Welcome to my blog! 8 Paws and 2 Tails is a pet blog dedicated to all things cat and dog related with particular emphasis on one family's experiences dealing with medical issues, hospice and palliative care, coping with grief, home feeding and our pet's quirky behaviors.
This is a particularly happy Christmas for both Artie and me. For most of this year we were convinced we would be spending the holidays without our Annie. Most joyfully that was not to be. Our little girl is not only back to her old self but even better than ever and for that we are very grateful.
Christmas Eve was a bit unusual, we needed to do some last-minute grocery shopping for our dinner preparations, managing to finish our errands in a timely fashion. We fed the cats first since suppertime in our house is dominated by Orphée either winding himself around legs or following everyone around the kitchen (the worse-case scenario consists of winding, following and talking - a deadly combination). Handsome is no slouch in this department either but his routine is to call you with very loud, very persistent meows. It's enough to drive you crazy! Then there's Belle who becomes agitated as it gets darker without a meal in sight. You can understand why we cater to them - it helps preserve our sanity.
Once the felines were settled, we donned our summer jackets (yesterday's temperatures were in the 70s) and went for a walk with Annie. It was the perfect way to work in her daily exercise and admire everyone's Christmas lights. This was a really good call - we spent 45 minutes walking around a very quiet neighborhood just absorbing the silent, beautifully lit Christmas atmosphere (all that was missing was a bite to the air and a dusting of snow).
With a stack of vintage Christmas show and vintage/contemporary movie DVDs on hand I prepared dinner for myself, Artie and Annie while Artie started our holiday viewing. With everyone settled into their favorite spots - Orphée in his wing chair, Annie on her bed, Handsome in his oversize carry case and Belle on her blanket covering our window air conditioner, we settled in for Christmas Eve.
Belle is almost a full member of our family. All that remains is for us to get her to a veterinarian for a full physical and we will start the process of making a full house cat out of her. Yes, I feel grateful this Christmas; content with our little family and looking towards 2016 with hope it will be a year that will more than make up for the terrible year 2015 turned out to be.
Another sweetly delightful title for children to read at Christmas is Angel Pig and The Hidden Christmas.
A wonderful poem that tells the story of a family of pigs readying for Christmas only to realize they don't have the money to buy presents. The entire family is saddened because they can't celebrate the upcoming Christmas until Angel Pig appears to show them how.
Written for children ages 4 to 8 (preschool to grade 2) and published by Dutton Juvenile in hardcover and paperback by RiverRun Select, you can find this title on Amazon.
My second Christmas pick for Children's Corner is The Bear's Christmas by Brigitte Frey Moret and Alexander Reichstein. Beautifully illustrated this is the story of how a hungry bear in search of food received two very special gifts on Christmas night.
Published by NorthSouth in 1998, this hardcover edition is available on Amazon. Recommended for ages 5 and up.
Our post Thanksgiving tale concerns three tails those belonging to our cousins' cats. We spent a great day together and I'm sure you recall from my previous post Artie and I were looking forward to seeing everyone (the cats especially) again. I say the cats especially because we enjoy Lucky's company, admire Athena's beauty and were anxious to find out if Midnight would favor us with an appearance.
Lucky is now 19 years old. She spent most of the day sleeping. While we were cleaning up after dinner, she came up from the basement wanting to be let out for a bit of sun and her afternoon walk. It was then I noticed Lucky was moving slower with a bit of a back-leg limp. She's in remarkably great shape for her age. After sunning herself on the backyard deck, she walked slowly down the stairs around to the front of the house for a brief excursion before returning home for another nap.
Athena is the same. Like other great beauties she carries herself with a regal presence while retaining an imperial air. She is still standoffish and I always have the distinct impression she prefers not to interact with us.
Alas, Midnight was a no-show again this year. She has integrated herself into her new family by bonding with Lucky (Athena will have nothing to do with her) and by gracing the humans with her presence but I guess company is still too much for her to handle. In short, we couldn't find her anywhere so we returned home without so much as a glimpse of her. We had great fun with our human family, enjoying great conversation along with a wonderful meal. Who knows, maybe next year we will have better luck and finally get to meet Midnight as well.
Her Royal Highness Athena holding court in the living room.
I've decided to review a children's book each week in December. The criteria for each title is simple, the books must be about animals and Christmas.
Today's title is Merry Christmas, Old Armadillo by Larry Dane Brimmer and Dominic Catalano. A wonderfully heartwarming picture book about love, friendship and the giving spirit of Christmas. Old Armadillo falls asleep alone on Christmas Eve but will awake to an unexpected surprise. The book depicts Christmas in the Latino culture is written for ages 4 - 7, preschool through first grade.
A 1995 publication by Boyds Mill Press, Old Armadillo is a Christmas Classic, perfect for little ones and a great book to include in your collection of Christmas titles. This title is available on Amazon.