America's Smartest Girl

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portland, oregon
America's Smartest Girl, Nicole Georges, channels her powers for good as she drums up answers to the world's most complicated questions.

Romance, Career, Health, Pets, Finance. Send questions to Nicole via twitter (@nicolejgeorges) or addressed to her via No suicidal inquiries. Please limit all questions to 150 words or less.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Halloween, Vegan Tips from the 90s, and Your Girlfriend's Friends

UNSOLICITED ADVICE OF THE DAY: Pick up your loved ones from the "Departures" area of the airport, as opposed to "Arrivals" in order to save time and beat the crowd.

Oh My God, I WISH this is the costume the person below was writing about. I'd snatch that crabby girlfriend right out from under them if I saw her punching the air in this Venom suit! 

 Dear Nicole, 
My girlfriend says her Halloween costume is too small and she's fat and she doesn't have time to come up with another one before tomorrow night and I told her she is really hot and too small clothes is a bad feeling but doesn't say anything about her and offered another two suggestions for costumes and she said I don't understand and she spent money on it and I don't know what else to say. Like she's all angry and it's just a Halloween costume! 
 Haunted in Hooverville 

Dear Hooverville,
 Step away from the angry girlfriend. Just put your hands up and back away slowly as she thrashes and tears at her poly/rayon blend alone, muttering and cursing Jack Skellington's name.
This problem has less than nothing to do with you.
 You've done an adequate job trying to say something nice, which is within your jurisdiction as a girlfriend, but aside from that, bitch has to reconcile with her own Halloween Higher Power.

 It's good that you are there, and not I. I would personally suggest she be a ghost under a sheet. And then she would probably slug me. And then we'd have to have a community forum on whether she's allowed in "Safer Spaces" or not, and on and on and on.



This is a typo- it should say VEGAN! 
Dear Nicole, 

I've recently seen "Faces of Death", and I have decided to become vegan. I am trying to take this VERY seriously. But I was just wondering, you started becoming vegan when you were a teenager right? How did you do it? What gave you inspiration? What products do recommend now at stores such as Target or Vons?
Sincerely, Vegan Vexed

Dear Vexed, 
I am not sure what Faces of Death has to do with being vegan, unless you've been dining exclusively on monkey's brains, but I'm with you. I support you.
I became vegan as a teenager. In Kansas. In the 90s. I am currently experiencing a 1990s vegan renaissance in my new "historic village" of White River Junction, Vermont. Asian food is my dearest friend, and when offered the chance to check out "really cool diners", I relegate myself to a fantastic portion of french fries and salad. This is what you will do.
You will also learn to cook for your self. You will get a book like Veganomicon, and learn to cook vegetables.

They are sold virtually everywhere. It's not hard. Eat vegetables at home, eat beans at home. I don't care if you cover them in ketchup, just eat them.

I believe (through my divine powers of clairvoyance) that you are a teenager.
When I was a teenager, I made a lot of Boca Burgers and chili. I ate so much chili. On top of french fries. I am not sure how I am still alive, but I survived on Veggie Chili Fries and Chocolate Cokes. A chocolate coke is a coke from a soda fountain (ask your grandpa) with chocolate syrup in it. There gets to be a chocolatey froth on the top, and it is really delightful. I also dined upon Mexican food.

When you go out (to a restaurant), do not ask the waiter if they have something vegan. That's not going to fly in a small town. Look to the vegetable section of the menu (or the "sides" section, in some dire cases) and parcel something together. Ask if it is vegetarian, or if it has dairy. That is a parlance that most people waiting tables understand.
If you are at Indian, ask if there is dairy. If you are at Thai, ask about fish sauce. If you are at a Chinese restaurant, ask if it is vegetarian (you will thank me for this tip after viewing a dish of tofu covered in pork crumblins).
I will gladly stitch together a meal of sides. Beans, salad, home fries, no problem. Also remember that you can eat when you get home if you need to. And always carry a snack. If you find a store with tons of things you would love to eat, like a mountain of Luna Bars or a jar of almond butter, buy as many as you can fathom wanting at the time, and leave some in your bag. This way you will never be the whiny vegan, or the hungry one. You will be the "food hoarder", but at least you won't be HANGRY.

