Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thank God for Kitties

I'm home from work today due to waking up at 3am, almost crying at how much my throat hurt, and then waking up again at 7 with no voice. I've been downing tea and using zicam chews that are supposed to help move colds along. I can't swallow cold water without crying in pain and my ultimate wimpiness in the face of sickness is plainly evident. Yet, after spending several extra hours sleeping and then watching Boston Legal, I have to praise Toby and Keen.

Both times when I woke up, Toby was curled up with me. After making my cup of tea and feeding him, I carried him back to the bed where he has stayed except for when I've gotten up to check work emails and the like.

Keen, who up until now hasn't really bonded with me or shown great affection, was super affectionate at 3am, and since then has shown me his belly, let me pick him up and hold him (yes, even at 25 I find holding a fuzzy kitty to be incredibly comforting when I'm in pain, sick, and pissed off that I'm missing both office bagel day and my second session of class--I really do not like skipping class but am also violently opposed to needlessly spreading germs on crowded metros, and, well, can't walk more then ten feet without getting dizzy). sum, I hate being sick, I turn into a cranky 5 year old, but dear god, my kitties are being awesome today, perm and foster alike. Nothing better for a cold.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

3 Ways to Donate and Recycle


  1. Cute leashes, bandannas, and collars--these all help make shelter dogs look like pets, which helps get those animals adopted. See, people (for the most part) are kind of lazy. I don't mean that in a bad way. Think of cute leashes, bandannas, and collars as the animal equivalent to dressing a house for sale. People are more likely to see themselves living in a home that's furnished and well, looks livable. In the same vein, people are more likely to see an animal as a potential family pet if the animal already looks like a pet. Puppies grow out of collars, your taste in leashes changes, and fabric scraps get leftover from sewing projects.
  2. Cardboard tubes from paper towels or bathroom tissue--great for small mammals to chew and bored kitties to examine.
  3. Towels, blankets, pillows, and cushions--wash them, but don't worry about stains, rips, or holes. These cushion cats in cages, provide pillows for puppies, dry dirty dogs, and generally help make life in a shelter a little more comfortable.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Animals Around Town

Friday, January 22

  • New Dog Guardian Orientation Class Free class at WARL from 6-7pm for new dog owners. Learn about socialization, training, enrichment, and more from WARL's certified trainers. No dogs at the class, please, just people ready to learn! Space is limited, so RSVP to
Saturday, January 23

Sunday, January 24

  • Indoor Play Date, 12-2pm Empty retail space next to Ann Taylor Loft, 924 Ellsworth Drive, Downtown Silver Spring, sponsored by Living Ruff, free and open to the public. All sizes of dogs are welcome and there willbe a separate area for small dogs. Living Ruff requests owners review Dog Park Etiquette before coming. Free parking is available.
  • Home Alone: Recognizing and treating Separation Anxiety in Your dog, 10am-12:30pm, WHS Learning&Behavior Center, 7315 Georgia Avenue NW, $65 Email to preregister.
Wednesday, January 27th

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wild Kitties

So I came across this last night while waiting for what felt like several thousand pages to print at work.

I know they are wild, but they are also ridiculously cute. I went to college in Cinci and would have been down to the zoo like a shot to see these guys if I were still there. There's something wonderful about reminders of Toby's wild side.

seems a better reminder than

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weekend Cute

Meet Mickey. He was the first dog I loved. He belonged to my grandparents when I was younger and put up with my cousin and I leading him through "obstacle courses" with a Pringle just out of reach. My Grandpa would wake me up during my visits by letting Mickey into the guest room where he would place his paws on the bed and I'd get so excited to see the fluffy cuteness. He never growled nor bit. In retrospect--I probably deserved a bite sometimes because I did not understand anything about dogs, but he happily put up with every giant hug and enforced cuddle in return for Pringles, walks, and fleece covered laps.

Mickey was an amazing dog and I think he'd be proud to know all I try to do now for animals.

