Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top Ten Posts of 2010

Holy Bones! It's been a whirlwind year, with a ton of news, important issues and campaigns, funny clips and stories...and so many wonderful new friends. I just can't believe it's the end of the year already - and you know what? I just started this little bloggy thingy at the end of the summer! I've only been in this realm for the last four months. Little did I know the whole new world I would be trotting into...

To all my friends, dear readers and fellow bloggers, I woof out a huge THANK YOU for all your support and encouragement these past few months. You've spurred me on, lifted me up, entertained me, widened my horizons and taught me so much. Thank You!! As I tip my hat to say farewell to the year 2010, I tip my hat even more in gratitude to     YOU!

In the spirit of the approaching New Year celebration, and thanks to the host of today's blog hop - Dr. V. and her pawcurious blog - we present to you the Top Ten posts of 2010, as judged by those confoozing thingies called stats (some human invention, I'm sure), and more importantly the feedback you gave me on them. I'll let Mom give you the rundown. So, drumroll, please.....

Holiday Baskets for the Homeless
Reading about a special program run by veterinary students in California prompted me to think long and hard about the plight of both the homeless and the pets they may rely on for comfort. I made a few people get leaky eyes, but trust me - I was practically bawling my eyes out over the keyboard writing it. 

My wish for 2011? That more is done to seriously tackle the issue of homelessness in this country. For people, Joel John Roberts wrote an excellent article in the Huffington Post, Top Ten Advocates for the Homeless. The 100,000 Homes Campaign sounds intriguing, I'd love to volunteer. For pets, there is nothing or no one more dedicated and determined than Mike Arms, of the Helen Woodward Center, with ideas and programs to spur our nation toward an end to homeless pets. Just imagine if everyone and every pet were Home for the Holidays next year!

I'm Not Perfect Either
Tippy is a kitty I have had the privilege to know and love. Although his history included abuse and neglect, which left him not only with a funky-looking eye but also a hesitancy toward humans, he inspired me to present the very essence of the wonderful unconditional love pets offer their people. Although he is still waiting for his own forever home, he is well-cared for and loved in a foster home. He and many, many super cats and dogs are available through my favorite rescue organization, Almost Home Foundation.

The Story of Me
What can I say? CindyLu dictated, I typed. This little girl has become the most powerful personality in our household, and seriously - it wasn't lacking any prior to her arrival! CindyLu's only question is why this isn't NUMBER ONE.

Oh My Gosh, Well Merry Christmas!
This was a story I read about, and it touched me deeply. Turns out, I wasn't alone in loving to hear about a happy ending!

Pawprints on My Heart
A personal favorite of mine, both for the expression and the experience of it. If anyone has even the slightest ability to foster a pet in their home, I cannot recommend it enough. If you are unable to, there are a zillion other ways to help.

It's Caturday
This video from YouTube had me breathless, I was laughing so uncontrollably. It starts out slow, hang in there! I guarantee you'll love this one!

We Did Something Today
My daughter's new dog (who CindyLu is still waiting to meet!) hit the charts big-time. He's just too amazingly beautiful! And yes, Becky is Becky Sorrentino Studio, aka BecArt, aka the artist who created the custom pet portrait ornament for our giveaway during the Holiday Giveaway Blog Hop in November. Her husband, Mark, has contributed greatly in attending to his assigned duties as her assistant (let me put it this way - Becky and CindyLu have a lot in common!) Tell me, is Vedder an artist's dog, or what?!

(and the original, Weebles Wobble But They Don't Fall Down)
These two boys have completed nuked the hearts of every single person who spent any time with them! They are the most amazing kitties, despite having physical conditions that placed them in the "less-adoptable" category. While Sebastian still waits patiently for his forever home, we recently received the wonderful news that Weebles is now in his. He was Home for the Holidays! Big hugs and wet kisses to both you boys!!

J Lo's Song
J Lo, yet "another black cat", became a poster girl of sorts for the plight of homeless black cats. With her big personality and wonderful human mom, it's just the most wonderful happy ending kind of story.

...and the most popular post, thanks to a guy who became THE #1 HooMan in 2010 -
Watch Out Joey's Coming!
The title says it all; Joey is a man on a mission of #stopchasingtail, as he describes himself, in an all-out effort to promote spay/neuter of pets and prevent animals from "doing the deed". Subscribe to his newsletter - you'll get to see his videos before they're publicly released. And please, help him in spreading the word, it will lessen the pet overpopulation and the resulting homeless animals.

Well, that's the round-up, hope you enjoy! Be sure to check out the other blogs in hop, listed below -- they're doggone great and catabulous! Have a safe, happy New Year's celebration - Happy New Year!

