Monday, October 29, 2007

Things Remembered

This weekend, Paul and I stopped in the store Things Remembered to pick up a birthday gift for my grandfather. It's a really cool store, with things from personalized pens to engraved keepsake boxes to custom blankets. Almost everything in their store is engravable.

While I was browsing, I was looking at ornaments for this Christmas. I saw a really cute one of a doghouse, which read "Dogs Leave Paw Prints On Your Heart". It opened up and you could put a picture inside.

They made me think of the ornaments I used to make for my cats. Here are three of them that were up on my Christmas tree last year:
I made them in 1993, 1994, and 1995 for my first kitty, Misty. I like how they get progressively more complicated as I got older! (Those ages would be almost 11, 12, and 13. I say "almost" because my birthday is the day after Christmas.)

Perhaps this year I'll get some ornaments for my current pets. That would be a fun addition to our tree!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

the tough decisions

I’ve always been a staunch believer of the motto: “When you adopt an animal, you adopt for a lifetime.” I always felt that it’s not fair to the animal to be passed on from home to home, as they make emotional attachments which are broken. Animals need stability as much as humans, and when we taken them into our homes, it’s our obligation to provide love, protection, and stability for them.

That being said, I have recently considered finding a new home for my dog. I feel guilty to even be seriously thinking about it! What happened to looking out for my dog’s best interest? Am I being selfish? And on the flip side, should I keep a dog that I don’t want anymore in the hopes that one day she may grow on me?

One thing I’ve realized recently is that I’m a cat person. I know it doesn’t shock y’all, but I thought I could be a cat person and a dog person. But no, having a dog just makes me miss my cats. It’s like an introvert forced to be around people all the time. You can take it for a while, but eventually you just feel worn down. I’ve also done a lot of comparing of dogs to children: if I am going to give up with a dog, shouldn’t that make me a bad mother? I’ve decided that with children, the love factor plays a much bigger role (at least I hope it will!). I would never consider giving up my cats; I love and care about them too much. The work I have to do for them is considered joy for me because they are special to me. I definitely don’t feel that with Zoey; the work I have to do for her feels like a burden or an obligation.

All that being said, below I’ve listed some reasons for both sides. Paul and I feel that there is no easy answer. Neither of us knows what to do. We definitely won’t make a hasty decision. I’m hoping that by posting this here, we’ll get some feedback that will help us make our decision. Please be nice! I am trying to ignore selfish reasons like “It’s cold outside and I don’t want to walk her.” However, those selfish reasons all add up to my general feelings of discontent and of not wanting a dog. She doesn’t fit with our lives like I thought she was going to, and I don’t know what needs to change: us or the situation.

The reasons why it’s in her best interest to stay with us:
  1. She loves us and feels safe with us.
  2. In this household, she will never be abused or abandoned.
The reasons why it’s in her best interest to go:
  1. She isn’t loved by us. We don’t really want a dog around, especially for Paul.
  2. We are easily frustrated and impatient with her. We yell at her a lot.
  3. We resent her, especially when she demands our attention. We aren’t prepared for the amount of work required by a dog.
  4. We don’t have the energy to keep up with her. We are distracted by our own lives.
  5. We feel overwhelmed right now. We plan to have kids someday, and we wonder if that HUGE change is going to be in her best interest. We aren’t sure if we will be able to give all our animals the attention they desire and deserve once a new baby enters the household. We wonder if it would be in Zoey’s best interest to find another home NOW while she’s still a puppy.
  6. We live in an apartment with no yard. We wonder if it would be better for her to have a house where she can run and play.
  7. She likes being around people. We are gone a lot, and when we are home we are trying to work. She doesn’t like being ignored.
The reasons why it’s in the cats’ best interests for Zoey to go:
  1. She chases them whenever she sees them.
  2. Zoey takes up my time, so I am unable to pay much attention to them.
  3. Things like their litter box and their food bowls have to be in inconvenient places for the cats because of Zoey.
And, this is huge, but we have to consider the financial implications:
  1. Having a dog affects our future goals and desires (work hard now to pay off debt).
  2. Dogs are EXPENSIVE. The vet bills seem to be in 3 figures every time I go. Also, there is monthly heartworm and flea treatments, which aren’t TOO expensive, but they do add up.
  3. Additional costs: food, treats, doggy poop bags, misc things like new collars and leashes when she tears up the other ones.
  4. The costs of replacing things she’s destroyed: library books, DVDs, pillows, floor mats, Ingersoll Rand air tools, etc. Also, since we live in an apartment, we have to pay for destroyed property.
  5. My desire to is to leave the work force when we have children. However, as of now, that’s not possible. Having a dog is only delaying it, and to me it isn’t worth it. It’s like an unwanted debt that you can’t get rid of.
  6. In our attempt to simplify our lives and reduce our expenses, having a dog simply doesn’t add into the equation.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Little girls and horses

