Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Rescue... Hershey Kisses

Hershey Kisses! Nuff said!

After Snoopy passed away back in December of 1998, it was decided the house could not be without a dog. So, the local SPCA was having a thing down at a local shopping outlet. Off we went. So many dogs, I could have had them all. Then, we saw them. Two siblings. Hershey and Coors. There was a third, Chocolate, but he had already been adopted. At the time, the SPCA believed they were Vizsla mixes. Their breed mixture is really unknown, but the guesses are... Vizsla, Weimaraner and Labrador Retriever. The SPCA rec'd the mother and three pups from someone who had found them on their property. Someone had dumped them off out in the country. The mother was a yellow color with some white markings. She was not up for adoption. The pups were. Coors was a beautiful honey gold color similar to beer; hence the name. I don't know why someone would name a female dog Coors, but they did. Hershey was a gorgeous milk chocolate with white markings and brown ticking on his chest. We decided to adopt both since they were siblings and we wanted two; so, they could be companions for life. We changed Coors name to Honey, as we thought it suited her better. Hershey kept his name, but we added Kisses to it because he loved to give kisses.

Hershey and Honey were born approx. September of 1998. We adopted them in December of 1998. Everything was great until Honey started to assert herself as the dominant dog. In a very short time, she began to snap at Hershey and became increasingly aggressive toward him. If he had decided to back down and allow her the top dog position in the house, all would have been fine. That didn't happen. This became a learning experience for us. A lesson in setting up a dog pack within a household. Hershey had enough! In the hall and dining area, he decided to let Honey know her place in the house. He was going to be boss not her. The fight lasted until we could break them up. A couple more fights later and we had to call the SPCA. We explained the situation. The lady who runs the SPCA offered to take Honey back and work with her. They decided Honey would be better off with some obedience training and socialization. They worked with her and offered her for adoption again with the stipulation that the person adopting her have no other pets. As I understand it, she was adopted to a newspaper reporter who took her everywhere. Honey found her perfect home. We hated to have to give her up, but it was the best for both Hershey and Honey.

Hershey on the other hand learned something from his sister that he never forgot... the pecking order of a pack and aggression towards other dominant dogs. We contacted the SPCA many times for help with working with him and how to deal with different scenarios. This was before Cesar and his dog whispering. We learned how to be assertive members of the pack before it was popular. There are still some trying moments. Hershey still has his issues, but he's a lot better. We learned a tough lesson when adding another dominant pup to the group in 2000.... Maverick, a member of the infamous "2000 group". When Maverick was a very young pup, Hershey told him straight away who was boss by attacking him. He tore his ear which required vet care. Maverick was going to be a big dog; so, we worked at getting this issue under control.

Dealing with both Maverick and Hershey's dominance at an early stage has led to only a handful of fights that are fairly easy to diffuse. Most times these dominance wars are mere growling as they pass, but every once in a while one figuratively steps on the others toes leading to a little more than just an argument. We, then, have to become the dominant top dogs and get them back in line before someone gets hurt.

This has led to the observance of how different these animals are. Interestingly, each dog lives in a different state of dogdom. Hershey is more the "people" dog. Maverick is more the "wolf pack" dog. Maybe it's more of a "domesticated" and "undomesticated" dog. For Hershey, he seems to understand things in people or domesticated dog terms. He doesn't really seem to understand he is a dog or that there is suppose to be order to things like in a wolf pack. Maverick, on the other hand, seems to understand things on more of a dog level like a wolf pack. He knows to put another in his place not by drawing blood, but by showing his ultimate strength and dominance. For instance, Maverick knows I am top dog. He watches all that I do. He listens to what I say. If I am at the gate to their fenced area and I tell them to "get back and stay", he will guard the gate and keep the others back forcing them to stay inside the fence. If they get out of hand, he will stand over them and press them with his body to the ground holding them there until they give in to his dominance. Hershey does not understand this. When he asserts his dominance over any of the others, he snaps and goes for damage. I think this probably comes from his early encounters with his sister, Honey. Copper has either learned to listen to Maverick or has gotten too old to care. The others, Chico and Tiffany, never bother to question who's in charge. Chico doesn't mind his status. Tiffany, well, she's the only female and knows it. She throws her weight around when necessary. The "men" do whatever it takes to shut her up.

Hershey loves cats and has "rescued" one of them as well. Later, you will read of Katy Rose, a black and white rescued from the back yard by Hershey. He gently picked her up and carried her in, but that's another story. His love for cats goes back to Gizzy. He loved Gizzy and mourned him at his passing. He stared forlorn at a neighbors cat that happened by shortly after Gizzy passed. After staring a while, he glanced up at me as if to say... "hey, that's Gizzy, aren't you gonna let him in?"

All in all, Hershey is a great dog. He's been through a lot. He's taught us a lot. He's learned a lot. He's watched 5 of his cats pass away. He, too, lived through the loss of Dad. He's high strung, but not destructive. Instead of tearing up furniture when he gets excited, he'll get a "dog" towel that was covering the chair the cats like to scratch on. He understands a lot of words; so, we have been trying to teach him "get a toy" instead in his old age. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. When he gets his mind set on something there is no changing it. It's hard to get his attention when he set on it. He probably would have made a great hunting dog, as all his contributing breeds are hunting dogs, because he loves to get you things.

Hershey is the kind of dog you can sit and tell your troubles to. He sits, looks you in the eye and listens to every word. He'll curl up next to you and keep you warm in winter. He's always happy to see you and always ready to play. He loves food and like any other Lab mix has a weight problem. With a lot of tips from vets and Chico (Hershey's Chihuahua buddy you'll read about later) becoming diabetic, I managed to get Hershey's weight under control. He weighed over 100 pounds in 2007. He now weighs in the mid 80 pound range. I would like him to lose a little more, but I am happy with the weight he has lost.

He is truly a great friend with boundless energy! Always there to cheer you up.

The Roadwarrior... Copper

Copper... a tenacious terrier mix! He is believed to be a cross between a Jack Russell terrier, a beagle and possibly have a little Red Heeler thrown in there just to mix it all up. Copper came to us as a wanderer. US Hwy 82 is a long road that stretches from Texarkana all the way into west Texas. Where this pup came from is anyone's guess. I say pup, but he was full grown when he joined the gang. It is believed he was born in 1997, as his age was estimated at about 2 years old when he came to live with us in September 1999.

