kinds of drugs and its side effects

Was My Mother Reincarnated As My Dog?

Happy Birthday and Happy Fourth of July, Frankie!

Bear with me here. I have a bit of a shaggy dog story to tell. But I have a bit of a shaggy dog — one whose designated birthday is today.

Some background…

My UPS Angel

I’ve ranted against UPS and their canine insulin delivery before, and I don’t have much nice to say about UPS now either, since they are trying to charge me $147 for a delivery I already paid $88 for and which was 8 days late. (I should mention that the insulin was, once again, sent to me from Canada by the ever-generous Karen Friesecke of

But there was a woman working for UPS named Patty who had my back. She called me every day to tell me about the status of the insulin. She assured me it was safe in a refrigerator in Louisville, although she could do nothing to hasten its egress from said refrigerator. She gave me various names and phone numbers of people to call at the FDA, the agency that was holding up the insulin.

I sent her a picture of Frankie (hey, all’s fair in love and procuring medicine). I’ll bet it’s on the wall in the UPS office in Louisville. Read More »

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What Your Choice of Dog Breed Says About You

I found the studies in this sponsored post, written on behalf of Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance, very interesting. Although the conclusions don’t apply to mixed breeds, I was nevertheless happy to read what was said about the personality and brainpower of owners of small dogs. Who knew that Sir Isaac Newton had a Pomeranian?

However, I do not resemble Frankie in the slightest. Never did, never will.


By Natasha French

We’re all familiar with the idea that people look like their dogs; it’s even been proved by scientists in the U.S. and the U.K.  But here’s a new twist. Are you intelligent? Sociable? Kind?  New research shows that your choice of canine is a clue to your character, too.

And the results may surprise you. The owners of Chihuahuas and other “handbag dogs” beloved by celebrities such as Paris Hilton and former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell are apparently the most intelligent, according to British psychologist Lance Workman. Dr. Workman, who conducted his research at Bath University, came to this conclusion after questioning more than 1,000 dog owners about their character traits.

The dog breeds were grouped into seven categories: gun dogs (e.g. Golden retriever), hound dogs (e.g. Greyhounds; Beagle), terriers (e.g., Staffordshire bull), utility dogs (e.g., Bulldogs), pastoral dogs (e.g. German shepherd, Border collie), toy dogs (e.g., Chihuahuas) and working dogs (e.g., Dobermans).

Extroverted individuals matched up with utility or pastoral dogs such as bulldogs and German Shepherds, whereas those owners who fell into the category of “emotionally stable” were more suited to hound dogs, known for their consistent temperaments.

Working dogs tend to find owners who score above average on agreeableness and intelligence, while gun dogs like Labradors are the breed of choice for friendly folk.

Dr. Workman said, “One of the great things was that toy dog owners, who are often seen as airheads, came out pretty much on top when it came to openness, creativity and intelligence,” adding, “Isaac Newton had what we’d today call a toy dog, a Pomeranian.”

The psychologist compared picking a pet to looking for a romantic partner. “If they fit in, they will probably last. But it also has to fit in with your lifestyle. If you are going to a get a gun dog, you need to be an outdoor type of person.”

He added: “Just like romantic partners, if your personalities match well, then things are far more likely to work out in the long run. The notion of ‘opposites attract’ is unfortunately a recipe for disaster!”

Perhaps it’s no coincidence then, that dating sites such as eHarmony not only profile personalities using the same attributes, such as agreeableness and emotional stability, but also look for matches between energy levels and lifestyle.

It means that there is hope that one day questionnaires not unlike those used on dating sites could help match pet-owners with suitable breeds. It might not only lead to happier pets and pet-owners, but also reduce the number of abandoned pets.

And what about me, you may ask. Well, that would be telling. Suffice it to say I’ve graduated from an adorable Irish terrier (at age six) to a mad, cornflake-colored English setter, the dog that ate the house, to two sweet, air-headed Cavalier King Charles spaniels who were ideal for a household full of small children, to a beautiful but eminently sensible black Labrador, the happy companion of many muddy walks and rides. Does that mean I have multiple personalities?

Au contraire. I’d maintain that Dr. Workman ought to add another level to his research: different dogs for different life stages.

Regardless of your pet’s personality type — or yours — don’t forget to take out pet insurance, which could cover your cat or dog against loss, theft and accident and illness. Vet’s fees can be extremely expensive, especially if your animal is diagnosed with a chronic condition or needs surgery.

