The Curious Case of Bebe Fyfe

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Fabulous Babulous…. sunbeaming again.

Most folks who visit the Fyfe Farm haven’t met Bebe, our mysterious feline companion. If she hears that doorbell ring or a voice in the house she disappears like magic and we won’t see her for at least 2 hours.

If the house guests are spending the night I won’t see her until its time for soft food when the guest room door is closed before bed. I don’t know where she re-appears from. Sometimes the garage, sometimes the boat, sometimes from behind the washing machine.

She’s been that way ever since Whitney and her friend brought her and her littermate, Cartman home in Bismarck. I had only told the kids about the litter of kittens down the road so they would slow down with their driving. Not because we needed 2 more cats.

 

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Bebe as a kitten

When Babs and Cartman joined us that brought our indoor collection of cats to 8, which is totally ridiculous and I think it might be partly why she is as shy as she is.

When you’re the youngest sibling in a household of older, well established sibs you probably don’t need to communicate much. Or interact, other than for basic necessities like eating & using the litter box.

Over the years she slowly packed on some weight and she just did her own thing.

She, like every other female Fyfe adored our big boy, Oscar, who was basically the king of the cats.

 

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Cooper, Boomer and Bebe snuggled in with Oscar

It wasn’t unusual to find any combination of the girls with him in one of the cat beds scattered throughout the house.

This went on for years.

Until we lost Oscar.

That was the beginning of the change in feline dynamics around here because Mulder was suddenly in charge. Until we lost him, too.

 

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You can imagine the dynamics when there are this many of you! And you can’t even see Sport and Cooper!

And everything changed as Attrition continued until, as of February, we had a house with 2 indoor cats and Babs is one of them.

Which is when we got to meet the real Bebe Fyfe.

Our quiet, not-so-little fan of sunbeams and soft food has become a Domesticated Indoor Cat.

 

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Shy, young Bebe many years ago

She meows at me to remind me that our morning routine has changed.

On top of letting the dogs out, feeding the dogs, cleaning the litter box, feeding Loki, getting Rimadyl for Loki, changing the water in the water dish, getting water to Luigi, and giving treats to Luigi as I clean his cage, I now have to give 3 Greenies treats to a somewhat demanding grey & white Domesticated Indoor Cat.

I mean, she’s cute about it but when did this all start? I didn’t even know she could meow!

Bebe now comes down to our bedroom on sleep-in mornings if we’re lazily watching Netflix while sipping our Kona coffee and joins us.

On. The. Bed.

 

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“What?”

And she purrs and cuddles and interacts as if she’s been a normal cat all of her life.

She’s also lost some weight, probably due to being more active around the house and outside as well. She’s much smaller than she was in the photo above, which was taken just after we lost Boomer in February.

Boomer and Bebe always cuddled in the cat beds but there must have been something about her that kept our strange little Bebe quiet all those years.

Bebe’s sole pastime for years (aside from sunbeaming) was staring at our freezers in the garage. When I had my clinic that’s where I would sadly bring home patients we’d lost who were going in for cremation. Bebe would make the strangest chirping sounds and tip her head from side to side while staring at the freezer. We just figured she was communicating with the spirits and we’ve been fine with that.

 

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“You don’t want me to exercise, do you?”

I don’t see her staring at the freezer much any more.

Maybe she was communicating with the spirits who were likely a bit confused about their situation. I know that every paw of every pet that I have held while they transitioned with their families by their side was ready to lay down and have a good, long nap. They may not have put that thought together but I have only ever said goodbye when it was necessary.

Never out of convenience.

I used to think that was an endearing quality that Bebe had and really, she did it with such regularity it was almost a bit freakish.

But it doesn’t happen now & that’s not because our freezer is empty. Mouse, Boomer, Calypso & Phillipa sadly are beneath Alistair’s treasured huckleberries right now. I think Bebe just knows that they understand where they are and their spirits are still right at home.

 

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Bebe & Sport waiting for Mummy to open the kitchen door a few days ago.

And her own spirit is blossoming as she grows into the Domesticated Indoor Cat that she is becoming.

And we like her chirping and meowing and visiting us throughout the house. I like seeing her and Loki sleeping closer and closer together on the bed. I love the feel of her clawless paws as she kneads my lap when she explores the land of lap-sitting. I like feeding her bits of bacon on sleep-in mornings although I suspect we won’t ever get to the Kiss Piece stage of domestication.

Its fun watching her explore our house- the living room with the warm wood stove and the snoring Boston Terrier snoozing in front of it; our bedroom with all of its windows and the big TV she likes to stare at; the computer room where I do all of my creating and Loki sleeps on my feet like she is now; and the outdoor world where she has even brought a couple of mice up that big old plank.

