Friday, September 28, 2012

FUN Friday

Happy Friday everyone!

The weekend is almooooooost here.  Let's bring it in with some laughs!


Anyone who has had a dog that likes to eat things can identify with this commercial



I love the Shelter Pet Project commercials. You really do touch more people with funny.




How cute is this cat? Excuse me, Owner. I can haz pets?

Does your cat touch your arm when asking for petting? Are any of your pets pushy about it?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mama

This is Mama.

Mama came into my life when I moved into an apartment complex in Studio City in 2000.  The parking lot bordered a restaurant and hotel, providing enough food to keep the local ferals fed (but not healthy).

When I first moved in, there were 37 ferals that were living in the area and eating out of the dumpsters.  The apartment manager admitted that she would call Animal Control every six months to have them trapped.  But more would always show up to take their place.  I pointed out that there was a good food source with the dumpsters and asked if she would let me handle the situation my way.  She was exasperated enough to let me try!  With some help from friends and Catnippers (now FixNation), I started TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release).  By the time I moved, we were down to two ferals (both neutered Toms).

Mama was a skinny, scrappy, smart young kitten who had her first litter young (my guess would be no more than a year old).  And kept having them.  No matter how I disguised the traps, no matter what I put in them (KFC, tuna, mackerel, salmon, you name it and I tried it!), she wouldn't go in them.  In fact, she would sniff it, hiss at it and lay down in front of it, waiting for me to come downstairs and see her.  Defiant little thing.  I had to admire her pluck.  She also didn't trust me enough to eat with me standing anywhere near her so netting her was out of the question.

Mama gave me three litters a year for 7 years.  She was an excellent mother. I was working on a television show and would get home at 1 or 2 in the morning to find her teaching those kittens how to hunt in the parking lot using the crickets.  At 6 weeks, the kittens were weaned and she would chase them off.  They were hurt, confused, and I would pluck them up and find them homes.  Only to have her give birth again.  (Pictured is the Harry Potter litter:  Harry, Draco, Dobby, and Weasley)

For 7 years I fretted over her and her 3 litters a year.  She brought 84 kittens into this world.  I had given up hope of ever fixing her, but I hadn't stopped trying new angles.  My last tactic was luring her ever closer to my front door with the wet food she loved so much.  Eventually, I would just shut her inside and figure it out later.

The colony numbers were slowly dwindling as no cats were reproducing.  We had two fairly territorial Toms that would tend to run off any new cats.  Still, they'd let females stay without much of a fight.  Two new cats had shown up in the past few weeks so I was trapping.  I set the traps, headed upstairs, and waited for the sound of the door snapping shut.  I put tuna in them, which was standard - nothing fancy, just smelly enough to lure them in.  I had barely walked in the door when the first one clicked shut.  My husband I raced downstairs to pull the trap before the other cat figured out what was happening.  When we got the trap upstairs, he lifted the cover up to see which lucky feline had wandered in.

"Hey hon," he hollered from the bathroom.

"Yeah?"

"You're not going to believe this."

"What?"

"It's Mama."

No.  It couldn't be the elusive, smart cat that had been dodging my traps for years.  I set them with TUNA.   I didn't bother to disguise them.  I stormed into the bathroom in disbelief, lifted the cover and there she was.

"Mama?" I asked.

She meowed at me.

She had a litter outside waiting for her.  We got her spayed the next day, much tears of joy were shed, and she went back to the litter 24 hours later.  I had her for two more years.  She started coming upstairs for dinner every night.  Mama wasn't going to eat with the rest of the street's ferals.  She wanted her own plate.  She had earned it.  During the winters, she would spend hours curled up in front of the space heater while my own cats were locked in the bedroom.  If I ever tried to shut the front door, she would bounce off the walls and howl like crazy.  But I could be patient.  The plan was to shut the door eventually.  I was easing her into things.

Mama disappeared one Christmas.  I called to her every night.  I wandered up and down the street in search of her.  Ten months later we moved to Burbank.  The colony was down to two cats and a neighbor took over the feeding.  I left my number with the new apartment manager and the neighbor.  If Mama showed back up, they were to call me.  I would come over and get her.

