Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Christmas that Almost Wasn't


Tuesday, December 20, 2011 almost ended any happiness that would have been this Christmas.
I had to go to Sherman, Texas for some last minute grocery shopping needs before Christmas. Mom stayed home with the critters. It should have been an easy task, as it usually is. Not this time.
Shasta was in the yard when I left. She watched me through the gate as I pulled away. Like the other dogs, she bolted to the other side of the yard to watch me as I pulled out of the driveway and headed towards Sherman.
After I got to Sherman, I made 2 stops... the Catholic church to deliver a couple of Christmas presents and the post office.
I, then, headed to PetSmart to pick up another dog bed and some cat beds they had on sale still, as well as some litter and food. While there, I got some toys for the cats and a few more for the dogs.

As I got in line at the check out, I got a call from Mom. I listened to her still calming down from a frightful experience...

Shasta got out of the yard.

I asked if she wanted me to come home. She said no; she had managed to catch her, as she called to her and she came.

She put her back in the yard, but she got out again. This time she saw her do it. She squeezed between the house and the fence post. She didn't know how she was fitting, as the space looked too thin.

I told her I would try to hurry, but I had to go to Sam's, Kroger & Walmart, which I dreaded. Things moved along, but seemed to me to be taking forever. As the time passed and more and more people seemed to be out Christmas shopping, I felt like I was getting nowhere, and was nervous as to how things were going at home.

Then, the worst call came while I was at Walmart picking out a birthday card for Mom...

Mom called... Shasta was out of the yard again. She had gone out with her this time to watch her, but she was faster than Mom. She squeezed out and started running. The land is 2 acres, which doesn't seem too large until you are chasing a dog or walking it when you are in pain. Mom walks with a cane and a walker. She was smart this time and took her cane and a coat with her to watch her. She had no treats to entice her with, though, and no leash. Her collar was not on her, as this was the first time she had ever gotten out of the yard.

Sherman is 20 minutes from home doing 70 mph. I told her I would leave and come home. She told me no, just finish; she'd do the best she could.

She was crying. I felt helpless.

Here's my near 68 year old mother, who has been told she needs knee replacements, but refuses to get them because she's afraid, out chasing my 9 month old puppy across 2 acres of land... barb wire barricades 2 sides and horse fence barricades the 3rd side. Wild berry vine bushes with thorns, prickly pear cactus and briar vines with large thorns is everywhere. In some places, there are thickets of trees & poison oak. Mom followed her back as far as she could go. Shasta kept going... through the barb wire fence and through a pasture and to the other side of a line of trees out of sight. That's when Mom called me while I was at Walmart. She was so upset because she thought she lost my puppy. I was upset because I knew Mom couldn't walk that well and to know she was traipsing all over chasing her. I wasn't there to help and Shasta was out of her sight. I was afraid for Mom getting hurt, and I was afraid of losing Shasta.

I called our neighbor. He was still at work, but his girlfriend and his son were home. He asked them to go over to help.
Mom managed to get Shasta to start heading back to her, but Shasta was distracted by a pond... in she went... belly deep!

My neighbors made it back to Mom and tried to help catch Shasta. They all chased her back up to the house. When they got back to the house, Shasta was back in the yard, as my neighbors saw her escape again as they approached. Luckily the three of them were able to corral her at the spot where she got out, and she squeezed back in. None of them could figure how she got out.

I got a call from my neighbor as I got to the truck after checking out at Walmart. I was so panicked I was shaking. He calmly asked, "did you here?" I thought he was going to say Mom fell and got hurt or Shasta ran out in the street and got hit by a car... the street is a 70 mph highway, which was extremely busy just before Christmas and at 4-5pm. No. Shasta was back in the yard. Whew!

After loading the groceries in the truck, I got a call from Mom. I told her I heard from our neighbor already. I asked how she was. She was still shaken and now, she realized, terribly scratched from all the thorns of the berry vine bushes. I told her to wash her legs well and put antibiotics on them because I always get infections from them dadgum thorns. She has problems with her legs with cellulitis, diabetes, as well as she has to watch infections since they removed lymph nodes when she had breast cancer.

When I got home, I looked at the fence. I figured out how she was getting out. The house is a mobile home. The skirting or under pinning is flexible. She was able to push against it, pushing it in, to fit her body between it and the fence post. I tried the best I could to block it off. I, then, took her out on a long training leash I have every time she needed to go out until my brother could do something more permanent with the area.

Both, Mom and I, learned something the Tuesday before Christmas...

After Maverick died this past June, we didn't expect to get another dog. We still had the three we had with Maverick and Copper before they died plus the one that wandered up after Copper died. So, we still had 4 dogs. The only reason we got Shasta 3 days after Maverick died was because we didn't want to miss out on an opportunity to, once again, have a wolf hybrid.

Here we are 6 months later, and we realized we love her... hook, line & sinker! We realized we would have been devastated if something happened to her or if we lost her. We realized, with Christmas presents waiting for her and a new video camera just dying to film it, it would not have been a very merry or happy Christmas without her.

The fence has been modified, but my trust in Shasta is still shaken. I don't leave her outside for long periods of time without checking on her. OK, I am neurotic; I check on her often!

Shasta's first Christmas was a good one. I think I got a little bit of video, but I have to go through it. I hope to be able to sit down with her and write her blog recounting her first Christmas for next week.

Shasta jumping on the "scaredy hole" to play with Cody.
The "scaredy hole" is the underground tornado shelter.

Shasta & Cody playing on top of the "scaredy hole".

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pets at Christmas: Tips Pt 2

Christmas trees, Christmas lights & cords, tinsel, ornaments, mistletoe, poinsettias, Christmas presents, ribbons, bows, paper, food, hot ovens/stoves, lots of people, laughter and loud noise… these are all parts of the Christmas celebration. These all present issues for pets at Christmas time, regardless of whether the pet is new or been around a while.