When he arrived, he was a young hyper dog who loved to climb fences and take off running. At the time the fenced in yard consisted of a six foot chain link fence which he easily climbed to the top and down the other side. When the fence had been cleared, he took off like a shot out of a cannon. In these early days, I, of course, took up chase! With a US Hwy at our front door, I could not allow him to run the way he wanted to. It seems as though any of the dogs get loose and they head in the direction of that highway. If the speed limit was 20, even 35 miles an hour, that would be one thing, but, alas, the speed is 70 miles an hour. Too fast for a critter to be roaming as they wished. Back then, it was hard to keep him in the yard. He had lived on the road too long. He was up and over that fence quicker than I could get his name out of my mouth. And there I was... chasing after him. Tunnel vision. He didn't stop to look for traffic and neither did I. One thought in his head... get to the other side. One thought in my head... catch him before he gets hit. By the way, don't stop to think about you getting hit. The four lane highway has a grassy median, as most Texas highways do. No time to stop though and think the act through. As we cleared the east bound side and the grassy median, we started to run across the west bound side. The west bound side is the down side of a hill. Even if you stop to check for traffic, you would never really know if you are safe. You have to take your chances. Thankfully, nothing came before we both reached the other side. But, as luck would have it, as I reached the other side, the foot stumbles on uneven terrain and boom... flat on your tummy! Feet in the air. The whole time screaming... "COPPER!" "COME BACK!" My only thoughts... get back up on my feet and start the chase all over again. Finally, he stopped to check out something interesting... or to laugh at me. I don't know which because I had to be quite the hysterical site! I caught up to him though.

I picked him up and carried him back across that highway. Looking both ways this time.

This chase scene happened several times before the fence was changed. The changing of the fence became the recognizing factor of our house! Six foot chain link fence with another foot of non barbed wire going all the way around similar to a prison. When people came up or when we described it when giving directions, everyone would say... "Oh, yeah, I know that place. I always wondered what could be back there with a fence like that!" Well, the answer is... one of the smallest dogs we have, but the one that knows how to escape a six foot fence!

He also loves to go for rides in the truck. There is a truck stop east of town. It is often wondered if he belonged to a truck driver. He was stray for a while before coming to live with us. We ran an ad, but no one claimed him. He still loves to go for rides. He loved my dad and would go for rides with him. He became Dad's dog... sleeping right beside him, following him around. The first dog that seemed to claim Dad and be just Dad's since Dad was a kid.

A lot has changed since then. Dad passed away. Copper still misses him. When Dad's brother, who resembles Dad, comes for a visit, he jumps on the couch, lays down beside him and places his head on his lap. He doesn't get up until it's time to go. It's too bad we can't explain things to them; so, they can understand. Copper doesn't get around as well either. Long gone are the days of jumping that six foot fence. A crippling front knee joint has stopped most of his running days, as well. He's gained a lot of weight with age, his eyes are a little cloudy and his muzzle is turning white, but he still loves to see everyone come home, still loves to go for a walk or a ride.

He still makes the extra effort to follow me around when I vacuum, regardless of how much I tell him to stay out of the way and go lay down somewhere not in the path of the vacuum. I hate to get on to him when he follows me around and gets in the way; so, I am trying to just let him be. I know as time passes, one day he won't be there to follow me. I'm gonna miss that. He's real stubborn, as terriers can be, but he can be real sweet. He greets us with a shrilling trill noise at the door with all the other critters when we come home. For those of you who have seen the old Star Trek series "The Trouble with Tribbles", you know what trilling sound I mean. He sounds like that. It is sooo cute!

Hopefully, he will have many more years with us! He is approx. 12 years old now.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Choosing the Right Vet

Everyone wants to give their pet the best medical care. Choosing the right vet is very important. Some suggestions:
  1. If you have family, friends or neighbors who have pets, ask them which vet they use.
  2. Call your local animal rescue or shelter. These groups use vets who sometimes donate their services or provide low cost services. They may recommend vets in the area. You will also feel good knowing your potential new vet is offering their services to help out these organizations.
  3. Get a current local phone book and locate the vets in your area. You can do this on the Internet, but sites are only as accurate as those updating them. Internet sites not updated frequently enough leave you with incomplete or outdated lists.
Make a list of vets near your home. In an emergency, you do not want to make a 30 minute drive to your vet during rush hour, prolonging the drive to an hour or more with a sick or injured pet. Make a list of important questions. Call each prospective vet's office. Explain your situation - new to the area, new pet, etc. Ask them if they have a moment to answer a few questions. You can write their response next to your questions. Questions you may ask include:
  1. What are your hours? Open late? Saturdays?
  2. How much do you charge for: office visit, regular and rabies vaccinations?
  3. If I need to bring a pet in immediately, how are emergencies handled?
  4. If you are closed, what do I do? Where do I go?
  5. If your pet has a specific ailment - diabetes, asthma, etc., ask questions regarding your pet's illness.
    A. Has your office dealt with this illness?
    B. Do you treat other pets with this illness?
    C. If medications are required, how do I reorder prescriptions?
Make a note how they answered the phone.
  1. Did they answer quickly or let it ring? This is important if you have an emergency.
  2. Were they courteous?
  3. Did they answer your questions?
After calling those on your list, compare what you have learned about each vet. You may want to visit each vet's office during a slow and busy time to observe how they handle both situations. When visiting during a slow time, ask to be introduced to the vet. If time allows, discuss your pet. All this will give you a little better feel for the vet's office staff and the vet.

Unfortunately, your vet may not always be available. Having a back up vet is a good idea. This vet can see your pet whenever your first vet choice cannot. You should always be knowledgeable of several vets in your area. Emergency clinics are another way of insuring the best medical care. Knowing where they are and how to get there will save time and hopefully your pet's life. Keep your vets and emergency clinic phone numbers in your cell phone.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Adoptable Pets from - Updated Automatically

Here are some pets from around Texas that are currently up for adoption.
You can scroll through the photos and click on them. You will be taken to's site for more info.
(Note: I had to adjust the width pixels of the scroller to fit here. This scroller will automatically update.)

Noah's Ark Animal Shelter

Noah's Ark Animal Shelter is located in Gainesville, Texas.