But I never got a call.  We would go looking for her, driving the fifteen minutes to the neighborhood, and wandering the streets in search of her, for the next year.  It's been five years.  I miss her like crazy.  I wonder what happened to her.  Sometimes, I cry.

She left me one reminder, though.



This is Pip.  Pip was one of her kittens.  She's living the life her Mama should have lived.  I'm spoiling her rotten, and have been for ten years now.  





Monday, September 24, 2012

And Little Magpie Is...

We held a contest last month to see if anyone could guess Magpie's breed(s).

To read the original post and learn all about this sweet girl, click here.

Magpie was listed at the shelter as a Boxer Mix.  She weighs around 25 pounds.

Tony and Jennifer did the Wisdom Panel Insight DNA test and the results are now in!



Magpie is...

Cocker Spaniel Mix and Boxer Mix

She also has traces of:
Rat Terrier

And faint traces of:
English Setter
Norwich Terrier
West Highland White Terrier
Parson Russell Terrier


No one got the Cocker Spaniel in her, but most of you guessed the Boxer!  So to get the closest winner, we went to Random.org.

The winner of the gift card is:
Kairi

Please email Jenn at jenn@pawsandlearn.org with your name and address so we can get the gift card off to you!

A HUGE thank you to Tony and Jennifer Aronovitz for sharing Magpie's story with us and for including us on their DNA adventure!


Have you ever had your dog DNA tested?  How accurate did you feel the test was?

Friday, September 21, 2012

FUN Friday

Let's bring in the weekend with some smiles! Halo plays pool - better than Meredith or me!


And this guy loves his trampoline.




I love these Shelter Pet Project commercials. This one is for all you cat lovers out there.


Anything making you chuckle this week?

Wishing you and your family (two and four legs) a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Family Paws

I had the pleasure of sitting in on a Webinar hosted by Jennifer Shryock from Family Paws.  The Webinar was titled "HELP! My dog growled at my toddler!"

Let me preface this by saying:  I am a firm believer in prevention.  Education is huge when we're talking about pets and children.  I didn't participate in this event because my dog growled at my child.  I don't even have a child.  But I feel that it's important to educate myself before it gets to that point.  This was an opportunity to learn from an amazing woman so I jumped on it.  I wasn't disappointed.  It was informative, but she didn't talk above us (as some trainers can do).  The presentation was interactive - we were given choices to voice our opinions on what was happening in the dog/child interactions and this was followed with Jennifer educating us picture by picture. 

This is going to be a monthly webinar and I highly recommend it if you have a child and a dog (or plural).  The subtle signals that dogs give - from yawning to lip licking to turning away - can be easily missed.  By recognizing these signs, we can intervene and help create a safe and comfortable atmosphere for our children and our dogs.  It doesn't ever have to escalate to the growling stage.



You can check out Family Paws website here.  It's a great resource.  Be sure to sign up for their newsletter and bookmark their blog (which has informative posts).  And be on the lookout for future Webinars on our Facebook page.  We'll be sure to post them to keep you informed!

(Note:  Though Lily is relaxed in both pictures, the first situation is the only one that she chose.  She has Erik as a buffer between her and Dillon, our nephew.  She chose to jump up next to Erik while Dillon was still awake and they both fell asleep together.  The second picture, she was too tired to move.  I snapped pictures of Dillon from different angles as he leaned into her.  This is not something that I would let just any child do.  Lily is familiar with Dillon.  Even so, it probably wasn't a good idea.  We were actively watching her for any signs of stress.  Had she shown any, Erik would have redirected Dillon to another activity while I gave Lily a way out of the situation and redirected her.  Redirection is something that I learned from reading Jennifer's blog over the last two years.  VERY informative and she often uses pictures of her own dogs and children on the site to help illustrate what she is blogging about.)

Have you done anything to prepare your dog for your baby?  Do facilitate dog/child interaction in your own household?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Interview with Oliver the Cat

Today, we are very lucky to bring you an interview with a very special cat.  Let me introduce you to Oliver Burks!  Such a handsome fellow.  Oliver agreed to answer some questions for us (as well as share some pictures).

Let's start with an easy one!  How old are you?

I am ten years young, a middle-aged gentleman.

You look really good for ten!  Middle-aged indeed because indoor cats can live 18-20 years. 


Where did you find New Mom?

