Sunday, November 28, 2010

Adoptable Hounds

There are some new greyhounds up for adoption over at Steel City Greyhounds.  I created a separate blog for their available dogs, and just made a new post about the current "batch."  They're all litter-mates!

Here's a link:

Also, only a couple of days left in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge!  Won't you vote for us again?  We're in eleventh place, and need to drop at least one more to tenth to get the grant money!

Just click on the button on the right-hand side of my blog screen to take you to the page that allows you to vote. It costs you nothing but a couple of seconds of your time, but could make such a difference in the lives of ex-racing greyhounds!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello, readers!  And happy Thanksgiving to you.  Mine is essentially over, because we eat our feast early in the afternoon, but that doesn't mean that I can't pause and reflect on what makes me thankful.

1.  I am thankful for my family and friends, all of which have been so supportive of me over the years, even through my idiosyncrasies.

2.  Now that I've made the "encompasses all" statement, I would like to let it be known that I am especially thankful for my husband.  We celebrated ten years of marriage earlier in the month.  We're such a great team, and he really does bring out the best in me.  And he's great with the animals.  There's no one else that I would rather have with me in our house of carnivorous creatures.  :)

3.  I am thankful that we (humans and animals) have had reasonably good health this year.  Minor colds for the humans and a bladder infection for Romeo were the biggest worries.

4.  Which leads me to a biggie:  I'm thankful that we still have Charlotte.  The veterinarian predicted that she wouldn't even be alive at this point.  I know that we're on "bonus time" with her, and am so happy for every day that we have.

5.  And here's a big one:  in the middle of January, just about two weeks before Snowpocalpse buried Pittsburgh in over three feet of snow, we adopted Argos!  I remember how scared I was at the time that we were going to be horrible dog owners and that any day now, people were going to realize that and come and take him away from us.  I know.  Crazy stuff.

We have bonded over the year, having been through Snowpocalypse when he was still very new to us, the ever continuing Cat Wars, learning how to interact with one another, going on vacation with him, taking him to the dog park. And he has rewarded us tenfold with his affection and devotion.

So I am very thankful that we got to adopt him, and I know that he is very thankful to have a home, especially one with two people so very determined to spoil him rotten.

6.  And here's another biggie:  over Memorial Day weekend, we decided to give another cat a home.   As is my usual tendency, we wanted to give a home to a cat that might have a difficult time getting adopted otherwise.  We went out thinking that we were going to get an adult black cat, but wound up with Romeo instead.  Romeo was obese, seven years old, and was kind of glum (the guy HAD lost the only home he'd ever known, and was too large to be completely comfortable in a cage.)  He'd spent a long time with the shelter.  We brought him home.  We continue to have some adjustment issues with him, but we're willing to be as patient as it takes.  I have grown very fond of his quirky self, and am so thankful that we have him.

7.  And of course I don't want to leave Annie and Bit out, even if they haven't survived beyond what was expected of them, and even if we didn't adopt them this year.  :)  They're both sweet, affectionate cats, and they make my life a little bit brighter by being in it.

8.  I'm thankful that I found the pet blogging community - I have gotten levels of support that I could have only dreamed of!  You are such a great group of people, and I am thankful for every one of you!  Finally!  A group of people that doesn't make me feel somewhat freakish for loving animals as much as I do, or for having as many animals as I do.

I think that hits the high points!  I'm thankful for other things too, such as my job, etc., but I figured no one really wanted to hear about that.  :)

One more thing:  if you're reading this, and haven't done so already, would you vote for Steel City Greyhounds in the Pepsi Refresh challenge?  You can vote DAILY if you feel moved to do so.  We are at this point #12 in the 5K contest.  We need to drop two more ranks to at least #10 to get the grant money, and we have to do it by November 30, the last day of the contest.  So I hope that I'm not beating a dead horse (what a horrible phrase, must think of a different one) but if you would please, please vote that would be fantastic.  Let's give more of the gorgeous greyhounds something to be thankful for!  (There is a button that allows you to vote directly from this blog.  It's free, and only takes a couple of moments.)  I appreciate the help.  I know that many of you have already voted, and I am very thankful for it.  (See, another thing to be thankful for!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Hey, everyone -

I know that there are a lot of people from a lot of different places that land on this blog sometimes, and you might not necessarily be in Pittsburgh but I have a favor to ask of you!   If you've heard of the Pepsi Refresh Challenge, you know that they are going to provide grants to organizations, if they get enough votes.