Love, CindyLu and Kim et al

Top Ten 2010 Blog Hop

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stop the Cruelty, Response

In a previous post, I mentioned the horrors of life as a racing greyhound, and the efforts to ban cruel treatment of these dogs - see Stop the Cruelty. Also included was a video documenting some of the conditions the dogs live with daily. 

Jen Krebs, of GREY2KUSA, has commented in response, with additional details and the (wonderful) news that GREY2KUSA has filed a formal complaint with the Mayor of Tucson, AZ on the basis of the horrors that were documented by the video.

Please take a moment and read her response, it includes some invaluable links for additional information. Anyone living in Arizona might be in a better position to do something directly about the issue of racing, or these dogs in particular, but we all can be as supportive as possible for the great work GREY2KUSA is doing on behalf of such beautiful, gentle creatures! Please go to Stop the Cruelty for her response, in the comments section.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Of Reindeer and Toadstools

Funny Pictures - Christmas Cats

see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Ever wonder where the story really came from, about Rudolph and the flying reindeer that whisk Santa Claus through his delivery route around the world in a single day? Having the curiosity of a cat, I've wondered, and was thrilled to come across a bit of information that just might explain how it all started.

An article in Pharmaceutical Journal, by scientist Andrew Haynes, describes a phenomenon where reindeer, among some animals, appear to intentionally seek out, and eat - magical mushrooms. You read that right!  Reindeer, it seems, enjoy a bit of imbibing on toadstools that get them high. There is a particular mushroom, the Fly Agaric (or Amanita muscaria), that is known for its, uh, hallucinogenic properties. The herdsmen are even known to drink the reindeer urine, to get a good buzz themselves. Andrew Haynes theorizes that the reindeer look to get high off these mushrooms in order to alleviate the boredom of winter,  "to experience altered states of consciousness".

Now, for the Santa part. Haynes says, "For humans a common side-effect of mushrooms is the feeling of flying, so it's interesting the legend about Santa's reindeer is they can fly." Aha! I'm wondering, would that have something to do with Rudolph's glowing nose, too?

In any event, cats have reindeer licked on this one - they've got their very own "source", all to themselves.

The Sun, UK

Update: The links below are all part of the Saturday Blog Hop hosted by Life with Dogs, Confessions of the Plume and Two Cavaliers. Join the hop - with your own site, or by visiting the links below! It's fun!!

Santa Buddies Sing Along - We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all our friends! May you enjoy the love and warmth of all you hold dear, reveling in the beauty and bounty of this season!

CindyLu, Chester, Chandler, Rascal, Bo, Candy, Gumdrop and Kim

Snoopy vs. The Red Baron

Merry Christmas!!

Love and peace to all my friends!
CindyLu xoxo

Friday, December 24, 2010

Silent Night Jingle Cats

Silent Night Rescued

Snowy Night in Woodstock, Vermont - Free Pictures at Historical Stock

Snowy night, wintry night.
Trav'lers awed by the sight.    
'Round young mama babies cling,
For her warmth and gentle suckling.
Sleep in innocent peace,
Sleep in innocent peace.

Snowy night, wintry night.
Some are moved, do what's right. 
Angels carry both mother and brood
Brought to safety, shelter and food,
By God's almighty Grace,
By God's almighty Grace.

Snowy night, wintry night.
All is calm, all is bright.
'Round young mama, babies cling
For her warmth and gentle suckling.
Soon to be in a home,
Soon to be in a home.

Adopt rescued pets - they're the best!

Photo source: Woodstock, VT, 1940

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stop the Cruelty

Hey, you got a job! You'll be living a productive life, and if you're really good at it, you'll be quite popular, too. You even get free quarters for living in, meals included.

Actually, it turns out it's a little different than what you'd imagine. You'll be locked up in a tiny space, barely enough to turn around in, and it's always dark in there. The meals - well, let's just say they're filled with meat that came from sick or diseased sources. You'll be wearing this contraption on your head that drives you so insane, you're likely to literally chew it off. Then, there's the work - it's hard, draining, and you'd better be super-fantastic at it or you're out the door.

Not quite what you'd expect, is it?

The sad truth for greyhounds, despite laws passed which prohibit excessive confinement, dietary disgraces, cruel treatment in general, is that so many dogs still live a life of misery. GREY2K USA paid investigators to get into the Tucson, AZ, Greyhound Park. The grounds are surrounded by barbed wire and a guard shack. 

This past August, when they finally got in, they witnessed muzzled greyhounds in stacked cages with nothing but a scrap of carpet for beds and learned that these dogs were being fed raw 4D meat (Dead, Dying, Diseased, Down/Disabled). The state of Arizona passed a law in 2008, known as the Tucson Dog Protection Act, which forbids constant confinement and raw, diseased meat. Helloooo?! Still up to the usual state of business, at least at some parks, that's for sure.

