This is a picture of a stuffed cat I had on the top of a tall wall unit that Loki never really saw. When I took it down one day, he was startled at first and very leery of the new creature on the floor. He never went right up to it, and I put it back up on the shelf so it wouldn't get dirty.
I also believe in the higher power choosing our pets for us! There have been many times when I have shared my thought of thinking of getting another type of pet to someone, in a short time that particular pet seems to just fall into my lap. I've had ones wonder up on their own, some given to me by others who no longer wanted them, and some whom popped up in pet stores. I've had some really wow moments of how things have just worked out for me like that.
It took a few weeks for Loki to start really being comfortable around our new puppy, I think he was surprised at our new lively addition to the family, so he proceeded with caution. This was the first time that they just hung out together comfortably alone in the kitchen (Bigfoot was still getting housetrained), we knew Loki was really relaxed because he was lounging on his back, they grew to be good friends.
In early 2002, I was not thinking about adopting another cat. I already had two feline friends at home: Emily, an 8-year old black and white tuxedo, and Patricia, a 5-year old brown and white classic tabby, who were my family's first two cats. My dad had to talk Mom into allowing me to have a kitten, then another one two years later. I had no reason to add a third cat to the family at the time - or so I thought.
In April that year, my sister Anne said she and her friend, Jane Harris, had a high school class assignment for National Volunteer Week: volunteer at the organization of their choice for five hours. Being cat lovers, both girls chose Citizens for Humane Action, a 501(c)3 low-kill shelter for cats and dogs. My mom asked me if I want to tag along and volunteer with them. I told her yes, not expecting to fall in love with one of the cats.
So Mom filled out two volunteer applications and took Anne and me to the CHA orientation meeting. At the meeting I learned some cats and dogs they receive are euthanized for various reasons, including fatal diseases. The speaker also said CHA has a foster home program, but I had no idea it would actually help me to know that.
We all went to CHA on Thursday, April 25 - the first of three days, because we had scheduled two-hour shifts on Thursday and Friday and a one-hour shift on Saturday to fit in five hours. Anne and I had been to CHA before; it was one of the places we looked for our first kitten at. We were there to clean cages, feed the animals, and scoop litter.
The shelter was not a large building, but the back of an old two-story house that often needed repairs. The small lobby had a teacher's desk and two chairs. It did not have space for extra seating. At busy times, this area was a bottleneck when people were going in and out through a single open doorway. Big dog cages were in two rooms downstairs and outside, where dogs had no grass to play on. A closed door in one dogs room hid the stairs to three rooms for cats, which made up the entire second floor.
When my mom dropped the three of us off at CHA, we met a volunteer who was expecting us in the lobby. We were told to clean the dog cages first, then take care of the cats upstairs.
Upon reaching the top of the stairs, we all turned left. The next room was very small, with only eight wire cages, two cabinets, and a sink. It was for some of the cats who were not eligible to be adoption. In the top left cage, which was too small and hard to open, was a male gray and white tabby shorthair cat with a bulky frame, green eyes, and rough fur. His name was Wilbur.
Because of the floor plan, we had to walk through this small room to access a bigger room for cats waiting for their intake veterinary checkups. After caring for those cats, we backtracked to take care of Wilbur and seven other adorable felines in the smaller room. We were told to use a lot of Purell sanitizer after touching Wilbur because of a note attached to his cage door: He had tested positive for feline leukemia, a fatal and contagious viral disease.
Immediately I was more attracted to Wilbur than any other cat. I assumed because of the note he did not get much attention from volunteers. That was certainly true for Anne and Jane, who ignored Wilbur the whole time they were caring for other cats. After helping Anne and Jane clean cages, scoop litter, and give the cats food, water, and toys, I struggled to open Wilbur's cage agan and asked the other volunteer for assistance. Pulling a cat out of his cage is one thing; what happened next was almost like a romance movie.
I held Wilbur in my arms - right hand around his torso, left hand under his butt. Wilbur put both front paws on my chest. After petting Wilbur in that position for a minute, I lifted him a little bit. He purred in my right ear and licked it. That could only mean one thing: He wanted to be my cat.
The next two days were more of the same for me, Anne, and Jane at CHA. On the third day, April 27, Wilbur licked my left cheek when I held him. After putting him back in his cage, I read Wilbur's information card: Arrived on April 7, saw a vet on April 8, born in 1997, not neutered. I asked him, "Do you want to adopt me?" I wished I had the cat carrier and $50, which was the adoption fee for adult cats, despite Wilbur's medical information.
