Sunday, September 29, 2013


Orphée is with us about 10 months now. It's clear that Artie is his favorite family member. He seems to have accepted Annie completely. On the other-hand, Annie still retains some wariness where Orphée is concerned and a bit of jealousy because my lap is no longer her exclusive domain. I'm finding new joy in having Orphée around. He rather tentatively climbs onto my lap, turning his back to me so I can pet him. He even allows me to brush him and believe me, that is a big deal!

You can't see it but I'm scratching Orphée's butt. 

Orphée in Slumberland.

Friday, September 27, 2013


Some of my animal loving friends are against declawing cats but some are for it. Whatever side you're on or if you've never given any thought to this practice, you need to become informed.  Don't fool yourself, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about this practice but I was in for a surprise and I haven't viewed the documentary yet.

Surfing the internet and reading up on this subject at gave me an in-depth education in the facts and ramifications of declawing all cats, domestic and otherwise. Visit the website and consider seeing the documentary.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


For as long as I know my friend Terri and that's more than 10 years, she's been a dedicated volunteer with City Critters. Terri and her fellow volunteers run the City Critters booths at NYC street fairs and fundraising events such as Broadway Barks. Getting the word out and getting homes for homeless kitties young and old is only one part of what this volunteer group does. Fostering is another part of the equation.  Adoptable cats are shown at several Manhattan Petco locations and the volunteers assist the cats in putting their best paw forward to prospective pet parents as well as clean the cages, feed, play with and monitor the cats.

This wonderful not-for-profit group of dedicated animal lovers has done marvelous work rescuing many felines from a life on the streets of New York. During 2014 City Critters will celebrate its 20-year anniversary. That's two decades of helping furry New Yorkers! If you want to help City Critters continue their good work and you have a soft spot for animals who have had a hard life consider donating - your time, money or essentials to make life easier for these cats and some dogs too!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Every year without fail I receive an email from Terri announcing the Best Friends Strut Your Mutt fundraiser she and Chester (her only canine furry family member) take part in. Since my serious walking is confined to my Brooklyn neighborhood with Annie as my walking companion or Green-Wood Cemetery with family and friends, I sponsor Terri and Chester (go Chester!).

I just received Terri's email but my buddy Chester won't be walking this year. Chester is getting up there in years. He's slowing up, hard-of-hearing and blind. But he's happy, loved and well cared for and comfortable in his familiar surroundings. And there's the rub, since he only makes this walk once a year the route doesn't exactly qualify as 'familiar'.

This year I will pick another member of team City Critters to sponsor. I suggest you read up on Strut Your Mutt especially the four ways to participate, pick one and join the pack!

Support City Critters' Dog Pack
Help raise funds needed to support the work we do! Strut Your Mutt is sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society and it takes place on Saturday, September 28th at Pier 84 along the Hudson River Park. 

There are so many ways to help

The lovely Gilda will be struttin'

Sponsor one of our Pack Members! Get your family, friends, co-workers, facebook friends and twitter followers to do so as well. If you don't know who to sponsor, our President Holly Staver will be walking with her two rescued Chihuahuas, Ginger and Gilda, so you can sponsor Holly and her doggies. Or support Team Captain Kathleen Daly and her beautiful Roxy! 

Funds go to support animals like Cinnamon, a 12-year-old surrendered to us who turned out to have expensive medical problems.

Join our Pack! We'd love for you to walk with us with or without a dog. There is a $30.00 fee ($50 for couples) but then you will set up your own fundraiser page and gather your own sponsors. Don't forget to look into corporate matching programs.

Sabrina and Bosley, two of the many kittens and adolescents who are still waiting for homes.

Become a Virtual Walker! For $10.00 you can register, set up a page and rally to gather sponsors for City Critters. Go to City Critters' Dog Pack page and you are on your way.


Just donate to us directly and tell us that Strut Your Mutt gave you the idea. 

Last year we raised $10,000. This year our goal is $12,000 or more. Your support will help us to continue helping animals in need. 

City Critters, Inc.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Almost one year ago there was a newspaper article about a retired Brooklyn teacher named Herman Darvik who auctioned off two rare envelopes marked on the front with the paw-prints of two Soviet canine cosmonauts who traveled to the cosmos returning unharmed in their Sputnik capsules. 

1966 marked the centennial of the ASPCA and the USA marked the anniversary with a special design printed on envelopes available for purchase at the main branch of the Post Office; it also marked the fifth anniversary of the canine space pioneers' successful flights. Mr. Darvik, an avid autograph collector, knew Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, turned down a request for his hand print. The idea hit, commemorative envelopes were purchased and a letter sent to Russian officials requesting the canine cosmonauts place their prints on the ASPCA envelopes.