38 states have outlawed commercial dog racing. This past year the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire joined this list. Kudos to those states. In five additional states all racetracks have closed, though there are no laws enacted to prohibit them. A total of 25 tracks have closed just since 2001. That leaves 7 states where racing is legal, and active: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Texas and West Virginia. 

And apparently, legislating guidelines and restrictions do nothing to curb cruel treatment; it's past the time for the remaining states to outlaw this heinous treatment of such beautiful, gentle creatures. The ASPCA stands behind the efforts of GREY2K USA and the welfare of all racing dogs.

Our society is long-past the days of forced racing or fighting of our fellow creatures just for kicks.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

Mom came across an interesting slideshow the other day, of how different people honor the first day of winter in various places around the world in the Huffington Post. I had no idea there were so many different celebrations! Make no mistake, we here in our part of the world can't miss this day, and depending on where you live the amount of daylight is excruciatingly short.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

While the humans around the world do all kinds of rituals and stuff to celebrate Winter Solstice, the first day of winter in the top half of the globey thingy, us furries celebrate it in the most intelligent way. No going outside, traipsing around in yucky weather for us, no sir! We know how to handle this event!!

CindyLu ^'..'^

Monday, December 20, 2010

Recalls of Pet Pride, Old Yeller and Kroger Value

The FDA has announced a recall by Kroger of several packages of pet food. A chemical, aflatoxin,
has been discovered which can be a health hazard to pets. Please check the list; if you have purchased any of these, return them to your store for a full refund.
Aflatoxin is a naturally occuring chemical by-product from the growth of a fungus, Aspergillus flavus, on crops such as corn. It is toxic, and could cause serious illness in your pet. If you notice any signs of illness, especially sluggishness or lethargy along with not wanting to eat, yellowish eyes or gums, severe or bloody diarrhea, contact your vet immediately. Affected products (per FDA website):

Kroger is recalling the following items:
  • Pet Pride Cat Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111088128
  • Pet Pride Cat Food sold in 18 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071357
  • Pet Pride Tasty Blend Poultry & Seafood Cat Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111088152
  • Pet Pride Tasty Blend Poultry & Seafood Cat Food sold in 18 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074580
  • Pet Pride Kitten Formula Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071903
  • Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food sold in 22 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074566
  • Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food sold in 50 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074563
  • Kroger Value Cat Food sold in 3 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111000018
  • Kroger Value Chunk Dog Food sold in 15 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071559
  • Kroger Value Chunk Dog Food sold in 50 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code:1111000108
Kroger stores in the following states are included in this recall: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
The recall also includes Dillons and Gerbes stores in Kansas and Missouri; Baker’s stores in Nebraska; Food 4 Less stores in Nebraska, Illinois and Indiana (Chicago area); and Jay C, Hilander, Owen’s, Pay Less and Scott’s stores in Illinois and Indiana.

Stores the company operates under the following names are not included in this recall: Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, Smith’s, QFC, City Market, Foods Co., and Food 4 Less stores in California and Nevada.

From the Kroger website:
Affected in Kroger stores located in Indiana (except SW IN, -Evansville-), Illinois, Eastern Missouri, Greater Cincinnati, including Northern Kentucky, Dayton, OH and South Eastern Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Knoxville, Tennessee, Greater Memphis, TN, Arkansas, Mississippi and Western Kentucky, Michigan, Central and Northwest Ohio and N. West Virginia panhandle, Greater Louisville (including Indiana), Lexington, and Nashville, TN, North Carolina, Virginia, Eastern WV, Eastern Kentucky, SE Ohio, Texas and Louisiana; Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, FoodsCo, Baker's, Gerbes, and Food4Less Fremont stores.

Heroes of 2010

The Daily Beast's Heroic 2010
Our fellow creatures have proven time and time again just how amazing they can be. You'd think by now we would have caught on, and give them the acknowledgement and respect they deserve! Still, whenever one shows us their mighty skills, especially when it's in the form of brave and lifesaving efforts on our behalf, we must take a moment to reflect and applaud these wonderful animals.

The Daily Beast compiled a gallery of the ten top animal heroes of 2010, complete with any available video for each; you can view it here. The stories are awe-inspiring, and even if you've already seen or read about them (chances are, you did!), it warms the heart to see those wonderful events again. And to think there are so many more stories such as those included, miracles happening every day!

I received an email once, from a woman who'd adopted an adorable kitten I had fostered. Maggie is a beautiful tortie, with semi-long hair, puffs and tufts all over. She's always had an endearing personality. But this Mom to Maggie was beside herself this time. Merely from the words in the email, you could feel the gratitude she felt for her now-grown, but still little kitty. She told of how she kept an electric pet drinking fountain in her office at home, and of the nightly ritual she had with her cats of spending time in the office and their lounging in there with her while she worked. She still keeps a tray of treats in there, refreshed daily, just for them.