I had a hunch Wilbur's positive FLV test was inaccurate. No words can describe why I thought he probably had a false positive test based on his apparent lack of symptoms over three days (really less than a cumulative hour). I researched the causes, symptoms, diagnostic tests, and prognoses of FLV and how the virus spreads from cat to cat. A key piece of information for me is the FLV test is only 80 percent accurate. Is it likely that Wilbur fell in the other 20 percent?
We will never know the answer to that question because the feline leukemia virus is dormant - carried by the host without causing symptoms - for a long time and sometimes it leaves a host cat's body within 8 weeks. For this reason, the FLV test (called ELISA) can't be repeated until eight weeks after the first if there is any reason to suspect an incorrect result.
Another CHA volunteer, Linda Lemmel, only adopts and fosters FLV+ cats to prevent the virus from spreading. She took Wilbur home to foster him while waiting for a negative test result.
Linda got the good news I expected: Wilbur was FLV negative. This meant he needed it again for a tiebreaker. Unfortunately everyone had to wait 60 days for that to happen. So I continued to hold out hope Wilbur would join my family while Linda was frustrated by how long it takes to get a third test despite having a dozen cats. She knew I was the only person who wanted him.
During this time I learned Wilbur was a stray who got all food and water from CHA's manager, Jennifer Moore, throughout the winter. CHA is in Colulmbus Ohio - a state known for freezing temperatures, snow, and ice in the winter months. But Jennifer could not bring this gray and white tabby inside because she already had nine cats. On April 7, she finally trapped Wilbur for the lifesaving trip to the back of an old house.
Well, nobody thought it would save his life because of the positive ELISA test until I saw him. I never lost hope the third test would also be negative while waiting for it. In mid-September the highly-anticipated report came in: a second negative reading. Linda's vet began telling her he needed to be evacuated because there is no way to predict if or when one of her own 12 cats would pass the virus to him.
I had to talk my mom into letting me adopt Wilbur but after talking to Linda on the phone about the situation, knowing how much I loved him, she agreed to do it. On Thursday, October 4, we met Linda and Wilbur at the shelter for the $50 transfer that changed his life forever.
Silky was scratching the door again because she wanted to get out. So I put on her harness, attached the leash and went outside! She did not like the harness very much and pulled a bit but it was ok. After about 5-7 mins she was out of it. I took her back inside witch she did not like that much. (I'm not sure witch she liked better, inside or outside on a leash)
Well, I refuse to promote my book, whether it be final draft or Foreword. You all know where to find it.
I prefer to keep it real and outside of any publishing I have. No final draft here, no foreword to my book.
My Saav when we got her as a kitten, was sickly. She failed to thrive, she was afraid of the older cats, and refused to eat and hid and pooed all over herself. She wouldn't use the boxes, which were clean and nice, and she hid away.
I took her to the vet and we were out of options. Shots, better food, attention ... nothing worked for her. She was terrified of the older cats and I was left with no option but to get her a playmate of her own size. That was my idea. The vet was done, too, she was out of ideas and this poor kitten was failing.
So I went to the shelter and God help me, I found Pook. Pook was a grey and white blur in a cage and I saw her and knew. I said, "That's her!" And hubby wrestled her out, she hissed, spit and tore him to pieces but he finally crammed her into the crate and slammed the door shut. She hurled herself against it, growling, hissing, raising a ruckus in the crate while I wrote out the check to adopt her.
We got this mess of a kitten home, let her out of the crate, and the first thing she did was hiss and spit at our wolfdog, Ruffie, who was a sweetie. I had never seen a cat actually spit but she did, then ignored the other cats ...
Then when she saw Saav, cowering away from her, she walked slowly to Saav and began licking Saav's head and ears. The other cats left her and Saav alone, and two hours later, Pook and Saav were eating the food and treats like there was no tomorrow! It seemed Pook understood what she needed to do. Saav began eating and began to thrive under Pook's loving attention. In less than a week, Saav was doing great, using the box, and she began playing with Pook.
Then Saav began playing with the others, getting to the point where she would tackle them, and playing and playing. Pook was always by her side, watching and playing also, and the other cats loved her too.
