Groucho the tree…

Groucho is an indoor tree. In fact, he’s a Ficus…a very touchy Ficus. We knew he was sensitive from the moment we got him and we’ve been babying him ever since. When we moved, he moved ahead of time and spent time in the house and get acclimatized before the chaos started. Since then, he’s been in one spot, not moving because Ficus trees will drop their leaves if you move them across a room. Ours, Groucho, will drop his leaves if you so much as look at him the wrong way. Touchy.

So, it was with great horror that I saw he had worms. Big, fat, brown things that crawled over and around the top of his pot. I stirred the earth only to discover that these worms had friends…numerous friends.

We searched for a gentle worm-killer. One that wouldn’t hurt our sensitive tree (or our doggie) but strong enough to hurt the worms. We paid a ridiculous amount of money for the stuff and added it in to the dirt as per the instructions.

A week later, and the worms not only hadn’t diminished, they appeared to have multiplied. Back to the Green house we went and got something less delicate. Another week later and, while Groucho remained the same, the worms had tripled. They were so numerous some were crawling out of the pot and trekking across our floor in search of fresh pastures.

When I almost stepped on one, I reached my breaking point and told my hubby to throw the tree out. He told me not worry and said he’d ‘fix’ it. A day later, Groucho was back in our living room with new soil and a few less leaves. There wasn’t a worm in sight.

I was mystified. Yes, I was also delighted but I was mystified. What had he done?

Turns out my resourceful husband had taken Groucho, the ever sensitive tree, yanked it free of its pot, then dunked it in the frozen river that runs through our property to loosen the dirt. Once that was accomplished, he had grabbed it by its trunk and repeatedly smacked the roots against the snow-covered driveway to get rid of any remaining worms. Finally, he had emptied the pot, cleaned it, added fresh earth and repotted the stunned Groucho.

I heard this horror tale and I braced myself to see the tree die. But, the shocker was that, three weeks later, Groucho stood proudly in our living room, not a leaf out of place.

“I don’t know why you’re shocked,” my husband told me. “My careful treatment saved that tree.”

Mr. Green Thumb.



Two dogs + one vet = a whole lot of money

Lobo (our bullmastiff with severe anxiety) has been rubbing his eyes for a few weeks. Fearing an issue, we booked an appointment with our trusted vet. Since he’s not exactly Mr. Courage, we also brought along our akita for moral support. It made for quite the evening.
The ride alone is a joke. It involves two adults because Lobo won’t ride in the back of the car alone (not even with Ocean–the akita) so I have to go in there with them. Yes. I end up covered in drool, dog hair and basically have to go from the car to the shower and I also get a lot of funny looks at red lights…but what can you do.
So, off we went to the vet and got one of those answers I don’t like. I would have liked to have him say either of:
1. Your dog is going to die a painful, painful death unless you put him down right now.
2. Your dog is going to be fine for ever after if you use this tiny pill that only costs $10.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want my dog to die, but those options give me a clear, immediate choice that offers, if nothing else, closure. But, of course, our trusted vet didn’t say either one of those choices. Instead, he said: Lobo has a chronic dry eye condition that will get worse as he ages and that we can ‘manage’ (aka: keep from getting worse too quickly but will still get really bad) with these drops that are very expensive and that you have to put into his eyes 2 to 3 times a day each day while he squirms and tries to stop you. At the same time, he wanted us to give Lobo some expensive shots (anti-rabies, anti-lyme and basically anti-every virus on earth)…and he wanted to do the same to Ocean. Well, we did the shots (because our vet can talk an eskimo into buying a fridge and we’re concerned doggie parents) and paid $260 for the pleasure of his company.
Now, Lobo’s health-care routine involves cleaning his wrinkles, his ears, wiping his eyes, catching his drool after he drinks or anytime he’s scared (which is pretty much always) and putting drops into his eyes 2 to 3 times a day.
On the up side, he’ll try to destroy any progress we make by rolling around the dirt in the mud pit they’ve created, scratching his eye and sniffing every interesting rotting animal that he can find in the hopes of getting infected by some incurable disease. Why you ask? We’ve asked ourselves that same question when we watched him try to perforate his stomach by chewing on a stick and then swallowing the pieces. After years of thinking it over I’ve come up with a theory.
See, our two goofs are purebreds. Mother nature never intended for them to exist, let alone live to their ripe old age of 3.5 years. The fact that they’re alive is proof that, if you suspend any fiscal restraint, you can keep anything alive.
It all begs the question, why didn’t I go to vet school?