Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I knew solving Orphée's aggression issues would not be easy even if I had a Pensieve.

There has been definite progress but we are by no means there (there being a point in time where neither Artie nor I have to keep an eye on Orphée when he is around Annie). Trying to sort out the why, where and when of Orphée's unacceptable behavior requires quite a bit of effort on our part but we're doing it.

There's been some success but Annie is still wary of Orphée, hesitating to walk past him, run in his presence and detouring through another doorway into a different room depending on where he's lying. So where's the progress you wonder? They are sharing my bed, the couch even the recliner with Annie sleeping on the seat and Orphée resting on the back.

The area of contention has been narrowed down to Annie's bursts of unexpected running about the house which seem to really anger Orphée. Curiously, her barking sometimes scares him but the result generally is a deer-in-the-headlights look to his face never any aggression.

Besides Annie's bursts of running, Orphée goes on alert at mealtimes, keeping a sharp eye on Annie almost trying to herd her away from the area where his dishes are.  This is very odd to me since he showed no signs of aggression towards the other cats when he was outside.  Food is definitely the issue since we've moved his eating location from the floor to the top of a 2-draw cabinet. Now I'm trying to locate a much higher out-of-the-way place for his food in an attempt to change this behavior.

In the meantime, how do I get a 42 lb. dog to stop running away from a 15 lb. cat? Damned if I know. My guess is this is going to take some work. Dumbledore where are you when I need you? If only I could borrow your Pensieve...

Monday, May 27, 2013


Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer. People begin vacationing which means the family pet either goes along or is left behind. If your pet won't be travelling with you this summer here is a quick checklist of items to remember to make your pet's vacation away from the family an easy one:
  • Paperwork containing veterinary information for emergency treatment and your pet's medical history;
  • Any medications currently being administered with dosing instructions;
  • Copies of  up-to-date vaccination paperwork;
  • ID tag containing all necessary information;
  • a good supply of  food in a sturdy container labelled with your pets name;
  • plenty of treats;
  • a few favorite toys;
  • their own bedding (make sure it's washable for easy laundering afterwards).
Travelling with or without your pet, you should consider having a microchip implanted as an extra measure of precaution. We all worry when we leave our furry family members behind but following these simple steps will go a long way to giving you peace of mind while you are gone.

Including the cat or dog in your travels? Read last year's post about taking your pet along:

Friday, May 24, 2013


Memorial Day weekend is here once again. Instead of doing another post about armed service dogs I've decided to write about Ape, a rookie FBI dog who recently died in the line of duty. Ape was a 2 year old Czech German Shepherd working with the FBI and New York State police to flush out a gunman responsible for murdering four people. As the first man through the door, Ape was mortally wounded but his sacrifice allowed his fellow officers to kill the gunman before others were murdered.

A reminder to us all. No matter whether an animal serves with the armed forces, the FBI or state and local police, Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor all who died in service to the American people.

To read more about Ape click through to:

Lest we forget, read my 2012 Memorial Day post:

Enjoy the holiday!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I have to confess I'm a Harry Potter fan - working in children's publishing does that to you. Lately not only do I feel I need a Time Turner but I find myself wishing for a Pensieve as well. 

Harry Potter Wiki defines a Pensieve as " object used to review memories. It has the appearance of a shallow stone basin, into which are carved runes and strange symbols. It is filled with a silvery substance that appears to be a cloud-like liquid/gas; the collected memories of people who have siphoned their recollections into it. Memories can then be viewed from a non-participant, third-person point of view."

Dumbledore certainly made good use of his Pensieve; I would make good use of mine. Such a magical object would allow me to retrieve Orphee and Annie's memories allowing me a third-party view of the incident that derailed all the progress we made in dog-cat relations sending our peaceful household careening like a runaway Hogwarts Express.

There, in the depths of memory swirled in the Pensieve, I would understand why Annie is running away from Orphee.  A senario to explain why Annie won't walk past him or go into a room he's in would surface from the mist and I would finally understand.  

It all began last weekend when Artie and I took a break from our chores to go for brunch. We decided to leave Annie and Orphee in the same apartment instead of relegating him to the front hallway. We went locally, gone for less than an hour. Later that evening we noticed the dynamics of their relationship had changed for the worse. 

Now Orphee is aggressive - staring at Annie, blocking her path and practically stalking her. Both of us caught him swiping and hissing at her. We reprimanded him and the behavior has improved somewhat but not completely.

Diligence and a watchful eye will help me put an end to this bullying- and plenty of patience.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Recently I've been wondering about Uggie the adorable Jack Russell Terrier star of the academy award wining film The Artist.

As everyone knows, Uggie retired from acting after a very busy awards season where our favorite Jack Russell since Moose (Eddie on TVs Frasier) attended the Oscar Awards ceremony and was immortalized in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. 

So what's Uggie been up to since then? Apparently what any other retired celebrity would be up to - spending time relaxing in the sun enjoying the California lifestyle. This YouTube clip shows Uggie doing what comes naturally and spending time with his brother Dash who has taken over the family franchise from his older brother.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Summer is fast approaching and here is a general check list of items to address for our pets health, safety and well-being: 

