Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the babies have names

I decided to go with musical terms:
Minuet is the girl
Requiem is the boy with the white toes
Cadence is my big laid back boy
Treble is the smallest boy and the whiniest
Nocturne is the darkest of the three boys that look alike

They are just darned cute. Nocturne appears to be possessive of the canned food - he was growling last night after I put down the plate. However, without missing a bite, Minuet reached out and smacked him in the head!! That's my girl....

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Saturday

I met Mom for breakfast at Panera. Dad was on his way over to the house to work on the final project - getting the half wall up before finishing the painting. Mom said she would go to the shelter with me to get the kittens vaccinated and tested. Dad started working and Mom and I headed to the shelter.

As we were working on the kittens, Amy (volunteer manager) came in and said I had a flat tire. Great. We get done and wait for Amy to come back from Pet People since she offered to help me change the tire (something I didn't know how to do until yesterday). We get the flat off, get the spare on (which is a nice new full size tire), put the car down....and the spare is FLAT!!! Are you kidding me???? I remember that I got the tires from Discount Tire, which is about 3 miles away. We load the original tire in Amy's car and she takes us over. Well, on my way back from breakfast, I hit a curb. And apparently bent the rim of the tire right away from the rubber causing the leak. They can't fix it - gotta order a new rim. In the meantime, they will put air in the spare - which is back at the shelter on the car. So, back to the shelter, take off the spare, back to Discount Tire, fill the spare, back to the shelter and put the spare back on. NOW, I know how to change a tire.

We get back to the house. Mom heads home and I head upstairs. Dad has the wall built and we discuss putting on the drywall. He wasn't planning on getting that far, but since I was there and able to help, might as well get it done. We head to Home Depot, get the drywall and wrestle it up the stairs. Note to self: next time buy a ranch! Anyhow, we get the drywall up with little argument, get up the wall, put the drywall on the other side and VIOLA!! Half wall! I left to get groceries and Dad finished spackling the wall (it looks like it has chicken pox).

I got home, put the groceries away and cleaned up the construction mess. Then popped dinner in the oven, took a much needed shower and settled in for dinner with one thought - thank heaven I bought ice cream at the grocery store!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kitten update

Well, they will be 4 weeks old this coming Saturday. And it is official - 1 girl and 4 boys. I still haven't decided on names. I was leaning toward Venus for the girl. Then other Roman gods for the boys. Ends up they would also be named after planets. And it wasn't working for me. So, they are yet to be named...
But they are getting fiesty. They were nursing the other day and the girl was nursing while kicking one of her brothers in the head to get him to move.
My new favorite thing is to go in and lay on the floor so I am eye level with them. They aren't wild about being picked up, but they will come up and I can pet them from there. The one smaller boy (with one white toe) will come right up to me and ask for affection.
That being said, my days are numbered - they are learning to get around. Right now I only have to deal with Chloe trying to get out the door as I come in and out....give it another few days and I will be tripping over kittens as well.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Solomon the kitten

Once per month some volunteers take shelter animals to the local Petsmart for adoption events. We went on April 10th.

As we were sitting at the table with 3 dogs and a cat on leashes that were lounging around us, a Petsmart associate came up and asked if we were taking cats. I said not here, but the shelter would. Standing behind the girl was a mother and daughter with a small brown tabby kitten. I found directions in my box of information and gave it to them.

However, something bothered me. I looked at Terry (my co-leader) and said I was going to go get the kitten. She said sure. I caught up with them in the parking lot and said I would take the kitten. The mother said it was given to them and the father wouldn't allow it to stay in the house. The daughter was upset, but going along. She did ask if I would take his bed with us - I said sure.

Terry did tease me that we are supposed to come back from these events with LESS animals than we started, not MORE.

We got back, got him booked into the system and the vet agreed to process him right then. He was about 4 months old, tested negative for everything and got his vaccines. I named him Solomon. He was neutered Tuesday and was in a holding room waiting for a spot on the adoption floor to open up.

