Friday, December 25, 2015


This is a particularly happy Christmas for both Artie and me. For most of this year we were convinced we would be spending the holidays without our Annie. Most joyfully that was not to be. Our little girl is not only back to her old self but even better than ever and for that we are very grateful.

Christmas Eve was a bit unusual, we needed to do some last-minute grocery shopping for our dinner preparations, managing to finish our errands in a timely fashion.  We fed the cats first since suppertime in our house is dominated by Orphée either winding himself around legs or following everyone around the kitchen (the worse-case scenario consists of winding, following and talking - a deadly combination). Handsome is no slouch in this department either but his routine is to call you with very loud, very persistent meows. It's enough to drive you crazy! Then there's Belle who becomes agitated as it gets darker without a meal in sight. You can understand why we cater to them - it helps preserve our sanity.

Once the felines were settled, we donned our summer jackets (yesterday's temperatures were in the 70s) and went for a walk with Annie. It was the perfect way to work in her daily exercise and admire everyone's Christmas lights. This was a really good call - we spent 45 minutes walking around a very quiet neighborhood just absorbing the silent, beautifully lit Christmas atmosphere (all that was missing was a bite to the air and a dusting of snow).

With a stack of vintage Christmas show and vintage/contemporary movie DVDs on hand I prepared dinner for myself, Artie and Annie while Artie started our holiday viewing. With everyone settled into their favorite spots - Orphée in his wing chair, Annie on her bed, Handsome in his oversize carry case and Belle on her blanket covering our window air conditioner, we settled in for Christmas Eve.

Belle is almost a full member of our family. All that remains is for us to get her to a veterinarian for a full physical and we will start the process of making a full house cat out of her. Yes, I feel grateful this Christmas; content with our little family and looking towards 2016 with hope it will be a year that will more than make up for the terrible year 2015 turned out to be.

So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from:






Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Another sweetly delightful title for children to read at Christmas is Angel Pig and The Hidden Christmas.

A wonderful poem that tells the story of a family of pigs readying for Christmas only to realize they don't have the money to buy presents. The entire family is saddened because they can't celebrate the upcoming Christmas until Angel Pig appears to show them how.

Written for children ages 4 to 8 (preschool to grade 2) and published by Dutton Juvenile in hardcover and paperback by RiverRun Select, you can find this title on Amazon. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


My second Christmas pick for Children's Corner is The Bear's Christmas by Brigitte Frey Moret and Alexander Reichstein. Beautifully illustrated this is the story of how a hungry bear in search of food received two very special gifts on Christmas night.

Published by NorthSouth in 1998, this hardcover edition is available on Amazon. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


Our post Thanksgiving tale concerns three tails those belonging to our cousins' cats. We spent a great day together and I'm sure you recall from my previous post Artie and I were looking forward to seeing everyone (the cats especially) again. I say the cats especially because we enjoy Lucky's company, admire Athena's beauty and were anxious to find out if Midnight would favor us with an appearance.

Lucky is now 19 years old. She spent most of the day sleeping. While we were cleaning up after dinner, she came up from the basement wanting to be let out for a bit of sun and her afternoon walk. It was then I noticed Lucky was moving slower with a bit of a back-leg limp. She's in remarkably great shape for her age. After sunning herself on the backyard deck, she walked slowly down the stairs around to the front of the house for a brief excursion before returning home for another nap.

Athena is the same. Like other great beauties she carries herself with a regal presence while retaining an imperial air. She is still standoffish and I always have the distinct impression she prefers not to interact with us.

Alas, Midnight was a no-show again this year. She has integrated herself into her new family by bonding with Lucky (Athena will have nothing to do with her) and by gracing the humans with her presence but I guess company is still too much for her to handle. In short, we couldn't find her anywhere so we returned home without so much as a glimpse of her. We had great fun with our human family, enjoying great conversation along with a wonderful meal. Who knows, maybe next year we will have better luck and finally get to meet Midnight as well.

Her Royal Highness Athena holding court in the living room.

Lucky curled up in her favorite chair.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


I've decided to review a children's book each week in December. The criteria for each title is simple, the books must be about animals and Christmas.

Today's title is Merry Christmas, Old Armadillo by Larry Dane Brimmer and Dominic Catalano. A wonderfully heartwarming picture book about love, friendship and the giving spirit of Christmas. Old Armadillo falls asleep alone on Christmas Eve but will awake to an unexpected surprise. The book depicts Christmas in the Latino culture is written for ages 4 - 7, preschool through first grade.

A 1995 publication by Boyds Mill Press, Old Armadillo is a Christmas Classic, perfect for little ones and a great book to include in your collection of Christmas titles. This title is available on Amazon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


The holidays are fast approaching with Thanksgiving just around the corner. We will be visiting our cousins in New Jersey this year. Of course, we are looking forward to our visit as we always do.