And I love sharing Fabulous Babulous with all of you!

 

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Just another day in a cat bed with Cooper & Oscar and Boomer wondering where she was going to fit.

 

Jacques and Bebe 2010

“Pleased to meet you, Jacques. I’m Bebe. Don’t chase me, okay?”

 

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The ultimate Sunbeamer.

 

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Just now, refusing to look at the camera. Oh, Bebe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bye, Bye Boomer

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One week ago little Boomer took her last nap next to me before I helped her across the good old Rainbow Bridge.

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Mummy & Boom, just a couple of years ago

She was the subject of one of my very first blogs two years ago when I was having difficulty managing her hyperthyroidism and kidney failure but we found the right mix of meds and she had a good run for most of that time.

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Little Boomer a couple of months ago.

She had lost some weight and was becoming dehydrated (typical with older feline kidneys) so we started adding ice cubes to the water dish to encourage drinking. Most veterinarians will suggest the ice cube thing for older kitties. Cats are curious to the core and if they play with the cubes in the water to watch them  move or to hear them tinkle they usually end up drinking more, if not at least licking off their wet paws. Looking back, we had just lost her brother, Oscar and perhaps depression played a role in her health as well.

The ice cubes became an addiction for Boomer. When we would first get to the kitchen in the mornings we were meowed at for the ice cubes.

When it was close to supper time-ish, more meows.

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Ice cube junkie

The meows got louder and more demanding the more time passed but it was just one of those quirks we put up with because she was Boomer. And she was old and possibly starting to lose her marbles the past couple of months but still, the ice cubes weren’t a big deal.

We made little accommodations for our aging buddy because she had been a great cat for many years and it was easy to do.

Lots of expensive canned food to crush the pills in. More beds to lay around the house in. Watching wherever Loki went in hopes we could prevent her bonking into Boomer and possibly getting her eyes scratched (again). Combing her hair matts out when she reduced her personal grooming (and being watchful of those claws!)

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More ice cubes for Boomer

We did these things and more and Boomer just kept ticking along, prancing into the hallway bathroom where the guinea pigs used to be and leaping up onto our bed for bacon in the mornings.

Until a few things changed…

She started to develop a weakness in her legs. If we would reach down for a good head rub it would almost knock her over. More vocalization, and louder. Incessant sometimes with an almost frustrated-sound to it. Even less grooming and even more sleeping and, a few weeks ago, dragging her back feet at night.

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Our old ladies, Boomer & Cooper last spring

We shared glances at each other when she would just about topple over and we fed her treats on demand and her pills twice a day and she lost a bit more weight and became a lot more scruffy-looking and less tolerant and I had a long, teary chat with Boom-Boom and sometimes I had to check if she was still breathing and we had inner discussions and eventually out-loud conversations.

Which was when we decided it was Time.

Making the decision to end a long, good life is heavy. We agreed to do it last Saturday but we both avoided the topic, instead giving her little bits of chicken I cooked that night and suddenly it was Sunday. And we are health care providers who truly knew it was Time even though she didn’t have a terminal disease. Its not as if she was dying.

But she wasn’t really living, either.

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Boomer never missed a chance to get into an open cupboard!

I wonder how heavy that decision is for bad people.

For people who make plans to end a person’s life. To separate the body from the soul for all of eternity, leaving a lifeless vessel behind. To stop the incredible machine that is the cardiovascular system from working its tremendous pump that keeps a body’s life force flowing.

I wonder if they struggle with the choice. Do they rationalize their way out of it for a week or two? Or do they plan to do it Saturday and then before long its already Sunday?

I appreciate that bad people who do horrible things like that have their wiring mixed up or they are under some sort of influence that they can’t control.

Or they are immune to the weight because of the volume of times they have made that choice.

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Cooper, Boomer & Oscar a couple of years ago.

In our case, for all the right reasons, we sedated our 20 year old room-mate together and she quickly snuggled in next to me, resting her head on my leg as her last conscious act. Through tears and remarkably leathery skin I found the forearm vein that Alistair helped me hold off and just like that I stopped her heart and she looked at peace.

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Oh, Boomer!

Saying goodbye to Boomer wasn’t necessarily easier than poor Mouse, who was young and healthy until he was suddenly gravely ill. It wasn’t easier than having to rush to Harry’s side by myself when his splenic tumor terminally ruptured. None of these has been easy. It will never be easy.

 

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Boom and Coopie last spring. Not even bothering to pretend like they shouldn’t have been on the kitchen table. At least Boom’s reading material is acceptable.