Little scared, shy Saav just needed her Pook, and I am so grateful I found Saav the right one. It was too funny; one day Pook and Saav were playing with our Tiggy, and Tiggy rolled over to playfully swat at Saav (no claws, just fun) and Saav jumped on Tiggy and came up with a mouthful of Tiggy's belly fur. Holy cow!
I checked to make sure Tiggy wasn't hurt, but she was okay, and Tiggy acted as if I had interrupted her and Saav.
That was in November 2004. Pook and Saav have been rocking on and when Tiggy was ill recently, Saav and Pook didn't leave her side until she got better, as you all know.
Pook is always our hero. She saved poor little Saav. Of course, Saav is still tiny. She still only weighs maybe five pounds but Saav is the queen of the house with Pook right by her side.
They are about almost 14 years old now, and still going strong! God bless you and thank you Pook!! Pook, you gave us our Saav, and you gave us you.
We were living in a trailer, house-hunting, and already had Monster, Isis and Ruffie the wolfdog. Our landlord who lived in the house next to us had the meanest Chihuahua ever and he had a cat who had four kittens. He found homes for three of the kittens and the mama, so all was left was Tiggy.
Hubby was home and heard a kitten squalling, ran outside, and that Chihuahua had Tiggy in his mouth and shaking her back and forth. He smacked the dog, and grabbed Tiggy when the dog dropped her. Hubby didn't hurt the dog and I don't want to hear anyone yelling about hurting the dog. He didn't hurt the dog, he got its attention to where the dog dropped Tiggy so he could grab her away from the dog.
She was bleeding, so hubby took her to the vet immediately, without calling. They took care of her, a few stitches, gave her a rabies shot, gave her antibiotics and he brought her home.
That was 16 years ago, and Tiggy is still going strong!
And I must reiterate, the dog was just smacked on his behind. Hubby would never hurt an animal, but he had to get the dog's attention so he could save the kitten. Please don't think bad of my hubby, he's wonderful.
I was so afraid I'd be in trouble for hubby smacking the dog's fanny to get it to drop Tiggy.
Honestly, we don't hit dogs.
When I was training Lilly, I used a rolled-up newspaper on her fanny a couple times when she was a puppy to train her, and spoke strongly, "NO NO!" but never yelling, never raising my voice.
Hubby did an open-handed swat on the Chihuahua's rear to try to rescue the kitten. He didn't hit him in the head, nose, or anything, just his rear. The swat was enough to make him drop the kitten, and gave hubby the chance to snatch her away.
I hope all of you know we'd never hurt an animal.
A few weeks after this, though, that Chihuahua came into our yard while I was watering flowers, and he bit me bad on my left ankle and tore me up on my left calf when I tried to get away from him.
Luckily he had his rabies shot, and I only had 17 stitches and no infection but like Tiggy, I had stitches and antibiotics. His owner paid for my medical bills.
I can't understand. Every other Chihuahua I've ever met was affectionate, loving, cute, and you can scoop them up and nuzzle and hug them.
Not sure what was up with this one. But please, please know, I do love all dogs.
If a dog was attacking a cat, I would do whatever I could to save the kitty or make the bites/injuries less severe. I lived next door to an aggressive chihuahua many years ago, he was always running loose in the front of the owner's house, and whenever anyone tried to walk on the sidewalk, or when I got out of my car to go into my house, he would charge at me growling and bearing his teeth. The owner would always appear after the fact and say sorry. Luckily he never bit me, but the owner himself said the dog bit him numerous times.
Now there's a Chihuahua mix across the street that gets loose once in awhile, and seems to be the same way. I've seen a couple over the years that were well socialized at the park, but I've also seen some in stores with people who tell others, don't pet him he might bite. Never trusted them just from what I've seen.
I was sitting in the puter room and Pook and Saav, when kittens, came up to me, climbing all over me ...I looked at them, petted them ... and BOOM!
I wrote a book. That's what it took.
Most of the book was written in a Toyota Tundra pickup truck in the middle of 4,000 acres at the 2006 HGTV Dream Home. I was doing security there on second shift and had a plug-in thingie that powered my laptop.
I was so happy there at that job. I saw bears, deer, skunks, raccoons, and I just loved it even though I had to bring my own food in a cooler and had to use an outhouse.
But when I came home, my Pook and Saav were here, helping me along.
