Mikenna's Quirks
  • You are my sunshine

    The last song I ever sang to Koo was "You are my sunshine". Matt pulled up a version with verses - I legitmately didn't know they existed. The first one in particular feels relevant.

    The other night dear, as I lay sleeping
    I dreamed I held you in my arms
    But when I awoke, dear, I was mistaken
    So I hung my head and I cried.
    You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
    You make me happy when skies are gray
    You'll never know dear, how much I love you
    Please don't take my sunshine away
    If you need me, I'll be in the corner sobbing. (Half joking)
  • To the end of the line

    To the end of the line

    I brought Koo home yesterday. I've got her in my desk hutch, along with her paw prints. There's a glass door in front of the hutch, because Aery goes through periods of deciding that my desk is an AWESOME place to knock things off of, so I want to keep these things safe from silly kitties.

    It was a relief to bring her home, because now all the crappy stuff is over with. What is left of her physical body is here with us, and it will always be. I don't have to worry about her anymore, whether she needs me, whether she's hungry or lonely or in pain. Don't get me wrong, I would rather have her here. But I would want her here whole, not how she left us. So this is the consolation prize in a way.

    Bleh. I'm not sure I'm writing coherent words here.

    Anyway, I want to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who has been kind to us in one way or another about Koo this last week. I wish to the heavens that I could undo everything, but having so much support and love poured out to us has really meant a lot. More than I can actually express.

    I guess from here, we start picking up the pieces.

  • Spectral Canine Sightings on the Rise?

    Spectral Canine Sightings on the Rise?

    Matt wrote this little piece. I liked it so much (ie: it made me cry) that I asked him if I could stick it on here. I like the thought that Mikenna is out there giving joy and love to people.

    Reports of paranormal pooch activity began rolling in during the evening hours of November 11th, 2016.

    "I was sitting on the couch, listening to the transistor radio, when I hear some animal running up and down my hallway," said local sommelier Joanne Whittaker. "I got up to see if I had raccoons or something, but instead there was this little white dog. As soon as she saw me, she stopped and looked up at me, tail wagging. I took a step toward her and she started running up and down the hall again, three or four times, before stopping in front of me. When I reached down to pet her, she started again. We did this three or four times before she just vanished. It was so bizzarre."

    "She seemed like a good dog," said Whittaker.

    A similar story comes from high school teacher Devadas Singh, who reported seeing a small white dog thrashing around on his bed with a chew toy. "It was adorable. And weird. She looked excited to see me, though. Nice dog. Good dog."

    Perhaps the most touching anecdote comes to us from Patricia Simon, owner of Patti's Books and Trinkets:

    This year has been incredibly hard for me. My youngest went away to college, my wife broke both her legs in a trapeze accident, and I've been fighting with my insurance company over a tree that fell on my house. Add to that a workday that was slightly more stressful than normal, followed by coming home to discover that the furnace had stopped working, and I just lost it. I crawled into bed and started bawling.

    Almost immediately, I heard the patter of tiny paws enter my room and felt something hop onto the bed. To put it mildly, I was shocked to see a small ghostly dog making her way toward me. She gently-but-firmly nudged my hands away from my face and started licking my tears. When I tried to roll over, she just climbed on top of me and kept going, her tail wagging furiously. Before long, I couldn't help myself and burst into laughter (and I'm pretty sure some dog tongue got in my mouth). This little dog had come out of nowhere and made it her sole mission to make me smile again!

    When I calmed down, she flopped on her back with her head on my pillow and looked at me. If I started to get choked up again, she gently licked the tip of my nose. Eventually, she burrowed under the covers and I fell asleep with her in my arms. When I woke up the next morning, she was gone.

    What a good dog.

    Dog experts at the Imzy Herald have pored over dozens of accounts and determined that the dog in question was a West Highland White Terrier. If you, or someone you know, has an encounter with this exceptional spirit, please write us a letter or send a telegram!

  • When the dog won't sleep

    When the dog won't sleep

    Mikenna is, and always has been, a very opinionated dog. There have been many nights that she has decided it is time for bed. Rather than going to bed, she'll sit at my feet and stare, followed by soft whine, and then pacing and letting out short, demanding barks. This dog looooooves her sleep.

    Except, in the past few months, she's had more than enough rough nights for me to be, well, annoyed.

    There are, of course, sleepless nights where I certainly can't blame her. If she eats the wrong food or drinks way too much water and winds up with an upset stomach, well, all you can do is wait that out. She had a couple rough nights this summer because she'd caught an upper respiratory infection. And if I forget to fill her water bowl before bed, well, that's just my fault.

    I still can't decide how much of her night behavior has been my fault, and how much is on her. At eleven years old, it's certainly not unheard of for dogs to get their days/nights mixed up, or to have aches keep them awake.

