Saturday, June 24, 2017


It seems everyone is itching and scratching - we have fleas!  A fact of life during the summer months in Brooklyn with only one or two summers in memory where we avoided them completely.

Since we try to handle this summer scourge naturally we spend our time vacuuming daily and constantly grooming Annie and the boys with a flea comb to capture the little buggers. We grab any fleas that turn up in the teeth of the comb between our fingers immediately putting them in a bowl of water to flush into oblivion at the end of the grooming session. Weekly baths for Annie are part of our regimen.  I use an olive oil soap on her which is very soothing.

The battle will be ongoing because Belle who is still living outside will not let us handle her so I'm sure she is the major source of  fleas.

Annie gets some garlic in her food which will discourage most of the fleas from bothering her but garlic is dangerous to cats so we have to be very careful to confine Handsome when she's eating then clean her bowl thoroughly before releasing him from his carrier. Handsome is an opportunist always on the hunt for someone else's meal or treats to eat and that includes human meals and desserts! Definitely great survival instincts he developed during his years on the streets not appropriate behavior as part of a family of 4 pets and 2 humans. On the other hand, Orphee is never interested in anything Annie is eating but is definitely interested in anything Handsome, Artie or I have.

Recently I read using salt water to wash the floors, sprinkling salt on the carpets before vacuuming and misting the cats with equal parts apple cider vinegar and water will deter fleas. I'll be testing those remedies out this summer for sure.

Sorry about the fleas, Mom but there's a lot of them out here!

Monday, June 19, 2017


I can't believe I haven't posted since last September but so much has gone on since then. We are a more cohesive family now.

For the past three weeks Handsome has become more serene, is now wearing a collar and has been spending 24 hours a day at my place with Annie and Orphee. Prior to this development, I had to leave him at Artie's for long periods of time when I cooked (just couldn't trust him to stay off the stove) or when I needed to go out.  Handsome has (or rather had) a nasty habit of 'attacking' Orphee when I wasn't looking. I know that sounds bad. In reality he just wanted to play but with his tendency to play rough the end result would be I'd hear Orphee squealing and off I'd go to referee. Handsome's finally realized he needed to put the brakes on really rough play and Orphee learned to defend himself resulting in normal play time.

Handsome loves Annie. He head butts her, rubs up against her and smells her paws when she's sleeping. She is less wary of him than when he first came to live with us. All of this took more than a year but miraculously everything just fell into place.

For the first time in a long time I can plan to bring Belle in to live permanently. That too was delayed more than a year because of the need to keep Handsome separated when he couldn't be supervised. I'm hoping to have Belle indoors in a month's time at the earliest; at the latest before fall sets in.

Belle "I'm on the outside looking in."
Finally getting along.

Annie catching up on her beauty sleep.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


While browsing at the library a book cover with an adorable puppy caught my eye. I grabbed the book, read the blurb inside the jacket and checked it out.

The book was The Dog Merchants by Kim Kavin. I had absolutely no idea how much I did not know about dog breeding, rescuing or the canine world situation. What an eye-opener!

This book talks extensively about how all types of dogs are marketed and about breeding for traits as well as cultural differences between countries such as the USA, Great Britain, Japan or China. Most importantly, the author points out that change can come to all areas of the pet industry if people educate themselves and use their power as consumers to bring it about. Specifically, she mentions rating breeders, rescuers and shelters online much as we do with all our other purchases pointing the reader to as the place to write such reviews.

I highly recommend this book. It is more than a good read, it is a textbook to educate you and help you make informed choices when adopting your next canine companion and a blueprint for bringing positive change to the lives of all types of dogs.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


In a house with one dog and three cats it's safe to say there's never a dull moment. Annie's medical issues were the main reason I put this blog aside over a year ago drastically reducing my posts to almost nothing.

Annie had a second tumor in the same family group as her first, went through a second operation then started radiation therapy. After five days of radiation therapy she developed back pain and lameness in her hind legs. She had some sort of spinal infection but all her tests came up negative.

The pain was excruciating; she lost the use of her back legs. Three neurologists and untold varieties of antibiotics and painkillers later the pain was relieved and the infection erased by a doctor wise enough to ignore the negative test findings and treat the symptoms.

Annie would have been cured but lame if Artie and I hadn't realized that her legs were atrophying. We contacted Dr. Young who has a therapist on staff. Regular at-home therapy sessions restored her back leg strength along with her ability to walk.

February 2015 was the second cancer surgery. One month later the radiation therapy started when the infection developed. Radiation was discontinued. Annie's recovery was very slow but steady; she spent many months on medicine, Early on, the Oncologist and Neurologist handling her radiation told us there was nothing else that could be done for her suggesting we end her life. Dr. Young believed whatever was going on was curable and deep in our guts so did I and Artie.

We worked with two more Neurologists, their assistants, many techs and everyone at Dr. Young's office to bring Annie back to health.  It took months of weaning her off the antibiotics but by New Year's Eve Annie was off the last of the antibiotics long enough that we could safely say the infection was eradicated.

Her therapy continued and she steadily regained strength in her hindquarters coming back to her old self by early summer of 2016 more than a year after her surgery.

The video footage was taken during the first few days of Annie's radiation therapy before the spinal infection manifested itself.