Tuesday, December 23, 2014


I've been so busy nursing myself & Artie because of respiratory infections, dispensing Annie's eye drops (yes, I'm still doing that chore), watching Orphée who is experiencing intermittent out-of-the-box urinary issues and (of course) preparing for Christmas and New Year's. Whew!!!

Keep your pets safe this holiday season - a quick read of this post from Christmases past will tell you what to check to ramp up the pet safety factor in your home.

So enjoy Christmas and New Year. Also, a belated Happy Hanukkah.

                                                      Courtesy of Webweaver

Sunday, November 30, 2014


I can't believe how much time has passed since my last post. My life has been crazy busy. A mother cat took up residence on our front porch with her brood of six kittens. The litter was approximately eight to twelve weeks old.

With six playful kittens on show daily my front porch quickly turned into a three-ring circus. People were detouring to our block as they went about their daily business in order to get a glimpse of the kittens. Some people were making it a point to bring their children to see the little ones.

Mom was still nursing so we left the furry family alone planning to TNR all including Mom when the kittens were weaned.  Eventually solid food became part of their food consumption along with their regular feedings from Mom.  The babies had mucous coming out of their eyes but with Mom on the defensive and the kittens wary of us I decided to add supplements to their food keeping a careful watch on their eye conditions. In no time their eye issues cleared up.  Mom also had discharge from one eye but she appeared fine otherwise.

This went on from late September to late October when the kittens were finally weaned. What happened next is a story for another post.

Very first kitten photo.
Mom keeping an eye on her brood.

Four of the kittens playing.

Monday, October 13, 2014


August and September were crazy months giving us several news stories about raccoons. A Bronx beauty shop was broken into but the perp turned out to be a raccoon. The employee who opened the shop found wigs and pieces of ceiling scattered around the floor. At first she thought the furry interloper was a big cat. She called 911.

The cops responded with tranquilizer gun, catch pole and a cage stocked with marshmallows in tow. The raccoon was having none of it. The marshmallows weren't enticing enough, a dart from the tranquilizer gun failed to deliver its knockout dose and even though the catch pole worked, the door of the cage malfunctioned allowing the raccoon to escape leading the cops on a merry chase through the store. The long arm of the law finally snared the four legged bandit for a second time with the catch pole, wrangling him into the cage and securing the door with zip ties.

During the dog days of August a rabid raccoon was captured after fighting with some street cats in Bensonhurst at 78th Street and 16th Avenue. City officials issued a rabies alert with the City offering free rabies vaccines for pets after the incident. Apparently the Bensonhurst incident was the third one in Brooklyn this year. The others were at 51st Street and 17th Avenue and East Fourth Street and Avenue C.

The US Wildlife Services got in on the action by vaccinating raccoons with a new two-step process. Vaccine-laced treats are left out in green spaces for the raccoons to find and eat. Kind of like a cross between a vitamin and a candy tidbit, the vaccines are coated with a highly scented fishy smelling covering of vegetable fat, icing sugar and marshmallow flavoring. If a pet should eat one, the morsels are safe but too many might induce vomiting. Humans can break out in a rash if the vaccine gets into an open wound.

Step 2 is to trap the raccoons to check a blood sample to determine if the proportion of vaccine is effective. The plan is to pepper Brooklyn from Canarsie to Coney Island along with Prospect Park with the treat dispensers but no one would confirm if Bensonhurst and Boro Park where 2 of the 3 rabid raccoons were caught were included in that list.

                                  One of the usual suspects.                (courtesy Wikipedia)

Monday, October 6, 2014


Plans are in the works for a New York City Cat Cafe named Little Lions. The cafe will serve all types of teas and will be a place where New Yorkers who cannot keep a pet in their residence will have shelter cats to interact with. Anjellical Cats Rescue will supply the kitties.

Little Lions is the permanent result of a pop up cat cafe that was in operation for four days on the lower east side of Manhattan last spring. The idea was such a success with long lines of people waiting to get in that plans for opening a permanent cat cafe were hatched. Japan already has cat cafes and they are very popular. It's time New York has them too.

Time for a cup of tea!                         (photo courtesy of News 4)

Saturday, October 4, 2014


The Rescue at Dead Dog Beach: One Man's Quest to Find a Home for the World's Forgotten Animals by Stephen McGarva is one of the most important books concerning animal cruelty I've ever read. Published earlier this year by Harper Collins it is a heartbreaking tale of one man's efforts to give a second lease on life to family pets he found abandoned on a tropical beach. This book was definitely a hard read, very upsetting yet extremely hopeful. It proves the efforts of one or a few persons can make a difference. If you read this book I guarantee you will never look at any pet the same way again. A call to action if ever there was one Dead Dog Beach will make you realize anything you do to help a stray makes a difference.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


I love reading my DogTipper enewsletters and I love Kevin Bacon and I love Pitties! So you may ask, what does each have to do with the other? Very simple really. There was an article in DogTipper about Kevin Bacon posting an Instagram of his Pittie giving him a kiss. The picture is part of an awareness campaign profiling Pitties as the sweet pets they are and not the killing machines portrayed in the media and a way to challenge folks to donate to rescues.