  • Make sure your pet is spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted litters of puppies or kittens.
  • When adopting a new puppy, enroll in training classes to head off behavioral issues.
  • Learn how to prevent dog bites and how to train your pet not to bite.
  • Educate children on how to interact with dogs and cats.
  • Teach children not to tease dogs and cats or chase strays and ferals.
  • If your pet does have behavioral problems realize they can be health-related. A complete annual medical exam conducted by your veterinarian will prevent such issues or resolve them quickly.
  • Make sure collars are in good shape with up-to-date identification tags to enable your pet's return if lost.
  • Consider a microchip as an extra measure of protection.
  • Develop and implement a plan that includes your pet's needs in the event of a natural disaster.
  • Put together a pet first aid kit for emergencies. 
  • Designate a family member or friend to take care of your pet in the event of a personal medical emergency until you are able to resume responsibility for your pet.
  • Have your pet included in your will. Set aside money for their care and designate a caretaker willing to care for your pet for the remainder of your pet's life.
Following this simple list will give you peace of mind and provide a good measure of security, safety and care for your pets, family and friends.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Cancer is an illness never far from my thoughts since Annie's Christmas and New Year surgeries. Do I consider my baby a cancer survivor? Now that we are approaching the post-surgery six-month mark, yes, most definitely I do consider her a survivor. Every day I wonder how much longer Artie and I will be fortunate to have her in our lives. She is our joy, our comfort and our unconditional love.

Yesterday I came across a few articles mentioning May as Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Current research figures indicate that approximately 30% of older pets succumb to cancer and it does not matter if they are pure bred or mixed breeds. That percentage is very shocking to me. I remember a day when the words 'cancer' and 'pet' were never spoken in the same sentence.

What causes cancer in pets? My guess would be the same things that cause them in humans. Do they come from the environment, cleaning products, additives in foods, exposure to the sun, a glitch in the reproduction of aging cells? The fact is we do not know.

Personally I feel cancer can come from all of these things and probably more. My concern is to try and prevent it from occurring in the human and animal members of my family. That is why I began a home cooking program for Annie and Buddy; to improve their health and give them longevity. 

I would consider Buddy a success with 2 years 9 months of renal failure made smooth sailing with home cooking and the proper medical protocols my little man had the best quality of life until the end. Buddy was also a cancer survivor, living almost 4 years after amputation of his tail. (The location of the growth did not leave enough area to obtain good margins.) Annie's urinary tract infections have been less frequent with home cooking. The cancer diagnosis was upsetting but if cancer is caused by what we eat, Annie has only had the benefit of home cooking for a few of her 10 years.

My cousin recently lost her 13 year old dog to cancer. We lost our dog Buster to Lymphoma just a few months shy of his sixth birthday. Devastating does not begin to describe Buster's loss to us. What we thought was a case of swollen glands swiftly became a cancer diagnosis that ended with his death 3 months later. The diagnosis was particularly hard on my father since Buster and my Dad were inseparable buddies. Buster's death was the only time I ever saw my Dad cry. That was more than 20 years ago. If Buster received the same diagnosis now, he would have a fighting chance with new medical advances.

Our furry family members need what our human family members need to prevent cancer - for all of us to be aware and to work towards a common goal of eradicating cancer in our lifetimes.  Start educating yourself about cancer in pets by following this link to The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation website:

Also, The Magic Bullet Fund website, an organization dedicated to educating people about pet cancers and providing assistance is a good source of information as well:

The ASPCA has information on cancer in cats and a corresponding page on cancer in dogs:

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Another year has passed - it's Mother's Day once again.  The sun is shining brightly; it's slightly cool, almost cold outside for mid-May. Annie spent a good part of the morning sunning herself out back. This is her usual spring and summer routine.

Artie had an early start cleaning the yard; it actually isn't the usual eyesore that needs massive attention before the hot weather hits.  Two weekends ago, he swept up leaves and pollen then started to prepare tree branches for bundling prior to pickup by the Department of Sanitation.  The yard looks pretty good although we still have to finish weeding, cut the Mulberry tree and trim back the wild climbing rosebush that grows lush foliage but hasn't produced any flowers since it took root several years ago.

On this Mother's Day my thoughts turn to remembering my Mom. Annie misses her. So do Artie and I. She loved her children and her four-legged 'grandchildren'. One of the greatest gifts Mom passed on to the both of us was her love of nature and animals. 

Any Moms reading this post should really take time to think about the legacy they are passing on to their children. It's not enough to teach them to respect themselves and their fellow human beings. We need to pass on a love and respect for all living things. Help them learn to interact harmoniously with your furry family members. Help them foster compassion and a desire to help shelter animals. Experience nature with your children by helping them develop a love of plants, gardening and the outdoors. Take them on outings to natural history museums and parks. Let them experience the wonder of life all around us.

Some of the best things in life are free. Enjoy them and have a Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Four-legged relationships in our home have taken a bad turn. Orphée is trying to exert his clout over Annie. He apparently feels the time is right to move up in his new colony's hierarchy.

That's not gonna happen! Artie and I have noticed Annie making wide detours around him.  The situation has now gotten to the point where she does an about face if he's in a doorway or a room taking a different route entirely in order not to walk past him. She has given up running and playing in her own home.  Her exuberance is gone. I've caught him chasing her away if he perceives she's too close to him. 

Artie was walking through the living room when Orphée overtook him, heading straight for the furniture.  All of a sudden, he jumped on the recliner, pushed between Annie and the recliner arm then laid down crowding her for more space.  It didn't take long for Annie to relinquish her spot on the recliner.  Apparently this scenario is intensifying because a few weeks ago they would both lay on the bed or couch at opposite ends but now whenever Orphée comes along Annie vacates the bed or couch going into another room entirely. 

This is a real problem. We do not leave them alone together for any length of time. I've been intervening by reprimanding Orphée when I catch him bullying Annie. I don't know how effective this will be. I'll need to surf the web, to read up on this problem. And I sure could use some suggestions.

In the meantime, I feel so sorry for my little girl. Since Buddy died, she's been so lonely. All she wants is another four-legged companion but it doesn't look like Orphée will fill that need. Hopefully we can change this dynamic.