Thursday, December 20, 2007

If you're heading out for the holidays...

...it's possible that a furry friend might want to join you!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Someone doesn't like the socks

There was a huge snowstorm in New England over the weekend, which meant a lot of shoveling. We put some socks on the radiator to dry out, but Hamilton didn't appreciate us intruding on his warm spot.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Our customized egg art arrived

A while back, I posted a notice for Dey by Dey Studio in North Carolina. Peggy Dey is a lifelong animal activist with a house full of rescued dogs and cats, and she is also a very special artist who does pet portraits and other work.

I ordered a number of etched eggs for holiday gifts, and several of them arrived in the mail yesterday. Peggy had done something for me on these particular ones that isn't featured in her catalog; she actually etched the faces of a friend's cats and dogs onto small eggs. They came with their own decorative stand, or they could be used as holiday tree ornaments.

It's difficult to tell from Peggy's catalog (and I'm not sure the eggs are even up on her Web site) just how great they look when you have them in front of you. She even sent me a picture of the work (which you see above) before she shipped it, and the picture doesn't come close. The eggs are SO cute, and I can't wait to give them to the recipient for the holidays. I can't believe she was able to etch those little faces onto those eggs and ship them here safely!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Suspended NFL star Michael Vick sentenced to 23 months in prison

RICHMOND, Va. - Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison Monday for running a "cruel and inhumane" dogfighting ring and lying about it.

The suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback could have been sentenced up to five years by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. Vick, who turned himself in Nov. 19 in anticipation of his sentence, was wearing a black-and-white striped prison suit.

After Vick apologized to the court and his family, Hudson told him: "You need to apologize to the millions of young people who looked up to you." Read the rest here.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wolf May Lose Endangered Species Listing

By MATTHEW BROWN –

PRAY, Mont. (AP) — For rancher Randy Petrich, the removal of gray wolves from the endangered species list — a move that would open up the animals to hunting in the Northern Rockies for the first time in decades — couldn't come soon enough. On the same land where it was once rare to see the animal, Petrich has seen fresh wolf tracks almost every morning this fall — close enough to threaten his cattle.

"I believe that any wolf on any given night, if there happens to be a calf there, they will kill it," Petrich said. "In reality, to help us now, we need to be trapping them, shooting them — as many as possible."

Just 12 years since the wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park after years of near-extinction, federal officials say the sharp rise in the wolf population in the region justifies removing them from the endangered species list.

Critics, however, say the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is moving too fast, and could be setting the stage for a slaughter that would push wolves back to the brink in the Rockies. Read the rest here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I bought a new "throw" today, and sure enough, as soon as I draped it over a chair it became clear that I would not be the one sitting on it.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

A special holiday offer for our readers, and a way to help raise money for the Humane Society of the United States

Peggy Dey of Dey by Dey Studio lives in North Carolina. For the past year she has been building a home business through offering commissioned pet portraits, cards and other artwork. Peggy donates 10% of her animal portrait income to non-profit animal rescue and welfare organizations. She is a life-long animal lover with a very big heart.
Peggy has recently come out with a line of very special hand-etched and/or painted eggs that she creates in her studio. I have ordered a number of these unique and special items for holiday gifts, and I'd like to respectfully encourage my readers to consider doing the same if they appeal to you or might appeal to your friends and loved ones. The eggs can be free standing or designed as holiday tree ornaments. Peggy describes them this way:

"Unique hand etched and/or painted eggs. From the large African ostrich and beautiful dark blue-green emu, to the small Bantam, these eggs are hand etched and/or painted to compliment the beauty of this natural "canvas." The larger eggs such as the ostrich, emu, and rhea come with hand crafted and polished cedar stands, the smaller are offered either with a stand or if preferred, can be designed as a hanging ornament.

Wide variety of designs are offered or can be customized with your own preferred artwork! Prices range from $12.95 for the smaller eggs to $225 for the most elaborate of the ostrich eggs. Beautiful and very unusual gifts for the holidays! Will ship for you as well! Call (919) 542-1099 or email DeybyDeyStudio@aol.com with questions or more specific pricing."


Peggy also mentioned to me that the earlier she gets in orders, the more likely she can craft the eggs in time for holiday shipping. And, if you just mention Our Place to Paws, you will get 5% off the cost of the gift. "Our Place to Paws" makes nothing from this transaction, but Peggy is a frequent contributor to our Web site, and her house is full of rescued cats and dogs (and that's not counting the occasional injured and rescued possums, squirrels, and raccoons she cares for). Therefore, Our Place to Paws will donate $1 to the Humane Society of the United States for every person who gives Peggy a holiday order and mentions Our Place to Paws when ordering.
Please feel free to pass this info. on to friends! Thanks for checking them out! And remember, mention Our Place to Paws if you make an order -- to receive your discount and prompt a donation to the Humane Society of the United States.

From Defenders of Wildlife

Please take a stand for black-footed ferrets today.

(To take action easily online, visit: http://www.defenders.org/take_action/current_actions/index.php)

Dear Faye,

Larry and Bette Haverfield and other heroic ranchers want to bring endangered black-footed ferrets back to the Kansas prairie. But these dedicated conservationists need your support to make it happen.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just issued a proposal to reintroduce endangered black-footed ferrets on the Haverfields' private lands in Logan County, in the heart of western Kansas, but some people are trying to stop it. Let officials know you think it’s a good idea.

Black-footed ferrets were thought to be long gone -- until a ranch dog named Shep made a surprising discovery while digging in a prairie dog hole in the early 80s. Ever since this chance discovery, it has been an up-hill battle to restore black-footed ferrets to the Great Plains.

