Monday, December 31, 2012


This year is closing with a lot of drama - the cat is on the mend but we now know we face an incurable chronic condition with his FIV+ diagnosis.

Annie's battle is not over yet. Her surgery failed to produce clean margins; she will need a second surgery. So Annie, Artie and I go into 2013 with her health crisis unresolved.

I will not be posting New Year's Day - the first day of the new year will be for spending with my sweet Annie, the new cat (we need to come up with an appropriate name for him) and my brother.

In closing, I will say if you're reading my post and you have furry family members of your own, review my Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas posts for tips on keeping them safe this New Year's Eve (and Day).  Since everyone will be celebrating the end of the old year and the start of the new, watch out for balloons, confetti, noise makers and alcohol in addition to everything else mentioned in my other holiday posts.

Wishing all my readers a Happy, Healthy New Year filled with peace and all manner of goodness. We'll meet back here for 2013.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


We still haven't settled on a name for the cat, however, we do know this:

  • The cat is a male approximately 3-5 years of age.
  • He has fleas.
  • He has worms.
  • He needs to be neutered.
  • He is FIV+.

We're treating him for the fleas and worms; neutering will be done later. Until the parasite problems are solved, he's living separately from the rest of us.

On the plus side, he's content to be inside, comfortable with me and Artie, scared of Annie and always looking for a meal.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Christmas is a wonderful time worth looking forward to. With winter in full swing and a new year fast approaching, it truly is a time for celebration.  It is also a time to make sure our home is decorated with the safety of our pets in mind.

Christmas decorations can prove tempting to our furry family members. Noses, paws and tails can knock glass and ceramic ornaments off Christmas Trees and displays.  It is a good idea to put unbreakable ornaments or no ornaments at all on the lower branches of your tree. Make sure displays containing breakables are on mantles, walls or places higher than your canine's eye level. In the case of felines, breakables should be in a place where kitty can't jump to. Breakables not only cause cuts but fragments can be ingested causing internal perforations and requiring surgical removal. String, thin ribbon, tinsel, metal hooks and wire can cause emergency intestinal issues for both dogs and cats. Do not use them on the lower part of the tree. I would suggest wide ribbon instead. If you like tinsel, a great trick is to get white or colored paper, run it through a paper cutter (the non-cross cut type) and use it as 'tinsel'. I use green and red paper and I put very little of it around the bottom branches of the tree.

And while we're on the subject of Christmas Trees, make sure your tree, whether it's artificial or real is anchored to the walls to keep anyone, especially your pet, from knocking it over. Many a story I've heard of a cat who loved to climb, nestle in the branches or fling himself at the family tree. Live trees need water and nutrients - keep the water source covered. It is another potential avenue of poisoning for your dog or cat. If you use a tree skirt, you might want to spray it with a citrus-scented perfume to deter your cat or use Grannick's Bitter Apple but test an inconspicuous portion of cloth to make sure what you're using doesn't stain. Recycle your dog's old Elizabethan collar as a tree-stand cover. It's sure to keep all the four-legged traffic from drinking from the 'new' water bowl. 

Puppies and kittens love to chew and gnaw on just about everything. How many pairs of slippers have succumbed to little mouths? I've lost books, clothes, shoes even a bag of potting soil to inquisitive puppies. The extra electric cords for lights and automated decorations will be too tempting to resist. Besides electric shock to your pet there is the potential of fire. To keep your pet and possessions safe, purchase Grannick's Bitter Apple to spray on the cords. Make sure you spray the cords thoroughly; the smell will keep them from tasting the sprayed item. I've used Grannick's Bitter Apple with the majority of my puppies and I find it works very well. With its sour-apple smell and bitter taste, to me it's the animal equivalent of that stuff you paint on your kids' nails to keep them from biting them.

Of course, everyone looks forward to all the food, desserts and treats associated with the holidays. Frequently we try different cuisines, new recipes or special holiday favorites and that's fine for us but not for our pets. Family and guests should be reminded not to feed the four-legged family members human food. Have some special pet treats available for guests to give to your pet but make sure their intake is monitored. Don't overfeed or feed foods not usually included in their regular diet to your pets. Don't let anyone give them alcohol of any kind, soda, coffee or tea and no chocolate! Grapes, raisins, advocados and onions are poisonous to pets. A quick review of the following list compiled by the Humane Society will help you protect your pet from accidental poisoning:

If you will have a large gathering and your pet is not used to such activity or even a small gathering with people not familiar to your pet it might be best to confine your furry family member to a quiet part of the house. This will reduce the possibility of your pet inadvertently getting out of the house as well. It will also prevent unpredictable behavior such as growling, snapping, biting or scratching.

Costumes such as reindeer antlers, angel outfits or ribbons on pets make adorable Christmas cards but if your pet doesn't like dress up, please don't force them.

Finally, plants and flowers are commonly given as gifts at Christmastime. Make sure you read up on any plants you intend to purchase or plants you have received to prevent accidental poisoning of your dog or cat.

A little bit of planning goes a long way. Whatever you do Christmas Eve, be it last minute preparations or celebrating, enjoy the Eve and Christmas Day and make sure your furry family members enjoy it to! Following these simple suggestions will go a long way to making the holiday season a happy one for everyone.

German Shepherd Rescue of New England, Inc. website lists various poison control numbers to call in the event of an emergency:

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


After a series of discussions concerning Annie's cytology report, Artie and I decided to have the large lump removed as quickly as possible. We did as we always do, sitting down as a family and discussing the pros, cons and what questions/concerns need to be addressed.

Our biggest concern with Annie, apart from a possible cancer diagnosis, was her age and how she would tolerate anesthesia. In addition, other issues needed to be addressed. There were 3 small lumps of a size similar to the large one before its unexpected growth; could they be removed at the same time? Annie had what looked like a mole under her chin - could that be removed during surgery? A tab on her back leg grew into an elongated 1 inch stretch of flesh, could that be removed? Finally, was there time to clean and evaluate her teeth? With the New Year Annie turns 10. Now is the time to get a clearer understanding of her dental health as she enters 'old age'. The final question: could Annie be kept under anesthesia long enough to take care of everything? It was decided to give the cat's visit to Annie bringing her in for a preliminary to surgery and a discussion of what would be done.

