Saturday, June 30, 2012


We're all spending more time outdoors now that summer is here which only serves to highlight the feral cat problem in New York's five boroughs. I'm sure everyone will admit this crisis is more evident during the warmer months especially when ferals and strays are breeding. There are many facets to this issue so I hope this post will cover all aspects of the situation.

My own sweet Buddy was a stray, tossed out by his original owners and that is part of the problem - irresponsible owners. Anyone who cannot care for their cat should realize they are not doing their feline a favor by turning them out. Fighting for food, looking for shelter, searching for water, dodging traffic and trying to escape from dogs or people who will harm them isn't preferable to turning them over to rescue groups or the ASPCA. Yes, euthanasia is a terrible prospect but a hard, uncertain life on the streets with a painful death is not a mercy either. And this act of abandonment, if coupled with the pet never having been spayed or neutered increases the homeless cat population, territorial fighting and injured male cats.

If you have a cat make your pet a house-cat. Keep your feline friend inside at all times to avoid communicable, incurable diseases, to prevent fighting or accidental injuries or death. If you are fortunate to have a backyard, invest in a cat containment system so your cat can enjoy the yard without escaping. You can find several different kinds on the internet. Don't want to spend the money or only have a porch or balcony? Consider a cage of some sort for your feline but remember it is very important to provide sun and shade simultaneously along with water and constant supervision. Buddy had a collapsible mesh cage, Annie would keep Buds company on our back porch and I would check on both of them every 10-15 minutes without fail. Don't have the resources or the time to do this? Open a window that has a built-in screen, attach a perch inside and your cat will be happy as can be to get that basic contact with the outdoors. if you live in an apartment building or have more than one floor to your house, watch out for high-rise syndrome which is the subject of yesterday's post.

City government does not have the funds (grants are running out) nor do they really care about the cat overpopulation issue. That's where we all come in. If you are a cat lover, think long and hard about managing a local feral colony. Remember this entails TNR (trap, neuter/spay, return) as well as providing food, water, shelter and medical care when needed. You could consider this even if you aren't interested in having pets or you could do this in addition to caring for your own pets. TNR will lower the amount of kittens turned into shelters and in turn the feral colony members help keep the rat population (another urban problem) in check instead of becoming euthanasia statistics.

At the very least anyone interested in helping in some small way can donate to low-cost spay/neuter programs or get in touch with the ASPCA, Humane Society, the Toby project and Maddie's Fund to find out more. Surf the internet to learn more about TNR, maintaining feral colonies and all other issues related to stray and feral cats:

Friday, June 29, 2012


Everyone knows cats will climb to the highest point they can physically get to. Many of us have been exasperated by our feline companions as we attempted to coax them down from on top of the refrigerator, the china closet, a shelf and heaven only knows what else. Buddy's favorite place was the transom window above my back door, traversing my kitchen counter, stove and refrigerator to get there.

Cats do love high places as much as they love the great outdoors. During the summer, the lure of both can be a dangerous and possibly deadly one.  Apartment living above the first floor is fine for a cat as long as opened windows have closed screens. When we were young, my cousin had a Siamese cat. I recall one summer when all the kids on the block were yelling because my Aunt opened the front window and the cat was walking on the second floor ledge. Thankfully the cat allowed himself to be enticed back inside with a treat but that was certainly a potential for disaster. I never forgot it.

Buddy either fell or was tossed from a third-story apartment. When we took him in he had a scab on his chin. His first doctor visit turned up two missing front teeth. Since his 'owner' who lived in an apartment diagonally across from us appeared on our doorstep one year after we took Buddy in, I've always believed Buddy was tossed from the window. Judging from the amount of yelling and screaming from his former home, it was a safe bet to assume the family was abusive.

Always remember, felines believe they have nine lives, living life fearlessly and taking all kinds of chances. It's up to their two-legged companions to be ever vigilant when it comes to their safety. Only open screened-in windows. Better yet, designate one window for your cat's use and add a perch or window-seat so kitty can enjoy the great outdoors safely. Read the ASPCA link concerning High-rise syndrome:

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Annie's been a bit lonely since her boyfriend, a French Bulldog named Louie moved away. Louie's old house is on the route of our daily walks. It's been almost 7 months since the move but Annie still stops, pokes her head through the gate and cries and cries. She really misses Louie and his pet parents.