It seems that all little girls love horses. They dream of having their own horse. They read books about horses (any fans of Marguerite Henry or of "My Friend Flicka"?). They had horse dolls and horse posters.

I was in love with horses, too, when I was a little girl. My dream was that we would get a horse when we moved to Peru. (Ha! Little did I know what living in a desert was actually like. ;-)) I begged for some equestrian riding apparel, thinking I could become a great horseback rider and go on all sorts of adventures where my horse would rescue me. I even had a name picked out: Chestnut. (Of course, this would only work with a certain color horse...)

I know, it may be a shocker to everyone that I haven't always been a huge cat person! I actually didn't start loving cats until about 7th grade. Don't get me wrong, I liked cats, but before 7th grade I tried really hard to be a horse girl.

So what is it with little girls and horses? Why the appeal? Or was it just my circle of friends?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jera steals a teddy bear

Okay, y'all, get out your home theater popcorn machines because I have some home videos for you! I was searching for a picture on my computer earlier today when I came across several videos of my pets.

I apologize for the lighting in the picture, but I promise it gets better. It's of Jera, after we set up the tent in the living room in preparation for our first camping trip. I took this video the next morning.

Oh, and I also should mention that I sleep with a stuffed bear every night. But that's neither here nor there.

So we cut to the scene: Jera is inside the tent. Watch for the white-tipped waggy tail; that might help you spot her while the lighting is so bad!

video

Monday, October 22, 2007

No more puppies

One of the things we were looking forward to about getting a new apartment is starting over with clean carpets. Last night was our first night staying here with Zoey.

Around 5:15 she woke up crying. I took her outside. A dog barked, and she ran inside in terror. She refused to go.

She cried when I put her back in her cage, and then was quiet. Then she started fussing again. Paul got up and took her out. He said that her cage was completely soaked in pee and consequently so was she. He opened the door of her cage, and she made a beeline down the hall to our bedroom. Paul tackled her at the door, and took her outside where she went both ways. Then he put her in the kitchen while he cleaned out her cage in the shower. Then he had to take a shower himself and change into clean clothes. He also tried to wipe up some of the spots in the carpet, but he said we needed to give Zoey a bath today. Sigh. Less than 24 hours, and our dog has already had accidents on the carpet. The frustrating thing is once they've gone somewhere once then they are likely to return to that spot.

Paul told me he is never getting a puppy again.

So, any advice for puppy training? Should I try to bribe her? Steak? A new chew toy? A model rocket?

Pets return home

Well late last night we collected our animals from the various places, where they had stayed while we were in the midst of moving. I'm so grateful for our friends who watched them for us.

Lewis and Ebony stayed with a cat-lover friend who lives in a condo downtown. She said they were very good, but that Ebony cried a lot the second night. I guess Ebony figured that if Cida wasn't going to pay for performance tickets, then Ebony would give her a free concert. Unfortunately, my friend didn't appreciate that as much.

The cats seemed glad to have returned home, though they were very confused about the new apartment at first. They soon settled down and last night they were back to chasing each other in the middle of the night! They're cute. :-)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Not left behind

So I just got home from taking the kitties to a friend's house. :-( I miss them already! We are moving this weekend, and knew it would be better to have them out of the way. They have been worried all day, seeing us packing up everything in boxes and loading up the cars. I promised them that I would be back on Sunday to pick them up.

