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Category: personal: pets

November 25, 2008

House Elf

House Elf at Home-7

House Elf at Home-4

Our lovely new kitteh House Elf is at home. She's constantly kneading in a little marching pattern with her front paws and she's always hungry, so she's spends all her time walking in a circle from the food bowl to the water bowl to the litterbox to us. Even while she's eating food her front paws keep up the marching pattern. I've tried to calm her down and cradle her, but her front paws keep moving and soon she's up on my shoulder looking for more road. As cute as it is, we're hoping that she'll feel more at ease soon.

We were worried when we were looking at cats that we were going to get one that was too threatening in size for our older cat Pirate. Given that Pirate is only a year old we still have an image in our head of the tiny little kitten we adopted. With our fist-sized House Elf, we now realize that our Pirate has grown up a bit. It's a bit mind-blowing to come home and feel like your cat ate the pantry while you were away.

House Elf and Pirate are both alumni of the Santa Clara Humane Society, which is just a treasure trove of wonderful pets waiting for a new home.


November 23, 2008

We can has nother kitteh

House Elf

Ninja, Pirate, and now House Elf. She's due home before Thanksgiving. We'll eat turkey and she'll get a dirty sock.

October 23, 2008

Pirate, almost as good as that other cat

After Josh sent me that video of the 'Ninja' cat, I had to let Pirate have her go. She did really well -- until I got the camera out. This is the best I got. As you can tell she was eager to charge the camera.

And, for comparison:

August 25, 2008

She is Ninja

Ninjas can warp time and spaceIn a display of her ninja-prowess, we just found out last week that our 1-year-old dog Ninja was never spayed. We -- and our vets -- had previously thought she was simply spayed improperly, but a more careful examination reveals no scar. More sophisticated ultrasound equipment was actually required to make the discovery as well as four trips and two attempted operations.

Ninja was also never microchipped, despite the tag around her neck that lists the number of the microchip that we now know is not inside of her. Some day another dog will show up on our porch and Ninja will greet her with a wink and a hug.

We're unsure what else to continue believing about our dog -- if that is her actual species -- but we're wise to her trickery now. We are still mystified as to how she evaded the original operation, but her records do leave some clues. There is a full medical chart for Ninja detailing the operation and mutliple followup checks. More careful examination reveals the method to Ninja's deception: she tricked them into spaying and microchipping her shadow.

The chart shows a photo of a dog remarkably similar to Ninja, except entirely black. A simpler explanation would be that they mistook Ninja for another dog at the shelter, but her continued evasion of all surgical procedures since then says otherwise. Ninja has such control over time and space that she is able to create a shadow of such detail that it is capable of being spayed. Amazing.

June 8, 2008

Pirate and Ninja, back from a night out drinking


May 5, 2008

Ninja is 1!

Ninja sleeps Ninja at 1

Our little girl is now one-year-old-ish. She's twice as big as when we got her eight months ago and a lot of that seems to have gone into her ears and snout. If her energy levels are any indication, she's going to be a puppy for quite awhile longer.

April 9, 2008

Ninja false pregnancy update

Our dog Ninja has been going through a "false pregnancy": she wasn't spayed correctly and apparently after a dog goes into heat, it thinks its pregnant regardless of the facts. Naturally, because there is a 'pregnancy', it is followed by a 'puppy': any object will do.

We were hoping that Ninja would adopt our kitten Pirate as her puppy and cement their odd relationship for eternity, but after several weeks we concluded that Ninja skipped this phase of bitch confusion entirely. We were wrong.

Ninja has had a habit of hiding in the bushes whenever I took her into the backyard these past several weeks. She would stand there and poke and prod things around for a few moments until I usually yelled at her to get out of there. Today, though, was time for her 'puppy' to have its first run of the yard. Ninja emerged from the bushes with a tennis ball in her mouth; she had been such a good mother to it these past several weeks.

