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.