Archive for April, 2012

I apologize for not having lots of news and gorgeous pictures of the stars of this blog lately – those being Cass and Becca – but not a lot going on there. We’re in “waiting mode” for Becca’s Big Adventure! More to come on that…

In the meantime let’s explore our world of pet sitting some more! These are the faces I get to see when I’m working… not a bad gig. 🙂

Lucy Goosey! Former rescue dog living the life.

Bubba The Great!

Elvis, who really is The King! Shelter dog was fostered by this family during heartworm treatment. Didn't take long for them to know he had to stay.

Clifford, another former rescue dog. Had one of the worst cases of mange we've ever seen. Been symptom free for over 10 years.

Oni-Baroney, another former rescue dog!

Pig-Dog, fussing at me while picture taking.

Bettie Boop! Being held is the only way to get her to stay still.

All these lovely pups are one, big, happy family. It’s wonderful to be able to see my rescue dogs living the life they were meant to. Becoming one of our clients can oftentimes mean adding to your family!

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We enter the client house and find the “client” sound asleep.

Nicky was adopted for her good looks & Golden heart but definitely not her guarding skills!

Me – “Oh, Nicky! Nicky! Get up big gurl…”

Nicky – “But don’t you know? My parents left me… ALL ALONE! I’ll lay here amongst my depression. Go on without me. Sigh.”

Me – “I have something for you… Nicky, you gonna get up?”

Nicky – “I don’t think I have the strength.” (Heads drops back to floor, Thud!)

Me – “Oh, c’mon Nik! You can do it! Let’s eat!” (Shake dish.)

Nicky – “Oh, I just don’t know… Hey! Is that my dinner?!”

Me – “Yep! All for you, sweet Princess.”

Nicky – “Ok, nom-nom, don’t let anyone see me eat ok? I’m on that dratted diet, remember?”

Me- “Alright, I’ll blur you out a bit. Nik, show me how sad you are because your mom & dad had the nerve to go out for the evening…”

Nicky – “How’s this? Sad enough? You gonna text ’em?!”

Nicky – “Wait! Here ya go. I’ll teach them to leave me alone for (gulp!) 8 hours!”

Me – “Nik, that’s awesome. But there’s really no need to act so sad. I’m here for you :-)”

Nicky – “I know. Let’s go get this done. I am NOT walking all the way to the golf course, just so you understand, ok?”

Me – “OK, Nik. Whatever you say.” (Rolling eyes.)

Nicky – “Hey, wait a minute…”

Me – “Nik you have to walk.”

Nicky – “What the heck is that? Up over the house?! I KNEW I felt something funky!!!”

Nicky – “I’m not going.”

Me – “Nik, you at least have to go pee, ok? Please…”

(What Nicky is staring at.)

Nicky – “Alright but huuuurrrryyyy!!!!!! Get back inside! The STORM MONSTERS are out HEEERRREEEE!!!!!!”

Me – “Nik, will you feel better if I put your wrap on? I’ll turn the radio on, too and you can listen to NPR. How’s that?”

Nicky – “I look ridiculous but… hey… this may feel kinda alright. You sure you can’t stay? We could chew on my multitudes of toys, I’ll let you pick which one you want!”

Me – “Nicky you know I can’t stay. I have other doggies & kitties to see tonight. But I PROMISE your mom & dad will be home soon.”

Nicky – “Yeah. Whatever. Talk to the paw.”

I adore Nicky.

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You may or may not know the above quote but Scottie and I say it often. We’re just weird that way. Paul Newman was referring to the musical “Cats” from the audience one night at the David Letterman Show. It was quite funny. “Cats” is a mystical journey into cat-dom  and the Jellicle Ball filled with song, dance, joy and sadness. Real street cats probably don’t do much singing or dancing. But why should they? The life of a street cat aka feral cat is nothing to sing or dance about. Sadness abounds.

Some of my earliest memories are of being at my grandparents farm and desperately trying to make friends with the cats that lived under the house. There were always lots of cats and kittens running around. I got scratched a few times but never really made friends. They were wild, farm cats. I’ve never considered myself a “cat person”. I’m allergic to them so learned to keep my distance. That is, until cats began joining our family. It’s strange, my allergies got better and my attitude towards cats changed. Cats are cool. Cats definitely do their own thing. Cats are intriguing. Cats can show tremendous love toward us and one another. Cats are smart in many, many  ways. That’s why it’s a terrible injustice to throw them on the mercy of the streets. We’re a society far removed from my grandparents farm. It’s a cruel world filled with dangers.

Unless you’re in a loving and safe home.

Our Binks & Baby Nut lounging together on a comfy cat bed. Both former street cats.