From their site:
Our Mission
Noah's Ark is dedicated to providing humane treatment for unwanted and abandoned pets in the Gainesville area. Our Shelter facility operates in cooperation with the City of Gainesville to accommodate impounded animals and will accept animals relinquished by local citizens in return for a small donation. It is our mission to find proper homes for the many healthy and loving animals that find their way to our shelter. All our adoptable animals are temperament tested, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. Under the leadership of founder and veterinary advisor, Dr. Shelly Gomulak, Noah's Ark has combined efforts with other compassionate veterinarians to offer low cost spay and neuter services for low income households.

We wish to thank the following Veterinarians for all the spays, neuters and medical assistance given to our animals:

Dr. Shelly Gomulak, Independence Small Animal Clinic, Gainesville
Dr. Justin Harman, Refinery Road Veterinary Clinic, Gainesville
Dr. Wendy Rhoads, All About Pets, Whitesboro
Dr. Cynthia Westbrook, Grand Ave Animal Clinic, Gainesville
Dr. Dale Gleason, Lone Oak Veterinary Clinic, Mtn Springs
Also from their site...
Over the past several years concerned citizens have formed different organizations to solve the increasing problem of unwanted, abandoned and abused animals in the Gainesville area. Under the leadership of Dr. Shelly Gomulak, Noah's Ark was organized and with support from the City of Gainesville and donations from the community, Noah's Ark Animal Shelter opened in February of 2006.

Although we work in cooperation with the City of Gainesville, we are not a government agency. We are a publicly funded 501(c)(3) corporation dependent on donations from compassionate citizens who volunteer their time and money to support our efforts.

Noah's Ark Animal Shelter
P.O. Box 405
2501 N Weaver St
Gainesville, TX 76241

Phone: 1-940-665-9800
Fax: 1-940-665-9803
(checked this email - it is currently not working. I will check with them)

Monday - Wednesday 10 am - 5 pm
Friday - Saturday 10 am - 4 pm
Thursday & Sunday Closed

Homeward Bound Humane Society

I have heard of Homeward Bound Humane Society mostly through our local news on TV and in print. I have not had much dealing with them personally; however, I did meet some of their volunteers at PetSmart one day. They bring some of their adoptable animals there, I believe, once a week for showing. I believe on Saturdays. I also know Red River SPCA uses them for low-cost veterinary care.

From their site...
Pet of the Month
Our pet of the month is every dog in the shelter and of course we would like to see all of the dogs and cats here at this shelter get adopted. We have a few that have been here for two years, yes that's right, two years. All of these little guys and girls need homes. So, come on, give 'em a break and give 'em a home.

Spay/Neuter Clinic
Homeward Bound has a spay/neuter clinic once or twice a month at its shelter located about 5 miles east of Durant, Oklahoma. These clinics are for low-income households that cannot afford it otherwise and we are in our seventh year of operation (pun intended). We also have a mobile unit with which we travel from county to county in southeastern Oklahoma preventing unwanted litters and helping cats and dogs be healthier. Homeward Bound has facilitated over 10,000 spay/neuter surgeries since its inception. For more information and scheduling please call 1-580-924-5873 and Sue can get you the information that you will need.

Homeward Bound also has wonderful dogs and cats to adopt out that are fully vetted, spayed or neutered and micro-chipped for identification to qualified individuals or families.

Donations can be mailed to:
P.O. Box 1751
Durant, OK 74702

They are located in Durant, Oklahoma.
Coming from Oklahoma City:
1. Take Hwy 35 south to I-70 east
2. Take this all the way east into town in Durant.
3. Follow basic directions below once on Main Street.

Coming from Dallas/Ft Worth:
1. Take Hwy 75 north to the I-70 Main Street exit in Durant.
2. It is the first exit.
3. At the end of the loop, you will turn left at the light, heading east onto Main Street.
4. Follow the basic directions below once on Main Street.

Coming From Tulsa:
1. Take Hwy 75 south to Durant
2. Take I-70 east Main Street exit
3. Turn left (east) at Main Street
4. Follow basic direction below once on Main Street

Basic Directions:
1. Take Main Street all the way through town, heading east
2. Do not make any turns
3. You will cross a double railroad track at the end of town
4. From there, travel 4 miles east to Roberta Road
5. Turn right
6. They are about 1 mile down on the right.

Please call first before heading out to the shelter, as they sometimes have to step out for a short time.

Homeward Bound Humane Society
2925 N. Roberta Rd.
Durant, OK 74701

Phone: 1-580-924-5873

Hours: Tuesday & Saturday 10 am - 2 pm or by appointment for adoptions

Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) ARFhouse

Animal Rescue Foundation also known as ARF and ARFhouse is not far from me. We found this organization through a dog we could not take care of ourselves. We already had many dogs and cats we rescued ourselves. Martha agreed to take the dog, which from what I heard at the time did well there. My brother did some vehicle work for Martha free of charge in exchange.

I think this is a great organization.
From their site...

About ARFhouse

Arfhouse is now the third largest care-for-life, no kill canine sanctuary in the U.S. with over 340+ dogs on site. Arfhouse provides refuge and care for unwanted, abused, and/or physically challenged canines without regard to size, breed, temperament, age or physical disabilities. Many of the dogs are free to roam the 25 acre property and swim in one of the three ponds. The unsocialized dogs have large 30' by 60' yards with their own dog houses, and if possible, an animal companion with which they can get along.

Another day at ARFhouse! Not only do we see that the dogs are healthy, and well-cared for, but it's also important to us that the animal be happy. The animals aren't in small cages or confined to small areas. And there's always something to keep the interest of the ARFhouse canines, whether it be "helping" ARFhouse volunteers do chores, chasing wildlife, swimming in the ponds, or socializing with the other dogs.

ARFhouse Programs

The Arfhouse Adoption Program allows some of the Arfhouse animals to be available for adoption to suitable owners. Since those animals which are not adopted will stay at Arfhouse for life, Arfhouse works hard at insuring that a prospective owner has the level of commitment necessary to properly care for a dog.

The Be-A-Pal Program lets you sponsor the dog of your choice at Arfhouse. These are dogs that may not be suitable for a family environment or have special health needs that require frequent attention. For $20 a month periodic photos of the dog you choose to sponsor. Through your support and Arfhouse's caring volunteers, these dogs are given a second chance at a good life.