One night she was finishing up and ready to go to bed, but Maggie was persistent about something behind the water fountain. Her mom finally went over to see what was going on, more so to appease Maggie than anything else. There she found the cause of Maggie's odd behavior; the cord had somehow split open - a spark or fire just waiting to happen. She unplugged the fountain and tossed it out. But she couldn't get over the what-if's; had Maggie not alerted her to that damaged cord, would they have had a fire? The mere thought of it is frightening, really unnerving. Thank god Maggie was there, and she noticed it.

As far as her mom is concerned, Maggie may very well have saved the lives of their household - Mom and Dad, and all her feline siblings as well. She received some extra treats, and tons of extra attention and loving for that night. And an appreciation that just simply goes beyond words. And yes, her mom considers Maggie a hero in their house!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Maxine's Dog

I just love Maxine, and her dog, too!

So Right, and Yet So Wrong

241 Cats Seized From Storage Space
I realize I might ruffle a few feathers, so to speak, but I hold strong views about some things, and these latest events only compel me to speak my piece. I am all for rescuing animals, caring for them, hopefully finding them homes. What I am not for, is a misguided attempt by some people who seem to feel that an animal is better off locked away in a cage (or carrier), with little to no stimulation or enjoyment. Or, stuffed away in a room or building with a zillion others to share tight and stressful quarters. To me, a shorter life is better than a long, miserable one.

Of course, this would require reasonable judgment on accessing whether it were to be a temporary, short-term situation, or an interminable one. It seems there are some people who are so compelled to "help" or "save", that they will go to extraordinary lengths to accomplish their goals. Those goals, of course, are in themselves noble and good. To care enough about our fellow creatures to give of oneself in assisting them to a better place in life is without question a great thing. Where I differ is on the degree, or the extent, of which this is accomplished. When these certain people go beyond reasonable and intelligent, it becomes a matter of no longer helping, but of harming.

The latest news, of this woman in Pasadena who was harboring almost 250 cats in carriers and cages in a storage unit, seems to be one of those cases. I can't imagine anyone in their right mind thinking this would be good for the cats. The story doesn't explain at all why she was doing this; perhaps she was attempting to save ferals from some local ordinance (or residents) that would doom them. Perhaps she had a soft spot for every stray she came across. Perhaps she was attempting her own rescue shelter, wanting in some way to make a difference for cats. We don't know how or why, we only know that she had an insane amount of cats in a small space, all caged, and they'd been there for awhile. She had volunteers who helped her, and it is mentioned that she would go there after midnight to feed them.

 After spending a lifetime with many different types of animals and learning about each and every one of their personalities, we found that it just made more sense to grow and work alongside them.
They have become part of a normal day. Someone who is there first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Over two decades of working alongside them professionally and personally, it only made sense to take it one step further and start a rescue. 
A creature who is there alongside you through happiness and joy, sadness and pain and does not once pass judgment on any mistakes that are made along the way.
They never to hold a grudge and never criticize.
A teacher that teaches us to be patient, kind and understanding.  A responsibility that is life long.
It is time to rescue those that have ended up in a situation undeserving to anything that lives and breathes and to continue a legacy that they taught us all those years ago
Help us to help them. 

Then there's the story that came out on Friday, of a woman from my neck of the woods, in Deer Park, Illinois. Apparently her estranged husband contacted authorities after he went there to pick up some of his things. Inside the house, authorities found 18 dead dogs, 2 dead birds, and 4 emaciated, dehydrated dogs, as well as 2 cats. She had been running a rescue out of this house, and from the husband's explanation, got in over her head, with finances and health as factors. The rescue closed a year ago, but there were still animals remaining there. Apparently the dogs died of starvation; the remaining animals are now being treated. The above quote I found on the website for the former rescue. Hard to believe, huh? And there are so many stories like these across the country, around the world.

These remind me of the post I wrote about in They Love Me, complete with what would probably be the same type of caring concern gone haywire. Now, I am all for TNR, and feral colonies. I am all for rescuing strays and finding them homes. I've been a part of such efforts myself. There is always a concern, though, that any efforts, by anyone, might eventually extend to the excessive, ultimately abusive form of behavior. Scientists and psychologists have begun to study the phenomenon, as they see it, to try and find some clues as to why it happens and perhaps also how to diagnose and treat the person who reaches this point of "helpfulness". They have found some interesting commonalities in these cases. Overwhelmingly, this kind of behavior is seen in women, although men are not immune. Very often these people are lonely, or isolated - either by circumstance, health, or self-imposed. And very often, this kind of behavior begins after a seriously stressful event in the person's life, such as death or divorce. What ensues is a once-passion for animals becomes an obsession, and whether through hoarding or rescue efforts gone awry - the animals suffer the consequences.

