Tuesday, July 31, 2012


There is a place in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts called Camp Unleashed and it's a camp for dogs and their humans.

You can attend with your furry family member(s) for a long weekend of four days. Most activities are geared for outdoors with the exception of inclement weather when activities are moved indoors. There is hiking and swimming plus other activities and pet parents are encouraged to take their animals' off-leash. Of course, there are canine-themed lectures geared towards improving the human- pet bond.

The prices run from about $800 per person-pet campers in shared lodging to about $1,000 per person-pet campers in private lodging. Add a second person to the equation at a cost of around $630.  There are additional services offered not included in the set price. People food is supplied but campers must bring their own dog food.

Annie Brody is the Founder and CWO (Chief Woof Officer) of Camp Unleashed. If you are looking for a different experience for you and your canine family member their website is:

Monday, July 30, 2012


Early this morning I let Annie into the yard to take care of business and get some exercise. While we were out, I noticed one of the girls watching us from the next yard. More to the point, she was watching me.

I knew what that meant - she was hungry. Annie spotted her and started to cry so I told Annie to go on the porch where I closed the gate and came in to prepare food.

Once Annie's breakfast was ready to serve, I brought her in then proceeded to get clean water and a meal for the girl. Apparently she was very hungry. She came so close to me without my knowing it, startling me when I lifted my head.

Figuring the other girl and Brother weren't far behind; I put out an entire can of cat food. I was wrong. No one else showed up and the girl polished off 99% of the meal on her own. This has convinced me I've made the right decision to commit myself to the care of these cats. I need to get training and certified as quickly as possible.

The girl that looks exactly like Mommy.

Still afraid even though we're meeting her needs.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I have given up on raw food.

Annie did very well on the raw diet but I just cannot conquer my  concerns over handling and preparing raw food. I know I've only been experimenting with raw feeding for about a month and I never transitioned Annie to raw completely but I just am not comfortable with raw food.

So Annie is back on her cooked diet and I have made some progress. Instead of preparing one recipe and feeding that until it is finished, I'm now doing two recipes at the same time alternating them at feeding time.  With my next grocery shopping I intend to increase that to three recipes until I get up to four recipes which should give me about a month's worth of food as well as present Annie with some variety. And from time to time we will continue to incorporate Stella and Chewy's Freeze-dried Chicken Patties into her meals.

Right now, I am back to reading Andi Brown and Ann N. Martin's books about home cooking.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Both the girls were around yesterday afternoon hanging out in our weed-free backyard. Thankfully only one is pregnant.

We've been putting food out regularly for them now and I hope to establish a feeding routine that will keep them coming through the yard regularly. In the meantime, I keep checking for classes but there won't be any conveniently located until late August and September. There is an online class but I think I'd prefer to attend a class instead.

Annie has been happier and is thoroughly enjoying her yard now that the weeds are gone. She can see into the other yards from ours instead of just from the porch. She races around the perimeter trying to peek through the foliage in the neighbors' yards as she positions herself to get a better look at the girls or Brother.

The only down side to this is the horrible weather. Between the terrific heat and rain, Annie hasn't been able to spend as much time enjoying her space as she likes. At least now her yard time is fun because the area is clear and she can cut loose and run.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


We had beautiful weather yesterday - sunny, comfortable and a perfect day to tackle the jungle of weeds that is our backyard.

Artie and I spent a good 3 - 4 hours pulling weeds, digging up roots, cutting tree branches and training the new growth on our climbing roses. At least now we can monitor the traffic through the yard. When we were about half way finished, one of the girls (the pregnant one) appeared in the next yard. I decided we should take a break, get Annie inside and feed the girl.

She was so hungry, she came into the yard stopping about 3 feet from Artie while he changed the water and put down the food bowl. Once she finished, back she went to the other yard. At that point, we came out and continued working away.

When we finished, we had the biggest pile of weeds I've ever seen. Our next step is to pack up the weeds and put them out with the trash. The cut tree branches need to be tied up in bundles and a time scheduled for Sanitation to pick the bundles up. After all of the refuse has been dealt with we will rake the earth, turn and even the soil then sweep the cement.