But I can accept Boomer’s death more readily because she’s been on The List for 2 years and also because Alistair was with me and we made this decision together. For Boom.

And just like that we have 2 indoor cats and 2 barn kitties.

And there will be more changes in the weeks ahead because Calypso was diagnosed with his own cancer in November and each day truly is a gift.

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Bonjour!

He continues to romp and play and eat like a fiend and steal Loki’s kibbles and Alistair’s boot insoles so his story is for another time.

I miss seeing Boomer in any of the beds scattered throughout the house and in a funny way I miss her caterwauling at me to add ice cubes to the water dish. I sometimes reach for her pills, forgetting there is nobody to give them to and I smile.

Her spirit is likely curled up somewhere with Cooper and Oscar and she isn’t dragging her little white feet and her eyes are bright and her haircoat is glorious once again. She’s grooming, prancing and enjoying a good sunbeam and although my heart is sad its kind of happy, too.

RIP, Boom-Boom. A good life deserved a good death.

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Oscar & Boom….together from the womb for 18 years now reunited.

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Just another day for Cooper, Boomer and Oscy

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Love the look on Boomer’s face…”Seriously, you guys?”

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A young Gareth and young Boomer… these 2 were pretty tight.

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The 1-year old kitties with Alistair when we lived in Creston, BC. They had just transitioned to “inside” cats.

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xoxo, Boomer & Oscar Fyfe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Week

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While my blog title may bring to mind the catchy tune by the Barenaked Ladies, this isn’t about them.

Even though I am Canadian by birth and therefore can lay some sort of claim to the band.

I even saw them once and have the T-shirt to prove it!

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Some of the gang in Bismarck- Shilo, his mom, Raven and Susie

No, this blog is about the week I have had and how everything can change in such a short amount of time.

One week ago I was back in Bismarck, North Dakota, home of the hubby and most of our horses and fields of hay that needed to be cut.

Its that time of year.

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fields of hay during baling

New Neighbor has been a nuisance this year, pestering Alistair about getting his field cut and baled even though the man knows nothing about farming.

(If you recall last summer’s blog about the baling event he also knows nothing about hard work and sweat and how to get a job done.)

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The neighborhood hay bine that cuts the fields of grass and alfalfa and lays it out in rows. Its also a nice, shady spot for Howard’s dogs, Chili and Ginger.

Putting up hay isn’t something you can teach in a 15-minute discussion.

Running our expensive tractor and using Howard’s hay bine and figuring out what to do when & if things go wrong while listening to weather reports and checking weather websites and watching the skies to know when to cut and how long to leave the grass on the ground before baling is something of an art form.

It takes years to learn and try to perfect the skills so you have working equipment and dry (but not hot) hay bales to load into your barn for winter.

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Good hay!

In the end, we didn’t cut our hay. The weather timing wasn’t right with Alistair’s work schedule and New Neighbor still had no clue how to do anything.

Howard also wouldn’t let NN use the hay bine.

But Howard, an exceptional neighbor, cut his field and we stayed in Bismarck an extra day and helped him and his wife and a friend haul bales in the hot summer sun.

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Howard, baling his field while we loaded them up.

Many hands make for light work.

Even little girl hands like my own are useful.

I got to be the stacker.

Meaning I got to ride on the flatbed trailer like a surfer on a giant surfboard along the bumps and corners and sudden brakes, stacking the bales in neat, tidy, tight rows while the men tossed them up at me.

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One of my masterpieces.

The men get to do the heaving of the bales and the negotiating of the nice trucks into and out of the barns.

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Totally NOT my job!

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And he makes it! Go, Alistair!

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This is just a bit too tight of a parking spot for me to negotiate…

Howard has a bale elevator which makes for a better day for your back. We all stacked the trailer loads of hay and then drank water or nibbled popsicles and wondered where New Neighbor was while we debated the merits of a Toyota pickup in terms of guts and glory and talked about their daughter and her baby in Texas and didn’t talk about the daughter they lost and we watched Howard get the baler going again & again after dropping a bale.

And then we would go get another load.

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Just dropped another bale but Howard got it all going again.

Its the kind of work that you sort of enjoy because you are really earning a glass or two of wine later and you know you’re helping out and your neighbors really appreciate it and you are using just about every muscle you have in the blazing hot sun.

Its the kind of sweat that you would get if you sat in a sauna fully clothed for a few hours.

Its the kind of tradition that you don’t celebrate or plan ahead for because you really don’t know what the weather will do or if you will be in Montana or North Dakota or how many people will show up to help and its just something that needs to be done.

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Little girl, after yet another load was stacked into the barn.