    However, it seems like the overall trend started when I switched her dog treats to something she really liked. I usually give her a treat before bed, because with her stomach issues, it helps if she isn't completely empty. Well, one whiny night, I got up, gave her a second cookie, and then stumbled back to bed. That seemed to catch on, and in a chicken-or-the-egg conundrum, I'm not sure whether she was restless, or she started waking herself up and thinking, "COOKIE TIME!'

    Usually, I can figure out what Mikenna wants. But when getting me out of bed once for a cookie started becoming two or three times for unknown reasons*, I began to panic. I'm not a person who does well on consistently bad sleep! (*She would sit in her 'cookie' spot, so I tend to think that's what she wanted, but she's never been an incessant cookie beggar before. I refused to believe she was trying to get me up 2-3x a night for cookies.)

    I ended up deciding to give her melatonin. I did research before doing this, and I STRONGLY recommend you do yours, as well. Mikenna is in good health, but don't do this to your dog without verifying that your dog is, too.

    She's cleared for a dose of up to 1.5mg, but right now, I've got her on 1 mg per night, and that is working well enough, so I don't see any reason to up it. I can't tell you what happens from her perspective, but it seems to help her settle down, without noticible grogginess.

    If her feline sister decides to misbehave at 3 am, Mikenna will react. If Mikenna can't find her ball and thinks she needs it, she has no problem hopping out of bed to go grab it. But, giving it to her 30-45 minutes before I go to bed has her hopping into bed and zonking out pretty fast.

    I don't like 'drugging' her, and I'm not sure whether I'm going to continue this for an extended period of time, or take her off of it in a few weeks and see how she does. But I appreciate the uninterrupted sleep, and she loves getting her piece of cheese at night. (And she hasn't seemed to notice that I stopped giving her a cookie right before bed)

  • But she won't sleep!

    But she won't sleep!

    Recently, I had to switch Mikenna's food, because we found out that there's oatmeal in what she's been eating - oatmeal being the one thing I can actually pinpoint her being allergic to. Dog food not being required to tell you when they change their ingredients is the bane of my existence. Discovering the oatmeal was a really good "aha!" moment, because she'd been having a lot of pukey days in the last couple of months, and I was scratching my head as to why. I chalked it up to her mysterious sensitive stomach and/or allergies and/or stress. Those could still be relevant, but the oatmeal seemed like a big culprit.

    So, we picked up a new food for her, and I even attempted to wean her for a couple of days.

    Then the whining began.

    Now, I'll be honest, our dog is weird. She's also kind of clingy. Sometimes she decides that she needs to get up in the middle of the night for water, and that she can't go alone. So she whines until I wake up and follow her to the kitchen, she drinks, and we shuffle back to bed. But this happens maybe a couple times a month.

    So the first night she got me up every half an hour for five hours, I thought, man, this dog has too much energy, this is terrible. I've got to start wearing her out.

    I started taking her for walks again, which is a good thing for both of us. I stopped last summer due to anxiety. I know it sounds counter intuitive. But I got it in my head that she probably had westie lung disease, so taking her for walks and seeing her pant was terrifying. Anxiety is horrible.

    When she conked out the first night, after her walk, I was thrilled. Problem solved! But then she got me up in the middle of the night for food. I can deal with that. But about an hour after that, the whining started, and at one point, I woke up to Matt holding Mikenna, attempting to burp her.

    Let me say again - our dog is weird. She does, occasionally, get burps 'stuck' and requires some assistance. But even in my sluggish sleep state, I thought, huh. she's been needing to be burped a lot lately. And then I smashed my head into the pillow and that was that.

    The lack of sleep started to take a toll on everybody - and Mikenna was having a difficult time jumping up on things that normally aren't a problem for her. We've got furniture that's pretty low to the ground to be westie-friendly anyway, so the fact that she was having problems with those concerned me. But she is almost eleven, so it wasn't outside the realm of possibility that her joints had caught up to her.

    Through a couple more rough, sleepless nights, I figured out that Mikenna didn't seem to be getting up just for kicks, she seemed genuinely distressed. So I started running through the list of everything that could possibly be wrong with her, and fixing what I could. The room wasn't too hot or too cold, and the fan wasn't blowing on her. She had food, had water, didn't need to pee, but had peed recently enough that she wasn't dying from not being able to pee. Wasn't constipated. Had her favorite toy with her.

    I remedied everything I could possibly think of, and still she whined. Then we had the really bad night. She whined. She needed to be burped. She still whined. She paced. She drank water. She sighed. She panted. She whined whined, whined. There was nothing I could do for her, she looked so uncomfortable, and I felt so helpless, exhausted, and depressed.

    Then, in the wee morning hours, the room began to smell. Mikenna was conked out on her side, breathing normally. I poked her belly, which was soft.

    It all clicked.