You can go onto Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram or just Google kissed by a pit to check this out. This isn't the official Kissed by a Pit photo but it is a photo of Kevin and his adorable Pittie Lilly.

Kevin Bacon and Lilly one of his two dogs.

Monday, September 15, 2014


For some pet parents feeding can be an uphill battle. Some pets like my Orphée will eat the same item day after day others like Annie are more challenging. Annie prefers more variety necessitating a change every few days.

Actually I worry more about Orphée because he will only eat one brand of wet food in one specific flavor and one brand dry in several flavors. The wet food is high end but the dry is a bargain brand that I've thankfully been able to wean him off. I'm hopeful Orph will one day eat real food but so far he isn't as adventurous as Buddy had been. 

That's not to say I don't worry about what I'm feeding Annie. My main concern with Annie is that I'm not inadvertently feeding her an unbalanced diet or not providing all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals she needs.  I add two freeze-dried raw patties to each home-cooked meal. In addition I add cranberry powder three times a week and Glucosamine daily on her doctor's recommendation. Occasionally I add a teaspoon of healthy powder (the recipe is in Dr. Pitcairn's book).

By home cooking and feeding organic you will avoid chemical preservatives and food dyes. Our dogs and cats can get inflammation and digestive problems from the following items not found in their natural diets so avoid them.

Corn (and all types of corn syrup)
Potato, if the potato is green under the skin (not sweet potato)
Peanut butter
Sugar-free Sweeteners

I make Annie peanut butter treats as well as allow her an occasional lick of peanut butter or a few raw peanuts. The amount is always very limited and the treats are made with natural peanut butter low in both sodium and sugar. Once in awhile I also give Annie potato but I'm careful to check for that telltale greenness under the skin.

In my humble opinion, this is a good starting point in exercising more control over the quality of your furry family member(s) food.

Mom's a good cook. I'm just a picky eater.
Food's Food - just open that can and give me my breakfast!

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Yesterday I wrote about Coney Island amusements and rides. I posted pictures of William F. Mangels pony cart ride still in operation at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park. Another Mangels Company ride in operation there after 65 years is a kiddie ride similar to the pony carts except the vehicles are fire engines. Each engine is emblazoned with the number of the Coney Island Fire Department, 245.

I've included this ride because it's decorated with dalmatians, the original firehouse mascot.

At Deno's Wonder Wheel Park next to the Pony Carts.

The number of the Coney Island Firehouse.

Dalmatians galore! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


If anyone thinks I'm just involved in animal related activities, please think again. I have other interests not covered in this blog. However, today I've decided to stretch the limits of my blog by using horses as the connection to another subject dear to my heart - Coney Island.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Coney Island was a huge part of my life - it still is. Green-Wood Cemetery is hosting an exhibit about William F. Mangels, The Wizard of West 8th Street and the man responsible for inventing rides and amusements synonymous with the golden era of amusement parks.

Docents are available during exhibit hours to show guests around the exhibit, give talks and answer questions. This is a great opportunity for me to do what I enjoy most - talk incessantly about Coney Island & Green-Wood Cemetery!

To prepare for this, the docents were given a brief tour of Mangels-related Coney Island spots and the Coney Island History Project. Of course I took photos so let's start with horse-related images:

An original Steeplechase Horse.

Definitely not a carousel horse!

Although the Steeplechase Horse Ride was not designed by William F. Mangels, the horses were synonymous with Coney Island and the highlight of Steeplechase Park. Reminiscent of the real Steeplechase, the track setup went around the outside of the park. The horses moved at a brisk pace. Because of the speed I only rode the horses once, the final day Steeplechase Park was open before it ceased operation forever.

The Mangels Company developed the following ride which after 65 years is still in operation at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park- the Pony Charts.

A fond memory for every Brooklyn kid.

Beautifully maintained and still going strong after 65 years.

Off the Boardwalk at Deno's Amusement Park.

The Mangels Exhibit features a beautifully carved carousel horse studded with jewels and a flowing tail of real hair.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


This Labor Day weekend had to be the most uncomfortable one on record (or at least the most uncomfortable I remember). Besides the heat and humidity we had quick showers that wet everything down but did absolutely nothing to lower the temperature.