Adopting a Pet for Christmas
A lot of children ask for pets for Christmas. Be it a puppy, a kitten, a bunny or a pony, its part of childhood. Parents have many times satisfied these cries for a Christmas pet by actually following through. In some cases, people also feel the urge to get Christmas pets for people other than children… girlfriends, boyfriends, parents or other loved ones. What people do not take into consideration is whether the recipient of the Christmas pet can care for the pet or even wants the pet. Sometimes people say they want, but do they, really?

People advertise Christmas litters of puppies or kittens… ready in time for Christmas. Should you visit these people?

Even shelters and rescues bump up their advertising for Christmas hoping to find the perfect home for strays knowing full well a lot of these pets will be back. Should you take these organizations up on their offers?

I will answer these questions later.

Apache, a Catahoula Leopard Dog,
at Red River SPCA in Cooke County, Texas

Here are some tips regarding giving pets at Christmastime.

  1. Consult the recipient of your gift. Be it children or adults. Pets should never be a surprise. If the recipient is another adult who does not live with you, ALWAYS discuss the gift of a pet with them. They may not be able to care for it or want it as much as you think they would.
  2. Make sure the recipient is capable of caring for a pet. Financially, mentally & physically. Pets are like a member of the family. They are not throwaways. Just as you would not discard your child or parent, you should not discard a pet. They have needs… food, toys, grooming, medical, etc. and your time. Be sure the monetary cost is in your budget, as well as having the time to spend with the pet.
  3. If the recipient is a child, REMEMBER the child is NOT ultimately responsible for the pet. The parents are! If the child loses interest and no longer takes care of the pet, the adult(s) is/are responsible for the pet.
  4. Do your research! These tips are great even if it is not Christmas.
    1. What is the best type of pet for your family? Dog? Cat? Maybe something else?
    2. Research dog breeds, sizes, etc. If you live in an apartment, a Dalmatian is NOT the right choice. They are large high energy dogs who do not do well in small places. If you have small children, some small breeds like Italian Greyhounds are very fragile and can be injured easily.
    3. Again research cat breeds. Siamese are very active cats. Maine Coons are very laid back. Persians need a lot of grooming.
    4. Research the medical problems prone to individual breeds. Be aware of what may be in the future. It doesn’t mean the pet you choose will get a specific medical problem, but you need to be aware.
    5. Outside animals: horses/ponies, goats, etc. also have specific needs.
    6. The Internet has a vast wealth of information. When doing your research, be sure your Internet research is from reliable sources.
  5. Check into vet clinics to choose the vet best for you and your new pet.
  6. Bring the recipient with you to pick out the pet. Allow them to hold/touch the pet. Allow them to choose their new pet. Pets bond with their owners. Give them a head start by allowing the bonding to start at selection time.
If the pet is for your immediate family and you wish the pet to be a surprise, you can surprise the recipient(s) without actually putting the pet under the tree. All adults (parents) should be involved in the decision. Some tips to surprise your family…
  1. Purchase items needed: food/water bowls, toys, bed, collar, leash, cage (for animals needing such)
  2. Buy a book that teaches the recipient to care for the pet.
  3. Wrap the items and place them under the tree.
  4. Wrap a picture of a dog, cat or other animal you have decided to give as the gift and place it under the tree.
When the recipient unwraps the gift you have placed under the tree, they will know they are getting a pet. You can then let them know when they can go to choose their pet.
If you are purchasing from someone advertising Christmas puppies or adopting from a shelter/rescue, ask them to hold the puppy until after Christmas. Some shelters do not have the space to hold animals; so, they may not be able to hold them.
Be careful of any pet, newly adopted or been around a while, near doors, gates, etc. The constant opening of doors, gates, etc. with guests coming and going allows pets to slip out without anyone noticing. If possible, assign pet duty to one or two people. Their job will be to watch the doors, gates, etc. when people come and go to make sure all entries & exits are closed. Christmas festivities will come to an end quick if the beloved pet is found in the road. If you must have the pets in the house, another choice would be to place pets in a separate room at the farthest end of the house away from the noise to keep them safe and help ease their fears.
Keeping Your Pet Safe at Christmas
These tips will help to ensure you get the right pet. Never purchase a pet, place it in a box with a lid and set it beneath the tree. It may cause the pet to be fearful. There will never be enough holes in a lid or box for the pet to breathe properly.
Remember the list at the beginning of this blog? Bringing a pet into a home with all the goings on that happens on Christmas Day, can be very stressful for any animal. Puppies/dogs, kittens/cats, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, etc. can become very scared with the crowds and hustle & bustle of the day.
Also, be careful of pets who play with or eat tinsel, garland and ribbons. Glass ornaments can cause injury. Food left out can cause illness. Loud noises can cause fear in pets and cause them to run or hide. If you haven’t seen the pet in while, be sure you know they are hiding and did not bolt out a door. Boxes and ribbons can have metal staples that can be choked on. Mistletoe & poinsettias are poisonous to animals. Christmas lights & cords pose electrocution issues if chewed. Christmas trees can be climbed, knocked down or urinated on… all causing potential electrical problems or injury problems. If you have a fireplace, be sure you have a fireplace screen keeping children & pets out. Large dogs can jump on counter and stove tops, as can cats. Be sure they are either kept out of the kitchen or monitored closely. Be sure to keep handles to pots and pans turned inward; so, they can not be knocked down. Do not leave food unattended. Pets have strong food drives. Small bones like turkey and chicken can cause a pet to choke to death.