This actually reminded me of a story I heard today. Another friend (Ann) was talking about her cat, Duchess. Ann found Duchess as a stray, and always wondered what had happened. The cat had been found wearing a cheap flea collar, and had been spayed. Their guess was that perhaps Duchess had been left behind by a family who was moving.

Ann was telling me today about the last time she moved. She had put Duchess in a carrier while they packed and loaded the house, and right before Ann locked up for the final time she decided to let Duchess out and stretch before starting the long trip. When Duchess emerged from her carrier and saw the house completely empty, the poor soul freaked out - running this way and that. Ann finally had to just put her back in her carrier and leave. She said that it must be true that Duchess was left behind, judging from the bizarre reaction. That made me sad - poor Duchess.

So, I assured Lewis and Ebony that I would be back to get them, that I would not forget them.

Tomorrow we are also going to drop Zoey off at a different friend's. It will be a relief to be able to keep the doors open, and move from one apartment to the other, without having to worry about animals. It will seem kind of weird in the evenings, though! Like I said, I already miss my babies. Sheesh, I better stop before I hunt around for an unlocked phone for me to keep in touch with them. ;-) No they aren't spoiled. ;-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pretty new collar

Last weekend, we discovered that Zoey's collar is no longer able to hold her.

She was so tiny when we got her, so we bought a collar that works for chihuahuas and other small dogs. However, I think she's exceeded the weight those collars were designed for and with one tug she's able to pull the buckle loose and run away. We discovered this, unfortunately, while we were hiking through some woods. Fortunately we were able to catch her really quickly. :-)

So, earlier this week I went to Petsmart and got her a new collar. I found a pretty pink one with little flowers, kinda like dog "jewelry". Heheh I'm sure she doesn't care, but I think she looks so pretty.

I also got her a harness, like this one. This particular harness had been recommended to me by several different people as being especially good for small and energetic dogs. I put it on her today, but we haven't gone for a walk yet. We'll see how she does. :-)

As well, I picked up an engraved tag for Zoey's new collar. I am kind of glad I procrastinated about this, because I was able to put our new address on it! Now when I unpack after we move I will pull out the rabies tag and put that on her collar too. She's good to go! :-)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pet names

My mom says that I pick weird names for my pets. (No, Mom, a weird name would be Ulysse Nardin. ;-)) For example, I named my second cat Autumn. Her original name was "Dr Pepper" but after trying to explain to several Peruvians what "Dr Pepper" was I nixed that idea and changed it to Autumn. Of course, naming her after a season that doesn't exist in Peru probably wasn't the greatest idea either. :-)

When I got my two most recent cats, I set about for a long time to figure out a perfect name. I always wanted to name my cat "Whiskey". I thought it would be such a cute name for a little kitty! My mom told me a missionary kid shouldn't have a cat named Whiskey. Her suggestion was "Oreo" for the male and "Cuddles" for the female. Well... Those are nice names, Mom, but I was looking for something a little different. :-) I was thinking an author would be nice... My first thought was Tolkein, which didn't seem to be a good cat name. I moved on to C.S. Lewis from there, and thus got the name for my kitty Lewis. I'm pretty satisfied with that name, and I think it fits him!

Ebony's name was a bit easier because she was all black, and the Ebony tree is known for its black ornamental wood. That fits her too; we usually call her Ebbie. (And Lewis is often shortened to Lewie.)

With Jera, we picked her name from the white "J" on the back of her neck. We had a friend by that name, and it seemed to fit. I like naming my animals unique human names. (Misty, Autumn, Lewis, Ebony, Jera, Zoey) We got a lot of strange looks at the dog park, though, when people would ask us about Jera's name. Also, Paul's brother is named Jeremiah and nicknamed "Jer" so sometimes it was confusing. ;-)

With Zoey we picked the name after the TV character, and also I really like how it's Greek word meaning "abundant life". I think it fits a beagle puppy very well! Also, I think Zoey is a cute name for a puppy. I chose to spell it with a "y" because I thought it looked prettier.