I’m so glad we were there to help.

Even if I could feel every muscle in my body for days afterwards.

Its not Pretty Girl work.

Its not sparkly.

Its not something you look forward to.

You just do it because its the right thing to do (which NN obviously didn’t get… he was tinkering around in his garden when we drove up our driveway after 3 hours of hauling bales.)

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Bale moving along on handy-dandy bale elevator with Alistair working the upper levels of stacking inside the barn.

But then we played in our garden, which has been fantastic this year given the amount of moisture Bismarck has had.

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Our ND garden

It has been trampled and crushed by torrential rains and incredible winds twice this year and has withstood frost at least once.

Not everything survived but Alistair replanted when he could and shrugged his shoulders when he couldn’t.

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basil-basil-basil!!!!!

We enjoyed some yummy meals and continue to do so with the produce we brought back to Montana.

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Lovelies for my spaghetti sauce last night!

With all of the animal changes going on at the Fyfe Farm we didn’t need someone to stay overnight because I brought all 3 dogs with me.

Even blind, little Loki.

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Loki snooooooooze in Bismarck. (Insert snoring sounds….)

She lived in and visited our home there throughout all of her life and it always amazes me how she remembers how to navigate inside and outside of the house.

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Loki, UB and Cleo enjoying a Bismarck cuddle with Daddy

They travelled well with me and even though Cleo is mostly deaf she would look up at me from the passenger seat if my singing became too… well… I don’t what it was but it was “too” something given the square-face look she gave me.

But what is a woman of the 80s & 90s supposed to do when Four Non Blondes are belting out What’s Going On?

(Poor Cleo…)

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Non-singing portion of the road trip at our favorite doggy rest stop between Lewistown and Jordan, MT.

And we’re back to Montana and more changes occurred.

Or, had to be made.

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Cooper xoxo

Cooper wasn’t having any fun anymore and it was time to say goodbye.

How did we know?

She didn’t vocalize or try to get into the office anymore. Her weight loss was profound.

She got out of the cat bed when Boomer joined her and laid off by herself in a corner of the kitchen.

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Last month, Cooper enjoying the morning sun on our back deck

She wasn’t going out on the deck with the others in the mornings and that was maybe what clinched it for me.

I laid our 20-something year old companion in her Daddy’s lap and sedated her as she softly purred.

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Cooper Fyfe, back in the day, with one of her many garter snakes

And we remembered all of the special things about our short-haired, all-black, clawless wonder who found us in 1997.

How she would wrap both arms around your neck when you picked her up.

How she smacked the bejeezus out of me when I joined Alistair in ND after the 2 of them had bonded for a month.

How she groomed a terrible open wound on his hand he earned from trying to hold a crazy mare back with a rope.

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Oscar and Cooper, lovers for many years (Bismarck, many years ago)

And how she truly, deeply loved Oscar and wailed for 3 months after we said goodbye to him.

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more Oscar & Cooper shenanigans in Bismarck

Her peaceful presence is missed and our numbers are dwindling.

Its not easy.

Its not sparkly.

Its not something we wanted to do.

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More Oscar & Cooper moments

But its our deal with the animals- donate your reproductive organs at the door and get along and we will give you the best life we know how, with ample food, special treatments, voices, accents, dances, cuddles and kisses.

As good as we can for as long as we can.

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Oh, Coopie!

And more things change around the farm on a daily basis and we know we have some more sadness to handle up ahead.

But not just yet.

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Boomer, Cooper and Oscar a couple of years ago

I have visited the Everything Changes theme before and I think more and more it is why we live our lives in Fyfe Style.

We make the most of every morning together and enjoy the heck out of our days, our animal companions, our golf game, our friendships, our garden and each other.

We work hard so that we can play hard.

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Little Chorney with big sister Cooper… together again.

Because you don’t always know what’s up ahead and we want to be able to look back and remember the wonderful times together- not the things we didn’t do, or the words that were never said.

We want to help our neighbors and love our homes and land and be good people who do good things.

Even if it isn’t pretty.

Or it isn’t sparkly.

Or maybe its challenging and difficult and sometimes it makes us cry.

RIP, Cooper. We’re glad you’re back with Oscar.

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Cleo & UB in Bismarck

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Fun indigo tomatoes in Bismarck!

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How I will remember Cooper-and-Mummy time… RIP, dear Coopie. We miss you.

Milestones and Memories

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From our whale watching on Maui this past January

We just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary!

Talk about your milestones!

While I never had any doubt about our future together back in 1994 when I met Alistair, I know there were a few doubters.

I can’t blame them. I was 21 and he was divorced with a couple of kids.