So off we went to keep our doctor appointment. Needle aspirations were done on the 3 lumps; all 3 are lipomas (fatty tumors) no need to remove them. Dr. Young examined the mole which turned out to be a cyst. She checked the tab and Annie's teeth. The cyst would be removed and biopsied, the tab removed to prevent Annie from catching it on anything (no need to biopsy) and Annie's teeth would receive a light cleaning since they are in good shape.

 Annie is 42 lbs. not easy for us to handle alone. Surgery had to be scheduled for a day both Artie and I could get her home afterwards. Dr. Young checked the procedure/surgery schedule and decided Annie's surgery could be preformed that afternoon. We agreed. So Annie was prepped and we went off to do errands in the 3-hour time-frame needed to get everything done.

We arrived at Hope Vet's about 15 minutes before the 3-hour mark to the news that Annie was out of surgery. The operation went well; all we needed was to wait for Annie to wake up completely from the anesthesia.  No sooner were we told this when I heard a long high howl. I knew Annie was still somewhat under the anesthesia. I've heard her howl like that in her sleep. We were told to give her an additional 30 minutes so we went for a walk.

Getting her home became a bit complicated. She was awake but still out of it and very wobbly on her legs. Her bandages kept slipping but a special sticky ace-type bandage solved that problem. We went over post-surgery care instructions and the Veterinary Technician carried her to the car. Once at home, Artie and I lifted her by her harness and a towel sling under her hind legs out of the car, up the steps and into the house. She was moving her legs and 'walking' but not really doing anything just going through the motions since her legs were like rubber-bands.

The rest of the evening was spent monitoring her condition, her intake of food, water and administering medications. So far, so good; I will continue Annie's story in another post.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


The cat that looks like Buddy came in from the cold yesterday.  So far, he seems fine; just a bit subdued. Artie scooped him up and brought him inside. He tentatively explored our hallway where we set him up with food, water, a bed, some blankets and a litter box.

We're keeping Annie away from him until we get him to Dr. Young for a checkup tomorrow. Both of us are hopeful this will be a win-win for the cat, Annie and us! No longer The Norwegian Forest Cat, we will have to come up with an appropriate name for our newest family member.

Monday, December 17, 2012


The cytology report for Annie is in and there is a slight possibility the tumor might be a slow-growing cancer. The recommendation: remove the lump and have it tested.

What can I say? My worst fears are confirmed yet it's not as bad as it could be. The operative word here is possibility. Before Buddy had his tail amputated the cytology report confirmed his lump was cancerous. Buddy survived 4 or 5 years to succumb to renal failure.

We will definitely go forward with surgery as quickly as possible. Annie turns 10 years of age in January. With good diet, exercise and care our sweet little girl will have many more years of good living ahead of her and we will do our best to guarantee her the longest, best quality of life possible.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


We all know Beagles, like the girls in the Cyndi Lauper song, just want to have fun. This cutie's family came up with a novel and inexpensive gift idea - used water bottles.

I wouldn't recommend this because of the potential choking factor from the bottle tops and the possibility of ingesting a fragment of broken plastic if your dog starts chewing on one but it did make for a cute video...

Friday, December 14, 2012


I haven't posted about this issue since I'm finding it hard to deal with. Annie has a lump on her left side near the last rib. Recently, the lump has gotten very large after being small for a long time.

The doctor and the both of us have been keeping an eye on it but now it needed to be checked again. After rescheduling our appointment 3 times due to circumstances beyond everyone's control, we finally kept our visit yesterday morning.

Annie was given a thorough exam. Dr. Young was happy to see Annie maintaining her weight. Annie's teeth are fine; no need for deep cleaning. Her temperature was fine; her ears clean. Her eyes were checked and nothing needs to be done for her cataract at this time. The lump, however, needed to be checked. Annie was given Benadryl as a mild sedative and we were instructed to wait about 20 to 30 minutes for it to kick in.

Honestly, Artie and I thought the Benadryl would never work; Annie is such a ball of never-ending energy, a regular whirling dervish but to our complete and utter surprise she started to appear a bit subdued at the 20-minute mark. One of the Vet Techs took her and a needle aspiration was performed.

We are waiting for the results.  My brother is convinced the lump is benign; I'm fearful it will be cancerous and we will be faced with losing Annie less than a year after losing Buddy. This is the hard part of loving and taking a pet into your heart and home.

I'm trying desperately not to think about the results. Instead I'm trying to keep positive but it's hard. All I can hope for is a Christmastime gift of a clean bill of health for my Annie.  

Monday, December 10, 2012


It's been awhile since I've written about my outdoor cats. I'm thankful for the unseasonably warm weather we're having; I know my cats are doing OK with what I hope will prove to be a milder than anticipated winter.

Slowly I've been adjusting the time I put food out to get everyone fed while there is still sunlight. The little black cat, the kitten and the one who looks like Buddy have been showing up as early as 4:20 PM. One development that I'm very pleased with is the kitten has taken up permanent residence in the winter shelter. How do I know this? Occasionally I lift the shelter ever so slightly to see if it feels heavy. Lately, it does; when I did that today, I also felt movement inside. I stepped back in time to see a little face peering out the front door. It was the kitten. I decided to put some food out and the kitten came out for a meal.

Along with everyone showing up for meals on a regular basis, I have had as many as 3 possums showing up during the late evening when the neighborhood is quiet with no activity. That happens after 9 PM mostly since this section of Brooklyn has more than its share of hustle and bustle.

The earlier feeding and picking up the unfinished food has corrected the problem. I don't have an issue with possums - the City brought them in to cope with the vermin problem not to consume the cat food I'm putting out for my cats. My charges will have to learn that dinner will be served at a new hour and removed by a certain time. If they want to eat they have to show up within that time-frame.

