The May Family  
The May Family; Garland, Texas


27 May 2004

Oberon's second week

Fourteen days have now passed, since Oberon joined our household. He continues to do relatively well with his eight hour stints alone, while the rest of us are at work and school. However, this loneliness has undergone a temporary suspension now that school is out for Rebecca — and soon will be for Collin.

Oberon's level of comfort within the household continues to improve. He has now begun to wander about the house more freely; sometimes following a given housemate and other times simply exploring the house on his own. He also sleeps just about every night on his nest in the master bedroom.

Quadruped relations have also improved dramatically. When Marcus first returned from the vet, he was somewhat intolerant of everyone. This quickly passed and the felines in general have been less aggressive toward the presence of Oberon. They no longer hiss or growl when he ventures in their general direction and, in the past few days, have actually allowed him to pass right beside them with little reaction. Both Marcus and Aurelia tend to remain a bit wary when Oberon appears, unexpectedly, but they only tense a bit until he has passed. Oberon, himself, still shows no signs of prey sensitivity toward his feline housemtaes.

Trips to the dog park are still the exercise highlights of Oberon's week. He loves to run around and socialize with the other dogs. With the exception of one recent incident involving an obnoxious boxer, Oberon has shown no signs, whatsoever, of aggression or intolerance toward other canines — no matter what their size or temperment. These trips take place a couple of times a week. Morning and evening walks occur every day and Oberon continues to attend every baseball game.

Sunday morning brought our first signs of concern. When Oberon was taken out for his morning relief, instead of urinating he began to eat grass. Though it has been close to twenty-five years since we have had a canine companion, we do recall that eating grass is a sign of an upset digestive system. Sure enough, within the hour he had vomited the grass. His appetite was poor all day (which made the need to give him his meds a bit of a chore as we did not want to do so on an empty stomach). By the evening he had begun to eat ... some. Monday brought only marginal improvement. His eating improved a bit and was more regularly, but now he had some diarrhea; the latter containing evidence of grass. However, by Tuesday afternoon, Oberon seemed to be back to normal. Since then, he has returned to eating his meals completely within an hour of provision and his stool has firmed.

We are unsure what brought on this episode. Elizabeth hypothesized that it had something to do with the Doxycyline he has been taking for the last ten days. Herman is less sure of this relationship. Though it is quite strange that Marcus became ill ten days into his being on Clavamox for a dermal infection and Oberon showed signs of stomach upset seven days into a thirty day course of Doxycycline. Whether related or not, we are happy to see that both have returned to apparent good health. We love them both, and Aurelia, dearly!

22 May 2004

Stress relief

We are pleased to report that Marcus appears to have returned to his normal self. It was originally anticipated that he would he return home this morning, however, he responded quite well to the electrolyte drip and the veterinarian akay'ed his release yesterday evening. Sucralfate and Metronid B were prescribed as prophylaxis against any residual bugs in his system.

Erring on the side of caution, we exiled Marcus to the master bedroom until we could be assured that the vomiting had passed and the toxin — whatever it was — had been cleared from his system. Under the vigilant supervision of Elizabeth all evening, he manifest no signs of illness; though he was quite perturbed at his temporary exile and showed no reticence to letting it be known.

Upon arising this morning, he was given a few ounces of soft food. This was quickly devoured and, after a period of half an hour or so during which he showed no sign of gastric rejection, he was released from seclusion.

Within two hours the copious volume of vet-wrap was removed from his right forelimb in preparation for removal of his catheter. Herman was annoyed to discover that the veterinarian has not properly shaved his arm circumferentially. As a result, the cloth tape had adhered to Marcus' fur in such a manner that removal of the adhesive was uncomfortable and caused much stress on the part of both human and feline. With the assistance of isopropanol and patience, the tape was eventually loosened and the catheter removed. Within the hour, Marcus was in the kitchen eating from his bowl.

Aurelia has expressed much displeasure at Marcus' return. Rather than welcoming him home, she has approached him warily and, following a good sniff, continues to hiss at him. It is assumed that this is a transient event as Marcus still carried the smell of the vet, the residue of his treatment, and a slight aroma of urine. One cynical member of the household postulated that Aurelia's response was the result of disgust at having to relinquish her alpha-felid role now that Marcus has returned. We shall see.

21 May 2004

Marcus' plight

While Wednesday was a happy day for our family — having celebrated the first week of our existence with Oberon — it also began a period of distress, which still has to be fully resolved. Upon arrival home from school Tuesday afternoon, Rebecca found that one of the cats had been vomiting quite frequently throughout the day. It quickly became apparent that it was Marcus.

This had gone beyond the point of a hairball or other transient obstruction as it had progressed to a situation where he was regurgitating only saliva and mucous. Attempting to treat the problem ourselves, initially, we gave him Laxatone in an effort to calm his stomach and, if it were an obstruction of some sort, to ease its passage — one way or the other. None of our attempts were fruitful and, on Wednesday morning, we took him to the vet.

Following a day of treatments and tests, there was no definitive diagnosis. However, he seemed to have recovered some with the IV fluids he had been receiving all day and he had not vomited again. (Of course, he had also not ingested anything.) So, we decided to take him home; maintain the IV drip; and try some water and soft food the following morning. This was a failure.

At some point during the night he had managed to saturate the cloth tape holding the catheter in place (the vet techs had neglected to protect the site with vet-wrap and I had none at home) and resulting in ultimate removal. Not only that, but the drip continued making a mess and providing him with fluid for consumption. He was unable to keep the latter down and had begun vomiting again.

Thursday, it was back to the vet for another day of tests — most of which proved to be inconclusive or negative. For the most part that left us with the conclusion that he had ingested some sort of chemical poison. What is anyone's guess. Nothing new has been added, used, or left available to the quadrupedal members of the household, which has not been available for the past several years. We could only figure that the stress Marcus had imposed upon himself with the arrival of Oberon had driven him to consume something that he heretofore had avoided.

Marcus remains at the vet today and will likely do so until tomorrow morning. He has been placed back on IV fluids and, unless one of the pending tests provides insight into a cause, we can only hope that the fluids will flush the toxins from his system. The vet indicated late yesterday evening that Marcus had begun to keep some fluids down. Admittedly this was following the administration of a tranquilizer for the GI contrast imaging (initiated at 1300), but as late as 1900 had continued to be the case.

Additional updates will be posted as they become available.

19 May 2004

Our first week with Oberon

One week. That is the period of time with which we have been blessed with the newest member of our family - Oberon. It has been a learning week for all of us. Boundaries; personalities; tolerances. These are all aspects of the welcoming process that the six members of our household have been experiencing.

As with all creatures in a new environment, Oberon has been the most reticent of the group. He has staked out three areas which are "his" and has begun to make tentative forays into other areas of the house as comfort is realized.

Our newest family member has established two areas of respite and we have accommodated both with the placement of beds in those locations. The first and primary bed exists in the den. Placed near the hearth is a roughly 1.3m diameter bed around which are placed his toys and other belongings. Another bed, rectangular and roughly .75m x 1.5m has been placed in the master bedroom; next to the human bed. Oberon does not always avail himself of the latter, but does so more often than not. The other frequented area is near the back door, where we have placed his food and water bowls.

Oberon has the calmest, most accommodating personality of any canine with which we have been acquainted. Very little gets him excited. Over the course of the last week he has met several family members — human and otherwise — and has greeted all as if he has known them for years.

Reports indicate that many greyhounds have high prey sensitivity. In some respects, Oberon has some prey sensitivity. If he catches sight of a squirrel, feline, or diminutive canine in the distance, his ears perk and he strains the leash to focus his attention in that direction. To the contrary, he has been very accepting of the felids within our house. Though Marcus has been less than hospitable, both he and Aurelia have ventured quite close to Oberon on several occasions. Other than perhaps eyeing the interloper(s) with a cautious, surveying gaze, Oberon expresses no other signs of care — certainly none of aggression.

Herman took vacation the first couple of days following Oberon's arrival in order to allow for bonding and supervision. Both had a great time together. They went on walks; they took and picked-up Elizabeth and Collin from work and school; they played together in the backyard; and the entire family attended Collin's baseball game that Thursday. (In fact, Oberon has attended every baseball game since his arrival; three so far.) Also within this period were the initial spans of solo home stay for Oberon. This was a prelude to his regular schedule, commencing Monday, during which Oberon would be left for up to eight hours on his own while the humans of the household are at work and school. Varying in length from thirty minutes to three hours, all of these events were flawless.

One of the highlights of Oberon's week is our trips to the dog park. He delights in socializing with the other dogs. One of his favorite tricks is to goad other dogs into a race. Just tonight he convinced a great dane to run with him. The dane seemed reluctant at first, but ultimately conceded. Oberon would prod the dane to begin running at which point he would immdiately give chase and quickly surpass his competitor. The dane would then slowly peal off and leave Oberon in full gallop. Eventually, Oberon would notice that he was running alone and would return to instigate another race. This scenario was repeated about three times before the Dane grew tired and began ignoring Oberon. No matter; he was then off again to find entertainment elsewhere.

As the anniversary of this first week passes, even the cats (for the most part) have begun to show signs of resignation to Oberon's presence and have lowreed their guard a bit. Both Marcus and Aurelia approach Oberon to sniff out their new housemate with less caution and contempt. Overall, this has been a fabulous first week and we all look forward to many more, extending to months and then years.

14 May 2004

Squad Leader

Rebecca has earned a spot on the NFHS Starlette Dance Team as a squad leader. This position represents an increase in responsibility on her part as she will be in charge of assuring the coordinated efforts of a half-dozen or so subordinate members of the team during performances.

We congratulate her on her achievement and wish her luck during the 2004-2005 athletic season.

13 May 2004


Oberon is the newest member of our household. He is a three year old black greyhound and joins our family via an adoption through Greyhounds Unlimited.

According to his registration, Oberon was born on 13 April 2001 at Connell Kennels in Cache, Comanche County, Oklahoma. His parents were Eckup (mother) and Midnight Twist (father) and he was given the name Gary Lawson. Oberon has nine registered brothers and sisters (of which five were born in his litter) and eighty-six half-siblings.

In the late fall of 2003, Oberon was found abandoned at Tri-Cities Animal Shelter. He was suffering from ehrlichia and demodectic mange. Greyhound Rescue Society of Texas was called and he was immediately transferred to an affiliated veterinarian in Grand Prarie where his rehabilitation began.

Oberon was placed with his foster family in early April where he was given the name "Chilly" by his foster mother. This name befits his personality which is one of an easy-going and carefree nature. During his stay in foster care, he found love and camaraderie with all members of his surrogate family.

For us the decision to adopt was easy given his endearing disposition and Elizabeth and Rebecca consulted on possible names; eventually settling on Oberon, the "King of the Fairies" from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. We interviewed for the placement last Saturday and finalized the procedure yesterday (Wednesday) evening.

We welcome the newest member of our household with open, loving arms and look forward to many joy filled years of his company.

10 May 2004

RSI baseball

The season schedule for the Richardson Sports U10 spring league has been set. Collin will be playing in his first game this evening, 1935 at Canyon Creek. The Yankees will be playing against the Red Sox. The following is a breakout of the games currently scheduled. However, these dates are subject to change due to weather or otherwise. Please consult the link above for revisions.

Monday05.101935Yankees vs Red SoxCanyon Creek
Thursday05.131800Yankees vs TwinsCanyon Creek
Tuesday05.181800A's vs YankeesCanyon Creek
Thursday05.201800Yankees vs Cubs - BlueCanyon Creek
Tuesday05.251935Devil Rays vs YankeesCanyon Creek
Thursday05.271800Twins vs YankeesCanyon Creek
Thursday06.031935Cubs - White vs YankeesCanyon Creek
Monday06.071800Yankees vs Cubs - WhiteCanyon Creek
Tuesday06.081800Yankees vs Devil RaysWoodlands
Tuesday06.151800Cubs - Blue vs YankeesCanyon Creek
Thursday06.171800Red Sox vs YankeesWoodlands
Tuesday06.221935Yankees vs Red SoxCanyon Creek
Thursday06.241935Yankees vs A'sCanyon Creek

09 May 2004

Canid adoption

We have embarked upon a new experience in our lives; that of adding a canine to our family. Final arrangements are being made for the May Family to adopt a retired athelete, whom they will be naming Oberon.

For well over a year all, save one, of the human family members have been vigorously lobbying the one holdout to join in on unanimous approval for adopting a dog. The holdout has been Herman and his reasons for stonewalling have been multifold.

  • First, dogs, being pack animals, are much more dependent upon their human companions for contented existence. Given the occasional trips we take, care for the canine had to be addressed when taking him or her with us would not be feasible. This limitation has largely been alleviated since the relocation of Kristie and Mark to the area. With their three children, pricess Emmy, Dexter, and Simon, they are well suited to care for our child should the need arise. Mark has generously offered to do so as well.
  • Since reaching adulthood, Herman has developed some degree of allergic sensitivity to dogs. This seems to be related to both dander and lipids.
  • In addition, most canines are stinky. When they get hot and dirty, they smell. Arguably, so do humans. However, action on that issue is much easier and more convenient for humans than for canines.
  • Many dogs also have the unpalatable habit of either licking when showing affection or slobbering. Again, humans are susceptible to this activity as well — though one suspects it is more welcome in most instances. ;-)
  • Finally, the canine had to be a real dog; not an inbred midget. Both Herman and Elizabeth despise yappie dogs.

Over the years, several individuals have suggested that we consider a Bichon Frise. This breed is purported to be somewhat hypo-allergenic. Unfortunately, they also fail conditions three through five listed above. One breed that has enamored all of us for several years are Irish Wolf Hounds. However, they are large, restless, and also fail conditions three and four.

Research over the years has consistently returned to one breed. This animal is athletic, has low body fat (and, thus, exudes little to no oil), and has a quiet, cat-like disposition. These traits all describe the greyhound and that is the breed that we have chosen to adopt.

Greyhounds Unlimited it a local rescue and adoption group who organizes many events to showcase these animals. Elizabeth and Rebecca visited one of these gatherings a couple of weeks ago and shared their impressions. Discussion and voting ensued and we decided that this could very well be the breed for us. An application for adoption was submitted a week ago and we visited one of the foster homes Saturday evening where all four of us were enamored of the breed and their disposition. After a little discussion, we decided to complete the adoption process.

The animal we have chosen to bring into our home is currently named Chiily. He is a two year old black greyhound who has suffered from mange and ehrlichia. Both conditions have been treated and he is in the process of regrowth of his coat. We are very eager to complete the process and welcome this new member of our home and family.

At least until the adoption is finalized, interested visitors can visit the following link to learn a little more about Oberon(Chilly).

08 May 2004

Tickling ivory

Rebecca and Collin have been taking piano lessons since last summer. In the ten months during which they have taken instruction in this instrument, we have observed a notable and significant improvement in their ability. Showcasing not only the progress of Rebecca and Collin, but also that of his other students, their instructor organized a recital. That event was held this afternoon at Central Christian Church in Richardson.

Overall, the talent of all participants was impressive. Given the number of students that the instructor teaches, the recital was split into two events: one taking place at 1300 and the other at 1500. Rebecca and Collin performed at the former wherein Collin was the third on the roster and Rebecca the tenth of eighteen. Collin did an impressive job of playing first Indian Drumbeats by Goldston, then My Red Racer by Bober. Fifteen minutes or so later, Rebecca followed by playing Lost Star by Costley. She was then joined by her instructor at which point they performed a duet of Bober's Masked Rider.

While the pieces selected for play by Rebecca and Collin were relatively modern in historical placement, the span of time encompassed by the entire repertoire spanned from the baroque to contemporary television and movie themes (Mission Impossible and Lord of the Rings). Virtuosity was expressed as well by one of the teenage students who gave an impressive performance of Aram Khachaturian's Toccata.

Special guests at the recital were Margaret and Theodore Trott who were in town for Mother's Day celebrations that evening.

We commend all of the students on their performances. Of course, we give special recognition to Rebecca and Collin and from whom we look forward to future expressions of their talent.

continue to the April 2004 archive


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last edited: 2004.05.27