That got me to thinking about Annie's friends and she has plenty of them. When we adopted her, Annie's closest companion at the animal hospital where she was boarded and probably her first boyfriend was a Cairn Terrier named Sammy. They were adorable together and Sammy was up for adoption as well but at the time we definitely did not have the resources to take on two dogs.

For many years Annie went first to puppy playtime then doggy daycare every weekend where she had many friends. We were surprised to learn Annie exercised with both the small dogs and the big dogs. Annie was described as wonderfully friendly with all animals and great at coaxing other dogs to play. At daycare Annie was good friends with Willa, a beautiful beige and white pit bull who had been thrown over a 6 foot chain-link fence and adopted by one of the dog supervisors at the daycare. Willa was her only female BFF. It was amazing to see Annie and Willa walking calmly side-by-side enjoying each other's company. Their close friendship came to an end when Willa's pet mom moved out of state.

Annie then met Gizmo, a Shiba Inu mix. Gizmo was adorable but a bit skittish around Annie. Their friendship lasted until Gizmo's owner moved away. Then Annie met Luke and Munchkin two Yorkies who live up the block from us. She loves them and always looks to see if they are out on their front porch when she takes her walks. They don't come out much so she rarely sees them.

Annie just made friends with a little guy named Desmo who is a Boston Terrier. Desmo is still a puppy and as cute as a button. He jumps around and growls when he sees Annie and of course, Annie cries when she sees him.

But Annie's new favorite boyfriend is Gus. Another Yorkie, Gus and Annie have a very special friendship. Apparently Gus is fearless around people and other dogs, barking and defending his territory and family. I was surprised to find out that, with the exception of his own family, Gus only allows Annie, myself and Artie to play with and touch him. Gus gets really excited when he sees Annie. He runs to greet her and wags his tail furiously. They sniff each other then fall in and walk quietly side-by-side, two friends enjoying each other's company. Adorable!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Summer is officially here and many families include their pets in their summer travels and activities and once school is out families relocate in an effort to settle into their new home and community before the start of the next school year.

Now is a good time to consider giving your furry family members the extra-added protection of a microchip. ID tags are fine and good but isn't identification under the skin better? Granted, nothing is 100% foolproof but using whatever options are available certainly makes sense in terms of optimizing coverage and giving you peace of mind. And remember travel to some foreign countries will require your pet be micro-chipped as a requirement for entry.

We're not just talking about dogs here but also about cats and any other pet such as birds, horses, etc. The microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and can be implanted by your veterinarian during a routine office visit.

If you are interested in reading about microchip implantation in general or have specific questions that need answers, the Wikipedia and American Veterinary Medical Association websites are excellent sources of information:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Everyone's favorite Jack Russell Terrier, Uggie, has joined the greats of acting with his very own paw print ceremony at Hollywood's famed Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Denied an Oscar because the rules of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences state nominees must be human and named ineligible for a BAFTA from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for the same reason AND because his acting motivation is sausages, Uggie's celebrity status has prevailed.

The ceremony also marks Uggie's retirement from the movies. At 10 years of age, Uggie will keep his paws in by attending only charity events from now on. Winner of the 2011 Palm Dog Award at the Cannes Film Festival, adorable Uggie is a great spokes-dog for adoption. With an early life history reminiscent of another favorite canine actor Moose (Eddie on Frazier), Uggie was on his way to the pound because his human family found him too much to handle. Enter Omar Von Muller, Uggie's pet dad and trainer, who saved the day by adopting Uggie.

I don't believe Hollywood has seen such a big outpouring of fan attention for a canine since the heydays of Rin Tin Tin and Lassie. So, congratulations Uggie - you are a genuine star at our household. Enjoy your fame  enjoy your retirement and if you're ever in Brooklyn, let us know. Annie would love to meet you!

Monday, June 25, 2012


I never wrote about the adorably cute Mexican wolf pups born in Westchester at the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem. Eight precious pups to add to the endangered species whose current US population numbers 50.

A close cousin of the dog, certain species of wolves have been on the endangered list for quite awhile. Take a look at those squirming bundles of joy.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Heat Wave was a very catchy song written by Irving Berlin for the 1933 musical As Thousands Cheer. Let me tell you there's been nothing catchy or fun about the heat wave we've been experiencing the last few days here in Brooklyn.

With sweltering temperatures and unbearable humidity, everyone in our house has been 'laying low'. Even Annie has curtailed her sunbathing activities as well has her regular outdoor turns looking for the cats, squirrels, birds and the possum.