Annie enjoyed lounging around in the air conditioned apartment and taking frequent trips to the back porch to see it any other animals were about. Orphée positioned himself in front on the air conditioner so the stream of cold air would pass above him. Otherwise he occupied the chair by the window waiting for the strays to come by or reclined on my bed for a nap.

They strays kept to their schedules coming and going between bursts of rain.  I know this because the food disappeared not because I saw any of them. It's been a few days now since I've seen Porch Guy but that's not unusual when the weather isn't good.

And what did I do? I immersed myself in such exciting projects as mending clothes, ironing and cooking in addition to my usual activities - watching TV (the MDA Telethon) movies and reading. So Labor Day weekend was uneventful, spent inside but enjoyed in any event. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014


It's the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend 2014, the unofficial end of summer. Where did this summer go? It seems as if it just started and fall is almost upon us. Well, there's still some time for fun in the sun and now is as good a time as any to remind everyone to pay particular attention to family pets during the remaining summer activities.

Keep an eye on your pets.  Keep them away from people food, don't let guests pester them. If you're taking them with you, keep them on leash, in the shade, hydrated and if you're near  a lake or the ocean never let them out of your sight.

Practice common sense and you will enjoy Labor Day weekend without incident.


Friday, August 29, 2014


Porch Guy comes and goes; we can never predict what days or times he will show up. Some days he'll drop by as many as four times. Sometimes he doesn't come by at all.

Lately he's been around a lot. Artie took some terrific pictures of him. Here they are:

Posing handsomely.

Bored with the entire proceedings.

Just put out the wet food so I can get on with my meal!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


During the past month we've had two close encounters involving baby opossums.

Mid-afternoon about a month ago, I had fruit and vegetable scraps to add to my compost bin so I bundled the scraps and headed to the back yard. Once the future compost was deposited in the bin and the lid secured, I decided to check the drain under our porch to make sure it was clear of leaves and twigs because rain was forecast for the following day. As I approached the porch I could see a form underneath. At first, I was shocked to see a rat but a second look told me it was a young possum. It was dead with a big chunk bitten out of the poor thing. I figured one of the cats got it since it was 'rat-sized'

We removed it for disposal when Artie came home from work. Both of us were a bit sad because we know they're basically harmless and they 'clean up' after the cats and other wild life. Life returned to normal for about three weeks.

Annie's been particularly annoying about going on the porch after dark and lately even more so. One night last week she was very insistent about going out so Artie decided to do the honors; she usually bothers me. All of a sudden there was a commotion. Artie was yelling and I rushed outside imagining the worst. There on the corner of our porch railing was another young
opossum. Annie was hopping around crying and wining, trying to get close to him.

The possum was barely moving but he did turn to face Annie giving his best grimace and a loud hiss. Annie took the opportunity to stick her nose in his mouth to get a good sniff. We both freaked! After much corralling and yelling we managed to get Annie inside. The little guy continued to cling to the porch railing for awhile before scampering down the steps off into the foliage to disappear into the night.

Annie wanted to play! This is a big problem with her because she will approach any animal she sees. We were never afraid for the possum rather for her safety. Opossums are generally docile putting on a good show to protect themselves but Annie is our baby; we are always concerned.

Our visitor was the same size. (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Monday, August 25, 2014


Thanks to Orphée for letting everyone know why I haven't been posting. Maybe someday Annie will fill in for Mom as well. Anyway, I'm well mended now and back on the look out for interesting items to blog about.

I'm finishing up The World According To Bob by James Bowen. It's the sequel to A Street Cat Named Bob.

Check my Good Reads page  in the next few days for my review.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Mom hurt her lower leg, ankle and knee awhile back making it hard for her to take care of me, my sister Annie and my friends outside. When she isn't hobbling around trying to get some chores done, she spends her time in my recliner with her leg propped up on pillows. The pillows are a bit inconvenient but I do manage to find a comfortable spot on her lap anyway!

I thought I'd fill in for Mom since she hasn't kept up with her blog recently. My sister would never do this; she just spends her days sleeping on the couch. I guess that's what you do when you get old. All my outside family members are doing fine except we lost one a week back. Artie found him dead in the street, hit by a car. That's life on the streets of Brooklyn; it's not easy when you're a cat.

My pal Porch Guy comes by on a regular basis. In fact, a few weeks ago he decided to hang out on the ledge of the window Mom leaves open on cool nights. My chair is right there so we hung out together separated by the screen. It was about three in the morning and I guess my talking woke Mom up because she came to see what was going on. When she saw Porch Guy on the ledge she spoke to us a moment then went back to bed. Mom's good that way.

Her leg seems a bit better today. Hopefully she will be back to posting on a regular basis quite soon. I sure hope so; I'm not interested in doing this for a living! Now if you will excuse me, I'm going back to sleep under Mom's bedspread, it's the only place to be.