We all run late every now and then; something will hold us up and prevent us from leaving on time, or something will happen en route to our destination to compromise our expected time of arrival. It happens; this is life. Life is, at best, unpredictable, and no matter how much we fight this unpredictability it wins on occasion; if for no other reason than to teach us a well-needed lesson.
Today was my day for a lesson. It was a beastly hot day: 90º and 95% humidity...and here I am in a car with a black interior and no air conditioning. My compressor had konked out and we hadn’t fixed it yet, therefore I got to drive a sauna to work at 3:00 in the afternoon. The country roads I drive on are very winding and steep, so I don’t really get to drive over about 40mph; this means I don’t get a whole lot of breeze going on inside the car. Oh, well. I figure things could be a lot worse. At least I have a car that runs just fine otherwise.
Plus, I had company today with me in the car. Buckled into their little harnesses and belted in were Pook and Saav. They had been bugging me to take them to work with me and --
Pook: Bugging? Think again!
Saav: Yeah, what's with the bugging stuff?
Pook: More like you've been telling us forever you were going to take us to work one day, Mom. You just had to pick the hottest day of the year for it!
Okay, anyway, I was taking Pook and Saav to work with me to see the site and play near the stream and enjoy the outdoors.
Pook: Enjoy the outdoors? It's hot, there's bugs, in case you haven't noticed we're wearing fur, and I heard Daddy talking about snakes. Yuck!
Saav: Stream? Waters! Oh boy!
I look at my watch. 2:55pm. No problem. I’ll be at work 20 minutes early and everyone will be happy. I turn onto the little 2-lane mountain road and prepare for the long run down, then up again and up even more into the hills. I love this area, scary roads and all. I was raised here; I learned to drive here. No wonder I like flying a plane better. Straight road? What’s that?
Pook: Arrrgggghh! Watch the trees!
Saav: Forget the trees! There must be a 100-foot drop along here!
Off I go into the woods, and not half a mile goes by when I come around a blind curve and there it is. The “something” that will compromise my expected time of arrival has appeared; a guy on a very slow-moving big farm tractor is right in front of me going 15 miles an hour.
Pook: What kind of car is that?
Saav: Dang, looks like it's missing some stuff. Like windows, and a roof and doors.
I sigh in frustration. Traffic, mostly tourists, line up behind me, and the one behind me seems particularly impatient. I take a good look at him behind me: a huge white Chevrolet Suburban with Texas plates. He seems to think the slowdown has something to do with my tailpipes. I change his mind quickly with a double-tap on the brakes. He backs off. I sigh at the tractor again, and wish the guy there would turn off the road and let us by. There are plenty of places he could pull off to.
Me: Grrrrrrr, can't he pull off the road for a minute and let us by?
Pook: Where? There's no place to put whatever that is, it's huge.
Saav: What is it, anyway? It smells funny.
Me: It's a farm tractor. Dang, there's a nice driveway he can use! Right there!
Pook: (Gasp) Oh noooo! Mom, those little flowers are too close to the gravel, the tires will kill them and tear up the gravel!
Saav: What if we lived there, Mom? You wouldn't want a tractor messing up your gravel and killing your flowers. That is really inconsiderate!
Pook: Besides, if he's on a farm tractor, he's a farmer and understands growing things. He won't do that to anyone's flowers. That's mean to want other people's things messed up, Mom. I can't believe you'd actually wish for that.
I was shocked that what seemed like an insignificant comment could have such an impact.
Me: Oh no! I don't wish bad things on people! I didn't realize it would tear up the gravel and kill the flowers. No, of course he can't go there. Bad idea.
Pook: It certainly was.
Saav: Good thing he doesn't think like you, Mom.
I was a little embarrassed, but the lesson stuck. Suddenly my normal way of thinking had been called into question, and now I realized I needed to make some changes.
Me: But it is soooo dang hot, really, he’s going just too slowly and I’m roasting back here.
Pook: Oh? He’s not hot? Has he got a cool drink anywhere up there with him? Have you seen a water or soda bottle in his hand at all?
Saav: And what about that sweat-stained t-shirt on his back? You think you’re hot? There isn’t even a roof or any shade over him on that thing. You have a roof and tinted windows...geez, Mom, you're so spoiled!
Pook: I bet he’s been working in fields all day. What have you done? Load the dishes in the dishwasher, maybe a little straightening, taking it easy in air-conditioned comfort before leaving for work? What a whiner!
