Life

  • Lucy and I have quickly gotten adjusted to life without Fred. I miss him tons, but it helps immensely that I’ve gotten regular updates. Fred is thriving and that’s what makes it all worth it.
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Oldie, but a goodie

  • It looks like I will not be running – let alone racing – the Broad Street Run in 2 ½ weeks. I’ve had some aching around the spot in which I had a pretty severe stress fracture seven years ago. It’s likely a stress reaction – a precursor to a full-on stress fracture. While I might be able to run the race because it’s mostly an ache and not sharp pain, 10 miles of pounding is not a smart idea – that’s how I wound up with a stress fracture all those years ago in the first place. I’m bummed because the race is a historic one in which you can pretty much only gain entry via the lottery (professionals and fundraisers are the exceptions, I think); the odds were slim to be picked and yet I was and now I can’t run it.
  • My goal is to be healthy to run a Vineyard run in mid-May; I ran it last year and while I’d like to be faster this year, that’s clearly not going to happen with any serious training on hold. So, the ability to run four, pain-free miles will be my goal.
  • I signed up for a partner CrossFit competition in New Jersey in early June; a friend and I are partnering up for a Barbells for Bullies competition. The group primarily supports pit bulls but also fundraises for all bullie breeds, so obviously it was a personal cause for me. I could care less how I do. I’m in it for fun. Truly.
  • No real vacation this summer; trying hard to save money to buy a condo/house by November of 2019. I had hoped to buy this November (my apartment lease is up each December), but I think another 18 months to save money is the smarter move, especially considering I will need a new (used) car in the not-so-distant future and I’d like to pay cash for it.
  • Speaking of saving money, I started a new, part-time job this past Friday. I am working (very) part-time at a local winery storefront. It’s very few hours a month – maybe once a week, max. Clearly, I’m not in it entirely for the money, but it doesn’t hurt, that’s for sure. I love wine and combined with the fact that it’s minimal hours, it is a perfect fit. I just have to make sure I don’t buy more wine than the money I’m making from the job.
  • Lucy has her annual physical next month; we have a lot of work to do in four weeks to get her weight down…

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    Yeah, everything is currently a bit tight on Lucy…

And that’s recent life in a nutshell.

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Fred Gets Surgery…Sort Of

Fred had his big day yesterday which ended up being only half a big day. He was scheduled for a neuter and a dental. At 13 years-old you’d think we’d just let him be, but because he wasn’t neutered, his prostate was significantly enlarged (which is normal in non-neutered dogs) and the neuter makes his quality of life better. Plus, since he was already going under for that, we wanted to do a dental. He has typically bad pug teeth; he was already missing more than a handful, several were loose and others were infected, dead, etc.

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Obligatory cute Fred photo

I dropped him off at 7:30 a.m. and just before 11:30 my vet called. I knew it was a bit early for him to be done with everything and I was right. Fred’s heart did not tolerate the anesthesia well; it would stop for five seconds or so, beat for five seconds, stop for five seconds, repeat. This started when the vet was halfway through Fred’s neuter, the first of the two procedures. They gave him some medicine that was supposed to regulate his heartbeat but it went right back to the start-stop-start activity, so my vet called it a day after finishing the neuter.

Obviously not having the dental done isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Don’t get me wrong, his teeth are bad and he may have some additional infected teeth down the road (he’s currently on antibiotics for several already infected teeth, in addition to the Lyme) but no way is he going back under anesthesia. If he’ll let me, I’ll try brushing his teeth but last time I tried he was NOT receptive to having me near his mouth.

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Even half the planned surgeries took a lot out of him

And now he will be listed for adoption, most likely this week. Twenty-four hours after surgery he was already largely back to his normal self. The thought of him leaving is bittersweet; I love this sweet old man, but I know he can find an ideal home to live out his golden years. A home where maybe someone is home all day or more frequently than I am. And he’s not super attached to me; his attention span is about five seconds max (except when it comes to Lucy) and so I know he will be happy almost anywhere. It makes me sad to see him moving on yet again at 13 years of age, but my normal reasons for not keeping a foster still stand. Lucy doesn’t adore him – although they are perfectly fine together, my finances need some tightening this coming year and I know if we can find a home with someone home more often, that’s a win for Fred.

I have such a soft spot for senior pugs and I’ve just loved having Fred around. Fortunately, he’s not going anywhere for at least the next few weeks.

Fred Goes to the Vet

Sounds like the title to a children’s book! But that pretty much sums up Tuesday night.

