Spiritual fun making Kiva Loans

Hi guys!  I have blogged before about various times I’ve made loans on the website kiva.org.  Basically you make a small loan of $25 and people all over the world do the same and then the person who asked for the loan gets it, gets to invest in their small business, then pays it back over time.  You get to see the photo, name, and story of the people asking for loans, and you can search by gender and other factors.  I search for women asking for the loan on their own rather than in a group, and pick people I feel will pay it back, and who seem to have a positive effect on others.  But that’s not all.  There’s an extra idea I have in mind….

I loaned money to Hedaya in Palestine through Kiva.org

I also pick people I’d like to have tea with once or twice, or people with whom I feel I’d like to have a brief conversation.  People I respect and admire and would like to encourage.  I do this because I want to reward positive people, and also I believe that the spirit of those I pick actually know about me and the other lenders on a subconscious level.  I believe that we actually can meet briefly, in our dreams (on the “astral”), with our angels, and actually have tea.  So today I picked Hedaya a Palestinian woman who is 38, married, with two children in school.  She is making improvements to her women’s clothing shop.

Batbold has a wife and 3 kids in Mongolia. His daughter is a university student!

I also picked Batbold who is 53, married with three kids in Mongolia.  Both he and his wife are chefs and he is opening a cafe.  I had a positive sense of him right away, but when I read that his daughter is going to a university that reinforced my sense that he has a good heart.  So here’s to having tea with kind, sincere people, both while awake and in the body, and in our dreams with our angels!

The Juicy Tell-All of Harry Potter the Adoptable Cat – Part 1

adoptable cat Harry Potter
But mom, it wasn’t me!

OK here is the biggest deep dark secret of Harry Potter, our foster cat.  The kind of secret that you would only ever learn from a cat that’s being fostered in someone’s home, with an honest foster mom.  Harry Potter will eat bread, still in the bag, like he’s starving and he hasn’t eaten in years.  Seriously.

He will scarf down big pieces of many slices so that by the time you find him having his pig out binge-fest you need to throw away a few slices.  He’s had a bread binge fest twice in the month or so we’ve had him.  The first time we were so shocked because we’ve never seen a cat do that.  The second time we just forgot to put the bread away, so then we decided to keep the loaf we’re using in a tupperware and that’s been a good solution.

So there you go.  Now you know the worst.  Stay tuned for more juicy tell all about this amazing, loving, mellow, get-along cat who needs to find his forever home.  Oh and here’s Harry Potter’s writeup and video on petfinder.com.

Hello Dolly, our new home dog boarding pup

beagle home dog boarding
We are happy to have Dolly with us and she’s learning a lot too.

This is Dolly.  She is a beagle that we have had staying with us since last Friday morning, as we are boarding her as part of our side business and labor of love Barneys Home Dog Boarding.  We love her.  She is very sweet, and only a little high maintenance, so that’s wonderful.  🙂  Ironically she is the first beagle in all the dogs we have boarded, even though our dog boarding is named after our first late beagle Barney.  Before her stay here she was pretty shy with other dogs, so living temporarily with our three dogs has helped her get important socialization experience.  At first she would avoid them, and now she acts just like one of the pack.

She used to have no cat experience, and that is going relatively well too.  Only a few times has she tried to chase Bambi, and only the first of those was a dramatic chase most of the length of our apartment.  Now it’s just a chase of few feet once in a while.  She is learning!  Of course I’m not sure which is teaching her faster, my “No” at the end of the chase, or the fact that another of our cats Smokey takes it personally and tries to teach her a lesson with body language and hissing after each mini chase.  As usual each of our cats helps in their own way to socialize the dogs to cats.  🙂

Oh and the only high maintenance aspect to her is that she does not usually go to the bathroom during our many daily yard visits, so I have to also take her on various walks as well.  Also she has not yet been trained to take much direction on a walk so is used to going wherever she pleases.  She is very resistant to most standard gentle correction, so I have learned the right bribing, I mean training method for her on her walks.  I guess we are all learning things this week!


Happy 1st day of spring!

beagle getting belly rub
Odie's 1st belly rub in spring 2012

Spring is finally here!  I figured what better way to show joy for spring than to show our dog Odie getting a belly rub from me in our back yard.  The grass is finally a vibrant lush green color, after months and months of a wintery dormant tan color.   This is his first belly rub this spring, the first of many I’m sure!  Here’s to many belly laughs, many deep breaths, many times with loving friends and animals, many peaceful walks, & many restful nights of sleep.  Last but not least, here’s to many peaceful mornings where you wake up knowing who you are a little more than the day before.  Yay spring!!!!