This post is to remind everyone to look out for not only yourselves but for young children, the elderly and your pets. If you have elderly neighbors, check on them to see if they need any assistance. Remind the kids to take it easy. Keep the dogs (and cats) in. If your pet has access to a back yard have them use that as an alternative to walking which in this kind of weather is no good for anyone - pet and pet parent alike. Limit backyard activity to 5 to 10 minutes, that's what I do with Annie. Make sure there is always fresh water  and shade available for your furry family member. Light meals are a better choice and keep your pet in air conditioning with the rest of the family.

I always made it a habit to wipe Annie and Buddy down with a washcloth soaked in cool water. After wringing the cloth out, I start at the muzzle then work my way across the face, forehead and do the entire body. Both of them loved it. Your pet might not like having his or her face touched with a cloth and that's OK as long as you do the body and if your pet doesn't mind, the top of the head. It's a refreshing break for them.

When dealing with heat and your pet remember if you are uncomfortable they are too. After all you aren't the one with a built-in fur coat. Be vigilant, know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Read up on both conditions in the following link which covers heat related information as it pertains to seniors, children and pets and brace yourselves - summer is upon us!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


The past few days brought two news articles concerning pit bulls.

Story #1 ELLEN:
Ellen, one of the pit bulls rescued from Michael Vick's dog fighting operation, had to be euthanized because of illness. This poor dog (and all the other dogs taken advantage of by this cruel sport) did not have the type of life they deserved. Ellen never made it to a forever home but through it all she surprised everyone who came in touch with her with her wonderful personality. By court order, Vick's victims were not allowed to interact directly with visitors to the shelter(s) where they lived, a tragedy for animals of this breed who are docile, gentle and trusting by nature before they are abused and turned into fighting machines by people.


The carcass of a dead pit bull was found inside a cooler floating in the waters off Long Island. The dog,  brown, 2 or 3 year old, 40 lb. female, did not have any tags or identifiers on her. Could this pit bull death be related to dog fighting or is it animal cruelty of another type.

Dead female pit bull:

Humanity should be ashamed of itself. We may be intelligent but we are certainly lacking in compassion.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Yesterday's post was about Uggie and his forthcoming paw print ceremony at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. 

My brother tells me Rin Tin Tin had his paw prints immortalized at Grauman's. I have to say I checked my source (a list from Wikipedia) but I did not find Rinty listed. He does have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the process, I found I left out western star and singing cowboy Gene Autry and his horse Champion from the list of celebrity horses and their riders honored by Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame also honored Lassie with a star. There are many more fictional animals honored by the Walk of Fame. It's interesting to note there are stars for Mickey Mouse, Winnie-the-Pooh, Woody Woodpecker, Godzilla, Kermit the frog and Big Bird.

Go figure...

Entrance to Grauman's Chinese Theatre (courtesy Wikipedia)

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Uggie the Jack Russell Terrier is back in the news. He has been invited to add his paw prints to the forecourt of the famed Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

How wonderful! Uggie will become the first canine to have his prints placed in cement. There are already two horses that have had the honor of placing their hoof prints in cement alongside the hand and boot prints of their riders: Tony and Tom Mix and Trigger and Roy Rogers. It's great to see Uggie honored with the likes of Clark Gable, John Barrymore, the Marx Brothers and so many more of Hollywood's greats.

Congratulations, Uggie on your well-deserved honor!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


After supper yesterday evening as Artie was throwing out the trash, he saw the Norwegian Forest Cat dart across the street and scoot through the chain link fence near the corner that gives the strays and the possum access to all our backyards.

Artie was really excited when he came in, telling me the cat was back as he rushed around preparing fresh water and food to put out for him. We watched but didn't see him. Our back light didn't come on until very late at night; we checked from time to time but never saw any strays come through the yard.

Bedtime came and the food was still untouched. Wednesday morning found an empty food dish sitting next to the water dish smack in the middle of the yard. Unfortunately, we never did get to see who benefited from the meal. We hope it was the Norwegian Forest Cat but are happy for anyone of the strays who had the food.

So now we know that Annie's big mouth didn't scare him away. We can't wait to see what develops next.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Can't say this enough, everyone so listen up! I'm making my case AGAIN for home cooking for your pet or at the very least finding a good quality dog or cat food to feed your furry family member. This also goes for treats.

Read the Delish article about dog food and salmonella this has now become a human problem as well. Put the control back into your hands. Practice due diligence - read read, read pet food labels. If you don't understand what some ingredient is - find out! Then make your choice. Knowledge is power. 