We already knew Fred needs to be neutered and have a dental done but he also needed a thorough check-up before any surgery – we wanted to make sure his pneumonia was cleared up, his bloodwork was good, etc. So, I got him in to see my very favorite vet on Tuesday night.

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He’s definitely a stud.

What did we learn? Fred has Lyme. Not what I wanted to hear, but antibiotics and he’ll be good. He has ear infections – the antibiotics plus ear drops will solve that. Still a bit raspy in the chest so we did x-rays; chest x-rays were clear. Either he’s an extra snorty pug OR he has some scar tissue built up from his pneumonia. Either way, he’s clear for surgery since his bloodwork came back as “perfect.”

He was an absolute trooper. Because the appointment was directly after work, he got to hang out at the office with me for the afternoon. He was a BIG hit. Everyone just loved him and he was great. A little barky when I left my desk for more than 1-2 minutes but other than, just perfect. He got so much love and attention. Combined with the vet appointment, he was one tired dog, though!

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TAIT’s newest employee

We’re still figuring out when and where he’ll get his surgeries done but I’m in no rush; once he gets through surgery he should be cleared for adoption and considering I’ve fallen in love with him already, I am far from anxious for him to hit the available page.

Although I am anxious for him to be done with these antibiotics – they are seriously screwing with his stomach and let’s just say it hasn’t been pretty over here. I’m going to call the vet tomorrow and see if there’s a different antibiotic we can try because his stomach is just not happy!

Things are still going well so far, though – he fits right in and Lucy hasn’t made a run for it yet.

Name Change

So quick news first – Mugs has a new name! SNORT had a few too many pugs named Mugsy (or some variation of that name) so Mugs had to have a name change. I’ve gone with Fred – now I have a Lucy and a Fred from I Love Lucy! He’s deaf – he has no idea what anyone calls him anyway, so the name change isn’t a super big deal.

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Fred? Mugs? Makes zero difference to him.

Now, for some updates! We’re just about 48 hours into life with Fred. So far so good (knock on wood).

Absolutely 100 percent deaf, no questions. Can’t hear a thing.

He’s starting to break out the typical pug hops – hops when I come home, hops when it’s mealtime, hops when it’s treat time. Adorable. He is truly ecstatic when I come home – greatest feeling ever.

Fully housetrained (minus one accident tonight – I waited too long, totally my fault); no need for a belly band, although I kept one on him today while I was at work since he wasn’t alone for long stretches yesterday – today he went 4-5 hours while I’m at work (I come home for lunch), so I wanted to be sure there were no accidents while I was at work (spoiler alert – there weren’t!).

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He is a little escape artist! Give him a millimeter of space between a door opening and his shoulders and he’s gone! Of course, he’s on a leash but I do have to take both dogs out at once; if I try to leave him inside while I take Lucy out, he’ll find a way to wiggle out the patio door. Leaving through the front door is interesting, to say the least!

Like most pugs, he’s a barker. Unfortunately, verbal corrections don’t do anything. I picked up a spray bottle after work today; hopefully a quick spritz in the face when he (unnecessarily) barks will work. I hesitate to do treat-based training – he doesn’t need to put weight on!

Nighttime is going well; he sleeps in my bedroom and takes a bit to settle down into his pillows (well, my pillows that he’s commandeered) and at some point last night he moved from his pillows to his own bed (also in my bedroom), but so far so good.

And Lucy? Who knows. I don’t think she’s ecstatic but so far, their personalities match well. Lucy isn’t a huge cuddler with me and certainly doesn’t care where I am in the apartment. Fred must know where I am at all times and follows me everywhere. Also, toys have not been a huge issue yet – he has a few soft chew toys he likes but shockingly Lucy hasn’t been overly interested in them and he isn’t really obsessed with them, either – no territorial behavior from him, that’s for sure. They largely ignore each other – fine by me! And Lucy even got down on the floor with me last night to play fetch – normally she’s too scared (no, really) of the other dogs to play on the ground. So, a big step for her this early in the game!

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Finally, I took both dogs to the vet tonight. Lucy needed an allergy shot and I brought Fred along for several reasons – I’m not sure how he does home alone without me or another dog; I didn’t want him barking for an hour. Plus, I wanted to see how he did in an environment outside the home. He did spectacularly! No barking, no marking. He just sniffed the other dogs when he felt like it and was largely content to just roam and look around! I think this guy is going to do great in almost any scenario!

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Meets Mugs!

