Saturday, December 29, 2012

Playing in the Snow

I've been getting a lot of pictures of the dogs lately and not the cats.  Cat-lovers, I assure you that my cats are all OK.  I will have to dedicate a day to getting as many pictures of them as possible...  it's just so much easier with the dogs! Mostly because the dogs can't as easily escape my clutches, but we won't dwell on that point.

We've gotten quite a bit of snow the past couple of days.  We got about 3 inches the other day, and then I don't know... maybe another 5 or so today.  Even though Maera was with us last winter, I think that this is the most significant snowfall she's ever seen...  last winter was pretty light on the actual snow.

I got some terrific footage of the dogs running and playing in the snow, but then inadvertently deleted it.  (D'oh!)  So you're just going to have to take my word for it.  That, and I have some stills that I was able to get the next day.  They're not QUITE as excited about the snow now that it's deeper, but I think they're some nice shots anyway.

I can't remember if I said anything on the blog about this, but back in October, for my birthday, Jeff got me a real camera.  (Up until that point, every picture that I posted here was taken from my iPhone.  I now have a Rebel T3i.  I'm still learning to use it, and despite taking a camera class later in October, I'll admit that I'm still using the autofocus...  I need to practice doing everything manually, but NOT when some great pictures of my dogs are on the line.

ANYWAY,  please enjoy a Saturday afternoon at the House of Carnivores.  (There's even a cat picture, I promise.)

Argos, smiling for the camera

The higher Maera holds her tail, the more mischief she is planning.

Vampire attack!
And around and around they raced, frequently hiding behind the picnic table so that I couldn't get any really good action shots of them.  Because the clumsy two-legger for some reason can't trudge through six inches or more of snow very effectively while lugging a not so cheap camera.

Hahahaha, your vampire attack does nothing to me!!!

My Mama WHAT?

Maera, I am appalled!

Charlotte watches, fascinated, through the window.
I can't say that I'm a winter person, but I do like to watch them enjoying themselves in the snow.  Maybe these pictures will help get me through until May!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Things We Buy

I never knew how many things it was possible to buy for your pets, until I started adopting animals, that is.  There are SO many things out there to buy.  Things that you never knew existed, and now you just can't live without.

Like this:

Yes, yes, ignore the dark picture and my junk in the background (it's cleaning day and as a result everything is MORE messy than it even usually is.)

But this treasure of the post-modern age that you see is a baby gate.  That swings on hinges, so that you don't have to take it down every time you need to pass through.  AND THERE'S A KITTY DOOR IN IT.

It is the best pet investment we've made.  1.)  It keeps Maera out of the kitchen. (Sorry, Maera, you KNOW that you would wreak havoc in there.)  2.)  It's easy for me and Jeff to pass through.  3.)  It's easy for the cats to pass through. OMG, it has simplified my life.

Our guests must think that we're crazy for having baby gates up all over the house when we don't even have children, but life. is.  sweet.

Other things that we've bought that I would have sniggered about a few years ago:

1.  Electrical drinking fountains for both dogs and cats.  It started out as an attempt to get the cats to drink more water (a successful attempt, I might add.)  Then when we had such a hot summer, I wanted a plentiful, cool, and fresh source of water for the dogs while we weren't at home, so the dogs got their own fountain.  They're nice.  You have to watch them, though - they get algae and scum in the tiniest nooks and crannies, so they're more complicated to keep clean than a simple bowl.  Also, the dog fountain is LOUD when it runs out of water.  It will bring me running from upstairs to fill it just to shut it up.

2.  Coats for the dogs.  I used to laugh at people who had their dogs in coats, but now that I have thin-skinned, largely fatless greyhounds, I know that they need the extra layer for warmth, just like we do.

3.  Beds for dogs.  Good lord we have so many dog beds:  upstairs beds for the study, downstairs beds for the living room, beds in their crates.  You would think that we had 7 dogs instead of two.

4.  Dog toys.  They have a toy chest filled with them in our living room.  This is nearly all my fault... I just can't help myself.  They just get SO happy and excited when I bring home a new toy.

The latest are gigantic monkeys that honk when you squeeze them, and their feet and hands squeak. The cashier at Burlington Coat Factory, where I found these toys, was genuinely non-plussed when I bought them.  "What ARE those things?"  I think that she was silently questioning my sanity when I told her that they were dog toys.

5.  Multiple kinds of food.  To get our dogs to eat without complaint, we have to mix a certain amount of certain grain-free flavors of kibble (currently, we're using Merrick Grain-Free) with a little bit of canned dog food.  It has to be ground, mind you, because they're not enamored with chunks of meat.  The cats are little better - we have one that will only eat dry food and one that will only eat wet food.  Of course we almost always run out all at the same time, so as we're filling our cart at Petco with the 50 million kinds of pet food, we do get some strange looks.

But I would happily buy any of these things again and again.  Some just make life easier for all of us, others are certainly coddling my animals, but these guys have all had rough lives before landing in my house.  They deserve a little bit of coddling, eh?

