Cute animal story of the day

Every day in my inbox, I find The Animal Rescue Site’s daily reminder to help with various causes with just one click. It’s my two-minute moment of the day when I feel I’m making a (literally) small gesture to help the planet be a better place. My favourite part of that daily email is the rescue story of the day sent in by people who’ve adopted various pets, which are always featured along with a picture. I just had to share today’s edition:


The Cove

I sign every petition they send my way. I leave comments pleading those who are in positions to do something to stop the killing. I donate money when I can. But until tonight I thought my involvement shouldn’t extend to actually viewing the documentary The Cove, because I knew it would upset me too much, but the truth is MORE people need to see it. Tonight I just watched the last half hour of it and I’m crying my eyes out. Seeing those waters crimson red with blood and those ignorant Japanese fishermen honestly believing they’re doing their country a service by ridding the waters of what they call a “predator”… because that’s what they’ve convinced their people that the dolphins and whales are—the International Whaling Commission says the fish are scarce because these whales and dolphins eat too many of them—NOT because there is overfishing in all the world’s seas and oceans, no. And because of this lie, they slaughter thousands of these creatures at a time in all impunity, entire communities of them just annihilated. Doesn’t make sense. I feel so powerless to stop the murdering. We murder animals the same way we eliminate human beings. Just because we can. Makes me ashamed to be from the same species. Because the truth is WE are the ultimate predators. Sometimes I think it won’t be soon enough before we extinguish ourselves. Because the sooner humanity leaves this planet, the better chances it, and the creatures who have just as much right to live on it, have any chances of surviving. I still hold on to a shred of hope that we’ll somehow evolve and realize the holocaust we keep perpetuating on the inhabitants of this planet must end for good, and actually take steps to make it so.

I think about these things much too often. Not very cheerful thought to go to sleep with. Don’t write about them much because I don’t want to sound preachy. But please, if you can do anything at all to help the cause, to help save ourselves and nature from our own ignorance, then do it. Every little bit helps. That’s what I keep telling myself to make it all more acceptable. Until I figure out what more I can do with my limited resources to actually make a difference.

Caught in the Act

We’re all doing just fine. I had to leave Coco in his cage today for quite a while because of a painting studio class from 9am-4pm. So far I haven’t made it there before 1pm so I figured showing up at 11 would be fine and mean less time in solitary for my newly adopted pooch. He barked a bit when I left, which is kind of normal at this stage, so on the way down I asked my landlady if she could hear him and she said no. Perfect, that leaves us a bit of leeway as far as noise goes.

Mimi is growing more and more curious about him and now gets pretty close to sniff him out. Fritz is being his normal self and hissing at Coco every chance he gets, but he’s still friendly with me which is a great sign—when I brought Mimi home he wanted to kill me for the first month—all in all, this transition is going well. Both cats are curious about the cage and Fritz tried to settle in there a few times… I actually had to pull him out so Coco could get in! Of the three, Coco likes the crate least, but I make him spend some time there while I’m in the room so he’ll understand it’s his own little home to help reduce anxiety when I need to leave him there when I’m gone. I’ll probably be able to let him roam free soon because he really is quite the little prince and knows his manners, but I’m not giving him any leeway right now—that way there’s no chance for him to fall into bad habits and it also helps to quickly establish who the alpha dog is around here. I’ve started giving him his food there so he‘ll make pleasant associations with it, so he now goes in (more or less) willingly and naps there with the door open until I tell him he can come out. This evening Mimi walked right up to him while he was laying there and sniffed him out for a while, so I snapped a few pics for evidence. I’m guessing those two will become fast friends in no time at all.

As for mum (i.e. me), she’s pretty tired; the new early to rise routine, the many walks per day and the excitement of newfound love… but it’s a good tired of course. There’s nothing on the agenda tomorrow and up till now I’ve used those days to catch up on sleep and get much-needed rest, so we’ll see how I handle the challenge of putting the dog’s needs before my own. Something tells me my maternal instincts will kick in whether I want them to or not. :-)

Bringing Puppy Home

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He’s fast asleep in what used to be the cat bed. Mimi is lying across the room observing him intently—she’s approaching him right now… very very slowly…

She hissed and made to attack when he first walked through the door earlier today. He didn’t seem too perturbed. They warned me at Animatch that he might yelp quite a bit when trying to handle him, partly out of nerves and partly because he’s a diva. In fact, he was calm from the moment we picked him up K and I, then during the 30 minute drive back to town during which I took a bunch of pics, then sitting on my lap as I was trimming his ears on my balcony, then as I cleaned around his eyes where the fur was all matted. All without a peep. He’s been tethered to me since we got home. When he’s not tied to me, I put him in his cage for now. He wined a little bit the first time I put him there, but nothing too serious and he stopped when he realized I was ignoring him (not easy to do considering what a cutie he is, but necessary). That’s how it’ll be for the next few days to make sure he doesn’t try marking and also to protect him from the cats if need be.