Please also be careful with candles. A lot of people use candles at Christmastime, as well as year round. Animals and candles do not mix. Keep lit candles out of the reach of pets. Remember cats can jump most anywhere. It is probably better to refrain from using candles at all with pets.
When dealing with pets at Christmastime or any time, always approach each situation with this in mind…
  1. How can this situation become a potential problem for my pet?
  2. Can the pet reach it?
  3. Can it cause harm to my pet?
  4. Can the pet escape, get lost or injured?
  5. Always have the safety of your pet at the forefront of everything you do. Just as you would for your own child or loved ones.
Whether you are adopting a new pet for Christmas or you already have one, remember to take precautions to ensure their safety!

Fran, a Chow Chow/GSD mix,
at Red River SPCA in Cooke County, Texas
And remember to… always paws for critters with 4 paws!
Thanks for reading.
Please leave comments or tips, as well as like, tweet and share with your pet loving friends!
Don’t forget… you can purchase American made pet products right here at Paws4Critters Pet Stuff!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Shasta on Black Friday

Shasta at PetSmart on Black Friday 2011

Shasta in her new bed she got at PetSmart on Black Friday 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mavy, New Business & Veterans Day

The following post was posted on my webstore on November 11th, 2011. I am reposting it here for everyone's reference...

Today, November 11th, 2011 or 11/11/11, would have been my beloved Maverick’s “Mavy” 11th birthday. On June 1st, 2011, he passed away from gastrointestinal cancer. He started showing signs of illness around the 1st of May. In the course of one month, he passed away with me lying beside him, holding him, on the dining room floor.

In honor of Mavy, I am finally doing something I have wanted to do for a long time… start an online pet store for pet products. Maverick is in the store’s banner because I have used the image of all the critters for quite some time now.

The name Paws4Critters I have had since 2000. I attended a business school where we had to work in groups to come up with a hypothetical business. I grouped with other animal lovers, and we came up with a pet store… a dream of mine. I wanted a clever name, and came up with Paws4Critters and the slogan “Pawsing for Critters with 4 Paws”. I was in charge of marketing; so, I came up with all the logo designs and such.

When trying to figure what would make Paws4Critters Pet Stuff different from other online pet stores, I thought long and hard about it. It finally came to me… specialize in American made products. That’s not to say Paws4Critters Pet Stuff will not carry products made in other countries, but we will strive to offer American made products, first.

Paws4Critters Pet Stuff will also offer products which are unique and/or products The Critter Gang likes and approves of.

We are in the early stages of securing contracts with several manufacturers of American made products as well as one American manufacturer whose products are manufactured elsewhere.

Dynamic Accents, Ltd – Made in the USA
Dynamic Accents is an American manufacturer based in Ohio. They make beautiful wood furniture at their facility in the United States. American workers building American made products. They specialize in slide gates, which allow you to section off parts of your home to keep pets and small children in or out of specific areas, end table pet crates, which gives you a functional piece of furniture and keeps your best friend by your favorite chair as well and elevated, single feeder bowls. If you have a large breed dog, you have probably noticed the elevated double feeder bowls in stores. Dynamic Accents offers a single feeder bowl, which is great for those of us who have no use for the elevated double feeder bowl. Believe me, I have looked for elevated single feeder bowls, and they are very difficult to find.

Hugs Pet Products
Hugs Pet Products is not made in the USA. However, I have bought these products for The Critter Gang. They are definitely Critter Gang approved. Hugs Pet Products has some very unique items. Some of their popular items are hollowed out rubberized toys with a sponge-like material in them. These toys are great for pets after exhausting activities. You simply place the toy under gently running water for a short while and place in the freezer. Once frozen, you can give the toy to your dog when (s)he is hot, has just come in from play, just come back from a walk or any other time they need cooling down. I give them to Shasta when she gets overly rambunctious, as well, because she loves them. They are not for power chewers or dogs who enjoy the destruction of a toy. I would suggest monitoring this type of dog with them. Hershey has to be monitored with them because he is an extreme power chewer; I have found nothing he cannot chew through in a very short period of time. They have other products I will be offering as well. They even have another product I would like to try with Shasta… the Tee Bone has a pouch to place a worn, not laundered T-shirt in. The theory is to place the T-shirt in the Tee Bone and your dog will have your scent with him/her at all times. Not sure how this works, but I assume you would have to change the shirt from time to time to put your scent back in it. When I get one for Shasta, I will probably get some cheap undershirt style T-shirts to wear around a bit and place in the Tee Bone.

I have a few others in the works, but I do not want to put their names here until everything is set. When I add another manufacturer, I will make an announcement/introduction blog post.

I will still offer some of the homemade toys I have listed such as the Alley Cat Knapsack©, the Animal Crackers©, the fleece rope toys, the fleece blankets and the handmade jewelry – Rainbow Bridge Pet Remembrance Bracelet, Pet Family Bracelet, Pet ID Bracelet and in some cases other handmade necklaces and some manufactured Swarovski brooches.

Please visit Paws4Critters Pet Stuff, like us and share us with your friends.
Please “like” our fan page on Facebook here:

Please check back as we will be adding new items, regularly.

And, to my dear sweet Mavy… Happy Birthday my beloved Fluff Muffin!
I hope you are with Dad, Copper and Gizzy, my little buddy who is now the face of Paws4Critters Pet Stuff.

Today is also Veterans Day… a great day to open a pet store specializing in American made products! Hope I can make Dad proud.

Happy Birthday, Mavy!
Happy Veterans Day, Daddy and to all our military personnel!
Thanks for stopping by and… BUY AMERICAN whenever possible!

Robyn & The Critter Gang

Since posting this blog, I have added two more American made manufacturers. I am trying to get their products listed as quickly as possible. Please bear with me and check back often.

West Paw Design (from their site) - Made in the USA
West Paw Design manufactures the highest quality dog and cat toys and bedding available, made in beautiful Bozeman, Montana, in the good ol’ U.S. of A. We are a small but mighty company dedicated not only to creating safe, fun, and durable products for your pet, but also to making a contribution to the greater picture. We believe in only the best for your pet!