Annie now has her entire yard back except for the part that belongs to the roses.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


We're in the throes of summer and I've talked about protecting your furry family members from the excessive heat but pet owners should be aware of potential causes of pancreatitis and gastroenteritis - spoiled and rotting food.

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas triggered by overly salty and fatty foods. Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Both are very common in dogs. Why? Because dogs love to eat what they shouldn't. 

Annie has had several bouts of gastroenteritis brought on by tree leaves. She loves to eat green and dried tree leaves - she's not particular. This generally brings on a bout of vomiting, low energy, stomach discomfort and in severe cases bloody stool. The symptoms are indicative of both conditions.

My cousin's dog is a pro at scavenging at the beach or rummaging through garbage. When at the seashore or lake, keep a particular eye out for dead crabs, fish, etc. This can be double trouble because of the possibility of fishhooks.

Fluid treatment, sub-q or IV, is needed depending on whether or not the condition is moderate or severe. Antibiotics and anti-vomiting injections will be needed to calm inflammation and eliminate possible infection.

Be extra vigilant in keeping an eye on your pooch not only during the summer but all year long. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Some of the strays came through the yard this weekend. One of the girls stopped by Saturday - it was the one that looks exactly like Mommy. Artie put out food and fresh water when she showed up and to our dismay, we discovered she is pregnant. We will have to keep watching for the kittens now so she can be trapped and neutered before she becomes pregnant again. 

The security light went on Sunday night and when Artie checked it was the Norwegian Forest Cat. Elated and excited, we prepared food. While Artie was serving the meal the cat hopped the fence into our next-door neighbor's yard and didn't come back even after the food was out and we were safely inside.

We went to the back window to see what would develop but Brother showed up instead. He polished off the meal before going on his way.

I checked on the TNR class; at the moment none are located where I can get to them easily.  I just need to keep checking.

Monday, July 23, 2012


We've generally had large dogs, the largest two, Buster and Roger, Weighing in at 88 lbs and 86 lbs respectively. So you can imagine how astounded we were when Artie came across a news article about George, the world's largest dog.

That's a lotta dog!

George lives in Arizona, is about 7 years old, tipps the scales at 245 lbs and is 43 inches from the ground to his shoulders. That's BIG even for a Great Dane. His paws are as big a a man's hands and at first sight, he looks more like a small horse that a large dog. George recently has become the subject of a book about his life entitled Giant George: Life With The World's Biggest Dog.

George also eats 110 lbs. of food a month. I couldn't imagine cooking for him!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Henry Bergh must be spinning in his grave. Imagine The Great Meddler looking down upon his beloved New York City heartbroken knowing the work he started is far from done. The visionary who created the ASPCA would be appalled by the continued euthanasia of animals without permanent homes as well as continued cruelty.

From time to time I read about various bills put forth to improve the plight of companion animals and the accompanying pros and cons. Here are my general thoughts on this subject and what should be in incorporated into law:

  • Every rescued animal coming into a shelter such as AC&C, ASPCA, Humane Society or specific rescue groups must be checked for microchips and every effort made to locate owners if a chip is found or the animal has a tag.
  • All animals up for adoption should be routinely spayed/neutered before adoption - this should not be left to the new owner to do. If we can find the money to pay for euthanasia, we can turn that money to better use and allot a portion for spay/neuter. It's a simple equation, less births = less deaths.
  • Rescue groups should be allowed to adopt from shelters in order to preserve lives of as many animals as possible.
  • We need to find ways to allow financially strapped pet parents to continue to support their pets instead of surrendering them for adoption. I'm talking about the poor, those out of work and the homeless.

Pet owners need to become pet parents. Whether your pet has fur, fins, scales or feathers he or she isn't a  possession but rather a living, breathing member of your family. Treat them as such. That means sacrificing to keep them with you. If you can't commit to this type of human/pet relationship don't take in an animal to begin with. Owning a pet is for the long haul not for your convenience.