 LASTLY: Sit down with yourself, take a look inside, and decide what you truly care about.
When I first went vegan, I would make myself CRAZY reading labels in the grocery store, and then come home to find that I'd trucked back something with a minute amount of honey included. I think I started open-mouth crying at some point based on this mistake.
 I had to say, "Nicole, do you care this much about honey?"
I answered, "I know I am supposed to, but I don't think I actually care.",
So I read as many books and pamphlets about honey as I could. I studied honey, to see if it was worth it to have a mental breakdown over graham crackers. At the end of this research I decided that though I would not seek OUT honey, or chug a honey bear at random, I would also not beat myself up if honey was an incidental. My mental health and longevity as a person with a plant-based diet was more important.
I have not had meat, dairy, or eggs in coming up 17 years, and the only way I've done so is by being fair and easy on myself. Be fair and reasonable, and good luck! Being vegan is really fun, especially with modern fake cheese technology.

P.s. Go look up Isa Moskowitz, and purchase her entire catalog. She is your new queen.

Good Luck!
Love Nicole

Your Girlfriend, Giving You the Scoop on Her Hateful Friends' Every Thought About Your Job. 

Dear Nicole, 
 My date is friends with a bunch of heinous second wave feminists who think the sex industry should be abolished,and say that white women sex workers ignore the mass rape and kidnapping inherent in the sex industry. She doesn't agree but I don't get how she reconciles these idiot friends with dating a sex worker. How can I talk about this or am I just being too controlling? 

Annoyed by Dworkin Dorkin' 

 Dear Dorkin',

A couple of thoughts:

 1. You can't control any of these things.
You can have conversations with your girlfriend and explain to her your politics and reasoning and thoughts about sex work. You may even be able to convince her of a few things. Her friends, however, are out of your jurisdiction. She likes them, she chose them, and they are separate human beings who are free to form their own judgments about whatever they like. If you complain to her that they are idiots, you may cause a rift within your relationship (she chose them, she likes them).
You don't want to isolate her from her pack, because being someone's only pack-mate is a little Misery-esque and too much for most of us to handle.

Conversely, If she chooses to inform you of every hurtful thing they say about your job and industry (and self), then she's obviously not done baking and needs to go back in the oven.
 OR, she needs to be told that it is hurtful and you don't need to know every single thing that every idiot says behind your back.
She's not a fucking reporter, tell her to take the "SCOOP" sign out of her fedora and chill out!

2. It is a bad sign if you detest the friends of the person you are looking to date.

You will have to be around them A LOT.
You may have the idea that maybe you could get around this, but only in the most casual, hook-up arrangements is this so.
 People like their friends. They make them feel good. They like to be around them, and they would probably like to blend their friends with their date. Otherwise, it's awkward.
If you'd like to keep seeing this person (and have to be around her friends) , it would serve you very well to repeat that not everyone has to agree with you, and come to a place of peace with the fact that these people have their own opinions on something you feel very strongly about. Then leave it. If you commit to staying in this relationship, and joining this person's community, that is what you are committing to do. To leaving this topic off the table in lieu of peace. This sounds very hard, because your job is very personal and (through my clairvoyant powers, I know) well-considered. Never being able to talk about your industry in front of these people (say at parties or a holiday gathering) without a fight is filling me with a stifled, tense feelings, and I'm not even you.

Good Luck!


Friday, May 24, 2013

My Top Ten Favorite Things/Feedback to the "You Belong To Me" video by Taylor Swift

Dear Readers,
I have been on a real Taylor Swift jag this year. Her songs once personified my insecure teenage dog (to whom I sang "Fifteen" after she turned fifteen), and now that my dog is gone I am still afflicted with the Swift. I love her. I buy into her whole thing. I buy into her image of being a tender-hearted song-writer who flings herself into love and then responds to the outcomes through her art. Great.

