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The Importance of Spaying Your Pet

CAUTION: This is going to be a very long entry, as I’ve had a long, stressful week and I’m not good at breaking my thoughts down into fewer words. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I got my cat Gracie 7 years ago as of this August. A girl from school had a cat who had a litter of kittens, and she and her family were looking to find them homes free of charge. Me, being a cat lover, was all over that, naturally. Despite having 2 cats at home already, my 22 year old, carefree self thought another cat would be a wonderful addition. I was still in school and unemployed, but since I was already feeding and taking care of the other 2 cats financially I figured adding one more to the group wouldn’t be an issue. In that aspect, I was right. When Gracie got to be around 6 months old my mother was asking me when I was going to get her spayed. I looked into it, and it wasn’t exactly cheap. There were clinics around that did offer lower prices for the surgery, but I was just starting a new job (that didn’t exactly pay the best) and because she was a strictly indoor cat I decided to push it off. For the next couple of heat cycles the same topic came into question, and it was always the same logic- she’s not outdoors or around male cats that aren’t neutered, so it’s not a pressing issue. I was warned about the possibility of her being at a greater risks for certain types of female cancers (reproductive, mammary, etc.) when she became older, and even though I never, ever thought that was no big deal, I wasn’t particularly worried about it. After all, it was a risk, not a guarantee, and older cats tend to have some sort of ailment to cause them to pass away. I did look into it seriously about a year or two ago, when I finally seemed to have a stable income, but as I searched the internet for information I found a lot of risks about spaying an older cat, which worried me and turned me off to the idea.

Fast forward to last Saturday. I got up early to get ready for work, and from what I can recall Gracie seemed her usual self. Of our 2 cats, she’s the one that follows me around most, stays with me every night and therefore wakes up with me every morning. It was super early so I was rushing around trying to get ready (as is normally the case) and though I know she was there and I remember interacting with her before I left, I didn’t really notice her acting any differently. After work I came home, we ran to the grocery store, cooked dinner, and I went out to take advantage of Memorial Day sales and bought a new bed. It was a pretty busy day, so I didn’t have time to notice in the midst of everything that Gracie had been hiding. That night my boyfriend and I rented a movie, and as I always do, I went to look for Gracie so she could come in and cuddle with us. I checked every possible hiding spot she’s been known to be in, and when I didn’t see her there we got out the treats and shook them. Still no Gracie, which was the first time I realized something wasn’t right. She is always ALL OVER treats. I can’t even go into the cupboard we keep them in for something else without her showing up and waiting for a snack. We finally found her and carried her into the room, gave her a few treats, and she still showed no interest. She also seemed very quiet and just all around lethargic. She’s normally very energetic, affectionate, and VERY vocal. At this point it was very late on Saturday night. I googled a few local 24/7 vet hospitals and after getting an idea of their pricing ultimately decided to wait until morning to see if she seems better. I didn’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for something that could’ve been nothing. I hardly slept due to my worry and anxiety, and woke up early Sunday morning to check on her. She was still acting the same, so the process of finding a vet open on a Sunday (not to mention a holiday weekend) began. Google pointed me to the Banfield Pet Hospital which is located within Pet Smart stores. I remembered a coworker of mine using them for her dog and giving great reviews, so I figured that was my best bet. There’s a Pet Smart literally 2 minutes away from my house, so instead of calling I decided to just pop in when they opened so I could ask questions and see if they had any openings. I also wanted to pick up some canned cat food since she usually prefers that over the usual dry food, and because she wasn’t drinking either I figured if I could get her to eat this it at least would give her some moisture.