No driving for us, we checked the train schedules in preparation for our trip. Next, I have to shop for chocolates to bring for the dessert portion of our meal. We also bring a bouquet of flowers for our cousins to add to the holiday table as well as a few "thanks for inviting us" gifts.

Seeing our three feline cousins is a treat we always anticipate. You never know what they will do - for the most part anyway.  Athena is predictable as she is aloof and most likely will spend her time lounging on the bed in the master bedroom. Lucky, on the other hand, will come to sit between us on the living room couch as we have cider and appetizers before dinner. One will never know what Midnight will do from year to year. 

Midnight was a feral our cousins took in after my cousin-through-marriage Mom moved out of state. The first Thanksgiving she hid in the basement. I managed to catch a glimpse of her by remaining quiet until she came out thinking everyone retreated above stairs. Each year midnight takes a new step towards integrating herself with the family. She has progressed to coming upstairs when the house is quiet, then coming up when the humans are about, to trying to make friends with the other cats who ignored her. The last we heard, Lucky and Midnight are pals which is great. They spend time together.

So this year I'm hoping Midnight will decide to visit us instead of retreating to the basement as she's done in years past. I guess we'll find out a week from tomorrow whether or not this little black cat will accept us as part of her family and join us during the festivities.

courtesy Webweaver

Friday, October 30, 2015


The Danny Elfman song from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas has been stuck in my head all day long, playing over and over reminding me tomorrow is Halloween.  My day has been a busy one since I finished Annie's meals and need to cook more for her.  It's a lengthy process of boiling a whole large-size chicken, cooling and de-boning it, shredding the meat, preparing the vegetables before finishing off by mixing everything together.  Then I refrigerate the stock so I can skim off the fat, strain the liquid to freeze it for soup.

While getting ready to do this I realized how frightfully out of time I am and that I don't have any candy in or anything special for a Halloween meal for the humans in this household. All of this means I'll be busy for the rest of today and more than likely a good part of tomorrow but I'm not complaining since Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday, followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Whatever you're doing I hope you have a very Happy Halloween and remember to keep your furry family members safe. Reading my previous' years posts will help you do just that:
                                                              courtesy of Webweaver

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


We are heavily into fall 2015 and with Halloween fast approaching, winter and the holiday season aren't very far behind.

The other day I decided to survey the back yard; we started preparing for winter but by no means have we finished and as I continued my visual assessment, my gaze fell upon a wild Rose of Sharon bush that sprang up on its own a few years ago.

The 'bush' is now 7 or 8 feet high, done flowering for this year as I suspect the weather has turned too cool signalling the start of the dormant period. It brought a smile to my face to recall the beautiful white, pink and mauve flowers of summer and the bees busily gathering pollen from them.

Bees are precious commodities. We need to do whatever we can to help them thrive so remember them over the winter especially when you start to plan for your outdoor gardens. Don't use pesticide, don't intentionally kill any bees and make room in your gardens for flowers that attract bees.

I have to trim back our Rose of Sharon to prevent it from growing out of control but I will make sure there will be plenty of branches left to bud beautiful flowers for the bees come summer. YouTube has some great videos on pruning I found particularly helpful.

Maybe I'll plant a few sunflowers next spring for the bees to enjoy...

Sunday, October 25, 2015


2015 has been an impossible year. Annie's surgery and subsequent illness took up the better part of ten months. She is completely healed and we are ready to close the chapter on this terrible experience as soon as we have the results from one final urine analysis which will tell us if she is totally fine.

It was hard not to write about this medical crisis but at the same time it was a relief not to post. That might sound strange because the desire to share was there but the hours in the day weren't. Annie needed constant care. So much in fact I was barely able to do the minimum work needed to prepare meals and keep the house running smoothly for the rest of us.

I hope to get back on track with my blog as our life returns to normal (whatever that is) and I will begin to post about the ordeal my sweet little girl had to endure.

For now, here is a recent picture of my very special patient.

My Mom & Dad are the best!  Excuse me it's time for my beauty sleep.

Monday, August 10, 2015


Chiropractic care has been making steady inroads into veterinary medicine along with acupuncture and acupressure for the treatment of pain due to arthritis, sprains muscle spasms or for lameness and other conditions. 