I found her lurking around at the Burbank Animal Shelter where I was staying earlier this year. The first time I saw her I ignored her because I was feeling kind of depressed. Then she came back again when I was feeling better and we played a bit together. I thought she was interesting and nice, and she knew exactly where I liked to be scratched, behind my ears. The third time, she took me home.

Tell us a little bit about life before New Mom.

I and another cat lived with a kind senior human who loved us a lot. One day our senior human had to go to a place where other humans could take care of them. I guess that happens when humans get old and need special assistance doing daily stuff. Unfortunately, that place did not allow cats. It was pretty upsetting to have to say goodbye.

Oh, I bet that was hard.  Some people don't realize that cats have feelings just like humans do!  They can get as attached to people as we do.  What is it like at the shelter?

At first I didn't like it at all. I didn't really understand what was happening and that made me grumpy.

On top of that I had to share my cat condo with the other cat that lived with me and the senior human, a GIRL cat! Yuck! She worked my last nerve. The nice people at the Burbank Animal Shelter figured that part out pretty quickly and soon I had a condo all to myself, which was better. She got adopted and that was the last I saw of her. Bye! I hope she is happier now, too.

My shelter mom, Officer Jessica, took a shine to me and I liked it when she held me. I was still kind of grumpy from being confined to the condo and from listening to the dogs in the kennels next door bark-bark-barking! They did not use their indoor voices. But I perked up when the volunteers came to play with me, pet me, clean my litter box and give me food and snackables.

One day I overheard someone tell Officer Jessica that I was unadoptable because of my attitude. Uh-oh! But guess what? She stood up for me and said I needed more time...and some dental work. She made sure I got my teeth fixed and cleaned and after that I felt better. She believed in me, that made me happy! Soon I was feeling more relaxed and sociable thanks to the special attention and love that all of my shelter friends gave me.

I lived at the Burbank Animal Shelter for three months. I really liked my friends there but by the time my new Mom Lady came looking to adopt a cat, I was ready to get out of the condo and live in a human home again. So I flirted with her and it worked, she adopted me!

Now that you are the man of a new house, what are some of your favorite activities?

I love to look out of the windows and the front door screen at the birdies every morning, and at the various outdoor critters that walk through the yard at night. I like to stare at my new human neighbors, too, and sometimes I talk to them through the door screen. But mostly I stare at them.

Eating snackables while watching a movie on the television or while sitting in bed while my Mom Lady is reading is also something that I enjoy doing every day. Temptations are my favorite, all flavors. I also love to play with all the toys, scratchy posts and a jungle gym that my Mom Lady and all my new friends have gifted me with since I've been here.

Sleeping is also a favorite activity. During the day I sleep under the bed, my Man Cave. I share my cave with several stuffed animal friends. It a club for non-humans so sorry but I cannot reveal any other details. I also like to sleep on top of the bed with my Mom Lady when she takes her nighttime nap. That's cuddly fun but sometimes she rolls around too much, so that's when I jump up on the crow's nest of the jungle gym for some peace.

Most of all and above all else I love to get brushed! If I could, I would get brushed all day long but my Mom Lady has to go to work so I get by with one session after breakfast, one when she gets home, one after dinner and one before bedtime on weekdays. On Caturdays when she stays home I get brushed as many times as I want. My record is eight but I hope to best that soon!

Tell us who you think make better pets - cats or dogs?

Cats! POL! Just kidding. I'm biased. Actually I don't think it's about who is better between cats and dogs. I think it's about matching the right human with the right pet.

For instance, I am a stay-inside cat (as all cats should be because it's dangerous out there!) who likes to be an only child and have lots of quiet time with no young humans around (they scare me!) That made me and my Mom Lady a good match. I have the entire run of the apartment when she's gone at work and when she comes home it's just her and me, the way I like it. I don't need a yard and she doesn't have one, perfect!

So I would say that the most important thing to consider whether you want to adopt a cat or a dog is to think about your home environment and your lifestyle, then ask questions at the shelter about your prospective pet to make sure you both can give each other the type of attention, love and life you're both looking for.

You can find GREAT companions like Oliver at your local shelter.  Remember those middle-aged cats and dogs make really good pets.  Most of them are there through no fault of their own, like our friend Oliver!  And they still have years of love left in them.