Katie's Bumpers (from their site) - Made in the USA
  • Katie's Bumpers were designed with both humans and dogs in mind.
  • Katie's Bumpers are fun and cool and unique.
  • Katie's Bumpers are safe for everyone. All of the designs on the bumpers are molded into the non-toxic vinyl as part of the manufacturing process. It is not painted on and therefore will not come off in your dog's mouth.
  • Whether you are a serious dog trainer doing land or water work or you have a dog that loves to fetch, Katie's Bumpers are great.
  • They are easy for you and your dog to see in just about any setting or weather condition.
  • They have just the right amount of weight for a good toss.
  • When they roll on the ground or on the water, everyone can find them.
  • We have tested them in pools, in the ocean, lakes and reservoirs and every dog has gotten their new patterned bumper.
  • They are easy to wash. You can throw them in the sink and use a little soap and water to get the day's dirt off, or throw them in the dishwasher.
Paws4Critters - Made in America, Texas, that is.
These items will still be available. If you do not see them, please do not hesitate to ask.

Rainbow Bridge Pet Remembrance Bracelets are made to order bracelets that offer comfort and reminds us of our beloved pets that have gone before us. Available for both dogs and cats.
Alley Cat Knapsacks & Animal Crackers are Paws4Critters cat toy designs and are handmade by Paws4Critters in America.
Fleece Rope dog tugs/chews are Paws4Critters dog toys handmade by Paws4Critters in America.

Thanks & always paws 4 critters with 4 paws!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All in the Family

I am writing this blog because I have promised people I would while trying to explain the relationships between some of the cats I have rescued.

Devil (recovering from surgery to his eye to correct an old injury)
Devil is the resident male tom cat believed to be a Maine Coon mix. He is descended from a feral that used to come around circa 1999-2001. He is estimated to be between 9 & 11 years old. He was born outside and lived there until January 2011 when I took him in, had him neutered and had surgery done to correct an eye injury he acquired in a fight circa 2009.

Mama Kitty
Mama Kitty is the long haired black and white mother cat that belonged to my neighbor’s wife’s aunt. When the aunt went into a nursing home, she gave the cat to her niece. Mama Kitty lived outside and was pregnant when she got here. Her kittens were all shorthaired, unlike their mother. It is believed she has some sort of Oriental breed like Siamese, Himalayan, etc, as most of her kittens have the Oriental points like those breeds.

Now, having set those two, I will try to explain the relationship between all the kittens I & the dogs have rescued from the backyard, under the house and/or deck, or wherever they may have wandered or been left by their mother.

  1. Mama Kitty is the mother of Dusty & Sandy, as well as the mother of Harley & Jake’s mother, whom she was pregnant with when she arrived at my neighbor’s house.
  2. Devil is the father of Dusty & Sandy.
  3. Dusty & Sandy are siblings but from different litters, approx 6 months apart.
  4. Harley & Jake’s mother is the ½ sister of Dusty & Sandy, which makes Harley & Jake their nephews.
  5. Harley & Jake are, therefore, the grandsons of Mama Kitty.
  6. Bonnie’s mother is Mama Kitty.
  7. Bonnie’s father is Jake. (Note: This is why I call Bonnie a Penguin Siamese. She looks like a pure bred Siamese, but her parents are both black and white. She is my poster pet for people who go to the shelter/rescue or find a stray and say... "it must be a pure bred ______")
Are you still with me? OK, now it’s about to get complicated!

  1. So… Bonnie is the great granddaughter of her mother because her father is her mother’s grandson. Bonnie’s grandmother (the mother of her father) is also her ½ sister, which makes her father, Jake, and his brother, Harley, who is also her uncle, her nephews.
  2. Bonnie is also the ½ sister of Dusty & Sandy, but they are also her ½ great uncle & aunt (and she is their ½ great niece) because her grandmother is their ½ sister and her father is their ½ nephew.
Still following?

  1. Bonnie is, then, her own ½ grand aunt & ½ grand niece.
Got all that?!

  1. Jake the younger, it is assumed, is somehow related to this group because he resembles Jake the elder in facial structure and body build, as well as having the spots like Dusty. Interestingly, Mama Kitty took Bonnie’s siblings after the dog’s “rescued” her from under the deck and left. All of Mama Kitty’s offspring that I was not able to catch left the immediate area as well, However, they continue to stop by from time to time with another feral, Bobby, who I have been feeding for over a year. They are all feral now, and I see them from time to time near the van where I feed them.
Jake the Elder
Sandy & Bonnie
Dusty & Sandy
Jake the Younger
And that, folks, is the reason we should not keep it all in the family!
Robyn & The Critter Gang

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Corey's Saga (c)2011

New short story from the author of the much beloved, heartwarming tale Mama, Where Do Strays Go?
Click link below to go to Author Stand and download...

Bittersweet story follows a puppy sold by a backyard breeder/puppy mill to a city/town pet store. From the pet store, the puppy is purchased as a gift for someone else. The story offers one of the many reasons why pets should not be purchased as gifts regardless of whether the pet is bought from a store, a backyard breeder or a registered breeder.

Please read, review and recommend to all your friends this Christmas season... and remember, never purchase a pet as a gift, be it Christmas, Easter, birthday, anniversary, etc. Always include the recipient and/or the recipient's family.

Product Specifications
Word Count 1540
File Format Book will be delivered as a PDF download.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Cost of a Rescue

Rescued April 14, 2011

It all started with a conversation about people who, for whatever reason they settle on, can no longer keep their pet and choose to bring it to a shelter.