I never get off the bed even when it's time to change the bedding!

Sunday, August 3, 2014


It's way past time for me to blog about the organization I belong to, Neighborhood Cats. My first introduction to Neighborhood Cats was through my friend Terri who introduced me to someone at the Mayor's Alliance for Animals. He told me all about Neighborhood Cats.

After some discussion Artie and I decided to take a TNR (trap, neuter and return) Class given by Neighborhood Cats at the ASPCA's executive offices located in midtown Manhattan where we met Meredith and Lois, fellow members and TNR instructors.

Not only does our group have TNR classes but their website carries loads of information and news pertaining to all things feral and stray around the country and the world. I constantly receive email alerts of ear-tipped cats brought into shelters as the group attempts to locate their colonies and caretakers or relocate them to new colonies if necessary.

There are so many unwanted cats in need consider lending a helping hand either by joining or donating to Neighborhood Cats or any other rescue organization of your choice. Check out the Neighborhood Cats website or Google feral cats for other organizations and get involved.

                                                     (Neighborhood Cats official logo)

Friday, August 1, 2014


A few days back, a pit bull was thrown from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) in Greenpoint Brooklyn. Kind-hearted, dog-loving Brooklynites rushed to care for the injured pooch who was bleeding from the mouth. The Good Samaritans gave the dog water then drove him to Veterinary Emergency & Referral Group in Cobble Hill (VERG, where Annie has her Ophthalmologist and Oncologist appointments). 

The incident has been all over the news since it happened 6:30 PM Tuesday. The pittie is adorable and by all accounts possessed of a sweet personality. He suffered a broken leg and collapsed lung from his 30 ft. plunge. Police at the 94th Precinct investigated and tonight's news gave us the real facts as they emerged.

Wookie slipped his collar running at full speed away from his owner, Oliver Rivera. After calling shelters he came across a news article about a dog thrown from the BQE. He then called VERG. Wookie was reunited with his owner but needed to stay a bit longer in the hospital. Meanwhile a tips number was given for anyone with information about what happened to contact the police.

A young woman who was in a taxi on the BQE and witnessed the incident came forward to describe seeing an agitated dog running on the BQE when suddenly the dog jumped over the railing. No one threw him from the expressway. This tale has a happy ending. Man and dog are reunited, no cruelty happened, miraculously, Wookie survived his fall with minor injuries and as usual Brooklynites (New Yorkers) proved how we all come together when one of us is in need.

It was just another day in New York City; just another day in Brooklyn.
Pitbull tossed from expressway reunited with owner
Wookie with helpiing hands at Verg. (Photo by Angel Chevrestt)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Last week's papers carried an item about a Bronx man who kicked, beat and torched a stray male cat. According to different eyewitness accounts, a man approached a stray cat who may or may not have scratched or bit him. The man then kicked the cat beating it until it was bloody then placed him on a blanket. After dousing the cat with lighter fluid the man set the edges of the blanket on fire. The cat was burned alive.

This new incident occurred only weeks after a Brooklyn man was arrested after approaching a friendly stray male cat, kicking it 20 feet into the air. The incident was caught on video and it went viral. The posting helped lead the police to the attacker. This incident had a good ending. A group effort was mounted by rescuers, the cat was located, medically checked and ultimately adopted by someone living in Manhattan.

The video was sickening to watch. The cat was called to the kicker who then pretends to have food. Suddenly, he viciously kicks King with all his might sending the poor cat flying through the air like a football.
All the while the kicker and others off-camera are laughing hysterically.

Why do such incidents keep happening? I believe we need stiffer penalties for crimes of this nature. Animals are alive, people! Just because they can't talk doesn't make their life inferior to ours. They experience pain and they can be defenseless against much bigger humans. It is particularly cruel to win an animal's trust then injure, torture or kill it.

New York needs to upgrade the status of animals to sentient beings as France did and rewrite our laws for crimes accordingly. Penalties for those harming or killing animals should be stiffer than laws for damaging property.

King enjoying life at the ASPCA prior to adoption.  (courtesy ASPCA)

Monday, July 28, 2014


Sunday morning, a good time to kick back and relax with the newspaper and a cup of coffee exactly what I did yesterday. Our neighborhood was quiet; Orphée kept watch by the window for our feral colony members while Annie lounged on the recliner. Plenty went on this past week - some good, some bad but such is life.

I did feel good about one item I came across, a bill proposed by Chuck Schumer requiring veterinarians to write prescriptions for pets. The article confirmed what I already know to be true - pet medication costs are all over the page depending on where you purchase them. Senator Schumer found markups at the vet as high as 240%. A veterinarian worth their salt will discuss options with you or at the very least write a prescription if you ask. The prescription can be filled online or at a local pharmacy.