A few months later, a surprised Herman Darvik received a letter from the founder and first Secretary General of the USSR Academy of Medicine, Vasily Parin, certifying the paw-prints on the envelopes as that of the canine cosmonauts.

Great story, the combination of the two anniversaries makes for a unique piece of history as well as a unique collectible item.

Here's more on the 1960s race to space and this piece of history:

Saturday, September 21, 2013


In another life and another career, I worked on Wall Street. Yes, I started my career in Investment Banking segueing into Financial Services before leaving Finance for Publishing. That was a long time ago but some things never get completely out of your system and I frequently read up on what's happening in Finance and Banking. 

Yesterday was my catch up day for doing this. I heard that Muriel "Mickie" Siebert, a woman I once met at a business function, a woman my brother once videotaped for a television interview and the first woman to acquire a seat on the New York Stock Exchange had passed away. There was the printed word to bring me up-to-date on her passing.

The article focused on Muriel's will especially the fact that her Chihuahua named Monster Girl has been endowed with a $100,000 savings account. A close friend was asked to care for Monster Girl and the will requested that the pooch not be left alone for long periods of time.  Muriel also left an endowment to the Animal Medical Center for the care of animals.

I knew there was something I liked about Muriel when I met her but I just thought it was my admiration for her pioneering spirit and her ability to break the glass ceiling effectively bringing women into the Old Boys' Club of the higher echelons of Wall Street.  Now I think I must have sensed Muriel was a dog lover too.

Here's more on this remarkable woman...

Friday, September 20, 2013


Or in this case, in the video. My friend Fran came across a YouTube video about BFF who just happen to be a dog and an elephant.

It's a heartwarming piece of footage with a great story attached:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


If you love animals and you watch movies and TV, I'm sure you have a favorite film or TV episode that revolves around an animal.

Bonanza has the funniest two episodes about a dog named Walter and his prospector owner Obie. You Tube is the 'go to' place for just about any movie, TV episode or video you can think of and that's exactly what I did. There I found a clip from the original episode, Any Friend of Walter's and the entire second episode, Walter and the Outlaws

In lieu of a regular post I decided to take a break, make some popcorn, put my feet up, relax and enjoy the silliness with Walter and the Cartwright clan from Bonanza.  Won't you join me?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Recently I finished reading The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the End of Their Lives by Jessica Pierce and added this title to my Good Reads Page

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in how to handle chronic illness and end-of-life care for your aging pet.

Check Good Reads for more information. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Everyone is happy with Annie's new collar (me, Artie, Annie) except Orphee.  Being a cat he couldn't care either way. My part 2 post was quite long so I decided to save Annie's formal portrait for today's post. The green and gold of the collar flatters her coloring. My sweetie looks adorable in her new collar.

Now I'm toying with redoing her gold stone heart charm one more time and repairing her predecessor Roger's St. Francis medal to add to her collar. Why are my dogs so hard on their possessions?

Orphee, for the time being, is safe from my need to DIY. He has a store bought collar I let out and restitched. After getting it home I discovered it was too small for him.  It wasn't a small collar, he's a big cat! Who knows, maybe someday I'll make him a new collar but he'll have to destroy the current one first.

Annie sleeping peacefully all decked out in her new collar.

Friday, September 13, 2013


I gathered my materials spending a good part of the day putting together Annie's new collar. A few years' back Artie bought Annie a pull toy at the 99 Cents Store. Consisting of a strap attached to a tennis ball it instantly became Annie's favorite. After a few good squeezes, the tennis ball split in two rendering the toy useless. Annie was heartbroken, Artie got her a different toy and I threw out the tennis ball but kept the strap for a rainy day.

The rainy day arrived - the strap was perfect for the new collar. The other materials were heavy duty black thread and Annie's old collar. Next I assembled my tools: my vintage hand-me-down cutting shears (my Grandfather was a tailor), pliers, a thick nail, a box of matches, my thread cutter, a heavy duty sewing machine needle and a sturdy needle used for embroidery.

Woven plastic strap from Annie's toy.

Since the strap was woven plastic, I decided to seal each end by melting them closed. Using a low flame on the stove, I melted one end but the plastic cooled quickly, the end result being very lumpy. I trimmed the lumpy part away and tried again using wooden matches instead, flattening the melted plastic with a corning-ware dish as I went along. The melted edge came out straight, flat and smooth.

Grandpa's scissors and the trimmed, resealed end.

Next, I placed the old collar on top of the plastic strap, measuring the strap and allowing for additional material I needed to fold over to stitch the buckle and loop for Annie's tags in place. After rechecking my measurements twice, I cut the other end, shaping it to a point like the original collar then repeating the process for melting the edges.  

