Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Lost Dogs

By now, most everyone has heard about the dozens of dogs rescued from the illegal dog fighting operation of professiona football player Michael Vicks, who was arrested and later served prison time for his violation of the RICO Act.

The Lost Dogs, a book by Jim Gorant (who is a magazine editor and writer, and currently the Senior Editor at Sports Illustrated), tells the story not only of the investigation into Vicks's illegal operation and how it led to Vicks's arrest, conviction, and jail-time but also about the dogs themselves.  Pit bull dogs have a terrible reputation, mostly undeserved, and Gorant shares both the grisly details of the Bad Newz Kennels and the uplifting rescue stories of some of the dogs, one of whom is now a certified therapy dog.

Gorant won a Genesis Award from the Humane Society of the United States for his Sports Illustrated article, The Good News Out of the Bad Newz Kennels.

If dogs who were treated so horribly can be rescued and redeemed, think about all the other dogs in this country who are abandoned and neglected, wishing for kind, caring humans to save them.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Odd Pet Behaviors

This is Molly, who has a very strong desire to be as close as possible to Stephen, her daddy of two months (and my husband).  Ever since being adopted, she climbs in his lap, tries to share his pillow at night, and follows him around like a shadow.

I found her sleeping inside her dad's overnight bag during the day on Saturday.  (Being a guy, he dropped it on the floor inside the front door when he came home from his hunting trip last weekend...and there it still lies!)

What odd pet behaviors can you share?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Excerpts from the diaries of a dog and a cat

I posted on another blog excerpts from the diaries of a dog and a cat--they are hilarious:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Roy and Webster

Roy and Webster are two brothers who never knew each other.

Roy is the new kitty in the house and he's easing his Mommy's broken heart.  You see, his big brother Webster (aka Webbie), passed away last week.  A feline heart disease took him way too early at age 8. 

Roy is not only cute, he's charming as all get out.  He's affectionate, too, which makes his mommy very happy.

Some people can't adopt a new pet right after they lose one, needing time to grieve and make room for a new forever friend.  Other people open their arms right away, finding it easier to make room.

What type of person are you...and why?

RIP, Webbie.  Mommy and Grammy will always remember you.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jar of Hearts

Molly, the kitty we adopted this weekend, is  A VIDEO STAR!  We didn't know that when we adopted her, but sure are happy to know she's famous.

AniMeals, the shelter from which we adopted her, created a video to promote adoptions, and Molly is one of the kitties featured.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Meet Miss Molly

My husband and I are hopeless.

One of the local shelters (the one from which adopted our kitty, Grace) announced earlier in the week that they're desperate for kitty food.  So, after breakfast, Stephen and I purchased some cat and kitten food for Animeals and some dog and cat food for the Missoula Animal Shelter.  We went to Animeals first and wound up leaving with Miss Molly.
She's been living at Animeals since Christmas Eve in 2008, when her original owner committed suicide.  Because she was obese (25 pounds at that time) and because she's mostly black, no one has adopted her.  At 15 pounds, she's still a corpulent kitty, but she's so very sweet!

Animeals has dozens of kittens right now, along with dozens of adult kitties--just like every other shelter.  Won't you consider adopting one?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pet Misfortunes

The past two weekends have brought to light a number of pet illnesses and injuries.

My grandkitty (age 7) had a heart attack last weekend and was diagnosed with a rare heart ailment. He is home now, and resting as comfortably as he can with several shaved patches on his body...and while taking four different medications.

The technical term for Webster's ailment is Feline Dilated Cardiomyopathy. The linings to the walls of the chambers in his heart are unusually thin and he's prone to accumulating fluid in his lungs and heart.

Friday evening when my husband and I came home, our puppy Charlotte (age 6) had one floppy ear--which has never happened before. The ear seemed filled with fluid and by Saturday morning it was really filled with fluid. Long story short: she'd developed a hematoma--a ruptured blood vessel.

Charlotte suffers from allergies (she has an allergy shot once every four weeks) and dogs who shake their heads a lot tend to suffer from hematomas in their ears. A quick surgery solved her issue and all we have to do is monitor her six stiches and the drain for the next 10 days.

When we were at the vet's, we overheard that another patient, a kitty, fell from a tree and landed on her head instead of her feet. She broke her jaw. We didn't learn what her prognosis is and choose to believe she'll be okay.