Mugs is here!
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Mugs is a 13-year-old pug. He is – sort of – an owner surrender. After 13 years, his owners decided they weren’t sure they wanted to keep him around and put him in a crate in their garage where he promptly got pneumonia. Not sure on the details, but somehow he was taken out of the home and brought to an animal sanctuary; a SNORT volunteer was contacted by that sanctuary to find him a foster home and just like that, I’m back to a two-dog household!

I adore him. Which isn’t saying much because I pretty much adore all my foster dogs (and all dogs in general).

So here’s what I’ve learned in 18 hours with Mugs:

  • Definitely 13 in regards to looks, not energy.
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  • He is not neutered (ugh – 13 years and never neutered?!) and is in desperate need of a dental. Typical. I’ll get him to the vet soon.
  • Despite the above fact, he hasn’t yet marked inside. Hallelujah! I had a belly band on him yesterday night and this morning but right now he’s roaming naked and has yet to mark.
  • He’s deaf. Can’t hear a single thing. I took a very quick look in his ears and they don’t seem to be terribly gunky so I think he’s genuinely hard of hearing. Doesn’t stop him from barking, though…
  • Typical pug who loves food (although it took him a bit to warm up to his new food) and adores the treats I have. He has quickly learned to head to the refrigerator (where I keep their treats) after coming inside from doing his business.
  • One thing he hates? The crate. HATES it. Barks and barks and barks. Last night I put his crate in my bedroom but that was a no-go after 45 minutes of barking. I’m a firm believer in letting a dog bark it out but I live in an apartment; it’s just rude to let him bark that much at 10:30 at night. Or any time of the day/night. I put him in the crate this morning when I went for a 40-minute run; considering he was barking when I left and barking when I got home, it’s safe to assume he spent the entire 40 minutes barking. When I got back, I had to run some quick errands so I left him out and came back to a clean apartment and no barking. So the crate will go away…for now.
  • He’s starting to show me some of the typical pug hops; hops around dancing when I come home, when it’s time for food, etc.
  • He has a lot of energy for 13 but he definitely tires quickly. As I type this, he’s sitting on the floor at the feet falling asleep after spending the last 20 minutes staring outside the patio door.
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  • And Lucy? After some getting-to-know-you sniffing, they’ve largely ignored each other. Like most pugs, Mugs prefers to know where I am at all times. She’s camped out on the couch now which is where she’d be anyway. I think his barking is driving her a bit bonkers but other than that, things are going well so far. Granted, it’s been 18 hours. But so far so good!
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Fostering Hiatus

It’s been a while now without a foster. Kramer was adopted Oct. 14 so I’ve gone almost three months without fostering. While there’s no definite date for my next foster, I will be fostering again soon. I promised my family I would not foster over the holidays – bringing home two dogs for several days is a bit stressful for everyone, especially when you don’t exactly know what you’re getting with a foster. Then earlier this month I dogsat – just for a few days, but I wasn’t going to foster during that time. And later this month I am dogsitting a puppy (!!) for about a week, so it looks like February will be when I start to look for the right foster.

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I really, really miss this guy.

Now that Lucy’s getting a bit older, I really appreciate the one-on-one time I have with her. Fostering is an upheaval for everyone – myself, Lucy, the foster. Again, you never really know what you’re getting with a foster, but I want to make sure I at least try and foster a dog I think has a good chance of fitting in with Lucy. That usually means an older, smaller, less active dog (because Lucy is kind of crotchety). Fortunately, I have a slight obsession with senior pugs and while they can be a bit more active than a bulldog, all the senior pugs I’ve had have fit in pretty well with Lucy.

Yesterday marked five years to the day that I brought home my first foster, Nellie (fka Cindy). That means Lucy has had eight dogs come in and out of her life and she’s not even six years-old yet! That’s a lot of dogs so while I’m not going to stop fostering, I do think I want to be a bit more selective with future fosters. It’s also really not easy to foster by myself. It’s doable but I’ve also been lucky so far – neither Kramer nor Lady were terribly complicated fosters who had lots of vet appointments or behavioral issues.

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Cindy

SNORT has been inundated with dogs needing foster homes and as much as I want to help, I know I have to wait. I am helping out with a transport tomorrow, though, so I’ll get a temporary dog fix!

PSA: If you’re interested in volunteering (doesn’t have to be fostering – transports, intakes, etc.), let me know! SNORT is really slammed the past few weeks!

Sad News

I got the sad news that my first foster, Nellie (fka Cindy) passed away this week. She was just over 11 ½ years old and spent four-plus wonderful years with her forever family.

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Nellie’s forever home.