You can help ARFhouse even if you only have a little money to give. For $5 (includes S&H), you can have a rubber ARFhouse bracelet. This is a great way to help teach young children about giving and they get a fun bracelet in return for helping spread the word about ARFhouse.

Here's a link to their newsletter...
ARFhouse Newsletter

Donation Opportunities

Online donations can be made safely and securely with your credit card by using our PayPal link.
(please click here to get to their PayPal link)

Here's how you can contact ARFhouse...
3377 Spalding Rd.
Sherman, TX 75090


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rainbow Bridge

I am posting this poem because of its popularity with pet lovers and because of it's special meaning for me and my critters. This version is a compilation of two versions I found of the one poem. Each had parts I liked, but I could not make up my mind which to use. So, I compiled the best parts of both into one. The author is, as far as I know, unknown.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge...

This bridge connects Heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors.

When a beloved pet dies, he/she goes to the Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows, hills and valleys of lush green grass and fields of flowers for all our special friends to run and play together.

There is plenty of food, water and sunshine keeping our friends warm, comfortable and happy.

All the animals who had been old, ill and frail are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

There is only one thing missing - one sorrow they endure. They each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth.

To keep from their sorrow, they run and play together until the day comes. Suddenly, one or maybe several, abruptly stops playing and looks into the distance. The nose twitches. The ears perk up. Bright eyes are fixed. An eager body quivers in anticipation. Suddenly, this one, or several, begins to run from the group. His/her legs carrying him/her faster and faster!

You have been seen. When you and your special friend(s) finally meet, you embrace him/her/them in your joyous embrace, never to be parted again. Happy kisses rain upon your face. Your hands again caress the beloved head(s), and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet(s)... your friend(s), so long gone from your life but never absent from your memory or your heart!

Then, you cross the Rainbow Bridge... together... never again to be separated.

Barn Cats

~ Working to Provide Safe Relocation Sites for Feral Cats in Harm's Way ~

From their site...
Mission Statement: To save the lives of urban feral cats by placing them in safe, barn homes.

At Barn Cats, Inc., we have healthy, sterilized cats in desperate need of new outdoor homes! These cats are feral (semi-wild) and need to live at a farm, horse stable, warehouse, or other suitable outdoor location.

Veterinarian care has been given (sterilization, rabies, and exam, etc.) No adoption fee will be assessed. Your only responsibility will be to provide daily food and water, protection from the elements, and long-term vet care. After a short period of secure confinement, the cats will accept their new home.

They will help keep rodents away from grain and food storage areas, and you'll enjoy watching the cats as well as have the satisfaction of giving them a much needed home! If you own or manage property and have permission for long-term placement of animals on the property, please call us! We will assist you while the cats settle into their new home.

Barn Cats, Inc. is an all-volunteer group that is devoted to saving the lives of the "forgotten" cats in our society. We work to locate rural situations where the cats can live out their lives in as safe an environment as possible. The organization was incorporated in September 2003 and received 501C3 classification from the IRS in October 2003.

All the cats are spay/neutered, have had current Rabies and FVRCP vaccinations, and have their left ear tipped (notched), the universal sign that a feral cat has been spay/neutered. THey come from all over the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. The organization places an average of seven to ten cats each week primarily on Saturday and Sunday. Only cats old enough to be sterilized are received into the program. All expenses attached to the veterinary care are incurred by the original colony caregiver or group that has trapped the cats.

Barn homes are found all around North Texas. The barn owners agree to continue to care for the cats (food, water, and medical care) for the remainder of their lives. There is no charge to the barn owner to receive a cat. Cats have been placed in big barns, small barns, sheds with a cat door, riding and boarding stables, garages, offices, nurseries, and guest houses.

The best way to reach Barn Cats is by email. Through email, we can forward your contact information to our volunteers to set up a schedule to receive a cat or arrange for barn placement.
If that is not an option, please call and leave a message.
By using your credit card, you can make a secure online donation by clicking their link on the lower right side of their site. The link will redirect you to their PayPal acct. To make that donation, click here.

Barn Cats, Inc.
P.O. Box 293152
Lewisville, TX 75029


Phone: 1-972-315-2875

God bless all the "barn cats" and those who care for them!

Red River SPCA

From their site...
Who We Are
Red River SPCA is a non-profit organization. Started in 1987, RRSPCA is dedicated to helping people and pets to enjoy each other. RRSPCA is operated entirely by a handful of volunteers fostering at their residences. We are a no-kill "shelterless." We rescue and rehabilitate, investigate abuse calls, answer MANY questions in person and by phone (also email). We help people get their pets sterilized low-cost, offer animals for adoption and speak to groups.

Prior to the summer of '03, Red River SPCA helped 500-700 animals each year (average of 50 dogs and 30 cats at a time) in Cooke, Grayson & Montague Counties in Texas plus areas of Oklahome right across the Red River. Most are dogs and cats of all ages and sizes. However, this area is largely rural, so, RRSPCA also rescues a variety of livestock and even wild critters. (We rehab and release wild critters. They are not adoptable.)
Tommie has been a big help to us over the years. She has helped us when we have needed help dealing with aggression issues between dogs, as well as many other things. We adopted Hershey (you'll read about him later) from her. We adopted his sister, Honey, as well. Due to their eventual aggression towards each other, she was instrumental in helping us deal with the situation, which unfortunately led to her taking Honey back. She dealt with Honey's aggression issues and found her a home. Tommie also found their brother, Chocolate, a home. These three were abandoned with their mother. As I said, you will read about what I know about them later when I write about Hershey. Tommie is a very nice lady who is a dear friend to all the critters she has rescued, as well as to those who have adopted rescued critters from her.

Please make donations to the Red River SPCA at the address below.

Red River SPCA Founder, President & Investigator: Tommie Kirksmith-Newman
Phone Number: 1-940-668-6309
(This number rings on Tommie's personal phone, 1-940-668-6714. Her answering machine explains this. Any phone calls she makes, such as responding to a message left, will appear on caller ID's as "Tommie Kirksmith", which is her late husband Jack's last name. He passed away in 2003. She has since remarried Ned Newman, who's wife, Linda, also passed away.)
Red River SPCA
1215 Cooke County Road 140
Whitesboro, TX 76273

For their adoptable critters on PetFinder click here... Red River SPCA Critters

God bless the critters and all those who help them!

