaws that Stewart is a generic cat. He’s most similar to American Shorthair, and we got his CatKit by contributing to their research because he’s got asthma. You can apply here

What went wrong with my guinea pig, Murphy

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I haven’t had the focus to write anything, and while I have had downtime on this blog, I have been keeping up on our Facebook Page. If you’d like to head there, I have the accounts listed to the right side of Stop and Eat the Flowers.

Smurph had a final diagnosis of pericardial effusion. The sac around her heart was filled with fluid. It was either pus, or clear, or blood. I could have elected to have it aspirated that day, but the fact that it formed in the first place left a difficult treatment ahead. It would have given her relief that day and likely come back even a day, week, month, or year later. Based on things we had noticed with this litter of guinea pigs over the years, and with Smurph, these sisters had a genetic issue with their hearts. We never had anything close to a diagnosis up until a year and a half ago when Potsticker died at the vet of heart failure. Ever since the girls were brand new, they had coughing. It usually acted up when they were eating, after they’d been resting for a time. I was also told that Murphy honks when the household comes alive around 6:30am. It was going on for about a year, but I’d never witnessed it, until a few months ago. She was honking gently during the day.

My mistake was going to the wrong clinic. I went to the smaller one where the prices were higher because of low volume, and they wanted to run about $1000 in tests, so I opted for a short course of antibiotics. I hadn’t heard her honking after, so I let it go. Except that in June, she was taking treats from me and eating less than half of them. She wasn’t standing up on the frame of the cage anymore and asking about stuff. I took her to the big hospital in Fairfax, where they said she was having low digestion and needed to start getting fluids and motility drugs. The vet asked me about her breathing. I said that I’ve had pigs with respiratory issues before, and that this seemed to look more like pain to me. What would he suggest? We discussed doing a short course of antibiotics, but then agreed that this would be a bad idea because it would nuke her gut flora, while we’re trying to avoid G.I. Stasis. I said let’s do the x-ray.

You couldn’t even see if her heart were enlarged because the fluid around her heart was obscuring the view. The hospital could drain it, but we would have to follow up with a small animal cardiologist, with no guarantees. We had already taken her an hour from home to this facility, and frequent trips would be a strain on her. The vet said that “even if you had ‘Bill Gates’ money, it’s not a good prognosis”.

The veterinarian conference called with my partner and I so that it was all discussed again, and we euthanized her. She was the only one of her litter to make it to four years old, so she did reach a full life, just not one of the longer ones. Those honors go to her Auntie Mu-Xi (5 1/2 years old) and Chai (8 1/4 years old).

That’s it. The guinea pig pen was taken down, and her laundry washed, and the donation was made of a car load of items to the small animal rescue out here just this week.

I was with Murphy throughout the euthanasia process. I’ve been there since her first day out of the womb, and I stayed until she departed. I don’t like sending them to the back, alone.

If you enjoy nugget videos, please turn up your volume.

That’s Murphy.

And if you would like to read up on heart conditions, Guinea Lynx is a great resource:
Cardiovascular disease

Now I am retired from guinea pigs, at least until my 40s. We started December 2006 with our first guinea pig:
Her Royal Highness, Princess Cabrielle, Ruler of all She Surveys
Cabby was a twat.

Left clockwise:
Cabby, Chai, and Coco

Retired guinea pig wrangler

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After 12 1/2 years, the Pig Pen has been broken down, and the quality items left over from the guinea pig herd are to be donated to the rescue.

On Tuesday, Murphy was euthanized.

I am uneasy. I do not regret. I can’t process. This is a major adjustment to my daily life. The sounds of a 2 lb stampede, following you back and forth, until you notice ‘Could you please wif the cookies?’

I can’t right now. I’ll tell you more later. I didn’t realize I was going to get so upset in writing a few sentences.

