Saturday, July 31, 2010

Home Renovations and Animals

These two things don't go together very well, for anyone who was actually wondering.

I decided that this weekend I was going to paint the stairwell and the upstairs hallway, because both areas got missed when we first bought the house and painted most of the rooms.  Last night, I taped everything off and put down drop cloths, then did some priming.

The animals were already in a bit of a tizz, because Jeff is out of town for the weekend and of course they don't like it when we're not here under their direct control!  But when I started moving stuff around and doing things they'd never seen before, they got really worried.

So we had to have a little session in the living room together, while I comforted everyone.  I had all of the animals in the room with me - something that rarely happens.  I had a squirt bottle close by in case Bit and Romeo got into it (and they did, twice) but otherwise was relaxing on the couch.

This morning, I started painting in earnest.  To be honest, most of the cats have completely ignored me today, though Bit supervised me for at least the first half of the day.  She'd sit at the top of the stairs or on the landing and watch me, with a worried look on her little face.  No telling what she thought I was doing...

Argos is actually the only one who had to be put away, and that wasn't until after lunch.  He was fascinated with the paint tray, and was making me nervous, since he kept pacing out and sniffing it.  So for about an hour, he had to be crated while I finished up with the first coat.

Anyway, as this is a pet blog and not a home renovation blog, I'll just say that I'm completely done with the first coat, and will probably go back in and do the second in the morning.  Until then... here's some pics from when I had them all in the living room with me last night...

Actually, I lied.  This particular picture was from Friday morning, when I was trying to go to work.  You can see that Argos doesn't really want me to go, hah.  He's good with the guilt trip.

Charlotte, wearing her "dubious face."

Annie, ever-watchful for someone new to trip.

Bit has developed a sudden fascination for my walking shoes.  No idea why, but she's been sitting beside them for most of the weekend.

Romeo, stealing the Argos's spot on the couch.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Only a cat...

Only a cat would think that it was acceptable to jump up on top of someone's computer desk while they were typing, lay down behind the keyboard, and then proceed to get angry at the sound of clicking keys...

I kid you not, that is exactly what Romeo did to me last night.  And he wasn't just annoyed at me typing, he was getting really angry!  He kept shooting hard glares at my hands.  I noticed, but didn't really think anything of it.  Then his tail started lashing violently, and he kept making little motions towards my hands like he wanted to rip them off.  When he stood up and laid his ears back at them,  I'd had about enough and decided that we needed to get him off of the desk before he did me serious injury!

Geez!  Talk about my animals trying to bully me.  So here is Romeo, not looking anywhere near as angry as he was last night.  

Then Annie kept jumping up into my lap every time I tried to get up, knowing that I wouldn't be able to resist her.  Really makes you wonder who rules the house, doesn't it?

Sorry for the odd angle from this picture, but you'll see that she is indeed on my lap.

The only other cat drama this weekend was a big oopsie on our parts...  Friday night, Jeff gave Charlotte her nightly dose of Lasix, and then twenty minutes later, I gave her a dose of Lasix for the night.  As soon as we realized our error (about half an hour later) Jeff called the emergency vet that has been treating her for her congestive heart failure to tell them what had happened and to get guidance on what to do next.  Luckily for us, there were no ill effects!  They just warned us that she would want to drink more and pee more, and that we should make sure that she had plenty of water available.  I'm so glad!  When we realized our error, I thought my heart was going to stop.  We've never had a medication malfunction before!

Saturday we went to Petco with Argos to do a Meet & Greet.  There were of course the usual people that wanted to pet him (and Isabelle, the other grey that was with us) but had no intention of adopting, but there were two groups of people that were really interested, and asked a lot of questions.  They both took brochures, so I hope that they apply to adopt and that it all works out!  I like thinking that I've played even a small role in someone's decision to adopt one of these fantastic dogs.  I've heard this before, and thought that it was awfully trite and cliche, but it's true...  it's difficult to know who rescued whom.  I just want for other people to feel the same thing.

Today was a quiet day.  I was home alone with the critters for most of the day.  This morning Jeff and I went down to the Waterfront to do some errands, but brought Argos with us!  Granted, this meant that Jeff did the errands while I walked Argos beside the Monongahela River, but it was all good.  Argos loves to walk in new places.

Here we are, on one of Pennsylvania's Rails to Trails....

All in all, a good weekend, Lasix malfunction and all...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Greyhound Rescue

So, this is not exactly breaking news in the greyhound world, but it was the soonest that I could write anything coherent about it.  There were 28 sighthounds, mostly greyhounds, rescued from a home near Fort Worth Texas.  Then they found a 29th shortly afterward, abandoned a few miles away from the location that the rest of the hounds were rescued from.   The article is at the link below, along with details about the conditions that these poor babies were in.