They are making a steady recovery in captive breeding programs across the American west, but it's been challenging to find suitable habitat -- and enough of it -- to release this endangered species back into the wild.

Take action now -- tell officials that you support the black-footed ferret comeback in Kansas.

Fortunately, the Haverfields and several courageous ranchers in western Kansas are hoping to provide a home for black-footed ferrets on their private lands. Black-footed ferrets need lots of space and lots of prairie dogs in order to survive. And their properties fit the bill exactly. Together, the Haverfields and their neighbors have the largest prairie dog complex in the state.

And Logan County, where the Haverfields live, is a great site for reintroduction efforts because it's free of sylvatic plague -- a deadly disease that affects prairie dogs and ferrets -- giving the black-footed ferret an even better chance at long-term survival.

Prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets -- the predators that evolved with them -- are essential for healthy grassland ecosystems and draw an abundance of rare prairie species including swift fox, ferruginous hawks, burrowing owls and golden and bald eagles.

Help write an endangered species success story -- and defend good-hearted ranchers who are trying to do the same. Tell the Fish and Wildlife Service that you support their plan to bring black-footed ferrets back to Kansas.

The deadline to submit comments on the proposal is this Monday, November 19th, so please take a stand for black-footed ferrets today.


Thanks for doing all you can to make a difference for these endangered creatures and the people who are trying to bring them back to the prairie.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Proctor
Great Plains Representative
Defenders of Wildlife

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Submitted by OPTP reader Donille M.

Hi, all you animal lovers....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 (how about 20 seconds) 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.

Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know. http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It's cold in New England, and I can see where all of our heat is going



We received this notice; does anyone have information about this company?

(Note, this is re-printed with some spacing errors still in it)

Subject: Action Alert: Rent-a-Dog is Coming to Boston Flex Petz, abusiness that rents dogs to people who want the fun of a pet without theresponsibility or commitment, is coming to Boston this spring.It already has opened in LA, San Diego and NYC amid much mediafanfare--all of it positive. Indeed, Flex Petz has been so successful,it has spawned a business that rents dogs to hotels, as perks for their guests. (Apparently a chocolate on the pillow and a fluffy bathrobearen't enough anymore.)

We who genuinely love and respect animals know how horrific this is forthe dogs who are rented--deprived of the consistency and stability theyneed, the bonding and love they deserve. And consider how people treatthings they pay to use for a short time, like cars and hotel rooms.Under the Flex Petz model, dogs are "things" too.

The organization says aw shucks, we screen renters well. What they don'tdisclose is the fate of dogs who aren't rented as often as Flex Petz'bottom line dictates, or who bite (likely because they're scared and confused after being shuffled from one renter to the next) or who growold and ill, as all beings eventually do, and become an expense ratherthan a profit center. No business can hold onto excess inventory and remain solvent. But far more dangerous is what Flex Petz will do to the human-animal relationship over time by advancing the "disposable pet" mindset.It's a given: If Flex Petz takes root, knock-offs will follow.

And together, they'll pave the way for an epidemic of animal abandonment and abuse the likes of which we've never seen, at least not in New England,and won't be able to manage.We have a unique opportunity to prevent a new brand of animal crueltyrather than try to treat the problem after the fact.To do so, we must lobby vigorously to keep Flex Petz out of Massachusetts.

And we also need to conduct a broad-based public information campaign--letters to the editor, op-eds, public service ads, flyers, media outreach-- to accomplish two things:--Educate those who care about animals but don't appreciate how cruelrenting them is.--Shame the rest into not patronizing Flex Petz the same way theAmerican Cancer Society has made it uncool to smoke. And we have to do it now, before Flex Petz and its clones take hold. Orsuffer the consequences. Please, please pass this message to Coalition organizations and ask that they in turn pass it along to their members.Thank you.

Beth BirnbaumMassachusetts Animal Coalition, Inc.
PO Box 766
Westborough, MA 01580

Web site: www.massanimalcoali tion.org
General email: macadmin@massanimal coalition. org

MAChas received this information, has not taken any official positiononits merits, but as it may be of interest, MAC is passing it alongtoour members and friends. You and your organization may decide the merits of this information based on your own experiences and beliefs.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

From the Humane Society of the United States

Just passing along this opportunity to help raise money for the Humane Society:

Dear Faye,

Do you use instant messenger or Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family? If so, I invite you to help animals -- and your friends at The Humane Society of the United States -- by taking these two simple steps today. You could help us win a $50,000 donation from Microsoft for the animals!

Instant messaging is a great way to keep in touch with friends, family, and co-workers. You can support The HSUS every time you IM someone through Microsoft's i'mTM Initiative, because the company will share a portion of the program's ad revenue with us. We’re one of ten charities that benefit from this program. There's no charge to you, and you can support our many animal protection campaigns just by doing something you do every day.

This week, with your help, Microsoft might donate an additional $50,000 to help animals. To celebrate the new Windows Live, the i’m Initiative has issued a challenge: If more than 50,000 people join their “i’m Making a Difference” Facebook group by this Friday, they’ll give $50,000 to whichever organization gets the most votes. So please join the group, scroll down to vote for HSUS, and tell your friends. Every vote counts.

Thank you for all you do for animals.

Sincerely,Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States.