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The Dogs of War: Sergeant Stubby

In the “Devil Dog” sidebar of my post about BSL last week, I alluded to the fact that Sergeant Stubby, a pit bull mix, was the most decorated dog in military history. This being Memorial Day, it seemed fitting to devote a post to him. I’d read a little about Stubby before, but until I started browsing around, I had no idea just how heroic — and popular — he was.

A Prototype Bomb Sniffing, Search & Rescue Dog

It was 1917, and America had just entered World War I. In New Haven, Connecticut, where new recruits to the 102nd Infantry were training on the Yale University campus, a four-legged volunteer wandered in and cozied up to a private named J. Robert Conroy.

Stubby, named for his truncated tail, soon fell in with the recruits’ training routines. According to the National Museum of American History, part of the Smithsonian Institution:

He learned the bugle calls, the drills, and even a modified dog salute as he put his right paw on his right eyebrow when a salute was executed by his fellow soldiers.

Conroy smuggled the new recruit aboard the troop ship S.S. Minnesota and took him to France. Discovered by Pvt. Conroy’s commanding officer, Stubby was allowed to stay after impressing the CO with a salute.

Stubby accompanied Conroy’s division to the front lines as their official mascot. An early exposure to poison gas left the dog sensitive to the smell of even traces of the  airborne weapon. He alerted the soldiers to a morning gas attack by running through the trench, barking and biting at them.

According to the same National Museum of American History writeup:

Stubby also had a talent for locating wounded men between the trenches of the opposing armies; he would listen for the sound of English and then go to the location, barking until paramedics arrived or leading the lost soldiers back to the safety of the trenches. He even caught a German soldier mapping out the layout of the Allied trenches. The soldier called to Stubby, but he put his ears back and began to bark. As the German ran, Stubby bit him on the legs, causing the soldier to trip and fall. He continued to attack the man until the United States soldiers arrived.

This last feat of courage earned Stubby his promotion to the rank of Sergeant by the commander of the 102nd Infantry.  He was the first dog to be thus honored in the United States Armed Forces.

By the end of the war, Stubby had taken schrapnel and served in 17 battles.

Post-War Recognition & a Sports Career)

Stubby being decorated by General Pershing, 1921

Stubby met three U.S. presidents, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. He was given a gold medal by General Pershing, the supreme commander of American forces during WWI. He was made a lifetime member of the American Legion, the Red Cross and the YMCA. The Y offered him three bones a day and a place to sleep for the rest of his life.

Stubby didn’t need a place to sleep. He had a permanent home  with his wartime pal. He accompanied Conroy to Georgetown University, where he (Conroy, not Stubby) earned a law degree. Stubby, always more athletic than intellectual, became the football team’s mascot, joining a long list of Georgetown Hoyas. According to the Connecticut Military Department site devoted to him:

Between the halves he would nudge a football around the field much to the delight of the crowd.

This little trick with the football became a standard feature of the repertoire of Georgetown mascots throughout the 20s and 30s and is thought by some to be the origin of the half time show.

Posthumous Recognition

Okay, I admit this is almost my favorite part. Stubby got a wonderfully whimsical three-column obituary in the New York Times, reproduced on the Connecticut Military Department’s Stubby site:

Early in life Stubby longed for a career. Realizing the value of education, the brindle and white “bull terrier” abandoned his nomadic life for that of a student. Selecting Yale University as his alma mater, he was soon recognized there as a prodigy. His progress, however, was interrupted.

Though delighted with his intellectual environment and his frolics in the huge [Yale] Bowl, Stubby came to the conclusion that he ought to do his bit by his country. It was hard, after five peregrinating years, during which he had often been hungry and cold, to leave the only scene of peace and hospitality he had ever found. But in such a time, when men were parting from mothers and wives to defend the honor of Uncle Sam, was he, a mere wanderer without dependents, to think of self?

National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

As for his final days, though some suggested he should be laid to rest in Arlington, Stubby  was stuffed and put on display in the Smithsonian Institution.

Undignified? That was just the fashion of the day. I’ve written about other famous dogs who underwent the same fate; it was a sign of respect. And how cool is it that you can see the originals of all Stubby’s medals and awards?

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Happy Pet Mother’s Day, Recognition of Pet-Human Bond Day, Or Whatever You Want to Call It

I wasn’t going to go there, “there” being what I’ve come to think of as the Pet Mommy Wars.  I  don’t like the term “pet mom,” and never refer to myself that way.

And that’s not even to get into the whole cutting-back-on pet-blogging issue. If I thought blogging regularly was hard, not blogging may almost be harder. Feedback is addictive. Note to self: Get new blog going.