Bird Emergency

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I did, after all, destroy my car. Yet somehow this was not the worst of things to come in May.
May 18th, while my partner was out running his children and their friends around (as it was Saturday) I was home alone with the animals. I noticed that Jak had a feather out of place on her leg. I tried to inspect it, but Jak has always been my nervous bird, so I blew gently to spread her feathers, and I freaked the heff out.
That’s not even possible.
I blew on her feathers again. I was sure that I saw a flash of raw leg hanging out. I started crying. My partner just happened to get home within the next ten minutes with his daughter and her friend. I told the females upstairs or downstairs, NOW.
My partner inspected the bird and thought it was a blood feather. Huh uh no; I don’t believe so because blood feathers, I could handle. I needed to take her to the ER, but his son was still over at a friends’ house, and because I destroyed my car, his was the only available vehicle.
“Can you uber with the girls and go pick him up later?”
“Can’t you uber?”
Arrangements were made for the son’s friend to bring him back, but by the time I got back home with the car, my partner went to go pick his son up instead. Jak was not home with me.

Koi went to the ER with her bird, Jak, so that Jak would remain as calm as possible

If you open up the image and look closely, you can see the one feather standing out on Jak’s right leg.

Her leg was actually split open to the muscle. They said that the condition of the margins let them to believe this wound wasn’t fresh. She had probably been keeping it from me for a day, and we found no evidence around the house of trauma. I am inserting the medical photo very small, and you can choose to view it in full.


She had surgery the next morning, and they were only able to suture it about halfway closed. It was wrapped, she got the Cone of Shame, and was sent home with me Monday morning.

By Wednesday her accessories for the wellness cage arrived, and we were able to make it more comfortable for her.

Toddler perches are awesome. This way she didn’t have to flat-foot it around. It’s Polly’s Perch rocker in X-small.

By the 23rd of May she was having supervised time with her wife and discontinued her meloxicam:
On June 1st she had her baytril discontinued and her leg unwrapped and sutures removed. I was given a silver based cream to begin applying to her large scab.
Jak’s scab fell off two days ago

Jak lost her scab.

Posted by Stop and Eat the Flowers on Saturday, June 8, 2019

Today I removed her cone and let her free for six hours. She took 1 1/2 baths, and did a lot of grooming, and was given a lot of grooming by the other two green cheek conures. Her timing for her injury was at the beginning of a molt. She had so many pins on her that were unrelated to the feathers that began to grow back on her leg. My partner doesn’t feel comfortable letting her have Night Night unsupervised with the other two, but she’ll be out with them all day tomorrow.

I do have another car should something go cockeyed again, but Jak has been through this amazingly without complications.

Are you ready?

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The site improvements look good from my end, so content is coming this month.


I will explain.

Stop and Eat the Flowers is on Hiatus

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Feel free to follow Stop and Eat the Flowers on social media. The links should be available on our homepage. I can also be reached at Lala@stopandeattheflowers.com

The website needs updates, and my webmaster is completing his final semester for his Masters in Library Sciences. Go, Dismal.
I have also had a setback. I was involved in an auto collision Monday in Washington D.C. and my car may be totaled, maybe not? I have mixed feelings about this because I was not the only person in my vehicle. No injuries, but mental health is not fantastic. No animals were in the vehicle, either. The family is fine. I need some time.

We were also selected by BasePaws to get Stewart entered into the research program because he is an asthmatic cat. We supplied them with his vet records, and they sent us a CatKit for him. I filled out surveys for him online, and the next step is to take his samples and send them back to BasePaws.

To find out if your cat may qualify, follow this link and view the characteristics and traits they’d like to study. https://www.basepaws.com/science


Summer is coming – Travel with your pets

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There are very good suggestions when traveling with your pets. Keep a copy of their current vaccinations in the vehicle where you can access them. It is also a good idea to have a vet visit before you travel, and have a health certificate issued to your pet.

If you have a harness for your cat or dog, it’s ideal to leave it on them at all times when the vehicle is involved. It’s more difficult to remove than a collar, and you can clip on i.d. tags, as well as give them a little freedom with the leash from time to time, or keep the leash connected to an attachment point in the vehicle so that when doors open, they can’t jolt out into an unfamiliar place. There are also seat belt restraints that click into the buckle and attach to the D or O ring on their harness.

