The dictionary defines the word gratitude – an appreciative awareness and thankfulness. I was surprised when I read that. When I use the word I feel something much more intense than those words seem to convey. So for my today’s post, I’d like to suggest that the word “gratitude” be defined as a deep abiding appreciation and thankfulness. Now with that in mind . . .
My plan for today’s post was to do an entirely GRATITUDE post. But a certain something came in the mail to me over the weekend and I can’t wait to share my pictures. Therefore, I shall do both today. And in fact, they go quite nicely together – the gratitude post and the pictures of what I received in the mail.
I try to let you – my daily dose Friends – know how much I appreciate you more often than just this one time of year at Thanksgiving. But certainly, with a holiday devoted entirely to thanks-giving and gratitude, it would be unthinkable for me to pass up the opportunity to give thanks for the blessings that come from all of you. So to anyone who is reading this now – THANK YOU. And if you read here more than occasionally – THANK YOU. And to those of you who leave comments of support – THANK YOU. If you are someone who reads here and doesn’t mind to Share on Facebook – THANK YOU. By hitting Share you increase the chances that a Winnie’s Wish kitty will end up in a home. To the couple of people who send their dollars to me to help keep this rescue work alive, THANK YOU (you know who you are)! To those of you who fulfill Wishes from the Winnie’s Wish Wish List – THANK YOU. Every single item that is delivered here is something I do not have to buy myself. This frees up precious dollars to keep this rescue and shelter going. To Andrea (Celestial Kitties) who is a constant cheerleader in her comments on this blog and the best FUNdraiser a shelter could have – THANK YOU. And to those amazing Friends out there who have a Winnie’s Wish kitty (or two, or three, or four!) living in their home – THANK YOU. The ONLY way more cats and kittens can be saved and given a chance at The Good Life is for wonderful people to adopt.
Now let me go back to a line in the above paragraph and pull out the word FUNdraiser. This past weekend, Andrea sent me one of the beds that she is now making to raise funds for Winnie’s Wish. I received the bed with a note that said someone had purchased a bed FOR the Winnie’s Wish kitties in the cathouse. So Andrea received the FUNds for the bed, and the Winnie’s Wishers received the bed! Rhonda, Orion, Sammy, and Emily sent this bed to the homeless gang here.
Rhonda, Orion, Sammy, and Emily – THANK YOU.
The rest of this post will be pictures of JUST HOW POPULAR this bed is. I opened the package in my home and set it out on the table. These first pictures are of my own cats trying it out and CLEARLY approving.
Jazzy won the bed that night.
The next day I took the bed to the cathouse. As you can plainly see, the Winnie’s Wishers had the same reaction to the bed that my own cats had. I don’t think there’s any doubt that Andrea’s FUNdraiser beds are a HIT!!
"Hey, what's this?"
Snowflake waits for Traci Mae to exit.
Peeta watches as Finnick gets a turn.
You can click here to learn more about the beds. Or click on the FUNdraiser graphic at the top of my sidebar.
At the end of last week I told you that a new sick little kitten had come into my life. I promised I would tell that story today (Tuesday) after having been out of town yesterday. Knowing how precarious each new “kitten situation” is, I was unsure what exactly I would be telling you today. He had a number of things wrong. I was very worried that I might start caring for him only to discover that he was one of those who is too far gone to make a recovery. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.
Last Wednesday Husband and I planned a shopping trip. We would go in the afternoon because it is just too difficult for me to get away before then. I finished up what I needed to, ate a quick lunch, and we headed out. Our plan was to drive to the town that is a little less than an hour from home. We would get our shopping done and then meet up with our two daughters for supper. We got lots accomplished and when the girls got off work they drove over and met us at a restaurant. Just after we ordered our food, Older Daughter reached into her pocket and announced an “Uh-Oh” dilemma without using words. The look on her face expressed the problem as she slowly pulled a credit card from her pocket and held it up for all to see. Younger Daughter immediately understood. They had shopped for shelter supplies that afternoon. The credit card was still in Older Daughter’s pocket when she locked up for the evening. Oh, well. In order to get home from where we were eating we would have to drive back by the shelter. She would stop and deliver the credit card to its rightful place. We ate our meal, the girls shared stories from the shelter, and then we all headed out to our separate vehicles.