If there's anything I've learned, cats are smart and they will adapt quickly to the new routine. A few of them have to overcome their fear of noise and activity. Brother shows up later as does the other black cat. Silver Grey and Charcoal Grey show up when they show up - sometimes earlier in the day, sometimes later.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


December, the final month of the year and a major holiday month with Hanukkah, the 8-day festival of lights, starting tonight.  With so many days of celebrating and the end of the modern year fast approaching, it is also a time to make sure our home is decorated with the safety of our pets in mind.

Hanukkah decorations can prove tempting to our furry family members. Noses, paws and tails can knock glass and ceramic decorations over breaking them.  It is a good idea to make sure displays containing breakables are on walls or places higher than your canine's eye level. In the case of felines, breakables should be in a place where kitty can't jump to. Breakables not only cause cuts but fragments can be ingested causing internal perforations and requiring surgical removal. String, thin ribbon, metal hooks and wire can cause emergency intestinal issues for both dogs and cats.

A menorah with real candles or oil is a beautiful sight and fascinating to pets. Make sure furry family members are supervised when in the same room; better yet confine them away from the room containing the menorah or any candelabra.

Remember, puppies and kittens love to chew and gnaw on just about everything. The electric cords for decorative lights and menorahs will be too tempting to resist. Besides electric shock to your pet there is the potential of fire. To keep your pet and possessions safe, purchase Grannick's Bitter Apple to spray on the cords. Make sure you spray the cords thoroughly; the smell will keep them from tasting the sprayed item. I've used Grannick's Bitter Apple with the majority of my puppies and I find it works very well. With its sour-apple smell and bitter taste, to me it's the animal equivalent of that stuff you paint on your kids' nails to to prevent biting.

Of course, everyone looks forward to all the food, desserts and treats associated with Hanukkah. Whether you are trying new recipes or making traditional holiday favorites, family and guests should be reminded not to feed the four-legged family members human food. Have some special pet treats available for guests to give to your pet but make sure their intake is monitored. Don't overfeed or feed foods not usually included in their regular diet to your pets. Don't let anyone give them alcohol of any kind, soda, coffee or tea and no chocolate! Grapes, raisins, avocados and onions are poisonous to pets. A quick review of this list compiled by the Humane Society will help you protect your pet from accidental poisoning:

If you will have a large gathering and your pet is not used to such activity or even a small gathering with people not familiar to your pet it might be best to confine your furry family member to a quiet part of the house. This will reduce the possibility of your pet inadvertently getting out of the house as well. It will also prevent unpredictable behavior such as growling, snapping, biting or scratching.

Dressing your pet in a Hanukkah-appropriate Tee-shirt or a prayer shawl and yarmulke might make for a nice holiday photo but don't force a reluctant pet to get dressed up if they don't like to. 

Following these simple suggestions will go a long way to making the 8 days of Hanukkah a happy one for everyone.

German Shepherd Rescue of New England, Inc. website lists various poison control numbers to call in the event of an emergency:

Monday, December 3, 2012


Every day I take a break to read and answer emails. Once I'm done with my electronic mail, I always make it a point to catch up with what's happening by reading MSN News. Today's news had 2 interesting articles.

A man received a call informing him that his beloved dog, who went missing 7 years ago had been found, identified by the microchip implanted under his skin. This is truly amazing and a happy ending but way to long in terms of years to its resolution.

Every since I can remember, a standard joke in the news industry has been "Dog Bites Man, that's not news but Man Bites Dog, that's news!" Man Bites Dog has always typified the hunt for an unusual story or a  typical story with an unusual twist.

Well, apparently it's happened - a man bit a police dog Down Under and (I love this part of the story) the canine officer retaliated by biting the perpetrator in self defense.  

I wonder what else will turn up in the news?

Sunday, December 2, 2012


This is our first Christmas without Buddy and holiday time brings more and more memories of him to mind.  Today is his 9-month anniversary.

Cooking for the holidays reminds me of having to literally climb over both Buddy and Annie anytime turkey was on the menu. I've written about this before, turkey was his favorite; it is Annie's favorite as well. Any other food item, be it fish, fowl or pork, would always elicit a sniff or two at the oven door except for turkey. Turkey always demanded a vigil - sitting by the oven door, sniffing expectantly and patiently waiting for the bird to emerge. Nothing else rated such attention.

Gifts also bring back memories. Annie loves to stick her head in bags to sniff out her presents.  Buddy always remained aloof and indifferent to his gifts unless they were packages of Pounce (the soft variety) which were his favorite indulgence throughout his time with us.

I'm also forever grateful to Buddy for not being the least bit impressed by our Christmas trees, decorations or packages. Never once did he climb, inspect, scratch, bite or knock over any Christmas-related paraphernalia beyond a cursory sniff to determine if the item warranted his interest. Obviously nothing of a holiday nature did.

The holidays and the colder weather bring back memories of Buddy cuddling with Annie, sleeping on the nearest convenient lap or chest (mine or Artie's) under our throws or just by himself, commandeering the recliner, huddled in a bunch of blankets.

Without a doubt the holidays will be bittersweet this year. At least there are happy memories to cherish and possibly a new cat with which to share our home.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Artie and I have decided that we can no longer call the Norwegian Forest Cat by that appellation. He (at least we think he's a he) is adorable and oh so friendly. He sits on our front porch patiently waiting for us to bring dinner every evening.

Lately, he's been spending a good part of the day sleeping on our wicker love seat. He's surprisingly affectionate for an outside cat, talking to us, rubbing against our legs and enjoying it when we pet him. I love it when he runs up to me talking away or tries to follow me down the block.

He really doesn't look like a Norwegian Forest Cat. I see some Maine Coon in him and probably some Norwegian Forest Cat with Calico markings on his muzzle. Anyway, he has a beautifully surreal face. When I look at him I see the beast from Jean Cocteau's film Beauty and the Beast. I want to call him Beast or Marais after the actor Jean Marais who played the beast. We tossed around Cutie but abandoned it and we've been calling him Baby but it gets a bit confusing for Annie since I sometimes call her Baby too.