I get there and explained my situation to the girl at the desk as best as I could. I hate to say it, as I didn’t have all that much interaction with her, but she wasn’t the friendliest. I didn’t see her do it, but I just felt like she was rolling her eyes at me the entire conversation. Anyway, she said they didn’t have an opening until the next day at 2pm, and from what I was explaining to her it didn’t sound like an emergency situation at the time as long as I could get her to eat and drink something that day. I took the appointment, bought my cans of food, and returned home. Gracie still showed no interest in the canned food, so at this point I was at a loss. Her appointment was in over 24 hours, and not knowing what was wrong with her I was worried she wouldn’t even make it to that point. Luckily my coworker suggested I try calling the Pet Smart she goes to. Despite it being 30-40 minutes away, I felt I had no choice. By some grace of God they had an opening that day, and shortly after I made that they called me and offered me an even sooner time after someone else cancelled. Needless to say we packed up Gracie and headed out there immediately. As I was putting her into the carrier, I noticed some discharge coming from her rear, which made me even happier to be getting her in ASAP.

When we got there we were pretty much taken in immediately. They did a standard exam- temperature, weight, blood work, etc.- as I explained her symptoms and my concerns. Because she wasn’t spayed, their first suspicion was an infected uterus. Her temperature was a bit raised as was her white blood cell count, which are both key indicators of an infection. They explained to me that the only cure was surgery, essentially an emergency spaying procedure, where they remove the reproductive organs. Spaying, while invasive, is a generally simple procedure. However, with her being sick, somewhat dehydrated, and the uterus being swollen due to the infection (aka pyometra), it made the surgery extremely risky (and therefore much, much more expensive than your average desexing opertation). I was able to sign her up for a monthly insurance plan they have, which cut a lot of the prices down, but I was still responsible for $60 that day, and $550 for her surgery. That was hard to swallow both emotionally and financially, but without the surgery she would’ve died within days. Because they were fairly certain at that point that it was a pyometra they did allow me to bypass having XRays done, which saved me $180. I was skeptical, but ultimately nixed them just in case something else went wrong and I needed the extra money. I’m convinced the Dr. we saw is a living saint. Not only did she come in early first thing the next morning to do the surgery (they just didn’t have the time that day), but it was also on a holiday. Since they don’t do overnight stays there, they sent her home with me with a prescription for antibiotics to start her on. This made me a nervous wreck. We knew what was wrong and had her set up the next morning for what needed to be done, but there was still no guarantee that she’d make it through the night. Giving her the medicine was no easy feat, either. They were out of liquid, so twice a day I have to basically shove a pill down the back of her throat and rinse it down with a syringe full of water.

The next morning we took her in at 7am and dropped her off. I pretty much slept in a couple 20-30 minute intervals the previous night, so by the time we got back after taking her I was exhausted. Even still, I couldn’t really fall asleep until they called, which was about 3 hours later. The Dr. explained that it was indeed a pyometra and that everything so far was going good. She was waking up from surgery, and they’d be keeping her until about 4:30 for monitoring and to keep her on an IV of fluids. I was elated. Even though there was still time for complications to arise, the hard part was over. I was really concerned about the anesthesia because she’s a really, really small cat. It turns out the discharge coming from her bottom was a good thing, as gross as it sounds. It meant the infection was draining a bit rather than filling up the uterus, which would’ve made it larger, harder to remove and far more prone to rupture and ultimately spreading the infection throughout her torso. We got so lucky in so many ways. At first I was thinking how the timing was so bad financially (we were on vacation less than 2 weeks prior, and I had just purchased a new bed) but the timing actually worked. I actually had the money in my savings to cover the cost of surgery, I was off work for Memorial Day and therefore able to take her in without worrying about calling off, and it didn’t happen while we were on vacation. She would’ve likely been dead before or soon after we got back if that were the case.

