Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Loss of Mickey

MickeyI haven't added anything to this blog in a very long time, but thought I'd try to pick it up again.

Many of my posts have included Mickey, our white Keeshond. I must now post that we lost Mickey to cancer on June 8, 2009. He would have been ten in August.

We put him on chemotherapy (for those of you who have never had to experience cancer in your pet, chemo doesn't have the same affect on pets as it does on humans), and it put the cancer in remission for about three months, but we didn't get the extra 6-7 months the vet was hoping to give us.

We went through the heart-wrenching experience of trying to decide when he was in too much pain to continue. I never want to go through that again. We miss him terribly; I will miss him always.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

ZuZu the destroyer

ZuZu, our kitten, is so loving, but she's terribly destructive. The other day she jumped up on the counter (against the law in our house), grabbed my husband's lottery ticket, and ran upstairs with it. My husband found it much later chewed to bits. We could be millionaires and never know it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Cocoa mulch shouldn't go in your garden

I have posted in an earlier blog the danger of chocolate to our pets, but I have just learned of a mulch used in gardening that can make your pet sick: cocoa mulch. It contains Theobromine, a chemical also found in chocolate.

The Web site Snopes.com, which determines if rumors are founded, says this is true. Here's an excerpt from a 2003 post:

"Cocoa Mulch, which is sold by Home Depot, Foreman's Garden Supply and other Garden supply stores, contains a lethal ingredient called "Theobromine". It is lethal to dogs and cats. It smells like chocolate and it really attracts dogs. They will ingest this stuff and die. Several deaths already occurred in the last 2-3 weeks (Snopes says this statement is unfounded). Just a word of caution — check what you are using in your gardens and be aware of what your gardeners are using in your gardens. Theobromine is the ingredient that is used to make all chocolate --especially dark or baker's chocolate — which is toxic to dogs. Cocoa bean shells contain potentially toxic quantities of theobromine, a xanthine compound similar in effects to caffeine and theophylline. A dog that ingested a lethal quantity of garden mulch made from cacao bean shells developed severe convulsions and died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach contents and the ingested cacao bean shells revealed the presence of lethal amounts of theobromine. "

Snopes.com says "veterinarians have noted that cocoa mulch contains ingredients that could pose a health risk to dogs (and other pets that might be tempted to ingest it):"

"'Cocoa mulch is a risk, especially to dogs,' said Dr. Larry Family of Aqueduct Animal Hospital. Found in most home garden centers, cocoa mulch is known for its fine texture and the sweet smell the fresh mulch gives off. But getting past the scent, Family says cocoa mulch can be dangerous if a dog starts eating it. It contains two key ingredients found in chocolate: theobromine and caffeine. Similar to eating chocolate, he says a dog that eats just a few ounces of cocoa mulch could starting having stomach problems and it could get worse if it eats more. "As time goes on they might act restless, excited, it can produce tremors and seriously seizures," Family explained."

Monday, March 27, 2006

Help stop the seal hunt!

The annual Canadian seal hunt is on, where hundreds of thousands of baby seals are clubbed and skinned (at times, alive) for their fur. A drive is on to stop this horrific event. Please visit the International Fund for Animal Welfare's site (IFAW) to learn about this. They are at http://www.stopthesealhunt.com.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) also has a site with information: http://www.hsus.org/. Both offer the chance to sign a petition that will be sent to the Canadian Prime Minister, and e-mail forms where you can write to congress and to the Canadian Prime Minister.

These hunts are not economically necessary to the fishermen and others who participate. Greed drives this gore. We need your help to stop it. Paul McCartney and his wife Heather have joined the cause.

A boycott of restaurants that purchase Canadian seafood has been running in order to put some weight behind our pleas to stop the hunt. The owners of Red Lobster and Olive Garden purchase Canadian seafood. I wrote them several months ago because I used to eat at the Olive Garden (albeit as a vegetarian) and wanted them to know I would no longer eat there. I was basically told, "Nice to have known you. Have a good life." They feel their purchases aren't connected and refuse to take part in the boycott. Other restaurants have joined us. The HSUS site has information on the restaurants. Please write them and the other companies listed to let them know your views.

Thank you!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

These ads could bring tears to your eyes

An ad agency, Door Number 3, did some pro bono work for the Austin Humane Society, a no-kill non-profit shelter. Check out their great ads and continue on to the donation form if your heart is moved.

Funds raised will help get the ads on billboards and more. You can help save lives.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Mickey still seizure free

Mickey still hasn't had a seizure. It's been over 7 months, the longest he's gone without one. We are really thankful.