Annie benefited from massage and acupressure during her current illness. With that in mind, I felt it worthwhile to post signs that would indicate some form of therapy necessary for your dog or cat's well-being:

  • Weak legs with or without pain.
  • Loss of use of any combination of limbs.
  • Yelping, crying, whining or whimpering after a particular movement.
  • Awkward body positions such as lifting a foot, lying on one side or hunching the back.
  • Foot dragging or unusual movements of the head or tail.
  • Difficulty climbing and/or going down stairs.
  • Difficulty standing or lying down.
  • Loss of ability to jump.
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing.
Annie experienced several of the bullet-points above along with severe pain. Acupressure and massage kept her from becoming disabled. Alternative therapies should never be dismissed when treating our pets. I generally ask myself the following question: "If it's beneficial for us can it be beneficial for my pet?" 

Saturday, July 25, 2015


New York is full of jaywalkers, in Brooklyn it's a way of life, but this particular jaywalking story is definitely out of the ordinary.

Thursday afternoon rush hour in the Inwood section of the Bronx, the police were called to handle a jaywalker at 205th Street and Ninth Avenue. A crowd had gathered to watch the proceedings. Usually a jaywalker doesn't attract more than minor attention but this jaywalker wasn't your everyday type. This one was a 3 food juvenile alligator.

Once corralled, he was taken into custody by Animal Care & Control. Most likely an escapee from an exotic pet owner or an abandoned pet, this guy was on the hunt for a body of water. Exotic pets are illegal in NYC and plans were in place to move the gator to a sanctuary but unfortunately he died the next day. At this time there has been no determination as to the cause of death.

There are plenty of dogs, cat, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, fish and the assorted reptiles, all legal, that are in need of good homes so think twice before you purchase a cute little alligator because he's not gonna be so cute when he grows to more than a foot in length.

New York's reptilian jaywalker.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Anyone who lives in Brooklyn knows we have to contend with dogs pooping and peeing on the dirt around trees. Pee isn't good for trees I guess because there is the age-old never-ending battle between homeowners with trees in front of their houses and dog owners. There must be a few like me who own a dog and have a tree in front of their house who don't give a hoot-in-hell if a dog pees on the tree but I do take exception to owners not picking up their dog's poop but that's fodder for another story entirely.

A guy named Jon Crow in Park Slope was fed up with his canine neighbors peeing on his trees and flowers so he came up with a unique solution for this issue - kiddie pools and plastic saucer sleds filled with soil and planted with grass. It makes for a very creative solution. Of course the mini lawns need special tending but the person who created them is also taking care of them. He trims and waters the lawn and claims as long as drainage holes are put in prior to potting up and planting they don't smell.

It seems like a pretty decent solution to an eternal problem. Only time will tell it if really works.

Neat solution to an ongoing problem.

Monday, July 20, 2015


While going through a copy of last month's daily news I came across an article about a Calico named Tama who recently passed away.

Tama was a stray who acquired the position of Stationmaster for a Japanese railway eventually earning the position of Super Stationmaster then Vice President of the railway line. Her job was to greet the customers but Tama was very serious about her job. She attracted much attention becoming a world famous celebrity and a tourist attraction. At the age of 16 Tama died of heart failure on June 22. She was given a Shinto-style funeral and was elevated to the status of Goddess.

Tama was enshrined this month in a nearby cat shrine. She was also given the title of Honorable Eternal Stationmaster and her successor has been named - another Calico dubbed Nitama (Tama II). What a great story...
Tama at work.

Friday, July 17, 2015


Saturday, July 11th was Broadway Barks. It was my intention to skip the event this year. Not that I don't enjoy it but Annie's condition hasn't improved to the point where I can leave her for a very long period of time.

My friend Terri emailed asking if I would be attending as usual. We haven't seen each other since last fall so I decided a quick trip into Manhattan along with a fast turn around all the rescue tables and some time spent visiting Terri at the City Critters table was in order.

I met Artie after work and we quickly spent some time at the various tables visiting the dogs and cats available for adoption, watching a bit of the raffle/adoption proceedings before ending our time at the event with our visit to Terri. Artie made our monetary donations while Terri and I caught up on our furry family news. I filled Terri in on the rescues we were involved in since last fall and Annie's cancer surgery and subsequent illness.

Terri told us about Chester's final illness. Chester was a real character. Terri's only dog, he ruled the house as his seven feline housemates deferred to his choice of sleeping arrangements. He had a long life of 16 years but the past few brought loss of eyesight, incontinence and a need to sleep most of the day away but that was alright as Chester was comfortable, well cared for by Terri and still the boss of the house.

Terri misses him, sometimes catching herself thinking that she has to take care of him or needs to buy his dog food. Artie and I miss Chester as well and talk fondly of him. We think of him often. I know wherever Chester is he's having a great time bossing around all the cats.