So, to say that these people are crazy - well, it could be partially true, just an exaggeration. Mentally off-balance, emotionally-challenged, psychologically damaged...these terms might apply. And surely psychology professionals have a plethora of terminology. I prefer to not use any labels, as I suspect in the final result each case is as different as the people involved. I believe there probably are certain events in life that might push someone over the line, from caring to compulsively "saving". And certainly in the case of the local woman here, if she ran into financial difficulties and couldn't care for the animals, it would be extremely difficult to find someone else to take on the animals should she have tried to find help. Everyone is filled to (if not over) capacity these days. I hope our criminal system, and society as a whole, can find better ways of handling these situations than locking someone up for a crime. To me, that's as bad as what they're accused of doing. Chances are, they need help themselves, and with the right kind could go back to being the wonderful, caring and involved people they once were.

But in the meantime, no one should ever condone the excessive kind of treatment of animals that some consider "helping". An immediate call to professionals, counselors, or if nothing else, then the authorities is required to discontinue this kind of abusive treatment of our beloved furry friends. May the animals who died rest in peace. Let's hope the ones who've survived these situations find a bright future.
CBS Los Angeles
WGNTV News Video
Chicago Examiner

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I've Just Gotta Share

In visiting some of my furry friends, I found this most-unbelievably-awesome video I think you should really, really watch! If you'd like a little feel-good, AWW-inspiring moment...head on over to Neeko's blog, and check out the cool video about "Love on the beach". I was speechless after watching it! Truly pawsome!!
Thanks, Neeko, for showing us how great our animal world really is!

How Not to Wrap a Pet

You've probably already seen this viral video - "How to wrap a cat":

If you're considering giving a pet for a holiday gift, it's important to keep a few things in mind. For the pet who will be going home with you, as a gift for your family, a new family and home will be a wonderful gift. And the pet will be a wonderful gift for your family, as long as two things are in place. First, not all people are interested in the same kind of pet, and may not feel particularly welcoming to the new addition. It's important to be sure all in the home will be on board. And second, but no less important, is the reality of who will care for the pet. As a parent myself, I can't count how many times I heard the bargaining plea of "I promise I'll take care of it!" Yeah, right. Pets are a lifetime responsibility, and they do require some effort. If you are a parent and wishing to provide your children with the wonderful experience of a pet in their home - I'm completely behind you. Just remember, you'll probably be the one doing much, if not all, of the work.

 If you're looking to give a pet to someone outside your own household, give them a gift certificate for one. If the shelter or rescue you will probably be getting one from doesn't offer certificates, make one yourself. Even just a little note inside a card works perfectly well. The reason for a certificate? As much as you may know about what your friend, relative, whoever will be getting the pet would like, there is nothing that can replace chemistry. This means, that person personally meeting just the right pet. So for their sake and for the pet's, it's best to not actually hand them a dog or cat. It's much better to wrap up a stuffed animal, with a note attached saying you'd like to give them one that breathes, than to give them an actual pet that they might not be comfortable with.

If you're thinking of giving a pet to children who aren't your own, unless you've cleared it with their parents, again it's not a good idea. I've known of children who were given wonderful pets for gifts by well-meaning relatives, only for those pets to end up homeless - in shelters or just dumped. Not everyone is interested in adding a pet to their home, and it's crucial to make sure you have full blessings from the parents first. As for choosing pets who will be living with children, it's always imperative to make sure the pets you are considering get along very well with kids. If there is any doubt, or if it is unknown how the pets will be with children, scratch them off the list of possibilities. Better to be safe than sorry, for everyone involved.

Many shelters and rescues will not allow you to adopt for someone else. They will gladly let you be the one giving the pet, but first require that the people involved, both adults and children, be present to meet the pet to ensure that all are interested in bringing it home, and that there will be a good match between animal and people. This is not overkill, there is a very good reason for shelters requiring this. Too many times, one family member will be very interested in a pet, but someone else in the home will be quite adamantly against the animal, or simply prefers that it would be a different one. This can create a stressful situation in the home, and for the pet as well. Surely you're not wishing to gift this!  So for everyone's sake, ensure that the people who will actually be living with and caring for the pet meet with the animal first, before any adoption.  

Finally, RESIST THE URGE to swoop up one of those adorable, big-eyed pups peering at you from those pet stores. Some stores, such as Petsmart and Petco, as well as some independent stores, offer pets through rescue groups and shelters. These are homeless pets in need of a home. Stores such as Petland may use terminology such as "adopt" and "needing a home", but what they offer are puppy mill dogs. Not only will you pay a ridiculous price for one, you run a higher chance of getting a dog that is not healthy or worse. And you will be supporting those nasty puppy mills that should not even be in business. So make absolutely sure the pet you are adopting is indeed a rescue. It's easy to remember:  Adopt, don't Shop.