I'm by no means an expert and my comments are basic but I believe valid. Henry Bergh, a man who did not have pets or children, worked tirelessly for the benefit of both. His fellow New Yorkers should do no less. In fact, there's no excuse for all of us not to do our part to move his work forward. 

Friday, July 20, 2012


Yesterday was a busy one for me; there wasn't a spare moment to post. Annie was forlorn because I left for appointments and errands on a day when I'm usually home.

She had her walk and her morning meal along with some backyard time before I left but she was a bit down anyway. Annie remained subdued after I returned. Around suppertime, Artie took her for her second walk.  After the walk, Annie had supper then she proceeded to wiggle around on the living room floor like a worm. With all fours in the air, at times she resembled someone peddling a bicycle.

I wondered aloud if supper could have brought on such an upbeat display but Artie told me it probably had more to do with her walk. The new owners of Louie's house were working in the yard but Annie was still looking for Louie and his family so she stared at the house and cried. On the last part of the walk, she met up with Gus and his pet parents. After playing with Gus and being petted and hugged, Annie's mood improved.

It's a reminder that dogs are very social animals and it is particularly important to make sure their lives are structured and they are nurtured. Play that engages their minds is important. Good, wholesome food is important. Structure to their days and knowing where they rank in their family (pack) is important.

Today is so cool it feels like the start of autumn. The meteorologists are saying the break is only for today; by tomorrow the temperature will be back in the 80s. So, I guess I'll turn on the stove to make Annie a double batch of her favorite cookies and start thinking about what else I need to do to keep my girl happy. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Brooklyn is in the middle of our third heat wave. It's affecting everyone - Annie, Artie, me and most of all the strays.

We haven't seen many of them coming through the yard recently. I suspect they've been hiding out trying to avoid the sun. A few days ago one of the girls came through the backyard. She's lost some weight. Artie put out clean water and when he got her attention, he put out a packet of wet food.  She finished it in no time flat then continued on her way.

Early this morning I let Annie out to take care of business in the back yard. She was crying and whining incessantly. The reason? Brother was in our neighbor's yard, resting in the shade. Brother is a grey tuxedo, the son of a feral who had two litters in our yard and the uncle of the girls, two females who look exactly like their mother.

Brother is very thin - so much so that Artie remarked about it. We put out fresh water but decided not to put any food out until the hottest part of the day was over. All day long Brother kept moving around the yards, resting in shady spots. No matter where he went or what he did I believe he wasn't really comfortable.

As I write this I feel terrible about not putting the food out earlier. There is wild weather going through our area now. Brother is nowhere to be seen. The sky is alternating between medium and dark grey, there is thunder, lighting and very strong winds but most of all a driving rain.

We need the rain. Perhaps it will break the heatwave. Now I can't help but wonder about Brother, is he safe? Did he eat? I've been doing research online concerning TNR and I'm going to take classes to manage a feral colony. One step at a time...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


The parade of Broadway Barks 14 adoptees was in full swing. As soon as all the animals had a chance to 'strut their stuff' this event would come to a close and Shubert Alley would be alive again with theatre goers hurrying to dinner and 8PM curtains. But for now, it was still a dog's day and a cat's meow.

Artie and I had to position ourselves behind the stage in order to see any of the proceedings. Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore hosted. Quite a few Broadway stars presented adoptees, carrying or walking them across the stage and telling the crowd about each animal. We saw Ben Vereen, Michael Cerveris and Rita Moreno.

Mary Tyler Moore, seated in pin stripes, Bernadette Peters holding dog, Ben Vereen in white jacket/black baseball cap & Rita Moreno in Chartreuse jacket.  (This was the best shot I could get.) 

After awhile, we just couldn't stand the heat and the crowding so we decided to drop by the City Critters table one more time (to say goodbye) then go off to dinner. We found the crush of patrons waiting for tables at Junior's to be the worst we'd ever encountered. Since Broadway Barks had only another 20 minutes of time left and we had an errand to run we decided to try Junior's later.

