Hi Grammy!

We had a strange occurrence at our house sometime in November.   That we had a strange occurrence is not in and of itself strange for us.   The fact that it repeated itself and this time in front of witnesses made it a little more extraordinary. 

It’s no secret that I miss my little brindle greyhound Girly Girl.   She was my heart dog and I only got 3 ½ years with her.  Losing her to osteosarcoma was heartbreaking.  Well, losing her at all was heartbreaking.  Girly Girl remains a big part of my life despite her no longer residing with us in the physical sense.  Mumma talks to her all the time.  There have been many times when I have felt her nose bump me in the hip or behind just like she used to do.

I feel her around the house.  She has visited several times in dreams.  Believe it, or don’t believe it as you will.  But as for me and grandma, we believe.

Mumma was working one day in mid-November.  That involves sitting at my desk in my office at one end of my house.  Blue and Bettina spend 99% of their day with me on their office beds.  That was the case on this particular day. 

In the living room which is down a hallway almost at the other end of the house, we have some more dog
The haunted pillow
THE pillow on the dog bed in Girly Girl's space.
beds.  On one of those beds is a pillow.  This pillow is actually a version of a “pillow pet”.  It is a dragon which can be converted into a castle with some clever folding and a zipper.  I’ve never been able to figure it out so it stays permanently in castle mode.  There is a doorbell on this pillow that, when pushed, makes a noise of a dragon roaring.  I originally got the pillow for Blue but when he lays on it and accidentally pushes that button, it scares the crap out of him.  So the pillow stays at the far end of the largest dog bed.

We have had this pillow upwards of three years now and it has been a pretty good neighbor.  Nice and quiet.  On this mid-November day, the pillow started to roar.  Since we were all back in the office, this was an interesting occurrence.  The first thing that popped into my head was that the pillow may be short circuiting or perhaps the battery is finally dying.  I waited but there were no more roars.

Half as a joke, I said out loud, “Girly Girl, was that you?”  A couple seconds later, the pillow roared for the second time.  The hair on my neck stood up a little.  I double checked that Bettina and Blue were still with me in the office.  I thought these events over for a little bit then said, “Sweet girl, I really hope that was you, can you do it again?”  A couple seconds later, the pillow roared for a third time.

Crandall and Bettina greyhound
Two dogs, empty bed to the left.  Everyone stays on the carpet.
OK, getting into the realm of more peculiar.  I figured if this pillow was shorting out or dying in some way, it will roar itself out until the battery dies, or until I rip it to shreds when I’ve gone crazy listening to it.  So I said, “Baby girl, thank you for letting me know you are here with us.  Message received and you can stop making the pillow roar now.”  Then I waited.  And waited and waited.  The pillow never roared again.

Flash forward and we were celebrating our Christmas with family on the last Saturday in December.  Grammy was there as were Charlie, Fox and Crandall.  We were all enjoying visiting with each other.  I had moved Bettina’s princess tent downstairs so there was more room in the living room.  I put a bed in that place which was traditionally where Girly Girl’s bed always was.  No dog will lay on any bed placed in that spot.  It can be the most coveted bed in the house.  They walk up to it, look at it for a while and then lay on the carpet instead.  There was only one other bed in the living room, but 3 greyhounds.  (Blue of course, was supreme in his Man Cave.)  No dice.  One dog took the remaining bed and two dogs lay on the carpet. 

We were being merry and jolly when the dragon pillow laying on the bed in Girly Girl’s space and which had been silent since mid-November, roared.  I had shared my previous experience with Grammy so when this happened our eyes got big and we stared at each other.  I waited a second then said, “Girly Girl, is that you?  Can you do it again?”  There were a few seconds and the pillow roared again.  Grammy explained to Charlie why we were so excited about a pillow.  We talked it over for a little while, were there any other explanations?  After some debate it was decided I should try again.  So I said, “Sweet Pea, I can’t tell you how happy we are to have you here with us at Christmas.  Can you do it one more time?”  For the third time, the pillow roared.  Everyone’s hair stood on end.

There was some additional debate and we decided that it must be her.  Finally I said, “OK baby girl, we know you’re here now, so you don’t have to make it roar again.  The pillow made no further sounds that day.  In fact, it didn’t make any more sounds that weekend.

On the Tuesday following our little celebration, I was laying on the couch in the living room thinking about how nice Christmas had been.  I was thinking about how happy I was that Girly Girl had been with us and that she had found a way to let us know she was there.  So I said out loud, “Thank you sweet girl for showing yourself to Grammy on Christmas.  It meant a lot to all of us.”  A couple seconds later, the pillow roared. 

It has not roared since.


Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?

Turns out, we did.  Blue, the lumpiest of greyhounds ever, turned up recently with a brand new bump on the inside of his left thigh.  It started out looking like a red spot, then rose a little bit until it looked like a bug bite.  It went from bug bite to zit and finally to a dime sized mountain with a red dot in the center. 