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Eloping in Watford City, ND, 1996

As Sinead O’Conner sang, “how could I possibly know what I want when I was only 21?”

I guess I just did.

So we eloped on a day 2 of our best friends couldn’t come but they gave Alistair a couple of hours off from the pager and another friend could watch the kids and his nurse, who was a pastor at a strange church had the time to marry us and that was that.

19 years ago.

Of course we had the infamous skating wedding a couple of months later which included our families and friends and the 2 friends who missed the first one (on the left in the picture!) and a brave bridal party in spandex and on ice skates.

(The gentleman playing the bagpipes and our Justice of the Peace didn’t wear skates.)

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Photo op for the paparazzi

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Happy hubby and wifey, Sept.14th, 1996, Grand Forks arena

Getting married, whether its your first, second or third time is a major milestone in one’s life.

In fact, much of life is a series of milestones. What we make of them at the time, who came along for the ride, and how we look back on them is what frames us today.

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Alistair’s father, Alan, my groom, his ‘little’ brother, Ian and my dad back in 1994

My series of milestones themselves isn’t much different than anyone else’s although my timelines may have been shorter.

First job. First car. First kiss. First boyfriend. First breakup. First crying-on-the-phone-thinking-its-the-end-of-the-world-please-lets-not-break-up. First moment of realizing my own self worth. First apartment. First time juggling 2 jobs and college. First love. First engagement. First ice show. First time breaking someone else’s heart. First skating club of my very own. First boyfriend who shares your world view. First horse wreck and subsequent first broken bone. First time playing house. First step kids. First kitty and ferret. First grand theft auto. First marriage. First degree. First year vet school. First clinic of my own. First time getting 2 tractors and one truck stuck. First Dog Days of Summer. First trip to Hawaii. First time to stand up and make a choice with tremendous consequences for the community and the animals in your care because its the right thing to do. First swing of a golf club. First blog. First book.

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That fateful morning with Alistair & Lynn before the first swing of those borrowed golf clubs!

Every first is accompanied by anticipation, fear, excitement, worry, angst and questioning.

“What if I can’t hit the golf ball?” (I didn’t much of the time).

“What if I can’t care for a pet?” (No problemo).

“What if I can’t find anyone else to love me?” (I did. And its real.)

“What if people are mad at me?” (They might have been but then they were supportive when they saw me smiling brighter, looking healthier and happier than I had in years… and they bought my book.)

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Koshka, my first cat. xoxo

Having Alistair by my side through several of these milestones has certainly been a huge boost.

Its frightening making changes that affect yourself, let alone ones that affect several animals in your care or all of the animals in your community.

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Ah… Seeley Swan Veterinary…

Perhaps part of the reason we still like to wake up in the mornings together after so many years is because of our mutual respect for, and support of one another.

Its not like we instantly think each others’ ideas are wonderful or perfect.

Like when he wanted to get alpacas and llamas for packing in the mountains.

One milestone we didn’t need to get past.

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I actually quite like alpacas. It just don’t think we need any of our own.

Some milestones, like our anniversary, are fantastic, happy occasions that deserve celebration and recognition.

We played 18 holes of golf that afternoon and enjoyed a wonderful supper at beautiful Holland Lake Lodge that night.

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Enjoying a drink on the lawn in front of Holland Lake Lodge, one of our favorite places to hang out.

It was fun to dress up and visit with the owner and allow ourselves some special time together.

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Cleaned up not badly! So excited with my bling (www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/tanyafyfe)

And then there are shared milestones you don’t want to even think about. The ones that don’t warrant any mention at all, let alone a fancy supper and a sparkly necklace.

Milestones that shape us no differently than the terrific ones because they still touch us and are still a part of our memories and who we are.

Like the one coming up with dear Cooper.

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Cooper-Cat, a few years ago with one of her many collected Garter snakes in Bismarck.

Cooper has been a Fyfe fixture for 19 years. She found our root cellar in Creston and moved right into our hearts and home.

She was an adult then so she is at least 20 years old.

At least.

I’ve asked her about her age but she’s always been coy about the subject.

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Cooper enjoying a snowy spring morning in Montana

So its no surprise to know we will be saying goodbye to her soon but it still sucks.

And makes those pesky tears well up in my eyes yet again.

2015 has been hard on our animal companions.

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Coopie and I just last year

And while her story is for another time, I must face the fact that our time together is coming to an end.

I will do all of the things I have counseled clients and friends to do- watch how much she is eating; monitor for signs of pain or discomfort; palpate; see if she still wants to do her usual things; watch for signs from the other cats.

And I know what she doesn’t have because I’m a good little scientist and I’ve ruled them out.

