Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Well, summer is moving right along, is it not?  I'm having a hard time believing that July is over half over, but it is.  The calendar insists that it is.

As was inevitable, I took the kittens back to the shelter earlier in the month.  The three girls were spayed, the boy was neutered, and they were put up for adoption.  They actually were chosen to go into one of the Petcos...  and it just so happened to be the Petco nearest me!

So I've shown up a few times to see the "foster kids."

Or rather, the foster kid, singular, at least now.  Jeannie, Storm and Logan were all adopted (by separate people) but poor Rogue remains.  She's sharing her cage with another kitten, at least, and I know that she gets to run around the "cat room" for several hours a day.  So she's got a pretty good life.  But of course what we all hope for is for her to get a good home.

I don't know much about where the others went, but from the descriptions I have gotten, they got good homes.

I did not pick up another litter.  I think I need a break - kittens are adorable little fluffies, but they wore me out!  I also realized that they tend to aggravate my natural tendency to fuss and worry over them.  Were they eating enough?  Were they gaining weight fast enough?   All things that everyone has to consider, after all we don't want kittens wasting away if there's a medical cure, but I will admit in hindsight that I might have been a little over the top.  Particularly with Jeannie, who was so tiny and frail in the beginning.  (She caught up with her siblings by being the most voracious eater of the bunch!)

Anyway, it's been more of trying to avoid the heat for us.  Although it HAS gotten cooler over the past few days.  Not like the beginning of July was...  that was pretty miserable.  Not that it can't get that way again, but the heat in Pennsylvania TENDS to cap off in the high 80's.  Not the high 90's, whatever that crap was a couple of weeks ago.


One thing that we did, was finally purchase a couple of pictures of the dogs, that were taken by photographer Mike Malat, at Greyhounds in Gettysburg last April.  I've never been able to get photos of our dogs in motion, since my camera isn't really up to the task.  But... here are the two that we have purchased so far.  There's plenty more to choose from, and they're all very good, but there's only so much cash I can set aside at one time!

I am amazed that the pictures of Argos turned out so well.  I guess I should never discount the abilities of a good photographer.  He refused to actually run... to the point that the person with the speed gun didn't even get a read on him.

I'm actually surprised that there were any moments that did not involve him peeing on various sections of the fence, LOL.

But here he looks happy and somewhat goofy.  This is the boy that I know and love.

And Maera, during her speed run.  Unlike Argos, she was straining at the end of her leash, DESPERATE to be allowed to run.

I think that this shot captured some of the intensity in her eyes.

She was so excited and so proud of herself.  I was happy to see her so confident and showing off...  I can remember last fall, giving her the chance to run with some other greyhounds at a HUGE dog park, but she was so frightened of the new surroundings and everybody else, that she stayed glued to our hips the entire time.

I wondered at that time if I would ever get to see her run.

Unfortunately, the cats don't get a professional photographer, because they simply refuse to go out in the car.  So they have to make do with my photos here at home.

Here is Bit, who got left out of the last post because of her insistence on staying in the super-hot attic.  This is the Bit-o-vator.  She waits for you to come up from the basement with a load of laundry, and then leaps into it as you're already staggering up the stairs.  And then cries imperiously, demanding that you carry her all the way up to the second floor.  Bossy little creature.

And Annie, who is supervising me.  What might not be immediately obvious is that the laptop computer is indeed on my lap.  Annie was keeping a close eye on what I was doing.  Which I believe was refreshing my memory on making deviled eggs for a birthday party we were attending later that day.

You might notice the cream colored slip-cover on my couch in the background.  The couch WAS green, but our trio of cats scratched it up really badly when we first got them.  I finally got around to getting a cover... which looks nice.  But was the dumbest thing I've done in a long time.  How long do you think it was before it had muddy dog prints all over it?

Never, never, get cream or white if you have dogs.  It's supposed to be scotch guarded, and so far the stains have come out pretty well, though.  So maybe it's not a completely loss!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy Gotcha Day, Maera!

It's Maera's first Gotcha Day!  We have now lived with her for an entire year.

And what a year it's been.

Maera is such a fun, high-spirited, young soul.  In the beginning, I'll admit that I was overwhelmed with her.  She was most emphatically NOT like Argos, and though I should have seen that coming, I guess that in the end it surprised me.  But as the weeks and months blurred together and moved forward, I fell in love with our youngest "daughter" and love her exactly the way that she is.  She is not Argos, she is MAERA, and I would not have it any other way.

Even when she still tries to steal my dinner the moment I am distracted.  Not that it would ever happen.  Right, Maera?

In the year that we've had her, Maera has come a long way.

Many of you were reading my blog back in the "early days" when I mentioned, with some consternation, that she peed on the floor EVERY time we left and came back home.  Submissive/excited urination is not completely uncommon in a young female dog, but those statistics mean nothing when it is your hardwood floor that is getting drenched in dog pee once a day, every day at a minimum.   I think we went through several gallons of Nature's Miracle enzymatic cleaner!   Thankfully she has largely gotten past that now.  We have the occasional accident, but it isn't the daily occurrence that it used to be.  Yay, Maera!

In the fall, we took both Maera and Argos through basic obedience training, offered through trainer Lilian Akin.  Maera learned a lot - and so did we. She learned that a "sit" was required to get a treat.  And now she sits all of the time.  Sometimes she sits without me telling her to, when she sees that I am eating something that she thinks she might want to try.  "See how good I am, Mom?  Can I have some of that?"  