There is a movement in our country pertaining to feral cats. Feral cat advocates want to be able to care for colonies of cats without the interference of the local animal control agencies. Doesn’t sound out of line on the surface. None of us want animals to go hungry or be sick. Right? In a perfect world there would be homes and comfy cat beds for all the throaways and ferals out. In a perfect world no one would be homeless. In a perfect world we’d all have good paying jobs we love. In a perfect world no child would go to bed hungry. In a perfect world there would be no unscrupulous breeding of cats, dogs, horses, people, etc. In a perfect world everyone would have compassion toward animals and children and their fellow humans. We sure don’t live in a perfect world. So what do we do?

You can do as my client, Lorena, does. We’ve cared for her bevy of cats for just about 15 years. We began with her 3 beloved Persians who lived indoors. But there were always neighborhood cats to feed outside. The numbers are always different. The cats come and the cats go. So do the raccoons. That’s one of the problems accompanying the outside feeding stations. Lorena has done a good job at carting off the not-so-feral ones to be neutered and vaccinated, at her own expense. She felt if she fed them, they were her cats and she acted accordingly. She’s always had a few of the outside cats that were friendlier and could actually be petted. These few have even had names. The rest are given the chance to eat on a daily basis and that’s about it. Thankfully, as the number of years have gone by, the number of cats have steadily decreased.

This old man had no name.

He showed up at Lorena’s extremely ill during one of her times away last year. He could barely breathe there was so much thick mucous coming from his nose and mouth. He was a rack of bones. I’ve seen this cat for several years coming and going from her back porch. He was always a handsome, thick cat. Yes, he’d been neutered but had no vet care in a long, long time. So the situation he found himself in was being terribly ill and also terribly leery of anyone who’d be able to help. Lorena and I discussed his situation. It took me 3 days to trap him. I have no idea how he had the strength to fight only that it was driven by pure fear. It was awful. He was euthanized, his suffering ended. He lived and died on the streets in a typical neighborhood. He had the mercy of Lorena in assuring he had food but what else was he subjected to for those years? What did he suffer as his illness took hold and for how long? He couldn’t even be held in the caring arms of someone as he died. No one deserves that.

Another client came home one day to find an unknown cat in distress in their driveway. They brought her into the garage and as they tried to care for her they noticed something terribly wrong. At first they thought maybe she was about to give birth because her sides were heaving. They were being cautious as to not get bit or scratched but upon a closer look they saw maggots were eating away at her backside! Apparently she had major trauma and with no care nature was taking it’s course. They scooped her up and got her to the emergency vet where she was humanely euthanized. How long was her suffering? Was someone actually missing her? We’ll never know. Bless her heart for stumbling upon caring people.

Why do people think it’s OK for cats to live outside? Because they’re hunters? Because they need to “be free”? We’ve had 2 outside cats and we’ll never allow that again. Our first, Dimitre D’Kitty, was a young foundling that brought all of us ringworm. My allergies really went crazy with him so outside he went. He had our back porch and tended to stay close to home. He kept his routine for about 6 years until that morning he didn’t come in for his breakfast. We found him 2 driveways down with his guts ripped out. Apparently not all dogs (such as the ones in his family) like cats. We can only assume it was a stray dog that killed him. We were devastated but still didn’t learn our lesson.

Binks was another foundling but an adult when he showed up. He was already an “outdoor cat” so we continued to let him be one of those in and out kind of cats. It worked for a while. He ruled our street and there was something cool about seeing him lounging in the driveway when we got home. Then one day he didn’t come home. Scottie was absolutely out of his mind, as this is his brother-cat. We put a HUGE lost poster on our corner.

I was going to the shelter daily looking for him, Scottie would scour our neighborhood. As we hit the fifth day of him being gone a neighbor called to report she saw another neighbor trapping a gray and white kitty a few days before. She thought animal control had come to pick him up. I raced up to the shelter and told my friends he may have been brought in as a feral. That’s exactly what happened. The shelter was overrun at the time and we all kept missing him as we did our walk through looking. Not too much of a stretch to think he was scared and hiding. When the shelter worker went into the run where there were at least 20 cats, I spied a gray and white inside a cubby. I told her,  “if he gives a head butt, it’s Binks”. As I said his name, he “meeooowed” and gave her a head butt! We got lucky, very lucky to find him. He’s not been outside since.

Were we angry? Sure but the neighbor certainly had every right to do what she did if he was on her property. She could’ve called us when she saw our sign but it didn’t matter. Did we push the issue or protest or demand she quit trapping cats? Of course not. He’s home and after a while, adjusted to the life of the spoiled house cat. He’s a happy, healthy senior cat now because he’s safely in the house.

Binks doing what he does best these days.

Loews Hotels in the Universal/Orlando area is under a firestorm of protest right now. They changed their position on having colonies of feral cats in residence on their property. It’s their property. We have no right to tell them what to do with it. The cats are being trapped and sent to the local animal control. Most won’t make it out alive. The only way they will is if rescue groups step up to rehab and relocate them. Dare I say… if it was a herd of 30 horses running free or a pack of pitbulls roaming the property, no one would be protesting saying they have the “right” to live there! People would want those animals placed into homes. They would want them to get veterinary care. They would want them to have the life they deserve. And if appropriate homes aren’t available, what then? Put the pitbull pack back out to fend for themselves? They would be just as savvy as cats and capable of survival. No, we wouldn’t do that and we don’t do that.