As soon as I got her home, she seemed almost like her old self. She was excited, meowing, and ate some canned food almost immediately. While this was very comforting, it was also worrisome considering I was told she’d probably be extremely lethargic and sleepy and may not regain her appetite until the next day. And here she was already trying to jump around on things, which isn’t good for her incision. We took her back in the next morning because the Dr. wanted to check her red blood cell count, which was a bit low before surgery, and it seemed to be rising back to normal. It’s been 4 days since her operation now, and pretty much everything has been going very well (knock on wood!). My main concern this week was that she didn’t poop despite the fact that she’s been eating regularly. Drinking has been a little more of a struggle, but she’s a little diva and tends to dislike drinking water out of bowls, haha. I was able to trick her by giving her ice water in a regular drinking cup, because I swear she only likes water if it’s coming out of the faucet or in a cup that I plan to drink. ๐Ÿ˜› When they called me to check up on her 2 days post-op I mentioned that she hasn’t pooped yet. They said her antibiotics, pain meds, and the fact she didn’t eat much prior to surgery would back her up, but if it doesn’t change in a couple of days to call them. When I still didn’t see anything in the litter box (besides pee) last night I set my alarm so I could wake up and call them as soon as they opened at 8 this morning. Sure enough, 2 hours prior to my alarm going off I was woken up to the sound of her digging around in the litter pan, and she pooped. I never thought I’d get so excited over my cat pooping (and simultaneously leaving a pile of litter on my floor) but I was elated and had to wake up my son and boyfriend to tell them the good news, lol!

Needless to say, she is doing excellent, and I couldn’t be happier. She’s not a fan of the e-collar she has to wear but she’s becoming more and more used to it. I know there are still freak complications that could arise, and we still have to make sure her incision heals properly without any issues, but for the first time I have nothing but hope and positive thoughts. Money is going to be tight for a while, and who knows how long it will take me to build my savings back up, but it is more than worth it to have my cuddly, sweet little Gracie with me and hopefully with me for at least the next 10 years. โค

For more information on Gracie's condition and for other risk factors of not spaying your pet, just google Pyometra. It's extremely dangerous, and fatal if it's not caught and dealt with immediately. Even if surgery is performed, there's still a chance they will not make it through the surgery and/or recovery. We were extremely lucky in that Gracie's liver, kidneys, and other organs were not yet damaged by her infection and lack of eating and drinking prior to the surgery. Moral of the story? Spay/Neuter your pets! Yes, it does prevent unwanted pregnancies, but there are several health benefits that string from having it done as well. You may think that $200-$300 seems like a lot at the time, but it’s far more affordable than a $700 emergency, high risk, surgery, and definitely more affordable than losing your pet.

May 30, 2014 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

got2b POWDER’ful Volumizing Styling Powder Review

I’ve been using the Big Sexy Hair Powder Play volumizing powder for a few years now. When I first discovered it, I was intrigued by it’s unique powder form initially, and later grew to love it due to it’s benefits for my hair type. The bad thing? It’s pricey, for a seemingly small amount of product. When I got the opportunity to try a new brand, especially one that retails for about half as much, I jumped at the chance! I’ve tried a few different styling products from got2b in the past, and they were always pretty decent. Beauty school taught me to try and stay away from “over-the-counter” brands of hair care products, however, sometimes that’s just not realistic financially. Especially the way I tend to go through them! I also noticed that got2b is made by Schwarzkopf, which also manufactures professional brands, so that puts me more at ease.

I have very straight, fine, thin hair. It tends to get greasy and fall limp rather quickly, and doesn’t hold volume for very long. Styling powders are perfect for someone with my hair type. They provide volume and hold without making my hair sticky, crunchy, or extra-greasy, and are lightweight enough that it doesn’t weigh my hair down more. I’ve been growing my hair out for a few years now, so my need for this product isn’t as high as it was when I had a short, layered bob cut, but I still use it pretty often just on my root area for a little extra lift. Not only does this product provide volume, but it can help add texture to layered and short hair styles. I usually will put about a quarter sized amount of powder in my hands and rub them together, then massage through my scalp right at the roots. Then I sprinkle a little bit right onto my roots in the center of my crown area and rub it in while lifting the hair up, because this is where I want the most volume and typically need the most help achieving volume. It’s a super quick and easy hair fix since it doesn’t really require any extra styling!