My sadness is most definitely for her family – not for myself – and so this will be brief. She was theirs. I am sad because a truly wonderful dog is gone, one who defied all odds. Nellie survived the puppy mill, heartworm, Lyme and various other medical concerns. And she survived me (and Marty) as first-time foster parents. As I’ve written before, we really had no clue what we were getting into but I regret zero seconds of her seven months with us. Not a single second.

It is because I had such a wonderful experience being Nellie’s foster mom that I continue to foster. Seven fosters have followed since her adoption and all because of her. For that and many other reasons, she’ll always hold a very special place in my heart. Nellie has indirectly saved the lives of seven other dogs and for that I’m forever grateful.

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Pre-potty rolling session

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Squishy.

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Smiles

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She LOVED pillows.

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That face.

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More pillows.

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After heartworm treatment.

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Sweet Cindy waiting at the vet.

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Crazy Dog Lady

The first step in getting help for a problem is admitting you have a problem. I don’t want help for my problem but I fully admit I am a crazy dog lady. I am utterly obsessed with Lucy, all bulldogs (including those I’ve never met) and my foster dogs.

But here’s some more reality – I am single, do not have kids and I consider dogs a passion of mine. If that makes me a loser, so be it. But I foster and actively assist with various volunteer efforts for SNORT and there are worse things I can choose to devote my free time. It makes me happy and I have the (limited) resources and time to devote to that hobby.

But even I have reached a whole new level of crazy. This evening, Lucy (and I) had professional photos taken.

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Anxiously waiting to start!

A photographer named April Zielger took the photos. I’ve followed her on Facebook for years; I’m not even sure why I started following her, but she does absolutely wonderful work and she’s very experienced in pet photos. Plus, she has a slight affinity for bulldogs. When the thought first crossed my mind that this might be something I’d want to do, I really didn’t consider anyone else.

How did the session go? Great! I absolutely cannot wait to see the pictures. And it’s now indisputable – Lucy just doesn’t like me all that much. Any time April tried to get a picture of Lucy and me, Lucy wanted nothing to do with me. Walked away time after time after time. It is quite clear I love her far more than she loves me.

Anyway, despite now cementing myself as crazy, I had a few valid reasons (at least they were valid in my own head) to do this. First, I adore this dog. Obviously. Right now, she’s pretty much the most significant thing in my life (besides my job – no job means no Lucy). I consider her part of my family; my lifestyle is based around her and I’m more than okay with that.

Second, I am really interested in photography. I have a DSLR camera of my own, like to shoot photos whenever I travel and LOVE looking at professional photographers’ work. So, I was highly interested in having a few really good photographs of Lucy. I appreciate good work and to me it’s worth the investment. These will last forever.

And speaking of forever, Lucy won’t be here forever. Not to be morbid, but a lot of bulldogs don’t reach double digits. Many do, but many don’t. She’s already 5 ½. Statistically speaking, that puts her on the back nine (golf metaphor for you). She’s active, healthy and happy – she’s not going anywhere soon; at least, I hope not. But I don’t see anything wrong with having some really good photos to remember her by and cherish forever.

And lastly, the least important reason: I don’t have many pictures of myself and Lucy and almost none I’d consider good. I am the least photogenic person ever. It’s a fact. I’m not a hideous creature but you wouldn’t know that if you saw pictures of me. It’s bad. So, if April got even 1-2 pictures with Lucy and me in which I look something like a normal human being, it’s worth it.

Plus, you know what feels good? Really not caring what other people think. I’m sure the general consensus is that I’m nuts. For someone who’s normally pretty stingy (that would be me), this is probably seen as a waste, not to mention flat out weird. But I don’t care. and that’s absolutely freeing.

Poor Kramer

Yesterday marked six weeks to the day since I brought Kramer home and he/we celebrated his six weeks by getting him neutered and scheduling a dental.

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“Neutering means what?!”

The dental ended up being the more complicated of the two procedures. When the vet did an oral exam, he saw a lot of plaque and a few already missing teeth but thought that overall the plaque was the biggest issue. Not quite. Ends up Kramer had severe gum disease that wasn’t visible during an oral exam. While Kramer was under anesthesia and they began examining his mouth, the vet was able to stick his instrument almost a centimeter deep in some areas of Kramer’s gums – that’s not good.

Kramer came home with five teeth left. Not five teeth extracted. Five teeth left. According to the vet, teeth were falling out left and right with very little prodding; as the vet tried to clean one tooth, the other next to it would fall out. While one tooth looked ok, the x-rays revealed zero roots holding the tooth in.