The care and safety of your pet and your human family is in your hands.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Summer starts officially this Wednesday, June 20th and I'm looking forward to it. I'm sure Annie is as well. It's been pretty quiet, not much traffic through the backyard. We've only seen the Norwegian Forest Cat and one or two of the usual strays. No possum either.

Our yard has turned into a jungle but we've been so busy there hasn't been time to clear it. We did make a couple of false starts but never followed through. Within the next few weeks I want to get all the weeds cleared, the tree branches cut and bundled and the debris of winter swept up from the cement.

Frankly, I'm looking forward to utilizing the yard for more than exercising Annie. Weeding and gardening (hopefully) here we come!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


As I said, I'm not comfortable with raw feeding but I'll try it. My issues? I worry about Salmonella although all the literature says the processing of raw food and proper handling make it safe. My biggest worry? BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) or as it is commonly known, Mad Cow Disease. Since the outbreak in Europe during the late 80s, I have not eaten beef at all and have given it to Annie only recently and rarely to vary her diet.

This is my own personal preference since I don't trust what the 'experts' say about the safety of our food chain. For that matter, I abstain from all forms of meat as much as I possibly can to forgo the effects of antibiotics. I abstain from organic meat for the health of my wallet. Sorry to be so blunt but the reality is 'organic' anything isn't affordable for many of us. That's why I'm considering going back to gardening but that's another garden path to go down at another time.

Annie gets at least one meal a week that contains eggs and cheese then another meal which is vegetables, grains and lentils. For some reason, Annie likes lentils. It gives her a break from chicken, pork, beef and fish.  Pork is an occasional dish and so is fish. I will give Annie salmon - wild caught or canned; very rarely I will give her tuna.

So far, I've been feeding Annie Stella and Chewy's Freeze-dried Raw Chicken Patties along with a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, healthy powder, apple cider vinegar, oil and Perio-Support. She'd anticipating her meals, eating well and thriving.

The next step is to introduce Primal bones to support dental health. And of course I need to follow-up with the doctor concerning a regular diet that's a mix of raw and cooked meats. For now I intend to maintain Annie on a mix of raw and cooked meat in her diet.  

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Well, another busy week is over. As far as Annie is concerned, Saturday is a lazy day. Brooklyn weather is absolutely gorgeous! The temperature is mild, no humidity, there's plenty of sun and a beautiful breeze. And how is my weekend you ask? Not so lazy. So far, I've prepared breakfast for the both of us, run my dishwasher, hand-washing what didn't fit in and I've run a load of wash which I will hang out after I've finished this post.

As she does on any beautiful day, Annie has been outside sunning herself several times today. The routine starts with her standing quietly by the back door until I let her out. She stretches out on the back porch until she gets warm. At that point she will get up to sit in the shade. The routine ends 30 minutes after it starts with her crying or barking to come in. Once she's in, Annie will drink a bit of water then proceed to my room to stretch out on my bed and enjoy the breeze. In approximately 30 minutes, she's in the kitchen again starting her routine over. This goes on about 3 or 4 times until I either go outside with her or tell her 'no more'.

Oh! There was a bit of excitement - Annie was barking furiously when she first went out. As usual, I went to see what was going on. The Norwegian Forest Cat was lounging in the attached yard. Annie was so excited to see him but apparently he wasn't as happy to see her. He dashed across the yard and up the separating chain link fence to put an empty yard between him and us but in his haste he caught one of his back paws in the links. For a moment I thought he was good and stuck; I was fearful he'd break his paw or leg or, worse yet, not be able to extricate himself at all. Thankfully, he freed himself. Unharmed, he made his way through the adjoining yards to the street.

It appears he will be coming around on a regular basis - I know his fear of Annie won't keep him away in his quest for food and water. He kinda reminds me of Buddy and I feel sorry for him so I'm going to keep a lookout for him. When I see him, I'll put out food - maybe I can trap him, have him fixed and we can see from there what develops. At the very least, I'll feed and care for him as an outside cat. If all goes well, maybe Artie and I can find him a home.

Ahh! I love the sun - damn the freckles.

Hey, is THAT the new cat?!

Friday, June 15, 2012


During last week's doctor visit, we discussed starting Annie on raw foods. I'm uncomfortable with this idea but I'm willing to give it a try.

Thursday's list of errands included a stop at Hope Veterinary Clinic to find out if our Primal raw bones order came in yet - it didn't. Since we were there, Artie and I decided to purchase a 4lb. bag of Primal Raw Formula food to take home and refrigerate for future use. We also purchased a large bag of Stella and Chewy's Raw Freeze-dried Chicken Patties. Annie's had them before (they are the treat-of-choice-reward given by the doctors during exams) and I decided to add them as a supplement or substitute for regular meat to her daily meals.

As soon as we opened the front door, Annie's nose was in the shopping bag containing the Stella and Chewy's patties. After a day of running errands, I was too tired to cook for any of us so all dinners, human and canine, consisted of left-overs. Believe me, nobody complained. In fact, Annie was more than thrilled because the Stella and Chewy patties were substituted for her regular cooked meat. Mixed in with her Healthy Powder, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, vegetables and Quinoa she happily gobbled up supper then settled down on the couch with a contented sigh.

Maybe raw food alternating with cooked food or supplementing the cooked food will be a good way to go? Only further conversations with Doctor Young, time and Annie's reaction to the new diet will tell.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Reality TV is something we don't indulge in at our house. No American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, Survivor or any such programming for us. We will admit to watching a couple of episodes of Doggie Moms but the novelty of that show wore off after three viewings.

So was I surprised when Artie and I saw Dogs In The City advertised on CBS news as a show to watch? Of course not, CBS was advertising this show because it broadcasts on their network but hey, it looked interesting so we decided to check it out.

We caught the third episode where Queens born and bred Justin Silver helps Russell Simmons' Administrative Assistant adapt to her new life as pet parent to her newly adopted blind pooch who has issues with meeting other dogs. Jason also worked with a Brooklyn family with two out-of-control bloodhounds  who frazzle the nerves of their owners and neighbors alike and a woman who is pet parent to four dogs, in small living quarters. One dog was well adjusted but the other three, all pit bulls, had behavioral issues.

I found the show interesting and informative with Justin coming off as very spot-on in his assessment of each situation as well as sympathetic to both the owners and the dogs. Justin has a dog training, pet sitting and dog walking business. I will definitely watch this show again. Who knows, I may pick up a few new tricks to help us deal in the day-to-day with Annie. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


We kept Annie's doctor appointment last Friday and the news was all good. No need for dental surgery. The Perio-Support has been added to all her meals since Friday night and I need to clean her teeth with a bit of  wet gauze and some of the Perio-Support as well.

It might be best to redo her daily chart adding the Perio-Support and hand-cleaning to the list. I'll have to think about that a bit before I make my decision. Lately, I've been thinking about adding her bath to the list just to keep track of the frequency.

And Dr. Young was right about the allergies. We dropped the cheese from Annie's meals and she is no longer licking her back paw. She is still rubbing her muzzle a bit but not nearly as much as before. What a relief! 

Thanks, I'm feeling better!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Well, I'm officially ending our Possum Watch. It's been weeks and we've not seen hide nor hair of Pat Possumwaithe.

Yes, we've had spotty weather and quite a bit of evening showers but I suspect Pat was travelling from somewhere else to scavenge our yards and a new development I spied yesterday evening might be preventing him from coming through at his regular time.

I came home from the City Monday evening at around 9:30 and I noticed one of the yards near the chain-link fence Pat would climb for access to the collective yards had been cleared. There were lights on and a new table with an umbrella set up.  Most importantly of all there were voices. Artie heard loud voices over the weekend and we figure they were coming from this yard.

So I guess Pat won't be back because of all the new activity. I'm sad but I hope he (or she) is doing fine. The only other reason why we haven't spied him would be his demise and that's really too sad to contemplate.

Goodbye, Pat - I hope we do see you again. I miss seeing you in the White Raspberry Tree. And of course, we only have a photographic record of our encounter - no video.

Bye, Pat - hope to see you again - soon!

Monday, June 11, 2012


If anyone doubts the life-changing effect cats can have on people don't doubt any longer. There are programs to help inmates develop skills, learn responsibility and so much more by caring for an animal.

Washington State has an inmate/cat program at their Larch Correctional Facility in Yacolt, Washington. At the moment, there are two cats and four inmates involved in the Cuddly Catz program. The cats are pretty much in need of understanding and nurturing and the inmates work in teams taking shifts to care for their charges, handling their grooming, feeding and toileting needs as well as helping the cats overcome fears, conquer bad behavior and develop the necessary socialization skills to attract a family with adoption as the end result.