He has been very clumsy, however, and once in a while he limps but not always on the same leg. It has us a little worried. The first time it happened we took him to the vet for x-rays but they saw nothing. It seems to clear itself up after a day or two. We are wondering if he's getting arthritus. Does anyone have a dog with it, and if so, what do you see as the symptoms? Thanks for any information.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Update on ZuZu

ZuZu is perfectly healthy now. She and Boo have been playing a great deal. Boo is pretty ticked off at me, however, and doesn't want to be held. I think I made a little progress last night as she crept under the covers with me for a short time. She hasn't done that since we got ZuZu. I'm sure she'll come around.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Introducing ZuZu

We got a new kitten last Saturday and named her ZuZu (from It's a Wonderful Life). She has to be the sweetest, most affectionate kitten we've ever had. She loves to be held and purrs all the time. She comes running up to us when she sees us.

We adopted her from a shelter and her eye was running so I took her to the vet the day after we got her. She has an upper respiratory infection and conjuctivitus, which is contagious. So we have to keep her from our other kitty, Boo. At first that was easy because Boo wasn't thrilled with the new addition, but now they want to play. ZuZu has been on medications for a week now so I'm hoping she is no longer contagious.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Your pet's face on a stamp!

There is a great site, www.photostamp.com, that allows you to put one of your own photos on a real stamp. You can order as few as 20 (one sheet) stamps. The cost for a sheet of 37-cent stamps works out to about $1.00 per stamp.

You simply upload the photo you want to their site, choose a border color and tell them how many (and what denomination) you want. You don't have to get a first-class denomination. (Since the cost of stamps is going up this month, I believe they have the 39-cent denomination available now.)

This makes a great gift. I put a favorite photo of Mickey on the stamp for my husband for Christmas. I put one of them in a doghouse frame for him as well. He is going to use some of them for thank you cards he is sending for Christmas gifts he received and we'll see who notices.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Penguins and Pandas

My husband and I watched March of the Penguins last night. I've always liked penguins and now I know why. This is a wonderful documentary, and I think even people who don't like documentaries would like this. What a tough life those little birds lead!

There is a great Animal Planet photo and article about the baby panda, Tai Shan, recently born at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. Pandas are an endangered species as only "1,600 giant pandas survive in the wild, another 120 are in Chinese breeding facilities and zoos, and about 20 live in zoos outside China." Tai Shan will go to China when he is two years old.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

HSUS Victories

I am on the action alert list for the Humane Society of the United States. They just announced two great victories in the fight for animals:

Victory for America's Horses. Our campaign to end horse slaughter in America secured a major legislative victory in the U.S. Congress -- one that will protect nearly 90,000 American horses from being slaughtered and their meat sent to Europe and Asia for human consumption. It was a tough battle, but in the end, the outspoken opposition to the slaughter by The HSUS and advocates like you finally led to federal protection of these majestic animals.
Trader Joe's goes cage-free! Just last month, after a concerted four-month HSUS campaign during which advocates like you sent tens of thousands of e-mails and letters and made countless phone calls, the grocery store chain Trader Joe's pledged that its own brand of eggs will now be entirely cage free. As a result, an estimated 380,000 laying hens -- who provide the more than 100 million Trader Joe's brand eggs sold each year -- will be spared lives spent suffering in battery cages, which confine the birds so much that they can’t even spread their wings.
If you would like to participate in the HSUS petitions or are simply interested in being informed of what they do, visit their site.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


We lost our beautiful Shadow on November 8. He was only 13 and, according to his last vet exam this past summer, in excellent health.

He had a seizure of some type and within minutes was gone. My wonderful husband even tried CPR on him but we couldn't bring him back. We talked to a vet who lives next door and he said it was probably a blood clot in his heart or brain. Not uncommon for older cats, he said.

We will miss him terribly. He was so sweet. Boo, our other kitty, looked for him for a couple days. She would go to the places he always laid, particulary up in our bedroom on the rug, and sniff the area and lay down on it. I think she was depressed for a few days; she didn't eat much and was quite skittery.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mice Sing

image of mouse
You knew they squeaked, but now researchers have discovered mice sing.

Researcher Timothy Holy of the Washington University of the School of Medicine said the sounds emitted by the mice "met two key criteria for song--distinct syllables and recurring themes, 'like the melodic hook in a catchy tune.' "

Male mice sing during courtship and now join a very short list of creatures that sing in the presence of the opposite sex: whales, birds, porpoises, insects and possibly bats.