Addition: After speaking with Tommie through emails, she says the Red River SPCA is also looking for people who are capable of becoming "foster families". If you are in the area of the Red River SPCA and are able to foster any animals or know someone who would like to, please contact Tommie for instruction. Thanks!

Cindy & Ashley - Sisters

Currently there are a group of critters in our care known as the 2000 group. This consists of all the critters who were born in the year 2000. It seems that year was a boom for orphaned and stray critters to be born and happen to find their way to the south side of US hwy 82. Their count started at 10; however, with the passing of 2 of them, their numbers are now 8. Most of them arrived as puppies or kittens in the year 2000. One arrived two years later. Here is the story of two of them...

Let me start by saying my older brother is an auto mechanic.

Back in the year day, a non-running vehicle was brought to my brother to be repaired. When he started to work on the vehicle, three black and white kittens sprang from the vehicle, running in all directions. He and others tried to catch the little kittens. They caught one. He tried to catch another, but she bit him and took off. They could not catch the third one.

I got the one they caught. She was about 6 weeks old. Being black and white, cinders crossed our minds when trying to name her. From cinders, she was named Cindy. At the time, we had the Russian Blue stray, Misty Blu. Cindy's name became Cindy Lu.

Things were going fine with Cindy until she was spayed. Unfortunately, sometimes when a female cat is spayed, she can become asthmatic. Cindy became one of those cats. Cindy started having difficulty breathing soon after she was spayed. At first the vet diagnosed her with asthma by her symptoms alone. She finally had confirmation of the diagnose a few years later with x-rays, which is the only way to confirm the asthma.

There are many treatments for cat asthma. There are inhaling methods and steroids. Cindy was started on steroids, Prednisone. Side effects of Prednisone can lead a cat to be overweight. Cindy gained weight with the Prednisone and has never been able to lose the weight. She still has a lot of breathing problems. Her asthma is aggravated by stress and seasonal allergies. Recently, over the past couple of years, I have inquired about the inhaling methods. Most of what I have found after questioning local vets and research online is against the inhaling method.

I will soon have a post here regarding cat asthma. Please be patient. If you have stumbled upon this blog because of this post about Cindy and you need information I might have or reassurance, please feel free to contact me or leave a post in response to this post.

A short time later, the guys at the shop caught the third kitten that got away. The owner of the vehicle decided to take that kitten back home. He didn't want all the kittens. His decision to get at least one kitten was strictly to "shut the mother up". I do not agree with his tone, but I do believe in the best interest of the mother, at least one kitten should be returned to her. I hope she and the kitten benefited and are doing well.

A few months after bringing in Cindy, my brother managed to catch her sister, the one that bit him. He called me to come and pick her up. I did. We decided to play along with the cinders/Cindy theme and named her for ashes... Ashley. Adding to the southern charm names... her full name became Ashley Mae.

We had Ashley spayed, and thankfully, she did not develop the same asthmatic problem her sister did.

While driving to the vet's office to pick her up, I saw another cat lying in the shoulder of the road. Usually when I see an animal that has been hit by a car, I say a little prayer for it. As we passed by this little peach colored tabby, she animatedly lifted her head and turned toward the road and our vehicle. I screamed, "Back up! Turn around! It's alive!" We turned around at the next intersection. We went back to the cat in the shoulder; I got out and scooped her up. Brought her with us to the vet to pick up Ashley, but.... that's Amber's story. Check back when I get to her story!

Unfortunately, Ashley's life, although longer than it probably would have been if she were left out on her own, was cut short by lymphoma. She fought it hard, but it was not to be.

To keep this post from being lengthy, I will post the link to the blog about Ashley's illness, as I kept a small journal when she was diagnosed.

Here's the story on Ashley Mae and her illness...Ashley Mae's Journal

I will say I knew it was bad from when I first noticed the lump on her throat. The vet I had at the time did not feel it was necessary to do a biopsy, as he did not think it was cancerous. He thought maybe she had a thyroid problem. My loyalty to one vet sealed Ashley's fate. I had never had multiple vets in the past. I always thought you were suppose to take your pets to one vet. Loyalty. I have since learned, in the best interest of those you are caring for, do what is right by the critters (this also goes for your human children). DO NOT HARBOR THOUGHTS OF LOYALTY! It may cost them their lives. It cost Ashley hers. It took me a month or two to get him to agree Ashley needed more care than he could give and needed to see a specialist. We finally got her to a specialist in the Dallas area.

I now have two vets I use at the same time. Some of my critters go to one and some go to the other for specific reasons. This works well when one is taking vacation or is too busy to see a sick critter that I feel is an emergency. Sometimes I may over-react in what I think is an emergency, but I would rather be safe than sorry. When I am in dire need, I have a third choice I have brought a couple to. I also keep list of most of the vets within my area, as well as several emergency clinics. I am live in a rural area and all emergency clinics are at least a 30 minute drive, that is if you do the speed limit. And, we all know we do not do the speed limit when we are heading to an emergency clinic!

Local Animal Rescues

Over the years, I have come to know of several animal rescues in my area. I want to acknowledge them and provide them some exposure. My way of helping them out. So, I have decided to make an entry for each with their name and a brief description with their address, phone number, etc.

The ones I will be introducing y'all to are...

The Red River SPCA
Red River SPCA is located in Cooke County, Texas.
Red River SPCA rescued one of my dogs, Hershey. You will meet him later.
The lady who runs the Red River SPCA is also the SPCA investigator for our area.
She has been a great help to us and our dogs over the years.

Animal Refuge Foundation (ARF)
Animal Refuge Foundation is located in Grayson County, Texas.
This group has been around a while and rescues unwanted dogs.

Noah's Ark
Noah's Ark is located in Gainesville, Texas.
Noah's Ark is fairly new, but they are already a staple in our area when it comes to taking care of stray cats and dogs.

Barn Cats
Barn Cats is located in Lewisville, Texas.
They take feral cats, spay/neuter them and relocate them to the country to be barn cats.

Homeward Bound Humane Society
Homeward Bound Humane Society is located in Durant, Oklahoma.

Please come back for each as I feature them. I will link to their sites, as well as to their adoptable rescued critters.

Hopefully, each week or month, I will be able to offer a featured adoptable pet from each.

