Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Boy Oscar

Three years ago today I lost my beautiful borzoi, Oscar, to cancer. Thinking about it still makes me cry. My heart broke every day for three weeks, from the day we got the diagnosis until the day I helped him go to the Rainbow Bridge. It feels just as raw today.

Oscar was not the first dog I had to have put down. My childhood dog, Crystal, had to be put down, but she was different. She was old and had a good, long life. It was sad, but not unexpected. Oscar was only 8 years old and I felt like cancer robbed him of many more good years-it certainly robbed me of them.

I watched him hobble around those three weeks, knowing what was coming. I spent many cold evenings sitting on the garage floor with him, because he didn't like to come inside. He got extra treats and tons of hugs. I even ordered a special dinner at a Mexican restaurant one night, knowing I would take half of it home to him.

I sat on the floor with him at the vet's office on Halloween day, 2007 while he passed on. The vet assured me that I was right, it was time. He had declined dramatically in those three weeks. I hope he's running in the fields at the Rainbow Bridge today, strong and brave, watching over me.

In his memory, I had a portrait painted last year by my wonderful friend BZTAT. It hangs in my dining room, where I can see it from the kitchen and living room. Seeing his smile on my wall every day makes me happy. It was some of the best money I ever spent. BZTAT also put together this wonderful video, "Love That Never Grows Old", which I am honored to say, contains Oscar's portrait (look for him around the 00:58 mark). It makes me feel good that other people are able to see his regal face, even if they don't know our story.

I love you Oscar dog. There will never be another like you. I'm glad we had that time together.

The last picture I took of Oscar.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

R.I.P. Ariel Marie

Ariel Marie is now at the Rainbow Bridge.

She was at the shelter where I volunteer for just a short while. I can't tell you why exactly, but I fell in love with her. I never had the chance to pet her as she hadn't gotten her blood work done to be tested for various diseases and I didn't want to risk exposing my kitty at home to anything. She was always a little crabby and it took her a while to begin eating after being left there.

She was in the room called the "Kitty Den", a place not open to the public. She wasn't officially up for adoption because she was being boarded. Her family had lost their home and was not able to keep her. The shelter took her in with the understanding that after some time, she may be put up for adoption. Unfortunately, that wasn't able to happen.

When I went to the shelter this past week, I asked another volunteer about her and if she had been adopted. That's when I got the sad news. Apparently, Ariel Marie had quit eating and upon examination, she had many sores in her mouth that weren't healing. This reminded me of my kitty in Wichita who passed away in June. He had the same symptoms before he went to the Rainbow Bridge. In fact, that may be part of why I instantly took a liking to Ms. Ariel Marie. She bore a slight resemblance to my Rosie boy.

Rest well, Ariel Marie. I hope you and Rosie met at the bridge and are chasing bugs together until I am able to meet you there.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Am I A Good Enough Red Sox Fan For You?

Recently I have been bothered by some Red Sox fans on Twitter and how they seem to be judging other Red Sox fans. A big chunk of my following list is made up of members of Red Sox Nation. I enjoy seeing their tweets about the team and the games (since I rarely get to see the Red Sox on TV) but I don't like what I'm seeing in reference to other fans.

Many times I see a Red Sox fan react to what another fan has posted. It might have been a negative comment about a play that wasn't made, how the season is going or about the team in general. These other fans will then react by commenting on that fan's support of the team. They will imply that they aren't "real" fans. That's bullshit. The way I see it, I can see when a player isn't doing his best and point it out. Or if the team is on a losing streak, I can wonder when they're going to turn things around. I cheer for them and want them to win no matter what, but if they suck, I'm going to say it.

Another comment I see is regarding "pink hats". I can't tell you how childish I think these comments are. "Pink hat" is a negative term meaning a female fan who doesn't know anything about the game of baseball. They get their name from the color of baseball caps many female fans wear. Who are these people to judge? Does it matter if they don't understand the game inside and out? It's not like the game can be learned overnight. I figure, if they are a fan, they're a fan, no matter what their understanding of the game is. I don't care if they are only there to see the hot guy on the team (which, by the way, some of these so-called "real fans" babble on about as well). If they support the team and go to a game, that's all that matters. They are laying down the money for the merchandise, the ticket and everything else that goes along with seeing the team play.