I still have some of my Powder Play, so I was able to compare it with the got2b POWDER’ful side by side. Honestly, there isn’t much of a difference! They felt the same, melted the same way when rubbed in my hands, and most importantly they gave me the same style results! If anything, the Big Sexy Hair Powder Play may be a bit more concentrated, and therefore heavy, but for someone with my hair type that isn’t necessarily a good thing. When you have thin, fine hair, the lighter the styling product the better! I’m definitely going to continue purchasing this product, and my hair and wallet couldn’t be happier!

To maximize the results of this product I recommend drying your hair with a round brush, lifting at the roots, prior to application (or at the very least, drying your hair with your head upside down) and finishing with a mist of lightweight hair spray for extra hold. If it’s really big hair you’re after, you can apply the product and then tease your hair for huge volume that will hold all day!

Check out my results, and keep in mind my hair naturally is extremely thin and therefore very limp and flat!

Note: I am a member of BzzAgent and was able to try this product for free in return for my honest opinion.

May 2, 2013 at 10:22 am 1 comment

Kinda Late…

I may not have blogged for a while, and January may be half over already, but I love me some memes to get me through my boredom. So, here is my 2012 wrap up!

1.What did you do in 2012 that youโ€™d never done before?
Nothing super special that I can think of at the moment. And if it’s not sticking out in my head, chances are it wasn’t very exciting. I did get to see Madonna in concert in November, which was cool. And considering that was apparently the first time she’s performed in Pittsburgh since 1985, that’s obviously something I’ve never done before.

2.Did you keep your new yearsโ€™ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t recall if I made any half-assed resolutions last year. If so, it’s safe to say I didn’t keep them. This year I planned on dieting (which lasted all of one lunch hour- but I WILL get back on the ball) and start saving money from each paycheck.

3.Did anyone close to you give birth?
I know several people that had babies, and my cousin had her daughter in August, but no one particularly close. I’m somewhat close with my cousin, but she lives 3-4 hours away so I don’t see her very often.

4.Did anyone close to you die?
Not in 2012, no. This year has been awful with people I know passing away and it’s only 17 days old!

5.What countries did you visit?
None. I didn’t even travel out of Pennsylvania. Sad.

6.What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
More peace of mind, and definitely a more stable income. And if you want to throw my own house in there, please do.

7.What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 6th was the Madonna concert, but I only remember the exact date because it was the same night as the presidential election, and she was all kinds of excited when she found out Obama was re-elected. Also 4th of July, only because I had a job interview the very next day that I felt really good about, and started my new job a few days later! ๐Ÿ™‚

8.What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Finally landing a new job after about 8 months of being unemployed. It’s not the best paying job in the world but I really do love it.

9.What was your biggest failure?
Probably my diet. I did start “dieting” in early June, and by August lost about 10 lbs. It’s not a huge accomplishment, but it was a start. Then came the holidays and while I luckily didn’t pack the lbs. back on, I’m still well above my ideal weight and my eating habits are back to crap.

10.Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope, not really.

11.What was the best thing you bought?
I can’t recall anything note-worthy.

12.Whose behavior merited celebration?
Mine, in the sense that I finally found a job and managed to work the crazy hours that came with another receptionist getting fired after a few months. They were still barely 40 hour weeks, but it was 6 days a week, which was tough.

13.Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Jon’s brother… such a sad, sad individual.

14.Where did most of your money go?
Food! Groceries can be expensive, not to mention a lot of the time we order out because I’m too lazy or tired to cook, haha. Plus, I’m not one for packing my lunch very often, so buying food at work took a toll on my bank account, too.

15.What events did you get really, really, really excited about?
I was excited to start my new job, to see Madonna live, and for all of the holidays!

16.What song will always remind you of 2012?
Probably “Broken” by Seether and Amy Lee, and “A Whole New World” from Aladdin- they became staple karaoke songs when we hung out with our friends, lol.

17.Compared to this time last year, are you:
i.Happier or Sadder? I’d like to think happier.
ii.Thinner or Fatter? Thinner, but still fat, lol.
iii.Richer or Poorer? Richer, but not rich by any means.