But I strive to be a good Mummy, too, which is why I’m going to have to talk to that damned vet inside of me very soon.

And make The Decision.

One more milestone.

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Happier things

Until then I will enjoy each day I have with Cooper and all of our aging companions at Fyfe’s Farm for Wayward Pets and Unwed Mothers.

Each day is a gift.

And every opportunity to reach another milestone is a gift as well, regardless of how we choose to deal with it.

As with all of my milestones, they have made me the woman I am and I am richer for each and every one of them.

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It was carrot cake and it was yummy and I’m smiling at the memory! xo

Many Makeovers

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Snowy, icy footprints several mornings ago

I haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks but only because my journey has taken me on some different paths lately.

Paths through snow, ice, mud, puddles, and grass- over fairways, greens, ski hills, highways and into dog kennels-  with pets, hubby, parents, friends, bling-buyers, and veggie-lovers…

It has been a busy time!

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Late winter morning on the ranch a couple of weeks ago

This time of year is filled with change as Mother Nature begins a complete makeover of herself.

The beautiful snow-covered fields criss-crossed with snowmobile tracks and dog paw prints are becoming wet and brown and, in places, a bit green.

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The last time the snowmobiles got used this season… for a photo shoot with Mouse, Jockey and Alistair

We saw our first robin the other day from our bubbling hot tub.

We’re starting to have warmer days with sunshine and less frost on the decks and trucks in the morning.

We have driven to Helena and Missoula a couple of times to play golf because our local course is still covered in its winter white blanket.

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Great times playing golf at the end of February in Helena!

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A couple of days ago in Helena

Golf one day, skiing the next.

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We got out skiing at least once this winter!

Adventures during the great outdoor makeover are happening on the heels of our animal companions adjusting to the family-dynamic makeover of where they all fit without Harry and Mulder.

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Good old Casey!

Casey continues to be Casey- a jumping, panting, food-gobbling, dog-with-unilateral-paralyzed-larynx kind of guy.

He’s happy. Very happy. Always happy.

And bouncy. Very bouncy.

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Cleopatra… working those Spaniel eyes of hers!

Cleo stays outside all of the time now to keep Casey company.

We intend to bring them both in but not until we’ve arranged a couple of baths.

Talk about needing a makeover!

Cleo is a digging fool in the springtime and she brings home many ‘discoveries’…

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Trying her best to look innocent…

When the forest is your backyard and you have dogs, you’re going to see some anatomy.

Loki is doing well despite her really bad left eye… Boomer has nailed her so many times it isn’t even funny.

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Loki and her ulcerated, trying-to-heal left eye…. navigating the great outdoors!

I have her on topical antibiotics all of the time as well as twice-daily anti-inflammatories.

Loki seems to be able to navigate better outside with the brighter days, just like she did last spring and the spring before that.

And my smile widens and the skin by my eyes crinkles as I watch all 15 pounds of her snort and bustle and trot down towards the geldings or over towards the barn with a confidence that defies her blindness.

And UB is her seeing eye dog and he’s doing great.

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UB, showing off his exceptionally tight buns!

Especially when he finds limbs or jaw bones or spines just like his big sister, Cleo!

The cats are hanging in there. No makeovers necessary.

I mean, I would love to shave most of Boomer and Cooper because neither of them are grooming much anymore at 19 and 19-plus years of age.

But Boomer still prances to see me, bitching loudly when there are no ice cubes in the water dish or when she deems that it is time for soft food (with her crushed-up methimazole in it).

We’ve discovered that Cooper is deaf.

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Cooper, ten or eleven years ago… her age is a mystery

It doesn’t bother her or anybody else as far as we can tell.

And the ferrets and the rest of the feline Fyfes are as good and bright and mischievous as ever.

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A trio of trouble!

The little shoe-thieves all had showers with me yesterday and the cage had its monthly makeover so they are all sparkly clean and cucumber-melon scented once again.

My folks are having a kitchen makeover done up in Canada right now so they came to visit for a few days.

They brought my 88-years-young Nan along and she loved playing with the animals again.

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Nan back on the farm

And we got a golf club back into Dad’s hands and he joined us for a morning of chipping practice and laughing in our front yard where Mother Nature was in the midst of her snow-melting, grass-awakening, tree-budding, dog-poop-uncovering, sky-warming, horse-shedding makeover.

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Fyfe’s Frontyard Pitch & Putt

And all of this is while I’m leaping into another adventure of my own.

This adventure began a couple of months ago when I innocently bought some pretty bracelets during an online ‘PopUp’ hosted by a friend in South Dakota.