Lately I've been putting his plate of food in our front hall. He's been very reticent about entering the hall until finally the desire for food overrode caution. Yesterday I managed to shut the door without him knowing. It was interesting to see a peculiar look steal over his face when he realized he was in a quiet contained place.

He looked around; realizing the door was closed he leaned up and looked out the glass front door panel. He started to howl so I opened the door and he scooted out on the porch where he finished his meal. I want to bring him inside to protect him from a hard life outdoors. We're both determined to take care of him and give him the life he deserves.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


OK, canine military having to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a topic that never crossed my mind but it stands to reason. Animals have feelings and emotions so why wouldn't they be affected by their military experiences like their human comrades-in-arms?

A short MSN article alerted me to this issue ( and the online New York Times printed and in-depth article addressing the same issue (

Rather than rehash the information here, read the links to understand this emerging canine condition. Curiously, I've known about PTSD in dogs for decades. More than 20 years ago, my dog Buster suffered from this condition. In his case, it was triggered by my Dad's hospitalization for emergency ulcer surgery.

In closing I will mention an item from each article:

  • Canine PTSD will most likely lead to a better understanding of  Human PTSD.
  • Management of the condition will be key since dogs never forget.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


With all the stress of holiday time upon us, we need to remember how important it is to exercise. The kitty in the video stays limber by playing ping pong. A great way to keep trim, rev up the old brain cells, wind down from the stress of the holidays, limber up the body, you get the idea.

Enjoy the holidays and don't forget to relax between the craziness. Take a cue from this furry cutie. 

Monday, November 26, 2012


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with family.

Annie had to stay home. We thought it best since her two feline cousins would not be appreciative of Annie's overenthusiastic response to seeing them. On the other hand, Annie's single mindedness would not be appreciated by her human relatives - pet parents included.

The arrival of the turkey 'doggie bag' smoothed over any hurt feelings as Annie received a doggie-sized share of turkey breast and crispy skin (a small piece because I know she loves it and can tolerate it).

Anyway, our cousins are pet parents to two beautiful cats named Lucky and Athena. Lucky has always been fine with us. She mixes with us, enjoys a few pets and sometimes even sits with us or seeks out our company.

Athena generally disappears when we're around preferring to hide in the master bedroom or scoot down the basement. However, this Thanksgiving we were surprised that our presence didn't bother her all that much. In fact, Athena ignored us and spent a good part of the day curled up on the couch. She is a beautiful, medium grey, long-haired cat with a bushy tail.

Unfortunately, Artie couldn't get a good picture of her since she made sure to hide her face while napping. He had better luck with Lucky!

I see you with that damned camera!  Snap away, this Thanksgiving you're not getting the chair.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


As you all know by now, many pets were separated from their families during the superstorm known as Sandy but for one dog and his family there was a happy ending and I found the story in my backlog of reading material.

The Rockaways were pounded by Sandy (the storm) and during the relentless force of nature, Sandy, an 11 year-old Labrador Retriever and the canine member of the Baron family slipped out of the house when a door was blown open. But Sandy the dog didn't return after Sandy the storm left the tri-state area. The family was heartbroken.

Meanwhile, a police officer took charge of a dog found in the lobby at St. John's Hospital, turning him over to Brooklyn Animal Care & Control. A microchip identified the displaced pooch but the electricity and phone situation in the Rockaways prevented the family from being notified. Animal rescuer Phyllis Taiano stepped in, personally driving Sandy home to his loving family and a happy ending to his escapade.

Some great photos and a detailed account of Sandy's tale are in this Daily News article:

With everyone reunited, I'm sure Sandy and the rest of the Baron family celebrated a Happy Thanksgiving and I'll bet Sandy is one pooch that's looking forward to a Happy and uneventful Hanukkah.

Friday, November 23, 2012


The one day of the year I never step foot in a store is the day after Thanksgiving commonly know as Black Friday.  Cyber Monday is more appealing to me but that bit of information has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

The ASPCA has started something that actually may help all of us view Black Friday a bit more favorably. They've changed the name to Cat Friday and are offering all types of discounts and savings to those who adopt an adult cat today.

A wonderful idea? Certainly! A great incentive for the holiday season? Most definitely! All the details are on the ASPCA blog...

Go to Henry Bergh's place and adopt a cat in need.

Adopt a cat on Cat Friday and let me recuperate from Thanksgiving dinner.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


It's Turkey time again; everyone's favorite holiday for overeating! Dogs and cats are no different. Buddy's 'drug-of-choice' was turkey. Many a Thanksgiving I spent climbing over Annie and Buddy in an attempt to get to the oven to check the turkey. My little man was and my sweet girl is a 'turkey junkie'.

Feeding the pets before company arrives and the meal is served is a good way to minimize begging if you intend to allow your pet to mingle with your guests to begin with. Setting down rules for your human guests concerning no human food for the dog or cat and supplying pet treats is a better approach. If your pet steals food then by all means confine him to solve the problem. After the meal is finished make sure your pet cannot get to leftovers or into the garbage.

Thanksgiving decorations such as candles, cornucopias, gourds, etc. need to be out of a pet's reach. Rich foods, bones, strings can cause medical emergencies. Onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, caffeine, avocado, alcohol and artificial sweeteners are toxic to pets. 

Have your veterinarian's number or the number of a 24-hour veterinary emergency service close at hand. Check the internet or with your vet for a list of foods dogs and cats should not eat. Keep the number of an animal poison hotline available.

Re-reading my Halloween post which covers the same issues can't hurt and will provide links to some informative articles/websites.

Also, think about your pet's tolerance for gatherings and people. If your dog or cat is easily upset by anything out of their ordinary routine, it is best to separate them from your company. Keeping them confined to a quiet part of the house will keep them calm and prevent growling, biting, hissing, spitting and scratching.

Follow these suggestions, have a plan and everyone, human, canine or feline will enjoy Thanksgiving. And if your dog or cat likes turkey treat them to boneless, skinless, gravy-free meat!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


It's totally amazing what you find when you go through old newspapers. I've been catching up on past reading and came across an article in the Daily News about getting gum disease from your pooch. Now I'm crazy nuts about all my animals but I make it a rule to never, ever kiss Annie or any canine family members (or Buddy who was a real kissy-face kinda guy) on the mouth or lips.