As a matter of fact, I have a pink Red Sox visor. I also have a green one, a red one and a myriad of different caps, including the old school blue cap with the red "B". How do you know by the color of cap I'm wearing weather or not I understand the game of baseball and if I'm a "real fan" that meets your standards? You don't. But some fans pass judgment anyway.

Fans like this remind me of middle school. They think they are better than the other fans, that they know more about the team and the game. I say, if you want to be a true member of Red Sox Nation, be a little friendlier to the others who hold membership as well. Maybe they want to learn and you could be a good teacher. Enough judging. It makes us all look bad.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I was in Boston last month for a couple of weeks. Boston is a wonderful city filled with history and modern attractions right next to each other. Every time I am there, I marvel at all the city has to offer. Several years ago, during one of my first trips to Boston, my then-boyfriend and I visited the New England Aquarium. I had seen an ad declaring "Meet the Little Blues" referring to a particular type of penguin. Being an animal lover, I had to go. Our visit to the aquarium was based solely on this tag line.

On my most recent trip, I married my above-mentioned boyfriend. We have a unique relationship and have been together 15 years, just now taking "the plunge." Imagine my reaction when I was in the Park Street Station of the MBTA and saw this ad:

It was so fitting for us! There were several others, just as amusing.

Whoever came up with this advertising campaign must be a genius! If you're in Boston or visiting soon, keep your eyes open for these ads. There are more than just my favorites that I've posted here. You'll see them not only at the Park Street Station, but also at other locations around town. I spotted Roast Beef on the reverse side of a Boston information sign on Tremont street near our hotel.

Thanks for the great ads, New England Aquarium! Maybe I can visit again the next time I'm in Boston.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Introducing Annie

There's a kitty at Wayside Waifs that deserves the spotlight. Her name is Annie and she's been at Wayside longer than any other cat there. She's been there almost a year now and nobody is really sure why.

Annie is a sweet cat who was abandoned. She was taken in by a neighbor, but the neighbor was not able to continue to care for her. That is when she made her way to Wayside. The neighbor had wonderful things to say about Annie, like the fact that she was affectionate, a lap cat and gentle when playing. The time I have spent with Annie reveals that she is very calm, shy at first, then, with time, more trusting. I imagine that after being abandoned and moved, followed by living in a shelter for almost a year, building trust will take some time with her. I fully believe that the time invested to earn her trust would be completely worth it.

Many of the volunteers at Wayside are very close to Annie and try their best to match her up with the right adopter. Brainstorming sessions seem constant. There is even a video of Annie playing.

Her new home should not have children, as she doesn't care for kids. If there are other pets, they would have to be the type that would give her plenty of space. However, the ideal situation would probably be a home where she is the only pet. Annie is a little chubby, but with a stable home that includes play time for exercise and a healthy diet, I think she will slim down. If you are in the market for an addition to your family, you should check out Annie on the Wayside Waifs website, or even better, come in to meet her in person!

I know that there is somebody out there who is perfect for Annie. That person will be patient, understanding and compassionate. Are you that person?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Be The Change You Want To See

Last weekend, Columbus, Ohio saw a gathering of animal lovers and members of the online pet community. The conference, BlogPaws, sounded wonderful, but I was unable to attend. I will not make that mistake again next year. There has been a ton of chatter about BlogPaws, even before it occurred. Since it came to a close, I have heard amazing stories of the sessions that were offered.

One of those sessions was "Be The Change You Want To See", a panel made up of Jane Harrell from (@petfinder), Dr. V from (@pawcurious), Dorian Wagner from (@yourdailycute) and Lynn Haigh, typist for Frugal Dougal (@frugaldougal). During their panel, a shelter was picked-totally at random-to be the recipient of funds raised from "Be The Change" ideas. That shelter is Pets Without Parents, a no-kill shelter in Columbus, Ohio.

After returning from BlogPaws, they threw down the gauntlet. "Go do something" was the directive. This is my something. I want to point out all the good that can be done in your own community.