I say that this is the soonest that I could write anything coherent, because I felt nothing but blinding rage about the whole mess for days after I first stumbled upon it.  I simply do NOT understand how someone could do this to an animal, just do not.   I'm glad that these dogs are now safe with various rescue groups, but they should have never had to go through that in the first place.

We noticed that one of them, Pico, has the same sire as Argos does!  (Not that this is a tremendous feat, his sire has fathered well over 10,000 pups!)  Anyway, we felt it appropriate to help out the organization that has her, GALT, so sent a small donation.  I would have sent more if it were feasible for us, but it isn't at this time.

I tear up when I think about any dog having to live like that.  I look at my own boy, and see how much he's blossomed now that he's in a loving home; his coat has gotten softer,  his ribs have filled out...  I've noticed the little worry lines around his eyes smoothing out, and see what a willing, loving, affectionate companion that he has become.  I think of someone shoving him into a metal cage in a hot shed and depriving him of food and water, and I want to go on the war path.  Not on my watch.  Not now, not ever.

I really hope that they charge this person with animal cruelty, and that they give him whatever the maximum sentence for that is in Texas.  I hope that he never has animals again, so that we don't have to have a repeat of this in a few years.

God bless the groups that have taken on these animals, to clean them up, get them nursed back to health, and hopefully teach them that not all humans are cruel, sadistic bastards.  And of course to eventually find them loving homes, so that they too can become loving household companions, and have a chance at a contented, happy life.

Edit:  According to Pegasus News ( the breakdown is as follows:

Greyhound Adoption League of Texas took custody of nine of the dogs.
Greyhounds Unlimited took eight.
Texas Italian Greyhound Rescue took six
All Breed Rescue of Texas took two.
Collin County Humane Society took one.
Saluki Tree of Life Alliance took one
and finally, one is with It's a Grey Area.

I thought that I would post this information, as I'm sure that any of these groups need donations to help with these (and other) dogs.  If you're interested, I've just done the leg-work for you.  :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Greyhound Birthday Party

So, as promised, on Sunday we went to the annual greyhound birthday party, hosted by Steel City Greyhounds (of Pittsburgh) at the Lucky Paws Pet Resort.   It was a blast!  We had fun, Argos had fun, and the other 40+ dogs and their people looked like they had fun.

Here's a few pictures of how it went.  I admit that most of these were taken by my husband...  I was a little overwhelmed by the activity, and stopped taking pictures after I'd snapped a few just so that I could enjoy the afternoon.

The pool was a big hit with most of the dogs - I wish I could have gotten a picture of them all hitting the water at once, but no mere mortal could have fished a camera out of a purse in that amount of time!

Argos, for one, loved it, and used it to cool down a few times.

Here's a small cluster of them, resting.  You can see "our boy" front and right.

And here's some very short footage of a bunch of them together, including
the 'gos.  They're not going full greyhound speed because they'd been at it for nearly an hour at this point.

Argos finally "deigned" to return to me, for towel dryings and drinking water.

And then we all went inside for birthday treats!  Argos wore this hat for all of ten minutes before he gored someone like a deranged unicorn when he was trying to get his head scritched.  

By the time we left, he was practically crawling into my lap, he was so overwhelmed.  I have noticed that we usually have a two-hour window with him before he gets tired.  He slept all the way home in the car, not even stirring all that much when we went through a McDonald's drive-through.  

And then once we got home, he slept for most of the evening, only reluctantly going outside for potty breaks.  

It was a good day, and I can't wait to go back to the pet resort some day.  I know that their yard and pool are open to the public, so we could take him any time we liked.  

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Status of the House

I thought that today might be a good time to recap how life is going in the House of Carnivores... some of you may remember that things went all topsy turvey back over Memorial Day weekend when we introduced a new cat to the mix.

The Cat Wars:  Are unfortunately, still going on strong.  Though like my last cat update, it's cooled to the point that there are long stretches of "cold war" where everyone is sitting around glaring at one another.  The biggest thing that we have to worry about is one of them (probably Romeo) parking his sweet self next to the food and water dishes and growling at any of the others if they get anywhere near him.  We've had to set up a secondary food and water "station" so that no one goes hungry, or especially thirsty.  This, I hope, is a temporary measure.

Romeo and Bit are still the two that are most at each other's throats.  They wake us up at least once a night with a screaming fight.  I've read all of the cat literature, and know that this too shall pass, but I could cheerfully toss one or both of them out the window some days!  Why could we not have more sociable cats?  We just happen to be "lucky" enough to have some very strong personalities in our house.  Unfortunately that  means that no one wants to back down and be the low-cat-on-the-totem-pole.