The group that found Argos, my heart-dog for me, is one of the contestants in this contest, and I would very much like to see them get the much-needed boost!  Would you please vote for them?  They'll use the funds to take care of ex-racing greyhounds, in order to feed, house, and provide veterinary care for them until they find their forever homes.

They are in the 5K "bracket."  To make it easy, just go back to the main screen on my blog, and click on the button telling you to vote on the right side of the screen!

I (and Steel City Greyhounds AND the hounds themselves) thank you.  :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010


While we're on the topic of words, I would like to state that I hate the use of the word "it" when it applies to an animal.  When I talk about my animals, I always use the same pronouns that I would use for a person of the same gender.  He, she, him, her.   I find myself cringing, and sometimes even bristling, when people persist in calling my animals an "it" even when I have taken pains to introduce them by name, and to refer to said animal as "him" or "her."  "It" refers to a can of soup or a lampshade, not a treasured pet.

What got me started on this?  I had to call the emergency vet the other day (no, no emergencies, no worries!) but they are the ones that treat Charlotte for her heart condition, and I had a question about the medication.  The receptionist continued to call Charlotte an "it" throughout the entire conversation, which, quite frankly, pissed me off.  I tend to write it off when some joe on the street calls Argos an it, because who knows, they might not be an animal person, they might not realize what gender he is.  But someone working for a veterinarian's office?  C'mon.  It's not like the name Charlotte makes the cat's gender unclear.  Anyone who works with animals should feel enough empathy for them to grant them a status above that of a THING.

Because really, there are only two types of instance when I myself will call an animal an "it."  The first is if I'm not certain of the gender.  Using a sentence like, "Oh, I like your dog.  Does he or she like other dogs?" DOES sound kind of awkward.  So if I can't tell by quick observation, "it" will suffice, that is, until the person walking the dog gives me some clue about the animal's gender.

The other is if I'm talking about an animal in the generic sense.  "If you have a cat, please keep it in the house."  Again, saying "Please keep him or her in the house" sounds awkward.  It even sounds awkward when we're forced to throw that into a sentence about humans, and even moreso with animals.

Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill.   But I don't think so.  When we relegate a living creature to a "thing," then it matters less how we treat him or her.  (C'mon, in a post like this, like I'm going to refer to an animal as an "it.")  Things don't have rights, and if an animal doesn't have any expectation of having any rights at all, then it's okay for the Michael Vicks and Mary Bales of the world to abuse animals in any way that they see fit, for profit or for kicks.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pet Names

I think that the huge array of names that people give their pets is amazing.  We have much more freedom in naming our animals, as people are likely to be more tolerant of odd names than they would be with our children.  And I was just thinking (yes, probably overthinking) that there are several naming conventions for animals.  I've probably used most of them throughout my life.  So here is my collection of animal naming conventions, for a not-very-serious Saturday morning post.

Food names.  I have a friend who always uses food names for her animals.  "Salsa" and "Popcorn" are names that come to mind.  I started out with the food naming convention because I myself have used it:  I named my first cat Peanut.  I was four years old at the time.

Physical Feature names.  These are names that focus in on one of the animal's physical features.  Blackie, Onyx, Star, Blaze.   I've used this one as well:  a white cat became Snowball, and later, a nearly feral black and white cat with white paws became Boots.