My poor little buddy. He wasn’t woken up from anesthesia until 4:30 and I couldn’t pick him up until 7 p.m. He was still so incredibly out of it, as is expected. But because he’s always such an energetic, happy guy, it was such a stark difference from the doggie I dropped off. When Lady lost 14 teeth, she was groggy but Lady slept 90% of the day to begin with – it wasn’t such a drastic difference. Kramer was just not himself at all. He gave me the most half-hearted tail wag I’ve ever seen him give and just stared off into space.

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He was so groggy he thought Lucy was a chair.

He was the saddest little sight. He was falling asleep sitting up – he refused to lay down but couldn’t stay sitting up. His mouth incisions were still bleeding quite a bit and he just sat there, swaying, with his little tongue permanently sticking out of his mouth.

He wasn’t much more alert this morning – he still had little interest in food which made it hard to get his meds in him. I was able to get some of his meds into him with some peanut butter and by the time I came home at lunch to check on the doggies, he was dramatically better. His tail was wagging at full speed and he stood right up in his crate to greet me.

Getting the meds in him is still an issue; he must HATE the taste of one of them because he refuses it in all forms – mixed in food, mixed in peanut butter, mixed in whipped cream. And then he ate a few gulps of his canned food and promptly puked it up – all over my sandals.

I finally got some canned food to stay down and he ate 75% of his pain meds with peanut butter after much prompting and forcing of peanut butter in his mouth.

He is so much better tonight, puking aside. He’s energetic and starting to bark at mystery noises outside again. My poor guy – he’s going to feel so much better now, though, with all those painful teeth gone.

Be sure to check SNORT’s available page – he should be listed soon!

Settling In

After this past weekend, I feel like I can take a deep breath and really settle into a routine with Kramer. A week or so after bringing Kramer home, I dog-sat Spike, a 70-pound English bulldog. At only one year old, Spike had a LOT of energy and a very small space in which to expend that energy. I only had Spike for roughly 48 hours and then five days later, Spike came back…for an entire week.

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I’m not going to lie, it was a stressful week. Three dogs, with Kramer still learning the ropes of being a true pet, in a small space was pure chaos. The best way to describe Spike is like Tigger (from Winnie the Pooh) on steroids. He’s got a phenomenal and hilarious personality but it’s not a personality meant for small spaces with small(er) dogs. If he wanted to walk in the evenings, his energy was tolerable. If he didn’t want to walk (and there was no making a 70-pound dog walk against his will), watch out. Anything in the apartment was fair game – burrowing in the couch. Playing fetch. Eating my coasters. Body-slamming Kramer. Humping me. Chewing his Nylabone.

Fortunately for him, he’s adorable which made up for a lot of the chaos.

But back to our routine. Kramer is really starting to get the hang of being a pet. He has never had a true accident inside – every time he’s peed indoors it’s been marking, not because he had to pee. He’s never gone #2 inside, which I consider a true miracle. He has quickly caught on to the post-pee/poop treat routine. After coming inside, I find him waiting (not-so) patiently in the kitchen by the fridge where I keep their treats.

Kramer is still blanket obsessed and it’s the cutest thing ever. He must have a blankie with him at all times. Starting last week, I allowed him up on the couch to see what he’d do. As long as he has his blankie with him, he’s content to lounge around gnawing on it while Lucy sleeps (as usual) and I read (as usual).

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He is very much a pug; he barks (a lot) and follows me everywhere but that’s all typical stuff I expect from a pug. He sleeps just fine in the crate at night and I’m assuming he does the same while I’m at work during the day. He just chewed on one of Lucy’s many beloved Nylabones yesterday and while I thought Lucy’s head was going to explode – she doesn’t share well – it was another sign that Kramer is quickly learning to enjoy the good life.

I finally scheduled Kramer’s neuter and dental surgeries for Sept. 11. I’m super anxious for both – he has an enlarged prostate which is contributing to the marking and constant peeing outside but that’s reversible with the neutering (another reason to spay and neuter your pets!!). His breath also reeks so the dental will be much-needed.

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After two surgeries, there isn’t anything we need to address before he gets listed for adoption. As long as the surgeries go well, he should be able to hit the available page pretty quickly after the procedures. Which is sad. Obviously, it’s much easier on me with just Lucy to look after, but so far, the two fosters I’ve had on my own (Lady and Kramer) have been phenomenal. They’ve been two of the simpler fosters I’ve ever had and have been great additions, even if temporary.

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