With all that said, this blog-post is just to let you know the top ten thoughts I have on the Taylor Swift video "You Belong To Me", which I have watched over and over and over again over the course of the past two years.

1. This blond guy belongs to himself. Obviously.

2. I love, LOVE how the blond person is portrayed as being the underdog. REALLY? Really, T.Swift? It's so hard to be a mousy blond in this world, having to compete with raven haired girls wearing contact lenses. If only he could see the girl behind the blond! If only....

3. The wig on evil Taylor? It is remarkable. Like, maybe a Halloween wig from Rite-Aid.

4. The way that Evil Taylor greets her teenage boyfriend, by rolling up in her convertible and straight up grabbing his head for a very sensual mid-afternoon kiss.

5. Why does being a cheerleader make her evil? I was a cheerleader, and I'm not evil.

6. It seems like this blond fellow has been opening up to blond Taylor about his relationship in an inappropriate way. She shouldn't need to know the issues going on in his relationship with Evil Taylor.
It sounds like he is talking trash about his own girlfriend, when he really should be either working to resolve his problems or exit the relationship so she can be free to date someone whose humor she gets and whose music she likes.

7. If I may take a note from Dr. Laura here, it can be problematic to have a close friendship with someone of the opposite (or your sexually preferred) gender while in a relationship.
Don't get all twisted- I'm not talking old friends here, I'm talking (in regards to this video) someone whom you would fuck if only they weren't wearing American Apparel fashion glasses.
If you need to vent, vent to a friend, not some vulture who is circling your relationship,  ready to pick at it's bones and rip off your football jersey at every mention of tension between yourself and your plastic-haired girlfriend.

8.Taylor Swift needs to mind her own business. He chose the evil Taylor. If he doesn't like her, that's his problem. No one's holding a gun to his head. He CHOSE that situation. She should really look at that.

9. Sisterhood is Powerful. Let no man tear you asunder, blond Taylor and brunette Taylor. He's not worth it. You have more to gain from remaining allies with other women, than from creating animosity based on their footwear and high/low femininity.

10. The "I LOVE YOU" signs at the end? Really? You LOVE him? LOVE? There's really nowhere to go from there. If you tell an acquaintance that you love them, then okay, what next? Where in the world can a teenage relationship go if you've brought home plate to the first date? I would advise Taylor to really consider who this person really is. If he is willing to talk about his brown-haired girlfriend behind her back to a love interest,  then he is surely capable of doing the same to his new blond-haired girlfriend. Who's to say there isn't a ginger-haired Taylor waiting in the wings to pounce him at the next dance?
Consider it, Taylor. Just consider it.

In summary:
Boundaries and feminism. That's all.
Also, better wigs.



p.s. I'm printing a zine/comic anthology of my six years of experiences at a senior citizen day center.
You can pre-order it, or just support it here:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

4 Geniuses for the price of One! Borderlines, Bi-Phobia, Crush-killers and more!!!


Now that we've taken care of that...

Dear Readers,
This week I am delighted to offer advice from four certified geniuses instead of just one.

We are here to tackle your advice questions from our respective hometowns in California, Oregon and New York. 

Kirk Read (San Francisco) is a performance artist, all around great guy, and author of the book  How I Learned to Snap .
Tara Jepsen (Los Angeles) is a comedienne, and a brilliant writer. She & Kirk Read previously hosted Kvetch in San Francisco. Photo by Amos Mac.

 Amos Mac (New  York) is a photographer at large, and editor of OP: Original Plumbing  and Translady Fanzine.

and me (Portland), literally THE smartest person in America, aside from these three. 
Photo by Amos Mac.