They’re very sparkly and I love them.

And I had a great experience during the online event and I got researching things.

And I talked with Alistair and I laid awake at night and I hiked with the dogs and I researched some more and I wrote in my journal and I wondered and I dreamed and I smiled and Alistair smiled and I was interviewed and accepted and I made it happen.

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Chloe & Isabel bling! Bling-bling-bling-bling-bling! 🙂

And I am now a Merchandiser with Chloe & Isabel- a 4 year-old, progressive, women-centered, supportive, wonderful, direct-sales jewelry company!

I am thoroughly enjoying the learning, friendship and camaraderie (not to mention the fabulous bling!)

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My first PopUp at Jessi’s… our animal theme was perfect as she was my veterinary assistant when I had my clinic

I’ve had 3 PopUps (time-limited, on-site events showcasing the beautiful, well-made jewelry where Hosts can earn free bling and everyone has fun) and my Hosts have earned $100 and $200 in free goodies! (thanks, Jessi, Emily and Cindy!)

The company encourages online PopUps and sales and I’m loving planning my first online event. I have a boutique anyone can order from at any time (www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/tanyafyfe) and I am fitting this new adventure into my farm-running, animal-cuddling, hubby-loving, golf-playing, book-marketing, sequel-writing, veterinary-journal-reading, hiking, blogging, treadmilling life.

I did worry, though.

I worried that some might frown upon the fact I spent 8 years to become a doctor and now I’m slinging bling.

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Dr.Fyfe… 8 or 9 years ago with one of the luckiest kitties in the world (cat vs. farm implements usually don’t turn out very well but this one did!)

But anyone can attest to my love of sparkly things and gorgeous jewelry. I used to design dresses for skating and real life when I was younger, doodling in every note book I had.

(I also designed houses but I’m going to hold off on an architecture path just now…)

I don’t consider this adventure a makeover of myself, though.

Its another addition, or facet of Me.

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Another part of me (1992!)

The dorky kid became the skater became the wife became the horse breeder became the veterinarian became the golfer became the business owner became the author became the entrepreneurial jewelry Merchandiser.

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Cleo and her veterinarian Mummy

I have been and continue to be all of these things.

Each facet helps the others and keeps me busy and smiling and sometimes these different worlds collide and that’s even more fun!

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Ah yes… convincing the bridal party that skates weren’t optional 🙂 Love these guys! (1996, Grand Forks, BC)

(Incidentally, my friend, Abby, whose online PopUp I bought the bracelets from is a former figure skating student of mine… colliding worlds, indeed!)

The makeovers that surround me continue as ever and I will continue to grow and change and try to always be a better Me.

A better wife, daughter, friend and pet-Mummy.

And bling-slinger.

Happy. Very happy. Always happy.

If you’re interested in hosting an online or in-person PopUp, even if we’ve never met, let me know. (Yeah, its shameless self promotion but what are you going to do?)

Happy Spring!

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Hubby, Dad and I enjoying some springtime front yard golf

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Yay, Spring!

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The road leads where it leads

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My newest adventure! Check it out!

The Unlikely Crazy Cat Lady

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I’m not sure which is the most unlikely thing about me- the fact I’m a veterinarian or a ‘crazy cat lady’.

We didn’t have any pets growing up and, to be honest, I didn’t like animals.

Dogs smelled ‘doggy’. Cats seemed stuck up. Anything else wiggled or moved funny.

We couldn’t really have pets because we were travelling almost every weekend from fall through spring for figure skating and my brother’s hockey. I understood that and never questioned it. Looking back, it would have been difficult to have given a pet the love and companionship it would have needed.

I never took the time, though, when visiting friends and family, to get to know animals.

Especially cats.

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I didn’t know how they could purr and cuddle and head-butt their way into your heart. I didn’t know anything about how they would know if I was sad or not feeling well, and how they would instinctively sit on my lap or next to me during those times.

I didn’t know how intelligent they were.

Or how great it felt to come home to a bunch of cats seemingly happy to see me.

Or the comfort of sitting on some hay bales with a purring kitty on either side as we all soak up some sunshine.

Or what unconditional love felt like.

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I was, perhaps, a bit of an overly independent kid but I had to be like that,moving away at 12 years of age for months at a time, training for hours on end in an individual sport like figure skating.

So I don’t blame the old Tanya. I get where she was coming from.

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If anything, I feel kind of sorry for her.

But the old Tanya became the new Tanya.

Thankfully, a person can change.

It happened 20 years ago when we lived in sleepy Watford City with our golden retriever, Mitch. We weren’t looking for a kitten.