Our buddy, Chester.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Just a brief note as I'm sure everyone knows by now - Joey Chestnut unsuccessfully defended his crown in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest losing by 2 hot dogs.  Oh well, there's an entire year to prepare for the 2016 event...

Saturday, July 4, 2015


Today Artie will bring home 'dinner' from Nathan's Famous - Philly Chicken Cheese Steak heroes, Fish 'n Chips platters and of course, Nathan's hot dogs with the 'works' - I don't want to cook for this holiday.

Annie is doing much better but isn't completely out of the woods yet so it is my intention to spend the day with her, Orphée and Handsome who is becoming acclimated to other animals because of the time he is spending with mine. I also have Belle, a stray Calico who has taken up residence on my back porch. She keeps me company when I'm outside unless Annie is with me then Belle will retreat to a neighboring yard until Annie goes in.

Besides indulging in Nathan's all-American fare, I keep checking TV and the internet for any news on Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Why you might wonder would someone who doesn't eat beef, veal or lamb be interested in a hot dog eating contest? Well, there's a very simple explanation. I'm born and bred in Brooklyn. Coney Island, Nathan's, the hot dog eating contest along with the amusements and rides are a big part of growing up here. So I'm hoping Joey Chestnut will successfully defend his championship with his ninth win. Joey's a native Californian but he has a Brooklyn sensibility so I have a soft spot in my heart for Joey. The women's event already happened at 11 AM; Miki Sudo of Las Vegas won. I was hoping Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas of Alexandria, Virginia would regain the Mustard Belt but it wasn't to be.

Some patriotic music is in order so I will play John Philip Sousa, Aaron Copeland and anything John Williams then tonight we will watch the Macy's Fireworks Display and A Capital Fourth.

So, Happy Independence Day to all!

Happy Independence Day now put on Nathan's Hot Dog
Eating Contest!

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Today is the perfect Father's Day, warm, full of sunshine, a great day to be outside with your Dad just the two of you or with the rest of your family, furry members included.

As I go about my 'motherly' duties today, caring for Annie, Orphée, Handsome and Belle, I'm thinking about my brother Artie and all the responsibilities he shares with me in caring for our furry family.

In my thoughts are my Dad, my Grandfathers and all my Uncles who loved their pets and instilled their love of animals in us.  My Dad shared many stories of all his family's dogs and cats that were a part of his life growing up. I guess someone in the family must have liked these names because each dog was named Nellie and every cat was called Lulu.

My Dad's brother Louie had two dogs named George - both girls.  He taught the first George to 'smile' on command.  It amazed me to watch him train her using voice and hand commands along with rewards and affection - he was definitely ahead of his time as a trainer. One particular memory is fresh in my mind; it's of my Uncle training George to stay at the intersection until he gave her the command to cross. Of course this was a day and age when there wasn't traffic like today. Everyone would try to distract her but she never moved until my Uncle gave the command. After Uncle Louie moved to Pennsylvania, he adopted a second George (the original George died some years before) and he acquired two geese that turned out to be great 'watchdogs'. Back when my Uncle lived in Brooklyn he and his family shared their apartment with an assortment of baby chicks, a duck and a rabbit after the first George was gone.

My Mom's family had plenty of pets as well. My Grandfather doted on his two parakeets, Cisco and Pancho. When I was a baby my Uncle Rudy's dog Whitey was my first babysitter. My Granduncle John had a Black Westie named Tippy Mc Tavish. I loved that dog. My cousins owned a Beagle mix named Pepper. She was so fat she looked like a sausage with a collar.

In later years Uncle Rudy had a miniature Pinscher named Greta along with a Weimaraner named Baron. Imagine the sight of a 9 lb. Greta and an 80 lb. Baron standing side-by-side! My Mom's other brother Bob had a miniature Collie named Rip. Little children would squeal with delight at the sight of Rip who looked like a pint-sized Lassie.

Watching my brother with our brood, I'm reminded of all the men in our lives who gave us our love of pets. Happy Father's Day to all the Dads and Granddads the world over and I wish a special Happy Father's Day to my wonderful brother who is a great 'Dad' to our four one-time orphans.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Today I'm remembering my Dad and all my Uncles who fought during WWII as well as my cousins who fought in Vietnam.  Thankfully all of them came home to their loved ones.  Today is a day to honor those who gave their lives to protect our freedoms but we should also remember those who fought so valiantly and survived.  They too kept us safe and free.

As I take a much needed break from caring for Annie and placating my feeling-neglected-trio-of-cats, I want to direct my readers to my previous Memorial Day blogs honoring our four-legged veterans.

Have fun this Memorial Day and pause to remember...

Courtesy of Webweaver

Sunday, May 10, 2015


I've been away from this blog since March (that's more than a month). My beautiful Annie has been profoundly ill, so ill in fact all my time has gone to helping her along the road to recovery a path I believe we are finally on.