Regardless of reasoning behind owner surrenders or street rescues, apparently some folks think rescues are out to rob people of their business and/or make money for themselves. The individual who made this declaration claims they have witnessed shelters trespass on property owned by private kennels to confiscate purebreds merely for resale through the shelter via PetFinder. Apparently, it is believed shelters “confiscate” purebreds breeds to resell for breeder prices just to make a buck. In the conversation, the kennel was referred to as robbed.

It was also stated and believed pets are confiscated if the animal is not treated like a child instead of a pet. The notion is that animals are taken often times unnecessarily because of this theory, which supposedly seen first hand on Animal Planet®.

I am far from the person who sings the praises of any of the animal cop shows on Animal Planet®. I know most of the areas portrayed are notorious for their high kill (euthanasia) rates and less than stellar performances in animal care. I am also not the one to ask about how I feel about the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States).

Confiscating animals because they are not treated like a child? Hmmm… I have seen some of these shows. The ones I have seen have confiscated animals who have not been fed, given fresh water, given any water, long haired breeds not groomed left matted, etc. I have seen first hand… yes, first hand, not on TV, how people think they can just put a dog in the backyard and not care for it. Treated like a child? How about treat it like a living creature, period! An animal, despite whether you live in an urban, suburban or rural area should never be allowed to run loose; yet, people think just because they can’t keep the dog in it’ll be fine. No one should have to live with hitting a loose dog on the road.

Trespassing on private property of “professional” kennels. Professional kennels. What are we calling “professional”? Backyard breeders? Puppy mills? If you are breeding dogs for profit, you are not a professional breeder. A professional breeder breeds for love of the breed. A professional breeder breeds for the betterment of the breed. They do not breed the most popular breeds to make a fast buck. They love the breed. They know the breed. They breed genetic problems out of the breed if possible. They breed the breed for what the breed was meant to be for. A hunting dog to hunt. A herding dog to herd. A lap dog to sit on your lap. Backyard breeders have dogs that are not consistent with breed specifics. Puppy mills have sickly dogs who are kept in cages that are too small. Is this a “professional” breeder? Most puppy mills breed more than one breed of the “popular breeds”; so, they can make a quick buck before the trend dies down. This IS NOT a “professional” breeder.

Rescues charging purebred prices! This line really got me. Maybe because I have purchased rescue dogs through a rescue. Maybe because I try to help a local rescue when I can. I decided, since I just rescued a dog and two cats on my own out of my own pocket, I would try to help everyone understand the price of a rescue.

I cannot speak for all rescues, shelters, etc. who list on PetFinder just the one I deal with from time to time, as well as for myself & what I would have to charge if I adopted those I rescued out, as well as two others in the area in which I am aware of somewhat how they operate.

The rescue I deal directly with, the RRSPCA (Red River SPCA), charges a minimum tax deductible donation. They do not like to call it a fee because the entire amount is tax deductible, as it is technically a donation. The RRSPCA receives no additional funding from any local government or the national SPCA. They are completely a volunteer organization with foster homes only. The lady who runs it has some acreage that is used for fostering large breed dogs, as well as other animals from time to time. She is also the animal cruelty investigator for the county.

The fees the RRSPCA charges as tax deductible donations on PetFinder cover expenses incurred in caring for the animal up for adoption. These expenses include but are not limited to spay/neuter, vaccines, heartworm tests & medication, food, vet bills if the animal is injured or ill, medications if needed, grooming if needed, etc.

These expenses vary greatly depending on where a rescue/shelter is located – urban, suburban, rural. Some vets offer services at reduced rates for rescues and shelters; some do not. If a shelter is lucky enough to be located within driving distance of one of these vet clinic, they can get some services at a lower cost and pass that savings on.

Some people think all the food is donated. It is not. What is not received in donations comes out of pocket. Charitable organizations have to basically line up at stores to get the “dented” cans or “torn” bags of cat/dog food stores give to charities. It’s first come, first serve.

Like many of you, I have adopted “rescued” animals, but I also have “rescued” animals. My mom started it when I was a young child. While Dad was serving in the USAF at Beale AFB, CA. Mom would go to the base pound, as they were called back then. She would get the animals on their last day, nurse them back to health, get their “shots” and find homes for them. Dad would always say, “the least you could do is charge for them to recoup what we put out.” Mom responded with, “who’s gonna pay for a mutt?” Dad was ahead of his time, as this was the 1970s!

I have been involved in the rescue of all the animals I have except three. Two dogs adopted from the Red River SPCA and one pedigreed Chihuahua who was too big for his breed. His breeders gave him to us because they couldn’t sell him. One cat was hit by a car when she was 6 mos old and rushed to a vet. She is now 11. One cat was thrown out a truck window, bounced off the door and landed on the ground as a 3 mo old kitten. I stopped traffic to pick her up. She survived with no injuries. Five 2 wk old kittens were brought to me by my aunt when my cousin accidentally ran over their mother. At least three cats were rescued in the backyard by the dogs. Three dogs were strays one of which came with heartworm. One dog was abandoned as a young puppy. In the past 2 years, I have rescued 2 adult cats, 3 kittens, 1 adult dog & adopted 1 puppy from the RRSPCA. All in all, I can break down the cost of a rescue.

So, what is the cost of a rescue, you ask?

Here’s the breakdown of what the most recent adult dog needed:
Exam: $38
Heartworm test: $30
Annual vaccine: $18.50
Rabies vaccine: $16
Heartworm preventative: $20.93
Flea Meds: $6
Tapeworm: $17.12
Neuter: $50 (with low cost neuter voucher)
Total: $196.55

$196.55 just for vetting. No food.
If I were to have adopted him out, what could I honestly expect to be able to ask for on PetFinder? To recoup expenses, obviously, I could ask $200 just to round off for food. Do I think I could get $200 for a dog that appears to be a Black Mouth Cur, realizing the word cur actually means mutt, even though it is sort of a breed? No, I doubt it.