P.S. I invite you to join The Humane Society of the United States on Facebook, too! Click here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The following letter arrived in our in-box today. We don't have any further information on this, but are posting the reader's letter in case anyone else knows about this and can tell us more, or needs to know:

To whom it may concern,

I am writing in alarm and concern about the Sergeant's Pet Care products for cats that are being sold on the market. I recently used a brand new bottle of Sergeant's® Skip-Flea® & Tick Shampoo for Cats. Within about 11 hours of using it, my cat was having seizures, and then went into some sort of coma. Her pupils were so big that her eyes were completely black. I took her to the vet hospital where I learned that the shampoo contained this chemical called Permethrin. This is a known PESTICIDE that is lethal and toxic to cats. This isn't the first case the hospital has had of cats coming in affected by this. Nine hours after getting her to the hospital she died.

My cat was perfectly healthy until this moment and was my little guardian angel. I have contacted the company and they are not quite willing to cooperate. I am looking for help in bringing awareness to other pet owners about these harmful products. I've done a lot of research and I found out that these following products are also hurting and killing pets. I have emailed several people whose pets have died and become injured. I have several pages of documents (as well as idocument about the chemical), with report of symptoms and reactions similar to what my cat went through and even worse. To read each story of what each animal went through is heartbreaking:Bio Spot, Advantage, Frontline, Sergeant’s Nature’s Guardian flea and tick products.

There an amazing amount of people that need help and don't know to go about reporting it and taking action.I've contacted the Department of Consumer Affairs, Department of Pesticide Regulation, PETA and other animal rights groups in search of help. I am trying to contact the FDA, but that is becoming more difficult. So far and have not gotten very far with getting help. I am looking for a way to bring this to government and community attention. I am also looking for any legal complaint sector that is open so that I may put my report into as well as anyone who could help me and lead me in the right direction.

Something should be done about toxic products being sold and harming animals. The numbers are too high and if this was happening to humans, something would have already been done about this. This is cruel and unjust to the animals. If there is anyway that you could help and possible bring attention to people, that those affected should contact the companies, write to every level of governmental regulation, and possibly a lawyer. Some of the companies are trying to pay us off (including myself) but in doing that we are giving up our rights to press charges or testify and they then can be allowed to continue selling these products. I feel that is wrong and I would great appreciate it if you could help. The pain that this company has caused others and myself is almost unbearable.

Sara Paredes

Sunday, November 4, 2007

We bought a humidifier today to deal with the cool, dry air that's setting in as winter approaches. As usual, the feline members of the household were much more interested in the box than in what had been inside it. I put a towel inside, and -- voila, new cat bed.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

In honor of the Boston Red Sox, World Series Champions, the Boston Globe has published these pics of some of the team's furry fans:

http://www.boston.com/yourlife/gallery/sox_pets_2007/

Monday, October 29, 2007

Animal/Pet info from SignOnSanDiego.com

LOST ANIMALS
San Diego County Department of Animal Services; Central Shelter in Mission Valley: (619) 236-4250; North Shelter in Carlsbad: (760) 438-2312; South Shelter in Bonita: (619) 263-7741
San Diego Humane Society & SPCA, (619) 299-7012
North County Humane Society & SPCA, (760) 757-4357
El Cajon Animal Shelter, (619) 441-1580
Chula Vista Animal Shelter, (619) 691-5123
Escondido Humane Society, (760) 888-2275
Helen Woodward Animal Center, (858) 756-4117
Wildlife can be taken to the Project Wildlife Care Center at 8871/2 Sherman St., San Diego. For more information, call (619) 225-9202.

HELP YOUR PET
Keep pets indoors and avoid unnecessary outdoor exertion.
See a veterinarian if your pets have a difficult time breathing or are experiencing any illness.
Wash ash off your pets and their toys.
Provide clean drinking water. If water is unsafe for people, it is unsafe for pets.

Sightings on Mount Washington this weekend

We hiked up the Tuckerman Ravine trail at Mount Washington, New Hampshire this weekend, to the base of the ravine. J. saw a red fox just a few feet away, which we didn't get a picture of, unfortunately. The fox was checking out a backpack that had been left behind briefly on a picnic table at the base of the ravine.


We did snap quick photos of a woodpecker and a red squirrel on the trail, below. The photos didn't come out too well because we had to snap quickly. If you click on the woodpecker photo to enlarge it and look for the little fellow, you can see how well he was camouflaged by the tree.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fire Assistance: Lost Animals

Reprinted from SignOnSanDiego.com

San Diego County Department of Animal Services;

Central Shelter in Mission Valley (619) 236-4250;

North Shelter in Carlsbad: (760) 438-2312;

South Shelter in Bonita: (619) 263-7741

San Diego Humane Society & SPCA, (619) 299-7012

North County Humane Society & SPCA, (760) 757-4357

El Cajon Animal Shelter, (619) 441-1580

Chula Vista Animal Shelter, (619) 691-5123

Escondido Humane Society, (760) 888-2275

Helen Woodward Animal Center, (858) 756-4117

If you have animals or livestock that you cannot evacuate yourself or that need to be rescued, call (619) 236-4250 and press 1 for emergency services.

Many large animals and evacuated livestock were taken to the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds at 12584 Mapleview St. and the Del Mar Fairgrounds at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.

Wildlife can be taken to the Project Wildlife Care Center at 887 1/2 Sherman St., San Diego. For more information, call (619) 225-9202.

Foster homes are available for pets through the San Diego Animal Support Foundation. Space for livestock, horses, burros, sheep and similar animals is available on private land. Call (619) 847-8755.

Birds fly in from fire

by Kristopher Hanson, Staff Writer

SAN PEDRO - Local wildlife rescuers are making room for injured and distressed animals displaced by fires ravaging the Southland.

In recent days, a few dozen aquatic birds and waterfowl forced from their Malibu home by smoke and flames have landed temporary shelter at the International Bird Rescue Research Center here, with more expected in coming days.

The center opened its doors to both wildlife and domesticated housepets on Sunday, when it began accepting ducks, coots and other winged creatures from a devastated wildlife center in Malibu's fire-ravaged canyons.
Full Text at PressTelegram.com

On a much sadder note, two animals at the Wild Animal Park have died, possibly from effects of the fire:

Endangered species die at zoo

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Local Effort To Help Pets Affected By California Wildfires

Ohio says it's entering its peak time for forest fires, and can't spare a single firefighter if California asks for help fighting its raging wildfires. Another emerging emergency is with pets and large animals effected by the fire.

Cincinnati is 2,200 miles from San Diego, but here they are already looking to help animals left homeless by the fires. Read more here.

Wildfires: Evacuating Man's Best Friends
Some Animals Moved To Beaches; Pets In Parking Lots With Owners


Rescuers race flames to save pets, livestock

Story Highlights
Animal services: "We're doing the best we can to keep ahead of the flames"
Officers looking for animals left in evacuated areas
Many shelters taking in animals along with people
Humane Society: Not a repeat of Katrina

CNN Video of pets, horses, "Zorse" evacuated from California fires

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2007/10/24/cohen.animal.shelter.cnn

CNN: "Qualcomm Stadium is accepting animals."

Nearly One Million Forced To Flee California Fires

SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) - Relentless wildfires roared through Southern California for a third day Tuesday, sending more than half a million residents fleeing with family members, pets and whatever prize possessions they could fit in their vehicles. Read the rest here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Straight from Defenders of Wildlife

Dear Faye,

Everybody needs a home -- especially grizzly bears and other wildlife that depend on habitat in our National Forests to survive.

But a proposal introduced in August by the Bush/Cheney Administration would dismantle vital protections for our National Forests and grasslands and eliminate key federal protections for all wildlife in those areas… including the still-struggling grizzly bear.

We have just a short time to stop this awful plan.
Send a message to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service right now, and urge federal officials to abandon their latest regulatory assault on the National Forest Management Act.

Earlier this year, the grizzlies in the Yellowstone region were removed from the list of species protected under the Endangered Species Act. However, these beloved bears could be right back on the fast-track to extinction if federal officials move forward with their proposed changes to the rules implementing the National Forest Management Act.

These changes would do away with essential wildlife viability standards that have protected grizzlies, wolves and other forest animals for more than 20 years, limit public input on forest planning decisions and exempt forest plans from meaningful environmental review.

The result: more destructive logging and other activities on our National Forests and grasslands and fewer grizzlies and other wildlife.

The public comment period on this awful proposal ends Monday, October 22nd, so please take action now to stop this terrible plan and protect our forest wildlife.

The grizzly isn’t the only animal threatened by this proposal. Unless we prevail, wolves, wolverines, elk, salmon and many other species could all suffer.

Please take action right now. We owe it to tomorrow’s conservationists to protect our grizzlies and other wildlife today.

Sincerely,

Rodger Schlickeisen
President
Defenders of Wildlife

News from the World Wildlife Fund

Press Release: The World Wildlife Fund announced on Oct. 16 that it has named Dr. K. Ullas Karanth as the winner of the 2007 J. Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership. The annual award honors outstanding contributions to international conservation and carries with it a $200,000 prize. Karanth, a scientist with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), is the first tiger expert to win the award.


Karanth, an active conservationist in southern India for the past 25 years, was honored for a career devoted to the science of endangered species and their habitats, WWF officials said.


"The Wildlife Conservation Society is justifiably proud that Ullas Karanth has been honored by the World Wildlife Fund's J. Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership," said Dr. John G. Robinson, WCS Executive Vice President and Director for Global Conservation Programs. "Dr. Karanth has been a tireless fighter for tiger conservation for more than two decades, and has helped show the world that there is hope for these emblematic big cats."


As part of WCS's efforts to save India's critically endangered tiger, Karanth has conducted India-wide surveys of tigers to better determine their numbers and habitat needs. Using camera traps to capture their unique stripe pattern on film, Karanth has improved accuracy in assessing the number of tigers in India's Nagarahole National Park and his efforts have facilitated the creation of three protected areas in the Western Ghats. He has also done innovative work on voluntary resettlement, benefiting people and wildlife. He is currently working through WCS's "Tigers Forever" program to conserve tigers throughout Asia.



(Photo credit: World Widlife Fund)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

One of the cats we're currently caring for, Fiona the Scottish Fold, has been blinking her eyes a lot and acting as if they're uncomfortable. She was treated for an eye infection at one point, but this time the vet said that he thinks it's just allergies. He said it wasn't a comment on our home at all, especially since the other four cats currently here don't have any allergies, and he prescribed some eye medication and suggested a .5 ml dose of children's Benadryl twice a day for three days.

Unfortunately, Fiona is not a fan of Benadryl. I bought the children's liquid version and tried to give her a dose, and she, well, freaked out. Maybe the bubble gum flavoring wasn't to her taste. She started running around the house, dripping white, frothy foam from her mouth in every room, stopping only long enough to glare at me accusingly before running off to foam some more.

Needless to say this was rather alarming to watch, but I was assured by a friend, Peggy Dey of Dey by Dey Studio, that this is a pretty normal reaction. One of her cats runs around frothing at the mouth also when dosed with unwanted medicine. Her suggestion was to buy the meds in pill form and try it that way.

I can just imagine what a success that will be!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hamilton has been doing great since he got home from the hospital and his experience with the radioactive iodine shot. For the first few days he was a little quiet and shy, but recently he's gone back to being himself. He runs around after the feather toy the way he used to, meows loudly for his food and tries to herd me around the room or bat at my legs when a noise startles him.

It's so great to have our little guy back. While he was on the medication, he never seemed to be quite himself, and he obviously hated having to take it. It was an expensive decision to give him the shot, but we're really glad we did it. Here he is, sitting right next to me as I type, on a folded blue towel that I set out for him. He's really not as mad as he looks!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This morning I have to take one of the Scottish Folds, Fiona, to the vet. She's had drippy eyes for a while, and two attempts at "gooping" her eyes with medicine haven't fixed the problem. Thankfully, Fiona's vet is just around the corner so it won't be a long ride in the car with a wailing cat.

Usually when I bring a carrier upstairs, the cats scatter and disappear. This time, Tribbs did the opposite: he walked right into the carrier and tried to claim it as his own. I guess he knew it wasn't for him!



By the way, I'm desperate for some dog photos for Our Place to Paws. We have five cats in this house at the moment, and we have a lot of cat-loving readers who send in photos for our Monthly Photo Contest. But we hardly ever get any dogs. Are there any dog lovers out there? If so, we need your contributions to our Monthly Photo Contest and our Cats vs. Dogs essay/photo page! Winners get a $10 gift certificate to PetCo!



Saturday, October 6, 2007

Animals in the news

As I was surfing the net this morning looking for some animal news, I came across a few great links.

First, I received an email recently about the sighting of a pink -- actually albino -- dolphin calf. Snopes.com confirmed that the sighting is real. You can see pictures of this beautiful creature here:

http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/pinkdolphin.asp

I also discovered that the San Diego zoo has released a video of their new giant panda cub's first visit with a veterinarian. The cute little thing obviously didn't enjoy the experience very much, but she made it and was whisked away to her mom right afterward.

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=bizarre&id=5692327

Here's a very cute picture of her from another news story:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/cute-cuddly-and-a-giant-cause-for-celebration/2007/09/22/1189881837490.html

This next video of a mother cat caring for some chicks along with her kittens has been circulating via email. It's very cute. Enjoy!

http://news.orf.at/video/iptvpopup.html?strange_cat.wmv

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Hamilton update

Just a quick update to let you know how Hamilton has been doing since he got home. He looks great, and he seems calm and happy. His coat is thicker than it used to be, and he no longer has that half-starved, scrawny look about him.

The next steps in his treatment will be to check his thyroid and kidney levels at one month after the shot, and at three months. There is some slight concern that the radioactive iodine treatment might negatively impact his kidneys, but the vet was very confident that he would be alright. His kidneys were a little small and irregular on the initial x-rays.

For now he is home and happy!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Our new issue is out

Our new e-newsletter went out today, featuring some interesting letters from readers and other updates. If you'd like to subscribe to future issues, send an email to faye@ourplacetopaws.com.

You can also check online for some of our updated content on the Web, including a new feature story about pets in the aftermath of Hurricane Dean, the winning reader photo for October and the winning reader's essay for our Cats vs. Dogs page.

Visit www.ourplacetopaws.com.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Letter from the WSPA

I received this email today from the World Society for the Protection of Animals, and thought I'd pass on the word.

"Dear Friend:

World Animal Week (October 4th-10th) is right around the corner! It's a time for us to celebrate the diverse roles that animals play in our lives and remember why it's so important to make the world a safer, more compassionate place for animals. This year, we're asking our supporters to join us in commemorating World Animal Week by participating in our “Animals Matter to Me” campaign – the biggest ever global animal welfare initiative linking the entire animal welfare movement under one strategic goal – recognition that animals are sentient beings, capable of feeling pain and suffering.

Over 660,000 people from more than 100 countries have signed the Animals Matter petition, which urges the United Nations to adopt a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW). Our aim is to reach 1 million signatures worldwide by the end of 2007, and we can only do that with your help. WSPA has received overwhelming support for the UDAW campaign from our U.S. supporters – many of you have already signed the Animals Matter petition. Help us reach our goal of 50,000 additional signatures during World Animal Week by asking 5 of your friends to sign the petition.

The campaign for a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare has already had a significant impact on the lives of animals. The Philippines recently enacted an ordinance on animal welfare inspired by UDAW, and Costa Rica has included the concept of a Universal Declaration in its “Peace for Nature” initiative. Please become part of this global effort to improve conditions for animals everywhere by signing the petition yourself – if you haven't done so already – or by getting 5 of your friends to sign.

Sincerely, Dena Jones, Program Manager WSPA USA"

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hamilton comes home soon!

I spoke to the tech. at Angell today, and there is all good news. Hamilton continues to do very well, and as of Saturday, he will have no more restrictions related to his radioactive iodine shot. That means that I can drive into Boston on Saturday and pick him up, and after almost three long weeks, Hamilton will finally be home -- and cured!

I can't wait to see him looking healthy, not constantly hanging his head over the water bowl, looking like he's losing weight and running away from his medication. He'll be our playful Hamilton again.

I'll be sure to post pictures when he's home!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Our Place to Paws now has an online shop!

Thanks to the Cafe Press Web site, Our Place to Paws now has its own online shop featuring apparel, bags and other fun items with our logo on them. Any income we make from the sale of these items goes to maintaining our site.

You can visit the new shop at:

www.cafepress.com/ourplacetopaws

Sunday, September 16, 2007

We continue to get good reports

Hamilton continues to do well at Angell. On Friday the vet's assistant called to say he was eating well, showing no signs of side effects and was "sooooo sweet." When I called today to ask the main desk to read the computer update (since it's the weekend) she said that all was well and that someone had put in a note: "Sweet boy!!!"

Our cat is indeed a sweet one.

Hamilton would actually be ready to come home now if we were able to follow numerous restrictions. His litter would have to be flushed, because it would still be radioactive, and we would have to limit our contact with him. In addition, the litterbox and any liners we used during this time would have to be put away in a container for three months before we'd be able to dispose of them safely through the normal town garbage. Finally, he'd have to stay out of the kitchen and off the beds.

Because we have four other cats currently in the house, and it would be very hard to limit either their or our contact with Hamilton (or to figure out who used what litterbox)or to keep him out of the kitchen or bedrooms, his favorite spots, we've opted to keep Hamilton at Angell until he can come home with no restrictions. We'll also feel a little more comfortable about not having radioactive material around the house or shed. That means an extra period of up to two weeks in the hospital for Hamilton, which is very, very hard for us to do to him. But it seems the safest option for everyone involved, and they've assured us he is doing very well there, is being well cared for and is in a spacious enclosure with a box to sleep and hide in when he wants to.

I know one "person" who won't be sorry Hamilton isn't home yet -- Duncan, one of J.'s mother's Scottish Folds, whom we've been caring for in our house until his mom can take them back. J. sometimes calls Duncan "Jaba the Hutt," and you'll see why in this picture! He's a sweet one, too, though!



Thursday, September 13, 2007

He had the shot and is doing well

I received my daily call from Angell today, and spoke with the veterinary assistant. She said that Hamilton is doing very well. He is exhibiting no side effects of the shot. Sometimes cats appear to get a sore throat after they get the shot, and look as if they are gulping their food a little bit for a couple of days. But Hamilton has shown no signs of that.

She said that he's friendly and active when the nurses come in to take care of him, and that when he sees them he is very "vocal." We know what that means! Hamilton has the loudest, strangest meow. Once when we had him in a carrier, someone thought we had a Siamese in there. Another person suggested he might be part Tonkinese. In any case, he rrrreeeeooowwwwrrrs! pretty loudly for what I fondly call "nine pounds of gray fur."

I was so relieved to hear he's doing alright! I'll get another update tomorrow and then we'll hear more on Monday. I can't wait until we can have him home again. I just hope the other cats will remember him!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Another good report!

I just spoke to the vet. Hamilton is coming out of his box more today and head butting the assistants for petting and attention. His scans went well, and he does have thyroid nodules on both sides, but they are benign. They were lining the cats up for their radioactive iodine shots when she called, and she assured me he shouldn't experience any side effects.

Why do I feel so nervous? I miss my little one!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

X-rays were OK

I spoke to the vet at about 4 p.m. today. All of the x-rays on Hamilton were OK. His kidneys are a little small, but the blood tests show that their numbers are good. He's all set for the shot tomorrow.

She assured me that he's eating well and doing fine. Our little guy!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Hamilton's in!

Well, I did the hard thing today and drove Hamilton the 40 minutes to Angell Memorial in Boston, then left him there to be tested and hopefully pass through to be allowed to have the radioactive iodine treatment.

While we were in the car, the little guy sat quietly and trustingly in his carrier, and my heart broke because I felt like I was betraying him. I had to keep reminding myself that this was for his own good, and that he'd be a healthier and happier cat once he had the treatment.

The vet at Angell was wonderful. She checked him out thoroughly, talked to him, rubbed and scratched him, and made me feel better about our decision. She told me that hyperthyroid disorder makes cats susceptible to all kinds of other problems, including the eye infection she could see he was developing, and that we wouldn't have been able to leave him for even a day without messing up his medication schedule and his levels, for the rest of his life. She assured me that the treatment has a very high rate of success and should guarantee him a much higher quality of life.

I'll hear from her tomorrow, when she'll tell me the results of his preliminary x-rays and let me know if Hamilton will be having the shot on Wednesday. She didn't foresee any problems.

The hardest part was watching her walk away with him in her arms, bundled in the blanket I left with him along with some toys. It could be almost three weeks before we see our little guy again.

But I know we're doing the right thing!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Tomorrow's the big day!

Hamilton goes to Angell Memorial tomorrow. If I can successfully get him into his carrier, which will be quite a battle, I'll be taking him there for a noon appointment. They'll keep him for two days to do tests on his heart and lungs and take blood. If all is well, he'll have the radioactive iodine shot and have to stay there for at least two weeks. If we brought him home sooner we'd have to flush all of his litter and keep him isolated from places like the kitchen and bedroom, which would be hard with four other cats in the house! He also isn't particularly great about using the litter box sometimes.

I know my heart will break leaving him there. The poor little guy will think I'm giving him away. Ironically, Angell Memorial is where he was adopted 12 years ago. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Our new issue is out!

The Sept. issue of Our Place to Paws' free e-newsletter came out this week, announcing our Sept. Photo winner of the month! To see the winning photo, which everyone loves, click here.

In the meantime, it looks like one of our columnists, Daisy, is resting up for the next issue.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Grapes and raisins can be deadly to dogs

A "Paws" reader just passed along some information about grapes and raisins being potentially deadly to dogs, a fact many dog lovers don't know. To read more about it, visit:

http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/raisins.asp
I've been on a semi-vacation in upstate New York for the past week, staying in the converted farmhouse where I grew up and where my parents still live. The house is set on 40 acres, most of which is split up into three fields that used to be planted with corn or harvested for hay. Beyond the fields are woods that are still full of wildlife.

These days, you can see a variety of animals right in the backyard, and the sightings have been the highlight of my week. Three young foxes are playing in the picture above, which was taken just beyond the yard last month. I saw one of them, now mature, trot along the side of the house and through the backyard two days ago, very early in the morning.

I've also seen a friendly groundhog who has made a home under the hot tub deck in the backyard, a chipmunk who lives beneath the old dog house enjoying some lunch he found under some fallen leaves, and a large doe who walked right through the yard on the way to a safe spot where she could wait out an approaching thunderstorm. Several flocks of wild turkeys have crossed the roads when I've been driving in the area.

The most dramatic sighting is one I missed, however. My mom saw a bobcat walk right through the backyard! Bobcats are sighted here only every couple of years and I missed it again! What gorgeous creatures they are, and I would love to see one.

Soon I'll be back in the Boston area for the beginning of a new work year, and we'll be preparing to take Hamilton in for his treatment on September 10. But for now, I'm glad I've had this chance to enjoy some time off with a few wild creatures.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hamilton jumps!

We had quite an event in our kitchen this morning. Hamilton, who is still on schedule for his radioactive iodine shot on September 10, surprised us with an unprecedented event.

Hamilton, you see, is not much of a jumper. He never has been, and he's 12 years old. We started feeding him on top of the refrigerator about a year ago to keep his food away from Tribbs, one of our other cats. The problem was we had to pick Hamilton up and put him up there every time he wanted to nibble at his food. He was able to jump down, but not up.

It has become a household routine to have him get up onto the kitchen counter by a small jump first onto the garbage bin, and then sit there and RREEEOOOWWWW! loudly until we pick him up and put him on the refrigerator.

Recently, one of the small Scottish Folds we've been taking care of managed to jump all the way on to the top of the refrigerator from a small shelf nearby in order to raid Hamilton's food. I guess Hamilton saw her do it, because this morning he did it himself! I never thought Hamilton could jump so high!

What a cat will do to protect his food!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Countdown to Hamilton's Treatment

As September 10 grows closer, I get so worried that Hamilton will never forgive me for driving him into Boston and dropping him off at the hospital for as long as 20 days! But it will all be worth it if that radioactive iodine shot cures him of his hyperthyroid disorder. Maybe THIS picture shows just what he thinks of the idea!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Poor judgment from AOL

I was reading a news article on AOL Sports about Michael Vick pleading guilty to dog fighting charges just now, and was pleased to hear that he'd have to pay for his cruelty to animals. Then I glanced to the right of the article, and saw that AOL was featuring a picture of a bull being speared in a bull-fight as a "Tops Sports Photo."

So much for sensitivity to cruelty to animals!
Our Place to Paws Seeks Advertisers, Sponsors for "10% for Animals" Program

Our Place to Paws, a new Web site by and for animal lovers, will donate 10% of any advertising dollars to non-profit animal welfare or rescue organization of the advertisers' choice.

Waltham, MA (PRWEB) August 20, 2007 -- Our Place to Paws, a Web site by and for animal lovers that debuted in March of this year, is seeking advertisers and sponsors for its "10% for Animals" program.

Our Place to Paws (www.ourplacetopaws.com) features informative, quirky and fun articles about pets and wildlife, from regular news stories to columns penned by "animal columnists" such as Daisy the Cat, Orson the Chow and Opus the Opossum. Also featured on the site and in the free monthly e-newsletter are simple animal art projects that kids can do at home, a monthly Reader Photo Spotlight contest with a $20 gift certificate prize and a Cats vs. Dogs essay contest for writers of all ages.

"Our Place to Paws is only five months old, and we're seeking advertisers to help keep our online community of animal lovers alive," said Faye Rapoport DesPres, editor of the Web site. "Our goal from the start has been to find ways to support non-profit animal rescue and welfare organizations, and we will donate 10% of any advertising dollars to the non-profit animal organization of the advertiser's choice."

Currently, the Our Place to Paws blog (www.ourplacetopaws.blogspot.com) is chronicling the health care journey of Hamilton, a cat who has been diagnosed with hyperthyroid condition and who will soon be treated with a radioactive iodine shot in Boston. The blog also features animal photographs, news and videos.

"I started Our Place to Paws simply because I love animals and am passionate about their welfare, and wanted to develop creative ways for people to read and write about animals online," Rapoport DesPres said. "Now I have a group of loyal readers who care just as much about animals as I do, and we want to find ways to help. Because we're so new, we are offering extremely low advertising rates on our site that won't even register on most companies' budget radars."

For more information about advertising on the Our Place to Paws Web site and in the free monthly e-newsletter, and taking part in the "10% for Animals" program, contact Faye Rapoport DesPres at 781-799-4739 or visit www.ourplacetopaws.com.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Posing with his portrait

Hamilton is still doing well, and is on schedule for his Sept. 10 radioactive iodine shot appointment. Here he is posing with his portrait, done by Peggy Dey of Dey by Dey Studio.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Post your own pet's health journey

Hello! While we're eagerly awaiting the next step in Hamilton's hyperthyroid journey, Our Place to Paws would like to invite readers to send in their own stories about their pets' health.

Have you had a dog, cat, or other pet who faced a difficult or unusual health problem and conquered it? We're looking for inspirational stories to post on our blog and in our e-newsletter. Please send stories and photos to: faye@ourplacetopaws.com. Stories should be up to 400 words in length.

Thanks, we look forward to sharing your stories.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Giant Panda Cub at the San Diego Zoo!

The San Diego Zoo is reporting that one of their Giant Pandas gave birth to a cub on August 3. If any of you have been watching the panda cub at the Atlanta Zoo, Mei Lan, grow up, you now have another cub to keep track of!
Here's a link to the San Diego Zoo's Panda Cam.

And here's a link to the news about the cub.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tribbs and HIS box

I love how his back paw is sticking out the side.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hamilton's Treatment Date set

We're gearing up -- both mentally and financially -- for Hamilton's radioactive iodine shot to treat his hyperthyroid condition. It's happening on Sept. 10 at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, part of the MSPCA. I wish we didn't have to hospitalize him for 10 days or more, but I feel really good about the decision to give him the treatment. Although he's gained weight and is looking like a "regular cat" again on the daily meds, he hates taking them. He runs away as soon as he sees the dropper, and I can tell he doesn't feel totally good on the meds. He's more subdued then he used to be and he sleeps more.

We'll be happy to have our playful kitty back and healthy again when it's all over!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Our new issue is out!

We've sent our our August issue and updated all new monthly articles on the Web site. If you'd like to see who won the August reader photo spotlight contest, or read the feature story, Daisy's new column or our first "Cats vs. Dogs" essay, visit www.ourplacetopaws.com.

In the meantime, we've had some good news about Cali, one of the cats we've been discussing here on the blog. You might recall that about six months ago an x-ray revealed something on one of her lungs that the vets couldn't identify. Only a very invasive procedure would determine if it was cancer or benign. After getting three opinions, we chose to do regular follow-up x-rays to determine whether the spot would change over time.

Yesterday Cali had her fourth follow-up, and there's been virtually no change. We're feeling more and more confident that this isn't cancer and she'll be just fine. Yay!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

More on Hamilton

Well, we're in the last stretches of preparing for Hamilton's radio iodine treatment for hyperthyroid. We have some choices to make. One company will administer the shot and keep Hamilton for three days until their permit allows them to release him back to us (at that point his radiation levels should be acceptable to go home). In that case, however, we have to take very special precautions for two weeks after he's home, such as flushing all litter down the toilet and handling it with plastic gloves, and limiting our "face time" with the cat. We'd also have to keep litter boxes out of various rooms and keep Hamilton out of the kitchen (where he currently spends much of his time).

Angell Memorial in Boston does a more full-service program, which includes keeping Hamilton for up to 10 days and doing more extensive testing at the beginning to determine how much medication he should be given. Although it's more expensive, we're leaning toward the Angell Memorial program. We'd hate for Hamilton to have to be boarded for 10 days to two weeks, but it seems like the safest situation for everyone, especially since we have four other cats currently in the house!


Stay tuned, our new e-newsletter should be coming out by the end of the week! To subscribe, email faye@ourplacetopaws.com.

Monday, July 30, 2007

New issue coming soon!

We're wrapping up our next free e-newsletter issue. If you haven't signed up, please do by sending an email to faye@ourplacetopaws.com. The new issue features links to various sites where you can take action on animal issues, the announcement of our August Reader Photo Winner, our first Cats vs. Dogs essay submission, letters from readers, a new column by Daisy the Cat and a new Kids Corner project, and more!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I just had to post these pictures of red pandas. I've seen red pandas at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, and they are some of the cutest creatures I've ever seen, a sort of cross between a giant panda and a fox.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Nike drops Michael Vick

I just heard the news that Nike has suspended, I believe, its contract with Michael Vick and has stopped selling all products associated with the athlete. I feel relieved. Like many animal lovers, I wrote to Nike requesting such action, and I wrote to the NFL requesting Vick's suspension. I have read so much evidence that points to Vick's involvement in the horrific activity of dog fighting, and in cruel, inhumane acts that are almost unimaginable. I know that someone is considered innocent until proven guilty, but the evidence and charges are so horrendous that I'm glad that Nike has taken these steps.

It's also heartwarming to hear about so many Humane Society members and other animal lovers who have rallied around this cause. Go animal lovers! We speak for those who can't.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hamilton's vet visit this weekend went very well! He has gained one pound, three ounces in just the 3-4 weeks since his last visit. The meds are clearly working (as you can see by the picture to the right). A few more tests and we'll learn if he's a candidate for the iodine shot. For now, at least it's nice to know that he can handle the medication and is responding well.

My only question is, will he STOP gaining weight at some point? For now, he's just over 8 pounds, so he has plenty of time before we have to worry about that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Some exciting news: Our Place to Paws will soon be featured on Pharmacy bags in a number of states as we work to gain more of a following for Paws, thanks to a free donation from an avid reader and cat-lover.

Our next free newsletter comes out in early August (remember to subscribe by writing to faye@ourplacetopaws.com or filling out the quick form on our site) and we'll be listing some animal rescue efforts that readers have sent in to us.

We're also developing a T-shirt design and looking for organizations who would like to partner with us on getting the word out on animal rescue and welfare issues.

But, we STILL DON'T HAVE ENOUGH ENTRANTS IN OUR CATS vs. DOGS ESSAY CONTEST! Remember, the prize is a $20 gift certificate to PetCo, plus $10 donated to the animal welfare/rescue organization of your choice.

Join us! We're just a bunch of animal lovers sharing ideas, pictures and stories, and setting out to do what we can to help.

Monday, July 16, 2007

For much of the past week and a half I've been taking care of Covu, our neighbor's dog. Covu is an incredibly sweet, good dog, but the poor thing has a constant skin problem that causes him to be rather...odorous. I must admit, scooping after him is rather odorous also!

Has anyone invented the perfect pooper scooper that keeps you as far away from the poop as possible (and saves the environment from all of those plastic bags)? If so I'd love to hear about it!