Most people who are acquainted with me know that I volunteer for a local Kansas City shelter, Wayside Waifs (@waysidewaifs). I spend most of my time there as a "cat socializer". It's really quite nice. I go to the shelter once or twice a week. I spend two to three hours there each time. While I'm there, I cuddle kitties. Yep, that's about it! I sit with them, pet them, talk to them and play with them. I give them water if they need it or clean out their litter boxes. I greet potential adopters that come through. Something else I do while I'm there is take pictures of the adoptable cats and post them on Twitter. That way, I'm also being an advocate for homeless pets.

Sometimes, I walk dogs as well. I give them time to go outside, get some fresh air and learn to behave on a leash. It doesn't seem like work at all. I get my dog fix and I get a little exercise. I get time away from my real life and anything that might be bothering me. I just enjoy my time with the animal I am with at the moment.

You say you don't have time to volunteer? That's understandable. People are busy. We all have jobs, school, family and other commitments that demand our time. That's okay. Shelters are in great need for donations. Many shelters, like Wayside Waifs, are completely sustained by private funding. If you have money to give, they would benefit greatly from those donations. Don't want to donate cash? When you're out shopping, grab a gift card from a pet store or hardware store. If you don't have extra cash on hand, try doing a coin drive. The Kansas Humane Society (@KSHumaneSociety) in Wichita, Kansas holds an annual "Pennies From Heaven" drive. If an office gathered change from all of its employees, they could make a substantial donation to a local shelter.

Another way to donate is to check out your local shelter's "wish list". Most shelters have a list of items on their websites detailing things they need. A lot of it is stuff you might never think of donating. Many shelters don't need food, but they need blankets, treats, bleach, peanut butter, toys, or beds. Check out the list, then when you're shopping at your local pet store, supermarket or discount store, throw a couple extra items in your basket for them. I also donate shredded paper to the Kansas Humane Society in Wichita. They use it to line small animal cages. That doesn't cost me a thing

Want to do something fun while you're supporting your favorite shelter or rescue group? Check out the events they have coming up. Wayside Waifs has the Fur Ball and the Kansas Humane Society holds Woofstock every year.

Are you thinking about getting a pet? Adopt! The fees are reasonable and usually include the cost of spaying or neutering your new pet, vaccinations and a supply of pet food to take home. It's an awesome deal! You can find all varieties of pets at shelters: young or senior, big or small. You can find cats and dogs, but you can also find bunnies, ferrets and guinea pigs. I adopted my cat from Wayside Waifs. He's a senior kitty and he was already litter box trained. I didn't have to train him myself!

Next month, a local animal welfare organization in the Kansas City area is having a garage sale. Chain of Hope, a small outreach organization, is using this opportunity to raise funds for all they do around the metro area. I have gathered up several items to donate to their sale. Not only does it go to a good cause, it gives me the chance to do some spring cleaning as well! Again, a donation helps them, but costs me nothing.

At a company I used to work for, we recycled our soda cans. When the receptacle got full, one of the employees would take the cans for recycling. The money would be tucked away. This went on all year long, then at Christmas, we had a rather large donation to give. What did this cost us? Nothing! Plus, we were acting a little "greener".

I hope that you are able to find something here that you can do to help out. By the way, if you'd like to donate to Pets Without Parents, you can do it right here. Check out the top, right-hand corner of my page. I've made it easy for you to get started! Right below that is a list of links to organizations I have mentioned here. Visit them. Go do something!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sebastian: A Sensitive Soul

On February 24th, during my regular duties as a volunteer at a local animal shelter, I fell in love. With Sebastian. I am a feline socializer (I pet homeless cats) and he was in one of the Hug Rooms. I read his card on the outside of the door-7 year old male, front declawed, owner surrender-and went in to give him some attention.

I sat down on the floor and he immediately wanted in my lap. I, of course, obliged and let him curl up on me while I petted and talked to him. He was so very sweet and affectionate. He would lean up against me and touch me softly with his paw. I would stroke his fur and tell him what a good kitty he was. He looked at me with such sweet sadness in his eyes I almost couldn't stand it.
I went home that night and thought of nothing else. I talked to my Mom, who just talked about the cost of adopting and owning a cat. I talked to Lee, who told me I should adopt him since I always seem so lonely. I talked to the property manager to discuss the increase in my rent. Two days later I went back to the shelter (in the middle of the day) and said I wanted him. We completed the paperwork and I went into the Hug Room and told Sebastian that when I came back that evening for my volunteer shift, he would get to go home with me!