Mimi is right next to the bed now… and now backing up again, sitting down and staring at him from a few feet away. She’s trying to figure out what kind of creature he is. He’s oblivious to it all and fast asleep.

We’ve gone for a couple of walks already. We met a lot of kids and he was calm as can be and wagging his tail when they came up to pet him. I have to help him up the stairs outside since you can see through them and it makes him nervous. I’ll be taking him out again as soon as he wakes up. I’ve been calling him Coco today. Not to say that’s my final decision because “Coco” is a term of endearment in French, much like “sweetie”, but then again, it suits him. We’ll just take it as it comes for now. So far, so great.

Pics by Smiler

Pre-Puppy Jitters

This is kind of ridiculous. It’s practically a full-blown anxiety attack I’m going through right now. I’m totally dizzy and I need to keep reminding myself to breathe because I forget to take in enough air.

Yesterday we celebrated my friend K’s 45th b-day with a Tuscan meal that four of her close friends and I prepared for her. She’d been so looking forward to our get-together (the first time she got all her best friends together at the same time) and I wanted the evening to be special too. But then I didn’t sleep well the night before and by the time I got there wasn’t feeling at all well. I hope my lack of enthusiasm didn’t put a damper on the evening. We had lots of delicious food and all overrate. We had made plans for a sleepover and all I could think about was how much I missed Mimi as I tossed and turned all night, trying to get my overfull tummy in a comfortable position and being woken up time and time again by countless nightmares. Had Mimi been with me, I could have cuddled her a little and gone back to sleep to the calming sound of her purring. Morning couldn’t come around too soon and when I got up to join K & her friend A in the kitchen, they told me they heard me talking all night, which came as no surprise considering how tormented my sleep was. I took a morning bus home and promptly lay down on my couch with curtains closed to try to get some decent sleep, this time protected by Mimi sleeping atop me (and… bonus! Fritz too!), but again, an endless chain of disturbing dreams kept me from getting properly rested.

I made the effort to get up and make myself dinner this evening, but all I can think about is that I’ll be brining the puppy home tomorrow. We’ve agreed K and I to pick him up at Animatch around 7 pm (just 22 hours away now!). But I’m so on edge right now that I’m thinking perhaps I should skip my watercolours class, since I’ll probably be too distracted to get much out of it, and pick him up in the early afternoon. I don’t know why I’m so nervous really. It’s silly, but I’m really concerned that I won’t be up to the task, and worse, that the cats will hate me for bringing in another creature. My kittens have been huddling up close to me all day and I can’t help but wonder if after tomorrow… is it likely they’ll do that again?

I know I know… I worry too much. But if I could change that, I’d probably be an altogether different person, right?

Things That Need To Be Said; Cougar’s Story

The following is a slightly edited copy of a comment I just left on the great Animatch site under Cougar’s profile. Cougar is a purebred Boxer who was handed over to this awesome shelter and for whom they currently need any kind of monetary support as there are lots of fees associated with his ongoing medical care. You can read all the details in his profile, but I’ll just say that Cougar was brought in with an ear infection that had been left for so long that it had spread through his body so that he now needs a SECOND surgery since he was brought in to fix his knee which was badly affected. They don’t know at this point whether he will ever fully recuperate from the ordeal. Unbelievable. The comment thread is worth reading, if only for the whole discussion about whether or not it’s appropriate to blame Cougar’s previous owners, and might also explain why I launched into such a long diatribe about animal activism. Here is the message I posted:


Stories like Cougar’s make me hopping mad, but I think that’s precisely the reason why they need to be told—to remind us that there are too many animals out there being poorly looked after (if at all) and that we humans as a collective—not just animal lovers—have a responsibility towards making their lives at the very least bearable. This is the very same responsibility we have to help people in developing countries achieve decent standards of living. I strongly believe that word of mouth about why neutering and spaying are important are steps in the right direction. But I also think that as long as humanity doesn’t achieve a higher state of consciousness (which though I am hopeful, will probably take a “little while” longer…), there will need to be laws in place to punish those who behave so irresponsibly towards animals so that theses matters will be taken seriously and not endured in silence.

