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.

Friday, June 6, 2014


Dogs and cats have been upgraded to sentient beings instead of personal property according to French law. This happened during April and I'm overjoyed by this news. I'm sure it will allow for stiffer sentences in abuse cases and give more latitude in custody cases.

This is a step I fervently hope the United States will take. In fact, I firmly believe New York State should be at the forefront of a change in pet status. We all know our pets have feelings, process information, think, respond to our vocal inflections, facial changes, our emotions. By no means an animal expert, some will accuse me of anthropomorphism but I've had a lifetime of interaction with pets to understand one basic truth, living with a dog or cat is to live with a being in possession of the perpetual mentality of a five year old.

In the US, a change in status for our pets will allow the law to mete out stiffer penalties to those who abuse defenseless animals; it will change decisions in custody battles as well. This is a concept long overdue, one which we need to embrace here. It can't happen soon enough.
Vive La France for showing compassion to pets!

It is fitting to mention today is D-Day. 70 years ago today the Allied Forces landed at Normandy to fight the battle to reclaim France from the Nazis. Remember all those who fought and died for this noble cause.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


With summer a scant three weeks away, I'm getting ready to spruce up the front porch. Because the porch is badly cracked we need to have the surface cement replaced and pick a new fence. Until we get both those jobs done, I'll sweep, clean the flower pots, tend the plants, clean the cat shelters and pick new places to put the food and water dishes.

The plates of food and bowls of water are kept under the front door awning during winter protecting them from rain and snow. Our block's usually very noisy during spring and summer necessitating a move of provisions to more secluded locations so the cats feel comfortable.

I've already moved my English ivy to another container and trimmed back the two wild rose bushes I grew from cuttings taken two summers ago. To my great delight, one of those bushes budded this year, producing beautiful white roses.

My Jersey cousin is a master gardener. Last Thanksgiving she examined a cutting I brought and confirmed it was, as I suspected, a wild rose bush and recommended adding banana peels to the soil to promote flowering. I had added coffee grinds to both plants but put banana peels in only one pot; that's the one that bloomed.

Actually it's a rambling rose which I think is great - I always loved that Nat Cole song Ramblin' Rose. Neither of them are rambling, I've kept them trimmed neatly because of their location against the fence facing the sidewalk.  However, the original plant I took the cuttings from is in my backyard. I've let that one grow wild adding just coffee grinds to the soil and after six years of putting out unbelievable growth it finally bloomed this year.

Anyway, here are some pictures of my wild white roses.

Monday, June 2, 2014


City Critters regularly receives donations of all sorts of items which they sell at street fairs to raise money for their rescue efforts. Terri and Nina were given a Tupperware container filled with costume jewelry as a donation. The container felt like it weighed 25 lbs. There was one problem - every piece of jewelry in the container was tangled together - you could pick the entire contents up with one hand!  Clearly a whole lot of work was needed to get the jewelry ready for display.

Ever resourceful, Terri decided to throw a de-tangling party. Since I love to de-tangle and repair jewelry, Terri invited me to join her and Nina. In return for our assistance, Terri put out a spread of finger foods along with soda and dessert.

With her three kitties and her dog, Chester to keep us company, we settled down to an evening of good food, conversation and camaraderie. We spent our time de-tangling, sorting, cleaning and repairing the pieces before returning the big pieces to the Tupperware and placing the remaining items in individual bags to keep them tangle-free. We ended our evening by taking Chester for his walk before heading home. 

Visit the City Critters website and make a donation if you can.

Jewelry donated to City Critters.

The pieces in the Tupperware were tangled into a big lump.

Finished de-tangling & repairing; now the sorting has begun!

Getting ready to pack the smaller pieces into individual plastic bags.

Terri's canine companion Chester who sat back and watched us work!