The rest of my time has been devoted to taking care of Orphée, Mr. Handsome and Belle (a stray Calico currently residing on my back porch). There's been no time left over for the humans in this family or for the day-to-day concerns of shopping, cooking or the other mundane necessities one must attend to in their daily existence.

Do I feel like a Mom? I certainly do, even though I'm not a parent of human children, all my children are decked out in fur, walk on four paws with tails wagging or switching in the wind.

So today I will give myself a much-deserved day off to relax, put all my cares aside to concentrate on myself for a change. Tomorrow I'll resume my frantic dash to catch up with the backlog of chores put aside to concentrate on Annie and her health.

In the meantime, I remember my Mom and her Mom as well as the aunts gone and still with me who nurtured me along the way, all the women who gave me a sense of family, who by example showed me how to live and infused my love of animals, nature and life.  I wish all Moms a very Happy Mother's Day as I spend my Mother's Day with my furry family members.
Can I sit with you Mom?

Mom! Please let me sleep.

Thanks, Mom. I can see fine now.

Thanks for the shelter and food. Maybe I'll come in soon.

Monday, March 30, 2015


We examine Annie for lumps on a monthly basis.  She has numerous fatty tumors which need to be monitored. Her routine check at the end of January turned up one lump on her right side just below the rib cage that wasn't free moving under the skin but anchored.

Inclement weather postponed her doctor visit by one week. We went to the Oncologist for a needle aspiration in early February. They found spindle cells. Annie had cancer. We wasted no time arranging a meeting with the surgeon for the following day. After that meeting Annie remained for surgery. The surgical site was huge and her bruising was more extensive than her previous surgery prompting the surgeon to hold her for two days instead of overnight.

Our girl was so happy to come home.  Armed with medicine and instructions on how to care for her, I began a regimen of warm compresses, meds, and making sure the surgical site remained clean along with keeping Annie from licking or scratching it.  I was instructed to have her wear a tee shirt. Trying to get Annie to keep a shirt on was an impossibility. She kept wriggling out of them.  After trying four different tees each with a different neckline I gave up.

We were very nervous as to the outcome.  In ten days her stitches would be removed but we now had to wait seven days for the biopsy results. We feared the news would not be good.

Annie's surgery.

Annie wearing my good cotton tee shirt.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Another title kids will enjoy is Crazy for Horses by Karen Briggs and Shawn Hamilton. A Scholastic title from 1999, this is a very informative book about the different breeds of horses with beautiful color photos.  You can find this paperback on Amazon. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015


It's March 1st and a fresh blanket of snow is falling on Brooklyn.  Appropriately, I've just finished reading a picture book entitled The Snow Lambs by Debi Gliori.

A young boy, his father and their dog are in the process of bringing in their sheep from pasture when a snow storm starts. As father and son are finishing their task, the boy realizes the dog is missing and the boy must stay inside safe and warm as he worries about his dog out in the snow, cold and dark.

A story with a surprise ending partially hinted at in the first few sentences of the book, it is a nice tale to read to the little ones on a winter's night. Originally published during 1998 by Scholastic for ages 4 and up, it is currently available on Amazon.

Friday, February 27, 2015


I recently read a sweet little picture book entitled Our New Puppy by Isabelle Harper and Barry Moser. My friend Marion came across it while straightening out some stored items passing it along to me.

It's about two young girls experiencing the arrival of a new puppy who comes to live with their family and older dog. The girls learn some very important lessons about life from the experience.

The book is an old title published in 2001 by Scholastic Inc. but you can find it on Amazon. It is for ages 3 and up.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Everyone who saw Porch Guy figured he had some sort of eye infection but deep down inside I felt something else was happening.  Have you ever experienced a time when you wished you weren't right? This was one of those times.

We took Porchie, now renamed Mr. Handsome, to a Brooklyn veterinarian who works with ferals and strays. Corneal ulcers most likely caused by Entropion was the diagnosis. I searched the web for information on this condition which PetMD explains very well:

Mr. Handsome needed eye-drops but we couldn't get him to hold still long enough to administer the meds the end result being the drops went everywhere but in his eyes. As a late January blizzard started Mr. Handsome went with me to another veterinary hospital for an exam and medical boarding. At the end of seven days the ulcers were healed.

Home he came and off we went to the original doctor for a re-check. The diagnosis - definitely Entropion of both lower eyelids with surgery needed to correct the condition to prevent a recurrence.

Meanwhile, Annie was still depressed, Orphée continued having the occasional accident and we were still trying to identify a pet parent for Inkspot the remaining kitten. Inkspot was not thrilled to have another cat taking over the second cage he inherited from his brother and sisters nor was he thrilled to be sharing his space.