If you want to hear a mouse song, go to http://mednews.wustl.edu/news/page/normal/6040.html. Or read the ABC News article.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Taking a car trip with pets? Motel 6 welcomes you!

My husband and I are going to Mississippi for Christmas and decided to drive from Washington state so we can take our dog (plus my husband has a deathly fear of flying, but that's another story).

We discovered the Motel 6 chain welcomes people traveling with their pets. They offer an online directory with phone numbers, directions, amenities, etc. for each motel, which you can use without an Internet connection. They will even draw your route for you from one point to the other and tell you what Motel 6 motels are along the way.

Check out their Special Programs page to read about their expectations when you arrive with a pet, which are minimal, and get some tips about traveling with an animal.

Now if only the kitties liked car travel....

Monday, October 17, 2005


Our dog Mickey and our kitty Boo, whom I have mentioned in this blog several times, are best friends. But we discovered that Mickey's generosity goes beyond what we would expect where Boo is concerned.

At times we give Mickey a chew bone as a treat. He takes it from us, goes over to a favorite spot on the rug, and starts chewing away. Boo gets curious and follows him to investigate. Yesterday not only did she stick her face in Mickey's while he was eating, then rub against him, she started to lick the bone.

Mickey just kept chewing. He even adjusted his nose a little so Boo would have better access to the bone. After a few licks Boo decided it wasn't for her, and plopped herself next to Mickey's paws to stretch and watch.

What's funny is that when it comes to toys, Mickey isn't so generous. If Boo or Shadow, our other kitty, plays with one of his toys and he notices, he immediately goes over to the toy and pulls it away from the cat. But food, which we though he would never share, he seems to be okay with.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

New legislation won't leave pets behind in evacuation

A bill in Congress, called PETS (Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act) would ensure that states include steps for pets to be evacuated along with their families during a disaster. States that do not include such a provision would be ineligible for FEMA funding.

Hurricane Katrina showed how many people had to choose between being rescued or staying with their pets. Many elected to stay. Those who were evacuated, in some cases, were people requiring their service pets, but had to leave those animals behind. The PETS legislation would be certain such situations would never occur again.

The HSUS reports that over 4,300 pets have been rescued from New Orleans and the surrounding areas. But hundreds, if not thousands, have died. Animal rescue teams are still in the area trying to get every last animal out that they can.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Help connect owners with pets, or offer a foster home

Thousands of animals were separated from their owners during Katrina. Animal rescue teams are still in the New Orleans area trying to find pets who have miraculously survived, and trying to move those already rescued out of the area, as well as match up lost pets with their owners.

If you know of anyone who has lost a pet during the storms or who wishes to foster one, please visit the Animal Emergency Response Network message board. You will also find links to other resources and instructions on what is expected if you foster a pet.

If you would like to read a story about one rescuer who was working at the Gonzales, LA facility, go to a page on her blog: http://manchmal.diaryland.com/brillstory.html. You will understand what it has been like for the hundreds of volunteers doing the incredible work of saving animals.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Desperately need a staging place in Houston!

Pasado's Safe Haven, one of the animal rescue operations from Hurricane Katrina, is still in New Orleans trying to get as many animals out of the area as possible before Hurricane Rita hits. They are now looking frantically for a place in Houston to stage the rescue that will be needed there as well.

If you have, or know someone who has the following and would be willing to let Pasado's team use it for a few weeks, please e-mail them at PasadoRescueTexas@hotmail.com immediately.

Here is what they need:
"A triage location in Texas near to Houston with cover. Barns, riding arenas, etc. are perfect. We're seeking a farm, and property owners, who are willing to allow us to triage animals, allow rescuers to sleep there, and stage all rescues from there for up to a few weeks. PLEASE find someone to help us!"

Thank you for any help you can offer!

Monday, September 19, 2005

You can help the rescuers

For some first-hand coverage on the animal rescue in New Orleans, visit the Web site for Pasado's Safe Haven. What they are doing is incredible.

I tried to get down there to help for a week and kept hitting dead-ends. There is no place to stay, and now airfares are outrageous. It is also taking about 16 hours to get to either New Orleans or Baton Rouge by air. I tried to rent an RV or a mini-van (to sleep in) and nothing is available anymore.

But anyone who can go, or donate, please visit the site. They are very honest in what it takes to volunteer.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Pets hit by Katrina too

AnimalPlanet.com reports that thousands of animals have been killed by hurricane Katrina, and more are in need of rescue.