The research results were documented in the Archives of Oral Biology, a dental journal. I guess it's great to have a professional article on such matters but to my mind this is common sense. Do you want a kiss from someone who routinely licks their butt? Not a very appealing thought. 

Buddy was allowed to lick my nose, cheeks and chin. If, by accident, he got my lips or mouth, I would wash my lips or brush my teeth right away. Same for Annie although with Annie it's not a big issue because she is stingy with her kisses. You are lucky to get a quick lick on your cheek. Annie is more into bumping you with her nose. Perhaps she read the same article?

When my furry family members were on the receiving end of a kiss, it would be on the top of the head or by the eyes. Yes, both Annie and Buddy enjoyed a kiss near the eyes. I don't recommend this unless you know your pet won't be spooked by it. Mine were trained to accept that as normal from when they were first with us.

And while we're on the subject of all things dental, it is a good idea to clean your dog or cat's teeth on a regular basis. Good oral hygiene will go a long way especially in your pet's later years. Dental issues must be dealt with using general anesthesia and you will want to avoid having to 'put them under' as they age.

All in all a good article; real food for thought. I wonder what other interesting stories will turn up as I continue reading. And while I'm thinking about it, maybe I should check Annie's teeth. Good word of mouth - pass it on!   

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I was cleaning out some papers today when I came across an absolutely amazing and heartwarming photo of a man cuddling his ailing dog in Lake Superior. The picture appeared in the Daily News this past August and I kept it intending to comment on it here.

Quite a few months have passed and I wondered whatever happened to these lifelong friends? Of course, I searched the internet and found out some interesting facts:

The photo had gone viral on Facebook, was picked up by new services and as a result John Unger, the man in the photo, received donations to care for Schoep, his canine companion. The donations are helping John fund Schoep's medical treatment and Schoep's condition has improved.

The beauty of the human-canine bond at its finest is exhibited in this "one-look-says-it-all" photo by Hannah Stonehouse Hudson. I never tire of looking at it. You can find the photo on Facebook or either of the two links listed below:

Friday, November 16, 2012


Annie's lick granuloma returned a few weeks ago but is almost healed up.  Interesting that it seems to happen when she is stressed or if we allow her to fall off her diet by indulging her taste for bread - especially wheat bread. After a few days of lax eating I will notice her licking her paws and rubbing her muzzle.  My conclusion? A wheat allergy.

It's kinda hard to not feel guilty eating bread in front of Annie since she will sit in front of you giving you her most soulful look but I'm determined not to cave anymore. Her health is more important. Also, it's time to schedule a doctor visit for her. She needs her regular six-month checkup as well as having a few tumors looked at - they appear to have gotten bigger and need to be rechecked. I hope we aren't in for any bad news.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


The other 'hot button' issue around Brooklyn is the election. Everyone's still talking and reading up on it and I'm no different. I came across an article in the Huffington Post that proves to me politics had definitely gone to the dogs or in this case the cats.

Hank the Cat, a Maine Coon shelter rescue, ran and placed third in his bid for the state of Virginia's senate seat recently vacated by Jim Webb. Hank ran on the platform "It's OK to vote the humans out" coming in third as a write-in and raising about $60,000 for animal rescue organizations in the process. Truly an impressive campaign.

Word is, Hank is considering a 2016 run. We will have to wait and see. In the meantime, if you want to read about Hank and his campaign experiences, read the following Huffington Post article:

And you can check for Hank's Facebook page.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Hurricane Sandy continues as the number one topic of conversation here in Brooklyn. Another facet of preparedness for disasters is to provide for your pet in the event something happens to YOU.

That means emergency contact numbers, designated guardian(s) and care funds.  I came across an excellent article on that outlines what to do to prepare for such an event. Please read it and act on it. Don't leave your pet at risk for an uncertain future without you.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Today is Veteran's Day, a day to honor all those who have served in the military to defend our country, preserve our freedom and our way of life.

Lest we forget, we need to honor the members of our canine military as well. Since this is Adopt A Senior Pet month anyone considering adopting should also consider a canine veteran. Working as scouts, bomb locators and messengers our canine vets were generally left behind when their tour of duty ended. I know this happened during the Vietnam War. It was not uncommon to euthanize canine military until President Clinton signed a bill halting the practice in 2000.

Dogs of war are currently considered military surplus - property but the mindset is slowly turning towards viewing them as canine veterans. If you are thinking about adopting a military dog, please remember our canine vets are special dogs with special training; homes with small children and other pets may not be appropriate.

There are several websites with information about adopting a canine vet or assisting vets with adopting a canine companion:

Saturday, November 10, 2012


It's Saturday, another busy week is over and the situation has changed concerning the Norwegian Forest Cat. He's been hanging around every evening and most days. Midweek I found him lounging on our wicker love seat by 1:30 PM; the next day he showed up as early as 11:30 AM.

He's very friendly, coming up to me, talking to me and walking around me, rubbing against my legs while I put down his food. He interacts with Artie much more than he does me.  Friday evening I came home at 5:30 to find him sitting on our front steps waiting for us. As soon as he saw me, he started talking. Artie showed up as I was serving him a second helping of food. They hung out together for almost an hour. The cat was talking to Artie, allowing himself to be petted and even playing with Artie. Pretty amazing stuff.

It's weird - almost like having Buddy around. Artie and I are convinced he is not a feral but a stray or a house cat whose owners are not being responsible. We have to keep track of his comings and goings so we can determine if he's been abandoned.

Man, that flash is too bright at night!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I just checked my Humane Society calendar and noticed November is 'Adopt A Senior Pet Month'.

What can I say about adopting that I haven't said before? Plenty. All of us are attracted to adorable little puppies and kittens but are all of us up to training, babyhood and what I refer to as juvenile delinquency - that wonderful time right on the heels of puppy-hood and teething into what would be the canine equivalent of the teenage years? I don't think I could go through it again as wonderful as Annie is she definitely was a handful when first adopted at almost 5 months.