My husband and I lost Patience, a wonderful Rottie, a year and a half ago due to a couple of medical conditions.  She was 7 years old.  Did you know that grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs?

Do you have any pet health information to share?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Interview on Coffee with a Canine

Check out my interview with Marshal Zeringue on Coffee with a Canine:

Another visit from Tucker

Here are two updated pics from Tucker's mom, Edie.

Picture #1 is Tucker, trying to get Mom to take him with her when she went on a business trip.  (It's a true story.  Edie found him in her bag while she was packing!)

Picture #2 is Tucker and his "nephew," Jake.  Jake belongs to Tucker's human brother, Gregg, who (according to Tucker) used bad judgment when bringing the canine to visit.  (Tucker wishes Gregg had left the Dachsund/Jack Terrier mix at home.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rescued Dog Becomes Heroine in a Mystery Novel

This is a scene from A Colourful Death, my second Cornish mystery. I gave my protagonist, Eleanor Trewynn, a West Highland terrier in memory of my mother's last dog, Candy. Candy, as with all my mother's dogs, had been rescued by someone who couldn't give her a home. My mother always said, "Oh, I can't manage with a dog at present, but I'll keep her till you find someone to take her." Famous last words--they always stayed with her for life.

Eleanor's Westie, Teazle, is with her when she and Nick find a body and are "invited" by the local sergeant to step along to the police station. Where, after several hours waiting for the detectives to arrive...

Teazle whined and went to the door.

"Sergeant, the dog needs to go out."

"Now?" Roscoe had just thumped down from his stool and was lumbering around the counter. "Just when the brass have arrived?"

"Yes, now. She's been terribly good but you can't expect her to hold on forever."

"Not now!"

"Well, if you want to risk a puddle—"

"All right, all right, take her out. Under proper control," he added sternly.

Eleanor couldn't find the length of string. She searched her pockets and her handbag with increasing urgency as Teazle's whine took on increasing desperation.

Nick, returning, took in the scene at a glance. "The string's still attached to her collar, Eleanor. Here."

As he stooped to pick up the end and hand it to her, she whispered, "Nick, for pity's sake don't argue or play the fool with the detectives."

"Don't worry, I won't. It's hard to resist taking the mickey, but I'll behave myself."

The sergeant reached them just in time to hear his last words. "You'd better, Nick," he warned. "You're in big trouble, and these blokes don't mess about."

Nick opened his mouth, caught Eleanor's eye, and closed it again.

"Here you go, madam." Roscoe opened the door.

Teazle shot out, and Eleanor lost the end of the string.

The pavement, the Westie had been taught, was not a suitable place for relieving oneself. From a patch of lawn diagonally across the street, the sweet scent of greenery reached her quivering nostrils. She had also been taught to cross streets with caution, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Circling the group of detectives, she dashed between the grey saloon and the rear police car with Eleanor in hot pursuit.

"Stop!" someone shouted. Heavy footsteps pounded after her.

As soon as Teazle felt grass beneath her paws, she squatted. Half a dozen large policemen found themselves surrounding a small white dog and a small white-haired old lady.

The tall, thin, balding man stepped into the circle. "What's going on here?" he demanded.

Eleanor had had enough. Irritably she cut through a babble of bass voices explaining that they had taken her for a murderer on the run.

"My dog is answering a call of nature. These gentlemen seem to be extraordinarily interested in her bodily functions."

Many thanks to Carola Dunn for contributing.  You can visit her website at to learn more about all her wonderful mystery novels.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's Springtime - Where Are Those Babies?

Got any puppy pictures?  Kitty pictures?

Pics of baby sheep, goats, horses, cows, etc.?


It's spring...let's celebrate!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Parrot Rescue

This is Pete the parrot.  He's a blue and gold macaw my husband recently adopted from Montana's Parrot and Exotic Bird Sanctuary. Actually, we surrendered two cockatoos and took Petey in trade!
I've developed severe allergies this winter:  to wood smoke and the bird feather dust emitted into the air by Angel (the sulphur-crested cockatoo) and Sammy (the Moluccan cockatoo).  The dryness of the air and the elevation haven't been helping my breathing much, either.  After having my doctor dose me with steroids and an inhaler, the birds had to go, the woodstove had to be shut down, and the humidifier has been pumping between 6 and 8 gallons of water into the air at my house on a daily basis.