Gaaahhhh....Pook and Saav were really giving me down the road by now, but I went with it. There had to be a reason for it. It was making so much sense!
Me: Can’t he go just a little faster?
Pook: And will the earth fall out of orbit if you’re a few minutes late for work? No? Then who cares? Look at how beautiful the trees are.
Saav: No, he can’t go any faster. It’s an old tractor; besides, those things can be prone to rolling over, so Daddy says. You want him to get hurt? What kind of person are you, anyway?
Me: No! I don't want him to get hurt! Yes, they are easy to turn over sometimes, but no, honey, I don't want anyone to get hurt. I'm not a bad person...at least I hope I'm not. But there's those others behind us too, girls.
Pook: Who are in better shape than you are right now, meaning they have air conditioning, and at least one is a tourist, and if they have issues about being in a hurry, they need to deal with it. You deal with yourself. What are you doing to make the world better?
Saav: Better yet, what are you doing to make yourself a better person for the world?
Me: Arrrggggh I don’t have the patience for this!
Pook: Funny, your car does; it’s doing just fine. Thought human beings were superior to machines.
Saav: Right. When was the last time you saw a washing machine play ice hockey?
I couldn't even think of arguing with that. Too much was happening now, in my mind. Indeed, what kind of person am I? What am I doing to make the world better? What am I doing to better myself for the world? Washing machines playing ice hockey? Holy cow! Where do two cats get this stuff? Mental note: check history on computer when I get home.
As we followed him down the mountain, other thoughts came along quickly.
Me: I wonder how old he is.
Pook: He’s got grey hair, thinning, so he’s older than you.
Saav: Yeah, and how would you like to be out on that tractor in this heat at your age? Think he likes it?
Me: No, I'm guessing he'd much rather be more comfortable. I wonder where he’s going.
Pook: Hopefully home, where he can cool off and maybe take it easy. But he probably won’t. He’s probably one of so very many farmers who, after working on their own places, stop to help their friends and neighbors too before calling it a day.
Saav: He probably has a lot to do before he gets to go home, bless his heart. It must be tough trying to feed the world. Talk about someone making the world better, well, there's one.
Me: Yeah, he sure is. But I wish he’d take another road, really, if he could.
Pook: You think these guys get out here on these tractors on purpose just to slow a few cars down? That’s stupid.
Saav: Of course he would take another road if he could. He probably just came from another one and you didn’t see it. Stop assuming things, Mom; it’s unattractive.
Me: He needs to be drinking some water. I don’t see anything there.
Pook: Now you’re listening.
Saav: It's about time!
Me: I have some drinking water.
Pook: Yes, you do.
Saav: Go water a farmer.
Me: He’s turning. So am I.
I grabbed two bottles of water (I always keep some in a cooler in the car) which aren’t exactly very cold, but it is fresh drinking water (store brand spring water) and get out of the car after honking and waving, getting him to stop. I run up to the tractor.
Not a bottle or a can in sight. I handed him the bottles. “Too hot out here!” I smiled, holding the bottles out to him. “Here. They’re not exactly cold, but they’ll fix a dry throat.”
“What? Oh...” he took the bottles. “Oh thank you ma’am! I thought you were going to cuss me.”
“Cuss you? No! Just wanted to say thank you. You taught me a lesson today and I needed it.”
“Oh...not me, ma’am, I don’t know you,” he said, looking puzzled.
I laughed. “I know. But it was you as I followed you down [highway] 64. Thank you.”
“Well, okay...but you are an angel,” he smiled, raising the bottle. “God will bless you for this.”
I smiled as we shook hands. “Be safe, and God bless,” I said, and went back to the car.
Pook: Would you be smiling inside like you are now if you hadn’t been stuck behind that tractor?
Me: No, not at all.
Saav: Welcome to the rest of your life.
I love my cats!
I was stuck behind a tractor and I did stop and give him water. That part is true.
One day while I was out on my porch taking pictures of wild life, birds, chipmunks, etc. I saw Silky in the screened-in-porch. I said quietly " Hi Silky, what are you doing out here? You know you should not be there but I guess you like the fresh air. At least you can't get away." She just sat there looking at me. Then, a minute later she got up and pressed against the screen rubbing herself. I slowly walked over and with my camera and tried to take a video but she did not seem to like that so she walked away. "Well," I thought, "I guess my cat does not like cameras! Lol. Well, lets get on with the birds, etc.