Those who want to be “nice” and “pleasant” and choose to forgive abusive and neglectful owners are doing the victims the same disservice as those who choose to ignore abuse of women and children. Animals in particular don’t have the option of bettering their own lives as we humans do, and we MUST take actions as a society to enforce the decent treatment of animals. The situation as it is currently makes me think of what things were like back in the ‘50’s when alcoholism, smoking and corporal punishment (to name just those) were all taken for granted as things that were acceptable and “normal”, even if not necessarily talked about. I wasn’t around then, but I choose to be vocal about my opinions on controversial matters because it is the only form of activism I can engage in at the moment and I refuse to sit back and stay quiet about situations that could relatively easily be turned around if enough of us choose to say what needs to be said.

To get things to change, you first have to TALK about the real situation without trying to make it any prettier. If it’s ugly and painful or even disgusting, it must be said. Then those who have the energy and stamina to fight the good fight can find the support they need (via petitions and the like) to sway politicians to put policies in place to effect REAL change. This will only happen we enough of us speak up and form large collectives.

Helen, Joanne & Co., [Animatch founder and volunteers] I salute you for not only making these animals a priority in your lives but also for being able to keep your cool with those responsible for the horrible mistreatment of these helpless creatures so that at least they will be brought to shelters like yours instead of being abandoned and left to fend for themselves. I will also put money where my mouth is as soon as my next pay cheque comes in to help poor Courageous Cougar.

I think the Animatch adoption fees are more than reasonable considering some people are willing to dish out THOUSANDS of dollars to “reputable” breeders for the simple privilege of knowing their adoptee is a “purebred”. But then somehow, some of the very same people seem to have no qualms about opening the door and letting puppy wander off when they find he/she is too much trouble to have around. How else can you explain so many purebred dogs finding themselves in shelters? No matter what the dog’s pedigree is, adopting another living being comes with real responsibilities, not the least of which, financial, and the costs shelters face need to be covered by those who benefit from the services provided with such compassion and dedication. I strongly urge those reading this to consider pet insurance. For a reasonable monthly cost, you can plan for those times when your pet will need serious medical intervention, which will inevitably happen if you keep your animal “till death do us part”—of natural causes, I should add. [Because opting to have an animal “put down”—a hypocritical euphemism if there ever was one—just because vet bills might get too high is simply not an acceptable alternative. Imagine if we did that with people!]

This is a long and rambling one, but I felt these things needed to be said. I certainly wouldn’t wish upon the previous owners of Cougar to cross my path because, as nice a person as I can be most of the time, I wouldn’t mind delivering a swift kick in the shins [to start with!] to cruel abusers like that. THAT’s what they are—because neglect is one of the most pernicious forms of abuse—of course that wouldn’t help anything at all, but I do strongly believe that Karma comes back and bites those who’ve disrespected the natural order of things [and that gives me some measure of comfort at least].

I’ve said my peace and stand by every single word herein.

Cougar’s photo by David, Animatch’s volunteer animal photographer.
See lots more fantastic dog photos by David on the site.

A Little Furball of Love Called X

So right away you’re asking where’s the picture, right? And so you should. I’m really kicking myself. I was just so caught up in the moment while I was out there spending time with the dogs that I forgot everything about Smiler, the blogger, and became one mushy ball of blubbering puppy-loving. I did publish a picture of him in a previous post, but he now looks like a whole new pup with his freshly cropped duds and totally adorable.

As all happy stories go… there’s not much to tell really. We went, we met a couple of dogs, I was torn, but then couldn’t resist the charms of the one currently known as “Tino”. He’s a seven-year-old toy poodle and slightly smaller than my cats. He was found erring the streets so there’s no background info on him. He’s a fun-loving clever little pup, full of vim and vigour and eager to please. I took him out for a walk on the leash and he was a charm and even seemed to follow simple commands. Then when I held him in my arms for a good 15 minutes as we were chatting with the founder of Animatch (the shelter that matched me up with the dog), and found him sinking into me and almost purring as I gently stroked him, the deal was clinched. It did help that he was totally cool and unperturbed around the resident “test” cat. My biggest challenge will be to NOT over-spoil him to make sure he doesn’t develop separation-anxiety and all the attending problems. I’m sure there’ll be other surprises in store, but that’s just part of the fun. I had to leave him there for now since he’s getting fixed and they’ll be working on his teeth, but he’ll be ready for me to pick him up in just a week (at which point I won’t forget to take plenty of pics!). That gives me just enough time to spend on extra bonding with the kittens before their whole world, and mine, gets completely made over. I’m already thinking of getting a bike with a cute little basket fitted in front so we can ride around to do errands together. A match made in heaven. In the meantime, I’m looking for names. Since I already have an Ezra and a Mimi, I’d like a name ending in “o”. Preferably an unusual one. Suggestions welcome.