Now, back to the birds.  The bird sanctuary and its director, Lori McAlexander, were kind enough to relieve us of Angel and Sammy. In exchange, we adopted Pete, who does not emit bird feather dust.  Sammy, who is both affectionate and friendly, will be visiting nursing homes and schools with another of the sanctuary's Moluccan cockatoos, Peaches. Angel is having the time of her life, hanging out on a Manzanita stand at the sanctuary and befriending one of its newest inhabitants, Ricky, another sulphur-crested cockatoo.  At the time we visited, the sanctuary was home to another blue and gold macaw, a scarlet macaw, three African greys, and several conures. The sanctuary also has quite a number of other birds staying in foster homes.

When we think of animal adoption, dogs and cats immediately come to mind. But many parrots and exotic birds need homes too. If you're interested in adopting a bird, visit the website of Montana's Parrot and Exotic Bird Sanctuary to learn about their Available Birds.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tucker's New Window Seat

Tucker, the adorable black-and-whiter at left, appeared on our blog a while ago.  He lives in Florida with his parents, Edie and Ed, and with Kalua, the cutie accompanying him on the new window seat.
From what I know of Tucker's parents, there are bound to be all sorts of other critters around the house in addition to the two kitties.  When they lived in New York, I remember visiting and finding fish, rabbits, a dove named Puff, a real ugly iguana, Patches the dog, and a bunch of other animals.  Tucker and Kalua are two lucky cats!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lollipop, Pam's Cat

It has taken me a while to figure out Lollipop. She is a Calico cat that I named Lollipop because of the large round circles of brown and black against her white coat. She hisses at me when I get too close or surprise her. She connected with me once when I mistook her behavior as accepting and tried to pet her. It wasn't. I got three nasty claw marks on the back of my hand. But there was no growling, just that stare I have been seeing everyday, two or three times a day for the last few days. She and the other two cats I have agreed to take care of in my barn have taught me about feral cats.

When I open the door to the small storage room where they have to stay till they get acclimated I see her, with her feet tucked beneath under her in a 'catly' meatloaf position, the other two crouched behind her. Usually she settles as far away as she can, under the folded table or scooted behind the work boots and outdoor umbrella stacked in the corner.

She doesn't take her eyes off of me. The tip of her ear and corner of her eye have had bits of blood on them since she has been here. And her nose looks recently bumped. She looks pretty rough and I wonder what she has gone through in her former life as one cat among many that were recently rescued from a hoarder. A hoarder is usually a well meaning person who doesn't have a clue about and is unable to care for the animals that live and breed continuously in houses, basements, garages and worse. The animals often live in unhealthy conditions without adequate food, water or vet care, getting sicker and sicker.

Today though as I watched I noticed them begin to groom each other. A small sign of a beginning trust and sense of safety. No one else has gone into their room. They do hear the muncing and stomping sounds of the horses, barking dogs and voices of my grandchildren as they play in and around the barn. I wonder about her, whether she is getting enough to eat.

Her companions, Polka Dot and Moonbeam are far less shy about coming to get the food I bring them. In fact if there is some left on her plate when they have finished theirs they crowd her out and eat her portion as well. When they do this she does nothing to stop them. Temporarily I have been giving them canned food morning and night to give their nutrition a boost. But typically some cats are grabby and some don't get what they need. Horses do this too.

I started pushing her dish right under her nose with a small stick and distracting the other two. Even then she eats tentatively, her head lifted, eyes on me, alert as if in the wild. Sometimes she uses her paw to pick up the food. I have never seen that before. I do leave dry food for them and have to hope she gets enough. I haven't even been able to get a close enough look at her to see how thin she is

As time goes by her companions begin to play with the toys on strings I dangle for them. I tried to entice her several times but found that rather than wanting to play she lashed out at me.

Finally she began to venture out from behind the table to jump up on the old stuffed chair sitting in the room. She even stayed there when I opened the door.