Animals Around Town

I'm hoping to make this a semi-regular feature since I love working the WHS adoption events. If I'm missing an event that you think should be included, please let me know! I have no pretensions of perfection :) Also, I think there are more of these events when the weather is a bit nicer!

Washington Humane Society dogs at NBC4 Health&Fitness Expo, 9am-5pm

Homeward Trails cats at Living Ruff in Downtown Silver Spring, 12-2pm

Washington Humane Society dogs at NBC4 Health&Fitness Expo, 9am-5pm

Homeward Trails dogs at Little Rascals (5917 Georgia Ave, NW), 12-2pm

Always feel free to check out the shelters on the weekend. If you're interested in volunteering, most have information on their websites about their upcoming training and how to get on their lists.

I'll be with WHS on Sunday morning. Come out this weekend to meet your new best friend or just donate to a great shelter or rescue group!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ethics and Animals

I truly care about animals and was offended by a statement on another blog that stated "If you truly cared about animals, you wouldn't consume animal products."

I am a pescatarian. I eat fish, eggs, and dairy but no beef, pork, chicken, etc. I made the switch from meat-loving carnivore to pescatarian during Summer 2009. Yes, part of my reason was that I felt uncomfortable eating chicken and cows who had lived brutal lives. I originally was going to continue to eat humanely-raised meat (free range beef cows are actually treated fairly well) but then realized that wouldn't work with my finances (those products tend to be pricey). I do try to ensure that my eggs and milk come from farms whose practices I agree with and can support. I doubt I'm 100% perfect about this, but I try and that, I believe, is what matters.

I honestly believe that if everyone who "truly cared" about animals stopped consuming any animal products, there would be no incentive for producers to care about their animals or try to treat them any better. We would only have inhumane factory farms because no one but foodies would be buying from the more humane farms. More humane meat, eggs, and dairy are more expensive than factory farmed meat, eggs, and dairy. People who eat the more humane products usually do so because they care about the animals.

I'm a capitalist in that I strongly feel that nowadays the best way to change a business practice is through use of our immense buying power. I think that the majority of businesses will go as far as their consumers allow them to go in degrading animals' lives and destroying the planet. We restrict permission when we buy from other producers who have better practices. That shows the larger producers that there is money to be made from being good caretakers.

I buy what I buy and avoid buying what I don't because I care about animals and I care about our planet. How dare someone claim that I don't truly care about animals because I believe in supporting dairy farmers who are trying to practice more humane methods of raising dairy cows.

I don't think that anyone has a right to judge others. When people in the animal rights camp make sweeping statements like the one that pissed me off, they damage the cause.

I can't tell you how much I wanted to eat a burger when I read that doing so would mean I didn't truly care about animals. I know plenty of meat eaters who do a ton for animals and animal rights. I also know several who maybe don't give a crap. You know what? I know vegans who are that way too--some would do anything to help animals, and others who really only care about judging those of us who love honey and cheese.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Happy Ending

Arthur and Guenvere found a fabulous furever home :) They're going there tonight and a coworker was awesome enough to offer to drive me up to say goodbye during our lunchbreak. So grateful to DeDe. Seriously, good coworkers are everything.

Arthur and Guenevere were purring and cuddly. Arthur licked my forehead and hand before grabbing my head with his paws to groom it. I actually feel right about this. They're going where they are supposed to be. They'll be fussed over and loved and the center of two gentlemen's world. That's amazing and wonderful.

Thank you to everyone who sent vibes or prayers for them to find a furever home fast. They'll be going home tonight with their tube, bunny ears, and a firm foundation of love. I'm so happy for them.

Also, I did ask for a request for photos to be passed on to the adopters. If I get any I'll post them here so you all can celebrate their fantabulous new life, too!

Also, a thank you to the Washington Humane Society shelter staff for being so awesome and helping me and for being such great caregivers and finding these kitties their perfect home.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Cat's Prayer

I came across a very sweet "cat's prayer" on the site of a cool FL rescue group

It made me laugh and think of the cats in my life. How the way we treat and raise our cats changes how they treat us. How the raising goes both ways.