Other Romeo News:  When Romeo is not engaged in warfare with Bit, he is a very affectionate cat, who loves humans.  He has slept in on our bed most nights this week, much to the consternation of the others.  Here's a true story:  I got up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom.  When I came back to bed a minute later, he'd already oozed, cat-style, over my place in the bed.  I sighed, and resigned myself to having to curl up around him, which is certainly what the others would have made me do!  But he made a little meow of greeting, and then scooted over closer to my husband, giving me about six more inches of space.  What a gentleman!

Charlotte:  Every once in awhile, I like to make a Charlotte update, and I'm happy to say that she is fine, and that her heart condition doesn't seem to be bothering her right now.  For those that haven't read my description of the blog, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure about a year and a half ago.  We've been giving her Lasix and Benazepril daily, with a dose of liquid baby aspirin (from the compounding pharmacy) every three days ever since her diagnosis.  We were told that she would probably only live another six months to a year, so she's already outlived their expectations.  Every day that we still have her is a good day.  

Argos:  Last weekend, we got to go on a "Hound Hike" put on by some of the people who have adopted a greyhound through Steel City Greyhounds.  It was a lot of fun!  There were about a dozen dogs, all told, along with their assorted humans.  Two of them were adoptables from SCG!  And while I was tempted to take one of them, we're full up, and I noticed on SCG's website that they got adopted this week anyway.  We walked through Oakland, one of Pittsburgh's neighborhoods, and on into Schenley Park before we decided to turn back due to the heat.  The dogs had fun, and we got some attention from other people, always a good thing!

Tomorrow, SCG is putting on a birthday party for all of the hounds, which should be great fun.  It's at the Lucky Paws Pet Resort, which has a large doggie pool for them to play in outside, weather permitting.  I will be sure to take pictures, which I normally tend to forget...

Charlotte, sleeping.  Yes, that lump she is lying upon is me.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Argos has been evolving while we weren't looking, apparently, and not necessarily for the better.

It all began at the end of last weekend, when the cat that we were cat-sitting left with her human on Monday night...  she hadn't finished all of her canned cat food, or "gushey food," as we call it.  They preferred not to transport an open saucer of nasty-smelling cat food with them, so I reassured them that it would be fine, that I had four cats that wandered in and out of that room, and that it would probably be eaten by morning.  Problem solved, right?  Ha ha, no.

Argos figured out that there was a plate of gushey food in the guest room right before we went to bed for the night, and was fascinated with it.  We told him "no," and then finally got him crated, so it wasn't a problem for the night.

However, the cats were not keeping up their end of the bargain - they did not eat any of it!  (To be fair, there are at least two of them that don't like it.  And the one that does, Bit, has been in a snit since we got Romeo, and was probably too busy tormenting him to eat it.  And Romeo was too busy being tormented by Bit to eat it, even if he may have been inclined.)

The next morning, Jeff got up to take Argos down for his breakfast, and I started getting ready for work. At one point I had to go down to the basement to get clothes, and when I came up, I realized that Argos had vanished.

In fact, he had tip-toed upstairs, and was happily eating the gushey food when I found him.  Tip-toed.  The dog that I thought was incapable of going upstairs without sounding like a freight train had tip-toed upstairs to get food that he knew he wasn't supposed to have!  I reprimanded him, then took him back downstairs, only to have him try to sneak up there again the next time I turned my back.

I didn't know whether to laugh or be dismayed!  I don't think he's ever tried to be deceptive before; probably because there was never anything that he particularly wanted that I was trying to keep him away from.  On the one hand, I'm glad that he's starting to think for himself a little bit.  He is an enormous velcro-dog, and seems to be half afraid to leave our sides for too long.  On the other, blatant disobedience can never be a good thing.

He's back to being his regular self, now that the gushy food has been consumed and is no longer a temptation.

And here's a picture of Argos, who looks like he would never do such a thing!  His alertness was my first clue that my husband was coming up the walk.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Walking the Dog

Those of you who know greyhounds know that it is not safe to have them off of the leash in an unfenced area...  they have enough of a prey drive that they may decide to chase a bunny, squirrel, paper cup, etc., and they can run much MUCH faster than you.  You'll never catch them and they run the risk of getting hit by a car.  So yeah, greyhounds must be leashed if you don't have a fenced in yard for them.

We don't have a fenced in yard.  That is going to be remedied shortly:  tomorrow I will call the fencing company that gave us a quote and tell them that we want to hire them.  I know that they're really busy, so might not be able to get to us for a few weeks.  Fine.  (I've mentioned it before on this blog, but had to wait until we got a tree cut down as well as have a residential land surveyor come out and show us exactly what our property lines are.  Both of those things have happened, so we're ready to start! ) 

I'm really looking forward to having the yard for Argos.