Dear  Nicole,
How do I stop having a crush on someone? I legit wanna be friends with this girl because she's awesome in a particular way that other people in my life aren't and she's said she cares a lot about me and really wants to have me in her life as a friend (and I believe her - don't think she's being polite), but I can't kill this crush I have on her. We've hooked up several times, had romance-y things, but she's on the other side of the country, in grad school, and not available for any of that anymore. Under different circumstances, I'd wanna be girlfriends. Right now I'm just not talking to her, but I don't wanna cut her off forever and I also don't wanna be in hard crush agony. Help!
Hard Crush Agony

Kirk Read:  Have anonymous sex because it will help you shake off this cross country emailing friend.

Amos Mac: Watch a few seasons of a favorite guilty pleasure t.v. show within 48 hours to "get your mind off of things" then post 3 different Craigslist casual encounter posts using 3 of your most diverse personality traits, but allow them all to go to the same email address.
It works. At least for like 3 days.

Tara Jepsen: Just stop it. Don't over-think. If you won't let go, it's a surrogate for other feelings.
Call it what it is and keep it to yourself. Don't make it the other person's problem.

Nicole J. Georges:
"The quickest way to get over someone is to get under someone else."
It is true! It is wise.

More remedies for heart-sickness include:
-Loud punk music
-Really good books
-Hanging out with old friends who can give you a little perspective on how small a blip this is on your   epic timeline
-Volunteering at a place where you are interacting with other humans and can't think of the person.
-Throwing yourself into something you're good at.
-Parceling out how much of this crush was projection and how much was reality.
-Look at really awkward photos of them online.
-Watch the saddest movie of all time, Grave of the Fireflies, and remember that there are bigger problems in the world than your love life.
-Falling asleep really early
-Make a list of all the people you've ever had crushes on, so you can get a little perspective.
 Ask an old friend to help you compile this list so you can feel the hot shame of having been head over    heels for some truly rank individuals.

Dear Nicole,
Is it true that Portland lesbians will not date femmes who dated transguys?  if so, what is the reason?

Potential Pariah

Kirk Read: It's true. Portland is full of ruined women and these lesbians are just holding a line.

Amos Mac: This is a true or false question? I have no idea what Portland lesbians do. Sounds complicated and none of my business. Who cares who dates who... date who you LIKE regardless of gender... or don't. Did I even answer that?

 Tara Jepsen: That is stupid shit that doesn't matter in the world. When the right person comes along, you guys choose each other.

Nicole J. Georges
: My research indicates that having dated a trans-dude is not a barrier to dating lesbians in Portland, Oregon. The greater issue, in my opinion, is the idea that having dated dudes, you could identify as bi-sexual. *That* can be sticky when it comes to the Gold Star crowd.
In my experience, this community is more bi-phobic than they are trans-sensual-phobic.

At the end of the day, whomever you are dating or wanting to date needs to Take You or Leave You as you are.
You are not going to change the past, and you don't need to spend all of your time calming someones anxiety about it.
If you wanted to be with a dude you'd be with a dude, but instead you chose to date the person at hand,
so they just need to be able to sit with that and absorb your awesome summertime love vibes while they can!



Dear Nicole,
My friends always try to set me up with unmotivated slackers who work in the deli at New Seasons. What gives?!
Where can I meet a tall hot motivated guy who likes it rough?

Tara Jepsen:
Don't let your friends set you up. Wait for the right dummy to knock on your door like the rest of us.

Kirk Read: Don't try to marry hot sex, have it on the side. Dress more slutty if you want someone to be rough.

Amos Mac: What is "New Seasons"? Where do you live? Deli guys can be hot AND rough... maybe you just need to find a more motivated deli guy, or move to Brooklyn.

Nicole J. Georges: I think the deli counter at New Seasons could be JUST the place to find a tall hot guy who likes it rough. Am I wrong?
As for the motivation part, welcome to Portland. I'm afraid I may be the wrong person to ask about where to find motivated men. The City Grill????
I'm sorry I've failed you, kind reader.


Dear Nicole,
What if after many years of very questionable borderline behavior on the part of your parent, you just can't take it any more and you need to cease communication?
How would you say that without triggering your bad boundaries parent into acting out worse and showing up at your work?!

TJ: You can't control your parent. Do what's right and if they show up at your work keep doing your job. Let your manager knock when and if it happens, but not before.