Dr. Young did that for us when Buddy needed sub-q fluids. We aren't in walking distance from her office making it time consuming to pick up refills. The prescriptions for the fluid, IV lines and needles gave us the option of ordering online or from our local pharmacy. We opted for the local pharmacy for the convenience (one block from home), price and turnaround time (anywhere from immediately to 24 hours).

There have been times our budget was hit hard by unexpected medical expenses for our pets. Artie and I would gladly find something to give up (dinner or an evening out) to offset the extra expenditure. Our furry family members are the world to us. Most people with pets would do the same however medical emergencies are a much harder call for lower income people, the sick and the elderly who's pets are sometimes the only family or joy they have in life.

I'm interested to see if this proposal becomes law thus helping families to care for their pets instead of making the agonizing choice between medical care and the associated costs.

I love sleeping in Sunday mornings.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


This past week was an unusual one filled with doctor visits and tests for me. I'm fine, my test results are fine (so far). When I realized no new posts were done since I blogged about Broadway Barks and posted pictures of Porch Guy, I knew I had to stop being so neglectful and come up with some new posts. I vowed to do so as soon as Annie and I went for our daily walk.

Excitement was in the air when Annie realized it was time for a late afternoon walk. We were outside only ten minutes when the cloudy day turned into a rainy day forcing us to cut our walk short and head for home. Both of us were drenched! Annie hates rain; she doesn't mind her bath but getting caught in rainy weather is another story altogether.

Lately both Artie and I have noticed some new cats and two kittens showing up for food. We don't know how many ferals we are currently feeding but there is a definite increase. Artie managed to get pictures of both kittens. We don't know their gender but they definitely are cute kitties!

Dinner time.

Smile for the camera!

Time for my closeup.

A great closeup of this adorable grey kitty.

Our only photo of the second kitty.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Porch Guy is still a regular visitor for a meal; in fact he's more like a family member showing up three or four times a day to check out the food bowls, have water and lounge around.

He's a bit thin but he looks good. Never one to run away when we're out front, Porch Guy will eat while I water my plants, put out food, fill the drinking bowls or sweep the porch and steps. Artie finds it amusing when Porch Guy appears out of nowhere when Artie comes home. He's a very smart cat indeed equating us with food. I tell Artie "He's no dope, he knows what side his bread is buttered on". Actually Porch Guy knows what side his food bowl is filled on. Artie took a few pictures of Porch Guy hanging out.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Because of the need to multi-task an endless to-do list, the 8 Paws and 2 Tails blog was relegated to the bottom of said list. I did not forget the promised post about this year's Broadway Barks event. You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men? They often go awry. So did my day trip to Broadway Barks.

My friend Phyllis decided to join me this year; we planned to meet early for lunch then walk over to Schubert Alley.  My brother Artie wasn't sure if he wanted to attend after working all day. A Saturday morning decision to attend changed my plans. We would both be in Manhattan for a good part of the day leaving Annie alone for the entire time which we did not want to do.

I called Phyllis; skipping lunch was agreed upon with the three of us going off to dinner instead. Phyllis met me at the start of the event. We walked through Schubert Alley then along 45th Street looking at the dogs and trying to find the cats.

It seemed there were far less cats this year than in years' past. We couldn't find City Critters. Finally we ran into Terri (almost literally) as she walked past us. After a quick hello, Terri hastily explained she needed to find the location for City Critters and off she went. Schubert Alley was divided by the stage for the auction with tables set up on both sides. 

We finished our walk-around with a return trip through Schubert Alley to stop by the tables we missed when I saw Bernadette Peters walking ahead of us. She was stopping at the tables petting the dogs and chatting with the volunteers. Trailing behind her was a group of reporters, videographers and photographers. She stooped down to cuddle a dog giving me a great photo op. I thought "This is it! Finally, I'll get  a great picture." Boy was I wrong! It was hard to squeeze between the media legs but I managed to get a perfect composition. I snapped the camera has a delay; Bernadette Peters turned resulting in an absolutely beautiful picture of the back of her head. Anyone familiar with Bernadette knows he has a beautiful head of curly red hair making her very recognizable from the back. But that wasn't what I wanted; I wanted a close-up. Just as I snapped again someone tapped me on the shoulder. I heard a voice say "Move back lady, you're not supposed to be here." I turned around to see a cop looking at me. This is New York and you don't mouth off to a cop under any circumstances. We were in an open area after all, no barricades between Bernadette and us, no security only the lone cop standing in the middle of the crowd. That was the end of my picture taking. There was no way to get a decent photo of her from the place designated for non-media.

My almost perfect picture of Bernadette Peters.

Schubert Alley was crowded by the time we did our first walk through. The weather was better than expected but still left much to be desired. It was too much for Phyllis and I prompting us to look for someplace indoors to sit and catch up until my brother arrived. We found a quiet area in the Marriott Marquis to while away the time.