Organizations in the middle of the relief effort and in need of donations are:
Human Society of US
United Animal Nations
American Humane Association
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Not only domestic pets but zoo animals, cattle and wildlife are in danger. To read the story or to link to a relief effort, visit the Animal Planet story.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Another reason not to buy pets as gifts

An article on AnimalPlanet.com tells of terrapins (small freshwater turtles) living in a pond in north London that have terrorized children by eating ducklings in front of the kids. These turtles were once palm-sized pets given to children during the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craze. Once they were no longer small and cute, they were released into the pond by families.

The turtles can grow to a foot long and are not natural to that part of the world. They can live for decades. They are eating food needed by other natural-habitat animals. The London Wildlife Trust is trying to capture them and relocate them to a sanctuary in Italy before it gets warm enough for them to reproduce. British waters used to be too cold for them to reproduce but global warming and climate changes have changed that. The Italian climate is supposed to be kinder to the turtles.

Please think twice before ever buying a pet due to a fad or a holiday (such as chicks on Easter). Once the novelty is worn off, the pets can suffer or bring suffering in ways unforeseen.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Chickens know there is a future

An interesting article on Discoverychannel.com talks of an experiement that proves chickens are aware of the future (or have an awareness of 'later').

It says chickens were taught to push a colored button to get a small amount of food within 2 or 3 seconds, but if they waited 22 seconds, they would get a huge amount of food. Ninety percent of the chickens waited once they realized how it worked. Because of the competition in their environment, it would be normal for a chicken to take what food it sees first (take it before someone else does). But the experiement proved they knew waiting paid off. That shows an awareness of the future and self-control.

Knowing there is a future is an indicator of advanced intelligence. It also means that chickens might worry.

"An animal with no awareness of 'later' may not be able to predict the end of an unpleasant experience, such as pain, rendering it (the pain) all-encompassing," said Siobhan Abeyesinghe, lead author of the study.

"On the other hand, an animal that can anticipate an event might benefit from cues to aid prediction, but may also be capable of expectations rendering it vulnerable to thwarting, frustration and pre-emptive anxiety."

The researchers point out that when an animal is stressed, the anxiety may affect quality and taste of meat. They hope this study will bring about more humane treatment of animals, particularly of animals raised for slaughter.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Now your pet can be a frequent flyer

Virgin Atlantic airlines has devised a "frequent paws" scheme that allows pets who fly with you to rack up their own frequent flyer miles.

As more pet owners travel, airlines have seen a way to cash in on the sentimental who can't leave the pet behind, or who don't have a caretaker for their pet. It's not cheap.

The story is at Animal Planet.com and focuses on a high-flying rabbit named Yahoo.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Post vacation

We had a great time at Tumbo and Cabbage Islands in Canada. The weather was perfect, we hiked, and I got sunburned (twice). We headed to Stuart Island in the San Juans for the end of the trip and had a floating dock all to ourselves. That has happened to us before. The entire harbor will be full; boats will take up all the mooring buoys and even anchor out, but we are the only ones at our little floating dock which can easily handle 3 more boats. It is unsettling. My husband feels slighted. I began to wonder if our boat had BO (boat odor).

We got back Sunday afternoon and that night Mickey had a seizure. It has been seven months so I cannot complain, but it is unsettling all the same. We are thankful it didn't happen until after we got back as dealing with seizures on the boat would be tough.

He had two more the following day, but none last night. We are taking him to the vet Thursday to get his blood levels checked. They have to be sure he's getting the right amount of medication. We were hoping to eventually wean him off one of the meds but now I doubt we can.

I picked the kitties up from the kennel they stayed at. Boo was hiding under a blanket. All I could see was her little nose and one eye. The woman at the kennel asked me if I called her Boo for peek-a-boo because she hid that way most of the time. I said no, the name came from a childhood storybook I had. I haven't seen her do that before so I felt doubly horrible. Shadow seemed okay. He's 12 and has gone through this several times before, although he HATES the carrier and meows the entire way in the car. Boo doesn't make a peep. They both settled back into routine quickly at home but Boo hid downstairs for half a day and actually growled at me when I picked her up once. I don't blame her. I'd growl at me too. She forgave me, however, and crawled under the covers with me that night, plastering herself against my side most of the night. She generally sleeps at my feet. Sigh.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Vacation here we come

We are heading for the Gulf Islands in Canada tomorrow night on our boat--my husband, Mickey and myself. I have to put the kitties in a kennel which I hate to do. I feel horrible leaving them behind, as I walk away and their little faces look at me like I am abandoning them. I don't know how to make them understand I will be back.