In comparison, the pup I just adopted from the RRSPCA was vet examined, spayed, had all puppy vaccines which was 2 or 3 visits, wormed, etc. I paid $100. They did have her slightly higher to weed out certain types of people because of her breed/species, as she is a Timberwolf hybrid.

The cat that was hit by a car back in 2001 cost over $200 just to save her life; she was spayed at the same time.

The most recent cat, Devil, was rescued in January 2011; he is a 9-11 yr old FIV+ male with a healed over eye injury, which required surgery. His exam, surgery to correct his eye injury, testing for FIV & FeLV, annual & rabies vaccines, neutering, flea & tapeworm meds, etc. totaled about $400. In most rescue/shelter situations, Devil would have been euthanized because he tested FIV positive even though after being neutered and as long as he doesn’t fight he can live with non-FIV+ cats.

Personally, I do not know how some of these rescues/shelters survive by putting out more than they get in. So, when you see a rescue or shelter on PetFinder “selling” a “purebred” for “breeder” prices, don’t be so quick to judge. They are trying to recoup some of what they put into the rescue of the animal.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Interview with the Devil

Devil during his interview

Interviewer: We’re here with Devil, an outside cat that sort of became stray, abandoned or whatever you’d like to call it. He’s a large red Maine Coon mix Tabby. Hi, Devil…
Devil: Puuuuurrrrrrrrrr

Interviewer: So, why the name Devil?
Devil: Well, there are several stories. Where I lived before, there was a guy, his wife and 2 kids. He called me a “little devil”, she thought the kids named me for the cartoon character Tasmanian Devil, but the daughter says neither. She says I use to have tufts of hair that resembled horns growing in from of my ears.

Interviewer: Do you like your name?
Devil: Eh, I really don’t care. These new folks tried to change it to Devon, but once you’re used to a something, it’s hard to change. I think it was harder for them to try to remember. They usually just call me Dev for short, anyway; so, it don’t matter. Really, just call me when you’re dishin’ the food!

Interviewer: Do you know how old you are?
Devil: 9, 10, 11… su’um like that. At least 9, but at the most 11.

Interviewer: Where’d you live before?
Devil: That’s a tough one. The neighbor claimed me as theirs, but they just put food out for me and a bunch of other cats. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated it! I went wherever I wanted, though. Basically, I stayed within a 3 acre or so range – the house that put food out and their neighbors on each side.

Interviewer: So, it’s rural?
Devil: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did you like it?
Devil: Well, what’s a cat to do? You can’t choose what happens to ya a lot of times. Stuff just happens. You deal. The neighbor to the east used to let me in sometimes. The neighbor to the west always showed me attention and looked out for me.

Interviewer: What happened that brought you to where you are now?
Devil: The lady who was feeding me just up and left. No idea. I’ve heard she left her husband. Took the kids, the inside cats and split. Left all us outside cats here either for the husband to tend to or to fend for ourselves. The husband works weird hours; so, feeding got real erratic. Most of the other cats left. Not me. I’m more of a homebody, I guess, always have been. Been here about 10 years, didn’t see a need to go someplace else. Born and raised right here. It’s my home. The neighbor to the west who I said always looked after me started putting food out when she saw me getting real thin looking. She even got me a dogloo. What kinda word is that? We called it the cathouse. Well, no self respecting cat would live in a dogloo, would they? Sounds like an outhouse for dogs! Anyway, she put some nice bedding in it come winter, food, water and me time. She’d sit with me for about a half hour in the morning and a half hour in the evening. Oh, how I longed for those moments each day. Hey, us cats are not the loners folks like to make us out to be. We like companionship. We get lonely! When I saw her comin’ to feed me, I ran to her.

Interviewer: Being outside like that, I imagine you’ve been in a few fights?
Devil: Oh yea. Well, you know, gotta protect the ol’ territory and the gals! Not to mention keep the youngin’s under control, teach ‘em some respect for their elders.

Interviewer: That how you got that eye injury and illness?
Devil: Yeah, it’s no big deal. The eye was a real a pain for a couple of years. Constant infections, always draining and stuff.

Interviewer: And, since these new folks have been caring for you, you’ve had a couple major surgeries?
Devil: Eh-em, yeah. I was not asked about them either!

Interviewer: So, how’s the eye?
Devil: Well, after they shaved one side of my entire face, they had to pull my lower eye lid down cuz it had rolled inward when my eye healed from that fight injury. They said the eyelashes were rubbing against my eye. Well, duh… I could’ve told ya that. Anyway, they cut some skin & sewed it back together, itchy stitches, and there ya go.

Interviewer: Like a kitty facelift?
Devil: A kitty what?

Interviewer: Never mind. Just a joke. So, how’s the neutering?
Devil: Well, how do you think?! One day, you’re a guy, feeling all big and lion like ready for a fight and a gal. You take a nap, snip snip, wake up – no more lion, just a big ol’ pussy cat! All I gotta say is, why wasn’t I involved in that conversation?!

Interviewer: Hear you were quite the ladies man; do you miss the ladies now?
Devil: To be honest, not as much as I thought I would. I mean there’s some gals here, but they’re all hissy!

Interviewer: Do you still feel the urge to fight?
Devil: hmmm… not really. I don’t think I mind that. Didn’t really like it much. I mean, some folks would say, I was quite the fighter, but no, take it or leave it. There’s another youngin’ that was out with me, Harley. He took off and came back. I chased him about outside, never really fought him cuz he’d always run off. Well, they took him in, too. Neutered his sorry self, too! Hee hee… purrrr. Sometimes, he still annoys the fur off of me. We get along better now though. We’ve played, but, dang, he can be annoying. No respect in these younger generations! There’s another guy, Punkin. No one messes with him. Of course, he’d probably just sit on them; he’s a tubby. He’s about my age, but he’s the top cat. He let me know right away, too. They say he’s usually docile – never hissed at anyone. Well, he sure hissed at me! Told me exactly, in no uncertain terms, who he was and where I stood in the house. I told him not to get his britches all matted; I had no intention of taking his position. I don’t think I could move him off of it anyway. What’s he weigh… 25 pounds! We’re alright now, though; we understand each other.