The auction started before Artie arrived. The area was packed with attendees; I couldn't get close enough to get a decent photo. The three of us walked along 45th Street finally connecting with Terri. We visited, made our donations then left because of the crush of people. Junior's, our choice for dinner, had too long a wait for a table so we went in search of another place to eat. Several stops later, we hadn't found an air-conditioned restaurant so we proceeded to 42nd Street and Dallas BBQ. We ended our day with great BBQ.

I need to rethink attending future Broadway Barks events. If I attend next year, it might be best to arrive at the beginning, walk through, take photos, meet Terri then leave instead of hanging around for the celebrities or the auction. I have a whole year to think about it...

Saturday, July 12, 2014


Today is Broadway Barks 2014. Of course, I'm in the process of getting ready to attend. Here's hoping I get some great photos and plenty of information to pass along about pet adoptions, rescue and anything else of interest in the pet community.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Annie had two follow-up doctor appointments this week with her Ophthalmologist and Oncologist. I was hoping for a clean bill of health from the eye exam but her eye is a bit red prompting the doctor to increase her eye drop to twice a day. Her eye is healthy otherwise; all her tests were in the normal range. We are thankful for that but I'm disappointed her recovery is so slow. Her next visit will be in three months instead of the six I was hoping for.

Her physical exam with the Oncologist went well however the doctor wasn't able to get online access to Annie's x-rays and sonogram taken at the time of her dental surgery. We waited awhile but eventually had to leave with the doctor promising to follow-up by phone once she reviewed all the material. That was two days ago but still no update. 

I'll check back with the Oncologist next week if I don't hear from her before. In the meantime, I'm hoping we will be wrapping up the frequent visits since December is the two-year mark for Annie's cancer surgery. A discussion with the doctor is in order - I believe after all this time we can move to a bi-annual or annual visit with additional visits scheduled whenever something unusual comes up.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, Independence Day, a day to celebrate the birth of our nation and that means hot dog eating contests, barbecues laden with all manner of food and drink, desserts galore, family, friends and fireworks.

And it's also time to focus on the family pets. We're fortunate - our furry family members aren't fazed by the noise of the Fourth. Annie doesn't blink an eye at the sound of fireworks and Orphée couldn't care less but for the animal, who finds it hard to cope before turning to tranquilizers, try keeping them indoors in a room with closed windows and doors. If the weather is hot put on the AC. This will minimize the noise. If this doesn't do the trick, a thunder shirt might be the solution. I've never used one but my cousin has one for her dog who was afraid of storms and it worked quite well. The feel of the shirt around the animal is comforting to them.

If your pet's reaction is extreme and nothing helps then a visit to the Veterinarian is in order and medication might need to be prescribed. NEVER SELF-MEDICATE!!! Visit the doctor to determine how best to help your pet.

All the other safeguards used for any holiday apply here: keep your pet in a quiet place away from guests, no human food or drink, decorations and candles should be placed where pets can't ingest them or knock them over.

If you follow these commonsense rules everyone will have a happy fun-filled Fourth.


  (Image courtesy of Webweaver)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


The heat and humidity have arrived in New York. Yesterday and today have been challenging to say the least. Annie begged for two walks today. I complied against my better judgement. Sometimes her persistence is too much to put up with.

Off we went for our walk, water in hand, Annie thinking she won, I knowing differently. You might not agree but I managed a win-win in this situation by changing our route to keep us in the shade as much as possible. I also cut both walks short based on how Annie was tolerating the heat. I did stop a few times to give her a bit of water and to pat water on her head. Both walks were earlier in the day than our usual walks.

Annie is happy but not completely satisfied - she's already asked to be let out back and for extra cookies. This behavior is typical for her during the summer. I have to cut this post short - Annie is here poking my leg, crying and whining - I'll get no peace until I let her show me what she wants.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


I've written before about the abundance of wildlife in the boroughs. The most recent sighting of a new species of wildlife happened last week in the Bronx.

A Fisher Cat was spotted. Now you may ask, what's the big deal about another variety of cat but here's the rub, the Fisher Cat is a member of the weasel family. Now along with the sightings of opossums, raccoons, groundhogs, falcons, hawks, squirrels, coyotes and skunks we can add weasels.

Fisher Cats eat rodents making them a possible plus in the boroughs but will they prey on dogs, ferals and other cats? I don't have the answer to that question and I think it will be a cause for concern. Fishers were part of the wildlife population when Manhattan was settled but trapping for their fur pretty much removed them from the New York City landscape.