There was a very nice man behind me in line at Petco today, whose eyes popped out when the cashier gave me my total:  I was after all buying a huge bag of dog kibble, an entire flat of canned dog food, and an entire cube of canned cat food, and a big bottle of glucosomine for Argos.  The man was buying a litter box.  He told me that there was a cat outside that was freezing, so he'd let him in and started feeding him and that he might as well stay.   He joked that he'd already spent a small fortune on food and supplies.  I told him that it was money well-spent, and that he was very kind to help out a cold, starving kitty.  And heck, if he can restrain himself from adopting multiple cats then jumping across the species line to adopt dogs, maybe he'll never see his grocery bill quite as high as mine.  :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Foster Success!

When we took our four 1-year-old foster kitties to the shelter clinic two Sundays ago, it was my plan for them to get their deworming medicine, and their distemper boosters, then bring them back home.  However, we were informed that there were cages open for them, so we left them there.

That moment is always sad, as you put an animal who has grown to trust you in a cage, shut the door, and walk away.  But it's part of fostering, unless you plan to "foster fail" every time, or have the luxury of adopting straight from your home.  (That IS technically an option here too, but my problem is, I don't have a network of people strong enough to make this an easy task.  If no one sees the cats, then no one adopts the cats, simple enough.)

That said, the four of them were moved to a "play cage" in the front room of the adoption floor a day later.  A day after THAT, Christina and Emily were adopted, together!  (You may remember this picture of the two of them.)

Edgar and Dante sat there for another week, but I found out that the two of them got adopted on Monday... TOGETHER!  That's so totally awesome that these guys got adopted in pairs.  They were all so BONDED to one another that it was just the perfect adoption story.

This is, of course, what all fostering is supposed to lead to.  There is still a bit of lingering sadness on my part, though.  I get so attached.  I'm glad they're in homes, don't get me wrong.  It's just bittersweet.

So here's a letter to my foster kitties, if they were able to read it.

Dear Christina and Emily, Edgar and Dante,

When I first saw you in the back room of the shelter, huddled in a pile together, staring out at me with round, terrified eyes, you broke my heart.  When I saw the note on your cage that your owner had died, my heart broke even more.  I had not intended to take home four of you, but there was no way that I was leaving you behind on that day.  I wanted to take you home, swaddle you up in warm, soft blankets, and reassure you that everything was going to turn out okay.

That's not the way that it happened, of course, it never is.  I got you home, let you out of your carriers, and you all hid under the bed from me for the next 24 hours.  Do you remember when you first came out?  It was when I popped open a new can of Friskee's pate.  Christina, ever the bold one, was first, but the rest of you followed suit. shortly after.  Edgar, you were trying so hard to be brave... you came out.  You may have been crawling on your belly, staring up at me like I was a monster, but you came out.

Over the next few days you all realized that I was harmless, and I spent many happy hours lying on the guest room bed with all of you on top of me, purring your hearts out.

And then you got sick.  I nursed you through it, held you in my arms, and yes, forced you to eat when you didn't want to.  I worried over you, convinced that you were all on death's door.  But you got better.

And through it all you showed me love and unquestioning faith in my abilities to take care of you.

And then I left you in a cage at the shelter.  I know that you didn't understand at the time, and that you might have felt scared and betrayed as you saw my retreating back.  I did it so that you could find your "forever homes," wherever those might be.  I did it for your good, even if I felt a twinge of guilt regardless.  Even if I cried in the car all the way home and made my husband take me out for comfort food that evening.

And now that I know that you're in your "forever homes."  It warms my heart, and I hope that you are with truly nice people, who will love you even more than I did, who will take care of you.  I hope that they let you sleep with them, and that they'll be delighted when you curl up beside them, purring and flashing your bellies.  I hope that you get lots of treats, and that I become a distant memory, and am then completely forgotten.

Because that's the way that fostering works.  We're only meant to be a port in the storm.  My job was to get you healthy and happy, to give you a warm, safe and loving place to stay until there was room for you.  I was not meant to keep you.

Bless you, sweet kitties.  I will think of you often.

Your Foster Mom

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Lady Down on her Luck

My parents are trying their best to locate a home for a stray that has wandered up onto their porch.  

She really needs to find a place before winter, because as anyone who has spent any time in Missouri in winter knows, it can get quite brutal there.  They can't take her in themselves, due to cat dynamics - their current cats don't like her.  

Edith Ann, as she has been named, has been on her own for quite some time, and has had a rough time of it.  Because of that, she's a little hissy and defensive at times, though would clearly LIKE to have a human of her own to trust, because she does like to be petted, and will purr if she gets any attention.  My own opinion, without having met her myself, just based on other cats I've known,  is that I'm sure that the hissy part would fade given time in a home of her own.

Can anyone help out this little lady?  She is currently living in the Kansas City, Missouri area.