Interviewer: So, you did not assume Top Cat in the house?
Devil: Nope, and I don’t want it.

Interviewer: How do you like inside life?
Devil: Inside life is better than outside. Trust me! The AC is real cool… really. Then, there are meals at least 3 times a day, companionship from people and other cats. The dogs I could live without, seriously. I really do not like dogs, especially that new pup they just got. Can’t keep her mouth off any of us cats! Oh, and the really nice, soft places to sleep…. I cat could reeeeeally get sooo used to this life.

Interviewer: Do you miss going outside?
Devil: Not so much. Did you listen to what I just described to you? Would you want to go live outside?

Interviewer: Well is there anything you miss about being outside?
Devil: Hmmm… well, maybe roaming, ya know, come and go as I please. Nah, not really. Being my own cat, not in comparison to the bennies of inside. Solitude, nope. I can find hidey places to get solitude if I want it inside, but trust me, if you’ve been outside as long as I have, you will not miss solitude!

Interviewer: Earlier we talked about you acquiring a major illness while outside due to the fighting. Want to talk about it?
Devil: Sure. What do you wanna know?

Interviewer: What did you get?
Devil: FIV or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. It’s like HIV in people, but they say it can’t be transmitted to people.

Interviewer: How’s does it affect you?
Devil: At the moment, it hasn’t. I live my life same as before. I don’t feel sick or nothing. Out of precaution, I am forced to stay by myself when no one is home. I don’t like it, but I guess they think they are doing right by the others in case someone ticks me off & we get in a hissy fit. Not all cats will just have FIV. Some get feline AIDS. There’s no cure and you will die from complications. They found chronic eye infections & upper respiratory infections cause a lot of cats’ demise. The problem with my eye injury always draining and getting infected is the reason they had the vet do the corrective surgery. If my FIV goes to AIDS, then my eye could, in a sense, kill me.

Interviewer: Does it affect the others?
Devil: No, not really. They’ve done some research on it. Found that I can eat, drink, play and sleep with the others. It’s mainly just fighting. Fighting males get it most. It is transferred through saliva getting into deep puncture wounds. So, fighting causing injury deep puncture wounds with fangs can be deadly. Believe me, if playing appears to get out of hand or we start the kitty roll, they are on top of us splitting us up making sure I didn’t sink my fangs into nobody.

Interviewer: So, you like your life now; do you think it has turned out for the better?
Devil: Yessiree Jim Bob! It’s cool. People can be weird, though – they have dogs – don’t see a need for them critters, but they like ‘em. Guess I’ll have to get used to them. As long as they don’t bother me, I’m fine. I think this life, even with the dogs, is much better than what I had outside. I can curl up in a nice place and sleep, get attention whenever I want it, eat canned food not just dried up stuff riddled with fire ants and roaches. Yeah, this is the life! Every critter should have this!

Interviewer: Well, that concludes our interview with Devil. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I have. Thanks, Dev, for filling us in on the life of a rescued cat.
Devil: You’re welcome. Now, I am late for my nap. I gotta go. See ya!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mourning the Loss of the Guardian

My Beloved Friend & Guardian
I haven't been on in a while. A lot of critter tribulations. First Copper became ill and passed away. Now, Maverick.

Shortly leading into May 2, 2011, Maverick's eating was noticeably changed. I brought him to the vet on May 2nd. His blood work showed elevated white blood cells, as well as some other issues.

Diagnosis: most likely a gastrointestinal cancer.

I fought the diagnosis. Could not except the youngest dog had cancer and was going to die. The inevitable was not something I could except. I tried to get him to eat. The more time progressed the less he would. I would cook for him. Every piece of food he ate I triumphed only to be let down at the next meal. I convinced myself maybe it was this or maybe it was that. No. It was nothing else.

In the wee hours of the morning, June 1st, Maverick became restless. I tried to comfort him. Thought maybe he has to go to the bathroom. I walked him outside. He attempted to go down the stairs of the deck. He collapsed on his way down only to end up in my arms at the bottom of the stairs. I screamed for him in the darkness of night. Holding him there. When family members came, I was there holding him, his eyes in an icy glaze of a stare, with me weeping uncontrollably over him.

We stayed with him for a few minutes; then, tried to get him onto a blanket to carry him back onto the deck & then into the house. Once on the deck, the glaze vanished from his eyes. He tried to stand. Wobbly, he did. He attempted to walk to the door to go inside, but he couldn't. We carried him in on the blanket.

Once again, he lay on the blanket, now in the house. Again, he tried to stand. Wobbly, he walked around the dining room table and stood there. I held him to steady him. He slowly sat down and then laid down. I laid down next to him. My arms around him. Comforting him. I told him, if it's time, you can go. I didn't want him to suffer. That was 4 a.m.

Two hours passed. I held him for 2 long hours, crying & telling him I loved him, but didn't want him to suffer. I told him to go ahead Dad was waiting for him at the Rainbow Bridge with Copper and all the other critters.

At 6:10 a.m., Maverick, my guardian, took his last breath.

Good bye my friend. I will always love you. I will always cherish you & your memory. I will never forget you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pole Dancing with Bonnie, the Penguin Siamese

I posted this video on my facebook page, but thought folks might get a kick out of it here.

When you see the video get real close to Bonnie, it's because I had to unstick her claw from the fish. LOL!