She is so very eager to please, and this training class gave us the tools that we needed to be able to harness that eagerness.

At first, Maera started to show some worrisome tendencies to be afraid of other people... even other "dog people" who knew what they were doing, and knew to approach her in a non-threatening manner.    Jeff and I, she had decided, were just fine, but other people just freaked her out a little bit.  If someone would reach out to pet her, she'd shy away, or hide behind me.  Some of that was just unfortunate circumstance.  She was naturally shy around strangers.  Compound that with me getting terribly ill not too long after we got her... and then having bronchitis for several months afterward.  We didn't have very many house guests in that time period, so she wasn't actually exposed to very many people.   But as I got healthier, we started having more people over.  She's learned that other people (besides Jeff and I) can be good too, and now she LOVES seeing our friends come over because she gets extra attention and petting.  And now - I took her to a Meet & Greet at Petco just today, and was marveling at how open and friendly she was... to everyone.  It was pretty fantastic to witness, actually. There was no tucked tail, no hiding.  She'd take the initiative and walk right up and greet people.  It brought a tear to my eye to see how much confidence she has gained.

She's made such tremendous progress in one year's time... and we've had so much fun with her.  It's impossible to not be happy when she does the "getting the leash dance" or when she prances down the outside stairs, or when she races to the car, sooooo excited that she gets to go for a ride.  Her tail held aloft.  She greets the world with such enthusiasm and joy, the perfect antidote to my natural pessimistic streak.

I can't wait to see what she has in store for us in the next year!   Happy Gotcha Day, Maera-bean.  I couldn't be happier with you, and am so glad that we adopted you.   

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Slowing Down

Well, the kittens went back to the shelter on Saturday, and were spayed and neutered.  They're not up for adoption just yet... I've been avidly watching the website.  I know that this time of year, they may well be waiting for cage space somewhere to open up, whether that's at the shelter itself, or in one of the Petcos, Petsmarts, Petlands, and other off-site venues that we can use.

The part about fostering that I hate the most...  it's not the extra cleaning, the extra time, and the occasional inconvenience of taking care of tiny life-forms.  It's giving them back up when the time comes.  But as any foster parent knows, it must be done.  I simply cannot "foster fail" with four kittens, LOL.

Though this picture made me want to.  Good lord, she's adorable.  And don't get me wrong, the other three are as well, they just didn't give me such a good chance at a picture like this one.

You can almost sense the relief from my adult cats.  We're all slowing down.  I don't spend as much time cloistered away now that I'm not trying to socialize the babies.  They've started coming back upstairs again, and Charlotte has rediscovered our air-conditioned room.  She MUST like the air-conditioning, if she decided to go along with THIS.

Because whether Charlotte completely approves or not, the air-conditioned bedroom comes equipped with its own greyhounds if they are given any choice in it at all.  They MIGHT come into the study with us if we're working on our computers.  That is air-conditioned as well, but it's always hotter because of the equipment running.  But most of the time (and even as I type this) they're lounging on our bed.  Oh, and don't judge my messy headboard.  Isn't that what library headboards are for? Collecting junk?

The person who came and met Tom last weekend hasn't contacted me again, so I am going to assume that she isn't interested. (And I don't judge her for that at all.  I wish MORE people would put some thought into which animal was suited for them before adopting.)  But bummer.  I mean, he's perfectly content here, but I do know that it's better for everyone, including and especially him, that he gets his OWN home.

Tom is not amused
And Argos... poor Argos.  The lad has had a very rough week.  We've had a few short but violent thunderstorms, which always just terrify him out of his mind.  Then there was the Fourth of July, which was extra loud and boomy this year, and left him trembly.  Then there seems to be a lot of roadwork going on nearby, the sounds of the equipment are upsetting him.

Argos dreams of a world where there is far less inappropriate noise.
Unfortunately, he might be teaching Maera that thunderstorms are scary.  She'd been oblivious to them before.  But last night she was trembly and trying to climb into Argos's crate with him.  I lured her out with treats, and I could see her wavering.  She'd tuck her tail and start to tremble, then look over at the food, and lick her chops and go for it, forgetting to keep her tail tucked and forgetting that she was scared.  Then she'd finish the treat, look over and see Argos freaking out, and start to tremble again.  Rinse.  Lather.  Repeat.

We're still trying to keep cool around here.  Over the weekend the weather got close to (or maybe slipped over?) 100 degrees, and it's just nasty.  I feel like I'm trying to swim in a bowl of hot soup when I leave the air-conditioning.  It DID drop to the upper 80's today, which makes it much more tolerable.  It's still muggy, but it does wonders for everyone's spirits to have it be that 10+ degrees cooler.  It's supposed to stay in the upper 80's all week, dipping lower at night, and for once I hope that the weatherfolk are correct.

Annie, keeping cool.
Bit doesn't get a photo.  Not that I don't love her, but because she is a freak.  She chooses to spend her days hanging out in the uber-hot sauna-like attic, and I am not going up there to get her.  She'll be down at dusk to demand food and attention, and may sleep with us in the AC at night, but will disappear up the stairs again tomorrow morning.  I will never understand that cat.