Our first few days, or nights rather, were difficult. There was a lot of moving about and meowing from him causing little rest for me. After about a week, we had worked out a schedule and things were starting to run more smoothly. I would leave the door cracked open for him at night so he could patrol the apartment. The blinds would be left up with the curtain drawn so he could still look out the window. I filled his food bowl at bedtime so he wouldn't run out of kibble in the night and need to alert me to the emptiness of the dish. Because of these things, I was able to get a full night's sleep, sometimes with a kitty curled up with me.

We had some other issues as well. Every other day, I would give him treats. On those days, Sebastian would vomit. Like clockwork. I thought maybe he would get used to them and it would work itself out. After living with me for about two weeks, he had his first trip to his new vet for a general check-up. I told the vet about the puking and she determined that he had a sensitive stomach. She directed me to feed him the appropriate food for this problem and I quit giving him treats. Since then, he has kept everything down. What a relief for me, as cleaning the carpet was not my favorite thing to do!

Every night, as I lie in bed watching Golden Girls on TV, Sebastian sits on my lap and we spend some quality time together. I noticed quickly that he always seems to have a worried look on his face. I wonder how his previous family could have given up such a gentle, sweet animal. I try to assure him that I will never let him down, that I will always love him and he can relax knowing his forever home is with me. It seems that not only does Sebastian have a sensitive stomach, but he also has a sensitive soul. It is now my job to protect that soul and the kitty body that it inhabits. I do so with pleasure. I am in fact writing this post with him sitting on my lap and enjoying it immensely. I take my job as his guardian very seriously and I plan to make him proud to call me his human.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Stop Spamming Me!

It's about time I got this off my chest. STOP SENDING ALL THE E-MAIL LIES! Whew. I feel better now. I can explain.

You've seen these e-mails. They range from the ugly political lies with photoshopped pictures to the messages with the lovely poem sprinkled with angels that end with "If you're not ashamed to let people know you love God, forward this to a squillion people." I can be moved by a heartbreaking story of a sick child, but you better believe that I'm not going to believe one that gets plastered on e-mail clients across the globe.

I have received these types of messages for years now. Typically, I delete them without even paying them much attention. Sometimes, I'm feeling adventurous and I read through them. That's usually a bad idea and I end up angry at the person who sent it to me and the person who sent it to that person and so on. I wonder, do they really buy this crap? Have they even read the message to know that it sounds incredibly sketchy? Maybe they think they WILL have their wish granted the next day!

In order to combat this, I have, on occasion, replied to the message with my own explanation as to why the message is untrue. I have even looked stories up on and sent the link to the article declaring the message "false". I was surprised after I did that the first time when a certain person (who shall remain nameless but sends me this crap ALL THE TIME!) responded to me with a great big "Thank You" for setting the record straight. I felt like I had educated this person and that they would, from that point on, not just mindlessly forward messages of this nature. Boy, was I wrong. They just kept coming. I sent another message about an untrue story. This time, my message was forwarded to everybody who had received the e-mail along with a notification of "Correction". Sounds awesome! But they still kept coming.

Now, tell me, if something sounds too good to be true, most of us realize it is just that, right? If you're not sure, just check it out. You're already sitting at your computer, do a quick search. It doesn't have to be detailed and you don't have to cite multiple sources. If you're feeling lazy, check out Snopes and see what they have to say about it. Better yet, DON'T SEND IT AT ALL!

When you forward these messages, it is a reflection on you. You are helping to perpetuate a lie. In my eyes, that's as good as telling the lie yourself. You look like a gullible idiot, who will believe anything as long as it makes you feel good or supports your political views. I beg of you. Look at what you're reading. Does it make sense? Is it over the top? Keep your reputation intact and don't send this poison to everybody in your contact list. Especially me.

I'd rather just know how your week has been.