My step kids brought a white ball of wide-eyed, long-haired, purring kitten-fluff home from the neighbors and placed it on my chest.

I loved her immediately and named her Koshka.

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Koshka taught me so much about cats, even though she was mostly like a little person who lived with us.

Koshka’s little brother, Malchek found us a year later. Although he brought ear mites to everyone (Mitch, Koshka, the ferret…. you can imagine how fun it is to medicate those tiny ferret ears!) we adored him, too.

The neighbors had another batch of kittens (you would think people would figure it out) and Alistair and I took them to our farm. The other alternative, according to the neighbor, was the lake. In a bag.

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I learned all about barn kitties and hunting and dead mice and getting along and watching out for tractor tires. 2 of that batch made the move inside after a tragedy involving antifreeze and the loss of Kosh and Mal.

I learned, for the first time, how my heart could break over such a tremendous loss.

I learned that veterinarians sometimes overlooked what was right for the pets when faced with a sobbing doctor’s wife.

I learned that there are some things I will never forgive myself for.

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Thankfully, I learned how Oscar and Boomer could help me through that grief.

Enter Chorney and Cooper soon afterwards. Beautiful black cats with unique personalities and needs. I learned how a cat like Oscar would take care of a crying kitty (Chorney) through the night.

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I learned that cats can have their own lovers over the years.

Oscar and Cooper disproved the notion that only humans and dolphins will mate for love. They were both ‘fixed’ at young ages but Oscar would still ‘scruff’ Cooper and there you have it.

Cooper mourned Oscar’s loss in January, painstakingly howling for hours during the day.

And all night long.

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She is only now getting through it.

I have chosen to not get ‘over’ my animal companions as we have lost them over the years. Like Cooper, I am getting through the loss of Oscar.

Special Agent Fox Mulder Fyfe wandered onto our farm in Bismarck. I only fed him because I didn’t want the scruffy, beat up, limping, scrappy, orange ragamuffin to die with an empty stomach.

But he kept eating.

And eating.

“What do we do?” I asked Alistair, after he ate 2 cans of soft food in a row.

“Give him another,” he replied.

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His Royal Highness Sport joined our family when one of Alistair’s nurses acquired an allergic-to-cats-husband.

I think she contemplated choosing Sport but in the end we adopted our very first Siamese cat.

Which is a whole different type of cat.

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If you have been around Siamese cats before, you are nodding your head.

Or shaking it.

Or you’re crawled into a fetal position saying ‘no, no, never again’…

Jinxie, a petite, de-clawed, spayed tuxedo lovebug showed up/was dropped off at our farm. She had a habit of getting into open vehicles and driving off with them.

Maybe that’s how she ended up on our farm.

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The Schwan’s guy, Kyle, almost tipped the big yellow truck when she crawled out from under his seat, rubbing her black & white tail against his bare legs one time. She flew out the window as he swerved (likely screaming) and then spent 2 hours getting her from the ditch and bringing her home.

Cartman and Bebe were next, which is when things started to get out of hand.

I had only told my stepkids about the kitties ‘down the road’ because I wanted them to slow down when they were driving there.

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Not bring me more kittens.

Then Mama Cat showed up/was dropped off. It took me 2 litters to catch and spay her but our barn community is full of life thanks to her ‘kids’, Georgia and Mouse.

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They were joined for 3 years by a client’s cross-eyed female Siamese I was supposed to euthanize because they were moving.

Enter Mae Mae.

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Our most recent addition is Jockey- probably a Siamese cross- who moved in with Alistair in North Dakota after he left our neighbors there. Alistair felt bad leaving him when he would come to Montana so he brought Jockey here.

He is, by far, the largest cat on the place.

Clumsy and reckless but endearing and funny, Jockey fits right in.

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Through all of the additions we have had our share of losses: Cartman, Chorney, Mae Mae, Mamma Cat, Jinxie, Hissy Phitt, (Mouse & Georgia’s brother) and, of course, Oscar.

I know a lot of people think we’re insane sharing our world with so many felines but I feel richer for it.

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They helped me get through vet school on cold, lonely, exhausting evenings after learning, palpating, operating, studying and studying some more.

They have been there without judgment or scorn on days when I get the tractor stuck, or I can’t get a vehicle started, or I have no hot water for close to a month, or the snow falls, endlessly, for weeks.

They were always there after sad days at the vet clinic.

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And they’ll continue to be here for me and I will be here for them. Its our little trade-off.

That, and donating their reproductive organs at the door.

And getting along.

And not being Phantom Piddlers.

This is how I grew and eventually changed and said goodbye to the old Tanya. I became an unlikely but very happy Crazy Cat Lady.

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