Getting ready to shape the collar.

The finished shape prior to sealing the edge.

Now it was time to movie back to the other end of the collar. After cutting the original collar away from the loop and buckle, I threaded the strap through both and pinned them in place. Using the heavy duty needle and thread, I sewed the buckle and loop into place with my sewing machine leaving enough thread at both ends to finish the stitching by hand.

Pinned and ready to sew.

Ready to finish off by hand-stitching.

A few finishing stitches with the embroidery needle on each end of the new collar and double knotting the thread will prevent the stitches from coming undone and the collar from coming apart. In order to achieve a nice, clean finish I pulled the threads between the two layers of strap cutting off the excess with the thread cutter.

All that remained was to add the holes to secure the collar. Back to the stove I went with pliers and the large nail. Grasping the nail with the pliers, I heated the tip on a low flame. With the original collar as a guide, I pushed the nail through the holes then through the new collar repeating the process until the holes were large enough to accommodate the buckle.

Working on adding the holes.

The finished collar.

Not bad for a DIY project where the DIYer invented the instructions as she went along! Of course, Annie looks great in her new collar. One last important point, we NEVER walk Annie by her collar, her leash is always attached to her harness. That's why I made the collar myself. I would suggest doing more research if you are going to attempt making a collar used for walking your dog. I know this collar is sturdy enough to keep Annie and her tags from parting company which is all that I need it to do. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Ants are a big problem when you manage a feral colony so I began searching for a way to keep them out of the food.

I thought I'd hit on the perfect solution - a tray filled with water underneath the tray containing the food. It worked well in theory but not in fact. The cats moved the food tray to where it touched the edge of the water tray allowing the ants to climb into the food dish totally avoiding the water.

A better solution was to hot-glue both trays together (or so I thought). This approach worked for a while but eventually the glue came loose and we were back to the problem of floating food trays. To top it all off, the cats regularly spilled food into the water creating a mushy, disgusting mess for me to clean up. I decided to scrap the entire water-tray idea and search for a new approach.

White trays held water and black trays held food.

Empty food tray with water trays containing food and debris laden water.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Kids are tough on their possessions, right? Furry kids are no exception to that rule and Annie definitely proves beyond a shadow of a doubt the truth of that statement. Many years ago when Annie was just an adolescent, I crafted a beautiful charm from a gold stone. The stone was in the shape of a heart and it hung from her collar along with her license and vaccination tags.

Annie loves to run the length of our back porch, barking at cats, barking at squirrels generally just running to check out any noise. But it's not enough to run. She has to squeeze her head between the wrought iron bars. There's just enough room for her head not to get stuck but it means pushing her ears through and pulling them out. I really don't know how she did it but she managed to break the heavy metal wire connecting the charm to the ring on her collar.

It broke, I fixed it. It broke again, I fixed it. It broke yet again, I gave up.

Annie is the proud owner of a really nice heavy duty leather and fabric collar. Black with gold designs, it matched her fur and her eyes or it did. Again, I don't know how, but Annie has managed to beat the life out of this collar. The fabric is all worn away from the heavy duty body of the collar and the leather is stretched out! Sometimes, after she pulls it through the fence it becomes undone and falls off her neck.

So now it's past time for a new collar. I'm toying with the idea of making one. I'm off to gather the necessary materials I have squirreled away so I can begin my DIY project.

Annie's old beat-up collar.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Generally, I don't write about political issues but I couldn't let the Joe Lhota/kittens escapade pass without commenting. In my opinion, Joe Lhota has proved himself a better candidate for the title of Scrooge than Mayor of New York City.

Once again New Yorkers proved they will do anything to save a life, in this case, the lives of a couple of adorable kittens. The little guys were playing hooky and playing on the tracks. The MTA cut power to the third rail ending Brooklyn B and Q line service for more than two hours until the four-legged juvenile delinquents were corralled.

Suspending service to remove the kittens from the tracks was not something Joe Lhota would have done. A pity the man who wants to be our next Mayor isn't familiar with the duties of the office he so actively seeks. Has he not heard of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC Animals? It's only been in existence for 10 years. There are many initiatives promoted by the Mayor's Alliance among them aid for victims of domestic violence and their pets, adoptions, spay/neuter programs and the NYC Feral Cat Initiative!

How can anyone seeking the office of Mayor not be concerned about kittens when the city has a program in place to improve the lives of strays and ferals? I wonder what percentage of voters are rethinking their Mayoral choice.

New Yorkers love an underdog or in this case under-cats. Read up on the Mayor's Alliance and get involved in helping our less fortunate furry New Yorkers like August and Arthur. 

Only in New York and only in Brooklyn... 

Photo from NBC News 4 New York.