Older Daughter got away first. Younger Daughter was next. We were the last to pull out. What I can say now is – Thank goodness Older Daughter had mistakenly brought that credit card with her. As Younger Daughter in her vehicle and Husband and I in our vehicle approached the shelter, we got back-to-back phone calls. Hey, pull in to the shelter. Got a problem.
Just as we were receiving our phone call, we saw Younger Daughter pulling in ahead of us. When we all got out of our vehicles, there was Older Daughter holding a kitten. Look what I found when I pulled up – she said. She and Younger Daughter had a short discussion about how this kitten must have been dumped as soon as it got dark. I heard Younger Daughter say – Well, we’re lucky we found it at all. It was just as likely to shoot behind the building as to stay out here in front. We all knew that behind the building there were dog runs the kitten could have ended up in, and behind those was a wooded area. Yes. It was VERY lucky that the kitten was still in the front on the parking lot. But there was another problem. This kitten was sick – really sick. Older Daughter looked at me and said – I know you just took Sprite to foster and you still have other fosters for the shelter. But I don’t want to take this little guy in and then go off and leave him. He’s really skinny and he clearly has an Upper Respiratory Disorder. Of course, there was no doubt as to what to do. I could get him started eating some small meals and shower him with love and attention. This would also give me a chance to see what all might be wrong with him. I jumped into the driver seat and handed our sick little guy to Husband. We drove home in the dark, talked a little about the kitten, and listened to the loud sound of his purring for most of the trip. There was an added bonus for Husband. This kitten is a lover. He pressed his face into Husband over and over, wiping his running eyes and nose all over Husband’s hand and the front of his shirt. Yum.
I got this baby all set up and fed him a tiny meal of kitten canned food with Viralys mixed in. He was skinny and hungry but he could hardly stay put for the diarrhea. He would rub on me, run to the food bowl, and then run to the litter box. Most of the time he didn’t even make it to the box. So we had liquid diarrhea, runny nose, running and crusted eyes, and starvation. I had Viralys for whatever was viral, Fortiflora for diarrhea, wormer, and nutritious food. My daughters would get him in the next day for antibiotic. Now I just had to hope he had come into our care in time. I’ve done this so many times that I knew going into it we could certainly still lose him.
That was last Wednesday night. Today is Tuesday. His Upper Respiratory condition is getting better. The diarrhea has completely subsided. He is eating like a horse. And all he wants in the world is to be in the presence of a human. I don’t know if he was dumped at the shelter or somehow found his way there (probably unlikely), but wow did this little guy ever need a helping hand! I’m SO grateful he ended up where he did. And what a stroke of luck that Older Daughter had to return that credit card to the shelter! I will continue to foster him to keep him healthy. Now meet Pilgrim.
(The first four pictures are from the night I got him. The last two pictures are from Sunday - you can see he's improving.)
Indulge me please. Let me mention (again) that the greatest thing that can happen here is a home for a Winnie’s Wisher. Here are the links for some posts about Winnie’s Wishers who are ready and waiting. Pick out your next best friend, or share with a wonderful person who would make a fantastic mom or dad to a Winnie’s Wish kitty. I’d love to place a Winnie’s Wisher into a wonderful Home for the Holidays.
If you’ve been “connected” in any way at all, you know that most of the U.S. is dealing with full-on WINTER weather. We had our first snow much earlier than usual on Sunday night. Then Monday night the temperature dropped to 14 degrees, with a windchill in the single digits. There are traffic problems, heating problems, even dangerous situations, for people all across the country. Of course, my thoughts also take me to the animals. Winter can make life inconvenient, uncomfortable, even dangerous, for people. And it can make life for stray animals pretty tough, too.
Waking up to the “too early” snow on Monday morning and the super cold temps yesterday morning, I couldn’t help but think about the homeless dogs and cats. During the previous week’s extra cold temps, a trip to town exposed me to a couple of cats scrunched into balls sitting under parked cars. I knew those cats were literally two of hundreds in that town. Some are people’s outdoor pets and have shelters they can get into and readily available food and water. But many, many others have no one looking out for them. Then yesterday evening, just as the sun was going down, my own dogs suddenly charged towards the window and started barking frantically. Husband and I went to the window to discover four dogs in our driveway. We went racing out but the dogs tucked their tails and took off at high speed. We noticed that two of them had collars on. These were not dogs we’d ever seen before. As they disappeared down the gravel road into the fading light I had to hope they were headed “home.” Because of my rescue work and kennel, people in this part of the county will sometimes call me if they are missing their dog. We received no calls, but because of the collars, I told myself those dogs would be OK. The problem was that it left me with that feeling I carry around all Winter long. There are stray dogs and cats who will spend the Winter trying to survive.