Cats are used in another inmate program to ease stress at the Lincoln County Jail in Nebraska. The two cats have free run of the facility and all the inmates participate in their care. The women's wing of the Wagoner, Oklahoma County Jail has about 60 cats on site that inmates are caring for and socializing for adoption.

Such programs are a wonderful way of helping inmates to develop their nurturing and caring side, showing them how to put another living, breathing entity before themselves as well as helping them develop responsibly.

And what about inmate programs involving dogs? That's another post for another day...

To see some photos illustrating the Crazy Catz program:

Sunday, June 10, 2012


We finally made Annie's follow up trip to the doctor after her bout of gastritis last month. Sometimes I feel like I'm travelling down a medical yellow brick road with many twists and turns and unexpected surprises (both good and bad) it makes my head spin.

Annie has been fine these past few weeks but now it was time to revisit the discussion about her teeth, tab and the lick granuloma. It was the granuloma that really had me worried. Almost completely gone, Annie started licking it just two days ago. The fact that I'd misplaced my bottle of Grannick's Bitter Apple didn't help one bit. 

Our appointment was with Dr. Young and it was the first time we saw her since before Buddy's death. We talked about him for awhile and we donated Buddy's remaining supplies to their cat rescue efforts. Annie was thrilled to see Dr. Young and behaved quite well during her exam except when it came time to have her teeth checked; she just wouldn't let the doctor look in her mouth. After quite a bit of maneuvering, playing and coaxing the doctor did get to see her teeth.   

Her bottom teeth were fine with some tartar on the top teeth near the back. Dr. Young asked the dental specialist to come in for a consult. After more maneuvering, playing and coaxing the specialist completed his exam. Both doctors agreed we could avoid anesthesia and a dental scaling since Annie's teeth weren't that bad. Next, we discussed what to do to promote better oral hygiene and remove the built up tartar.

Annie never really chews bones but we will be trying her on Primal bones. I generally add Perio-Support to her food and Dr. Young suggested we add a bit to a cloth when I clean her teeth and massage her gums by hand. The doctor checked Annie's tab but didn't suggest removing it. The final discussion was about the lick granuloma and how distressed we were that it was back. We talked about diet and what Annie consumed over the past few days. Dr. Young felt the granuloma is tied in with an allergic reaction to some cheese Annie had this week.  I used some cheddar cheese along with egg in two meals. The doctor pointed out companies sometimes use food dyes, additives and preservatives in cheese which could have caused Annie to itch. Also, we gave her some unsalted crackers and the wheat probably contributed to the itchiness. We did notice Annie rubbing her muzzle recently.

The final outcome? Get stricter about what Annie eats and with cleaning her teeth. We are considering switching to a raw diet instead of continuing home cooking or a blend of raw and home cooking. I'm relieved Annie doesn't have to undergo general anesthesia.

When we were getting ready to leave we saw Juliet, the Practice Director. She asked how we were and we told her it's been rough since we lost Buddy and that we will be coming in for grief support group counseling. Juliet said it would be good to come in to talk about what we're going through.

Right now, I'm happy Annie doesn't need to have anything major done to her teeth. Artie and I will make sure we're even more diligent about her dental care now that she's getting older.

Annie sleeping after her trip to the doctor's office.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Recently, I spent some time thinking about all the dogs I've shared my life with and there have been plenty. As I mentioned before, George Carlin said "Life is a series of dogs." Ain't that the truth!

It occurred to me that as a woman, I gravitate towards 'guy dogs'. By that I mean the working and sporting breeds. As I've grown, our canine family members consisted of one Beagle, a pedigree named Contessa; a purebred Boxer named Tippy; Baron, a Beagle/Manchester Terrier mix (he belonged to my brother, Artie); a German Shepherd/Labrador/Doberman mix we called Buster, Roger, a Shepherd/Doberman mix and my sweet little Annie, a Beagle mix.

Some of our dogs lived a long time like Baron, our Beagle/Manchester mix who lived to be 14 years old. Others, not so long, like our Shepherd/Lab/Dobie mix Buster who was diagnosed with Lymphoma and died just short of 5 years of age. The genders have been split right down the middle with the Beagle, Beagle mix and Boxer being females and the Beagle/Manchester Terrier and the two Shepherd mixes males.

I love all dogs but if offered the choice between a Beagle or a Poodle, I'd take the Beagle. I love Dalmatians, Cairn Terriers and Jack Russell Terriers. If given a choice between a Standard, Miniature or Toy Poodle, I'd take the Standard. And I love Am Staffs because I know how great, affectionate and loving Pit Bulls can be. My breed choices are just my personal preference.