He vacated his little room never crossing the threshold, abandoning his cage, litter box, bowls and his bed! After a day of this nonsense we moved all his possessions to the kitchen where he retreated setting him up there. This made Inkspot very happy and gave us a bit of relief. Every so often he would peek into his former room to stare, growl and hiss at Mr. Handsome before running away.

Inkspot's video was generating a good amount of potential adopters but it meant more time spent emailing, reviewing applications, doing phone interviews and setting up visits. By now I was at my wits' end when the perfect candidate for Inkspot contacted me. Just reading her emails told me they would be soul mates - the brave little boy with a rough start in life and the wonderful woman willing to open her heart to an orphan after the recent loss of her beloved cat. The adoption process went smoothly and Inkspot went to his new home.

With surgery scheduled for two weeks from his follow-up visit, Mr. Handsome's eye issues were slowly coming back. Finally the day of surgery arrived and with it more snow plus single digit temperatures. Again we went to our appointment accompanied by snow. The surgery went well and Mr. Handsome came home the same afternoon.

You would think this was the end of all the running around and drama but not by a long shot. Something totally unexpected and devastating happened after Inkspot's adoption and before Mr. Handsome's eye surgery...

Sunday, February 8, 2015


As John Lennon wrote in his song Beautiful Boy, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." So true, so true, life is what happened recently and life is the reason my blog posts have been virtually non-existent for a very long time.

It began around the time the mother cat showed up with her kittens. Fate took our decision to TNR the feline family in a totally different direction by throwing a curve ball none of us expected. Mom had a tumor the veterinarian was not sure could be completely removed. Given the fact Mom would not let anyone handle her post-surgical care was not doable. She was euthanized.

This left the kittens without anyone to teach them how to survive on the streets - they could not go back outside. If you think that's a very simple decision, think again! The kittens needed to be housed, fed, cleaned up after, medically vetted (de-wormed, etc.), trained, in short, socialized and fostered.

With assistance from caring people in the rescue/TNR community we were able to get this done. While this was going on pictures were taken, bios written, video footage shot and posted as the search for forever homes began. Days flew by completely occupied by animal care. Reviewing adoption applications, interviewing prospective adopters and arranging play visits with the kittens took up even more time.

Incredibly, three of the kittens were adopted by Christmas leaving one little guy hugely resistant to socialization left to work with until he was ready for a loving home. In a complete turnaround, he began to socialize once his siblings were gone turning into the sweetest one of the litter.

While all of this was unfolding, Porch Guy came and went on his own schedule, showing up one day with his beautiful eyes closed into two slits. He needed medical attention. Orphée was still experiencing intermittent toileting issues and Annie was feeling neglected.

Unbeknownst to us, life was about to get worse...

The harsh reality of life on the streets with no family to call your own.

Very limited vision and most likely experiencing pain.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


We had an outdoor mat to prevent anyone from tracking dirt and grime into our house. That poor old mat was retired after many years of use. In its retirement, a trimmed down version catches bits of straw as a welcome mat in front of our cat shelter.

I'd been putting off purchasing a new one mainly because I couldn't make up my mind what exactly to buy. Artie solved that problem by coming home one day with a new front door mat. When I saw it I had to smile it was so appropriate. Made of coir it has a terrific saying emblazoned on it. For those of you who don't know what coir is describes it as: Coir is a product of the coconut tree, Cocos nucifera, and it is sometimes known as coco fiber. The substance is extracted from the hairy husk of coconuts, and used to create a variety of products such as mats, carpets, upholstery stuffing, and brushes. Coir, pronounced KOY-er, is a very coarse, stiff fiber, and it is also extremely resistant to rot and salt water, making it an ideal material for situations in which other fibers would decay.

How do you like our mat?

When spring comes my next project is to clean and paint the front door step after we have the porch itself resurfaced and a new fence complete with gate installed. I can't wait.

Friday, January 23, 2015


Mom's been very busy with her feral colony lately so I volunteered to step in and guest post for her. I decided to write about my favorite subject - the best places to sleep.

I have quite a few favorite spots to catch my Zzz. Artie's bed is a great place to nap during the day although I generally will take my early morning beauty rest on Mom's recliner until she wakes up then I move to Artie's bed. The foot of the bed is the best spot. Artie prepares it with my red and black quilted mat. It's my very own special place in his room.