Some people recommend to wait until after the holidays before bringing home a pet. If you're going to be heavily entertaining, going out of town for a trip, or know you will simply be overwhelmed with activities and things to do, then this would be wise advice to heed. If you're going to be having a relatively quiet holiday, and will be around home for the most part, I think this would be an ideal time to bring home a new pet. Many people are home more than usual over the holidays, with extra days off of work in addition to the holidays themselves, so it affords more time for everyone to get to know each other - and enjoy each other! 

The one dog my family ever had while I was growing up, my dad brought home from the shelter a day before Christmas. It was the best present "Santa" ever gave us, and it came via Dad, tucked inside his jacket for warmth as he came in the door with our surprise present. We kids surely never regretted that dog or the timing for a second, and my parents never minded the new puppy underfoot that holiday season. The whole family had been wanting a dog for some time. We gave a pup a home for the holidays. It was a wonderful Christmas. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Saturday Squirt

funny pictures - nom
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Happy Caturday!

It's another Saturday Pet Blogger Hop, courtesy of Two Little Cavaliers, Life with Dogs and Confessions of the Plume - be sure to enjoy some of the great blogs from the list below!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In Honor of: Cat Herders Day


Well, furry friends, I'm sure you can secretary is out - not just to lunch (although she's been accused of that figuratively many times BOL), but out of the office for a couple of days.  She says she has some important business to attend to.  Ahem.  And what am I?  Chopped liver???

Anyway, I'll be back soon enough, with some fun new stuff.  I've received some awesome goodies (yep, won them in the giveaways!!) that I want to show you, some cool things to celebrate, and of course the usual order of business.  Hey, Mom!!  Don't forget to get a camera!  Sheesh, I'm tellin' ya, she'd be l-o-s-t without me.  And yes, I need a spa day, too.  She might have a busy schedule, but I have needs.

Hope you're having a good week!
CindyLu ^'..'^

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Big Cat Christmas

This is a wonderful organization, Big Cat Rescue, please support them!

Please note:  If you have young children present, or you are sensitive to images of an animal eating a carcass, please be advised there is a segment in here, at about 1:20, you might wish to avoid.

Can you imagine having one of these kitties in your home?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wishing Our Dear Friends a White Christmas

Chandler, Rascal, Bo - and Gumdrop and Candy
xo xo xo xo xo

Going Too Far?

PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is a group that is known to have devout followers and equally devout enemies.  There is much about how PETA conducts its business that I do not care for, nor would promote.

However, I think its about time someone had the guts to get out there and say it like it is.  Enough of all our politically-correct terminology and euphemisms; there are too many people who just don't get the idea when presented the way it has been.  I applaud this ad, as shocking as it may be to some.  It delivers the message to home base, not somewhere out in left field.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Simon's Santa Claws

Yay!  It's Saturday Pet Blogger Hop Time!  Enjoy touring through the blogs...and have a great day!

Get a Pet? Get a Vet!

As a follow-up to my post on Tuesday, Shameful , about that sicko vet whose license has now been suspended, I wanted to emphasize the importance of a veterinarian's services for our pets, and what we as individuals can do to secure a great one for our fur-babies.
First, you need to determine what kind of services you'll be needing or desiring.  These days there are not only many veterinary practices to choose from, there are also choices on what type of practice.  Are you more comfortable with traditional or holistic approaches?  Will you be needing a specialist? Would you prefer a large practice, that incorporates various specialties or includes several vets, or a small and personal office?  

Although it's very difficult to determine fully whether a vet is not only qualified, but also dedicated to providing the best care for their clients, there are some basic things that can help you make your choice.  Referrals go a long way, no matter what you're talking about - and the more you find for the same vet, the more likely you'll be comfortable as well.  By referrals, I mean personal accounts by people you're familiar with, whether it's relatives, friends, coworkers or neighbors.  The same holds true for warnings from others.  When we first moved to our neighborhood, I heard from several people that the nearest animal hospital was the worst place you could take your pet, and to avoid it at all costs.  Guess what?  They were right.  Eventually I was able to learn of evidence that this was, indeed, a horrible place to entrust your pet's well-being to.  

On a different note, a suggestion was made for Angie's List.  Referral sites, whether they are from businesses or of a voluntary or nonprofit nature, could be a great starting point, a guide to find what you're looking for.  But as websites go, I personally would not solely trust any site for recommendations, simply because of the anonymity of the internet.  Who really gave the glowing reviews?  What really was the reason someone complained?  There isn't enough solid information for my liking (and call me paranoid, but I don't trust that some of it is even faked).  But it would certainly help for suggestions to consider.  And yes, Angie's List does offer information on veterinarians, too. So, checking this or a similar site could give you ideas on who to consider.