I have the labels for each post turned on; so, these organizations can be searched by their names.
If you are interested in seeing posts about just one of these organizations, please scroll down the right side of your screen to the Labels section. The labels are listed alphabetically for easier search by you. The number in parentheses beside each label shows how many posts have that label attached to it. Choose the organization you wish to see posts about, which will include the brief description and any featured adoptable critters. I hope in the future to be able to list adoption updates.

Thanks & God bless!

P.S. Please, when looking to add a pet friend to your family, go to your local animal rescue or shelter first. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you will find!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Misty Blu

Misty was a Russian Blue stray. She wandered up to the house in December of 1998 before we got the fence erected. She was about a year old.

Misty had a lot of issues. She was a very nervous cat. Having been stray for an unknown amount of time, she did not like the outdoors much. She also developed a fear of one of the 5 kittens we adopted in the next couple of years. They were both spayed and neutered, but Teddy, one of the kittens, thought he could do what he wanted. Keeping them separated was a job unto itself.

Misty also had a fear of not ever going to have food available. She would eat all that was put out.

The combination of her fear of no food and Teddy's constant harassment led to her becoming severely overweight.

Whether or not she became ill later or she suffered from just being too stressed out all the time, I have no idea. She eventually developed what is commonly known as a fatty liver. This is the quick version of what fatty liver is in cats. I will post a health topic on this condition in the future for others to reference. Fatty liver happens when a cat for unknown or known reasons stops eating for three or more days. When anyone - cat, dog, human, whatever - stops eating, the body starts to break down fat reserves to feed itself. A cat's liver is made to process protein not fat. When this happens in a cat, the can develop cirrhosis of the liver or more commonly known as fatty liver. This is almost always a secondary condition, meaning it happens because they have stopped eating as a result of either stress or illness. The vet I had at the time did not explain this to me. I had another cat, Teddy's sister, Mittens, pass away from the very same condition before I found out what it was. It usually occurs in cats that are overweight and lose weight quickly. By quickly, I do not mean go from 15 pounds to 5 pounds. I mean a 15 pound cat dropping to about 10 pounds in about a week or so.

The condition is treatable BUT you have to find the reason the cat has stopped eating.

We never found what was the underlying cause with Misty because no information was given to me from my vet. He basically told me to take her home to die, which is what I did.

I cared for her the best I could. She lasted two (2) weeks, which is about the time they last. Period. No exceptions that I have heard.

Misty came to live in my bedroom. On the night she died, she moaned all night. Several other animals were in the room with her. No one slept. She vomited a tarry black substance several times. I wish now I had considered having her euthanized. I promised her that no other cat would go through what she did that night. If a cat looked to be coming to their end in the manner she did, it will be the only time I will consider euthanasia. I am a firm believer in allowing them to end their life naturally with me by their side to the end, for I have been entrusted with their care. I cannot betray them when they need me most just to ease my suffering; however, when it comes to this condition, I sincerely do not want them to suffer. I hope I can make the right decision by the animal and by God at the time.

When, Mittens died, I prayed a lot for guidance, but, then, I guess you will read of her when I get to her story. I suppose I will have to do some fancy posting when I get to them 5 kittens.

Misty passed away on March 6, 2003; the same year as my beloved Gizzy. He was one of the critters in the room with her when she died. She is buried in my Paws4Critters cemetery. In time I will also make a post about the cemetery and possibly include a photo.

St Francis Paws4Critters Cemetery

Some of the critters who have been called to the Rainbow Bridge have been placed in the St Francis Paws4Critters Cemetery. This is a little cemetery with a St Francis statue keeping vigil over all the critters and enclosed with a white fence. A sleeping cat statue also resides in the corner.

Misty Blue and Silver Mittens are buried here, as well as several stray kittens who have been found dead near our house. Also buried here are several birds, either hit by cars on the highway or caught by our dogs in the backyard. Our neighbor's bunny, which escaped from it's cage, was found dead in our driveway. It, too, is buried here.

I have transplanted some wild Virginia Creeper from further back on our land to the cemetery to try to keep the weeds, oak and elm trees from planting themselves within the cemetery.

Some of the cats and dogs that have passed away over the years are not buried here, as for a time, we had their remains cremated and placed in small cedar boxes with their names engraved on the top. Unfortunately, this is getting expensive.

So, the cemetery was set up. Wild critters and strays have found their way into the cemetery because I cannot leave a critter to the elements especially in the road outside our home. I do not wish to 'run over' an animal time and again. I want all cats and dogs, in life and death, to be cared for. This is my way of showing them they are not forgotten, nor are they disposable!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dedicated to All the Critters I have Had...and Mom & Dad

This post is dedicated to all the critters that have passed through my life...
as well as, Mom, who taught me my love for critters...
and Dad, who put up with both of us and the critters that "followed us home"!

I may not remember what you looked like.
I may not remember your name.
But, you have touched my life.

Mom taught me at a very young age to love all critters. She taught me there is no reason not to care for every critter that comes my way.

When Dad was stationed with the USAF at Beale AFB in California, Mom brought home many dogs and cats. She would go to the pound on base, take all the cats and dogs on their last day and bring them home. Back then, as now, some 'pounds' only held animals for a limited time. In the case of the base pounds, it was three days.

Mom would bring these cats and dogs home. She would nurse them back to health, feeding them and getting their vaccines up to date. I don't know how she did it taking care of three young children on such little money. Dad was not an officer; however, I do not remember his rank at the time. I believe he made Staff Sargent while we were at Beale; so, his pay was low. This was the 1970s. After taking in these cats and dogs and saving them from their ultimate fate, she would find them homes. And, Dad let her do whatever she wanted when it came to the critters.

There were so many dogs and cats going through the house back then and I was young. I can't begin to remember all of them. I have recollections of some of them. There are pictures of us with some of them. Some I remember only from these photos. I wish I remembered them all. I hope they all found good homes. I hope they all lived long, healthy lives.

Mom taught me a lot of how to treat animals.
She gave me my love for animals.
She is, in my eyes, as well as the eyes of all these dogs and cats she saved, a true critter angel!
Thanks Mom!

And, thanks Dad for not getting angry - ok, who gave in when I started with the pouty lips, you know the one where you could "go all the way back to Texas on that lip" - when critters would "follow" me home!