People finding their lost pets & shelter stories

beagle/basset wearing ID
Our son Odie sporting his ID tag

A few years back I used to volunteer at Animal Care and Control in Chicago, on Western Ave near 27th St.  I was there for around three years and for much of the time I was doing paperwork.  Why travel across town every week to do paper work at an animal shelter?  Well it turns out that nearly every one who volunteers at an animal shelter wants to be hands-on with the animals, so no one wants to help with the paperwork.  It is critical work and when I was there it could wait a week before someone got to it.  The paperwork was at the front desk, trying to locate the owners of stray cats and dogs that had come in with ID tags or microchips.  It’s very detail oriented work, and more often than not you cannot locate the owner, which is another reason it wasn’t an appealing job to most.  For example do you know how many stray dogs come in to the shelter wearing personal ID tags showing numbers that are no longer in service?  It is so common.  Do you know how many people microchip their pet but then do not keep the microchip company current with up to date contact info?  That said there are some reuniting stories I will never forget.

Once I was calling the owner’s phone number on record for a microchip, saying the general statement about where I was calling from, we have your dog, ya-da ya-da ya-da.  The guy I called thought it was some kind of joke, or a scam.  I assured him that it was not, and that I had lots of people to call and would not be making up stories.  He finally believed me and told me that his family had lost this dog over a year ago, and had never ever given up hope.  He said they had made a little shrine to their dog on their fireplace mantle and had been praying every single day for their pet’s return.

The shelter only has set hours that you can come in to claim your pet so I was gone when they came in and got back their dog, but I can imagine the reunion.  I’ve seen enough of them.  Generally they walk down the rows of cages, and once their pet sees them he goes absolutely crazy with happiness.

cat wearing ID tag
YoYo doesn't mind his collar as long as it's a little loose

Tomorrow Lorenzo is bringing our dog Odie to our vet for a check up, a routine test, and vaccinations.  Then I will submit his rabies vaccination info to the city for a new city dog tag.  I cannot put enough ID on Odie, after all I have witnessed working for Animal Care and Control.  His microchip company is Home Again, and they have our current and accurate contact info which I have confirmed.  He has a collar w/personal ID tag with our current phone numbers always on his neck unless he’s in bed with us at night.  We walk him on a harness so as not to stress his collar so it will always remain strong and carry his ID.  He is never in the yard without us being there too.  Our four cats are indoors only and all have AVID microchips and AVID has our current contact info.  The cats that will tolerate it wear collars with ID tags too.

So if you want to read more reunion stories you can check out the Home Again website.  I just realized today that they keep record of a lot of the stories, and I love reading those. http://foundpets.homeagain.com/

Smokey Adjustment Period Begins

black cat sleeping
Smokey's favorite spot in the house

So far we are resolving issues as they arise with Smokey.  We give him time in and out of his kennel cage, so he, our other animals, and we can continue to adjust.  Fortunately he is very food motivated, so a little kibble placed into the kennel and in he goes.

On his first morning out of the cage he emptied his bladder on a thick dish drying towel that was on our counter.  We know it was just because he was too anxious to go to a litter box, and feeling threatened.  Then sometime during the night he “marked” one corner of the house with a little pee, which fortunately our beagle/basset hound found right away this morning so I could clean it.  I have bought extra litter boxes, strategically placed, and Lorenzo bought a dish rack now instead of an inviting towel on our counter top.  It’ll just take more time and good strategy but it’ll be fine.

Now he is asleep in his favorite window spot, which he steals from our boy YoYo.  That was YoYo’s all time favorite spot, so we are working on creating new happy places for YoYo.  Oh and by the way I didn’t even know he had that other little tuft of white hair by his belly until I saw this photo!  Considering this is all so new, everyone is doing pretty well.