I can still smell the potting soil Annie gleefully shook all over my bedroom as she 'killed' a 5 lb. bag I forgot to pick up from the floor. She was pleased with herself; I was beside myself and my bedroom was a disaster area.

Kittens aren't in my experience (Buddy came to us as an adult) unless you count my Aunt's cat Sheba flinging  herself at the drapes and pouncing on my head at night during a weekend visit when she was still a kitten.

The way I see it there are many pros to taking a senior animal:
  • What you see is what you get - the size and personality are set. That takes the guess work out of trying to determine if the puppy's full size will be bigger than what you anticipate.
  • If training is needed - it more than likely will be minimal and easier since older pets are calmer and more focused than younger animals.
  • House-training isn't on the agenda since most seniors have already been through this as little ones. 
  • Older pets while active, have long ago passed the super-active stage of younger animals.
  • A good home with love and companionship goes a long way with a senior dog.
  • With age comes wisdom - older animals are more adaptable to new situations.
  • Senior pets have a harder time getting adopted. If you adopt one you definitely are saving a life since older animals will be euthanized first in order to make room in shelters.
Of course, there are some cons to taking a senior animal:
  • Medical issues. The possibility of chronic illness is all too present but, hey, if you get a young animal as they age the same issues will appear on the horizon.
  • You might have your new companion for only a few years before they pass away. But what will you receive in terms of time spent and memories created with your senior animal? You will know in your heart you made 'the golden years' truly golden for your senior companion.
Consider a senior pet when adopting this month or any month.

Monday, November 5, 2012


The tri-state area is still reeling from super-storm Sandy. Here in the 5 boros we inch closer to normalcy. For some everything has been lost; for others it is the start of the rebuilding and cleaning-up process while some of us rode this through with all our possessions intact. Sadly, some of us lost our lives.

Now is the time for us all to do what we can to help our less fortunate neighbors. Donations of food and clothes are the first needs that come to mind. As people rebuild their lives, home furnishings will be needed. Give blood - I'm sure that is needed as well. Volunteer your time and talents where they will do the most good.

Don't forget children. A book to read, a toy or a coloring book and crayons will go a long way to brightening  the day of a child who is experiencing displacement and loss of their home. This is a very scary time for children. Their world has shifted on its axis; their security shaken.

There are many animals who will need help. Donate food, blankets and toys to displaced pets and shelter animals or volunteer time to help families reconnect with their pets. Foster an animal if you can. My first thoughts are of family pets and shelter animals but others need us as well. The great New York Aquarium in Coney Island has been flooded. Monetary donations can be made through the Wildlife Conservation Society website.

Every little bit helps...

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Since Sandy left the area all the cats with the exception of 1 or 2 have shown up for meals. We seem to be back to our routine. Charcoal Grey turned up Friday evening for her first meal since the storm. Brother came through the backyard earlier today looking for food.

Friday evening, Artie served dinner for me when he returned from work. Afterwards, he happily related that he had his first 'conversation' with the Norwegian Forest Cat. Apparently, while Artie talked to him the cat stayed put and kept answering everything Artie said with a meow. He also ate with his back to Artie as Artie went through the process of changing the water and filling the other food dishes.

A real surprise for the both of us! At least he seems to be getting comfortable with us and what we're doing for him and the others. I'm curious to see what develops...

Friday, November 2, 2012


Another month has come and gone yet there isn't a day I don't think about Buddy. Lately, I've been ruminating on his personality traits. All the little things he did that made him uniquely Buddy and endeared him to my heart.

As I've mentioned many times before, Buddy was an incessant talker. The house was never quiet with him around. He talked constantly about everything. First thing every morning, he would be sitting by my head talking to me, no doubt telling me to get up and feed him breakfast. Whenever you passed him, he would have a meow for you. Never could I ever conceive of getting the last word. Whatever I said to him was met with another meow which would go on forever until I gave up and let him have the last meow.

Somebody once said cats only like what they ate yesterday and that kinda pertained to Buddy. His food of choice was Deli Cat; that was all he ate unless he had an opportunity to snag some turkey or tuna stealing both out of your plate. After his diagnosis of renal failure, his eating habits changed. He preferred wet food, going off dry food completely. He remained picky eating only one kind of renal food fresh from the can but not after it was refrigerated. He ate pouch food and people food. Buddy also craved Chinese roast pork and bok choy gobbling both down with relish. His favorite meals were punctuated by a cacophony of grunts and chomping noises.

Buddy loved to find a comfortable lap to snuggle in at the end of the day. If you had a blanket or throw so much the better. Many an evening Artie or I would watch TV with Buddy on our stomach both of us snuggled under a blanket. Even Annie would find herself a convenient 'cuddle companion' for Buddy if we were busy or not around. On more than one occasion, Buddy would squeeze himself onto the recliner next to Annie. Artie or I would find them together asleep when we returned home.

Mostly I miss his warmheartedness. He loved to be held close to your chest, face-to-face. Sometimes he would reach out with both paws, clasp your cheeks, pull you close and lick your nose. I miss playing tip-your-head. I would say "give me a kiss" Buddy's response would be to lick my nose, then I would say "tip your head" and Buddy would bow his head so I could give him a kiss between his ears. I could cuddle him, cradling his head in my hand, pressing his cheek to mine all the while listening to him purr and purr.

Another month starts without him...

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Sandy was THE biggest storm I've ever experienced. The tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) sustained unprecedented damage. Thankfully, loss of life so far is minimal. My heart goes out to all who lost loved ones as well as to those who experienced loss of property.

Our little area of Brooklyn weathered the storm without incident. No flooding or loss of power affected us. We did, however, have 3 downed trees on our block alone. Cleanup is ongoing. 

My cats are starting to re-appear with Silver Grey and baby showing up 2 nights ago. The number climbed to 4 last night with the addition of one of the black cats and the Norwegian Forest Cat. In any event all of the food was gone by late evening yesterday.

Artie took photos yesterday during our cleanup and again early this morning.

First morning after the storm.

Waiting for food.
Early this morning.