KR: Parents are important. Figure this out with them without burning the bridge.

AM: A mediated break-up therapy session with the parent and a therapist.

NG: I suggest a certain anonymous fellowship whose members have sometimes had experience cutting troublesome parents out of their lives in order to maintain their own sanity.
Make boundaries, keep them, and steel yourself to the results. She may freak out but you do not have to react.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Some More Questions From The Road

Us with Sally Madden in Baltimore.

Questions from tour: Part 2
All questions were submitted lively and anonymously during my book tour with Cassie J. Sneider. We read them & responded in a rapid-fire manner. 

Dear Nicole, 
How do you be abiding toward someone you don't like to be around? 

Ugh, how long do you have to be around them? Can you go somewhere else? On a walk around the block or maybe face a wall for a while?
If you have to be around someone you don't like, for a short period of time, be polite. Just be polite.
Just smile stiffly, nod your head, make the most basic small talk if you need to, and be kind.

If you have to spend a lot of time with them, spend some of that time trying to have compassion for them. Think about what their situation might be, and how that is adding to their current behavior that's making you uncomfortable.

What is the best way to worm an 8.5 foot boa constrictor?

Get some wormer, I suppose. Visit the reptile vet.

My 9 hens create their own special aroma. Personally, I do not enjoy it, though I am convinced they do. How often do I have to clean their coop?

It depends on how big the coop is, but with that many chickens, probably twice a week.
They do not like the smell. When I worked at a farm, we cleaned out the chicken's nests every day.
Chew on THAT.

One of my cats is a "tub pooper". She poops in our bathtub 1-3 times a month. How can we convince her to reform her practices? 

Keep the bathroom door closed.
Or, Leave a couple inches of water in the tub. Cats hate water, right? There you go.

Should I get an asymmetrical/disconnected haircut?

There are some really beautiful, fantastical human beings with that hair-do, but in my opinion, the ship has already left the dock. Those on board are happily riding the tide of asymmetry.
 If you aren't already on the asymmetrical deck, then consider staying on dry land. 
The show's already started, the set's winding down, and it won't be worth the price of admission. 
(But I do always recommend getting a Tootie haircut. Why not?)

Should I give my miniature weiner dog preventative supplements for spinal health?

Sure, why not. While you're at it, get some doggy steps to protect the little guy's back when he's getting on and off your bed or the couch. Don't let him leap from great heights!

How do you know when it's time to change cities or is it even necessary?

When a place doesn't feel like a home, you have nothing on the horizon, it feel stagnant, and THEN opportunities open up to you in other places. "The Universe" will tell you where you need to be.

How do you let a friend know you're interested in them and still stay friends regardless of their response? 

Well. To answer the second part of your question first: you can't get aggro or mean if they say No.

That's the part that ruins friendships after crush confessions. No performative sighs or doe eyes.
If they're not interested, can the romance, turn the page and move on.
You may need to take a little friendly space from them if they say no, get over the disappointment, and then jump back in the hanging out game.

How to let them know?
Say something like: "I *like* you. Would you like to go on a date with me some time?" ,
OR the more round-a-bout, "What would happen if I asked you on a date some time? Just wondering." and then they will be baffled and say, "What the fuck are you talking about?"
and then you say, "Oh, uhhh,,, psych! J/k j/k. Um.... what?"
and then say you're going on a trip and you'll call them when you come back, and pretend to have a really great date in the Niagara Falls area, so obviously things won't be weird.

I recently read that hair parted to the left indicates weakness. I have a left part. Should I change it? Is there any validity to this hypothesis?

I don't know. You should change your part every once in a while to give your bangs more volume and pizazz anyway. Be a bangs switch. Everyone likes that.  They'll think you're versatile.

Why is it so hard to ask someone (a babe) out? 
p.s. There are babes in this bookstore right now...