Famous/Legendary/Mythical names.  This is a personal favorite of my husband's.  He picked out the name Argos for our greyhound after the hound that faithfully waited for Odysseus to return.  (Though I say that the hound got a raw deal out of life.)  I think that this is probably a favorite naming convention.  I've met dogs named Loki, Thor, Odin, and I'm sure that there are plenty of other names out there.  We also have a cat, Romeo, named after one of the main characters in that oh-so-famous Shakespeare play.  We may name our second greyhound, still only in potentia, Cabal, after King Arthur's hound.  Jeff is still working on me with this.

Human names.  This is a personal favorite of mine.  I guess that it makes an animal easy to identify with if they have a name that I associate with "normal."  Charlotte and Annie, two of our cats, are examples of this.   I can't take credit for naming them:  the shelter actually did that, but the names were perfect for the personalities of the cats so I didn't change them.  I've also named a Suki (later changed to Susie) and a Wendy.

Iconic animal names.  Fido, Rex, Simba, Killer, Spike.  All names that have been used for a long time for pets.  I've had a couple of these in my life:  I named my very first horse Prince, which seems very iconic of all names horsey, at least in the realm of little girls, and later named an orange kitty Simba.

Behavior Names.  This is how Bit got her name.  Her actual name is Q-bit, short for quantum bit.  Jeff named her this because of her kitten-like ability to be, against all laws of nature, in multiple places at once.  Another that I have heard recently is Frisky.

I'm sure that there are plenty of other naming conventions that I'm not thinking of, at 6:30 in the morning on a Saturday, with my Suda-fed addled brain.  In fact, blame this entire post on the Sudafed.  :)  No, seriously, as someone who has been labeled a "word nerd" in the past, I think that things like naming conventions, history, etymology, etc. is fascinating.  I think that pet names are probably very telling of someone's personality, since, as I stated before, we don't face as much public censure if we get creative.  (I'm sure, for example, that we would have gotten grief if we decided to name a human child Romeo or Argos, or heaven forbid Loki!)

So, I hope that you enjoyed.  What naming conventions do you typically use?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Some Days...

Some days, the world really has a way of making you feel like everyone is "out to get you" and that you're just barely getting by (whether or not that's really true.)

I came home in a very bleak mood the other day.  Nothing catastrophic had happened, but to steal a line that I've heard before,  and it felt like I was being nibbled to death by a bunch of ducks.  Lots of little stuff.

But I challenge anyone to remain in a bad mood if they are greeted at the door by happy, dancing greyhound, who is delirious with joy for seeing them.  As soon as the door opened, Argos raced over, and did the little greyhound dance in front of me (kind of looks like the Peanuts characters dancing, come to think of it, but with more spinning.)  He was soooo happy to see me, with a big doggie grin on his face, tongue lolling, tail spinning like a helicopter propeller.  Ah, the joys of home.

Jeff and I made dinner together, and I could feel myself relaxing even more as we talked, even if some of it was just routine stuff like, "Did you medicate Charlotte?"  or "What's on for tomorrow," that kind of stuff.

Later, after our walk, and everyone had eaten and their various needs cared for, I sank into the recliner, putting my feet up.  Let's not mention that I did this so that spouse and the dog could lie on the couch:  there was no room for me!  A few minutes into our television show  (Glee, if you must know!) and Charlotte jumped up into the chair and then up into her favorite spot, on the chair back above my head, tail occasionally dropped down over the front so that she could twitch me with it.  A few minutes later, Bit jumped up and settled in to nap between my feet, which were covered by a warm fleece blanket.  And then Annie jumped up and settled in on my lap.  All three were purring.

And wait, wait it isn't over yet!  Later that night, as I climbed into bed for sleeping, Romeo jumped up onto the bed and snuggled up against my leg.  He's learning that humans and beds = warmth and snuggles, now that I have learned to look before moving my legs in the middle of the night.

This kind of evening is what life is all about.  It makes all of the other stuff more bearable, you know?