Her responses were subtle. I needed to watch her carefully. But I read somewhere that if I looked directly at her she would feel threatened. She did seem to relax a bit when I was careful about this. And so slowly, very slowly she seemed to get more comfortable. You just don't know what these animals have had to survive but one thing I do know. She was brave enough to close her eyes when I talked to her. And eventually she grew what looked like a smile, what a cat often looks like when they purr. And then it came to me, it must be her way of purring.

So I talked to her a lot (I talked to them all whenever I was with them). I told her she was beautiful and that she would be o.k. And she would smile and close her eyes.

After 6 weeks or so I allowed them to venture out into the barn and then out into the yard and pastures nearby. I had set up a screen door (locked) on their room to the outside to give them a little air and sunlight a little longer each day and so they could be more familiar with the area. I hoped it was long enough to have replaced their former memory of home. This was their new home. This was where they were fed.

Lollipop came in and out of the barn. Once I celebrated when I saw her with a mouse in her mouth. After exploring by themselves during the day I often saw the three of them on the highest bale of hay in our hay storage room where they often curled up together. I still kept a close eye on them and because of the coyotes, fox and owls tried to close the barn doors at night. I didn't always see them. One day I realized I had not seen her for a day or two, not unusual, but then it was 5 days, then a week. And it slowly dawned on me she probably would not be back. She had been the most timid of the three so my hopes were not high. I had accept that and let her go.

But I learned from her that sometimes purring is something you may not hear, it might be something you see. And like lots of things in life if you pay attention, even if it is to a cat, or a dog or even a child, it might surprise you to find that somehow you have made a difference. And if only for a minute or a few weeks a life could be blessed, and a cat could be content.

And I know for a while Lollipop was safe and not hungry anymore. I will always remember her as the cat with the silent purr.
Visit Pam's blog about animals/cats at:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Help Ariel the Rottweiler

I received a plea for help on behalf of Ariel, a pregnant Rottweiler, who narrowly missed being euthanized.

She was saved, but has pneumonia.  She delivered 11 puppies and so far, only 7 have survived.  Unfortunately, she can't care for them and recover at the same time, so her pups are being bottlefed.

Here's a link to her story - your donations will help Ariel and her puppies:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Heroes: Dave and Bonnie

Dave and Bonnie noticed this screen saver on the office computer when they visited a business associate last Friday:

They asked their associate about her cats and she explained  they were both adopted from two different local shelters.  She also shared that black cats and dogs are the last to be adopted from shelters - and the first to be euthanized.  Dave and Bonnie were shocked:  they've always had black cats.  (And the occasional gray.)  They said they really should adopt another cat, since they'd lost theirs some time ago.  They left the office shaking their heads, unable to figure out why black cats and dogs were so unpopular.

Remember, this was Friday.  Guess what Dave and Bonnie did in Saturday?

Yup, you guessed it.  (The fact that they're heroes gave it away, eh?)

After searching websites for the local animal shelters, Dave and Bonnie picked out not one black cat, but TWO BLACK CATS at the local Humane Society.

Tilly is a mature girl - and she'd been at the shelter longer than any ther cat!  Wyoming is a little younger but, because she's black, hadn't been getting much attention when prospective heroes visited her.  Dave told me that one of the cats (I think it was Tilly, but I'm not sure) went right over to his wife when Bonnie entered her "room" and just loved the pets and hugs - something she hadn't always welcomed from other people. about that?  Let's give Dave and Bonnie a big round of applause!

(PS.  Let's also hope they send us some pictures - I visited the Humane Society website and their girls' pictures are already gone.  Which is excellent - because they freed up space for two more kitties.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why I Love Tomcats

This is Max.  We should have renamed him Gumby when we adopted him from the animal shelter.

Like most neutered tomcats, he's got the sweetest disposition.  With people.  And dogs.  And now, with Grace, the newest member of the family.

After a few weeks, he tried the Alpha routine on her.  You know, chasing her around and jumping on top of her because he could:  he's three times her size, 15 pounds to her 5 pounds.

Well, Stephen and I put a stop to that.  Yes, you can make your kitties listen.  All you need is a squirt bottle.  In fact, Max hates the squirt bottle so much, that all we have to do is point a finger at him (he thinks it's a distant cousin to the nozzle on the squirt bottle) and he hightails it the other way.