Snoopy, Lobo and more

I'll start with Snoopy, a Black Lab/German Shepherd mix. He was born April 1985 in the Converse/San Antonio, Texas area. He was friends with Gizzy, Tigger and Bandit. He was a well-traveled dog, visiting all the places the cats ventured. Snoopy, as I am sure all can figure, was named after Snoopy in the Peanuts cartoon.

Snoopy loved fast food joints and railroads. Snoopy never barked going through the drive-thru of any restaurant, until... one time the Long John Silvers drive-thru in Garland, TX 'forgot' his fish sandwich. I don't know how he knew, but apparently he knew! He almost went across me, straight out the truck window, at the poor employee who handed me the bag. I always check the bag, but I hadn't got to it yet. After getting him back in 'his' seat, I checked the bag. I told the employee they had forgotten his sandwich. We all laughed, as it had seemed he knew... and he was not leaving without his sandwich!

Snoopy's fascination with trains started as something to do while waiting for the trains to go by one day while waiting, first in line, at a railroad track. Innocently, the train was pointed out to him and he was told 'train, train'. He soon learned the word 'train', getting excited just at the sound of them. Upon moving to Garland, TX, we rented a house in downtown Garland, which just happened to be diagonally across from a busy railroad track. The train would go through several times a day. Everytime it would come, it would blow it's whistle, as it intersected with several big roads - Ave A, D and the main road through downtown Garland. Snoopy use to run to the window whenever he heard the train coming, which included its 3 am run. He would sit and watch until the train had passed.

Before leaving Garland, over the Fourth of July, his organs began to fail. We knew he was on borrowed time. He got better but lost a lot of weight and became weak. He stayed in Garland for only one year, as an opportunity to get out of the city and go back to the rural areas of my dad's childhood arose. We moved all the critters one last time to live their latter years in the country. Unfortunately for Snoopy (as well as Bandit) that time was short lived. By this time, Snoopy was getting on in puppy years. He was 13 years old in people years. The move was in late August. The day after Thanksgiving of the same year Snoopy did what he never did. We had not yet erected a fence for him. He was good though; he did not stray away. His eyes were failing him; so, he stayed nearby. This night was different. He wandered off. Our new neighbors helped us look for him, a black dog at night in an area with no lights. We all called to him. No response. Then, we heard it. We all heard it. The sound was unmistakable. Gunshot. A feeling overwhelms you when you hear that sound. You know what has happened. You can only hope it missed. No chance. We came from all different directions to one spot. The man standing there claimed he was afraid of Snoopy. He thought Snoopy would attack him. The problem we all had with the situation was the man had to go in the house to get the gun; then, come back outside to shoot him. We asked him, if you were so afraid he would attack you, why didn't you just stay inside. We told him, you must have heard us calling him. The name 'Snoopy' is unmistakably a dog's name. He had no answer. Our neighbor, knowing the local area better than we did, called all the vets he knew may answer at 11pm / midnight. We were able to get him to one of these vets quickly. For the moment, he was able to save him. Due to Snoopy's already weakened condition from the previous 4th of July, his body could not handle the shock it just received. By December 5th, he could no longer fight and passed away in the wee hours of the night. Ironically, in a few hours, one of the current dogs I have was born, but that is another story (see Chico later).

Misty, Buffy and Ebony
Misty was a Husky / German Shepherd mix I had as a child. She was a black dog with a misty gray tipping, giving her a misty appearance. I had her while my dad was stationed at Mountain Home AFB in Idaho. She was a wonderful dog who use to try to follow me to school. I am mentioning her for several reasons. She was the first dog that was pretty much mine. She started off as my dad's, but she liked me. Mom liked small dogs and soon took in Buffy and Ebony. Two poodle mixes. Buffy was a creamy buff color male, and Ebony was his jet black sister. Misty's personality changed a great deal when Buffy and Ebony came to live with us. Her behavior changed toward all, except me. She began snipping and biting at people. She began to sneak out of the house more. Mom and Dad decided to find her a new home. No one would adopt her though, as we could not even show her. I was the only one who could handle her. Mom and Dad brought her to our vet, who was a retired military vet who lived off-base. He decided she had epilepsy and needed to 'be put down'. I did not agree. I tried to argue that she never turned on me. This vet responded with "it's only a matter of time". To this day, I feel he was wrong. To the reason I am including this story about these three dogs... looking back and knowing now what I didn't know then, I realize what the issues were. The vet should have recognized the symptoms, I think, of jealousy in Misty. I don't know what knowledge people had regarding dog 'psycology', if that's what you can call it, back in the early 1980s, but to me, it was obvious by 1984. The vet recommended euthanization for Misty. Mom and Dad agreed, thinking he knew best. When they got home, they changed their mind. They called the vet, but he told them it was already done. I always said he murdered my dog. I know that is strong language, but that was about 1981/2. I knew he was wrong then, and I was proven right by 1984. I saw something on TV about jealousy in dogs which described her actions to a T. The program focused on people bringing a baby into the house. I didn't see the difference between bringing a baby human or baby dogs into the house. She was acting out the jealousy she fealt. Her position in the pack was threatened causing her to try to assert her position. I didn't and don't understand how in the 2-3 years I figured it out, the vet could not have recognized the signs. He knew we had just gotten puppies.

The lesson from the above story: any changes in the pack structure, which includes you, the current pets, be it cat or dog, to include any new humans, young or old, or any new animals, will cause the current animals to change their behavior. Dogs need to reassert their position in the pack by beginning bad behaviors such as destructiveness, urination in the house, aggressiveness, etc. Cats may begin to spray, not use the litter box, aggression, etc. If you notice definite changes in your pet's or pets' personality(ies), look around to see what may have changed. They cannot express themselves about insecurities except by acting out different behaviors, even if bad. Also, health problems can also cause behavior changes. If you can not figure out any changes in the household, consult your vet about possible health issues. If you do not know how to solve the problem, consult your vet for help. If you do not feel comfortable with your vet's answer, get a second opinion. Anytime a vet recommends euthanization, get a second opinion.