But a few things interfered with my resolve not to get involved.

Let me backtrack.

It all started with a mean-spirited piece in Huffington Post, Pet Parents are NOT Moms. Several pet bloggers responded with the scorn the piece deserved, including  Dr. V of Pawcurious. I didn’t think I had much to add to the conversation.

Then I started thinking back on the last few weeks.

As regular readers know, I’ve been working on a family history project. My sister has pitched in and she’s been putting together our family tree. Naturally, she added her children and grandchildren to  it. My first instinct was to add Frankie, only partly as a joke, but I thought that would seem disrespectful to my sister and my nieces. Instead, I added my ex-husband so I wouldn’t seem like a complete loser in the human bonding department, but really– sorry, Al — Frankie has been a far more integral part of my life. Read More »

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Flooki the Dog, My Mother & Freud

In looking into my family history in pre-World War II Vienna, I’ve been digging around for pictures. I found some I didn’t know I had — and don’t ever remember seeing.

Like this one.

I always thought my mother disliked dogs and all other creatures great and small. Yet there she is, standing next to Flooki, her cousin’s dog, bold as anything. She is even, if I’m not mistaken, touching him (or her).

How cute are those matching outfits? How cute is that poodle?

Does anyone have any idea what Flooki might mean and whether it’s a masculine or feminine word?

I was going to write that there is no connection between Flooki and Sigmund Freud, but then I remembered: My mother said that her cousin Stella had been sent to see Freud when she was a young woman because she had a disability, some kind of limp. Her parents apparently hoped that Stella’s physical ailment was psychosomatic.

This seems far-fetched. Freud was very busy and I doubt he would have had time to see every Gretchen, Heinrich and Rudolf who had a limp. Of course, maybe Stella had an in, an uncle who sold meat to Freud.

I don’t think Flooki would have been around by the time Stella was old enough to be sent to see Freud, and patients probably weren’t permitted to bring their dogs. But you never know. I wouldn’t have imagined I’d see my mother, at any age, cozying up to a poodle.

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Happy whatever holiday you celebrate — or ignore!

My nondenominational honey bunny

It’s nice when Easter and Passover fall out at the same time of year. It reminds people that the Last Supper was a seder. And I can be irreverent about two major religions in one fell swoop.

In case you’re wondering why Frankie is paying homage to a holiday I don’t observe: This is a still from my book trailer (see “Watch the Official Book Trailer” on the right side), the section where Frankie is visiting Easter Island.

The dog dressed for the other holiday I don’t observe — but feel more guilty about ignoring —  is not Frankie, though it could be.

You were expecting Elijah, maybe?

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In the Company of Animals (except Frankie): Report from New York

Ah, New York. I had a wonderful visit earlier this month, seeing old friends, going to museums and restaurants, and walking, walking, walking. I was in my element in my hometown, negotiating crowded streets, dodging people and cars. It’s in my DNA.

But Manhattan is no place for small, fearful dogs from Arizona. When I looked at the city through his eyes, I realized Frankie would not ♥ New York.

Luckily, I had a pet sitter who took great care of him while  — I admit it — I enjoyed not being on insulin duty. It was a treat, not needing to be home between 5 and 6pm. And I slept really, really well.

How the 1% Lived

But of course Frankie was often on my mind, especially during my visit to the Morgan Library & Museum to see the current exhibition, In the Company of Animals.

Boodgie and Stanley

It’s small, only about 80 pieces in a single room. And I wasn’t taken with a lot of them: Bestiaries and ancient images of fantastical creatures don’t particularly appeal to me. So I’m not sure if the dozen or so more personal pieces that I heartily enjoyed would have been worth the $15 price of admission. But I had a press pass and got in for free, so I was very happy. And if you haven’t visited the Morgan Library & Museum before, it’s worth it for certain. Sure, J.P. Morgan was a filthy rich industrialist who wielded disproportionate economic clout, but I can’t help having a warm place in my heart for someone who spent a great deal of his money on books and manuscripts. Read More »

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Freud & Dogs: The Family Heritage

Clement and Henry: Who is more hangdog?

After my recent, rather gloomy post about Sigmund Freud and his last dogs, I promised something more cheery. I’m delivering with an exploration of the prominent role that dogs played in the lives of two of Freud’s grandsons, Clement and Lucian, brothers who didn’t speak to each other for at least 50 — some say 70 — years.

Can you say “sibling rivalry”?