If memories serves, there were no infants present when this question was asked, but still. What If.
Anyway, good looking adults, why is it hard? That's not advice, that's opinion.
I guess it's hard because you fear rejection, but what's the worst that could happen? You're embarrassed for a minute? Who cares. You'll survive, the world will keep turning, and you can use the practice.

It hurts when I pee. Thoughts?

First thought: UTI
Second thought: Go to the doctor.

Hi. I get very deeply & emotionally attached to animals, especially cats, since my family was fucked up when I was a kid and the only creature I felt loved me was my cat. 8 years ago I got a cat whom I loved more than anything; immediately I began having anxiety. 5 years ago she was diagnosed with a chronic illness and I spiralled into a deep anxiety for years. She died in September and I loved her truly, but I don't know if I should ever get another cat. What do you think?

I think you should get another cat.
I think you need some time, and I think you need to work on your anxiety. Once you have some anxiety management tools in place, I think a cat could be great for you. They are energy healers, you know...



Thursday, March 28, 2013

Some Questions from the Road: Water sports, desperation, PC Police & More!

Good morning, readers!
I've just returned from a month-long tour of the United States, where I answered anonymous advice questions in a live setting, along-side the incredible Cassie J. Sneider.
I have a backpack full of these tiny slips of paper, and will try to answer them in a rapid-fire style as the Spring wears on.  Hopefully I can even have Cassie guest on a few posts.

How much job satisfaction does one need? Is living in the cubicle kingdom ever okay?

You need to either have a job that satisfies you, or a job that doesn't drain too much of your brain power so you can do the things you like to do after work. One or the other. Most artists do not make a living off of their art, which is why it is important to have a job you can deal with during the day in order to fund your projects and not vampire you to death in the meantime.

I want to be a writer, but I don't even take myself seriously when I say that. Also, I'm in a mega depressive funk and can't make anything so I feel like a fraud when I say "writer". Help?

If you want to be a writer, all you have to do is write. Even if it is only for 20 minutes a day,  just write.
Then walk to a photocopier, put it together into a little booklet, and pass it out to your friends & writers/publications you respect. Voila- you are a writer. It is not rocket science, do not trip out on it. If you are a writer it is because there is something you need to write. Just do it. 

Hello! I'm in a primary partnership with myself. What are some fun free date ideas? (completely serious)

Go for a walk, go watch t.v. at the gym, go sit somewhere and write or draw, go to karaoke, take yourself to a movie for $3, have some quality time with your vibrator, go to Powells and read, go to Zumba, go pet dogs at the Humane Society, go spend a nickel on an ice cream cone.

How much do I like this guy? Enough to put up with occasional pot smoking and weekend drunkenness? Am I too old for this?

It sounds like you are too old for this. This question reeks of growing resentment. Cut & run! It sounds like he's getting on your nerves, and he's not going to change, so if you aren't willing to change (you don't have to, actually) then bail before you are dragging your anger like an albatross!

How do I politely tell my friends they are being politically incorrect, even when they should realize that they are... 

Ugh. Please do not passive aggressively call them out on Facebook. If you must talk to them about something, because it's hurtful or will get them in trouble, do it privately. Try to make a personal connection (i.e. My uncle is ___________ , or say "you aren't allowed to say _________!" and explain why).

Don't let it eat at you. Your new mantra: "We are on the same side." At the end of the day, are they well-meaning? Do they politically have your  back when the chips are down? Remember that! You may live in a radical bubble, but in the grand scheme of things that is rare and worth something.

Take off your judges robes and powdered wig, set down the gavel and have a friendly conversation about semantics if they're bugging you or embarrassing themselves. Otherwise, chill!

I'm from Montreal and have lived here most of my life, and a lot of people I love are here. But winter makes me want to smash my face into the sidewalk- should I move away?

Sure, try it. Not forever, just try spending a month or two somewhere sunny and see how you like it.
Texas, California, Arizona, Hawaii- sign up for a residency somewhere and dry out for a bit.
 If you are too homesick you can always move back. Remember, you just get this one life. If you see yourself somewhere tropical, go do it!

What are good ways to meet people that isn't a bar?