I always have to wait.

Where's breakfast?

Can I have my meal, pretty please?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


October photo from the 2012 Humane Society Calendar.  With the exception of the white accents, he looks like a baby Buddy!

Well, tomorrow is Halloween. It's always been my favorite holiday. I have my Halloween CDs ready and a few scary movies picked out to watch. I need some popcorn and candy appropriate for the season plus a firm decision as to what to serve for dinner and then the fun can start.

So cuddle with your kitty or snuggle with your dog and watch out for things that go bump in the night. 

Meanwhile, consider helping animals looking for a forever home by adopting, fostering or donating money, necessities or time. Or putting out a meal for your neighborhood strays is a nice gesture.

Have a happy and safe Halloween...

Monday, October 29, 2012


It's been an unbelievable day. Current predictions put landfall at 30 minutes from the time I began writing this post at 5:30 PM. Transit, bridges and tunnels have been closed down; flights have been cancelled at our 3 major airports.

Here in Brooklyn we've been indoors for the entire day. Thankfully, we are not in Zone A which is under a mandatory evacuation edict. The only member of our family who is depressed with all of this is Annie. She just does not understand why she can't go out a million times today even if it is raining and the wind is stronger than she's ever experienced.

At one point Artie had to clear leaves from our front basement drain. I stayed on the porch while Artie did a quick clean-up. All of a sudden, I looked down and Annie was standing beside me. She opened my apartment door, the foyer door and the front door with her nose and she was preparing to step out on the porch. I chased her inside.

The funny part of all this is Annie does not like rain. She will not stay out or go for a walk in the rain but the biggest storm we've had in decades - well that apparently is another story!

Hey, Sandy ruined my day - I want to go out!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


With the approach of Hurricane Sandy imminent, most of the Eastern seaboard is gearing up to either evacuate or ride it out.

My furry charges don't have any choice but to weather the storm outside. It's very upsetting to me to know they will be at the mercy of the elements but I have done what I could for them. Silver Grey and her baby were waiting for me this morning so I served an extra-large meal mixed with water for them just before noon. They left a few nuggets untouched. At least I know they have a good meal in them in case I can't put anything out tomorrow. If the rain doesn't start by sundown, I will serve another meal before the storm breaks.

The front porch gang is another story. Very rarely will any of them come around during the day; my guess is because my block is very busy and they are afraid of people. I will put an oversized food-mixed-with-water meal out front the same time I serve the second meal to Mom and baby. In the interim, I brought in all empty food and water dishes. I removed the lid from my compost bin securing it under my back porch steps along with the trash can we use to bag weeds. I checked the front porch bringing in two empty flower pots along with the dishes. I tied the cat shelter to the wrought iron fence and made sure our wicker love seat was still anchored tightly to the fence.

After doing all this, I found the following email from Neighborhood Cats. I'm sure they won't mind my posting it here. It's very good practical advice on how to manage a colony in the event of a storm. Good information for anyone taking care of one or many outdoor cats that cannot be brought inside.

 Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Preparation
As Hurricane Sandy - aka "Frankenstorm" - bears down on the East Coast, here are some things you can do to protect your colonies:
  • Raise shelters and feeding stations to keep them dry. Wooden shipping pallets, available at some lumber yards, are ideal for this purpose.
  • Shelters and feeding stations in areas that may flood should be moved to higher ground.
  • Tie shelters and feeders to permanent structures (like a fence) to anchor them, or wedge tightly into a secure space.
  • Be careful about placing heavy objects on top of shelters to keep them in place as these may pose a danger in high winds.
  • To keep rain from driving in, position shelters so openings face a wall, or the entrances of two shelters face one another, no more than a foot apart.
  • Leave a supply of extra food while the weather remains calm, in case you're not able to return for a few days.
  • If your feeding stations aren't enclosed, you can place a bowl of dry food in a plastic container in a corner of the cats' shelter. This also allows the cats easy access to food during the storm. Do NOT put water in the shelter.
  • Compile a list of the cats in your colony including descriptions and photos. After the storm, if any cats have been displaced this information may help locate them.
  • Use caution when returning to the colony site. Branches and other falling debris are dangerous and may continue to drop for several days after the hurricane.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


This is an issue I've just come across and apparently a very big controversy. Bottom line, I feel about this the same way I feel about declawing cats, I personally would never do it to an animal I loved (or any animal at all).

Granted, I've never experienced barking that caused more than annoyance to me and my family. We've never had complaints from neighbors about incessant noise so I don't have first-hand experience of this. However, after reading the article on Vitals I find it hard to agree with those who are proponents of what I consider a barbaric practice.

Behavior modification and extensive training is the way to go. If all else fails, find your pet a new home as heartbreaking as that may be to do. Don't jeopardize your pet's quality of life by silencing him or her. Humans talk, dogs bark. Would you want your voice forcibly taken away from you?

Think about it, follow the link, view the video and decide for yourself...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


It's just a snippet but I do have a bit of footage of Silver Grey and her kitten playing. The video was shot yesterday afternoon.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Sunday, late morning, Annie and I went for an extended walk just to take advantage of another day of beautiful weather. Bright sunshine and mild temperatures made the walk fun instead of obligatory and when we finished, I grabbed a broom, sweeping the porch while Annie sniffed around and checked out everyone passing by our house.

Once the leaves were off the porch, I emptied the water and food dishes then placed them back in their respective spots. The big moment had arrived - I brought out the new addition to the front porch, the winter cat shelter. It didn't take much thought to decide the best place for it - I moved one of my flower pots positioning the shelter between the corner of the porch and our old wicker love-seat.

All that remains now is to determine which, if any, of the cats start using it. Now I can focus on TNR.

Close-up of the shelter.
A picture of the front porch with the new shelter.

Annie in the shot for 'scale'.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


It is Sunday afternoon as I write this post; Saturday was my exercise in persistence that paid off. It also was a trip around the world or at least around Brooklyn - it was my appointed day to pick up our new winter cat shelter.