I look at my own dogs and cats and think about how lucky they are. They have a warm home to live in, plenty of food and fresh water, and people who love them. I think about the dogs I’m fostering who do not have a family of their own but who still have shelter, warmth, blankets, food, and water. And the cats in the cathouse – no family of their own, but a living space filled with cushions and blankets and beds and cat trees and food and water AND HEAT.
As crazy as it might sound, I carry a hope for NO homeless dogs or cats. I look to the day when spays and neuters are so commonplace that there is room for EVERY animal in a shelter somewhere if not in a home. I grew up hearing this saying: Why wish for a loaf of bread when you can wish for the grocery store? I’m going to keep wishing for a day when there are no more homeless dogs and cats. What I do here in my own rescue operation is like ONE DROP in the vast OCEAN. But all of you who have a dog or a cat in your life – you have contributed. Take a look at your precious furry family member and imagine if that animal was one of the strays out there in the world - struggling to survive without you. Stop and notice the next time that little creature is curled up in the warmth of your home. Or if you provide shelter, food, and water to an outside animal, imagine what life would be like for him or her if you didn’t provide. You are part of the answer. You give me hope. And for that, I thank you.
My Evers - who can pick any cozy surface in the entire house but chose to make THIS his nap place.
Sometimes the shelter where my daughters work has an animal who needs some extra TLC. Last week I told you about Canyon, the dog who had pretty much given up and fallen prey to depression. (He is doing fantastic, by the way.) Today I want to introduce you to Sprite. She is a young tortie cat with a chronic sinus problem.
Remember my Duchess? She is the cat that I had worked so hard to keep alive a few years ago. She was a shelter cat. Older Daughter was doing her internship at the shelter which now employs her when Duchess came in and was deathly sick. She came here so that I could give her around-the-clock care. She came very close to dying. When she finally pulled through and became healthy again, she went back to the shelter. She was sick off and on with an upper respiratory issue. No treatment seemed to keep her well for very long. Her nose would pack full and have to be cleaned out daily. This made it hard to eat. She was finally diagnosed with a chronic nasal issue. She sounds like a freight train when she breathes. There is no cure. But that’s not why Duchess is permanently with me now. It’s because after she came back from the dead while staying with me, she went back to the shelter and promptly fell into a depression. She was in an enclosure with several other cats. She LIVED on a top shelf in that enclosure and only came down to eat, drink, and use the litter box. The rest of the time, she sat way up high and didn’t move. She didn’t even look around. Except. . . when I visited. Whenever I stopped by the shelter, I would always go and find Duchess. I would say her name, she would look down at me and then start talking to me and reaching a front paw towards me. My heart broke EVERY time. She now lives with Quinn, Isis, and Goldie in my kennel office and cat room. She still has the chronic nasal condition and I have to clean her nose pretty much every day. I also prepare a slurry meal for her daily. She is no longer depressed; in fact, she has taken on a bit of a sense of entitlement. And that is 100% OK with me. I love her.
Duchess is showing how nice it is to have her nose cleaned.
I said all of that for this reason. Miss Sprite, who came to me this past weekend, has the same kind of chronic sinus condition that Duchess has. Like with Duchess, the vets have tried everything – antibiotics, antihistamines, etc. But Sprite’s nose packs every day, she can barely breathe through that nose, and she sounds like a freight train when she breathes. The only difference between Duchess and Sprite is that Sprite is not depressed. I believe when Duchess came back to life while fostering here with me, she became irreversibly attached to me. This is why she became depressed upon returning to the shelter. And this is why she needed to be here permanently. Sprite, on the other hand, was plenty happy at the shelter, but the poor thing can barely eat, she’s too thin, and she needs a place to relax and strengthen as much as possible for a while.