Since we haven't had that, it means that we HAVE to take him for walks every day - once in the morning and once in the evening (this is in addition to potty breaks in the yard.)   There have been times that I haven't been too keen on it, but it doesn't matter... he needs exercise, and he needs to move, and he needs to be able to do his business outdoors.   And it's been good for us - good exercise, and honestly, very good bonding time with Argos.  It's how we've learned his quirks, his fears, and his interests, and it's how we've gotten him to trust us.

All of that being said, I'm sure that there will be times that we will let him into the yard instead of walking with him.  We'll be outside WITH him, just doing unstructured activities instead of walking on the leash.  What I don't want to happen is a reduction in bonding time with him.

What is a good mix of leash walking and yard playing?  I'm such a newbie at having a dog (yes, I had them as a kid, but that was a long time ago, and we did things much differently then) and don't really know.  What works for other people? 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Life

I am so glad that it's the weekend!  I know that last week was a short one, since I had Monday off for the holiday weekend, but those four days seemed to drag on and ON.

I've been reflecting on the way that our lives have gone since that day nearly two years ago that we brought our first two cats home from the Western Pennsylvania Animal Rescue League... Charlotte and Bit.   All of our animals have become such a large part of our lives, that I can't remember what life was like before them!

Last night was one of contentment, even if we were busy in the evening.  We're cat-sitting for a friend of ours, so her kitty is occupying the guest room.  The door is firmly shut because the last thing that any of these cats needs (hers or ours) is a confrontation.  I don't think that it would go well, because she is of course nervous about being in strange surroundings, and ours are still learning how to deal with Romeo, let alone another cat.

I think each of the girl cats woke me up once last night, seeking reassurance.  Thank God it was Friday night!  While Saturday is "my" weekend day to get up early with Argos, after we take care of potty breaks and eating breakfast, my tendency is to doze on the couch until it's time for our walk.  So I could catch up on the sleep that I lost petting cats!  Romeo was the one cat who did NOT wake me up, and that is probably largely due to the fact that Bit won't let him in the bedroom.  (Little bully.)

Jeff did carry him in the other night and put him on the bed with us.  His tendency is, if we put him in there with us, he'll stay there for most of the night.

So anyway, an evening spent with my cats, followed by a morning snuggling with Argos on the couch.

Seriously, does it get any better than this?

So... here's some pictures of the carnivores, or at least the ones that would cooperate with me.

Argos, asking if he can pretty please have a cookie.
And here are Annie and Bit, apparently both desperate to lay beside fresh pineapples.  Weirdos.

Romeo and Charlotte are being less cooperative with the camera.  Perhaps tomorrow they'll pose...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Staying Cool (or not)

Wow, the weather is really hot this week... it's in the 90's and super humid.  (I know that there are people in places that get much hotter - but for Western Pennsylvania, this is as bad as it gets!)

We have a 100 year old house that never got a forced air system, which means... no central air-conditioning!  We have a really nice air-conditioner unit in the bedroom, and a smaller, less potent one for the computer room, but the rest of the house is HOT, even with windows open, ceiling fans, and box fans in just about every room.

Argos has figured out that there are "cool rooms" and tries his best to hang out in there.  He'll reluctantly go downstairs if we do, but he casts longing glances back at the staircase the entire time that we're down there.

The cats either aren't that bright, or else they truly don't mind the heat - it's like they seek out the hottest rooms of the house, and then dramatically drape themselves over furniture and just look like they're hot and miserable.  I try to carry them to one of the air-conditioned rooms, but they rarely stay.  Little goobers.  So I've put bowls of water throughout the house to make sure that everybody stays hydrated.

Tonight Argos was outside with me while I was watering the flower beds, so I turned the hose on him and soaked him down.  Normally, he protests something like this, but tonight he just stood there for it, looking vaguely pleased.  Once we got inside, he didn't even try to shake off! 

Now we're up in the computer room, with the so-so air-conditioning, and getting ready to move into the bedroom, which is nice and cool and wonderful to sleep in.

Anyway, there isn't much going on that's blog-worthy this week, at least so far.  The cats still don't like each other (surprise surprise) but there's fewer outbreaks of actual warfare, and more sitting around and glaring at one another, cold-war style.  I guess that it's a step in the right direction, though of course I would much rather that everyone was getting along and having a great time together.  Is this a pipe dream?  (It very well may be, I realize that.)   So I'll settle for... everyone being in the same room without growling.  Let's try that for a nice, easily achievable goal and then work from there.

Oh, and here's a picture of Romeo, saying "Give me some sugar, baby."