After walking dogs last night, I got him out and was sitting in our adoption office. He was being very sweet, cuddled up and purring. A gentleman came in and was asking about one of the cats on the floor and if he was good with dogs. We explained that we can't be sure, but since this particular cat was under a year, he might adjust pretty well.

As we were talking, Solomon relaxed in my arms and was looking at the man upside down. He asked who the kitten was and if he could hold him. And Solomon turned on the charm. He asked if Solomon was available for adoption, and with a nod from the adoption counselor, I said that he was. We walked out to the adoption floor to see Solomon's reaction to dogs, which went well until a beagle started barking and he got a little scared, but nothing really bad.

So, last night, Solomon was adopted and went home with his new family. It must have been meant to be to have everything line up like that. And it makes me smile that things work out like this sometimes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New foster cat and kittens

Chloe was brought to CAHS on March 26. Sometime on the 27th, she gave birth to 5 little clones. I picked her up on March 28. She is a nice, very petite and VERY chatty brown tabby girl. I am not sure about the kittens yet....at least 1 girl, but I am not too sure about the rest. She has an appointment on April 11 to get her vaccines updated, so I will get an expert opinion at that point.
So far she has been very good with them. Staff think she is about a year old, so she has had a few teenage mom moments, but is pretty attentive. However, she does think she needs to come out of the bathroom where she is living with the kids. She isn't too bad with the other cats so long as they aren't too close to the bathroom door. She caught Tim being "too close" for her standards and she charged him. She did stop right away and came back to the kids.
I just wish we could cut back on the whining. She sits by the bathroom door and cries. No idea what she wants, but she has quite the voice.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Friday morning.

Friday morning was Morgaine's Place. Here are probably the most friendly cats (in my opinion). I was set up to clean the first room there.

Now, what I found interesting was that the outside rafter system was closed off with panels. I asked the caregivers and they said that some are cut off in summer due to cats going up and refusing to come down no matter how hot it gets. In this case, the panels were put in place to force Cara and Baron (see left) to deal with people. They are semi-feral sibling kittens. Cara will allow herself to be petted once to twice by staff, but Baron is still unconvinced.

Samco was a new occupant in Morgaine's. Since I was going to be in there, the caregivers asked if I would be willing to supervise his introduction. They had him in a tower/condo in the room for a couple of days to see how things would go. Since I was going to be in there, they let him out to check everything else out. There was a little smack talk, but I never had to break anything up. He never figured out the cat doors to the outside while I was there that morning, but he shot out the people door when I went out to clean. And of course, he felt the need to help me clean by attacking my mop.

Rambo here is showing off the boxes attached to the center pole in each room. All the boxes are a different bold color. Some rooms have color coordinated bedding and others not so much. It is up to the caregivers in each house.


Wild Child (making sure the laundry doesn't try to escape)

Angel's Rest

Angel's Rest is their cemetery. As strange or creepy as that may sound, it is just so incredibly peaceful. They make a committment to care for these animals during and after their lives. Angel's Rest has 3 caretakers and they do an amazing job. The sand is raked every day to erase footsteps. The gate was designed by one of the founders of the sanctuary.

The last Thursday of every month they have a Blessing at Angel's Rest. We were lucky enough to be able to attend the one in March. They remember all the animals that passed the previous month. They do a big one once per year also. There are volunteers and caregivers. Some tell stories about the animals that have passed and others raise concerns and praise for animals at the sanctuary and beyond. And the entire time we were there, you could hear the windchimes that are all over Angel's Rest ringing. It was an amazing experience.