It was odd how it came about. You might remember that both of my daughters work at this shelter. Younger Daughter stopped by last Friday and visited me for a minute at the kennel. She went over and talked to Duchess. Then she turned to me and said – We have another Duchess at the shelter. I asked about it and she told a brief story about Sprite and her nose and then we moved on to another subject. The very next day, Older Daughter stopped by briefly and found me at the kennel. She went over and talked to Duchess and then turned to me and said – We have another Duchess at the shelter. She can’t breathe and it's possibly a lifelong thing. You know, I hadn’t thought of this until now, but I bet Sprite could use an extended stay here with you. Maybe she could put on some weight and just be in a smaller, calmer environment for a while. I told Older Daughter what a coincidence it was that she mentioned Sprite since her sister had just done the same thing the previous day. I told Older Daughter to make it so. Sprite came to me the next day.
Sprite will stay in the kennel office and cat room for as long as she needs to. We’ll see if this sinus condition can clear up in a different setting or if she is going to be a permanent freight train like Duchess. She’ll get the TLC she needs, hopefully put on a little weight, and relax into the peace of a less-populated environment. Then we’ll all hope for a permanent home for Sprite.
And tonight? We drop into the teens with a wind chill temp in the single digits.
Now here is a line I took from another blog – Want to help your kitties stay warm and cozy in a soft flannel beddy this winter AND help Winnie's Wish at the same time??
Just in time for The Holidays and the Winter Season! Andrea at Celestial Kitties is doing ANOTHER FUNdraiser for Winnie’s Wish! YIPPEE!!! Do PLEASE visit her blog to see what she’s doing now. She makes the greatest kitty toys, but that’s not what she’s making this time. It’s BEDS!!! Warm cozy wonderful kitty beds!!! (Yes, I’m overusing exclamation points. I’m excited, OK.) I’m not going to say much because the post Andrea did about this is perfect. Here are the pictures of the beds. Go to Andrea’s blog to find out all about them.
It’s hard to believe, but Nisha – one of the West Woods Gang – is moving into the “adoptables” list. This gal was the last to show up in this Fall’s strange discovery of cats living in the dense West Woods that butts up against our property. The four in this cat family made their way from those woods into my yard over a period of many weeks. (Nisha was the last to be caught but is the first of the group to tame.) Like the others, Nisha had ticks. And like the others, she was hungry and unaltered (obviously). The vet who did her spay surgery said she had already had multiple litters of kittens in her lifetime. There is no real indicator for how old she is. She appears to be a relatively young cat, but definitely at least two or three years old.
Here’s why someone should adopt Nisha. She is SO sweet. Not an aggressive bone in her body. No hissing. But talk? Oh, yes. This girl is a talker. She greets me at the door and talks to me off and on the entire time I’m working. She loves to be petted. She lets me hold her. The purring starts the minute I touch her or even look at her. She WANTS human attention. And she is BEAUTIFUL. This one is a winner all around.
Will you help me share this post? Wouldn’t it be wonderful for Nisha to get a Home for the Holidays!
Maybe you remember Toast and Slate, two Winnie’s Wish brothers who came in together with another brother (Smokey) and a sister (Snowflake). They have been here since the summer of 2013.
Slate and Toast
Smokey and Snowflake
The three boys eventually tamed and moved to the cathouse. Snowflake was much slower to tame, but has now moved to the cathouse as well. Toast and Slate were always a pair – Slate the more introverted one and Toast the more outgoing. I felt like Toast might do OK if he was adopted away from Slate, but I just didn’t feel like Slate would do well without Toast.
Then when Isaac moved into the cathouse, I watched a relationship develop between Isaac and Toast & Slate.
But that’s not where the development ended. Slowly, Slate became obsessed with Isaac. Toast still hung around, but I could tell there was less and less of a bond between the brothers. The bond now was definitely between Slate and Isaac, except that it was truly an obsession on Slate’s part. He followed Isaac everywhere, and luckily, Isaac didn’t seem to mind. In fact, Isaac often licks Slate on the head which Slate seems to think is pure heaven.
Then along came Finnick. Finnick, Peeta, and Prim are sibling kittens from this summer. Finnick and Peeta were neutered and I moved them to the cathouse. They were never really bonded, but they liked each other and played. However, once Finnick discovered Slate nothing else mattered in Finnick’s life. Finnick became obsessed with Slate. He is still obsessed with Slate.