Meet Blue's Histiocytoma
Meet Blue's Histiocytoma.  It was well into dime sized mountain
phase in this photo.
For those of you who don’t already know, Blue gets hemangiomas.  These are like blood blisters that randomly turn up on various parts of his body.  They look like a dark spot in a place it wasn’t before.  They swell up a bit and are clearly full of blood.  Eventually, if not aided earlier, they pop.  The spot heals up and everyone moves on.  We went so far as having a couple of them removed and sent for review by the pathologists.  Hemangiomas, while having a super scary name, are not cancerous. 

I spent the red spot, raised bug bite, zit and dime sized mountain phases of this latest bump praying it was just a hemangioma that didn’t get the memo about how those are supposed to look.  But at dime sized mountain, I couldn’t hang out in denial any longer.  I made an appointment with Dr. Amy.

Blue has warts and cysts in various places but this bump looked and felt nothing like those.  And the speed of its growth and change was so fast the big “C” word was knocking at the door to the room which holds my panic button.  Every time I find a new bump on Blue and have Dr. Amy examine it, she tells me the most
Crandall's Button Tumor
Crandall's Button Tumor.  (Excuse the ancient iPhone fuzzy photo)
concerning thing about a bump is if it changes appearance.  Blue’s bump was changing like a mother.

Dr. Amy took a look at our bump one Saturday morning and asked to do an aspiration of it which we immediately agreed to.  Well, I immediately agreed to it, I don’t know that Blue was that excited about it, but he tolerated it like a trooper.  Dr. Amy took a look at the cells she found and was back shortly with the news.

Blue’s strange new bump was a histiocytoma, also known as a button tumor.  We were given the good news that we had dodged the bullet again as these are not cancerous.  The term histiocytoma was not unknown to us because a number of months ago, Grammy’s hound Crandall had one on his front foot. Crandall’s looked like a textbook button tumor.  Blue’s was not quite as textbook but Dr. Amy said there was no mistaking the unique cell structure which she found in the aspirate.
Blue greyhound and histiocytoma
DO NOT ask me how close to Blue's business end I had to get
for this photo.  

According to the Veterinary Partners article that Dr. Amy gave us on button tumors, they typically strike young dogs (2 years old or younger).  In both Blue and Crandall’s case, they were well over that age.  Generally histiocytomas form on the front half of the body.  In Crandall’s case this was true.  In Blue’s case, it was not.  Histiocytomas can look like other skin problems that are cancerous (such as melanoma) so it is always a good idea to have it checked.

And just like the article said, histiocytomas typically resolve themselves without the need for intervention.  Crandall’s tumor had completely disappeared within a couple weeks of his visit to Dr. Amy and true to form Blue’s disappeared in roughly the same time frame.  You would never know now that either dog ever had such a tumor.   


What’s My Line?

In the not so distant past our friend Drew created coats of arms for the kids. We’re pretty proud of these and ever since they were bestowed upon us we (Mumma) feel like we should have a Latin motto as well. Venerable institutions have them. Royal families have them. Ivy League colleges have them. It just makes sense that Blue and Bettina have one as well.

The only problem is Mumma took a couple semesters of Latin back in high school and would be hard pressed to conjugate a verb beyond amo, amas, amat. We must rely on the next best thing…the internet. There are a number of purported converters of English to Latin but if you’ve ever tried running the result back through a Latin to English converter you find the resulting motto isn’t anything like your original phrase. It’s a sad game of telephone technology style.
Bettina greyhound coat of arms
Here is Bettina's coat of arms with the current motto.

The next best thing was to find smarter people than you who have already posted Latin mottos online and appropriate one for yourself. We couldn’t find “I eat, therefore I am” or “I came, I saw, I took a nap” translated into Latin but we did find some that seemed like they would be suitable. We just ask your help in narrowing it down to one! Let us know which one gets your vote. Below are the contenders:

Ecce Potestas Casei (Behold the power of cheese)

Canis Meus Id Comedit (My dog ate it)

Frena Proferis Teneo (I brake for animals)

Radix Lecti (Couch potato – for the record we tried this one in the translator and came up with something so far foreign to the words couch or potato that we were almost forced to give up our quest for a motto.)

Hic Sunt Dracones (Here be dragons) or maybe Hic Sunt Canem

Ex Igne Pulchritudo (From fire, beauty)

Incitatus (Speed Demon)

Now mind you, I rely on the kindness of internet strangers. It is possible that our new motto may actually say something like “eat at Joe’s.” We’ll never know. But thanks to public school systems that are sadly lacking in the classical languages, most of you won’t know either.

PS:  If there are any of you out there who remember your Latin grammar, we would love to see the following:

We ate, we pooped, mum scooped

I came, I saw, I rescued

Our enemies we lick to death  (or alternately 'Our enemies we lean on until they fall over')

Always hungry