So how you do choose a good name for your pets? Do you pick an old classic - Rover? Fluffy? Kitty? Rex? Or do you come up with something unique and unusual?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Meet-and-Greet-Monday

Originally published at twentysixcats.com

The Natural Mommy is hosting a meet & greet today, so I thought I’d play along. I’d like to introduce to you my three children.

This is Lewis, the sole male. He’s a cutie, and a little pudgie. He’s also REALLY loves to eat, and reminds us of upcoming mealtimes constantly.

This is Ebony, Lewis’ twin sister. She is beautiful and sleek. It takes a long time before she warms up to strange people, but she can be very cuddly with us.

And the newest member is Zoey, who is 4 months old. This picture was taken almost 2 months ago, so she has grown considerably since then! I need to get some more pictures of her. She weighs 15 lbs now, as of last Saturday!

Oh! And we also have a betta fish who was originally named Rusty, but I think we’ve changed his name to Zeke III. (I kept calling him Zeke, and finally I decided to just give in to pressure. ;-))

Friday, October 5, 2007

Mountain cabins

When we were planning our honeymoon, I looked into Pigeon Forge vacation rentals. To my surprise, a lot of them allowed pets! I was so excited; I'm sure you can imagine Paul's reaction when I informed him that I wanted to bring our two darling cats with us on our honeymoon. He nixed it pretty quickly, and so I had to put up with just being alone with him. ;-) Just kidding; I love my husband.

For his birthday last March, I planned a surprise weekend trip up to the mountains of North Georgia. We stayed at a place called Cabins and Coffee. It was a great place! I decided at the time to leave Jera in Atlanta with a friend. However, the place was definitely dog-friendly. Whenever we go back (and I would like to return, perhaps when the weather is a bit warmer!) I'd love to bring our puppy with us. (Paul's shaking his head right now, wondering what sort of person he married. ;-))

How about you? Have you ever taken a vacation to a mountain cabin with your pet?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Animal Rescue Site

I'm sure all of you have heard this before, but I thought that I'd repeat it...

The Animal Rescue Site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals.

It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on the purple box "fund food for animals" for free. This doesn't cost you a thing.

Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising.

Oh, and I want to get this. It's purple and it has kitties on it! Maybe I can convince Paul it would make an ideal birthday present. :-)

WFMW: Backwards Day!

Yesterday I went to get some more cat litter for the litter box. I was noticing all the different types of litter. Cheap stuff, clumping, crystal, natural, etc.

My question: Do you have a favorite brand? I have always used Arm & Hammer multi-cat, but I want to make sure that's the best option. I prefer something that clumps - makes it easier to clean. I tend not to be very good about scooping the litter box daily. :-)

Should I go for the "natural" litters? I don't want to get litter that is going to leave me needing to spend hundreds of dollars skin care products for my cats later on! I also like the idea of minimizing my footprint on this world, but right now I don't have an extra arm and a leg to spend.

What is "crystal" litter?

Your advice would be most appreciated! You can read more Works For Me Wednesdays here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Please pray

Please pray for my friend Ann who is putting her 18+ year old cat, Duchess, down this afternoon. Duchess' health has been failing for the past few weeks, and Ann has been struggling with this decision. I can't even imagine how her heart must be breaking right now.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Misty pictures

So I found two pictures of Misty on my computer, for your enjoyment.


This one is Easter, probably in 1994. I would have been 11. What do you think of my PINK glasses? :-) And of course the braces. I used to put morning glories from our front yard in my hair. It was really long back then - I cut it to my shoulders the next year and that was quite a change!

Misty when she was about 5 years old. She was always a little tubby. I think we fed her too much. Isn't she cute?

Thanks, y'all for letting me share my memories of Misty with you. It's been more fun than hitting a winning streak at Caesars Palace. ;-) I love going back and walking through memory lane.