Because of the irresponsibility of a percentage of owners, I am very vary of any dog not my own no matter the size and I will be very cautious interacting with someone else's dog, giving them time to get to know me as we establish an acquaintanceship.

Of course, I can't pass any dog on the street no matter what the breed without a side-ward glance and a smile. Ultimately, if I could I would adopt them all! 

Friday, June 8, 2012


I was lucky enough to attend the opening night performance of Barry Manilow at Radio City Music Hall May 1st. Brooklyn-born Barry (he's from Williamsburg) always puts on a terrific show and this evening was no different.  I'm blogging about this not only because it was a fun evening but it was a perfect excuse to post a picture of Bagel the Beagle.

During the seventies and eighties, Barry owned two beagles - Bagel and Biscuit. Bagel became a celebrity in her own right through photos with Barry and by appearing on the back cover of Barry's Trying To Get The Feeling album:

Since Bagel and Biscuit's passing, Barry has had two sets of Labradors. Unfortunately, I could not find any information on them or their pictures.

Opening night at Radio City (photo by Artie)

Barry doing what he does best (photo by Artie)

Thursday, June 7, 2012


My brother, Artie, came across this flyer at Dr. Young's office during one of our many trips to manage Buddy's illness. If you live in Brooklyn and wonder where the law in the "County of Kings" stands on animal cruelty and what situations are viewed as warning events, this flyer spells it out. The warning portion of the flyer is just common sense and anyone anywhere should report what they observe to local authorities.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Life is definitely for the birds but in a good way as evidenced by this adorable little parakeet named Disco.

He certainly has a very interesting line of jive and he appears to be a fan of 80s music and Styx.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. Please visit the ASPCA link below to read their articles associated with this initiative.

And if you are considering adoption, think seriously about adopting a special needs cat. Some are FIV positive, some need special diet food for various chronic ailments - all of them need a loving pet parent and a forever home. Be that pet parent; supply that forever home.

If you cannot adopt, consider helping your neighborhood feral cats by managing a colony and handling TNR. You will find it rewarding and you will improve the quality of life for the feral colony you adopt. The ASPCA website has a great Q&A section pertaining to feral cats.

Think feline: if you can't adopt or manage a colony, volunteer at a shelter or make a donation for Adopt a Shelter Cat Month.

Monday, June 4, 2012


An almost completely full-moon cast its soft glow over the grassy hills and meandering paths of Green-Wood Cemetery Saturday night as a large group of about 250 eager individuals walked silently through the grounds. Accompanied by the sounds of an accordion playing music from years gone by, Green-wood hosted its Moonlight Tour. Artie and I were among the participants.

Green-Wood historian Jeff Richman led us on an amazing trek through the moonlit necropolis, giving a wonderful running commentary about Green-wood's permanent residents.

One of our early stops was the monument to William Holbrook Beard. A famous American artist, known for his Bulls and Bears on Wall Street and The Bear Dance oil paintings, Beard died in 1900 and was buried in an unmarked grave. A headstone topped by a bronze bear statue sculpted by Dan Ostermiller was placed on the grave 102 years after the artist's death.

Three stops in particular were especially poignant.  The first was the monument to Jane Griffith. A housewife during the mid-1800s, the monument shows her standing on the stairs of her family  home, seeing her husband off to work. Her husband returned home that evening to find his wife had died from a heart attack. And carved on the monument at the top of the stairs near the mistress of the house is the image of the family dog.

The second poignant stop was a field set aside by Green-wood Cemetery for Civil War burials. Those who died in battle or from disease are interred there along with Veterans who passed in the 20 or so years after the end of the War Between The States. Prominent in this field is the monument to the Little Drummer Boy. Clarence McKenzie was 11 years old when he became a drummer boy for the 13th NYS Militia. Sometime after Clarence turned 12, his regiment was called up. He begged his mother to allow him to accompany them into battle. After refusing to allow him to go, she relented against his argument: Who would shoot a 12 year old drummer boy? At Annapolis, a private borrowed a musket from the acting cook. While the private practiced for battle, Clarence was accidently shot when the gun, which was thought to be unloaded, discharged. He died from his wounds becoming the first Brooklyn resident Civil War casualty. After Clarence was buried, his pet dog Jack refused to leave his grave for quite a few days after the interment.

