January, 2008

Vanessa’s Teeth Redux

Not the best day for Vanessa, as she had to have two more of her teeth pulled out in order to “make room” for her ongoing orthodontic treatment.

I’d been given to understand that only one of the two teeth that needed taking out was to be done today, but the orthodontist had in fact left instructions that both were to come out at once. Not surprisingly Vanessa felt put upon, especially since the dentist also found a small cavity (Vanessa’s first) that needed filling.

After picking her up from her dentist I delivered her to her tutor, which I understand was done largely with non-verbal gestures and grunts of “yes” and “no” until her gums stopped bleeding.

Treated her and the whole family to a sushi dinner afterwards at a small hole-in-the-wall sushi joint that was nearby, and then literally next door for a healthy scoop from Ed’s Ice Cream.

She was smiling by the end of the evening, which made it all worthwhile.

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Keeping Kitten

Ever since we got “Dawn” last Saturday there’s been quite a bit of news relating to her.

First night there was a particularly stinky poop that a too-tired Vanessa woke up to and couldn’t find. It was in the catbox but she was too tired (she had been asleep) to look for it. It was disposed of quickly and the catbox soon moved to the kid’s third floor washroom.

Dawn has been exceedingly shy, primarily hiding under Vanessa’s bed or other bits of furniture providing cover.

In an attempt to coax her our Erika tried to pick up the cat from its hiding spot, and was bitten for her trouble. The area around the bite soon swelled, and by the evening she took herself to the local emergency to have the now-swollen hand looked to. Her hand was put in a splint and she was given antibiotics. Erika didn’t blame the kitten, but she began to wonder if it had been too attached to its foster “mom” and had too nervous a disposition. Thanks to the antibiotics by Thursday the swelling had gone down and Erika was able to take the splint off.

Vanessa hadn’t been having much luck with Dawn either, and was beginning to feel let down about having adopted a kitten who was too timid to come near her. There’s a seven-day return policy and we were all beginning to seriously consider the possibility of returning Dawn to her foster home.

On Wednesday night I managed to coax her out and take some pictures of her, using a piece of colourful yarn on a stick. Earlier in the day Erika had done the same thing (using her good hand) to get the kitten to appear, managing to get her to come close enough for a scratch behind the ears without incident. I tried the same and while I didn’t get her close enough to let me touch her, she certainly wanted to play.

Last night Vanessa did the same thing, her mother showing her how to lure the kitten out by being patient and gentle with her, while luring her with the piece of yarn. She let herself be petted by Vanessa, and by this point any talk about returning her came to an end.

Dawn is going to take some work in order to get her more comfortable around the family, but it seems as though we have started off in that direction.

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Another Addition to the Menagerie: Dawn the Kitten

One of the things that Vanessa has been constantly asking about has been about adopting a cat of her own. It is safe to say she is “cat mad”, constantly drawing pictures or making crafts involving “kitties”.

Finally, this last time that we had my Aunt Jane’s cat Nick over for cat-sitting we told Vanessa that if she looked after him (feeding and cleaning) we would seriously consider the prospect of getting her a kitten. Vanessa was successful at this, and a couple of weeks ago Erika managed to find a good candidate from a cat fostering group: a 5 month old tortoise-shell kitten named dawn. Erika called and made the arrangements and she and Vanessa went and picked her up today.

Apparently the foster mother was very sad to see her go, but was happy that she was going to a good home. Vanessa was beaming when she came through the door with the cat carrier in hand. She then took Dawn upstairs to her room and let her out of the cat carrier.

That was about the only time that I’ve had the chance to get a good look at her, as she has been hiding under various pieces of furniture ever since.

This isn’t too surprising really, as I remember stories about Erika’s late lamented cat Naomi that she was similarly exceedingly shy when she first got her, and turned out to be a very lovable, affectionate animal once she settled in.

Vanessa did manage to tease her out with a piece of colourful string on a small stick, a perfect kitten fishing rod. Got to see a playful paw extended from under a dresser at the proffered string, as well as a bright pair of eyes that looked straight at me when I came down to her level on the floor.

Vanessa told me around bedtime that she had found a nice hiding spot under her bed. She still hadn’t emerged, but there was a constant purring, so things are obviously not that bad from the kitten’s perspective.

A lucky little girl and an equally lucky kitten.

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Goldfish for Annie

Adding further to our menagerie we went to the local pet store by Queen and Coxwell today in order to get a small aquarium and goldfish for Annie. She’s been wanting her own pet for a while now, and since Vanessa has been cleaning up after my Aunt Jane’s cat Nick (who we have been “cat sitting” while she is away on her regular holiday season trip to visit with friends in Seattle) in order to prove she can handle a cat of her own, it only seems fair to get Annie something she can look after.

I picked out a small Hagan-made aquarium kit. Small (less than 8 litres) and wholly made of molded plastic (so no seals between glass and metal that could fail), it also came with colourful orange gravel (which matches the trim and the plastic cover) a filter, plus some goldfish food and some water conditioner.

We picked out three fish. Annie chose the smallest goldfish available from a “feeder” tank and named it “Goldie” (of course). I also let her choose one from a tank of small fancy goldfish above it, whose mottled white and gold colouring she called “Snowgold”. The pet shop owner then let Vanessa pick one out and she picked a somewhat larger goldfish from the feeder tank she named “Clicker”.

Assembly took next to no time, especially since both girls were keen to help out, and so all three fish we in their new home within half an hour of us bringing them home.

Annie was beaming with happiness at the end of it all.

Next, a new kitten for Vanessa.

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