One reason it can be one of the most difficult tasks in determining a veterinarian's worthiness for your pet, is that the field is notoriously secretive about disciplinary actions and complaints.  Vets are usually regulated by the state they are doing business and licensed in.  Usually a state board, comprised of other veterinarians, is charged with the oversight of practitioners.  However, each state has their own setup.  A complaint can be formally filed with them; even the person filing, however, may never learn what the outcome of the investigation is.  For many though, after a rather lengthy period, the information will be posted publicly if there was a resulting disciplinary measure taken.  If a board finds that a vet did not perform according to required standards, there may be a fine, probation, suspension - or in the most severe cases, revoking of the license.  In my state of Illinois, I was able to find this information on the state website.  Not all states publish on the web, but many do.  Although the information from the board is minimal, and comprises what are probably the most severe cases documented, it at least helps you to rule out a vet with a record of repeated violations.

Aside from recommendations, much of your process in finding just the right vet will involve legwork by you.  It is highly recommended that once you narrow down who you might choose, you visit the vet's office in person and perhaps meet with the vet as well.  I think, more than any other means of determining the vet you prefer the best, is by gut feeling.  That voice inside of you tells you more than you usually pay attention to.  If you visit the office, check for cleanliness, approachability of the staff (perhaps the vet as well, but I wouldn't hold it against a vet for being too immersed in their attention to the pets at hand), and whether the office hours, fees, and any additional services fit with your expectations.  Once you do see the vet with your pet, you'll definitely know for sure how you feel, as you watch him/her and how your pet is handled, respected, and your sense that this vet will be your best solution if or when you need them.  

Just like with any other business, veterinary care can be offered by super-fantastic professionals, or mediocre to downright awful people.  Thankfully, the number of the latter is small.  Should you, however, find yourself in a situation where you believe your vet has either been negligent or worse, it's important to document everything you can and report the vet or situation.  For the sake of unknowing pet parents and their trusted charges, that is one thing we can do to minimize the "bad" people and their ability to harm other pets. You might not ever hear about the results of the case, you definitely won't be reimbursed for any expenses you feel you were wrongly charged or incurred due to the incident you file the complaint on, but you just might assist in the remedy of a vet who is either ill-advised or ill-behaved.  

We love our vets!  The practice we now go to I recommend to everyone I know; and I've heard from many who were extremely happy to have been given the recommendation.  They, too, are now thrilled.  It's worth the effort and time to do a thorough search for a vet you feel confident about.  And of course, it's ultimately extremely important for your pet!

And a reminder to anyone planning to take home a pet this holiday season - get a vet, then get a pet!  Knowing exactly who will care for your new pet, and being prepared before even bringing one home, will enable you to be the best pet parent you possibly could be.  In an emergency, there would be no rash dash to "any" vet, you'll have established your basic records making it easier and quicker for their office to assist you, and you'll have the peace of mind knowing you've done your homework.  Just like parents with human kids, you want the best care for your pet.  And so will your chosen veterinarian!

A few helpful sites:

AVMA Choosing a Vet

Angie's List

Smart Money: Spending Ripoffs

State of Illinois Vet Board (example)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oh My Gosh, Well Merry Christmas!

After a five-year disappearance, Scrub has been reunited with his family. The poor guy apparently got lost after Hurricane Katrina. With no electricity, extreme heat, and the environment changing, he must have lost his compass and wandered away from Biloxi, Mississippi.
Scrub and his Human Brother
His human mom got a phone call from the Humane Society of South Mississippi, informing her they had a cat whose microchip listed them as his owners. When she replied, "You have my cat! Oh, my gosh!That cat has been missing for five years!", the employee of the shelter responded, "Oh, my gosh! Well, Merry Christmas!" For the last couple of months, a woman living about 15 miles away had been feeding Scrub, as a stray. She took him to the shelter when she began worrying about the cold weather coming on.  And the rest is his-story!

Speaking of, he must have one heck of a story, roaming out in the world for 5 years. He made it through, though, with apparently only a couple of minor wounds from it. He's now an older cat, no longer the two year old spunky boy he was when his family last saw him. But he's back, sleeping under the covers with the human sons, and I''m sure very happy to be indoors at this time of year.

Gotta love a happy ending!

Source: The Sun Herald

Lennon Lives On

How much have we learned in the past 30 years? How much have we done to honor his cause?

(Reposting this one), may the world consider John's words...

Peace, my friends!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Let me preface this by saying, with all my heart, there are some really fantastic, extremely competent and dedicated vets.
 This, however, is not about them. 