18.What do you wish youโ€™d done more of?
Spend time with Tyler. There’s always more time to be spent with your child!

19.What do you wish youโ€™d done less of?
Bitching. I tend to bitch about a lot, and even if a lot of the time it’s well-deserved, life’s too short to complain about everything.

20.How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas day me, Tyler, Jon, my mom, and my brother went to my other brother and his fiance’s apartment, along with her parents, for Christmas dinner. Jon and I left after a few hours and came back to my house to relax and watched Ted. ๐Ÿ™‚

21.Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
Either Jon or my Dad. I’m so not a phone person…

22.Did you fall in love in 2012?
No more than the past several years!

23. How many one-night stands?
None.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
I started watching a ton of TV shows this year, mostly thanks to Netflix, which is weird for me since I usually hate trying to keep up with stuff on TV. Dexter and Pretty Little Liars would probably be my favorites, but I also religiously watched Nip/Tuck, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Make It Or Break It, America’s Next Top Model, Californication, Girls, Revenge, The Voice, The X Factor, and multiple shows on the Food Network.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didnโ€™t hate this time last year?
I donโ€™t think so.

26. What was the best book you read?
None. Pathetic, isn’t it? I may have read some of “The Carrie Diaries,” but I can’t remember if I bought that in 2011 or 2012. Either way, I didn’t make it any further than chapter 5, and now that it’s a TV show I’ll probably just watch that to get my Sex and the City fix.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery or rediscovery?
Nothing, really. I haven’t heard anything on the radio this year that particularly got me excited. I won’t deny that I know the words to Justin Bieber’s two big singles… can’t lie, haha.

28. What did you want and get?
A job! ๐Ÿ™‚

29. What did you want and not get?
My own place, but that wasn’t to be expected this year.

30. What were your favorite films of this year?
I think I actually went to the movies once to see Titanic 3D, which wasn’t new… I can’t think of any new movies that I loved, either.

31.What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 27, and I honestly can’t remember what I did. Probably not much, to be honest.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Reaching my goal weight and/or finally moving into my own place.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Anything bright, colorful, animal print, and sparkly!

34. What kept you sane?
Jon, Tyler, and my kitties.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most/least?
The usual… Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera… my 3 all-time favorites!

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Meh… I’m not into politics. Yes, I care about my future and especially my son’s future, but I just cannot stand getting into it with people about something that once upon a time was personal. And I cannot stand when others get into it about political issues, either. Both parties end up sounding like complete morons.

37. Whom did you miss?
No one, really. I mean I always miss all of my family and friends that don’t live close, but it is what it is.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Hmm, I do love pretty much everyone that I work with. They are a great group of ladies, which makes the job that much easier. ๐Ÿ™‚

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
Persistance pays off! (In regards to my job hunt- I interviewed with the salon in May and got a call saying the position they were hiring for was no longer available since the girl who was leaving decided to stay. In July I noticed another ad posted on Craigslist so I called immediately, and it paid off!)

40. Do you have any lost feelings of others.
For others in general, yes. People seem to be getting crazier and crazier by the day.

Hope you all had a great 2012 (and holiday season, since I was too busy to even think about blogging in December) and much love and luck into the new year!

January 17, 2013 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

Chef Amy

Let me start out by saying that cooking and myself don’t go together unless it involves a joke or catastrophe. I’ve never really enjoyed cooking, and never was good at it unless it involved a microwave. Two humorous (or pathetic) times in particular come to mind; once I made a tomato/garlic/onion/basil pasta that tasted like dish soap thanks to my not rinsing the pan I had just washed enough, and the other time I actually managed to burn Easy Mac by putting it in the microwave for 33 minutes instead of 3 and a half minutes. While those times can more so be categorized under general stupidity rather than bad cooking, they still made people weary when I’d enter the kitchen with intent to prepare a meal, lol. Over the last year, I took it upon myself to make an effort to learn a little bit since I wasn’t working or doing anything, really. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to buying ingredients in general, especially meat. I’m always on a budget, so I buy cheap. If I see a package of meat that says “steak” on the label for $5-$6, I grab that shit up. Those of you that know anything about meat will know that it is pure crap, lol, but hey, it’s edible (kind of, haha). I’ve certainly come a long way. I still wouldn’t say I’m a great cook, but I can at least make a decent dinner for my family without it tasting like pure garbage.

Anyway, to get to my point, I made some damn good pork chops last night. I’m not really a huge fan of pork. I don’t hate it but it’s not usually something I’d buy over, say, chicken or beef. The grocery store was running a buy one, get one special so I couldn’t pass up getting two 5-count packs for under $9. Grilling is usually my preferred method of cooking meat, so I’ll do it if it’ll work. I looked online for some pork chop marinade/rub recipes but most of them included at least one ingredient that didn’t appeal to me, so I decided to take a little inspiration from a few of them and create my own on a whim. Thinking that it wouldn’t turn out to be amazing, I didn’t measure any of the ingredients I used and just kind of winged it on my own. I’m pretty certain that I’ll be able to come pretty close to it again the next time I make it, so when I do, I’ll try to remember to measure everything and post a real recipe. I used soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, water (I used a lot of soy sauce and didn’t want it to be super salty, so I diluted it a bit), brown sugar, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and almost an entire can of Coors Light (I’ll probably cut back on the water or not use it at all next time- I used it before I got the bright idea to throw in a beer, lol). I stirred it up, threw in the pork chops, and let it soak from about 2pm until about 9pm. They were sooo, sooo yummy! Tyler said that it kind of tasted like the teriyaki chicken samples they’re always offering at the mall food court, haha, and he was right. I was so proud of my little creation. Although, in all honesty, it’s very similar to a lot of marinade recipes out there. But the fact that I just threw in ingredients as they popped in my head without a strict recipe to follow in front of me made me proud, and I wanted to share, lol. ๐Ÿ™‚

August 8, 2012 at 7:06 pm Leave a comment

July 29th- Last Thing You Bought

The last thing I bought was frozen yogurt yesterday after work. There’s fro-yo places in the same plaza I work, as well as in the one across the street. Lucky for me yogurt is much healthier than ice cream, so I can indulge without the guilt! ๐Ÿ™‚ The one a few doors down is actually better than the one across the street because they use all greek yogurt, making it that much healthier and full of protein! Yesterday I got the fat-free strawberry and put granola in it. So yummy and low calorie- the perfect treat!

July 29, 2012 at 11:18 am 2 comments

July 28th- Cup

There’s a bar around here that serves these drinks called Bomb Pops, named after the red, white, and blue popsicles, and I love them. I think it’s just lemonade and UV Blue Raspberry vodka, but still one of my favorites. It does taste similar to the popsicles; at least the white and blue parts. If you’ve ever had Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade Koolaid (the light blue kind), that’s what they taste like. Yum!

July 28, 2012 at 7:14 am Leave a comment

July 27th- On the Road

I haven’t really driven anywhere exciting for a long time, so instead of posting a boring picture of me driving to the grocery store I decided to go with an “on the ocean” picture. ๐Ÿ™‚ This was from the cruise I went on in July 2007 (ugh, 5 years since my last real vacation!). We left from Ft. Lauderdale, FL with stops in Key West, FL and Cozumel, Mexico. I loved it, if not for the sun, relaxation, and gorgeous scenery, then for the buffets on the ship, lol.

July 28, 2012 at 7:09 am Leave a comment

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The Amy Blog

Hello, I'm Amy! I was born in '85 and live in Pittsburgh, PA. I became the mama of my wonderful son in 2004, and also own 3 kitties that I treat like children. I am a self-admitted cosmetics and beauty addict, but I also enjoy fashion, music, art, and am totally guilty of reading way too much celebrity gossip. :P

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