A policeman spotted the critter strolling along a Bronx street and took the picture below:

Walking the streets of Washington Heights in the Bronx (Photo by Derek Lenart)

As always, Wikipedia has some awesome information on these critters along with photos and video so check it out.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


I was gratified to learn New York has passed a bill banning animal tattoos and piercings. The bill was introduced back in 2011 but the recent tattooing of a dog done by the owner with the permission of the dog's veterinarian after surgery to remove the animal's spleen added new impetus to getting this law pushed through.

What is wrong with this? It's damn cruel! Why would you subject your pet to such an unnecessary procedure? There is always the risk of complications from anesthesia and tats/piercings carry the risk of infection. Jewelry and clothes are nutty enough (and I'm guilty of both) but dye jobs, tattoos and piercings are just plain wrong. And need I even say why did the vet allow it?

Consider this: people should think twice (and then think again) about tattoos and piercings for themselves let alone their pets. Is it smart to have a tattoo inked over your carotid artery or anywhere on your spine? What happens if a surgical procedure needs to be preformed? Can the ink prevent the doctor from doing the procedure? Certain dyes can cause burning if you have an MRI. But I digress because this post is about animals after all. If people want to take the risk that's fine but the animal doesn't have the choice.

Our pets are beautiful as they are why mark them? It's wonderful news this law passed in the great state of New York - now if we take the next step and make our pets sentient beings that would be terrific!

Ink: Artist Mistah Metro tattooed a heart on his dog while she was under sedation after having an operation
The pit responsible for the law getting passed.

Friday, June 20, 2014


As I mentioned in my previous post, summer starts June 21st, time once again to review the basics that will make summer with your pets fun. Today I'm repeating my post entitled DOG DAYS OF SUMMER VACATION as a refresher for travelling with your pet...

Well, summer is almost upon us and a lot of people will be hitting the road, the sea or the air with or without Fido or kitty. This is a huge topic with lots of ground to cover (no joking here) and plenty of thought must go into your decision to travel with your pet or leave your companion behind.

If you have fish, rodents or reptiles you will need to get a family member, trusted friend or a reputable service to come in and care for them until you return.  Always make sure you leave written instructions, plenty of food, name, address and phone number of your regular veterinarian, 24-hour veterinary emergency service and your contact information with the sitter. Do the same for your dog or cat if you decide to keep them at home during your trip. Other options for dogs and cats staying behind are boarding at a kennel, with a pet sitter or a pet hotel.  If your pet has a chronic medical condition, another option is to board at your veterinarian if they offer that service or arrange with your vet for someone to come in to administer medications/treatments.

If you intend to travel with your dog or cat  there are more pet-friendly hotels, motels, inns and bed and breakfasts in the USA than ever before. Now we ask those age-old questions "What do I pack?" and "How do I handle leaving my pet alone in the room?" That's easy if you prepare a check list and stick to it.
  • Food, supplements, medicines
  • Make sure you have access to bottled water to avoid stomach upsets
  • Toys
  • Leashes
  • Accessories (favorite blanket, pet bed)
  • Dog tag with your cell phone number (added to the collar)
  • Recent medical records
  • Address and phone numbers of a veterinarian, groomer, daycare and pet store closest to your vacation spot to use in case of an emergency
  • Give your cell phone number to the front desk in case of an emergency when you're out but your pet is occupying the room
  • Leave the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door at all times to prevent hotel employees from accidentally letting your pet escape.
Research airlines thoroughly. I'm not comfortable with putting pets in the cargo hold which is something you have to do if your pet does not fit in a carrier under a seat. Pick your airline based on your research and the needs of you and your pet.  Try to keep travel time to a minimum; use direct flights. There are pet airlines on the internet. I've never used any of them but if this is something that appeals to you verses a traditional airline, by all means do your homework and check them out.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


June 21st is the first day of summer 2014 but we're already experiencing hot weather. Just as we need to watch out for children, the elderly and ourselves in all types of extreme weather we also need to monitor our pets.

My post entitled SPRING INTO SUMMER PET NEEDS bears repeating:

Spring is the time for us to get our pets ready for Summer.

Dogs and cats need to be groomed more often (brushed and bathed).

Be diligent in your fight against fleas and ticks. Whether you use commercial products or decide to go holistic, check with your veterinarian for an acceptable course of action and stick to it.

Spring and Fall are a good time to take your pets for their semi-annual doctor visit. Pets age faster than we do so a visit every 6 months will help you uncover health issues before they get out of hand. Older pets need their teeth, eyes, hearing, joints, blood and emotional well-being monitored as they age.

Dogs need heartworm pills to keep them heart-healthy and this is especially critical after a mild winter. We give Annie her pills year round. No treatment is available for cats so in Buddy's case we made sure he stayed inside most of the time.

Dogs and cats both like to be outdoors during spring and summer. Make sure you monitor their time outside and provide plenty of fresh water. If putting your cat out in a cage make sure it is in shade as well as sun. Dogs should have access to a yard with shade and sun. Buddy would spend a half hour outside in mild weather, no more than 10 to 15 minutes in warm weather, zero time outside in hot weather. Annie would spend up to an hour outside in mild weather, no more than 10 to 15 minutes in warm weather, zero time outside in hot weather. I would check on both of them every 10 to 15 minutes.

Finally, be thorough when taking your pet on vacation. I will be writing about what to consider in another post.

Enjoy the warm weather and make sure your pets enjoy it too! 

Monday, June 16, 2014


Well, I'm hoping for an uneventful summer. Annie's medical issues appear to be behind her at least for now. Wednesday she has appointments with the Ophthalmologist and the Oncologist. If all goes as expected, we should have no more follow-up visits for the Ophthalmologist and one more for the Oncologist because its six months since the eye surgery and this coming December-January marks two years since both cancer surgeries.

Orphée has woven himself completely into the fabric of our family although from time to time he still tries to move up in the hierarchy with intimidation tactics he uses on Annie and recently on me. It isn't working. Annie is learning to hold her own. She will turn her face away from him but not relinquish the space she's in, the blanket she's on or her place at her food and water bowls.

The ferals come and go; some are new but I watch every day for Porch Guy. He still shows up daily for a meal, sometimes two or three! A few days ago he stopped by while Artie was putting out food and water. My brother got the camera and here are the resulting pictures.  I'm sure you'll agree Porch Guy is as handsome as ever...

Notice he rarely looks at the camera.

Artie tells me Porch doesn't like the flash.

Back to eating.

Putting up with more photos.

Artie's favorite photo of Porch Guy.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Artie came across a rescue magazine appropriately titled Rescue Me. Full of interesting articles, great photos and good information you can also find Rescue Me online at

There was a small but great article on your dog's 7 core needs in the May/June issue of the magazine important enough to repeat here. Written by Tamar Geller, a dog trainer who developed the loved dog method of dog training.

This list is good to keep on hand. I intend to review it from time to time so I can determine how I measure up in providing Annie as well as Orphée with everything they need. An edited version of this list will work for the ferals.
  1. Security, certainty, predictability
  2. Excitement and surprises, variety
  3. Companionship
  4. Love and connection
  5. Mental stimulation
  6. Physical stimulation. games
  7. Understanding the hierarchy
This list is a no-brainer, commonsense compilation of what you should provide for your companion animal to help keep them happy. I intend to read up on Tamar Geller since I'm not familiar with her. She's written a few dog books available on Amazon.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


This story certainly deserves mentioning; if someone were pitching it to a movie company they'd describe it as CSI meets dog poop.

The city of Naples, Italy is using forensics to collar recalcitrant dog owners to ticket them for not picking up after their pooches by identifying them through DNA testing. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think of using doggie DNA to go after an owner who caused a sidewalk mess by not picking up after their pet and believe me, living in New York, I've stepped in a whole lotta dog poop! What New Yorker hasn't?

The Isle of Capri already has a successful program in place. Germany is discussing implementation of a similar program. There is a company here in the states called PooPrints offering this service to communities and apartment complexes. Even the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in California is testing poop at their Veterinary Genetics laboratory.

Well I guess the old sobriquet "That wasn't my dog" won't hold up anymore. Amazing what science can come up with. And I just can't seem to get the image of Gil Grissom testing dog poop out of my mind... 

CSI Logo.png
                                                                       Image courtesy of  Wikipedia

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Recently I came across a newspaper article from the end of last year about a new online service called Dognition. Duke University's Canine Cognition Center runs the service and dog owners can test their canine's intelligence with special games providing both the owner and center with information about the dog's level of intelligence.

You can purchase a toolkit or a monthly or yearly membership. Personally, I'd love to gauge Annie's intelligence but the money would be better spent to care for my ferals so I think I'll pass on this one. I know my Annie is smart. Sometimes she's too smart for her own good but that's another story entirely.

If you're interested in checking Dognition out:

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Anyone following this blog will recall my February post about the death of Annie's boyfriend Louie. Our friends Victor and John found it depressing without a canine member of the family and after a brief period of time adopted a beautiful girl puppy they named Roxie. They have several cats and a parrot named Mario but it wasn't the same without a dog.

Artie and I visited shortly after Roxie joined the family. It was great to see everyone and catch up but it was extra special to meet the newest member of the family. I crafted a heart charm for Roxie's collar. Artie enjoyed playing with her; we both enjoyed cuddling her. Here's a look at their beautiful little girl!

Look at that pin-up girl pose!

Waiting patiently for supper.

Taking a nap after playtime.

One tired little girl settling down for the night.

With a favored toy.