When we returned, the crowd at Junior's thinned out sufficiently and we were informed of only a 15 minute wait for a table. In less than that we were seated and to our surprise, Izzy, our favorite waiter and a really nice guy, would be taking care of us. We spent a few minutes catching up with the usual, how have you been, etc. and ordered. Artie and I decided to finish by throwing caution to the winds and having dessert, Strawberry Shortcake and Red Velvet Cake respectively. As anyone who has been to Junior's knows it's nearly impossible to pass up dessert. They serve the best and give unbelievably HUGE portions!

As our day ended, we felt good about the things we learned, the information we gathered and the donations we made. We also felt sad about the animals we connected with but couldn't adopt. And happily, we can start to plan to attend Broadway Barks 15 during July 2013.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Broadway Barks crowding issue was in full swing by the time the parade of eligible adoptees started. In our attempt to get a better vantage point for photos and to hear the proceedings, Artie and I had to walk through Junior's to get to the front of the stage. That strategy didn't work as we couldn't get close enough to take pictures. Finally we ended up at the back of the stage. We could hear and see what was happening but it was terrible for picture taking so after a few minutes we decided to brave the crowds again, visiting the tables and looking at two puppies in particular I wanted Artie to see.

Crowd & tents from deck of Junior's up 45 St. towards 8 Ave.

Earlier I had checked for Maine Coons or Maine Coon mixes but didn't have much luck locating any. I really miss Buds so from time to time I consider finding another Maine Coon who will talk to me incessantly. We're also going back and forth with the idea of getting another smaller dog to give Annie some non-human companionship now that Buddy is gone.

One of the vans had a beautiful female puppy, 11 weeks old, a shepherd mix. Looking at her I did not see Shepherd but rather Siberian Husky. She was a beautiful mocha color with ice blue eyes. Definitely a mix since her hair was considerably shorter than a husky. I fell in love with her. She kept licking and nibbling my fingers with her puppy teeth. Alas, at 11 weeks she was bigger than Annie at that age so with a heavy heart I had to say 'no' to myself since we feel a smaller dog would be a better fit at this time.

I dragged Artie to the table set up for Sean Casey Rescue where we waited for one of the dogs to come back from the platform. He was a puppy, 8 weeks old, so tiny and cute. I wanted Artie to see him. Named Tillie for the Steeplechase Face, he was found in a box with two dogs and a cat in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. We both fell in love with him. Resembling Uggie from The Artist, Tillie was all white with wire hair, a Poodle-Jack Russell mix. Well, Artie and I went back and forth discussing whether or not we should adopt Tillie until reluctantly we decided now was not the right time to take on another furry friend.  We felt it wise to  give ourselves a break and spend more time focusing on Annie before introducing another four paws and a tail to our family mix.

We decided to try and get closer to the stage to watch the proceedings.  More on that tomorrow...

Sunday, July 15, 2012


As usual, I was running late. Annie started to sulk as soon as she realized I was getting ready to leave. At least the weather cooperated this year by supplying a July day with less humidity and lower temperature than in years' past. With the crush of humanity that comes out for this event, Shubert Alley can get extremely uncomfortable.

When I arrived, I decided to locate the City Critters table before visiting all the booths to pick up literature and checking out all the dogs and cats up for adoption.  My friend Terri was manning the table with her friend Holly so I wanted to stop by and say hi before I did anything else. We spent a bit of time chatting about our pets and how all of them are doing; it seems everyone is dealing with some sort of canine and feline medical issues these days.

City Critters had a great table with literature, a fishbowl containing a cat figurine for collecting donations, a large display that resembled an open book with color photos of their adoptable cats and two photos books with more color photos. A few of the cats were on hand for viewing in an air conditioned van next to the Urban Cat League table right next to City Critters.

Holly and Terri manning the City Critters table next to the ASPCA van.

Shubert Alley was lined on both sides with tables manned by volunteers from rescue groups. Forty-Fifth Street from Junior's Restaurant almost to Eight Avenue had more tables with rescue groups and at least three air conditioned vans with adoptable cats and dogs. There were two gigantic Great Danes in attendance that were up for adoption as well as Jack Russells, Am Staffs and about every breed of dog imaginable and of course a fair share of mixed breeds. The crowding was the worst this year because about 25% of Shubert Alley wasn't available for use. The cement walkway was under repair. The stage was set up at an awkward angle and the press of people made it impossible to get close enough to take pictures.

