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Archive for July, 2012

Took a walk this morning. Just Cass and me, on our peaceful road. She loves these excursions.

There is no sweeter music than the clip-clop of hooves on a road. The clip-clopping also serves a purpose, it helps her hooves to trim themselves by maneuvering on different terrain.

“Uh, oh! What’s that…”

“Let me get a closer look… Oh, it’s just the cows. Whew!”

We chat while we walk. Cass is a wonderful listener and conversationalist. She thinks the people of the world could learn a lot from the horses of the world… if they would just listen.

Lesson 1 – Be aware of your surroundings. There’s no need to freak out if it’s just a cow. Face it.

Lessons from Cass to be continued…

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Serendipity is one of those words hard to define. You just know it when it happens and that is it’s magic. Several years ago I was involved in the happiest of “accidents” or better yet, some serious serendipity. I’d been hearing about a dog that had been dumped at a major highway gas station. Several had tried but no one was able to catch her. I’m sure she was convinced the owners that dumped her were certain to come back. The station attendant had seen her perk up with the arrival of big rigs only to run off into the safety of the brush in disappointment.

I kept hearing about this dog. I even caught sight of her a few times as I sped down the road past the gas station. I talked to my friends at animal control and their attempts to catch this brindle blur had also failed. It’s a terrible feeling to not be able to help an animal in obvious need. How had she not been hit by a car? The speed limit was 50 mph but most were traveling in much more of a hurry. Where was she eating? The station had a trash dumpster she probably crept to under the cover of darkness. She had to be terrified and heartbroken.

I was out driving my usual pet sitting rounds when something made me drive to her gas station. I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near there but I just felt I needed to go. I pulled into the huge parking lot and looked for the allusive canine. She’d been there a month. Was she beginning to turn feral already? I saw her off to the side, in the brush. I decided to simply sit on the curb near my car.

Before I could even process it… the brindle blur was sitting next to me! Really? Hello Girl and Hallelujah!!! I calmly slipped the leash over her head and tried to keep from jumping up and down in my excitement. She and I strolled to the car. I gently lifted her into the backseat. The attendant came out as I was doing so. He stared in disbelief, gave a huge grin and thumbs up! I had done it! I had the brindle blur, the one one who could not be caught, sitting in my car looking at me expectantly. Now what was I gonna do?

What I did was call on my friend and documentary filmmaker, Eric. Yes, I had ulterior motives in pleading with him to help me, help her. He “fostered” Francis through  months of heartworm treatment and fell in love. She became an integral part of his world. It was always a joy seeing the brindle blur from time to time, safe and loved. Serendipity sent me to her that day. She was finally done waiting for her person to come back. Thank you, St. Francis, for giving me the ability to listen to what I oftentimes don’t understand.

Franny now waits at the Rainbow Bridge. She had 13 wonderful years with Eric & his family. She passed in the arms of those she loved in 2011.

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(One of the blogs we follow is written by a mule named Fenway Bartholomule. He’s very talented. Recently a lovely mini donkey named Arrietty G. Teaspoon joined the Fenway Bartholomule family. Arrietty has scars and wounds from her previous life. They are having a contest to see who can figure out how those wounds came to be. A thousand blown kisses by Fen himself is at stake here! The following story is how the  girls & I imagined it.  ~ The part of Miss Arrietty G. Teaspoon in our story, is being played by mini donkey Clementine.)

Life in CassidyLand was peaceful, serene, easy. The eclectic collection of critters had formed a funky family. Cows, horses, donkeys, goats and a lamb enjoyed the pasture and each others company.

Respecting the bond of mothers and babies ruled each day. Maybelline had her little Bobby Lee, Cass had her (not so little) Becca and Mathilde had her very special baby, Arrietty.

Maybelline & son.

Mary, the little lamb, came to CassidyLand an orphan. As special things always happen there, the resident bull took it upon himself to watch over her. When you saw Mary, Snuffy was never far behind. They would often curl up together for naps.

Mary & her adopted family.

One day Arrietty overheard the farm woman say something about “the donkeys can protect them.” She also heard the word coyote. Arrietty had never heard either word before. She asked her mother what “protecting” meant and could she do it?! Mathilde had been around a long, long time. She had been made to raise far too many babies before coming to CassidyLand. She knew exactly what protecting meant. She’d even treed a bear once who unknowingly walked across her path. He never made that mistake again! Mathilde told her daughter, not to worry. Protecting is what grownups do. “You are yet a baby, no need to think about such things.”

The residents of CassidyLand would soon need to worry.

Mathilde, Becca & Arrietty being played by Clementine.

A pack of coyotes had been casing out CassidyLand for a few days. They had pups to feed and their hunger was defeating their common sense. They knew cows could deliver deadly kicks and those horses looked like none they’d ever seen before. They were short but powerhouses. Maybe, just maybe they could snag a small one before the big ones would even know they were there. As the babies frolicked and played the adults of CassidyLand could sense something was about to happen. They just didn’t know what. Their routine went on as usual.

Fjordhorses Cass & Becca.