A karaoke bar is a bar, but really it is such an excellent place. Okay, otherwise- volunteer somewhere. I don't know what your gender situation is, but volunteering with the Rock'n'Roll Camp for Girls is an amazing way to meet strong, interesting women-identified-people from around the world. Look it up in your area, get in your car, and go help out.

What's a good "just because I think you're the best ever" gift for my friend?

Flowers, my new book Calling Dr. Laura, Cassie's book Fine Fine Music, some chocolates from Lagusta's Luscious, or a Lil' Bub totebag.   

This person I like seems desperate, like they would hook up with anyone willing. Should I even bother, or am I going to be another warm body?

Firstly, you sound a little judgmental and like you are painting them with a very broad brush. Can you investigate their current desperation situation without getting too far in?
If it is true, that they are throwing themselves around indiscriminately, then it sounds like you might catch something. Pass on the opportunity, unless you also are hard up and can see this as a purely functional arrangement. Like just to get your vibes rolling, or for physical fitness.

I think I have a drinking problem. What should I do?

Go to AA, duh.
Not a joke. Just go there. Can your excuses about not wanting a higher power, and just step into some meetings. DO IT.

What do you feel is the best way to memorialize Whitney Houston? How did you?

With karaoke, recording a cover song, making a zine about her life or painting a portrait of her.  

How do I hit "Rock Bottom" already?

Make out with a puppet. See example: Graham.

Should I dye my greys?

Only if they are blended in with some other hideous hair color you are trying to hide.
Otherwise, be grey and free! Distinguished!

Best place for water sports apart from a bath tub?

A tarp. A bed with a rubber sheet. The kitchen or the back yard. Or a bucket!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Unsolicited Advice, re:Home Euthanasia

Photo by Chelsey Johnson, 2008

Hello, Readers.
As you  may or may not know, I am keeper to two very geriatric dogs. Beija, who is recovering from cancer, and Wishbone, the senile terrier.  As of this week, I am down to one dog.

We had Wishbone put down (you can read her obituary here) on Monday, and I wanted to give you the most valuable advice that my sister gave to me: Have your pets put down at home.

Secondly (and this is from me), look into Euthanasia far in advance, so that when the time comes and your mind and heart are all fogged up and confused, you know what your bottom line is.

If you have pets, please take a moment and consider this.

I know that you are attached to your animal, but don't worry- magical thinking isn't real. If you accept that Euthanasia and death are and option, it is not the same as putting a hex on your creature. What it is, is making a plan for the future to give them the gift of a compassionate, swift exit from a failing body.

It's just like a living will- consider under what conditions you would and would not want to be alive if you were them. Also consider what you are willing to do, medically, to keep them alive. What is fair to them, what is fair to you, and what you can afford. It's vulgar and awful to even mention money when considering your best friend's life, but it's real.

For my dogs I've assessed their quality of life (happiness, mobility, appetite, comfort), then their age.
You can also consult an official Quality of Life Scale as your pet ages, to keep track of changes and discomforts that may have happened so gradually you take them for granted. Here is another one.

About home euthanasia:
 It is such a "duh", I can't believe I never considered it before being lectured by my sweet sister on how it was the right thing to do.  I didn't even realize it was an option.

A kind, professional veterinarian came to our home, administered a sedative, and then the final O.D. to stop Wishbone's heart.
Wishbone got to die while laying on my chest, sleeping. She was so at peace, she didn't even lift her head the whole time the vet was in our home.
She didn't have to be transported to another venue full of bright lights and unfamiliar smells.
Another bonus was that Beija got to be a part of the process. She got to sniff Wishbone after she was gone, and understood immediately what had happened. This might sound morbid to you, but it saved Beija from having the anxious searching that dogs sometimes have for their companions when they don't know why or where they've gone.

In Oregon, I recommend Compassionate Care Pet Euthanasia.
They were kind, professional, and handled all of the after-death issues as well (cremation, etc).

Be well, love your pets, and thank you for reading this and considering this in advance.