Will my cat really wear a harness?
There are so many options to chose from, I am sure you can find one that will work. There are jackets, figure 8, H-style, and custom items you can order from marketplaces such as Etsy. We personally use the H. This one buckles around their rib cage and around their neck, with a strap connecting the two from the point at the back of the neck down towards the bottom of the shoulder blades. Figure 8 does not have the strap between the two wrap arounds – “8” vs (this one is sideways)”H”. Another thing is to consider the size of your cat. Weight distributes differently on these felines, so you would want to get a flexible fabric tape measure and jot down some numbers. Not all cats fall into a cookie-cutter Small and Large. Thirteen pounds on my boys make them skinny, and thirteen pounds on my girls present them as rotund. Do not refer to their weight in sizing, but their lengths.

You may also want to get shades for your rear windows. A barrier across the front seats is very helpful, even if it’s not going to stop your pet from trying to come up with you, it’s going to slow them down and hopefully they won’t startle or distract you too much from your job as chauffeur.

Keeping a collapsible silicone dish in your door pocket is not only useful for serving up water and then storing it away, but it is great to have on hand for coming across strays when your pets aren’t around.

If your pet is prone to car sickness, you can try Dramamine or Bach’s Rescue Remedy Pet given thirty minutes prior. Dosage varies by weight and species. You can also spritz a calming spray in their carrier or on a blanket or hoodie that will stay near them.

If you stay at a hotel, get familiar with their policy while booking your reservation. Some hotels require you to pay a refundable pet deposit, and others charge a flat pet fee. There are also breed restrictions, weight restrictions, how many pets per room, and potentially policies in place that say not to leave your pets loose in the room without a human. I went to get ice from the machine, didn’t have a crate set up, and had to chase my tortie cat up and down a hotel hallway at 1 a.m. upon my return.

The USDA also has a menu to choose where you are traveling to/thru so you can get more information for that state:
Travel with your pet state to state (Interstate)
Please make sure your pets are allowed so that you won’t be separated. Common pets like hedgehogs, ferrets, some breeds of rats, birds, and even some cats and dogs have been regulated in different areas of the United States.

I have no better summary or closing to offer than Safe Travels. Feel free to contribute on our social media accounts.

Easter is next weekend

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Hoppy Easter

It’s the annual reminder that most all commercial lilies are toxic to cats, and it’s any part of the plant, PERIOD.

Please do not be the hero and get an Easter Bunny. Chocolate bunnies work well (not for the dogs) and if you want to get experience with bunnies before you add one to your family, you would be surprised to know that there are many rescues across the country that are dedicated to rabbits, as well as shelters that actually take them in. Volunteer your time and make sure this is the right move for a long-term addition to your family.

Plastic grass used in Easter baskets are dangerous for all family members if ingested. Crinkled paper style grass is available at most all craft stores, and comes in a variety of colors.

Happy Easter and I’d like to take a moment for the historical losses at the Notre Dame Cathedral today. At the last update there is only one seriously injured first responder, and no confirmed deaths. +

Weruva Slide N’ Serve Paté cat food Variety Pack: The Brat Pack

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I ran into an issue uploading photos a few weeks ago, so let’s try this again and see if it’s cleared up.

Weruva sent us the new Slide N’ Serve Paté variety pack (at no charge) for our ladies to evaluate honestly.

The theme of this variety pack is even better than the last one we were able to feature. I’m old enough to understand these, so I thought they were a hoot. It’s pop culture time!

If I ever got a job in marketing with Weruva, I would have a blast. Look at these!

Direct link to product on Weruva

The Brat Pack includes two each of: The Breakfast Cat, Cat to The Future, Meowiss Bueller, Cat Times at Fridgemont, The Karate Kitty, and Cattyshack.

Now that the humans have had their giggle, lets get back to the cats.

Slide N’ Serve have been really convenient. I have some unique clips that work wonderfully with the pouches, and TerraCycle partners with Weruva to recycle your pouches.

These are some great blends. There are beef, salmon, tuna, duck, lamb, shrimp, chicken and pumpkin varieties. My girls have always been particular about their consumption of fish, but they have eaten all of these Brat Pack options. That’s excellent.

Amalie and Princess Yue Pants

All varieties of the Brat Pack are grain, gluten, BPA, and carrageenan free. The average kcal per pouch is 60, while the beef is a bit lighter, so make sure you’re feeding your feline friend according to their daily needs.

You can find Weruva at Petco.com for your cats and dogs, and check out the entire Weruva collection by clicking the banner below.