This is one of those occasions where I'm both appalled, yet also not surprised. Sounds strange to even say it, but it's true. Having dealt with a variety of veterinarians, both from a personal standpoint as well as through a rescue group, I've seen just how inept some vets can be – and how little can be done if they are.

This dog's ear was allegedly bitten off in a dog fight.

I've had experiences where a vet, rather than attempt to consider a different line of treatment, simply blamed it on the person bringing in the pet. That actually happened with me. We were fostering a tiny kitten, a little guy who was miserably sick with an upper-respiratory infection that not only was not getting any better over time, it was getting worse. He had a hard time just breathing, didn't care to eat, and was lethargic. Being new to fostering, and knowing next to zip about cats' health issues, I wasn't aware of much; I relied on the vet one hundred percent. After weeks of treating this little kitten with the same antibiotic prescribed for him over and over, after caring for him following doc's orders to a tee, all I heard from the vet was that I must not be taking care of him properly. That was a last straw. My kids and I had practically been living in the bathroom, taking turns to have him in there while we showered, or just to hold him near the bathroom sink with hot water running, for the steam to help him breathe. We microwaved his baby food, and spoon-fed it to him in the bathroom with the extra steam. We held him, sang to him, talked to him. Nothing was changing, other than he seemed sicker. And yes, we gave him his meds, religiously.

Fortunately, the person in charge of the cat team for our rescue knew us well, and knew that we would indeed be doing everything possible. This vet had already prescribed the same, basic, antibiotic for a third time, even though the kitten was getting sicker. The rescue sent us to a different vet. Immediately upon examination, she told me she thought the little guy might not really be suffering from an upper-respiratory infection, so much as pneumonia. She prescribed a different antibiotic, and insisted I call her the very next afternoon. When I called to report that he already seemed a bit better, we both were thrilled. But I doubt she would know just how thrilled I was! This second vet then asked for another check in a couple days, along with prescribing a different med that would definitely work well with what she suspected. Our little guy got better. God knows, he probably would not have lived if we'd continued with that other vet.

Over time we experienced other issues with a couple vets, things that no one in their right mind, let alone professionals, would do or neglect to do with animals in their care. There was one group of vets that blatantly neglected the animals or managed them in a manner to the point of making them sick; which then would require their services (read that as $$$). When our group attempted to sit down and discuss these things with them, they were arrogant, resistant, and frustratingly without concern for the welfare of animals. We stopped all dealings with them. There are plenty of vets in town; when you're looking at a sick animal, there's only one of them. And what we found out in the process of all this, was that it's next to impossible to see to it that incompetent, let alone outright greedy, sick vets, do not practice. There's virtually no system that will even procure the proverbial slap on the wrist. Is there an agency that oversees veterinarians? Yes. Is there a process through which one can complain, pointing out where and how one feels a vet is acting improperly, not practicing good medicine? Yes. What happens when one complains about such a vet? Usually very little to nothing.

And so, this story about a vet who was beyond reprehensible doesn't surprise me. There are sickos out there. And there is a process for removing the license, even if for a suspension, or enacting fines. But what happens in reality? Those sickos continue to practice.


In the past:

Dr. Gary Friederich's license first was suspended from September 1988 until March 1989, and he was put on probation from March 1989 until September 1991. 

Friederich was reprimanded in 1992 for failing to provide a pet with 24-hour intensive care as well as failing to keep complete patient records, and he was on probation from January 1997 until July 1999.
Friederich was put on probation again from April 2002 until April 2004 for failing to keep adoption records for two cats and failing to provide documentation about the care of a 15-month-old Shih Tzu.
*First Published: Dec 3, 2010 NBC

The current events occurred because of a five-month long investigation by the sheriff's department, after many complaints against him, and included undercover officers acting as dog-fighters. Dr. Friederich agreed to see dogs brought to him that had allegedly been used in dog fights, requesting they come through the back door so as to not be seen by others. The officers went so far as to detail the fights in their conversations with him. He agreed to treat the dogs, even told them they'd be good for fighting again. Although he charged for vaccinations and spays, he did not treat the pets for those, but sent them on their way with documentation asserting he had done so. He did not report the dog fighting. Furthermore, when examined by another vet afterward, the dogs were found to have contracted fleas and kennel cough from their stay in his practice.

Dog with bitten ear

Dr. Friederich's license is now suspended; he has a court hearing on January 31, 2011. It took something this extreme to stop this vet from his business; why must we wait until there are such dramatic or extensive circumstances? Isn't one dog's, or one cat's, life enough? Yes, things sometimes just don't go as they should with procedures and surgeries. But egregious mistakes, results, or behavior are nowhere in that category.  

I only hope that this time we see some teeth. 

It's hard to believe that people who go through the many years and all the work it takes to become a vet to care for animals, could have so little regard for them.

Photo Source: 
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