Toby with his insistent looks that communicate better than words whether "WTF was THAT???" at his first accidental glance of a new foster kitty, "Food, woman. I want some gorram food now" or my favorite "YOU'RE HOME!!!! My PERSON is HOME!!!!!"

That last one is usually accompanied by a highly-held, twitching tail and crazy amount of face and flank rubbing.

The last two stanzas seemed particularly apt:

Please protect me from the inhuman humans
who would hurt and torture me for their own amusement.
I am accustomed to your gentle touch and am not always suspicious
nor swift enough to avoid such malicious acts.

In my later years when my senses fail me
and my infirmities become too great to bear,
allow me the comfort and dignity that I desire for my closing days
and help me gently in my pain or passing.
Hear this prayer, my dear friend, my fate depends on you.

Their fates do depend on us. We're their people. We've created a world where they can't easily live on their own. We are their source of food, love, entertainment, and care. Children grow up and stand on their own two feet eventually. Cats and dogs? They need us desperately until the end. A coworker suggested Keen was surrendered because his family couldn't bear the thought of watching him die (he is 15, most cats pass between 15 and 20, he has a few years left on him). I hope that wasn't the reason because, to me, a cat who has given you 15 years of love and affection, deserves familiar love and affection when it is his time to pass on from this world. Who else will he wait for on the other side?

Btw, the photo at the top is LeCat--a 14 year old previous foster who now is living the good life with an awesome woman in DC.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It Hurts. You Deal.

Keen, a 15 year old gray male cat, was depressed and in desperate need of a foster home. Arthur and Guenevere were playful, sweet, and happy at my apartment but not meeting enough people to get adopted. The logical choice was to agree to exchange the kittens for Keen. It was the right choice but it was the most difficult choice I've made in my 25 years of living. I love those 8 month old cuddle-monster cats. Love them. I've raised them since June to be comfortable with people, unafraid, happy, and healthy. My maternal instincts were poured into them.

People ask me again and again how I can volunteer at an animal shelter or how I can foster. They ask "doesn't it hurt?" as though that's a reason not to do something good. Yes, it hurts. Jarrod can attest to how much I've cried since making the decision and giving up Arthur and Guenevere. I've felt a physical pain in my chest that I'm certain is the guilt I feel over the kittens being in the shelter right now. I haven't gotten a full night sleep the past few days because I read until I pass out because I can't stand the quiet worry that creeps in at night.

Fostering and volunteering with animals pulls your heartstrings, makes you wonder if you can take anymore, makes you curse people for what they do to their animals, makes you curse your income for not allowing you to take them all, and yeah, fostering and volunteering at a shelter brings you pain and makes you cry.

"But pain... seems to me an insufficient reason not to embrace life. Being dead is quite painless. Pain, like time, is going to come on regardless. Question is, what glorious moments can you win from life in addition to the pain?"
Lois McMaster Bujold, "Barrayar", 1991

That's one of my favorite quotes. I was an epeeist in college and my coach told me to not be afraid of getting hit. You'll get hit, but you need to deal and decide what's more important--pain or doing good. I know that I do good when I foster, when I give attention to a sad and lonely animal, when I exercise a dog who is so excited to leave her cage she jumps for ten minutes, when I play with a bored rabbit whose owner won him at a fair and didn't realize he needed stimulation and love. I did good by bringing home Keen for some foster love. I'm hurting right now. There's a lot of pain.

But, pain is an insufficient reason to not try to help an animal. If you don't get your heart pulled by that animal, some person will screw you over or you'll do something stupid that causes physical pain. We will all experience pain in life. I want my pain to have meaning. I want my pain to come from doing the right things and making the tough choices. Bring it. I'll cry, but I'll deal and go back to doing the right thing again. Saving a life is glorious enough to be worth this pain.