The next stop was the Howe family plot. Elias was a man of poor means who invented the sewing machine. His invention made him a millionaire. The plot is impressive and its most touching feature is at the back. There is a small headstone dedicated to Fannie who died December 10, 1881. There is a beautiful verse carved into the stone to commemorate the Howe family dog. We all know 'people' cemeteries do not allow pet interments. Is Fannie buried with her family? I like to think she is.

We ended our moonlight tour at Battle Hill - the highest point in Brooklyn with a spectacular view of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty.  Are there more animal stories connected to Green-Wood, you bet there are and I will be posting about the Green-Wood/animal connection again sometime soon.

Green-Wood's Main Gate before sunset with the moon visible in the sky. (photo by Artie)

William Holbrook Beard:

Clarence McKenzie:

Sunday, June 3, 2012


While catching up on my reading, I came across an article in DogTipper about National Dog Bite Prevention Week which was last week and a link to a free coloring book download.  The coloring book focuses on teaching kids how to interact with dogs and is offered by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Good to have if you have children or if you are a pet parent.  It's a quick read - easy lessons for the kids and a mini-refresher for you:

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Today is the two-month anniversary of Buddy's passing and I wanted to reflect back on his diagnosis and illness.

The initial diagnosis was shocking, one we never expected and it sent us into panic mode. I was terrified - how was I going to handle chronic renal failure in a cat?  What if Buddy wouldn't cooperate with his treatment? What if Buddy didn't respond to treatment? We were very lucky on both counts.  Not only did Buddy respond to treatment but his incredible character continued to shine through all the life changes he had to endure.  He protested very little and suffered through everything we did to him and for him. Amazing when you think about it.  The most resistance he exhibited was trying to push my hand away when he had to take his appetite pill.  He never once hissed, scratched, spit, bit or fought us, putting up a perfunctory resistance instead, an almost because-I-have-to-resist-in-some-way type of protest.

If you have a cat that fights you tooth and nail, wrap him in a towel, wear long sleeves, do what you can to get a routine going and medicines administered.  Above all, realize you might not be able to handle your cat or administer what is needed. If you exhaust all efforts and still cannot get your cat into a routine, don't blame yourself, accept the situation and know you did what you could.

Once we settled into a routine, there was a tendency to forget Buddy was sick. Another pitfall of dealing with chronic renal failure. Play with your pet, enjoy him (or her) and love him but keep reminding yourself there is limited time left and you need to be prepared for the inevitable. There was a long stretch of time where we couldn't believe Buddy was sick and thankfully he didn't die suddenly.  If that had happened it would have been impossible for us to cope.

With renal failure, the pet parent must be prepared for a sudden turn for the worst or an unexpected rapid decline. Cats are very good at hiding illness so the pet parent must understand that the diagnosis most likely is not at the beginning of the illness but after the disease has progressed.  You must be prepared for your best efforts to yield either a long time of quality life, a short time of quality life or no positive results at all. Each cat is different and the results will be different as well. Don't blame yourself if your best efforts do not produce the  expected results.

Finally, once your beloved companion is gone, allow yourself to grieve, give yourself time to heal, be kind to yourself. If you need to, spend time alone. If being with friends helps then make the effort to connect with others and if you need to, seek counseling to help you get through the rough times.

I'm sorry Buddy had to go through what he did and I miss him terribly but I would not change one second of the journey. We gave him the best life possible and he gave us so much more - his love and companionship.

If your cat has been diagnosed with renal failure, the information in the following links will prove invaluable:


Friday, June 1, 2012


At Odd moments my thoughts go back to Maurice Sendak, his career in children's literature and as an artist. In his work as a children's author/illustrator, he drew heavily on his life experiences and the result was a wonderful use of animals in his stories especially a number of his canine companions.

My friend and blogging buddy, Margaret, came across the following bit of information about an upcoming exhibit of his work which I'm happy to share with everyone. The Rosenbach Museum and Library, housed in a Civil War era townhouse located in Philadelphia PA is honoring their long relationship with Maurice Sendak with a yearlong exhibit of his work. The exhibit opens June 10th, marking what would have been Mr. Sendak's 84th birthday, closing May 26, 2013.

So, visit the Wild Things and Max who was named for one of Mr. Sendak's German Shepherds or Jennie another canine companion immortalized in Higglety Pigglety Pop! or just to reconnect with Mr. Sendak's art and talent.

To learn more about the exhibit follow this link: 

To read about the Rosenbach Museum and Library the mission and history link is a good place to start: