Friday, April 26, 2013

Tails of a Foster Fur Mom: Goodbye Geronimo!

Guest Blogger: Susan Gottfried

We humans tend to mark our progress in life by firsts. I had a first today: the first time I cried as I returned a foster kitty so he could find his forever home.

The cat, of course, was Geronimo. I've been writing about him over the past five months, which is how long he'd been living with me and the kids. Let me tell you: in five months, you get awfully attached to a cat! Already, there's a hole in my house and I've only been back from dropping him off in his new condo for an hour. 

In the end, it all happened fast. Yesterday, I got a call from the vet tech who works with the foster program. Geronimo's bladder stones had been biopsied. They were a rare variety – and all he needed was a different prescription food. So long as he's on this food, the stones won't recur. Because of this, he was being cleared for adoption as soon as a cat condo opened up for him.
Hours after I'd picked up the new food, I got the call. Geronimo would have a condo spot today. I only had fifteen hours left with the world's coolest cat.  

And he is that cool. From exploring the vet's office to jumping onto the counter where the vet's computer sat, purring at full volume, to the ultra-cool white ring on the end of his impossibly long tail, nothing about Geronimo isn't cool. He played with Milo and Lucy like they were old friends—even when Lucy wasn't so sure she wanted to be his friend. He didn't care. He just kept trying until he wore her down. 

This morning, as the kids and I had breakfast, Geronimo streaked around the house, chasing and being chased by a furry tabby queen: Lucy. She wasn't growling. In fact, she was having a ball. So was Geronimo. 

I smiled and shook my head. Geronimo brought us something intangible over the past five months. He walked out of his carry box into our foster room and plopped down like he'd been here forever. As far as Geronimo was concerned, he was home. 

No wonder everyone said he's the coolest cat they've ever met. He rolled with everything we threw at him: the surgery, even a ride home in the car during a thunderstorm and deluge of rain that drowned out his protests at being jammed into a cat carrier. Loud pre-teen boys and girls who like to keep their bedroom door shut. Through it all, he purred. That boy has volume control, folks. He knows how to modulate his purr for maximum impact. He knows how to jump up on a bed and pick the perfect spot so the inhabitant is nothing but delighted.

Forget reading the newspaper. You're more apt to have a Frogonimo, the name I'd call him when he'd lay splay-legged on something—which he does fairly often, whenever he's fully comfortable and content. 

Yeah, whoever is smart enough to take this guy into their house, feed him his special diet, and love this guy is going to get back ten times more than they put into him. And when you think about how easy it is to love a cool cat, you know that you're putting a lot of love in. 

Stop on down and visit Geronimo. Go fast; cool cats like this one don't hang around long.
I'll be back with my next foster adventure as soon as it begins. I hear a rumor of  more kittens in the future...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

And Then My Dog Showed Up

By Jolene Miklas, Director of Communications 

I adopted a dog this year.

It’s not a big deal, I know. Especially because I work at Animal Friends. You’d think I’d be tempted to adopt dogs every day.

But I wasn’t tempted, because I know that our dogs go into wonderful homes. And because I live with a cat, and we have a cute, quiet routine. For the past 14 years, my cat has been my sweet sidekick. That seemed like enough.

But then Animal Friends’ Humane Officers rescued Porter, a sad, sick little Beagle. I met him, and it hit me—I could feel it with my whole heart.

Porter was my dog.

I wasn’t expecting a dog to show up in my life, and I didn’t even think my urban apartment was ready for a Beagle. I’ve worked at Animal Friends for a decade now, and watched thousands of adorable dogs go home. I'd had plenty of favorites among them. But one thing was certain: if I let Porter leave with someone else, I’d be making a huge mistake. I would lose my dog forever.

So I adopted Porter, and now our lives will never be the same. I get to take care of him every day, and I hope I get to watch my little guy grow old and gray. 

But the best part is watching him become who he is. Porter spent his first four years in an abusive home. When I met him, he was shy, tentative and wouldn’t look me in the eye. Over time, he has learned to trust me and has gained more confidence. Now he has a personality, goofy habits, and even (I think) a sense of humor.

And when I look at the photos I took of him when we first met, he looks like a different dog to me. Because he wasn’t Porter yet. He was just a neglected, insecure little soul—an empty vessel, of sorts. 

But every day, he settles into his routine and his innocent, sincere personality. He discovers things that he likes and he develops preferences. He’s learning how to behave, and why. He’s learning what it’s like to be loved. And he loves me back...that I can tell.

He’s Porter now.

Lucky, lucky me!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Miracle

Guest Blogger: Animal Friends’ Volunteer and Blog Contest Honorable Mention Diane Friske 

Last August, I was asked if I would take over the fostering of a very small kitten.  Because all the “fostering rooms” at the Friske Foster House were not filled, I immediately said yes.  Molly came to stay with us and she was little.  As a matter of fact, she was still a bottle baby. In addition to needing to be fed with a bottle, she also had some medical issues to contend with.  Molly’s back side was red, raw, and swollen as a result of continuous leakage of bowel.

Molly was a loving kitten and purred constantly.  She needed to be cleaned frequently due to her bowel problems and when doing this she would cry out and then continue her purring.  I thought of ways to improve the condition of her backside.  I would clean her with cool compresses and then pat her dry.  Initially, I tried Vaseline.  Then I tried A&D ointment.  I figured if it was good enough to help with a baby’s diaper rash it should be good enough for a kitten’s sore bottom.  I finally had better results with Bag Balm, which is an ointment that farmers use to treat chapped teats of a cow.  Don’t ask me how I know that.

Molly’s bottom improved and almost looked normal.  She continued to have leaking bowel and it was painful to watch her try to groom herself.  She would try to clean herself and cry out because it hurt her but she knew that was what cats were supposed to do.  She would run to the litter box, only to pass gas and have the stool drip out as she exited the box.  The floor was covered with towels and each day there was a basket full of towels and washcloths to be laundered.

Various medications and different foods were tried to help and improve this problem.  During this time, she developed ringworm and that meant that each week she had to be given a medicated bath.  As you all know, cats are not fond of baths.  Molly tolerated these baths and continued with her purring.

Molly loved to play with a ball and also run and hide.  She loved to be held and would always reach up with her little paw and touch my cheek.   I continued to try various foods but nothing seemed to work.  I finally decided to stop all the store bought food.  I read what ingredients were in store bought foods and was surprised to learn about all the additives that were also there, even in the most expensive ones.   I  then decided to make my own kitten food.  Every other day, I boiled a chicken breast, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, barley, steamed carrots and peas, hard boiled eggs, crushed up egg shells.  I mixed these up and added some water to meal size portions. Molly ate everything but still had leakage problems.  I then thought that maybe with all the antibiotics she had been given, not only were the bad germs killed but possibly all the good germs were also killed. So I started adding some organic Greek  yogurt to her food.  She ate that.  It was suggested that I may want to try giving her some pumpkin in order to add fiber.  She really liked the pumpkin.  It was like her dessert.

She gained weight and even grew some although she remained far behind what was normal.  I knew that unless a chef or someone who loved to cook and wash towels adopted her, that she would have to be weaned onto store bought food.  So I attempted to gradually add a little of the most expensive kitten food that I could find.  For a short period this appeared to help but her leaking stool continued.  She began to lose weight.

One weekend I noticed that she appeared to be depressed.  She did not want to play and she did not want to eat her pumpkin.  She had been in my bathroom all this time because of the leaking stool and then the ringworm.  On that day though, I promised her that I would get her out of the bathroom.  I have a 3 story cat condo that can be taken outside and the cats can enjoy the fresh air without running off.  So the next day, I set the condo up outside the bathroom door and covered the floor so no stool could get on the carpet.  Molly could go in and out of the bathroom and watch my cats and all the activity outside of her room.  She sat in the condo all day.

I put her back in her room at bedtime and before I went to bed I looked in on her.  I was surprised to see that she had vomited as she hadn’t eaten much that day.  I cleaned that up and returned to my bed.  I could not get to sleep so about 45 minutes  later, I got up to check on her again.  When I went into her room I saw that she had vomited twice more.  She looked very lethargic and sad.  I picked her up and sat with her.  Soon I knew that she was not going to make it, that she was dying.  As I was holding her and crying I asked her to please don’t die, please get better.  Molly reached up with her little paw and touched my cheek.  With that gesture I knew that I was asking for the wrong thing.  I then told her that it was okay if she left. That she no longer had to fight or be sick.  That I would be alright and so would she.    Molly died at 2:30am on November 19, 2012.  This little kitten taught me that sometimes the miracle is not the one we hope for.

I could not have done this without the support, kindness, patience, and encouragement from the medical staff at Animal Friends, those who taught me how to make my own kitten food, those who scoured pet stores for the best kitten food made to give to her, Dr. Porge for sharing the pathology report which eased my pain, my husband, and the other staff members and volunteers who shared my tears at the end.

Diane Friske received an Honorable Mention in our volunteer blog contest! Congratulations and thank you, Diane!

Sitting in a Cage with Baxter

Guest Blogger: Animal Friends’ Volunteer and Blog Contest Honorable Mention Sergei Murray

I wrote this on Thanksgiving on my iPhone sitting in a cage with Baxter.
Perhaps the feeling of the holidays leave when you're of an older age. Perhaps the rush and excitement of the giving seasons is something for the young and to survive must be transmitted vicariously by them.

As I grow older, I don't think the holidays are what they once were - or what I made them to be.

It's the final Thursday in February - Thanksgiving. My family is visiting my grandmother hours away and I'm at the animal shelter. It's 8:21 PM.

I'm lying, or rather attempting to, on a 2x4 dog bed with an 80-pound Lab/Boxer mix sprawled across my chest occasionally snoring and twitching. His name is Baxter and he's changed my life.

The story is as old as time; boy meets dog and best friends forever. The cliché of it has lasted through decades of books and movies. Strangely enough though, the reason it holds so much is because it's true. Sometimes people need a best friend who can talk to them and help then through life - to which I have many. However, sometimes all you need is a seven-year-old lump of a dog to fall asleep on your lap to remind you that you're doing something right.

I've been volunteering at the shelter for well over a month now and to be honest I've never felt more at home. The irony of it all is because I am an adopted individual from Russia and I've spent the larger majority of my existence despising the concept of adoption. I've always been closed off about it to a point and I've made points of personally never dwelling on the idea.

I love dogs though. My first word was Auf - which translated to my young interpretation of a  barking dog.

It's funny though, that you can walk through a shelter and see caged dogs and want them all. You can pick which ones you'd like as pets, but  for me I walk through a shelter and see myself.

It was the middle of September and my life flipped itself over. I needed to change and I wasn't happy with how things were and who I was. I remember sitting on the computer dwelling over life and then for some reason I thought of the shelter. I don't remember the day or time, but I do remember looking at the shelter's website and committing myself at that moment.

Fast forward to now? I'm over 120 hours in a month in a half. I've made friends (both two and four footed) and some of the dogs know my name. 

Sergei Murray received an Honorable Mention in our volunteer blog contest! Congratulations and thank you, Sergei!

A Second Chance: Hickory's Story

Guest Blogger: Animal Friends’ Volunteer and Blog Contest Winner Diane Whittaker

It was Spring 2010. He caught my eye because he was young and energetic. His name was Hickory.

He was about 9 months old and described as a hound/Jack Russell Terrier mix.  I certainly couldn’t have imagined the journey ahead of us at that time.  He had been adopted and returned to Animal Friends, which made him even more appealing to me – I wanted to help him find his true forever home.  The reason for his return was that he was too vocal and urinating in the house. 

I quickly learned that Hickory was very excitable - barking, jumping, and nippy when I entered his cage to take him out.  I really can’t remember the sequence of events, but, soon after I started handling him, I noticed that his water bowl always seemed to be empty.  Then, one day while playing in the Outreach Center, Hickory had an accident on the floor, and I noticed that his urine was clear.  After reporting this to Animal Friends’ Medical Department, along with the fact that he drank and urinated much more than normal, he was removed from the Adoption Floor, until they could run some tests.

During the following months, specialists were consulted and appropriate testing was done.  Hickory spent time with a wonderful foster family, who were able to give Animal Friends valuable feedback.  Since the specialists felt that he was born with a condition that causes excessive thirst and urination, they recommended that he start taking a medication, which would help to control those symptoms.

While the Medical Department was dealing with Hickory’s medical issue, Hickory and I tried to work on his high level of excitability and his excessive barking.  As we walked, he barked at other people and dogs.  He wanted to play with every dog that he saw, and that was not possible.  We developed a very close bond, as I grew to love the cute little guy and his great personality.  On one hand, his intelligence impressed me, while, on the other hand, his clownish behavior made me laugh.  Since he was treat motivated, he was very easy to train, and he loved learning new activities.  He was excellent at agility and nose work and learned to run on the treadmill.  He was also great at an exercise called “Relaxation Protocol” which is a 15-day series of self-control exercises, which get progressively more difficult.  I learned that he had another side, where he liked to sit on a bench and snuggle.  Since he, at times, was still jumpy and nippy with some volunteers, we had a “Hickory class” where I tried to help others get to know him and his capabilities.

It appeared that the medication was helping him somewhat, but he still drank and urinated more than normal.  As an aid to the Medical Department, I started recording data and reporting my observations to them.  I still wondered if he could live in a home without having numerous accidents.  In addition, his medication, which he would have to take for the rest of his life, was very expensive.  When prospective adopters were told about the expensive medication, they would lose interest in him.

Then, one day in July, 2011, about a year and a half after Hickory arrived at Animal Friends, a very compassionate man came to meet him.  I was thrilled to share everything I knew about this great little guy who needed a chance to live a normal life.  Frank gave Hickory that chance, and he is doing great.  He still takes his medication, and is having no accidents in the home.  Since he is in a calm, stable home, he is much less anxious, which, in turn, has caused his water intake to be more normal.  Just like any other dog, Hickory goes to the door when he needs to go out.  He still likes to bark – after all, he is part hound!  He loves to visit with other dogs in the neighborhood during his walks.  He has become friends with some children in the neighborhood, who enjoy walking, playing and doing tricks with him.

Frank has been kind enough to keep in contact with me.  I’ve visited with them several times, and Frank calls periodically to give me the “Hickory report,” which always makes me smile.

Hickory is an inspiration to me.  Upon his arrival at around 6 months old, he had many challenges to face, among them, a medical condition which no one was aware of, boundless energy, the inclination to bark at people and dogs just because he wanted to meet them, and the anxiety of living in a shelter environment.  Despite all of that, today he is living a happy, wonderful life with Frank.  Every minute that I spent with Hickory was very rewarding. He holds a very special place in my heart.

Diane Whittaker was the third-prize winner in our volunteer blog contest! Congratulations and thank you, Diane!

How I Came to Be an Animal Friends Volunteer

Guest Blogger: Animal Friends’ Volunteer and Blog Contest Winner Andrew Lotz

Response: How I came to be an Animal Friends volunteer

Short answer: cancer and sadness. 

I guess I have to go into more depth. It started in late September 2009. My (now ex-)wife and I had just decided to get divorced. That very week I also had a doctor’s visit about strange patches on my face and skin, and got my biopsy results late on Friday. I was diagnosed with Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma, a rare type of cancer that affected the T-Cells in my immune system, causing them to invade my skin and cause plaques and tumors instead of staying in the blood stream like they should. 

The ex and I had two dogs, one of whom was an Animal Friends rescue from the old Strip District location. In all the confusion of the divorce while preparing for the treatments for my disease, we decided it was best that she kept the dogs. 

That was the right decision then, and it remained the right decision—even if it was hard for me to accept at times. As my treatments progressed, my schedule was utterly disrupted. Some medicines meant spending each morning getting an IV infusion, while others left me so exhausted and sick I would do nothing but lay on my bathroom floor. There was no way I could have kept the regular timings that a dog needs for proper care. Despite the hurt, it was better for any animal. 

Finally a treatment worked to arrest the disease. I’m still not “cured” or even in remission (I will likely never be in that state). But I had reached a point where the advance of the disease was at a glacial pace. I could take medicines which didn’t so dramatically interfere with my life. And I had to make an even harder decision: should I adopt again?

Ultimately, I decided that I could not adopt. Things were then and still remain too unpredictable. When every other month the check-up might change a course of treatment dramatically, it was important to recognize my limitations. To have adopted again would have been selfish—it would have been more about my wishes than about placing a dog in a good, sustainable situation. 

Yet I still felt the urge for connection with animals. So I looked up Animal Friends and submitted a volunteer application. And soon enough I was a trained dog walker going once a week to help out. 

That’s still not where I settled at Animal Friends, however. In thinking about “how I can help” I realized that there were a lot of less fun tasks that also needed doing. Maybe it’s because I teach political science, but I think John F. Kennedy’s words are particularly apt: “ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” The same applies to a volunteer organization, I think. I spoke with the man who was the volunteer coordinator at that time and talked about the needs of Animal Friends. Plenty of volunteers would sign up and show up to walk dogs, but at that time they needed people to do the far less glamorous behind-the-scenes data entry work. I started doing data entry in the volunteering department, and was soon brought into development where I still help out almost every week. The one good thing about living in a state of perpetual readiness to have invasive medical treatment is that I keep a block of time open should I need infusion-style treatments again—which I have been able to use to help out with entering adoption data, fundraising data, and other computer tasks. 

And so that’s why the short answer to why I volunteer at Animal Friends is cancer and sadness. I can say that now because I’ve come so far. The long answer is so much more. My beginnings at Animal Friends come from a dark place. Yet I point at two things that have kept me going through struggles: my love of my professional vocation and the opportunities to volunteer at Animal Friends. That weekly visit, even if it’s more data than dogs, does so much good for me. 

So for me, the question of “how you came to be a volunteer” isn’t as interesting anymore. That’s stuff that is past—losses and pain that are squarely in the rear view of life. Instead, I’m just a volunteer now. How I got here is a lot less important than the fact that I am here. Like all the rest: my story is one of someone who cares about animals and does what they can to help a great organization support, care for, and place so many deserving pets.

Andrew, right, escorts Animal Friends' adoptable dogs to a fundraising event at the Fairmont Hotel

Andrew Lotz was the second-prize winner in our volunteer blog contest! Congratulations and thank you, Andrew!

Everybody Needs Somepittie to Love

Guest Blogger: Animal Friends’ Volunteer and Blog Contest Winner Alicia Drosendahl

Fear, hope, trust, iron will: seemingly contradictory terms that all add up to represent the life of a “bully breed.” Ignorance, hatred, discrimination, and prejudice cloud the persona of the Pit Bull, the German Shepherd, the Rottweiler, the Chow, the Doberman and often times the Great Dane.

Growing up an only child, I found my best friend in a German Shepherd/Doberman mix named TJ. To echo countless nostalgic remarks, TJ truly represents what it means to be “girl’s best friend.” Even though I was initially afraid, I grew to love her as my own furry sibling.

So, the day after my thirteenth birthday (the first day that I was officially old enough to volunteer for Animal Friends), I attended Animal Friends’ volunteer orientation.

As I progressed through the Open Paw dog handling levels (first green and then yellow-collared dogs), I kept noticing this cute little “pocket pittie” named Salmon. Seeing how my mom, a long-time Animal Friends volunteer, loved her, I was intrigued to have my first encounter with her. The yellow-level dog that I walked was Salmon.

The little spitfire grabbed at my heartstrings and refused to let go. I learned to move my shoestrings out of the way when she was in a mood, for she took out her frustration on shoes. I was not fazed by this at all because in a very strange way, I could relate. All she wanted was a friend to play with and a family to love her. The trials and tribulations of seventh grade in public school made me see this “difficult” Pit Bull as a dog  who was just looking to figure out what life means.

Even after my delightful introduction to Pit Bulls, I was still hesitant around them. I had heard the stereotypes and seen the news stories of Pit Bulls injuring people. However, when  Animal Friends’ Pittie residents O’Bannon and O’Ney entered my life, my entire perception changed.

The “O’Pits” were Pit Bulls that were rescued from a local fighting ring. After months on a court hold and then a wait for medical and behavioral evaluations, the O’s finally made it to the adoption floor. My mom had been assigned to mentor O’Bannon, a sweet boy who had to have ear surgery because his ears were so infected. He was deaf, but still toddled around like a champion, soaking up the sun, the love, and the Natural Balance treats. The hesitance in his eyes was heart-wrenching, but there was a subtle hope that lingered. After months of interaction and bonding, the fear dissipated, becoming a hopeful look that was often partnered with a funny little tap dance. A dog who had been through Hell, with visible scars, had not given up on the world, which in turn persuaded me not to give up on the harshly stereotyped breed.

“NEY NEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY” was the call that often came out of my mouth that summer. Echoing off the kennel walls, and confusing the public, my call let my friend O’Ney know that my mom and I were coming to spend time with her. As I rounded the corner, I heard the paws on the rungs of her cages, prematurely putting her paws up for her harness. Her big brown eyes, charming grin, and the endearing “wiggle butt” never ceased to amaze me. She had been through Hell too, but she constantly emanated an unbridled love. An undeterred lover, O’Ney solidified my faith in Pit Bulls as truly being “lovers not fighters.” If O’Ney and O’Bannon could love like that after what they had been through, I could take a stand and topple the false stereotype.

Countless other Pits have passed through Animal Friends and found their ways into my heart. My experiences with the biggest, baddest, bully breed (a.k.a. the Pit Bull) inspired the theme for my Senior Project. At North Hills High School, one of the requirements to graduate is to take a “Graduation Project” class. Out of the selected courses, I chose Leadership. In order to pass the course and fulfill the requirement, I had to come up with, create, and execute a service project that benefitted someone. I chose to sell bracelets and bags with the message “Help Don’t Hurt.” The profits benefitted a local bully breed rescue organization. The final, essential component of my project was compiling and presenting a PowerPoint Presentation about the false stereotypes. As someone who has always disliked presenting, my offer to present to my class was uncharacteristic, but also evidence of how passionate I am about the breed I love. After presenting, I took questions from my fellow students and, surprisingly, my teacher. My presentation was supposed to last for twenty minutes. Including the question and answer session, my presentation took 35 minutes of the 40 minute class period. Even though I was nervous, I let my instincts and passion take over, and was able to change many minds, including my teacher’s.

Without the experiences I’ve had with Salmon, O’Ney, O’Bannon, and countless others while volunteering at Animal Friends, I would be a completely different person. I wouldn’t have cared about my Graduation Project, nor would I have stepped up, compiled and executed an effective presentation. Compassion, drive, and patience have all been taught to me by four legged friends who just happen to be pit bulls. I have seen these dogs come out of the darkest of situations, thus inspiring me to continue on working with all dogs, even if they are scared or bite shoes when they get frustrated. Without my beloved companion TJ, I never would have been inspired to volunteer at Animal Friends, let alone embrace the bully breeds. The so-called “vicious, evil, nasty, bloodthirsty” dogs are everything but. Working with them has taught me to never, ever judge a book by its cover, whether it be a four, three, or two-legged creature. You never know when a spitfire dog named after a fish will blindside you and change your life forever, in the best way possible.

Alicia Drosendahl was the first-prize winner in our volunteer blog contest! Congratulations and thank you, Alicia!

Congratulations to the winners of our Volunteer Blog Contest!

The Communications department would like to thank all of the volunteers who submitted entries to our first-ever blog contest. All of the entries happened to be essays, and they were all a joy to read. Thank you so much for inspiring us!

Our judge, Cris Winter of WISH Radio, wrote, “All of these stories touched me in different ways. It was difficult to choose my favorites because everyone had various and wonderful reasons for being at Animal Friends. Every volunteer should be commended for the dedication and compassion that they show for all the animals!”

First Prize: 
Alicia Drosendahl for
“Everybody Needs Somepittie to Love”

Second Place

Third Place
Diane Whittaker for

Honorable Mention:
Sergei Murray for

Honorable Mention:
Diane Friske for

We encourage you to look for the winning entries on our blog!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Animal Friends presents: Eddie, the multi-talented Jack Russel!

Guest Blogger: Sharon Mariani

Just like the endearing little JRT on the hit TV series Frasier that Eddie is named after, he has been a smashing hit with everyone he has met.

Eddie has been a busy guy lately.

During a visit to WPXI-TV station Eddie immediately won the affection of Jennifer Abney who was filming 2 segments for Animal Friends.

As word spread through the news room, many others came into the studio to see the lovable little Eddie. Always a bit timid at first, he loves affection and quickly realized he had found a friend in Jennifer. So he cuddled-up on her lap and quietly laid there during the filming of both segments.

 (We actually think he may have fallen asleep for a few minutes, but he denies it) 

Eddie also traveled to Linda Mitzel's Photography Studio. His volunteer escort said he rides beautifully in the car. He began the ride on a soft blanket placed on the passenger's seat however, it wasn't long until he inched his way over onto her lap where he sat contently looking out the window. Once in the studio he was a bit overwhelmed at first, trembling a bit, but he quickly settled and took his place on a velvet sofa while having his adorable photos taken. 

Everyone at the studio fell in love, especially with Eddie's cute personality and  his white, wiry eyebrows.

Eddie is the ideal age, he has given up most of the JRT antics and prefers to take a few walks on the leash and laze the day away with his adult companions.

 He is gentle, sweet and so adorable!

We are looking forward to Eddie's newest role, which he'll be starring in shortly.   Loved and cherished: my life as a rescued shelter dog.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tails of a Foster Fur Mom: Food Bowl Woes

Guest Blogger: Susan Gottfried

The hard part of having multiple cats who are on multiple diets is keeping the proper noses in the proper food bowls. 

I had done this before, with my Devon Rex rescue cats. Chanterelle had been on a restricted diet; Cooper wasn't. The solution proved to be easy, as Chanterelle had a hip injury and would no longer jump onto my kitchen counters. So I'd leave a container of Cooper's favorite food open on the counter, and a bowl of Chanterelle's prescription diet at their traditional feeding station. 

No such luck with Geronimo. Or Milo and Lucy. 

Milo and Geronimo

So I began by feeding Milo and Lucy on my island, and Geronimo on the counter. This works—so long as the kids and I remember to put the food away when the cats are done with it. After all, the medical staff at Animal Friends warned me when I brought Geronimo home that they had to work to convince Geronimo to eat his prescription food. He is a well-behaved, easy going cat ... who may be convinced that he needs to eat his prescription food, but that doesn't mean he doesn't love whatever I'm feeding Milo and Lucy. If their bowl isn't placed safely on top of the refrigerator, he'll happily chow down.

The one thing I didn't expect was that my sweet Lucy would love Geronimo's prescription food. That she would jump up onto the counter and wolf down whatever she could, even the half-bitten crumbs Geronimo leaves behind. 

In fact, she likes it so much that sometimes, she'll go to great lengths to get to it. Apparently, she missed the memo that prescription food is icky.

Now the sad news about this prescription food dance we're doing over here: it's working, but not fast enough. Geronimo is scheduled for surgery to remove his bladder stones on April 4. Let's hope it all goes well; he's not about to be a foster failure yet and spend the rest of his days with us, but that doesn't mean he hasn't wormed his way firmly into our hearts over here. 

Editor's Note: We're happy to report that Geronimo did well in his surgery and is at home recovering.  A big thank you to the veterinarians who took great care of Geronimo! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bubbles Friday at Animal Friends

By Suzanne Denk, Animal Enrichment Specialist for Animal Friends

Everyone loves bubbles!  Animals love bubbles too, which is why we use them as part of our kennel enrichment. 

Bubbles provide something interesting and new for animals to look at outside of their kennels.  Something new happening in the kennel areas enriches the environment, giving the animals the opportunity to think and to explore their space.  Enrichment decreases stress and therefore, can decrease physical and behavioral problems. 

Every Friday at Animal Friends is bubbles day.  Staff and volunteers are welcome all day to blow bubbles for the animals.  Bubble blowing is limited to Friday only because without moderation, the novelty is lost.  It is important that bubbles only be introduced once a week to keep the activity unique for the animals.  Moving bubbles stimulate the animals’ minds…and make the people feel like kids again!

The response from both dogs and cats is about 92% and from the people it is 100%!  The cats, who are recovering from illness in the isolation area, will get up and come to the front of their cages to watch the bubbles float past them.  One of our geriatric dogs acts like a puppy nipping at the bubbles in the air. 

Try blowing bubbles for your own pets.  If you feel like splurging, check out “PetQwerks Doggy Incredibubbles”  These bubbles land without popping and are edible!


As for me, you can find me in the kennels blowing bubbles.  I have to; it’s my job!