Artie showed up and I walked through for a second time with him, then we went off to see the featured adoptable dogs on stage with a star-studded cast of presenters. More on the rescue groups, dogs and celebrities of Broadway Barks 14 tomorrow...

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Today will be an extremely busy day for me since I'm heading out to attend Broadway Barks 14. My most important chore is to get Annie fed, walked, played with and generally happy before she realizes I'm going out for the remainder of the day and puts on a sulk.

This morning, I'm in the process of preparing cards announcing my blog to hand out to people at the event. My personal card needs to be done so I can hand that out and expand my network. I've also decided to talk to people at the rescue groups about opportunities to work in pet rescue or other branches of animal care. 

I have to say I'm totally excited about attending this wonderful event and will post in detail about my experiences in the coming days.

Hey! You leaving me?  I wanted to meet Bernadette Peters' and Mary Tyler Moore's dogs.

Friday, July 13, 2012


WOW! The month of April contained a Friday the 13th and today, July 13th is also a Friday. How cool is that? Two for the price of one, that's a nice move 2012. Anyway, I'm not going into the superstitions about the day nor am I going to confess to having Friggatriskaidekaphobia or even Triskaidekaphobia, the former being a fear of Friday the 13th and the latter being a fear of the number 13.

So no talk of black cats, ladders, whatever but I did want to point everyone to this wonderful video of an incredibly adorably cute black and white kitten at play. Do I have to go into a  big dissertation about giving a handicapped animal a second chance or even a first shot at a normal life? I think not as this video says it all.

Enjoy it and don't discount the handicapped when you adopt...

P.S. If you're interested, Anakin's family has posted several other videos of him on YouTube.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I'm sure Davy's fans know Davy had four cats - two indoor and two outdoor. All the cats are going on to new homes, the indoor cats having been adopted to separate homes and the outdoor cats having their custodial care transferred to one new pet parent.

For anyone wanting to catch up on what's been going on, a Facebook page has been set up for the Davy Jones Memorial Equine Fund.  You can see pictures of the cats, the horses as well as Davy's daughters Talia, Annabel and Sarah.

To make donations or just read about what's going on with Davy's horses (and the cats) go to 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


This Saturday, July 14th, Shubert Alley is hosting Broadway Barks 14. The event marks the fourteenth summer that homeless cats and dogs will have a chance to find a forever home and money, support and awareness will be spotlighted by members of the entertainment community.

Shubert Alley is the destination; the time is 3:30 to 6:30 PM. Hosted by friends and event founders Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore, Broadway Barks has raised the awareness of New Yorkers to the plight of homeless pets in the metropolitan area.

I've attended in years past and will be there again this year. There will be plenty of celebrities mingling with the animal lovers and the rescue groups. My friend Terri will be there with City Critters. Among the groups participating will be BARC, The ASPCA, Animal Care & Control, Sean Casey Animal Rescue, The Humane Society, Bide-A-Wee and breed specific rescue groups.

It's a great cause, a wonderful way to spend the afternoon, meet people, star-watch, donate, volunteer and possibly add a new canine or feline member to your family. Artie and I will meet up, visit with Terri, make the rounds of all the rescue groups, watch the auction, see the available adoptees and probably have dinner at Junior's.

If you can, get down to Broadway Barks, help save a pet and have a great time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Annie is doing very well on the combination of commercial raw and home cooked diet. She seems satisfied after a meal. Of course, she continues to beg when we have our desserts and people treats which I believe is another dynamic altogether separate from any indication of real hunger. She loves bread (whole grain, whole wheat, oat and white) especially Italian bread. She also loves ice cream. When we have some she gets a tiny bit to make her feel included.

Anyway, I digress. My intent was not to discuss Annie's snacking habits but rather my resistance to a raw diet. In short, I'm still freaking out over it and I can't seem to get comfortable with handling raw food or feeding it to Annie.