Smokey the cat makes his rounds, first hour

black cat on kitchen counter
Smokey enjoying temporary counter privileges

We finally got lab results that Smokey no longer has any intestinal parasites, so we opened up Smokey’s cage this evening and let him out just over an hour ago.  As you can see in the photo, we are being lenient and allowing him on the kitchen counter, but only for the first 24 hours.  We want to go easy on him until he gets used to using the communal litter boxes.  So far he hasn’t found the communal boxes but he probably will soon.  His cage is still open so he could use his old box.  He pretty much already knows the cats so there’s only been a little growling between them.  He still hasn’t picked his hang out spot yet, and keeps walking around inspecting everything.  I’ll be watching things closely for the next day or so.  Wish us luck!  🙂

Cat #1 becomes Smokey, our new cat “son”

Smokey catching up on his sleep

This is an update to our Humane Cat Trapping Project.  Yesterday we brought our trapped cat “Cat #1” to the Tree House spay/neuter clinic.  We had arranged for them to keep him overnight after the surgery, and we picked him up this afternoon.  The best news is that he tested negative for both FIV and FeLV, two cat viruses.  They said overall he seems healthy, and is between 1-2 years old.  He is 10 lbs.  For now, Lorenzo has named him Smokey.

We brought him home and he went from the trap to a big dog cage we have that will be his home for at least the next week.  We have to make sure he does not have intestinal parasites before he is allowed to be out loose in the house.  He hisses less and less now.  Our other cats come by to see him and there is a little hissing our growling on one side or the other, but nothing major.  We have a huge litter box in his cage and he used it almost immediately, which is great.  The first time I opened his cage to scoop litter he gently tried to get out and meowed twice.  That’s the first time we’ve heard him meow.  I didn’t let him get out, but I did pet him for a few moments which he allowed, twice on the head, twice on the neck, once on the cheek.  That was the first time I pet him, so that’s exciting too.  We’re keeping him.  This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!  🙂

Got him! We just trapped “Cat #1″

outdoor cat in humane trap
Cat #1 trapped and in our home!

This is also known as Humane Cat Trapping Project Day #8, and our third blog post on this project so far.  Our clinic appointment is tomorrow bright and early so thank goodness we really did trap Cat #1 tonight!!!!  We trapped him about an hour ago.  He is not a very big guy, and all black with a tiny tuft of white fur at his neck.  I brought his trap into my home office, my floor protected with a large tray and newsprint in the tray.  I used a “trap comb” to partition his trap safely and give him more tuna and water on one end, and a clean towel on the other end, while preventing his escape.  He can’t eat any tuna after midnight in preparation for his neuter surgery, but I’m sure he has already finished it.  He has hissed a few times but other than that does not seem to need to hide from us.  We took the sheet off of one end of the trap and he did not wriggle back under cover.

Tomorrow I will bring him, still in his trap, to the Tree House clinic and we will learn much more about him.  We really don’t even know for sure his gender, but we’ll know all sorts of things by this time tomorrow!  Stay tuned…..

Humane Cat Trapping Project – Day 5 Report

black cat outdoors
The cat we saw looked like this, but this is not him

We have learned a lot since I last blogged on Wednesday afternoon.  I had to bring the trap over to our porch late Wed eve so it didn’t get rained on and I noticed a skunk-like smell on it, not super strong but noticeable.  I took that to mean that at least one unneutered male cat had been around the trap and “marked” the covering sheet with a little urine.  Unneutered male cats have urine that smells like skunk scent.

Then Thursday eve when I was bringing out the trap  there was a black cat actually in the area where the trap usually is.  He ran and leapt over the fence when he saw me.  I baited the trap as usual, taking my time.  I figured he’d stay out of view until I was gone, but after about a minute he moved into full view on the other side of the gate, and sat there watching me, about ten feet away from me.  That could indicate that he is not feral, since he let me see him when he didn’t have to.  I only glanced his way so as not to alarm him, then slowly left when I was done with the trap.  Once back in the apartment, Lorenzo and I got to watch him going in and out of the trap eating all of the tuna from our window.  It was a real treat to see so much of a cat we will probably be trapping.  He’s all black, much like this photo here, though the photo is NOT him. In the dim light he was hard to see sometimes, but we did see his eyes and also his tongue as he licked his lips after the tuna.  Mmmmm-good!

Another piece of news is our clinic appointment for the spay/neuter is next Tuesday 11/8/11 so that means the actual trapping night is this Monday evening.  I can’t wait!!!  Last night when we saw him eat he was done by 6:20pm, though tonight he hasn’t shown up yet.  Maybe he’s on his way right now……..