Oliver has his own facebook page.  You can "Like" him here.





Friday, September 14, 2012

Fun Friday

This Friday is dedicated to our friend, Wallace.  He got some bad news this week and our thoughts are with him and his family in this difficult time. 

Right now, we want to celebrate his life and his passion.  He brought joy to many people, has changed quite a few minds, and is a CHAMPION.




Wallace in action at SkyWorld



The trailer for his book



At the end of the day, Wallace is just a DOG.  He likes to do things other dogs like to do.



To see more Wallace videos, click here.

To purchase a copy of his book (Wallace: The Underdog...), click here.


Wallace is a very special dog.  He's an excellent ambassador for his breed thanks to his wonderful owners, Roo and Clara Yori.  We wish them the best as they are facing this difficult time!  We know Wallace will make the most of the time that he has left here - he doesn't know how to do things any other way.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Amazing Lily

Maybe she isn't THAT amazing, but we love her and she's a good girl.

Here she is getting ready for bath time...
video


Lily LOVES french fries.  We don't give her many because it will upset the delicate balance that we have with her diet, her weight, her intestinal tract, and her allergies.  So she gets a few when we treat ourselves to In N Out Burger.  But she has to earn them.  Sometimes, she's so excited for french fries that she gets her tricks mixed up.

video


Does your dog like baths or dislike them?  What is their favorite treat that they will do anything for?

Next week, we'll try to bring you a video of neighborhood tricks we do with the Lilster.  We like to incorporate things like walls into our walks and use them for agility.  It's a fun game for her and it works her brain as well as her body, which helps to tire her out even more.  This is good especially during the hot weather when we can't walk for as long as she is used to!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wallace: The Underdog...by Jim Gorant

My first introduction to Wallace was this video:

I'm not even sure how I found it or what I was looking for on YouTube. I was instantly taken. I sent it to every friend and relative on my email list. They all fell as hard for Wallace as I did. And we were so impressed with Roo's athleticism as well.

When I heard that Jim Gorant (who also wrote The Lost Dogs) was writing a book about Wallace, it was an obvious MUST HAVE. I cracked it open on Friday and finished it on Sunday. Some might not be fans of Gorant's writing style and I get that. But he drew me in with The Lost Dogs and he does the same with Wallace.

I'm horrible at writing reviews so I'm going to focus on what I love about this book:

1) The reality of this breed. American Pit Bull Terriers are high energy dogs. They have drive. They need to get exercise and they need to work that mind. Wallace is the perfect example of this breed - smart dog, high drive. I think the challenge with this breed (and other high energy breeds) is finding what works for their energy/drive and your lifestyle. Jim Gorant didn't gloss over Wallace's bad habits or his energy level. Roo and Clara were honest and up front about the challenges. They knew he had issues. They knew his issues were workable, though they did wonder sometimes what they had gotten themselves into.

2) The Yoris NEVER gave up. It started when Clara championed Wallace at the shelter. They went to bat for him. They ended up bringing him home. It wasn't perfect. There were hurdles. But they worked through them. They never gave up on Wallace and were rewarded for it. This book is a testament to what dog ownership is all about. This was a young couple who could have walked away, but they didn't. They had the tenacity of an APBT when it came to figuring out what made Wallace tick and what made him happy.

3) It's realistic. This book didn't just focus on Wallace.  Roo and Clara let everyone into their life. I think this book is going to help more people than they realize because they are so relatable. People look up to them. By seeing them struggle (and make it through), we feel not so alone in our own struggles. With our dogs, with our relationships.

4) It's uplifting. Wallace beat the odds. From the day he was discovered with his litter, the odds were against him. He beat them. He had people that stepped in along the way, helping to get him through. But he also had heart. It's that heart that shines through. Everyone loves an underdog (except for President Snow) - and Wallace was that as a puppy, as young dog in the shelter system, as a pit bull trying to make it in the disc world.

I loved this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who owns a "pit" - whether a mix or an Amstaff or an APBT - and to anyone who loves dogs, loves underdogs, loves to read animal stories.

Lily gives it both paws up. And she thinks Wallace is one handsome dude.

Wallace has a YouTube page here.

You can find his offical website here.



Have you read the book yet?  If so, what did you think?