    Usually, when food disagrees with Mikenna, we see it in puke or poop. It's the reality of caring for a dog with a sensitive tummy - you get real friendly with both ends of them. This food wasn't just making her need to burp, it was making her bloated and gassy. She was not feeling good.

    Sure enough, when I switched her back to her old food, she calmed down. She started running and jumping, hopping up on the bed with no difficulty. Most importantly, she slept comfortably through the night. No whining.

    She had a vet appointment to bring her up to date on her shots, and the vet praised her health. Her heart and lungs are strong, her hips are great, her eyes are cataract-free, and she looks much younger than her age.

    I know this is far more doggy information than most of you will care about. But I hope that someone, somewhere, can relate. Parents of small children get to bond over their kids keeping them up at night, so I want the animal parents to know - you are not alone.

  • Love


    This is basically what Mikenna does when Matt comes home from work. She bounces around until she is allowed to give him kisses. If he lays down on the bed, she'll snuggle up with him for a little bit. (Time determined by her mood. Sometimes it's a couple minutes, sometimes it's quite a while.)

    I love my goofy girl, and I love that she loves Matt.

    I've been super busy lately writing letters, cleaning like a fiend, and trying to bounce back from a lingering cough. Hopefully there will be somewhat intelligent content sometime in the near future.

  • Mikenna and the thundershirt

    Mikenna and the thundershirt

    Mikenna's always been leery of thunderstorms. She'll wind up sitting on my head if one rolls through in the middle of the night. But this spring, she ended up home alone during a pretty nasty storm. Ever since, she's been super storm phobic. A lot of panting, whining, and she shakes so hard that I'm surprised that she doesn't vibrate herself off of my lap or the bed.

    We bought her a thundershirt for her birthday, and I have to say, I'm really impressed with it so far. She seems less bothered by storms up until there's a 'big boom' of thunder. But she recovers a lot faster, and her overall anxiety level seems much, much lower. Once something jars her, she's more alert, but she doesn't necessarily need to be attached to me, which is pretty significant.

    As I write this, we're at the tail end of another storm, and she's laying by herself on the chair next to my desk. Every once in a while she raises her head to check the window. But she's not clinging to me. She's not panting. She's not whining, and she's not shaking. Before it 'got loud' outside, she was willing to sit in the window, and even eat food.

    It doesn't hurt that she's ridiculously cute in her little shirt, either. I told her during the thunderstorm that hit in the wee hours of this morning that everyone needs a good piece of armor, and this thundershirt is hers.

  • Camera Shy

    Mikenna really likes my office chair...well, all the office chairs, actually. Lately, I've been coming home to find her snuggled up on there, rather than in the bedroom. I don't know why, because the bed is so much comfier and easier to get to. I decided that she must like the view from my chair better, since she can watch people.

    In her first year or two of life, Mikenna had about a bazillion pictures taken. Somewhere around year four, she decided that she'd had quite a lifetime of pictures already, no more, thank you. I don't blame her, exactly, but any time she sees the camera now, she turns her head in such a way that it looks quite coincidental...until you realize it happens every. single. time.

    Sometimes by accident, sometimes by luck, sometimes by amount of weird noises, I get her to look at me at the same moment the camera fires. But I'd been playing with my camera for a good half an hour by this point (not all pictures of her, in my defense), so she looks like a sad aspca ad here. Can't you hear Sara McLachlan now?

    Save this dog from her terrible, camera-wielding owner today.

    I wiiiill remember yooooou .... Will yooou remember meeeee?

    {Mikenna's turning 10 this month ... so to celebrate, I'm taking some pictures.}

  • You are my sunshine

    You are my sunshine

    Mikenna really likes sunshine. If I would live outside with her, I think she'd be perfectly happy.

    Our current apartment doesn't do much for sunshine, except in the bedroom. If I pull back the curtains in there though, it's not uncommon to find her sitting or sleeping in whatever patch of light she can get.

    As I write this, she's sitting behind me, whining at me because she wants to go sit in the bedroom, but doesn't want to be alone. That's Mikenna - very stubborn, lacking independence in almost everything.

    {Mikenna's turning 10 this month ... so to celebrate, I'm taking some pictures.}

  • How much is that doggy in the window?

    How much is that doggy in the window?

    Mikenna is a window sitter. We had to give the animals our cheapie storage ottoman to sit on, because otherwise, Mikenna would jump on our subwoofer to use as a seat. She still does, sometimes, but we try to block it off.

    She got an 'all over' hair cut a few days ago, but she doesn't like to sit still to get her paws/butt trimmed up, so I have to do that separately. I need to trim up her face, too...Always with the hair in her eyes.

    {Mikenna's turning 10 this month ... so to celebrate, I'm taking some pictures.}

  • She's got it right

    She's got it right

    Dreary day today. Looks more like 8 am than almost noon. Still, I think Mikenna's got the right idea.

    Also, how does she make those chairs look so comfortable? Lucky girl.