Clement Freud, Celebrity Chef, Dog Food Rep

According to Wikipedia:

Clement Freud was one of Britain’s first celebrity chefs, having worked at the Dorchester Hotel, and went on to run his own restaurant in Sloane Square at a relatively young age. As well as this, he had various newspaper and magazine columns, and was later a familiar face on television for his appearance in a series of dog food commercials (at first for Minced Morsels, later Chunky Meat) in which he co-starred with a bloodhound called Henry (played by a number of dogs) which shared his trademark “hangdog” expression.

Although he became a well known radio host and liberal member of Parliament, Freud was never taken entirely seriously as a result of these commercials:

Clement Freud’s obituary in The Telegraph notes:  “During his early years in the Commons he was greeted with barks whenever he rose to speak.”

Lucian Freud: Artist, Rebel, Dog Lover

Lucian Freud, "Double Portrait" (1985)

I don’t know if Clement Freud had his own canine companions — perhaps he only played a dog owner on TV — but his far more famous brother, Lucian, was both professionally and personally involved with dogs. One of the most important British artists of the 20th century, he said in an interview:

I’m really interested in people as animals… I like people to look as natural and as physically at ease as animals, as Pluto my whippet.

This portrait of Lucian Freud’s daughter with  Pluto demonstrates how well he succeeded in this goal.

Lucian seemed to have difficulties with human relationships. According to The Telegraph, he turned down a knighthood because his estranged brother, Clement, had one; he severed ties with his other brother, Stephen; and he purportedly fathered some 14 children by “various women” to whom he was not married. But Lucian’s dogs clearly had no complaints, as this photograph of another family whippet, Eli, demonstrates:

Eli in Lucian Freud's studio

But that’s just a glimpse into the topic. For  a wonderfully in-depth and beautifully illustrated tribute to the artist and his dogs, see Lucian Freud: Dogged Portraitist.


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If a dog barks in the blogosphere….

If a dog barks in the blogosphere and no one hears him, did he make a sound?

Not writing regularly about Frankie feels odd, especially since I’ve been having continuing problems with his insulin and I’ve been crazy worried. But without real solutions except tweaking the dose continually — it needs to be low enough so as not to cause hypoglycemia, but high enough so Frankie will feel well enough to eat —  and trying to achieve a balance of food and exercise, there’s nothing helpful to report. My vet doesn’t know whether the Vetsulin is the problem — after all, it was taken off the market in the U.S., which is why I have to get it from Canada, where it’s the same formula that was taken off the market…  — or if Frankie’s metabolism has changed with age.  He’s nearly 13. No question, his sense of smell seems to be failing and his eyes are getting cloudier.

To add to my worries, I’ve planned a trip to New York in early March relating to my Freud project. I have a lot of great contacts — including the director of Vienna’s Freud Museum — to meet with and I can’t cancel.

I’ve considered boarding Frankie at the vet’s office while I’m away, but that will make neither of us happy. The better solution: a retired nurse who is now a dog sitter will stay with him and — for an extra fee — even sleep on the mattress on the floor that he allows me to share with him, the better to monitor his symptoms.

Too bad I can’t get Frankie his own diabetes-alert dog. Read More »

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Psychoanalysis & Dogs, Part 3: Freud’s Last Dog

Freud and Lun, Vienna 1937

I hesitated to tell this final chapter of the Freud-and-dogs story because of its difficult ending, but the truth isn’t always uplifting. As an antidote, I promise to continue this series with more cheering segments.

In Part 1, I discussed Freud’s late life arrival at puppy love, including how my great uncle’s butcher shop provided meat for Yofi, Freud’s culturally Jewish — if not observant — chow. In Part 2, I talked about the role the family dogs played in Anna and Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic practice.

Here I explore Freud’s final months in Vienna and the last year of his life in London, a time marked by canine bonding — and betrayal.

A Dog Book Translation

A bit of background. Freud and his “Jewish science” were never in favor with Hitler — his books were burned in Berlin in 1933 — and in 1938, when the Nazis took over Austria, Freud’s life and that of his family were in danger. It was not easy to leave Vienna under the watchful eyes of the Gestapo, however, and connections had to be called in.

In a review of Mark Edmundson’s The Death of Sigmund Freud: Fascism, Psychoanalysis and the Rise of Fundamentalism [note: in the America version of this book, the subtitle is “The Legacy of His Last Days”], John Gray writes:

No one could call Freud a sentimentalist. Yet he spent some of his last months translating, from French to German, a biography of a dog, a chow like Jofi, his devoted animal companion during his final illness. Read More »

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