We will be gone almost a week and are hoping for great weather like we've had today in Seattle. On our last trip up there we made our way up the Straight of Georgia on the wrong side and hit really rough water. We were headed for Desolation Sound but couldn't make it so we high-tailed it across the Straight to the Gulf Islands. It was a lucky find and we hold a dear place in our hearts for the area that became our refuge after a harrowing time near the Fraser River. Poor Mickey was turning green that trip.

I'll post again next week.

A whale is equal to a cow?

Japan is doing what it was expected to do at the International Whaling Commission talks in South Korea and is claiming it has the same right to slaughter and eat whales as other people do cows. It is insisting countries such as Australia and New Zealand, countries close to Japan's whaling waters, are "imperialistic" in their anti-whaling stands.

In the past Japan has culled many more whales than the agreed-upon number and claimed it was for scientific research, a loophole that allows the taking of whales for scientific advancement and study.

I am a vegetarian and don't eat cows either, and don't see the need for it, so saying eating a whale is the same as eating a cow particularly bothers me.

Japan has threatened to walk out of the talks, which it might as well do anyway since they are not going to listen to other countries' appeals to stop the slaughter.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Too smart

I know how I'm about to come across, so I want to give you warning ahead of time. This is going to be equal to a parent putting one of those "My child is an honor student at xxxx school" bumper stickers on their car.

My husband and I are are always amazed at how smart Mickey is. He's a Keeshond and they are supposed to be one of the brighter breeds, but sometimes you get a dog of a smart breed that just never read the specs and missed out. However, Mickey did come with the brains to go with the looks.

We believe he can reason things out. My husband Brad plays a game indoors with Mickey where he keeps a tennis ball away from Mickey. He'll throw it against the wall and when it bounces all over, he'll go after it just like Mickey does to see who can get it first. (Mickey's pretty fast.) To make it more interesting, at times he'll sit cross-legged in the middle of the floor and place the ball just out of arms reach. Mickey will stand next to him and stare at it, waiting for Brad to go for it and then try to beat him to it. Brad tries to fake Mickey out so he can grab the ball first.

One day, while Mickey and my husband were both sitting on the floor, tensed, waiting to go for the ball, Mickey went around behind my husband and licked his ear, which, of course, distracted my husband. As soon as my husband was distracted, Mickey went for the ball and got it.

Last night as they were playing that same game, Brad swore Mickey was trying to get him to look out the window to distract him. As they both stared at the ball, Mickey would glance behind Brad out the window, then quickly look at Brad and back at the ball. Brad had the strongest desire to turn around and look out the window, but he knew it was a trick.

That's almost eerie. Maybe next he'll start wearing sponges on his nose (see post below this one).

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Dolphins use sponges as tools

I read a report on Discovery Channel News that says dolphins use sponges as tools when probing the sea floor for fish. The dolphin puts a sponge over its snout to protect itself while probing. They believe the technique is taught from mother to child.

Scientists label this a "material culture" and it has only been seen in chimpanzee and orangutan cultures before. This is the first they've seen it in marine mammels. You can read the full story here.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Mickey and the Schipperke

We went to James Island with our boat for the weekend and got a spot on the dock. Shortly after we docked another large boat pulled in across us. The people had a little black Schipperke that was perfectly content on the bow of the boat. She saw Mickey and got very excited but didn't bark.

Mickey, used to being the center of our attention, particularly when we are on the boat, became very jealous as we talked to the people and petted the Schipperke. She was such a sweet dog. We brought Mickey over to introduce him to her, and they touched noses and seemed to be fine. But any time we turned our backs to Mickey and petted the little black dog Mickey would start barking.

I haven't seen him that jealous before. He needs more socializing.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Maybe I should plant a nest on the site

I read a story on Animal Planet where construction crews stopped blasting and working on roads in Canada because two bald eagles are nesting near the work site. The work is being done on the road between Vancouver, BC and the Whistler ski resort for the Olympic games in 2010.

The eagles are endangered in Canada and protected by law. The crews need to determine if a little bald eagle is on the way.

We have a sand and gravel mine about to start production near our home. One of the concerns I brought up to the judge at a hearing (our community tried to stop them from being allowed to operate so close to our homes) was that many bald eagles live there and excessive noise will stop them from breeding. They are protected in the US as well as Canada. No one seemed too concerned at the time. Maybe we should move to Canada.