From http://www.theanimalifarm.com/Animali/ (my example of the horse herd has nothing to do w/our wild mustangs that do roam free in the West)

I don’t get the distinction because it’s cats it’s somehow OK. I understand feral cat people “manage” these colonies by vaccinating, sterilizing and feeding but I still go back to the fact it’s a cruel world out there. We can do better than the basics and hoping they don’t die a horrible death. That death being – run over by a car, succumbing to infection from fighting, rampant disease that takes time to kill (such as no name above), starvation, any number of ways. Until that perfect world exists, the one where every pet has a home; I would rather humanely euthanize an animal (be it dog, cat or horse) than send it off to an unknown fate. I will hold them and tell them they are loved as they take their last breath. The singing cats only exist on stage.

Client cat awaiting her breakfast.

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Happy weekend…we are in the final leg of voting 3 more days please keep up the votes! This weekend everyone will be pushing hard to get their final votes in and placement on the leader board is changing rapidly. We don’t want to lose our spot now we are so close to being in this  final phase of the challenge. So please keep us at the top with your votes it will mean so much to the homeless animals in our area if we make it to the final phase of the challenge.
This link will get you to our page and all you need to do is put your email address in and hit the vote button…if this is the first time you have voted you will need to confirm an email that will go into your email in box. If you don’t see it there right away check your spam. We need all the votes we can get until 4/16. Thanks for helping our animals with just a click of your mouse.

Please forward this on to all your friends and family let them know what a great shelter your voting for. Remember voting does not end until 11:59 Monday night please keep those votes up this weekend.



CindyLou shelter alumni

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WhooHoo!!!!!! Seminole County Animal Services (SCAS) has been selected as one of the 108 shelters in our country to be eligible for this awesome opportunity! What is the challenge? The $100K Challenge is a national competition to inspire animal shelters—and those who support them—to go above and beyond to increase pet adoption, reunite lost pets with their families and save more animals’ lives. Cool, huh?! There are an estimated 4,000 – 6,000 animal shelters in the US. Being one of the participating shelters is an honor and… well… a challenge! It’s a challenge the staff and volunteers at SCAS are more than willing to take on.

$100K Challenge info!

Starting TODAY (April 5th) visit Vote To Save Lives and vote EACH DAY for Seminole County Animal Services until April 16th. You must be at least 13 years of age and have a valid email address. This is the important part!!!!!! The first time you vote, you’ll need to confirm your email address by responding to the confirmation address you provide – If you don’t do this, your votes won’t count!!!

Blinky SCAS alumni

Why help SCAS? The short answer is they are the absolute best animal shelter in the state of FL! I began working with them in 1994, not long after they acquired a new shelter manager named Mary Beth. She was and continues to be the driving force that saves countless lives and makes families complete. She also… just so happened… to pioneer how shelters could and should utilize rescue groups. Yeah, she’s pretty awesome!

Mary Beth & the famous swimmer pup, Harper

Did you know the Taco Bell chihuahua came from SCAS? Well, our Taco played the part of the stunt double to the world-famous Gidget.

I know this to be true since we fostered Taco and sent him in a limo to Miami to audition to play backup to Gidget. There were even a few shots in the famous commercials I could tell were him, saw his boy parts! He was a professional actor and lived a happy life with his trainer and Gidget.

The now famous Dolly The Pitbull and Harper the Swimmer Puppy both came from SCAS.

This is not to mislead you that a pet you adopt from SCAS will become a television star or internet celebrity. The odds of that are probably pretty slim.

Setzer & Kobay SCAS alumni

But any pet you adopt, if you invest your heart and time, will become all the superstar you ever needed. 🙂

Jill SCAS alumni

So join us in this effort to allow all the stars to shine.

Jay Bird SCAS alumni

Vote everyday for Seminole County Animal Services!

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I was doing my usual barn chores when Cass sauntered into the hay room. She knew I was sweeping up excess hay. She had to walk through the tiny opening from the main barn to the hay room. She used to be too nervous to attempt this. Not even the lure of the hay could get her through the faux doorway, which is really the aluminum walls cut to allow passage. I decided to test her confidence and raise the door! Oooh! It makes a lot of noise (picture a roll up garage door) and would be ending up directly over her head. I lifted, it clanged, Cass’s head shot up from the hay and she looked at me wide-eyed. I told her she was fine. Lifted it higher and she planted her feet and looked up as it was rolling over her head. Such a good girl! Four years ago that very act would’ve sent her charging through the wall!

We became friends those four years ago with the help of Quaker Oats. The photo shows her very first full day being a Florida girl. It also shows her overcoming the first of many, many fears. We no longer need the oats, only each other.

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