This particular night, as usual, Cass & Becca were put into their smaller pen at dinnertime. The goats were eating in their stall and the cows, with Mary in tow, were settling into the shed with their full bellies and heavy eyelids. The donkeys were free to go where they pleased, as was the routine. Nighttime was settling over CassidyLand.

Bobby Lee looks out from the shed before turning in for the night.

Sometime before dawn, Maybelline awoke with such a start she hit her head against the shed wall. She was momentarily dazed but could make out the shadowy figure slinking toward her boy. Coyotes! Her roaring (yes, cows can make some crazy noises) brought the herd immediately to their feet and circling the babies. Out in the smaller paddock, Cass and Becca were snorting and kicking, running crazy trying to help but they couldn’t jump the fence! One of the coyotes grabbed at Bobby Lee’s back leg and was promptly met with a kick from Snuffy that sent him halfway across the pasture. Dirt and fur was flying in every direction! Hooves and heads were hitting anything near. Maybelline was frantic trying to find her baby! Where’s Bobby Lee?!

He had somehow slipped through the safety of the family and was being circled by three more coyotes. Maybelline was watching in horror and slow motion when out of nowhere came a hurricane of brown fur and donkey brays! Arrietty was racing toward the coyotes just as fast as her tiny feet could carry her! The cows, horses, goats and Mathilde all looked on in horror as she flew into a rage.

Whack! Whack! Whack! Arrietty’s hooves made contact with the closest murderous canine. He tumbled off into the darkness. She turned and faced the one to her left and was readying her onslaught when she felt something heavy and searing lay into her backside. One of the coyotes had attacked her! He was holding on and digging in despite her repeated attempts to kick him off. In the melee, Bobby Lee was able to run back to his mother’s side, shaken but with no apparent wounds. Snuffy and the rest of the herd, along with Mathilde charged. They had to help Arrietty! Mathilde’s maternal instincts overpowered her small stature, she grabbed the coyote with her mouth and threw him into the side of a tree. He hobbled off, whimpering, realizing they were outnumbered and out muscled.

Once the sun came up and the farm woman arrived the damage was easily seen. Everyone in CassidyLand was heartbroken and battered. Becca had cut herself trying to jump the fence. Maybelline had broken hooves and a headache, Arrietty was severely wounded but worst of all was little Mary. Sweet, little Mary. She was found, barely alive, right where the coyotes had dropped her. Part of her leg was missing. The farm woman’s son ended her suffering.

Maybelline & Bobby Lee recuperating.

In time, CassidyLand got back to normal. Wounds healed. Babies grew. It was once again peaceful, serene and easy. All the animals had a new name for Miss Arrietty G. Teaspoon. That new name was Hero. She no longer had to wonder what “protecting” meant. She knew you do what you have to for those you love, no matter how many coyotes there are.

In memory of Mary, our little lamb.

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Never imagined I’d be routinely giving a cat a bath. I’ve been trying to get away with not doing it, even though every website states these naked cats must be bathed weekly. My thought process? She gets only the best of food and doesn’t go outside, therefore how could she get dirty?! Right? Wrong.

Gertie our resident naked alien.

Gertie’s been in the family for a little over 3 months. Scottie & I are amazed at how easily she transitioned into the routine and living amongst those so different from herself. She’s extremely expressive, affectionate and hot. Literally, she’s hot. Her body temp runs way higher than cats with the usual fur coat. It’s not so nice in the middle of the night during a pre-menopausal episode! You see, she likes to lay right up next to me under the covers. This is how I discovered I was going to have to take the plunge with Gertie. The sheets showed she was sloughing off dead skin cells like crazy!

I called on my friend and seasoned dog groomer, Terry, to let me use her tub for this trek into unknown territory – bathing my naked cat. Gertie’s been nothing but sweet and easy but combining teeth, cat claws and water had me a bit nervous. I took a bad bite from a cat once. His bath was just finishing up. I was my vet’s kennel manager and did the majority of the baths. Cheddar (I’ll never forget this particular cat) waited for just the right moment to sink his fangs into my forearm. He was in so secure and deep, it took two other girls to pull him off of me! Yeah, it hurt.

Wasn’t going to take any chances so Gerts got muzzled.

She really wanted out of the tub.

Disclaimer: This is a cat muzzle, designed for cats. Covering their eyes helps keep them calm. There is a nose hole for breathing. No cats were harmed during this bath!

Just as with everything else, Gertie took her bath in stride. She wiggled a bit and would’ve preferred to not be getting hosed down, but she was a good girl. Before Terry could even yell at me that she wasn’t hearing the water running, we were done! Being naked does have it’s advantages.

Gertie only took a few minutes to dry.

She’s such a cool cat!

Another high maintenance component to living with a naked cat is finding just the right body lotion to keep their nakedness nice and supple. I’ve been trying a couple different, all-natural, no chemicals or cancer causing stuff lotions that she and I share. I always use lotion after I shower so it made sense Gertie needs lotion, too. You should hear her fussing and squeaking at me when I put her lotion on. She makes some noises! But, we get it done quickly and she can go on about her business. We moisturize daily.

FYI Gertie is a Sphynx cat. We found her on our local Craig’s List and got very lucky. We are probably Gertie’s 3rd owner.

Here’s the Wikipedia link to everything Sphynx: Naked Cats

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