Thursday morning I got to help with Puppy Class. All puppies must attend at least 10 classes before they can be adopted. Before they started this program, their return rate on puppies was about 35%. Since starting this about 5 years ago, they have had 2 puppies (not percent) returned. Puppy class includes walking on a leash, learning their name and some basic commands (sit, down, come). I left my camera in the car as I didn't think I would need it. That will teach me. They were opening their new puppy pavilion that weekend - I didn't get to see it, but they will have more space, no exposure to adult dogs (for disease purposes) and they will be able to expose puppies to household things like dishwashers and door bells.

From there I went to old dogs and did some more walking.

Thursday afternoon I went to Kitty Motel. This is the home of the FIV cats.

Lucky is one of the cats I spent some time with. The cleaning had been done for the day, so I got to sit and socialize. Some of the cats were more standoffish than others, but Lucky climbed right up in my lap and curled up. I sat in a chair next to Knox with Tweak behind my head.


Special needs cat? No problem here. See, Cornflake lives at Colonel's. But he has some....agression issues. :) So, he lives in a crate in his room at night. Every morning, they give him a pill and let him out to wander the halls outside the room (Colonel's is the only house I was in that doesn't have lobby cat - though they do have one that lives in the kitchen) for a couple of hours to let the pill kick in. Then he goes back to his room to hang with the other cats. And no, he isn't missing his one ear - but it doens't stand up right either.


Colonel's Barracks is part of Wild Cat Village. This is where they have some of their more wild kitties that need some social skills or may never be social.

I got over there and was set up to help clean. There are 5 rooms in Colonel's and there were 2 caregivers that morning. In addition, Mike told me that one of their older cats was having some problems and he had made the decision with a vet tech to let him cross Rainbow Bridge that afternoon. So Mike was trying to spend some time with that cat and letting other caregivers know what was going on.

Each room is set up with a board that has pictures and names of all the cats on it for ID purposes. Most also have a list of the room cats that has id information and ages on it.

Each room is set up pretty much the same. There is a center post with runways along the top and boxes down the post. There are cubbies on one wall and the table you can see is on wheels and sits over the kitty boxes.
Their cleaning protocol is interesting. Once per week, EVERYTHING gets wiped down.... Every day, they check bedding and if it smells like pee, it goes in the laundry. If not, it is brushed off using a stiff brush and a mix of Downy and water (1/8 c. Downy to 32 ounces of water in a spray bottle). Picks up cat hair, makes the bedding smell nice and helps with static. WOW - love that idea!! Then flat surfaces are wiped down. Litter boxes emptied and wiped out. Once per week they are changed out and replaced with sanitzed boxes. Then sweep and mop the floors. Then repeat outside.


After a bad Monday night with Lucky and Quinton (who didn't want to be there and paced and cried all night), we decided to ask for suggestions on who to take overnight on Tuesday. Callie lives in Cat HQ - she is part of the "Jenny Craig" crowd who lives there. This group is on VERY restricted diets due to their weight. We liked Callie so much we decided to take her overnight on Wednesday too. She cried some on the way back in the car, but the minute the carrier opened up, she checked out the room and jumped up on the bed.
We did try to get more information on her Wednesday night and couldn't find her on the website. So I asked about this on Thursday morning when we dropped her back off at HQ. It seems she is a Legacy pet. Meaning her owner gave money to Best Friends for her care after her owner could no longer care for her. They explained that at first these animals weren't made available for adoptions. Then they reconsidered and decided that if someone came to the sanctuary and fell in love that these animals should be able to live their lives in a home. So, they aren't on the website, but they can go home with someone who falls in love with them. Callie isn't wild about the other cats in HQ, so she might do better by herself or with another older cat who would leave her alone.


I went to the dogs on Tuesday. Everyone signs in at headquarters and watches a safety video. Then you are given a whistle - if something happens or a dog gets loose, you are told to stop and blow the whistle until a staff member gets to you.

We went to Fairways in Dogtown Heights to help out in the morning. Most dogs are housed in octagons....most of then in groups. The caregiver here helped leash up dogs and we took everyone for a walk. Some on the long trail and some on shorter ones depending on health issues. It was harder than you would think - everything is sand out there and going uphill is a different thing. Not to mention getting sand in so many different places. By the end of the morning I had sand in my shoes and in my hairs...and my socks were a different color.

This is Mamas. We decided rather than walking in the afternoon, we would take her into town with us. This is encouraged by the staff to get the dogs used to cars and other people. Mamas has only been at Best Friends for a couple of months. She was seized in a dog fighting ring in California - they think she was used for breeding. What a nice girl. We went back to the hotel and she jumped up on one of the beds and rolled around in the pillows. Then she was sitting next to me and saw herself in the mirror on the wall - and growled at herself. I tried to reassure her, but she needed to let that other dog know she was serious. Only other quirk - she doesn't like riding in the back seat of the car - she had to ride in the front seat on Cathy's lap.


Orientation was Monday morning. They get you signed in and then you watch a short video about the sanctuary. There were several wet eyes in the room. Then a tour of the entire place. And yes, you take a van. The sheer size of the place is amazing. Something like 350-400 employees with about 1700 animals on site at any given moment. They told us they had 11,000 volunteers last year.

After the tour we met with a volunteer coordinator who got us signed up for where we were planning to work all week.

Lunch can be purchased at Angel Village every week day for $5. It is vegetarian - which I am not. However, everything was pretty good. OK - except the meatless meatloaf....that just didn't do it for me.

I will say this - drink plenty of water and bring snacks. I had a pack that I carried all week.

After lunch I headed up to cats. Signed it at HQ and then headed to Casa de Calmar which is where the FeLV cats live. I checked out several rooms and then sat down in the lobby. Each house has several cats living in the lobby. Some are just more social and some need more attention. In Calmar, Layla is one of the lobby cats. When she first came to the sanctuary, she ran up into the rafters and wouldn't come down. So they moved her to the lobby in an effort to help her discover that people are a good thing. I sat in a chair and she climbed up in my lap. We must have sat there for about 20 minutes. One of the caregivers walked by and then backed up to see who was sitting on my lap. Seems Layla doesn't necessarily like everyone. I said she climbed up herself and the caregiver just smiled.

Saturday (3/20) and Sunday (3/21)

Saturday was all about the travel.

We connected through Cleveland. We stopped to get lunch and then headed to our gate. As we got there, the attendant asked if we were us. Yep. Apparently the plane was ready early and they had everyone on the plane but us. 25 MINUTES EARLY!! Which ended up getting us to Las Vegas about 30 minutes early.

Which ended up being good cause it took us 45 minutes to get the luggage and then I stood in line for over an hour to get the car.

We then got some dinner and headed for Kanab Utah. To get there, we headed north and then east. Through Arizona and then north into Utah. We passed through the town of Hurricane (pronounced Hurrikin - say it fast). Beyond this was the Hurricane Hill. Right - that was NOT a hill. They cut the road right through a mountain....with on room on either side of the freeway. I don't consider myself clostrophobic, but that was scary. I gripped the stearing wheel and drove 50 mph until we got out the other side. And then swore we were going back a different way!

Sunday we headed to Zion National Park. There is NO WAY to adequately describe this. It is about 45 minutes north of Kanab. At the first pull over at the park we got out to take pictures. What really got me after the sheer size and scope was the silence. There was NO sound....until the next car came around the corner.

We had lunch at the lodge, hit the gift shop and then drove to the end of that road and hiked the Narrows. About a 2 mile round trip hike. Then we came back and hiked the Emerald Pools Trail. I did the first part of it and Cathy went all the way around.

Back to Kanab where we had dinner at Nedra's Too.....awesome mexican!!

Vacation at Best Friends

I took a week in March (20th to 27th) and travel with a friend to Utah. We visited Zion National Park and then spent a week volunteering at Best Friends Animal Society.

The week was amazing. I am going to try to relate some adventures and interesting storie.