So Slate is obsessed with Isaac and Isaac seems fine with it. Finnick is obsessed with Slate and Slate seems fine with it. Which brings me to the title of the post. I can officially say that Toast and Slate are no longer bonded. It’s not that they don’t like each other. They do. And they still romp with each other occasionally. But my desire had been to adopt Toast and Slate together to the same home because initially they needed each other (or certainly Slate needed Toast). I can no longer say that these two NEED to be adopted together. So I am officially UN-bonding the pair and releasing them to be adopted separately. Well, at least Toast could certainly be adopted without Slate. And Slate can be adopted without Toast. I’m not sure how Slate will get along without Isaac if Isaac should be chosen. And I’m not sure how Finnick will get along without Slate if Slate should be chosen. But we’ll cross those bridges when we get to them. For now, the captions under the sidebar pictures of Toast and Slate newly reflect their UN-bonded status. Let the adopting begin . . .
Last week, the shelter where my daughters work, along with some other shelters and rescues, answered a call for help. A shelter/sanctuary was closing and there were lots and lots of dogs who needed immediate placement. My daughters’ shelter would take what they could. Luckily, they’d just had several adoptions. This is why it is so important to adopt. Without those recent adoptions, they would not have been in the position to take as many of these dogs as they did.
A great Facebook page (which helps find homes for animals in shelters) ran the story. Here is some of what they reported: Local Shelter has operated as a shelter/sanctuary for several years. The owner has become overwhelmed with continual dogs being dumped or dropped off. Now elderly and in ill health, she is no longer home to care for these dogs even if she could manage it physically. This has left a great number of dogs in substandard conditions lacking much care and socializing in an urgent need to be moved. Many have been there penned or crated for several years. This is an EMERGENCY Closure/Evacuation for dogs in need of TLC and socializing.
This great FB page also ran pictures and descriptions of the dogs in this emergency situation. As my daughters were reading about each dog in need, they came across a description that broke their hearts: Sitting in the corner, 8-year old Canyon never moves. He just looks down mostly. He gave us a glance but that's where he stayed. After taking his photo I noticed his pen door didn't close. When I brought that up to the folks there, they said it doesn't close but not to worry, he never leaves his pen. I guess he thinks anything outside of the pen isn't worth seeing, why bother... nothing out there for Canyon. Can we show Canyon the world? Can we show him lots of love and attention and joy to lighten his old bones and put emotion on his face other than existing? Can we show Canyon that beyond the gate there are great things to see? Let’s get this old fella a Rescue please! Along with the description was this picture:
When my daughters first told me about the emergency evacuation of this shelter, I told them to let me know if they ended up with any dogs who needed “a little more.” I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that they told me immediately about Canyon. On the very day he arrived at the shelter, my daughters brought him here. I was to foster him and see if he could be brought out of his shell. The first 24 hours, all Canyon did was hide. If I was inside the building, he would go into his outside run. If I went outside, he hurried inside. On the second day, I decided to just sit on the floor beside his bed and talk to the flap between inside and outside. I could see him just on the outside of that doorway flap (the flaps are partially see-through). I kept talking. Finally, a nose pushed through at the edge of the flap. Then one eye. When he saw me sitting there on the floor, he ran to the end of his outside run. But eventually he came back. It took a lot of one-eyed viewing on Canyon’s part and a lot of sweet talking on my part, but Canyon finally got the courage to come in. He was very nervous. He would only look at the wall, but he allowed me to pet him and pet him and pet him.
The next day, after a couple of bolts to the outside run, Canyon got comfortable enough to stay inside while I went about my work in the kennel.
And on the fourth day . . . well, we arrived! Canyon stood up and wagged his tail when I came through the front door. I went into his run, sat beside him, and got my first kiss. We talked and hugged and this big ol guy tried to get in my lap. We’ve been friends ever since. Now he goes in and out with me. He ventures away from me briefly, even bounces around a little, then races back over and presses his body into my legs. If I sit down, he tries to crawl into my lap – EVERY time. His ears are up in curiosity position now instead of glued to his head in anxiety mode. I think Canyon has decided that life is worth living.
Hard to tell in this picture, but Canyon has his forehead pressed against mine.
Canyon is heartworm positive so he cannot be adopted yet. But he can be fostered in a home while going through treatment. Canyon is an 8-year old black lab mix with a graying muzzle - not the most adoptable description. My hope for Canyon is that some wonderful family will give him a shot at The Good Life. If there was ever a guy who deserved it, it’s Canyon!