Grace is eternally grateful for the squirt bottle.  Now she doesn't have to get in those tussles that mess up her lovely, long locks.  And Max hangs out with her just as nicely as he does with his human and canine family members.  Oh, domestic bliss!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pam's Cats: Polka Dot, Moonbeam, and Lollipop

I named them Polka Dot, Moonbeam and Lollipop. The names fit them from the very beginning, even though I could barely see them through the towel covered traps. They made no sound, no protest that morning as I loaded them up in my truck to take them to a new life; a life with food, shelter and if they wanted, human companionship. I had no information yet as to how old they were or if they were truly feral, or just lost or abandoned cats. All I knew was that they had been rescued from a hoarder by the Friends of Ferals of Fort Collins, Colorado who had discovered them and I was taking them to my barn. They could not go back to the cruel conditions they had been in. The day before they had had their surgeries, shots, and ears clipped to show they had been spayed or neutered as well as medications if needed. They had spent the night in recovery. They were terrified and probably in pain.

Even though I had recently volunteered for the Fort Collins Cat Rescue to help at the shelter with the intent to get involved later with the TNR program, this was an emergency. There were more than 20 cats and kittens that could not go back.

I had not had time to get a place ready for them and they would have to stay in their traps until I could release them into the small storage room in the barn where they would initially need to go. But I reminded myself as I contemplated the task that whatever I could do was much better than where they had come from. That room had morphed into a temporary storage for my daughters stuff, including an easy chair and footstool that had mostly been shredded by her two dogs, antifreeze, and all kinds of boxes labeled with kitchen, toys and misc., tossed into the small room every which way. It looked as if nothing else could fit inside. I knew I had to clear the piles enough to remove the anti-freeze and gasoline and make sure there was no poison.

When I unloaded the three traps from the truck and brought them into the barn I felt like a new mom without a clue about what to do to help these scared creatures. By that time the traps were smelly with old food, no litter and dirty rags and I wanted to get the cats out. But I didn’t know how aggressive they might be or if they would try to scratch me or run. So I sat on the arm of the old chair and watched them for a while. No, they were frozen in their places. They had not moved.

So I opened the doors to the traps and removed the towels that had given them a little comfort. It looked like two of them could have been siblings. Polka Dot is a long haired black and white “Sylvester” kitty with a white apron and three white dots on her black nose. She somehow escaped getting her ear clipped. Moonbeam was black and white also, but with short fur and a stocky build and he did have a clipped ear. I figured out later that he was a male. He also had a weird looking eye. It was almost like there was nothing there. I could see that it was not swollen or leaking and he did seem to be blinking. This would go on top of the list of things to ask the vet about. And Lollipop was a Calico with a lot of white and large round ‘lollipop’ black or brown patches. Her ear was clipped and still had blood on it. She looked pretty banged up. She sat with her front feet curled under her. She had not moved from that position but watched every move I made. So with a couple of dishes of water, some canned food along with a dish of dry food I left them to hide and explore the still crowded room. There were lots of places to hide, they had food and water and each other and they were safe. It was a start.

Visit Pam's blog at:

A Picture's Worth 1,000 Words

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Update on Grace

Grace is fitting right in with the gang at our house. As you can see, she and Max have become buddies--except when he decides to be Alpha and chase her around.  But she doesn't mind, she knows how guys are...
She's still a bit wary of Charlotte--more because of Charlotte's size and the fact that she sounds like an elephant when she runds around the house.  Grace's favorite place to sleep is now on one of the upholstered chairs at the island in the kitchen--instead of beneath the couch.  We are definitely making progress!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Adventures of Madeline - Naja

Naja, around 13 years old and pictured at left - and also in the lower left of the picture below with her buddies Buster and Tempe, was picked up by Madeline at a Seve Eleven in North Bend, WA.  Naja was begging for hot dogs. The Seven Eleven owner was going to send her to shelter in the morning--it was raining, dark, and cold.  Madeline couldn't have that...

Along with her buddy, Buster, Naja causes mischief in Madeline's first novel, Uncle Si's Secret.  To visit Madeline's website or to read an excerpt from Uncle Si's Secret, click here

Maybe the book will solve the mystery about whether Naja ever got her hot dogs...

(P.S.  Do you notice that two of Madeline's pound-puppies are black?  See?  Visual proof of what I've been saying about black dogs being unwanted.  I don't get it.  I think they're adorable. Not that Tempe isn't...)