Lobo, a white German Shepherd / Wolf, 3/4 German Shepherd and 1/4 Timber Wolf. Lobo, as I am sure many are aware, means wolf. I am mentioning him because I absolutely loved him. My family had him when I was 5. We had to relinquish him when I was 8. Dad got orders to go to England. We were stationed at Beale AFB, where the Air Force forgot about us for 5 years. When they realized we were still at the same base for 5 years, they decided to send Dad overseas. The USAF sent us to RAF Lakenheath, England. Unfortunately, at that time, England had a required 6 month quarentine for all dogs coming into the country. The quarentine was so far from the base we would only be allowed to visit on the weekends... for 6 months. The other issue was his breed. England, if they knew or found out, would not allow a wolf hybrid. Period. Mom and Dad attempted to find him a new home. He went to live in the country. I cried. I am sure he didn't understand. Mom tried to write to them to see how he was faring. They never wrote back. We still wonder how he made out. I use to have dreams he would find us. When we were transferred to Mtn. Home AFB in Idaho, I use to dream he walked up our street to our house. Obviously, he is gone now. I only hope he can forgive us.

There were many, many more dogs. More than I can remember, as we always had a dog or cat.
They have made impressions on me whether they know it or now, whether I can remember their names or not, whether I can remember them or not. My not remembering them is more because of my youth than my forgetfulness. See next post.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gizmo 'Gizzy' Todd... and honoring others

I am starting this with Gizzy, not to ignore all the others that came before him, but rather to connect this blog with my other blog, Sacred Heart Blessings Catholic Rosaries.

Gizzy was born March of 1987. He was just a little puff ball of a kitten. He was the first I had ever heard of a Maine Coon. Gizzy was a red Coon mix. He filled a void I needed filled at the time, and he became my little buddy for 16 1/2 years.

Gizzy's name is two parts, yet, simple really. He was born at the time the movie Gremlins was popular. For that, he had to endure the name Gizmo. One of my favorite characters was the fox, Todd, in the Disney cartoon movie, the Fox and the Hound. So, you have it, Gizmo Todd; Gizzy for short. I don't believe he ever answered to anything else. He was absolutely gorgeous. I will try to locate a photo of him to put here.

He was a good friend. He wandered into the garage when I lived in Converse, TX. He traveled through half of the eastern United States when I moved to Providence, RI. He use to come on vacations that took him to MA, ME, NH, VT, NY and Canada. On a return trip from Canada, we crossed Lake Champlain. I held him in my arms, as we crossed the lake looking for Champ, the sea serpent. We did not see Champ. We returned to TX to a suburb of Dallas, where we stayed for a year before moving to a more rural area closer to the Red River.

In 2003, Gizzy was diagnosed with cancer. He began drooling a lot. At first, the vet thought he may have had a dental issue, and we began to discuss dental cleanings. I, however, was a little apprehensive because of his age, 16 years old. His drooling stopped until in August of 2003, I felt a lump at his jaw line. It tested positive for cancer. At the time, the vet did not recommend any chemo or anything; so, I took my little buddy home to give him the best of the time he had left. I soon began feeding him by hand and then by syringe and then eyedropper, as he had difficulty eating. He lived on prednisone daily.

Also, by this time, Dad had started attending RCIA classes to become Catholic. I started looking for rosaries for pet lovers; so, I could pray with Gizzy. I could not find one; so, I started making them. I had some cat face shaped beads from jewelry making. I found some St Francis of Assisi center pieces, a nice crucifix and beads to match the cat face beads. And thus, started making rosaries for cat lovers. Soon, I searched for dog shaped beads to make rosaries for dog lovers.

I prayed my cat rosary with Gizzy in my arms every day. I prayed for a miracle cure, but would settle for a peaceful passing. On November 20th 2003, I was sitting on the couch watching the news about 10:15pm. I was holding Gizzy in my arms; he was sleeping. I felt him take a deep breath, and then, he released it. He was gone. He had peacefully passed away while sleeping in my arms.... one week to the day before Thanksgiving. My prayer was answered. I held him for some time after knowing it was the last time I would hold him. I still miss him to this day. He was my inspiration. He was and is the reason I make rosaries.

Tigger was born April 1983. Tigger was an orange and white tabby. He went and did a lot of the stuff Gizzy did. I use to feed him the heels to loaves of bread when he lived outside before taking him in. He always loved bread after that, and you couldn't leave any out. He would tear through the package and eat the top. He was a good cat! He was diagnosed with cancer in his anal glands. The cancer was removed; we thought. After a year, it came back. He was 16 1/2 years old, too. I will never forgive myself for coming to the decision to have him put to sleep. He struggled one Saturday morning to get up out of my bed to go to the litter box. He tried several times to get up. He finally collapsed back on the bed and went potty right there in the bed. I made the decision then. A decision I will regret for the rest of my life. The one time he needed me. The one time he depended on me. I let him down. I have vowed to never let that happen again. As of yet, I have not. I have learned from this to take the good with the bad and care for them from the moment God brings them to me to the very moment he decides to take them back. Thank you, Tigger, for showing me that I can care for all y'all sick critters in ways I never thought I could.

A seal point Ragdoll mix was born in March 1986. He, again, did all the things Tigger and Gizzy did and went all the same places; however, Bandit did not like to go for rides. He and Gizzy were real good friends, as they were close in age. Bandit introduced me to the kitty ailment of asthma. Unfortunately, I did not know about it until nearly his death. We scheduled an appt for him to see the vet, but on the day of the appt, he got extremely upset about going and died. It is believed he had asthma due to the symptoms he had and what I know of it now. In the moments before we left, it is believed he suffered a heart attack due to the stress of getting ready to go.

There are many others before these, and many I have loved and lost. But these are the three cats that have been in my heart since 1983. I will make a separate entry for the dogs.

God bless all the critters!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Welcome Critters and Their People!

Hi, y'all! This blog is going to be dedicated to the critters I love, and the interesting stories behind their coming to live with me.

I will also include stories behind the name game. Everyone always wants to know, whether asked or not, how one comes up with the names they give their critters. Well, I will tell you when I introduce you to them.

Also, I will try to include interesting information I come across on health issues I think people need to know.

I will try not to get too preachy on how animals should be treated, but I cannot promise I won't, as sometimes I cannot help myself! LOL!

Please visit often, as I am trying to get this going. Please be patient, as I have 9 cats and 5 dogs, some of which have health issues that pull me away from posting.

I also make handmade rosaries and chaplets, which I sell online at Bonanzle and my webstore. Making these rosaries ties into the critters, as I started making them for critter lovers. When one of my longtime loves, Gizmo "Gizzy" Todd, was diagnosed with cancer. I will probably tell his story as well.

Well, that's it for now. More later...