I tied the fish toy to the pole to get her to stay long enough to shoot video of her, but she does this all the time without the toy. I have a still digital photo which, I believe, is posted on the blog already, but since I found one of my old HP digital cameras would work with one of my new camera's card, I wanted to video her.

The video seems to end abruptly, but the it is the limitations of the camera. It only record video for approx 2 mins.

So, sit back & enjoy pole dancing with Bonnie Blu, the Penguin Siamese!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Red River SPCA on Facebook

Recently, I have been dedicating some time to helping a local animal rescue group.

The Red River SPCA is located in Cooke County, Texas, which borders Oklahoma on the Red River. It is operated completely by volunteers led by the SPCA investigator, Tommie Kirksmith-Newman. It is known as a no-kill shelterless rescue. What this means is there is no actual shelter location. All animals are kept in foster care. Because of this, they need to keep a good number of foster homes available and animals must be adopted or it limits the number of new rescues they are able to actually rescue.

The Red River SPCA does have a listing on PetFinder.
The listing can be accessed here: Red River SPCA on PetFinder

The Red River SPCA is also now on facebook.
Here you can visit them & "like" them on facebook:

If you are looking for an adoptable cat, they also have rescued cats/kittens.
The cats are not listed on petfinder at the moment or on their facebook page, but they do rescue them, as well. A few of these cats are available at the Sherman PetSmart store.

If you live in the Texoma area, Sherman/Denison area, Gainesville area, Cooke & Grayson Counties area, north Texas area, Dallas area, or southern Oklahoma area, please remember to check out the Red River SPCA for adoptable dogs & cats.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Copper's Chip In Posts

February 24, 2011 @12:10am
Dad's Little Buddy, 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.

He was always ready to go for rides, and still is. 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 also liked to climb and escape the fenced in yard; hence, the reason the 6 foot chain link fence has another foot of wire at the top making it look like a prison.

When he arrived, he attached himself to my dad. 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. Dad loved him so much.

A lot has changed since then. Dad passed away. Copper still misses him.When Dad's brother, who resembled Dad, use to come for visits, he'd jump on the couch, lays down beside him and place 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 had gained a lot of weight due to a hypothyroid problem which is being treated with meds, his eyes are a little cloudy, his muzzle is turning white, and he can no longer get on the couch on his own. He still gets excited to see everyone come home, and he still loves to go for a ride.

btw, he was 52 pounds before starting meds for hypothyroidism. He is down to 40 pounds.

When we come home, he greets us with a shrilling trill noise at the door. 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!
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February 24, 2011 @ 12:36am
The Reason for this Chip In

Recently, about February 12 & 13, Copper began having a lot of problems with his hind legs.

He has fatty deposits, which is common with overweight dogs & overweight dogs who have lost a lot of weight, in his left hind leg. We thought the fatty deposits were hindering his ability to stand and walk.

We were wrong.

Instead, after taking him to the vet for an exam to confirm our suspicion, the vet told us both legs have problems, but the right hind leg is his biggest problem. He has bad crepidation in both knees of his hind legs. They are so bad that x-rays appear to show bits of bone that have fractured off and are basically floating within his knee joint.

Our vet said, if his knees did not receive some form of help, a decision would eventually have to be made to possibly euthanize him.

I do not believe in euthanization; so, I am trying to do everything I can for him. Currently, that means, I am having to follow him around while he attempts to walk. When his legs can't make it, they collapse under him; I, then, pick him back up. He tries to walk a little further, and we do it all over again. When he has to go outside to go potty, I have to take him and stay with him in case his knees give out while he is doing his business.

Our vet said she did not think Copper was a good candidate for surgery, which is one way to handle the situation. She suggested to search the Internet for braces for his hind legs which are made for dogs with ACL injuries. I found very few offering these braces, 2 to be exact.

When I contacted these companies I found the braces were not even close to anything I could afford.

The braces, called stifle braces, cost $595 - $750 PER LEG.

A cast would have to be made of Copper's legs for them to make the braces, as they are custom made for each dog.

Before Dad passed away from complications of Agent Orange, which he was exposed to in Viet Nam, I promised him I would take care of his little buddy.
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March 3, 2011 @ 2:02am
Donation Methods

I want to take a minute to let everyone know Chip-In says it allows PayPal and checks/direct deposit for donations. I do not know if this is still true, as when I tried to set this up, it would not give me the option for anything other than PayPal.

If you would like to donate, but have a problem using PayPal, please leave a comment on my blog

I should be able to contact you by clicking your name.

My apologies for the inconvenience. I hope, if you are financially able, you can donate even a small amount to Copper; so, he might be able to live the rest of his life in the least amount of pain and human assistance as possible.

If you have stumbled upon this page or were led to it from the many links that have been posted around the web, please feel free to re-post it wherever you think it might be of interest.

Many thanks from me, Copper and I am sure, Dad!
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March 11, 2011 @ 6:56pm
Having a Bad Day

Today, Copper has been having a somewhat bad day.

He has been in some pain when I pick him up to carry him to go outside to potty since last night.

He also has been not really wanting his breakfast. It is possible he has an upset/nauseous stomach.

He is on Carprofen (generic Rimadyl) 25 mg 2x/day. Carprofen can have a negative effect on the stomach making him nauseous. He is on a 1/2 tablet of Zantac 75 1x/day, for nauseousness for his other meds.

I called the vet's office today to see if he can have the Zantac more often. They called me back to let me know he can have the other 1/2 tablet late at night to help curb his nauseousness in the morning.

To help control the nauseousness, we may need to cut back on the amount of Carprofen he is getting, which may leave him in more pain.

Copper still wants to be mobile, as he is constantly trying to get around the house and the yard when outside. He will struggle to walk and drag his bottom & legs just to follow me around.

Hard to watch, but he is still fighting to have an active life.

The last post on Copper's Chip In page is the same as the post I made here titled "Mourning a Member of the Critter Gang".