Thankfully, the weather was perfect for travelling public transportation and all the walking I managed to do before I arrived at the pickup point. A 2-train and 1-bus trip coupled with wrong directions and the wrong bus stop supplied by a well-meaning but not-too-familiar-with-his-route bus driver added about thirty minutes and a crash course of a section of DUMBO to my travelling time. That was OK because I did get to enjoy the great weather besides seeing a part of Brooklyn I never visited before.

Once I arrived at my destination, I found it ironic that the bus stop I needed was 2 stops past the one where the bus driver told me to exit and happened to be right in front of the place I needed to go! So much for asking for directions.

The winter shelter is spacious and should accommodate about 4 cats. Since we have about 7 cats showing up on a regular basis, I could have used an additional shelter but there was no way I could manage another on the return trip. Neighborhood Cats supplied the shelters for $10 each instead of the usual $15 along with straw. 

Armed with the shelter and an extra bag of straw I was ready to make the return trip. Sadly, I had to forgo a plastic bag of food since it was too heavy to carry home. How I could have used that food!

Artie managed to get another picture of the Norwegian Forest Cat Saturday evening when he showed up for dinner. I can't keep calling him 'the Norwegian Forest Cat' - the more I look at him the more he looks like Buddy except for the white and tan accents on his chest and face. Maybe I ought to refer to him as Buddy's cousin?

We caught a glimpse of one of the black cats and both Artie and I thought we saw a collar. If we're right, someone is letting their house cat out or has abandoned their pet. It put me in mind of Six Dinner Sid a perfectly charming children's book about a smart cat who manages to live with 6 families on the same block so he can get 6 dinners every day. He answers to 6 different names, has 6 different beds and everything works great until Sid catches a cold.

After the trips and picking up the supplies, I fed everyone and put out fresh water. At that point I decided enough was enough, I needed to do some chores for the canine and humans in our house so setting up the shelter would have to wait for Sunday. The Gimme Shelter saga will continue with my next post...

Friday, October 19, 2012


I know the first picture looks like Silver Grey but take it from me, it's her sister, Charcoal Grey. I'd just finished putting dinner out back for the kitten and Silver Grey so both were busy eating when I discovered 2 regulars patiently awaiting the arrival of their dinner not necessarily my arrival.

After getting a good look at the Norwegian Forest Cat, it's obvious he's a mix of a few breeds but until I come up with a name he'll have to remain 'the Norwegian Forest Cat'. I think he's beautiful.

Do I think we're making progress? You bet I do! To find them waiting for their meal is gratifying to say the least. Both cats wouldn't stay on the same porch with me before now - definite progress. Brother was around also but ran away before we could get a picture, probably because Annie was with us.

There is at least 1 possibly 2 small black cats that come for an evening meal. As soon as we appear the black cat disappears. Next step, names and a winter shelter then plans for TNR.

Charcoal Grey waiting for her turn at dinner.

The Norwegian Forest Cat holds still for a photo.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


What can I write? Here are a few pictures of the kitten taken yesterday at dinnertime...

Kitten and Silver Grey


See the white tip on the tail? I'm thinking of calling him Paintbrush.

As always waiting for dinner.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


The kitten is coming into his own. While still adorable, he is definitely getting bigger. He frequently romps around the backyard; I've yet to see him out front. 

I have noticed that "Mom" is leaving him alone more and more.  I wanted to add some photos to this post but the kitten isn't around so I will have to add them another day.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Lest any of my readers begin to think of me as a total homebody or obsessed animal lady I do want to state that I have many and varied other interests and Saturday evening was spent indulging one of them.

I have been a passionate theatre-goer since I was seventeen years old and that passion has yet to dim. Anything Shakespeare, classic playwrights such as Arthur Miller, Tennesse Williams, performers synonymous with Broadway (Frank Langella, Al Pacino, Boyd Gaines, Rosemary Harris, Cherry Jones), comedies and muscials - I'm forever on the lookout for the next great experience.

And Town Hall on Saturday night was not only the next great experience but a wonderful walk down memory lane. Linda Eder (that's pronounced Edd-er) performed in concert with guest stars and former Jekyll & Hyde cast-mates Robert Cuccioli and Christiane Noll.

While I never qualified as a 'Jekkie', Jekyll & Hyde is one of my favorite shows. Blown away by the music and the vocal talents of the 3 principles, I did see it several times during it's original Broadway run. Artie and I took a break from our usual weekend routine to have dinner out and attend the performance.

The show was marvelous. Linda Eder, Robert Cuccioli and Christiane Noll were all in fine voice. Linda Eder's song list covered a wide range of musical styles from Willie Nelson's classic country-western song Crazy to rock and pop to the academy award winning movie theme Over The Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz. The highlight of the evening was the weaving of all the major Jekyll & Hyde songs throughout the entire show. Linda structured the songlist to include each performer singing their Jekyll & Hyde signature song individually as well as a guest-star duet and in duet with her. As a selection for all 3 to sing together, Linda chose a number from an upcoming Frank Wildhorn show about Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald.

And Linda mentioned Pets Alive a no-kill shelter which is dear to her heart. Pets Alive is located in the Catskills about an hour and a half out of New York City. Learn more about this no kill shelter by checking out their website:

Unfortunately, no picture-taking was allowed but I did find a review with a photo from the show and a video someone posted on YouTube so enjoy. Artie and I did.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Well, we're at the end of another week and I feel I have made definite progress with all my feral cat charges. Next weekend I will be picking up straw and winter housing for them. Today, I have a few important items on my agenda.

First, I'll spend some additional time with Annie. She seems to be happier and more engaged since Artie and I have been giving her extra attention and including her in more of our activities -inside and out.

Next, I need to set aside some time to just sit and re-read portions of the feral colony TNR paperwork. Traps need to be reserved, provisions and supplies gathered along with trap covers, plastic sheets and newspapers. And spay-neuter appointments need to be set up.

Since I'm getting a regular contingent of cats showing up for dinner, I need to take stock of the food supply and order more if need be. Some internet research for a feeding station and winter-appropriate bowls is in order.

All of this has to be worked into whatever else is on my to-do list for today and I'm looking forward to it.