I'm probably cooking the stuff anyway since I prepare oatmeal, barley or quinoa dumping the hot stuff right on the mashed-up raw food and finishing up by mixing it all together. I let it cool and when it's ready to serve I sprinkle her Perio Support on top.

I'm going nuts keeping her dishes, cooking bowls and utensils separate from our kitchenware. Have I cleaned and disinfected my hands, aforementioned items and the counter top sufficiently? So far, I've not come into a 'comfort zone' with any of this. At this time, I'm really leaning towards going back to home cooking exclusively. We will finish the bag of Primal and then I'll make my decision. 

Monday, July 9, 2012


The humidity is gone and the temperature is bearable enough that I was able to shut the AC today. It's sunny and breezy; both Annie and I are thankful for this break from such extreme weather.

Annie was stinky and smelly and greasy and totally uncomfortable from the heat so yesterday Artie and I gave her a bath. She was reluctant to get into the tub, needing coaxing and ultimately shoving into the bathroom then lifting of the front legs over the tub before she hopped in.

Once in, she seemed reluctant to stay (not like her at all) but we managed to get her good and clean. At the end of the bath, Annie couldn't wait to jump out of the tub, shaking herself silly, twisting around and hopping like a jack rabbit.  Toweling her off was a major job which culminated in us giving up and turning her loose.

She flew out of the bathroom and ran around the house like a lunatic for a good ten minutes, bouncing off the furniture, running around doorways and pushing her paws off the walls! It was definitely the best entertainment we've had in a long time. When Annie tired herself out, she proceeded to collapse on my bed and promptly went to sleep.

Today she seems totally relaxed. After taking her usual ten minutes of sun she is snoozing contentedly on my recliner. A dog's life - it's not so bad after all.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


The heat wave continues. Annie and I are riding the dog days out by remaining firmly ensconced indoors, taking advantage of the air conditioner. I turn the AC off for a few hours a couple of times during the day but I make sure to keep the windows and blinds closed and most of the lights off.

Artie and I have started transitioning Annie over to a  raw food diet. First we used Stella and Chewy's Raw Chicken Patties as a substitute for meat in her daily meals. It seemed to work well with Annie enjoying her food even more than usual.

When we last visited Hope Veterinary Clinic we purchased a four lb. bag of Primal Canine Chicken Formula which is supposed to be a complete diet. As with any other dietary change, I'm slowly transitioning her with one quarter raw and three quarter cooked food. Annie is enjoying it and she seems to be satisfied with this change as well. For now I intend to move the ratio to half and half keeping it there for the time being.

I need to decide where to go from here. Commercial raw diets are expensive - I need to decide if this is an expense we can afford and, if not, what are my options?  So we start a grand experiment. How will this new way of feeding play out? Only time will tell.... 

Friday, July 6, 2012


It's Friday and the heat is still blisteringly hot! Annie and I have been hibernating inside with the exception of ten minutes Annie spent sunning herself early this morning just as she does every single day. I did not like that she wanted to stay out but I was strict about the time and I wiped her down with a cool cloth as soon as she came in.

A few suggestions to keep your pet comfortable and healthy during the heatwave.

Keep fresh water available.
Keep your pet indoors.
Keep the air conditioner on.
Run a fan.
Prevent your pet from engaging in running.
Keep walks short.
Wipe your pet down with a cool cloth periodically.
Give your pet a bath and finish off with cool (not cold) water.
Keep meals light and a bit smaller than usual.
Watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

In this type of weather keep an eye on the kids and the elderly as well. And be mindful of yourself - don't overdo it, don't assume you can keep up your regular routine. It's best to err on the side of caution when dealing with the heat. This advice goes for all of us whether we're two or four legged.

It's hot and the dog days of summer are upon us - play it safe and stay cool!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Yesterday didn't turn out exactly as we hoped. The weather was way too oppressive for all of us, Annie included. We did spend some time outside and it really got to me and Artie.