When the sun is nice and bright during the late morning I will follow it around Mom's bedroom. I can relax on a big fluffy seat cushion on Mom's old-fashioned ladder-back chair moving to various spots on Mom's bed as the sun moves about the room. If Annie has the sunny spot I'll just stand over her until she decides to move - that's always a lot of fun, I just love to upset Annie. Of course, the most comfy spot on Mom's bed is where I can rest my head on her pillow. Sometimes I'll just lounge on one of the blankets Mom sewed especially for me. She does exactly what Artie does and spreads it out nicely at the foot of the bed.

My head on Mom's pillow.
After Artie comes home from work I'll rest on my reclining cardboard scratcher or relax on the couch. After all it's evening. Evening is family time and I like to spend time with mine. But the place I consider the best where I really can't wait to sleep is (you guessed it) my Mom's lap.

Family time resting on the couch.

Mom's lap - the best spot of all!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Russia has a hero cat. Masha the cat is a long-haired communal cat who is fed and cared for by her neighbors in the Russian town of  Obninsk. Masha became a hero when she found a 2 1/2 months old baby boy abandoned in a stairwell.

She curled up with the little fellow keeping him warm until one of the neighbors found them. Paramedics were called to take charge of the baby who was in good health, well-cared for, clothed with extra diapers left with him. When the paramedics left for the hospital, Masha ran after their vehicle.

What a wonderful story to find in the news especially with all the terrible events happening lately. Bravo Masha for providing a bright spot and a story with a happy ending to read about.

Monday, January 19, 2015


Kai the Shar-pei has undergone surgery to correct his eyelash issue and is doing well. This adorable guy was abandoned by a woman in Ayr railway station Scotland January 2 after an online adoption deal ended in an unexpected way.

The woman left him there after the seller took off with a partial payment handed over as security while she took the dog for a get-acquainted walk. The seller hopped in his car and drove away with the half-payment. Instead of handling the situation responsibly, the woman told a railway employee she was tying the pooch up and leaving him. She proceeded to do just that leaving Kai with all his worldly belongings behind. 

What bothers me is this woman insists she did nothing wrong! Since when is it OK to just tie up any dog (yours or someone else's) and leave them. Did she not think it might be better to have a station manager call the police or call the police herself, or contact the SPCA, or bring him to SPCA herself? The law considers this abandonment and under Scottish law she is subject to being banned from pet ownership for a period of time or for life. I believe this is fitting in her case.

No amount of talk can convince me this wasn't a heartless, callous thing to do. It doesn't matter if she was scammed - she abandoned a living breathing creature to an unknown fate. To my mind pets go into the same category as any humans who cannot fend for themselves - would she walk away from them too? 

I did a bit of research before starting this post in order to find out about Gumtree, the internet site where Kai was listed for sale. Apparently Gumtree is a free classifieds. That brings me to my next point - why would you adopt a dog from a site such as Gumtree or Craigslist or any such site. That's what all the national SPCAs, The Humane Society, any of the other large organizations and the many smaller rescue groups are for.

Think this out before you look for a pet. Go to the rescue groups, the SPCA or any legitimate organization to adopt a pet. There is an even happier postscript to this story. Aside from successful eye surgery, Kai has been adopted! Once he is healed, he will head off to his new forever home.

Kai the Shar-pei with his belongings.

Friday, January 9, 2015


As if the abandonment of Kai the Shar Pei wasn't enough we also have another incident of treats from China sickening and killing dogs. The latest wave of pet illness and deaths has prompted Petco to remove all Chinese product from their shelves. Petco will carry only treats made in the United States, Australia, New Zealand or South America. PetSmart announced its decision to discontinue the sale of Chinese-made treats removing all such product from its shelves by March.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is  currently investigating reports that the Chinese-made product sold at Petco as well as other pet stores are responsible for illness in over 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, 3 people and the deaths of about 1,000 dogs. The treats suspected are the jerky-type treats containing duck, sweet potato, yams and dried fruits ingredients.

I've written about Chinese-made pet treats before. Be very diligent and go over all the fine-print on packaging before buying any pet treats. Unless I'm completely convinced the treats are made in the U.S.A. I will not purchase them. In fact, I've purchased several pet cookbooks instead so I can bake treats at home for Annie. She prefers the home-made cookies and I have the added advantage of knowing exactly what ingredients are in them.

My heart goes out to all those who lost their pets because of this situation. Write your representatives in government to get stricter controls on food products from foreign countries not only for our pets but for ourselves. Pet stores and pet food companies need to step up policing of the products they present to the public by knowing more about the companies from which they purchase ingredients or finished products.

And kudos to Petco, PetSmart and any other pet-product supplier who chooses product responsibly.

                                              Courtesy Webweaver.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


It's early in the New Year but some things never change. An adorable Shar Pei mix named Kai was abandoned at a railway station in Ayr Scotland January 2 tied up and left along with a suitcase containing his possessions.

Why do people continue to do this? It's just a terrible way to treat a pet. If you can take the time to abandon your charge you can take the time to bring the pet to an animal shelter. I guess the owner (I'd shutter to refer to him/her as a pet parent) didn't think of the cruelty involved or that their act of abandonment constitutes a crime. Maybe they should put themselves in this poor dog's position and try to imagine what it would be like to be tied up and left with no way to take care of yourself.

This story has been widely reported in the news and offers of adoption have come in to the Glasgow SPCA from all over the world. The poor guy might need eye surgery for a condition that causes his eyelashes to go under the eyelids touching his eyeballs.

Let's hope he finds a good loving home very soon.

Kai the abandoned Shar Pei
Kai and belongings.  (courtesy SPCA)

Monday, January 5, 2015


As the kitten drama continued to unfold, Porch Guy came and went keeping to his own unpredictable schedule. To tell his tale I have to skip forward to when we TNRd the kittens. We managed to trap Mom as well but we didn't get Porch Guy who disappeared a few days before the surgery date.

I became worried when he didn't show up for more than four days. Finally when I was practically at my wits' end, there was Porchie sitting on my doorstep waiting for a meal. I tried again to trap him but he decided to pass up the sardines in the trap leaving without his dinner.

I gave up on trapping him because he wouldn't eat unless the food was in the open. Of course, he continued his pattern of not showing up for days at a time. Thanksgiving Day I opened my front door and there he was waiting for his dinner. By now I had decided he most likely was the father of the kittens. After dinner he curled up on the front porch mat for a snooze. Convinced he'd show up regularly I was a bit relieved and already planning how to catch him.

That calm didn't last long. After Thanksgiving, Porch Guy was gone for more than 2 weeks. Frantic, upset and totally saddened, I contemplated his loss, convinced something terrible happened to him and we'd never see him again when one sunny mid-December morning I opened the front door and there he was waiting for his meal.

This time he was different - one ear appeared ripped.  After taking a good look, he appeared to have been ear-tipped! I've tried to locate the person responsible for his TNR but so far I've not been able to. And Porch Guy - he's doing fine, still showing up on his own unpredictable schedule for his meals. Here are his recent photos.

That handsome face!
Can you see the ear-tip?

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Over the past few holiday seasons I've been switching over to electronic greeting cards. E-cards are an easy way to send photos to friends and family.

There are plenty of sites to choose from with major card companies such as American Greetings, Blue Mountain and Hallmark showing an online presence. Artie likes e-cards. I was surprised to discover e-cards on the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) website. 

Of all the websites I've explored my favorite e-card site is Jacquie Lawson e-cards. My friend Fran introduced me to this site and it's been my go-to site for all kinds of e-cards ever since.  There's a small fee to become a member but once you join you can send unlimited cards for the length of your membership.

Why do I like this site so much? A significant amount of cards feature dogs and cats.  Also the artwork is beautiful with great music and best of all I can attach pictures of Annie and Orphée along with my written notes.

Here are the two photos with appropriately festive captions I attached to this year's holiday notes.

Annie dreaming of dog bones.

Orphee waiting for Santa.

Friday, January 2, 2015


As I said yesterday, I'd think about my New Year's resolutions today. 

Some are no-brainers:
  • Take better care of myself.
  • Get chores and errands done in a timely fashion.

Some are for fun and relaxation:
  • Read an article or some book of interest everyday just for the joy of it.
  • Take a break by viewing a favorite film or TV show. 

But there are two resolutions I consider the most important for 2015. I resolve to focus more on the care and well-being of Annie, Orphee and the ferals. Finally, I'm going to spend more time on my blog instead of allowing it to slip into the background as I did in the final part of 2014. It will be interesting to see how my resolutions turn out.

Yeah, wake me up next New Year's Eve and tell me how you did!

Thursday, January 1, 2015


We celebrated the New Year with a quiet New Year's Eve dinner then we settled in to await the ball drop from our comfy vantage point in front of the TV.  

New Year's Day is Annie's official birthday. Since her adoption around April or May 2003 (I never can remember) with her age placed at 3 months by the foster veterinary hospital and at 5 months by me (based on the loss of her last baby tooth after adoption) January 1st became her official birthday making Annie 12 years old today.

2014 brought with it a flurry of veterinary visits mostly follow-up for different medical issues along with the promise of even less visits in the future. Hopefully 2015 will be a year full of health, happiness and positive changes for us all. May both our babies be with us for another year and may their health remain on an even keel.

May this year bring you all the best life has to offer.  That's my wish today. And New Year's Resolutions? I've resolved to think about them January 2nd.

Courtesy Webweaver