March 27, 2008

Pirate taunt

Pirate taunt

To those of you to whom I've described the lost sleep due to pets, this photo illustrates the guilty party. Our dog Ninja is generally well-behaved about getting in her crate whenever we say, "Go to bed." Unfortunately, a cat paw waved in front of her face is Pirate-speak for, "Get out of bed." Whether our cat Pirate does this to attract a play partner for her nocturnal battles or if she merely does this for the joy of getting us to yell at Ninja, we have not yet come up with a proper translation yet.

February 4, 2008


Pirate and Ninja

Pirate and Ninja

Pirate and Ninja

Pirate and Ninja

Pirate and Ninja Pirate and Ninja Pirate and Ninja Pirate and Ninja Pirate and Ninja Pirate and Ninja

February 3, 2008

Today's cuteness

Pirate and Ninja

February 2, 2008

Iz not amuzed

Pirates hate flash

January 13, 2008

Pirate/Ninja Play

Some of you have requested video evidence that Pirates and Ninjas can in fact co-exist, so I submit the above. If you'll notice, it's the smaller, scrappy Pirate that initiates the whole affair by grooming then attacking Ninja. Ninja obliges as gently as a 50-lb dog can, occasionally sticking Pirate's entire head in her mouth, at other times offering her legs like drumsticks to the cat. I edited out as much cuteness as I could to keep it under two minutes, but it was tough.

December 9, 2007

Pirate's First Post

I've always suspected that our cat Pirate harbors murderous thoughts. She jumped on my keyboard just now to type me this message:


She appears to prefer to send messages in hex.

December 4, 2007


Yin Yang Yin Yang (3)

d worked a lot on the Pirate/Ninja socialization while I was off in Japan for a week. Witness the power of her skills, even in the face of cosmic misalignment. It's been nice for me because I've been zonked with jetlag since getting back. It's nice to be able to pass out on the sofa with your puppy and kitten curled up on you.

They aren't really this good when they're both awake and puppy/kitten hyper, but its easy to get them to curl up with one another when bedtime approaches.

November 25, 2007

U can has hoody?


I've already fielded a couple of questions regarding Pirate's plastic hood, aka Elizabethan collar. It's to prevent her from licking her stomach as she heals from her recent spaying. In the meantime, Pirate has adopted a special gait while wearing the hood, which is part strut and part sea legs:

November 24, 2007

Pirate vs. Ninja

Pirate vs. Ninja

Pirate Ninja 5 Pirate Ninja (1)

We're making slow progress on the Pirate and Ninja introduction. The Dread Pirate Lily is bold and courageous, even with kitten sealegs that stagger to and fro. Pirate prefers friendly nose-to-nose greetings with Ninja from the front and attacks on Ninja's tail from the rear -- never trust a pirate, not even a pirate kitten.

Ninja has been fairly good throughout, with some mishaps. Ninja pretends to evince calm as she lays down watching Pirate play, but her left front claws are dug in for good pounce leverage. d and I have been caught off guard several times already by these sudden Ninja moves.

I must return now to the living room. Just now Pirate confused her water bowl for the open sea and went swimming. Her plastic hood gives her tunnel vision and now we must return her to safe shore.

November 18, 2007

Pirate Videos

The obligatory new-cat videos are now online and embedded below. The videos don't quite capture The Dread Pirate Lily's omnipresent purr -- imagine a helicopter flying overhead in the distance. At first I thought there was a copter flying into Moffett. It took some testing bringing Pirate back and forth to my ear to convince me otherwise.

One video I didn't post is fairly boring until about 30 seconds in when I let out an "ow" as she stands on my chest. She doesn't know the difference between scratching post and not scratching post. As a result I feel aerated, though her two-month-old claws are too small to leave visible proof.

We're slowly progressing on the cat/dog and cat/rest-of-house introductions. Ninja is learning that, whenever Pirate appears, she gets a mouthful of treats. Pirate's perspective is rather different: she sees a dog that is always chewing.

November 17, 2007


Pirate's First Day (4)

More photos

The mortal enemy of the dog is the cat. The mortal enemy of the ninja is the pirate. Cosmologically it was only a matter of time before the two were brought together under our roof. We picked up our new kitten, aka the Dread Pirate Lily, from the Santa Clara Humane Society. Our dog Ninja is a San Mateo SPCA rescue -- perhaps they will add Peninsula vs. South Bay to their natural conflict. Nitpickers may point out that a cat is more naturally the ninja and the dog the pirate, but they forget that you must balance these forces: the universe has rules about these things.

Lest I be blamed for bringing Ninja vs. Pirate into my household, I will point out that it was d who first sent me listings for potential pirate pussycats. It was skillful manipulation on d's part: I'm not keen on cats, but a pirate cat is irresistible -- as is the opportunity to have a personal LOLCat kitteh:


November 13, 2007

Ninja @ 6 Months

Ninja (3)

It's the time again folks, Ninja photo barrage!

Ninja (5)


Ninja (2) Ninja (10) Ninja (1) Ninja (7) Ninja (6) Ninja (4)

October 23, 2007

Ninja Training: Slide

Ninja's YouTube debut showed that she was but a ninja neophyte, not yet a master of descending stairs. Now look how she's grown -- playgrounds are no match for her ninja skills.

I know I'm biased, but I think this is the funniest thing I've seen all month..

October 13, 2007

Puppy Affordances


I wonder if there is such a thing as UI designer/doggie factors engineer? We picked up two types of dog beds from Petsmart: one that is a simple pad and another that had a fringe around it. Ninja knew the unfringed pad was a bed, but she didn't quite know how to lay on it -- sometimes she would rest her chin on it, other times she would lay across a corner. Less often she would lay in the middle of the mat. We brought out the fringed mat from her crate and she immediately curled up in a ball in the center. Perhaps it Don Norman could update Design of Everyday Things with a chapter on doggie beds.

Beware of Ninja


The return of my flash (broken during the Tour of Missouri) made it easier to get some photos of Ninja.

Ninja @ 5 Months Photo Gallery

October 1, 2007


Ninja sleeps Ninja

d and I went to Palo Alto Animal Services and the Peninsula SPCA on Saturday intending to check things out, but of course we came home with a dog. We pretty much knew that if we asked to meet a dog, it was all going to be over, and Ninja pulled out all stops. She jumped immediately into my arms when we got into the play area. I exclaimed, "Woah, she's fast like a ninja!" and the naming was done.

We couldn't have picked a better dog. She's great with people, she loves to fall asleep in your arms, and she's easy to train. We put a bed in the family room and a crate in our bedroom and she's immediately picked up on them. She likes put her toys in her crate before bed and she brings them out one-by-one in the morning. She's pretty good at knowing what her toys are, though TiVo remotes and small digital devices seem to fall into her toy recognizer; a TiVo remote does have the wrong affordances for a dog. If you're wondering why I don't have any high quality photos of her yet, it's because she lunges at any camera-like device that she notices.

Other stats: 5 months, 20-30 lbs, four-and-a-half-feet long (can reach kitchen counters), some sort of mix (shepard/labrador?)

Here she is showing that she knows how to destroy toy camels:

Stairs are a more difficult challenge, though she may have just been playing us for treats:

February 21, 2005



Our family dog, Courtney, passed away last week. I drew this in 1992 when she was still a puppy -- playing with stuffed animals, chewing buttons of my mom's clothes, running so fast we couldn't catch her -- and as kids are prone to do in middle school art class I drew what was most important to me. She could be a super-strong mutt street dog, a thirty-pound dog that still took eight Marines to hold her down in order to give her shots at the vet, and she could also be a calm, relaxed dog, one that could sit for hours with you on the cliffs looking down at the ocean below.

She absorbed a lot of sadness, anger, happiness, and love, and I hope that it's the latter two that expressed themselves most in her life, and it was the last of these, love, that wanted to keep her alive as long as possible. Although she was no longer the puppy, playing with her toys and wrecking laundry, I wanted to believe that she was still my super-strong dog that could fight off a squad of Marines if she had to in order to keep going.

She had made a remarkable recovery when I saw her a month and a half ago. She went from death's bed to wagging her tail, hustling for food, prancing about, and still watching life bustle about her from her perch by the window, but looking at her body one could see what she was fighting through, and as strong as she still was, we would soon have to say goodbye.