We moved our celebration inside, turned the AC on, put on the TV and enjoyed the televised festivities as we had our dinner and dessert. it was obvious Annie appreciated being inside. She sprawled out on the couch with all four paws in the air and allowed the cool breeze from the air conditioner to wash over her. Annie's version of doggie bliss. Dinner and the opportunity to mooch some people cookies I'm sure made her day complete.

It's interesting to note that this oppressive weather has all but ended any stray and feral cat sightings.  It's been a few weeks since we saw the Norwegian Forest Cat (I think). No possum; even the squirrels have curtailed their activities.

Summer is definitely here and I think I'm going to start hibernating or, at least, sticking close to home and the AC!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Well, tomorrow is the Fourth of July and celebrating our independence has always been a fun day for me.

We handle it in our own way - we stay home. No beach and boardwalk or parks for us. Our backyard and the house are where we celebrate, kicking back and enjoying the human/pet connection. This year, we will spend our time playing with and pampering Annie. In past years we've enjoyed Twilight Zone, Honeymooners and classic Star Trek marathons. We also watch the televised fireworks from the East River and the celebrations from Washington DC. In years past, we  could catch some of the East River action from our rooftop but the upwards urban sprawl has effectively blocked that venue of entertainment. Of course, the holiday wouldn't be complete without seeing clips and getting the results of Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

And food is a big part of this holiday as well. Today I have some last minute shopping to do in order to get ready for tomorrow. Only the canines in our house eat beef (which I feed them reluctantly) I will pick up some tofu-based hot dogs, soy-based hamburgers and the usual trimmings.  Along with a big salad, fresh fruit, some cake and ice cream or ices, ice tea and soda we will have the makings of a real Fourth of July feast!

Today will be busy but tomorrow will be worth it! So, Happy Fourth of July to my countrymen. I'm going to take a holiday break from posting for the day but I'll be back Friday.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Today marks three months since we lost Buddy. It's odd but some days it feels like a lifetime since he was with us. Then there are days when his loss hurts so deeply - my arms ache to hold him.

Sometimes as I go through my day I realize I'm not thinking about him and that surprises me since he was such a constant presence in my life. Only recently does the house seem somewhat normal again. Before it was unbelievably silent making me uncomfortably conscious of the fact that Buddy was no longer with me, talking incessantly to me about whatever was important to him as I went about my household routine.

I don't hear his bell anymore nor feel his presence when I stand by my back door. In weeks' past I would catch myself looking down because he always had a habit of standing beside me as I gazed outside. I'm getting used to him not being there snuggling up to me during the night. However, I still check to make sure the door to the cabinet beneath my kitchen sink is closed so he can't get in there with the cleaning products. Sometimes I still catch myself looking down as I stand at the open refrigerator. Why? Buddy would always stand next to me looking intently inside as if he were ready to tell me what he wanted me to give him.

My brother, I'm sure is experiencing Buddy's loss in much the same way. Artie tells me all the time how much he misses Buddy watching for him at the front window. He misses catching Buddy and Annie cuddling together on the couch or the recliner. And most of all, he misses Buddy sitting and waiting for him, along with Annie, at the front door after a long day of work.

I still think about grief counseling but haven't been able to attend any sessions. We both want to go to at least one session to see if it helps us to cope better. I really miss my little man...

Sunday, July 1, 2012


I've written extensively on renal failure in cats because Buddy had this chronic illness. Cats also can develop diabetes.

Our dog, Baron, a Beagle Manchester Terrier mix, was diabetic so Artie and I have also gone down the canine version of that route. Whether canine or feline you will find yourself dealing with injections, insulin, checking sugar levels, specialized diets and scheduled feedings.

Baron received scheduled feedings of special foods, had his urine checked to monitor sugar levels and was given daily insulin injections. He survived for about three years during which he went completely blind, finally succumbing to a stroke that left him walking in circles and howling. The stroke happened late at night and early the following day the decision was made to euthanize him.

What are the early warning signs of diabetes? Excessive thirst, increased appetite and loss of weight. If you have a cat that seems off his game or if you just want to familiarize yourself with this chronic disease WebMD Pets is a great place to start: