A fun weekend in the city (by Mom)

Hi, it’s Maggie’s human Elizabeth. Jim and I went downtown (Chicago) this weekend with our fabulous friends, the Serafins. We were celebrating our July birthdays; Joyce, 16th, Jim, 18th, and me, 19th.

I want to apologize in advance for the lack of pictures. While I was out, my phone suddenly died, and then reboot itself and I lost EVERYTHING. So please feel free to use your imaginations!

Our first stop was the Indigo Hotel (Holiday Inn’s “boutique” hotel). I fell in love with this place, because it was all decorated like a beach house. I will caution you that the rooms are very small, so if you’re planning on staying there with kids, get adjoining rooms. On the 2nd floor, they have a fitness center and spa, (which I didn’t get to use this time), but may the next time we go. The hotel was very clean, smelled great, and the staff was friendly. Parking is in the garage next door.

After meeting up with Jim (the other Jim) and Joyce, we went to The Greenhouse Theatre to see their production of, “Little Shop of Horrors”. It was wonderful! Those folks put on a GREAT show, lots of fantastic music and singing, and also very, very, funny. Tickets were only about $20, very reasonable, and live entertainment beats a movie any day in my book!

The staff was also very kind and accommodating. Jim had purchased tickets for the four of us but inadvertently signed us up for the 3:00 matinee. We were nowhere near the city at 3 p.m., so he called the box office and they switched out our seats to the 7:30 p.m. performance. They didn’t charge us anything extra, and were very nice about the whole thing. I would definitely go back there to see another play.

After the show, we walked down the street to the Aquitaine Restaurant. Again, I can’t say enough good things about this little gem. We were their final seating, yet the chef prepared our food fresh to order, served it on real china, and didn’t rush us out the door. The food was excellent and the prices reasonable. The main doors were opened outward, so the cool breeze (it had just stormed) blew in gently while we ate. I had the pear salad and French onion soup. It was just right for a late evening meal.

Overall, despite the electrical storm, it was a perfect weekend celebrating with our friends. Jamie stayed home to keep Maggie company, and he did a terrific job of “holding down the fort”.

I hope everyone had a great weekend, and again, I apologize for the lack of pictures. I am probably going to have to take my phone in for repairs.

Your friend,





7/23/16 Some Jamie news…

Jamie has wanted to drive since he was, I don’t know, about 3. Kit cars, go-karts, you name it.

Last year, the family went camping in August, and when they came back (on Jamie’s 15th birthday), Dad took Jamie for his permit while Mom unloaded the sleeping bags.

So Jamie’s been driving on the permit for coming up on one year. He’s got like a bazillion hours behind the wheel, and is a very good driver.

Jamie saved up some money and bought a kit to make his old Panama Jack beach cruiser into a motorized bike. He’s been working on it for days. It’s upside down in the picture, but  you can see the gas tank, engine, and controls on the handlebars.


(Jamie’s T-shirt has the DeLorean on it and says, ‘Don’t Flux With Me’)

Here’s the thing. The day after Jamie started working on his contraption – Mom says she can see him in his steampunk goggles and top hat, riding down the street – Dad went out, all unbeknownst to Mom, and bought Jamie this car (much to Jamie’s joy and astonishment!)


Mom was beside herself! “How much is the insurance going to cost?” she fretted. Dad tried to soothe her. Mike and Erik were shocked, because Dad actually did something behind Mom’s back. Of course, they were delighted for Jamie (who christened the car “the 8 ball”) and were teasing him that “there’s no pressure for you to ace your driver’s test now, is there?”

Mom and Jamie actually cleaned out the garage to make room for the 8 ball, Zeus’ new room mate. It’s a tight fit, but it works.

I will post pictures and video (if I can get it to work) when Jamie gets the motorbike going. When Jamie passes his license exam, we’ll all have a WP celebration for my young human!

Woof! Love, Maggie



7/22/16 7 second rule

Woof! We have been sweltering in a heat wave that has been affecting quite a bit of the country. Yesterday, the humidity was oppressive, and the end result was a huge electrical storm around 9 p.m.

I am staying in and keeping cool. When I do venture outside, it is always on the grass to protect my paws. Mom bought me a little swimming pool and, I must say, I want nothing to do with it. I prefer to lie in the shade when the evenings permit!

I would like to remind everyone of the “7 second rule”: If the pavement/street/asphalt/whatever is too hot for you to hold the back of your hand on it for 7 seconds, then it is too hot for your dog’s paws. They will easily burn and blister. Please be mindful of this when choosing to walk your pets.

Stay cool!


(It’s too hot to do much else!)

Woof! Love, Maggie


7/15/16 A Visit to the New Vet

Mom made an appointment for me at a new Vet close to the house. She has been researching new animal hospitals and looking for someone who has lots of experience with bully breeds. She found a Vet that has experience with bully breeds and Greyhounds. Two things close to her heart. We bundled into Zeus and off we went. Jamie was the driver.

The Avenue Animal Hospital is recently remodeled and very clean. They are an accredited animal hospital. Mom and Jamie and I were very impressed by the attentiveness of the staff. We were put in a room right away just in case other animals came in.

As you can see, I was very stressed out. Not.


(Yes, I still have scars from the boarding incident.)

We talked with Becky, who entered all my shot information and stuff into the computer. She let me kiss her and I was very happy about that. Then Dr. K. came in. She was very pretty, about Erik’s age I should think, and very, very, smart. She didn’t put me up on the table (which folded in and out like those old Murphy beds) but rather, sat down on the floor with me and rubbed my belly. Little did I know while she was tickling my tummy that she was checking my heart, ears, feet, toes, skin, etc. I gave Dr. K. lots of kisses too. She gave me some squeezy cheese on a stick. I think she liked me, too!

Dr. K. and Mom had a long talk. We were there about an hour. Nobody rushed us out and Dr. K. answered all Mom’s questions. At this Vet, they do not board unless the dog has a medical condition (like seizures or diabetes). Dr. K. says she understands how hard it is to board dogs and she gave Mom good suggestions. She is even going to see if any of the Techs there would be interested in staying with me! Dr. K. says she has a dog who is “very selective” and understands our predicament. When it was time to leave, Becky took us out  back through the hospital, so we got a good look at things, and we avoided the dogs that had come in through the front. They made every extra step to make sure that there were no confrontations.

When we got back in the car, I was quiet and Mom asked Jamie what he thought. “Very, very, smart. Very on top of things,” he said. Mom agreed. Dr. K. had given Mom a whole packet of information, including a fish-oil/holistic approach to my itchy allergies. Dr. K. told Mom she was doing a good job with my coat and skin.

Mom has been mulling over a switch in Vets since the fight at the other animal hospital.

She says she just doesn’t feel like the explanation she was given matches what happened. So, she is going to move me over to be a patient with Dr. K. Interestingly, the prices for exams were about $7 to $10 higher, but the medications are between $20 and $50 less, so that is a big help, too, considering I am on long-term meds.

I will miss Dr. Craig, but I am happy to have made new friends today!

Woof! Love, Maggie (“Scarface”)





7/12/16 Thank You, Sponsor!

I would like to thank cb at http://www.contrafactual.com for the kind and generous donation to Jamie’s high school robotics club. cb, you made so many peoples’ day by sponsoring Robotics!

Jamie attends a private, all-boys school in the city for college prep.  It’s a sacrifice, but we manage (somehow)!

The extra-curricular activities get zero funding. It takes 10 young men to make a “club”, and they are responsible for all that goes into said club. Robotics gets to happen because of sponsors. I cannot thank cb enough. His donation is going to have a great impact on Robotics this school year.

If you would like to be a sponsor or make a donation, please send me an email at elizabethtmcmanus@yahoo.com.




In between the seconds

Hi, this is Liz. I just wanted to clarify the post I wrote before about Maggie getting the staples out and the aggressive dog at the vet’s office.

The examining rooms at the vet’s office open directly into the waiting area. In this case, when we exited the examining room we came face-to-face with the aggressive-acting dog and its owners. For me to engage the woman in a lecture of how she should have control over her dog would have put Maggie at risk of another fight. The quickest thing to do was to have Jamie go near the door, and for me to hustle Maggie out. The whole thing took about 5 seconds, and in between the seconds, I was thinking about how I’d like to have given that woman an earful and how I hoped Jamie wouldn’t get hurt (not necessarily in that order). However, it just wasn’t practical. I realize that writing about the incident makes it seem like it took a lot longer than it really did.

I also followed up this “staple removal” visit with a 2 page letter to Dr. Craig, the vet who started the practice, and whom we normally request when Maggie has an appointment. In this letter I expressed my concerns, disappointment, and feelings of betrayal that I trusted my dog with them and they let me down.

Dr. Craig shared the letter with his son Dr. Ben, who, in turn, called me to discuss my concerns. Dr. Ben was “on watch” when the fight incident happened while Maggie was being boarded, and thus led up to her needing the staples. Dr. Ben admitted that the waiting area scenario was becoming a problem for other patients, and offered to bring Maggie in through the back next time, or the option of me waiting in the car til I got the all-clear.

The upshot of all of this is that I am seeking to find a new vet. This decision DOES NOT COME LIGHTLY to me. I have had a doctor/patient relationship with Dr. Craig for many years, and when I was doing Greyhound rescue, he would come to my home for a house call to inoculate my fosters and adopted Greys. This is no small matter to me and I remember this well, and will be forever grateful to him. However, perhaps it is time for a change to a vet that has more experience with pitbull-type dogs.

In closing, I would ask my gentle readers to please remember that I always have Maggie’s best interests at heart. Maggie came to us from a high-kill shelter where she was the longest resident and was in danger of being euthanized. I would never knowingly put her in harm’s way.